"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

Why Major Newspapers & Corporations Run Fake Job Ads To Avoid Hiring American Workers

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Oldspeak: Behold! The fruits of globalization! “Instead of being about talent, H-1B visa is about importing cheap labor. There’s an insidious way that the high-tech industry denies jobs to US citizens. It’s called the H-1B visa, which allows America’s technological firms – and other specialized employers – to bring in foreign employees, frequently at a lower wage package than might be paid to an individual with the same qualifications who is an American citizen. There are many arguments against the program, primarily the allegation that there is generally no actual shortage of US citizens with high-tech skills for the work done by H-1B visa holders. After the H-1B workers are sent back to their native nations, there are reports that they are rehired by US companies abroad to start offshore high-tech offices that move more US jobs overseas. In short, the H-1B visa could be seen as an outsourcing training program at the expense of highly skilled US professionals.” I wonder if Obama’s “Jobs Czar” GM CEO Jeffery Immelt is aware of this stealth job outsourcing sector of the economy. As CEO of a an American multinational corporation that employs 82% of its workforce outside the U.S., I would surmise, probably so. “Ignorance is Strength” “Profit Is Paramount”

Related Video

Immigration Attorneys Teach Corporations How To  Avoid Hiring Qualified Americans.

By Smoke & Mirrors:

Every Sunday, major newspapers, websites and corporations run fake job ads. Why? The goal is to prove that no qualified Americans are available, so that green cards can be secured for H1B workers (“highly-skilled” foreign workers from “high tech” to architects to nurses and Kindergarten teachers).

The claim is H-1B is a remedy for “labor shortages” and as a means of hiring “the best and the brightest” from around the world. The reality is it’s all about cheap labor.

The fundamental reason for the H1B Visa program, created in 1990, is to substitute cheap, imported, supposedly “skilled” (equivalent to American high school degree)  labor for more expensive American labor. The employer, who reaps a ton of tax advantages, doesn’t have to pay medical benefits, overtime, social security, etc., can also force the departing US worker to train their foreign replacement.  The problem is not lack of enforcement or fraud. Instead, the problem is gaping loopholes in the law.

Congress has allowed the expansion of importation under all VISA programs. 125,000 work authorized visas per month. This includes green cards, L-1, H1-b, H2-b etc  and the state hands out about 320K J-1 student work visas yearly.

Body Shops:

According to Civil Defense Attorney James Otto, who poses the question: “Whether the U.S. should allow the replacement of U.S. workers with foreigners imported under the several visa programs and should Government hire foreigners in stead of U.S workers?”, there are eight main body shops which bring in foreign workers to take American jobs. One body shop, Infosys, faces a lawsuit by former employee Jack Palmer over charges that it abused US visa programs. Per the Economic Times of India “The Infosys charges illustrate the growing conflict between the desires of multinational corporations to source cheaply (even if “cheap” has been mismeasured by not not being adjusted for risk) and what actions need to take place at a country level to make sure these very same multinationals have decent market for their goods.”

On December 7, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, through the U.S. Embassy in India, announced that the State Department has authorized the U.S embassy to allow the admission of a limitless number of foreign workers into the U.S. to take jobs that millions of unemployed Americans could and would do.

The practical implications of the State Department’s conduct is that every U.S employer can now hire as many foreign workers as they desire to replace all American workers.

So even jobs that require face to face work are not safe from “outsourcing” because of “importing”.

Of course, this is no more the fault of the imported foreign nationals than it is the fault of the workers employed in sweatshops overseas.  The corporations treat them horrendously.  While displacing American workers, the goal is to reduce the salary level to a point where they can get qualified professional American workers at the same cheap price. Just one more government policy that result in We the People suffering in order that corporate profits soar.

Hi-Tech US Corporations Deny Skilled American Workers Jobs Through Abuse of Visa Loophole

By Mark Karlin @ BuzzFlash:

A short time ago, BuzzFlash at Truthout ran a commentary on how US global corporations don’t give a hoot about increasing jobs in America.

In it, we included a section about how Silicon Valley high-tech companies, particularly Apple, use overseas contractors to manufacture their latest technological consumer products. It has been documented that some of these contractors create such harsh conditions and pay such low wages that workers have been driven to suicide, as The New York Times and other publications have detailed.

 

In a two-part Times expose, an Apple executive claimed: “We [Apple] don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.” That was in response to Apple shipping so many potential US jobs overseas to these slave-wage sweatshops; e.g., “90 percent of the parts of an iPhone are made outside the U.S.”

But there’s another insidious way that the high-tech industry denies jobs to US citizens. It’s called the H-1B visa, which allows America’s technological firms – and other specialized employers – to bring in foreign employees, frequently at a lower wage package than might be paid to an individual with the same qualifications who is an American citizen. There are many arguments against the program, primarily the allegation that there is generally no actual shortage of US citizens with high-tech skills for the work done by H-1B visa holders.

President Obama appeared blindsided by a question on a Google Plus interactive town hall the other day from a woman whose husband had been laid off by Texas Instruments:

Jennifer Wedel was the second to question Obama, and the four-minute exchange was among the most memorable of the 50-minute online event.

“My question to you is to why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?” she asked.

Obama offered that industry leaders have told him that there aren’t enough of certain kinds of high-tech engineers in America to meet their needs. Jennifer Wedel interrupted him to explain that that answer didn’t match what her husband is seeing out in the real world.

“Jennifer, can I ask what kind of engineer your husband is?”

“He’s a semiconductor engineer,” she told the president, who seemed genuinely surprised.

“If you send me your husband’s resume, I’d be interested in finding out exactly what’s happening right there,” he told her. “The word we’re getting is somebody in that high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away. And the H-1B should be reserved only for those companies who say they cannot find somebody in that particular field.”

Of course, the high-tech companies are telling the White House and Congress that they can’t find US citizens for the H-1B jobs, but many critics argue that many high-tech companies hire H-1B workers without even offering the positions to Americans. On top of that, after the H-1B workers are sent back to their native nations, there are reports that they are rehired by US companies abroad to start offshore high-tech offices that move more US jobs overseas. In short, the H-1B visa could be seen as an outsourcing training program at the expense of highly skilled US professionals.

It was nice of the president of the United States to offer his personal job placement services to Jennifer Wedel’s husband, but it’s a bit disturbing that the White House appears to have fallen for the Silicon Valley canard.

When it comes to the H-1B visa, it’s the same old story: follow the profits.

Why Are American Citizens Being Locked Up And Deported At Historic Rates By Immigration Authorities?

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Oldspeak:“Well, that’s one way to go about “immigration reform” just deport everybody that looks hispanic. O_0. “Since the beginning of Obama’s term, his administration has overseen the deportation of 1.1 million people, “the highest number in six decades“-New York Times. Apparently indefinite detention of American citizens is already in effect. If you look hispanic and live in the south/southwestern U.S., watch your back! It’s easier than you think to get swept up in this madness! Hundreds of thousands of people in this country are having their lives and families torn apart. Usually as a result of their unfortunate interactions with a U.S. immigration system is broken and riddled with innaccurate information. Rather than delcare a moratorium on dentention and deportation and fixing the system, the Obama administration is set to EXPAND this the controversial “secure communitites” program to be in effect in all 50 states. So we can expect to see increases in the number of Americans wrongfully arrested, detained and deported. Left unsaid is the boon this trend will be to the private prison industry/prison-industrial complex. The more bodies in prison beds, the more money they make. Nevermind if it’s for no good reason. “Profit Is Paramount”.

Related Story:

Feds Set Up Hotline For U.S. Citizens To Call If They Are Wrongfully Held In Immigration Detention

“Driving While Brown” Proves Hazardous

By Rania Khalek @ Alter Net:

On November 5, 40-year-old Antonio Montejanowas holiday shopping with his four children at a Los Angeles mall and unintentionally dropped a $10 bottle of cologne that his young daughter begged him to buy into a bag of items he had already purchased. Upon leaving the store, Montejano was stopped by security guards and arrestedfor shoplifting. He assumed the ordeal would end quickly since he had no prior criminal record. Instead he spent two nights in a Santa Monica, CA police station followed by another two nights in a Los Angeles county jail on suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant.

Montejano pleaded with officers about his citizenship, presenting them with his driver’s license and other legal identification, but they wouldn’t budge.“I told every officer I was in front of that I’m an American citizen, and they didn’t believe me,”Montejano told the New York Times. He believes his detention was a direct result of his ethnicity. “I look Mexican 100 percent,” he says.

Because of an “immigration detainer,” Montejano was denied bail and held even after a criminal court judge canceled his fine and ordered his release. He was finally freed on November 9, following intervention from the American Civil Liberties Union, which sent a copy of his passport and birth certificate to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

This is the second time Montejano, who was born in Los Angeles, has been mistakenly targeted by immigration authorities. They failed to recognize his citizenship in 1996 as well, prompting his wrongful deportation to Mexico. The ACLU discovered that his records were never corrected, which explains why his arrest led to a positive match in the DHS database.

Montejano’s mistaken imprisonment comes on top of an explosion in immigration detentions and deportations in recent years, as well as federal immigration programs that rely on participation with local law enforcement. He is just oneof the hundreds of thousands of people, mostly undocumented immigrants, whose lives and families are torn apart each year by our dysfunctional immigration system.

“Secure Communities” is the latest of these controversial programs, introduced and piloted by the Bush administration in 14 jurisdictions beginning in 2008. According to an October 2011 report by researchers at UC-Berkeley School of Law,“Secure communities by the numbers,” the program has “expanded dramatically”under President Obama and is currently “active in 1,595 jurisdictions in 44 states and territories, a 65% increase since the beginning of this year.” Since the beginning of Obama’s term, his administration has overseen the deportation of 1.1 million people, “the highest number in six decades”according to the New York Times. ICE is so pleased with Secure Communities, it plans to expand its reach to all US jurisdictions by 2013.

The program requires local jails to crosscheck fingerprints of jailed individuals with Homeland Security’s immigration database. If a positive match is found, federal immigration officials can issue detainers that authorize local law enforcement to hold the suspect in custody for up to 48 hours.

However, the DHS database is riddled with flaws, as demonstrated by the growing number of US citizen being wrongfully tagged. The New York Times notes, “Unlike the federal criminal databases administered by the FBI, Homeland Security records include all immigration transactions, not just violations. An immigrant who has always maintained legal status, including those who naturalized to become American citizens, can still trigger a fingerprint match.”

Although it’s difficult to obtain an exact number of Americans illegally detained by ICE, Jacqueline Stevens, a political science professor at Northwestern University estimates that over 4,000 US citizens were detained or deported in 2010 alone. According to a study published by Stevens last spring, this raises the total number of American citizens detained or deported since 2003 to well over 20,000.

The Times points out that “Any case where an American is held, even briefly, for immigration investigation is a potential wrongful arrest because immigration agents lack legal authority to detain citizens.” Stevens has even referred to the “potential wrongful arrest” of US citizens as “kidnapping” because “ICE has no jurisdiction over U.S. citizens.”

Furthermore, wrongful detention and deportation is not limited to US citizens with easily accessible state-issued identification in their wallets. As Joshua Holland notes, “permanent residents, studentstourists, and people seeking asylum from torture and persecution are also swept up in the maw of Homeland Security in not-insignificant numbers.”If American citizens, like Montejano, who are guaranteed the right to due process, have trouble proving their citizenship to the authorities, it’s likely even more difficult for legal residents as well as other vulnerable populations, such as the mentally disabled, who may lack a clear understanding of the circumstances.

Mark Lyttle, a North Carolina native with a mental disability, spent four months wandering around Central America after being deported in 2008 because he told jail officials that he was born in Mexico City, Mexico. According to the Associated Press, Lyttle was “coerced and manipulated” by immigration agents into signing false statements that allowed his deportation.

According to his lawyers, Lyttle, who spoke no Spanish, was flown to Texas and “forced to disembarkand sent off on foot into Mexico, still wearing the prison-issued jumpsuit.” Over the next 115 days, Lyttle drifted around Central America with no identification or proof of citizenship, which got him arrested and jailed in Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. Meanwhile, his family was frantically searching for him with no help from the authorities whatsoever. The ACLU has since filed a federal lawsuit on his behalf.

Sadly, this shameful episode isn’t the first of its kind. Lyttle’s abuse at the hands of immigration enforcement sounds eerily similar to the deportation of another mentally disabled American citizen, Pedro Guzman. Holland explains how the”mentally disabled U.S. citizen who was born and raised in Los Angeles, was deported to Mexico last year, sparking a frantic search by relatives until he was finally found, three months later, alone and desperately trying to get back to the United States.”

More recently, an immigration detainer mistakenly snared Romy Campos, a 19-year-old American college student. Following a November 12 arrest for a minor misdemeanor, Campos was held in a California jail for four days and denied bail.

She was assigned a public defender in state court, but the attorney told her that nothing could be done to lift the federal detainer. Campos wasn’t released until four days later when ACLU attorney Jennie Pasquarella provided ICE with Campos’ Florida birth certificate.Campos is a dual citizen of the US and Spain and has both a US and Spanish passport, which she has used interchangeably. Because she once entered the US with her Spanish passport, she is recorded in the DHS database.

“I felt misused completely, I felt nonimportant, I just felt violated by my own country,”Campos told theTimes. While her detention was inexcusable, Campos is one of the luckier ones who got out quickly. Others have been detained for weeks and even months before proving their citizenship.

In 2008, 53-year-old Anthony A. Clarke was illegally detained for 43 days by immigration authorities who tried to have him deported. Clarke, who was arrested by federal agents during a midnight raid on his sister’s home, was born in Jamaica. He came to the US as a teenager and became a citizen in 1975 when his mother was naturalized.According to the Star Tribune, FBI records indicated that immigration officials knew of Clarke’s legal status at the time of his arrest, yet they detained him anyway. Clarke has since filed a lawsuit in federal court for “false arrest and malicious prosecution.”

John Morton, the director of ICE, insists that his agency gives “immediate and close attention” to detainees claiming they are American citizens. “We don’t have the power to detain citizens,” says Morton, adding, “We obviously take any allegation that someone is a citizen very seriously.”

Regardless of how committed ICE might be to correcting its mistakes, these stories, at the very least, should raise questions about our increasingly disturbing immigration enforcement system that so easily dismisses the rights of those unfortunate enough to get mangled in it.

Rania Khalek is an associate writer for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @RaniaKhalek.

 

“Operation Fast and Furious”: U.S. Government Openly Admits Arming Mexican Drug Cartels With 30,000 Firearms – But Why?

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Oldspeak:”Iran-Contra Affair: Redux. How bout it. 0_O Your guess is as good as mine. More Change I Can’t Believe In. Makes you wonder who’s really in charge of the U.S. Government.

By Mike Adams @ Natural News:

It is now a widely-reported fact that under the Obama administration, U.S. federal agents actively placed over 30,000 fully-functional weapons into the hands of Mexican drug gangs, then halted all surveillance and tracking activities of where those weapons were going.

This is not a conspiracy theory, nor a piece of fiction. It is now an openly-admitted fact that this was pulled off by the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, more commonly called “ATF”) under orders from Washington. The program was called “Fast and Furious.”

Even Reuters is now covering the news and reporting how members of Congress are outraged to learn that this happened (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011…).

Details are also starting to leak about the cover-up inside ATF, which was led by the U.S. Attorney in Arizona, Dennis Burke, an Obama appointee

(http://dailycaller.com/2011/07/06/i…). The engineering of the illegal gun running went right up the chain of command to the director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson, who is now expected to resign. The real planning of this event went even higher up the chain of command in Washington, possibly all the way to Attorney General Eric Holder (http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/21/i…).

Among the firearms sold to the Mexican drug gangs were AK-47s, thousands of pistols and, remarkably, .50-caliber rifles which are typically used to disable vehicles or carry out sniper-based assassinations at extremely long ranges (up to two miles). The mainstream media is now reporting that these weapons are turning up in violent crimes being committed in Phoenix, Arizona. As an ABC news affiliate reports:

“According to the testimony of three Phoenix ATF agents, including Dodson, hundreds of weapons are now on the streets in the United States and Mexico, possibly in the hands of criminals. Dodson estimated the number could be as many as 1,800 weapons. He estimated agents in the Phoenix field division facilitated the sale of approximately 2,500 weapons to straw purchasers. A few hundred have been recovered.”

How the “Fast and Furious” program put thousands of weapons directly into the hands of Mexican drug gangs

Here’s how “Fast and Furious” worked: Under orders from Washington, ATF agents were specifically told to acquire these weapons using “straw” buyers in the USA, find new buyers in Mexican drug gangs, then sell the weapons and “lose track” of them. Although some agents raised concerns about the insanity, they were overruled by the higher-ups in Washington who wanted to pursue this policy for their own reasons. “It made no sense to us either, it was just what we were ordered to do, and every time we questioned that order there was punitive action,” said Phoenix Special Agent John Dodson.

But what could be the reasons for Washington initiating such a program in the first place? Why would the Obama administration actively send 30,000 sniper rifles, assault weapons and firearms into Mexico even while claiming to follow an anti-gun stance back in the USA?

To answer that question, you need to understand P.R.S — Problem, Reaction, Solution. It is the “playbook” that governments use to get what they want, which usually involves: 1) Disarming their populations, 2) Taking away all their rights and freedoms, and then 3) Ruling over their people as tyrants with complete power.

Precisely such an effort is now underway in the United States, led by the Obama administration which has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be an enemy of the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

How Problem, Reaction, Solution really works

If you’re the U.S. government, you can’t just announce a new program to disarm the country, end the Bill of Rights and install yourself as the King. People won’t go for it if you try to sell it that way. Instead, you need to find a way to get people to BEG you to do all that.

So you need a way to put people in a state of mind where they are terrified of drugs, terrified of guns and terrified of the border violence — to the point where they insist that somebody in Washington do something about it.

Therefore, you first need a way to cause the problem that results in all the violence that people react to. You effectively need to create violence and then wait for people to beg you to stop it.

This is where the Obama administration’s program to send 30,000 firearms into Mexico comes into play. If you want to cause gun violence and drug war violence, what better way to accomplish it than to just arm all the bad guys?

Think about it: 30,000 weapons in the hands of drug criminals! Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for all the violence to kick in. And it has kicked in — in huge numbers. Shootings on the border, kidnappings, armed conflict across the border with U.S. border agents, and so on. Violent crimes in Arizona are now being committed with these very same weapons the ATF trafficked into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.

As Judicial Watch president Tim Fitton explains, his belief is that Operation Fast and Furious was purely an anti-gun political ploy from the Obama administration, designed to put more guns into the hands of criminals as a justification for confiscating guns from all citizens. He adds, “I think another major part of this story is that the narrative of the Obama administration and the ATF is that, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could tie guns, as part of our anti-gun agenda, to the Mexican civil war, as opposed to, you know, our lack of enforcement of the drug laws or failure to protect the borders.’” (http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/21/i…)

And here’s the real kicker: Of all the weapons now being confiscated by police in Mexico, an astonishing 70 percent came from the United States. So now you have a situation where the USA is actually arming the criminals in Mexico and destabilizing that country’s entire system of law and order. The drug gangs are at war with the police there, and thanks to thinks like U.S.-supplies AK-47s and .50-caliber sniper rifles, the drug gangs are winning!

ATF can now demand more power and bigger budgets

Getting back to the U.S. issue, if you’re the DEA or the ATF, you now have 30,000 more reasons to have your own budgets increased. There’s a wave of violence coming across the border! The drug gangs are out of control! They’re shooting back!

Well gee, I wonder why? It’s because the ATF actually sold them these 30,000 rifles under orders from Washington.

And now the Obama administration is, predictably, saying there’s so much “gun violence” in the Southern USA that new laws are needed to curb gun sales there.

Seriously? New laws? What about the 30,000 guns the ATF openly and admittedly sold to the Mexican drug gangs? Wasn’t that already a violation of law?

It all comes back to Problem, Reaction, Solution, you see. Want to keep the useless War on Drugs going a little longer? Just dump a few thousand pounds of cocaine into the hands of criminals and let ‘em run loose with it. Want to beef up the budgets of the ATF? Just distribute 30,000 illegal weapons into the hands of drug gangs and then sit back and wait for people to beg for your help. Want to justify a war on “terror” in the Middle East? Dream up some stupid story about Weapons of Mass Destruction and then launch a war.

For every power-hungry tyrannical agenda in Washington, there’s a false flag operation that will make it come true.

If the U.S. government would actively arm drug gangs, in what other ways might it betray the American people?

Now that you know the truth about how Washington put 30,000 guns into the hands of Mexican drug gangs, it naturally makes you start to wonder about the government’s involvement with things like vaccines.

Want to make people so afraid of infectious disease that they beg for vaccines? Just release an infectious disease into the population yourself! It’s a simple matter, really.

Want to get the public to beg for new food safety regulations? Just release e.coli into the food supply and then wait for the deaths to be reported in the news. All of a sudden people are demanding more food safety regulations.

Want to justify military imperialism and expansion? Just stage your own terrorist attack against your own country! Then magically find the passports of some terrorists at the scene of the crime and blame the whole thing on them.

When theory becomes fact

You see, all this used to exist solely in the realm of conspiracy theory. A few years ago, if you even suggested this kind of thing was going on, you were called a kook. But now it’s an established fact being reported by Reuters, Washington Post and other major news outlets. Now the U.S. government has been forced to admit that yes, it actively delivered 30,000 firearms into the hands of Mexican drug gangs and then intentionally stopped tracking where they went.

This is no longer conspiracy theory. It’s conspiracy FACT. And similar types of operations are being planned right now for other agendas the government has in mind: Taking away your Fourth Amendment rights, for example. How do you accomplish that? Just stage an airport terrorism attack, just like the one the TSA was caught rehearsing in Minnesota

(http://www.naturalnews.com/032458_T…).

Want to take away peoples’ Second Amendment rights? Just brainwash some low-IQ psychopath to walk into a shopping mall and start blazing away with fully automatic weapons that were provided to him by the ATF!

It’s simple, you see. Pick a topic, choose an agenda, then cause the problem yourself. Then sit back and wait for the reaction. Works every time.

The CDC pulled the same stunt back in the 1980′s with AIDS. At a time when the CDC was facing severe budget cuts, it actually hyped up the whole AIDS epidemic and started releasing complete scientific fictions as if they were fact. The disease mongering by the CDC caused widespread fear and panic across the country, earning it huge budget increases from the U.S. government.

This is all fully documented in the movie House of Numbers, by the way, using recorded video interviews from many of the key scientists involved in the whole fiasco who finally went on record to tell the truth. Almost everything you’ve been fed about AIDS is a fabrication or a distortion of the scientific truth. Watch these astonishing videos to see for yourself:

http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=D35F0…
http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=BE507…
http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=4FE73…

The American government is working AGAINST you, not for you

The point in all this is that much of what you see happening in the world today in terms of terrorism, the drug war, infectious disease and health care are just fabricated, staged events actually pulled off by the very people who stand to benefit from the reaction!

Suckers and sheeple always believe the mainstream news at face value. They believe we’re under attack from terrorists who bring down tall buildings, or we’re being assaulted by Mexican drug gangs on the border, or we’re threatened by the Swine Flu. That’s what suckers are supposed to believe, you see: That your government is never working against you… it’s always working FOR you, right?

But intelligent people know the opposite is true: Your government is usually plotting against you and trying to figure out how to expand its power, expand its reach, reduce your freedoms and control your life. This is accomplished by unleashing the very problems that the government claims to be fighting to prevent.

The government, for example, says it’s trying to solve our nation’s economic problems. And how does it accomplish that? By generating trillions of dollars in new fiat currency and handing it over to the criminals running Wall Street. This has the net effect of stealing money from everybody else through dollar devaluation.

How does the government solve our national health care crisis? By enacting Obamacare, which mandates that more people buy into a system that has utterly failed to serve the health interests of the American people in the first place!

So at the very same time the government says it’s working to improve the economy, it’s actually stealing from you behind your back. At the very same time the government says it’s trying to stop cancer, its own health-related agencies (National Cancer Institute, for example) are openly engaged in massive disinformation campaigns that spread false information about sunlight being “dangerous” to your health (while conveniently ignoring the truth about vitamin D and its cancer preventive properties).

The government says it wants to make your food safer, and yet the USDA keeps approving genetically modified foods that are essentially massive biological experiments that cause widespread infertility and disease.

The same story goes on and on… with fluoride in the water, mercury in dental fillings, aspartame in diet sodas, pesticide use in agriculture and so on. At nearly every turn, the government itself is actively plotting against the People to keep them financially enslaved, biologically diseased and mentally ignorant.

Shipping guns into Mexico, you see, is just a tiny part of the big picture that’s going on today in the USA. The same process — Problem, Reaction, Solution — is in use almost everywhere in government at both the state and federal level.

Big Government is the enemy of peace and freedom

Bureaucrats hate to lose their jobs, and if there’s a way to stage something that makes them suddenly look more important, they won’t hesitate to roll it out. The U.S. government, just so you know, has been actively engaged in weapons trafficking, drug running and counterfeiting for decades. If you or I did what our own government does every single day, we’d be arrested as felony criminals. But when the government runs guns into Mexico, or traffics in cocaine, or prints counterfeit dollar bills that have no backing with real value, somehow it’s all okay.

Amazing how our own government has now turned into the very criminals that it claims to be protecting us against, isn’t it? Who are the real terrorists in America? The ATF agents running guns into the hands of Mexican drug gangs, of course. And the FBI agents who set up Arab-looking patsies to try to set off fake bombs that the FBI actually assembled for them!

By the way, Alex Jones (www.PrisonPlanet.com) has been covering all this for years. He’s been saying this all along, and time and time again, he’s been proven right. I realize his presentation style may seem a little intense to some people, but at the end of the day, Alex Jones is far more accurate at decoding what’s really going on behind the scenes than any mainstream news channel or newspaper. Here’s an article from InfoWars on this very topic:http://www.infowars.com/obama-admin…

I’m scheduled to host the Alex Jones show next week and will likely be discussing more about the ATF’s gun-running activities in Mexico. In the mean time, stay tuned to NaturalNews.com for more stories that aren’t afraid to report the truth about what’s really happening in our world today.

U.S. Citizenship For Sale.

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Oldspeak:“Logical extension. Pretty much every U.S. industry has been outsourced, NBC has hit comedy by the same name, and apparently it’s perfectly acceptable for monied foreigners to purchase citizenship to the United States of America. More evidence that the hullabaloo over, immigration reform is all about racially specific xenophobia and class, not security or legal citizenship. “The phrase “bring us your moneyed investors yearning to breathe free” doesn’t have the same poetic heft as the inscription about the tired, poor, huddled masses etched on the Statue of Liberty.'”

From Daniel Gross @ Yahoo Finance:

Every day investors around the world choose to put their hard-earned cash into the U.S. Billions of dollars flow in the form of foreign direct investment, as when a group of Brazilians bought Burger King, and foreigners purchase hundreds of billions of U.S. stocks and bonds, as measured by the Treasury’s TIC data.

But a small number of investors show up on these shores drawn by something more valuable than financial returns: the prospect of U.S. citizenship.

You can’t simply purchase an American passport (at least not legally). But since 1990, foreigners with as little as $500,000 in cash have been able to invest their way to a quick green card, putting them on the path to citizenship. Quick, somebody call Lou Dobbs!

Yes, the U.S. government lets people with cash to jump the line for a green card through the EB-5 program.

Starting in 1990, 10,000 visas have been set aside each year for the EB-category. The program was designed to encourage foreign investors to create jobs by starting a new business or preserve jobs by investing in money-losing businesses. If they agree to invest $1 million, foreigners can get a visa, apply for green cards, and become conditional permanent residents.

After two years, provided they’ve made good on their promise to invest, created 10 jobs (family members don’t count), and the business is still an ongoing concern, they can apply to have those conditions removed. And after five years with a green card, holders can apply for citizenship.

Of the 10,000 visas in the program, 3,000 are set aside for “targeted employment areas” — rural areas, or places with an unemployment rate that’s 150 percent or more of the national average. For these visas, the threshold is lowered to $500,000.

Another 3,000 visas are set aside for investments in “regional centers” — areas or industries designated by states. (A full list of regional centers can be seen here.)

Some organizations, professional service firms, and companies promote the program as a whole, or market investment in particular projects as appropriate for EB5 aspirants, such as a ski resort in Vermont. Other entrepreneurs having a tough time raising cash are now seeking to use the program to tap into new sources of financing. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that developer Bruce Ratner is seeking to use the program to help raise funds in China for his massive, controversial Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Now, many may view the prospect of giving favorable immigration treatment to investors as problematic. The phrase “bring us your moneyed investors yearning to breathe free” doesn’t have the same poetic heft as the inscription about the tired, poor, huddled masses etched on the Statue of Liberty. From its inception, the price of citizenship has traditionally been a willingness to leave behind the old world and work hard — not write a check to support the construction of a bunch of ski-in, ski-out condos.

But I happen to think this is a very good thing. If it were fully utilized, the EB5 program would bring at least $7 billion annually and create or preserve 100,000 jobs per year. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things — there are currently about 130 million Americans with payroll jobs. But given the trauma inflicted upon American workers in the past three years, every little bit helps. And this is something the U.S. should be doing more of.

One cure for the vast overhang of excess housing would be to offer expedited citizenship to people willing to purchase vacant homes in places in like Las Vegas or Detroit.

In fact, it’s surprising that more people don’t take the U.S. up on its offer. Consider the changing shape of the world’s economic geography: We’ve got American companies with lots of cash that are reluctant to invest at home because they see better prospects abroad. Thanks to that same dynamic, millionaires are being minted by the millions in China, India, and Brazil, and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the EB5 program has never come close to maxing out. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in 2009, just 1,028 people applied for EB5 status and 966 were approved, up from 776 applications and 485 approvals in fiscal 2007. Applications and approvals rose sharply in fiscal 2010, to 1,727 and 1,271, respectively.

I’m guessing the lackluster numbers can be chalked up to a failure of marketing rather than the limited attraction of the underlying product, or of its expense. In fact, the investment-related green card should probably be priced higher. Here’s a thought experiment: Ask how much you’d have to be paid to give up American citizenship for you and your family and assume that of a randomly chosen foreign country. Something tells me the bidding would start at a point much higher than $500,000.

Daniel Gross is economics editor and columnist at Yahoo! Finance.


Wachovia’s Drug Habit – Banks Financing Mexico Gangs Admitted In Wells Fargo Deal

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

Mexican troops burn cocaine seized from a jet bought through two U.S. banks. Photograph by Abraham Martínez/Procesofoto

Oldspeak: ” How bout it. The Megabank as threat to national security. The bank, now a unit of Wells Fargo, leads a list of firms that have moved dirty money for Mexico’s narcotics cartels–helping a $39 billion trade that has killed more than 22,000 people since 2006. It’s nice to see international cartels working together….  :-|Profit is Paramount.”

From Michael Smith @ Bloomberg News:

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.

The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

This was no isolated incident. Wachovia, it turns out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers — including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine.

The admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March, and it sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years.

‘Blatant Disregard’

Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history — a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.

Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S. In the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, 700 people had been murdered this year as of mid- June. Six Juarez police officers were slaughtered by automatic weapons fire in a midday ambush in April.

Rondolfo Torre, the leading candidate for governor in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, was gunned down yesterday, less than a week before elections in which violence related to drug trafficking was a central issue.

45,000 Troops

Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed to crush the drug cartels when he took office in December 2006, and he’s since deployed 45,000 troops to fight the cartels. They’ve had little success.

Among the dead are police, soldiers, journalists and ordinary citizens. The U.S. has pledged Mexico $1.1 billion in the past two years to aid in the fight against narcotics cartels.

In May, President Barack Obama said he’d send 1,200 National Guard troops, adding to the 17,400 agents on the U.S. side of the border to help stem drug traffic and illegal immigration.

Behind the carnage in Mexico is an industry that supplies hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines to Americans. The cartels have built a network of dealers in 231 U.S. cities from coast to coast, taking in about $39 billion in sales annually, according to the Justice Department.

‘You’re Missing the Point’

Twenty million people in the U.S. regularly use illegal drugs, spurring street crime and wrecking families. Narcotics cost the U.S. economy $215 billion a year — enough to cover health care for 30.9 million Americans — in overburdened courts, prisons and hospitals and lost productivity, the department says.

“It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy,” says Martin Woods, director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009. Woods says he quit the bank in disgust after executives ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia’s branch network.

“If you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,” Woods says.

Cleansing Dirty Cash

Wachovia is just one of the U.S. and European banks that have been used for drug money laundering. For the past two decades, Latin American drug traffickers have gone to U.S. banks to cleanse their dirty cash, says Paul Campo, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s financial crimes unit.

Miami-based American Express Bank International paid fines in both 1994 and 2007 after admitting it had failed to spot and report drug dealers laundering money through its accounts. Drug traffickers used accounts at Bank of America in Oklahoma City to buy three planes that carried 10 tons of cocaine, according to Mexican court filings.

Federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009. Mexican drug dealers used shell companies to open accounts at London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank by assets, an investigation by the Mexican Finance Ministry found.

Following Rules

Those two banks weren’t accused of wrongdoing. Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton and HSBC spokesman Roy Caple say laws bar them from discussing specific clients. They say their banks strictly follow the government rules.

“Bank of America takes its anti-money-laundering responsibilities very seriously,” Norton says.

A Mexican judge on Jan. 22 accused the owners of six centros cambiarios, or money changers, in Culiacan and Tijuana of laundering drug funds through their accounts at the Mexican units of Banco Santander SACitigroup Inc. and HSBC, according to court documents filed in the case.

The money changers are in jail while being tried. Citigroup, HSBC and Santander, which is the largest Spanish bank by assets, weren’t accused of any wrongdoing. The three banks say Mexican law bars them from commenting on the case, adding that they each carefully enforce anti-money-laundering programs.

HSBC has stopped accepting dollar deposits in Mexico, and Citigroup no longer allows noncustomers to change dollars there. Citigroup detected suspicious activity in the Tijuana accounts, reported it to regulators and closed the accounts, Citigroup spokesman Paulo Carrenosays.

Criminal Empires

On June 15, the Mexican Finance Ministry announced it would set limits for banks on cash deposits in dollars.

Mexico’s drug cartels have become multinational criminal enterprises.

Some of the gangs have delved into other illegal activities such as gunrunning, kidnapping and smuggling people across the border, as well as into seemingly legitimate areas such as trucking, travel services and air cargo transport, according to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center.

These criminal empires have no choice but to use the global banking system to finance their businesses, Mexican Senator Felipe Gonzalez says.

“With so much cash, the only way to move this money is through the banks,” says Gonzalez, who represents a central Mexican state and chairs the senate public safety committee.

Gonzalez, a member of Calderon’s National Action Party, carries a .38 revolver for personal protection.

“I know this won’t stop the narcos when they come through that door with machine guns,” he says, pointing to the entrance to his office. “But at least I’ll take one with me.”

Subprime Losses

No bank has been more closely connected with Mexican money laundering than Wachovia. Founded in 1879, Wachovia became the largest bank by assets in the southeastern U.S. by 1900. After the Great Depression, some people in North Carolina called the bank “Walk-Over-Ya” because it had foreclosed on farms in the region.

By 2008, Wachovia was the sixth-largest U.S. lender, and it faced $26 billion in losses from subprime mortgage loans. That cost Wachovia Chief Executive Officer Kennedy Thompson his job in June 2008.

Six months later, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which dates from 1852, bought Wachovia for $12.7 billion, creating the largest network of bank branches in the U.S. Thompson, who now works for private-equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners LLC in New York, declined to comment.

As Wachovia’s balance sheet was bleeding, its legal woes were mounting. In the three years leading up to Wachovia’s agreement with the Justice Department, grand juries served the bank with 6,700 subpoenas requesting information.

Not Quick Enough

The bank didn’t react quickly enough to the prosecutors’ requests and failed to hire enough investigators, the U.S. Treasury Department said in March. After a 22-month investigation, the Justice Department on March 12 charged Wachovia with violating the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to run an effective anti-money-laundering program.

Five days later, Wells Fargo promised in a Miami federal courtroom to revamp its detection systems. Wachovia’s new owner paid $160 million in fines and penalties, less than 2 percent of its $12.3 billion profit in 2009.

If Wells Fargo keeps its pledge, the U.S. government will, according to the agreement, drop all charges against the bank in March 2011.

Wells Fargo regrets that some of Wachovia’s former anti- money-laundering efforts fell short, spokeswoman Mary Eshet says. Wells Fargo has invested $42 million in the past three years to improve its anti-money-laundering program and has been working with regulators, she says.

‘Significantly Upgraded’

“We have substantially increased the caliber and number of staff in our international investigations group, and we also significantly upgraded the monitoring software,” Eshet says. The agreement bars the bank from contesting or contradicting the facts in its admission.

The bank declined to answer specific questions, including how much it made by handling $378.4 billion — including $4 billion of cash-from Mexican exchange companies.

The 1970 Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to report all cash transactions above $10,000 to regulators and to tell the government about other suspected money-laundering activity. Big banks employ hundreds of investigators and spend millions of dollars on software programs to scour accounts.

No big U.S. bank — Wells Fargo included — has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

‘No Capacity to Regulate’

Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.

Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering.

The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

“There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,” Blum says. “They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.”

Wachovia’s run-in with federal prosecutors hasn’t troubled investors. Wells Fargo’s stock traded at $30.86 on March 24, up 1 percent in the week after the March 17 agreement was announced.

Moving money is central to the drug trade — from the cash that people tape to their bodies as they cross the U.S.-Mexican border to the $100,000 wire transfers they send from Mexican exchange houses to big U.S. banks.

‘Doesn’t Stop Anyone’

In Tijuana, 15 miles south of San Diego, Gustavo Rojas has lived for a quarter of a century in a shack in the shadow of the 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) steel border fence that separates the U.S. and Mexico there. He points to holes burrowed under the barrier.

“They go across with drugs and come back with cash,” Rojas, 75, says. “This fence doesn’t stop anyone.”

Drug money moves back and forth across the border in an endless cycle. In the U.S., couriers take the cash from drug sales to Mexico — as much as $29 billion a year, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That would be about 319 tons of $100 bills.

They hide it in cars and trucks to smuggle into Mexico. There, cartels pay people to deposit some of the cash into Mexican banks and branches of international banks. The narcos launder much of what’s left through money changers.

The Money Changers

Anyone who has been to Mexico is familiar with these street-corner money changers; Mexican regulators say there are at least 3,000 of them from Tijuana to Cancun, usually displaying large signs advertising the day’s dollar-peso exchange rate.

Mexican banks are regulated by the National Banking and Securities Commission, which has an anti-money-laundering unit; the money changers are policed by Mexico’s Tax Service Administration, which has no such unit.

By law, the money changers have to demand identification from anyone exchanging more than $500. They also have to report transactions higher than $5,000 to regulators.

The cartels get around these requirements by employing legions of individuals — including relatives, maids and gardeners — to convert small amounts of dollars into pesos or to make deposits in local banks. After that, cartels wire the money to a multinational bank.

The Smurfs

The people making the small money exchanges are known as Smurfs, after the cartoon characters.

“They can use an army of people like Smurfs and go through $1 million before lunchtime,” says Jerry Robinette, who oversees U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations along the border in east Texas.

The U.S. Treasury has been warning banks about big Mexican- currency-exchange firms laundering drug money since 1996. By 2004, many U.S. banks had closed their accounts with these companies, which are known as casas de cambio.

Wachovia ignored warnings by regulators and police, according to the deferred-prosecution agreement.

“As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk,” the bank admitted in court. “Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business.”

One customer that Wachovia took on in 2004 was Casa de Cambio Puebla SA, a Puebla, Mexico-based currency-exchange company. Pedro Alatorre, who ran a Puebla branch in Mexico City, had created front companies for cartels, according to a pending Mexican criminal case against him.

Federal Indictment

A federal grand jury in Miami indicted Puebla, Alatorre and three other executives in February 2008 for drug trafficking and money laundering. In May 2008, the Justice Department sought extradition of the suspects, saying they used shell firms to launder $720 million through U.S. banks.

Alatorre has been in a Mexican jail for 2 1/2 years. He denies any wrongdoing, his lawyer Mauricio Moreno says. Alatorre has made no court-filed responses in the U.S.

During the period in which Wachovia admitted to moving money out of Mexico for Puebla, couriers carrying clear plastic bags stuffed with cash went to the branch Alatorre ran at the Mexico City airport, according to surveillance reports by Mexican police.

Alatorre opened accounts at HSBC on behalf of front companies, Mexican investigators found.

Puebla executives used the stolen identities of 74 people to launder money through Wachovia accounts, Mexican prosecutors say in court-filed reports.

‘Never Reported’

“Wachovia handled all the transfers, and they never reported any as suspicious,” says Jose Luis Marmolejo, a former head of the Mexican attorney general’s financial crimes unit who is now in private practice.

In November 2005 and January 2006, Wachovia transferred a total of $300,000 from Puebla to a Bank of America account in Oklahoma City, according to information in the Alatorre cases in the U.S. and Mexico.

Drug smugglers used the funds to buy the DC-9 through Oklahoma City aircraft broker U.S. Aircraft Titles Inc., according to financial records cited in the Mexican criminal case. U.S. Aircraft Titles President Sue White declined to comment.

On April 5, 2006, a pilot flew the plane from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Caracas to pick up the cocaine, according to the DEA. Five days later, troops seized the plane in Ciudad del Carmen and burned the drugs at a nearby army base.

‘Wachovia Knew’

“I am sure Wachovia knew what was going on,” says Marmolejo, who oversaw the criminal investigation into Wachovia’s customers. “It went on too long and they made too much money not to have known.”

At Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London, Woods and his colleague Jim DeFazio, in Charlotte, say they suspected that drug dealers were using the bank to move funds.

Woods, a former Scotland Yard investigator, spotted illegible signatures and other suspicious markings on traveler’s checks from Mexican exchange companies, he said in a September 2008 letter to the U.K. Financial Services Authority. He sent copies of the letter to the DEA and Treasury Department in the U.S.

Woods, 45, says his bosses instructed him to keep quiet and tried to have him fired, according to his letter to the FSA. In one meeting, a bank official insisted Woods shouldn’t have filed suspicious activity reports to the government, as both U.S. and U.K. laws require.

‘I Was Shocked’

“I was shocked by the content and outcome of the meeting and genuinely traumatized,” Woods wrote.

In the U.S., DeFazio, who had been a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent for 21 years, says he told bank executives in 2005 that the DEA was probing the transfers through Wachovia to buy the planes.

Bank executives spurned recommendations to close suspicious accounts, DeFazio, 63, says.

“I think they looked at the money and said, ‘The hell with it. We’re going to bring it in, and look at all the money we’ll make,’” DeFazio says.

DeFazio retired in 2008.

“I didn’t want anything from them,” he says. “I just wanted to get out.”

Woods, who resigned from Wachovia in May 2009, now advises banks on how to combat money laundering. He declined to discuss details of Wachovia’s actions.

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan told Woods in a March 19 letter his efforts had helped the U.S. build its case against Wachovia.

‘Great Courage’

“You demonstrated great courage and integrity by speaking up when you saw problems,” Dugan wrote.

It was the Puebla investigation that led U.S. authorities to the broader probe of Wachovia. On May 16, 2007, DEA agents conducted a raid of Wachovia’s international banking offices in Miami. They had a court order to seize Puebla’s accounts.

U.S. prosecutors and investigators then scrutinized the bank’s dealings with Mexican-currency-exchange firms. That led to the March deferred-prosecution agreement.

With Puebla’s Wachovia accounts seized, Alatorre and his partners shifted their laundering scheme to HSBC, according to financial documents cited in the Mexican criminal case against Alatorre.

In the three weeks after the DEA raided Wachovia, two of Alatorre’s front companies, Grupo ETPB SA and Grupo Rahero SC, made 12 cash deposits totaling $1 million at an HSBC Mexican branch, Mexican investigators found.

Another Drug Plane

The funds financed a Beechcraft King Air 200 plane that police seized on Dec. 29, 2007, in Cuernavaca, 50 miles south of Mexico City, according to information in the case against Alatorre.

For years, federal authorities watched as the wife and daughter of Oscar Oropeza, a drug smuggler working for the Matamoros-based Gulf Cartel, deposited stacks of cash at a Bank of America branch on Boca Chica Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas, less than 3 miles from the border.

Investigator Robinette sits in his pickup truck across the street from that branch. It’s a one-story, tan stucco building next to a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. Robinette discusses the Oropeza case with Tom Salazar, an agent who investigated the family.

“Everybody in there knew who they were — the tellers, everyone,” Salazar says. “The bank never came to us, though.”

New Meaning

The Oropeza case gives a new, literal meaning to the term money laundering. Oropeza’s wife, Tina Marie, and daughter Paulina Marie deposited stashes of $20 bills several times a day into Bank of America accounts, Salazar says. Bank employees got to know the Oropezas by the smell of their money.

“I asked the tellers what they were talking about, and they said the money had this sweet smell like Bounce, those sheets you throw into the dryer,” Salazar says. “They told me that when they opened the vault, the smell of Bounce just poured out.”

Oropeza, 48, was arrested 820 miles from Brownsville. On May 31, 2007, police in Saraland, Alabama, stopped him on a traffic violation. Checking his record, they learned of the investigation in Texas.

They searched the van and discovered 84 kilograms (185 pounds) of cocaine hidden under a false floor. That allowed federal agents to freeze Oropeza’s bank accounts and search his marble-floored home in Brownsville, Robinette says. Inside, investigators found a supply of Bounce alongside the clothes dryer.

Guilty Pleas

All three Oropezas pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brownsville to drug and money-laundering charges in March and April 2008. Oscar Oropeza was sentenced to 15 years in prison; his wife was ordered to serve 10 months and his daughter got 6 months.

Bank of America’s Norton says, “We not only fulfilled our regulatory obligation, but we proactively worked with law enforcement on these matters.”

Prosecutors have tried to halt money laundering at American Express Bank International twice. In 1994, the bank, then a subsidiary of New York-based American Express Co., pledged not to allow money laundering again after two employees were convicted in a criminal case involving drug trafficker Juan Garcia Abrego.

In 1994, the bank paid $14 million to settle. Five years later, drug money again flowed through American Express Bank. Between 1999 and 2004, the bank failed to stop clients from laundering $55 million of narcotics funds, the bank admitted in a deferred-prosecution agreement in August 2007.

Western Union

It paid $65 million to the U.S. and promised not to break the law again. The government dismissed the criminal charge a year later. American Express sold the bank to London-basedStandard Chartered PLC in February 2008 for $823 million.

Banks aren’t the only financial institutions that have turned a blind eye to drug cartels in moving illicit funds. Western Union Co., the world’s largest money transfer firm, agreed to pay$94 million in February 2010 to settle civil and criminal investigations by the Arizona attorney general’s office.

Undercover state police posing as drug dealers bribed Western Union employees to illegally transfer money, says Cameron Holmes, an assistant attorney general.

“Their allegiance was to the smugglers,” Holmes says. “What they thought about during work was ‘How may I please my highest-spending customers the most?’”

Smudged Fingerprints

Workers in more than 20 Western Union offices allowed the customers to use multiple names, pass fictitious identifications and smudge their fingerprints on documents, investigators say in court records.

“In all the time we did undercover operations, we never once had a bribe turned down,” says Holmes, citing court affidavits.

Western Union has made significant improvements, it complies with anti-money-laundering laws and works closely with regulators and police, spokesman Tom Fitzgerald says.

For four years, Mexican authorities have been fighting a losing battle against the cartels. The police are often two steps behind the criminals. Near the southeastern corner of Texas, in Matamoros, more than 50 combat troops surround a police station.

Officers take two suspected drug traffickers inside for questioning. Nearby, two young men wearing white T-shirts and baggy pants watch and whisper into radios. These are los halcones (the falcons), whose job is to let the cartel bosses know what the police are doing.

‘Only Way’

While the police are outmaneuvered and outgunned, ordinary Mexicans live in fear. Rojas, the man who lives in the Tijuana slum near the border fence, recalls cowering in his home as smugglers shot it out with the police.

“The only way to survive is to stay out of the way and hope the violence, the bullets, don’t come for you,” Rojas says.

To make their criminal enterprises work, the drug cartels of Mexico need to move billions of dollars across borders. That’s how they finance the purchase of drugs, planes, weapons and safe houses, Senator Gonzalez says.

“They are multinational businesses, after all,” says Gonzalez, as he slowly loads his revolver at his desk in his Mexico City office. “And they cannot work without a bank.”

Utah Illegal Immigration List: Investigators Examining Records For Origins Of List Terrorizing Immigrants

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 10:38 am

Oldspeak:‘”The xenophobia and intolerance continues to spread through the mid/southwest… It’s no small irony that people so concerned about legality zealously support the release of an ILLEGALLY obtained list, that reeks of ethnic discrimination (all the names are hispanic). Where’s all the outrage and vitriol for the legal american business owners who are discriminating against american citizens by hiring illegal immigrants, exploiting their cheap tax and insurance-free labor, the ROOT source of the problem? ”

From Brock Vergakis @ The Associated Press:

Investigators examined records at several state agencies Wednesday to find the origins of a list being circulated around Utah that contains the names and personal information of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants and demands that they be deported immediately.

Utah is looking into whether a state worker may have illegally accessed a database containing the sensitive information to help compile a list that has sent chills through the Hispanic community.

The dossier – sent from an anonymous group to reporters, state officials and politicians – marks the latest example of hysteria that has spread since Arizona passed its harsh immigration crackdown this year. Immigrants liken the list to a modern-day witch hunt.

A 36-year-old Salt Lake City woman whose name was on the list along with those of her husband and three children, told The Associated Press through a translator that she’s consumed by fear. She said her family is considering returning to their home outside of Mexico City where they all have citizenship.

“Our worst fear was that immigration will come for us or will stop us while driving or being out on the street,” said the woman, who requested anonymity to protect her family’s identity.

The list contains Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women on the list.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s spokeswoman said Wednesday it will likely be several days before it’s known whether state workers leaked the personal information.

Arizona’s law, which takes effect July 29, directs police enforcing other laws to ask about a suspect’s immigration status if there is reason to believe the person is in the U.S. illegally. The Obama administration has sued Arizona to throw out the law and keep other states from copying it.

Conservative Utah lawmakers are considering adopting a measure similar to that in neighboring Arizona when they meet in January.

Democratic state Sen. Luz Robles of Salt Lake City said she’s worried the release of the list will distract from a substantive policy debate at a forum on immigration with the governor next week.

“This is one of those issues that’s volatile. I don’t know what’s coming next,” she said. “It was obviously a very calculated process and that is concerning.”

Hispanic activist Tony Yapias said his phone was ringing off the hook with immigrants expressing concern about the list.

“This is real. This is a witch hunt style of doing things,” he said while noting he had seven missed calls during his brief interview with the AP from concerned Hispanics. “What concerns me the most in this whole debate is just the cowardness, the intolerance.”

Herbert spokeswoman Angie Welling said the governor did not set a timeframe for the investigation, but that it is a priority. The state’s technology department is assisting to see which state agencies have records that match those on the list.

“Obviously they’re working on it now and we’re interested in hearing the results,” Welling said. “It’ll take several days. This is a lot of information and it will take some work to really get down to it because, obviously, those data are accessed for legitimate purposes on a daily basis.”

While each state agency is being reviewed, Welling said most of the focus is on the Department of Workforce Services, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services.

If there’s an indication that a law might have broken, the Utah Attorney General’s Office will investigate, Welling said.

Intentionally releasing a private record is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If someone stole a protected record, it could be prosecuted as a felony with a penalty punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

“The people who sent out this information – if they are interested in making sure the law is followed – they should identify who they are and explain in detail how they obtained this information so we know whether or not they violated the law,” said Paul Murphy, spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

In a letter included with the list, the writers say their group “observes these individuals in our neighborhoods, driving on our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings.”

“We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information along with legal Mexican nationals who infiltrate their social networks and help us obtain the necessary information we need to add them to our list,” the letter says.

Undocumented Student Arrested At Sen. John McCain’s Arizona Office

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2010 at 5:35 am

Oldspeak: Thas gangster.

Raw video of protest:
http://www.kold.com/Global/story.asp?S=12497415

KGUN: Illegal immigrant who takes part in sit-in at Senator McCain’s office speaks out Reported By: Steve Nunez

TUCSON, AZ (KGUN-TV) – Today a number of people from around the country, most illegal immigrants, converged in what could be a costly demonstration for the DREAM Act. The “Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors” is a bipartisan piece of legislation sponsored by Republican Senator Orin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.

The DREAM Act aims to give people brought here illegally at a young age a conditional path to citizenship. It would give them 6 years to complete either a college degree or two years of military service. It is legislation now opposed by Arizona Senator’s Jon Kyl and John McCain.

The five activists, four who are illegal immigrants, took a stand by sitting down inside McCain’s Tucson office. Just before 6p.m. One of the illegal immigrants, Tania Unzueta, voluntarily walked out to speak for all who share her same story.

Unzueta told Nine On Your Side’s Steve Nunez her parents brought her to the U.S. illegally when she was 10 years-old. Today, she’s 26. Nunez asked, “Why would you do this if you’re undocumented knowing the risks of possibly getting arrested and possible deportation?” Unzueta responded, “Precisely because we feel that undocumented people need to be at the forefront of our movement think we are tired of not speaking for ourselves and not being able to tell our story.”

The activists chose McCain’s office because the Arizona Senator previously supported the legislation that allows undocumented immigrants between the ages of 12-35 a chance to be citizens by doing something to benefit the nation. Unzueta says she earned her sociology degree from the University of Chicago.

Nunez then asked her, “What was it like inside?” Unzueta said, “Actually people were very nice to us. We got to talk a little bit about our stories and what we bring here.” Nunez followed with another question and asked, “Do you think you accomplished anything by sitting-in?” Unzueta responded, “You know I think it’s not just about what happened inside today but the way the immigrants right movement should respond around the country so I hope that we did.”

Shortly after 6p.m. Tucson Police arrested the other four activists for trespassing because they refused to leave voluntarily after McCain’s office closed for the day. Nunez asked Unzueta, “What do you say to those who say you know what you’re undocumented you should be deported?” Unzueta said, “This is my country. This is where I’ve grown up. This is where I’ve learned everything. How to write, how to love, how to be with my community. I feel like where you’re from isn’t always where you’re born it’s the country you learn to love and this is the country that I love.”

Nunez then followed up by asking Unzueta, “Why is it fair that you get to stay in this country as an undocumented?” Unzueta said, “I think it’s a matter of valuing people’s hard work and education.”

This is the first time illegal immigrants, who have spent most of their lives living in this country, are making their voices heard in the immigration debate.

Nine On Your Side asked police why police did not detain Unzueta. Tucson Police tell us they did not question the activists for their immigration status until they began to arrest them. And that’s when they informed ICE or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Undocumented youth protest garners local, national attention
Michigan Messenger
http://michiganmessenger.com/37919/undocumented-youth-protest-garners-local-national-attention

Undocumented youth protest garners local, national attention
By Todd A. Heywood 5/18/10 12:36 AM The protest and arrest of a group of three undocumented youth and one permanent citizen at the offices of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has garnered local and national attention.

The students — dressed in graduation cap and gowns — were protesting to demand swift action on the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation pending in the U.S. Senate, which they say would create a path to citizenship. The act would require undocumented youth who are in the country to receive temporary residency status, then within six years complete at least two years of higher education or military service.

Among the youth was Mohammad Abdollahi, a 24-year-old gay man from Iran who lives in Ann Arbor. Abdollahi came to the U.S. when he was three-years-old. He was one of four youth arrested Monday night by Tucson Police.

Steve Ralls, communications director of Immigration Equality, put up a blog on the Huffington Post praising Abdollahi’s actions. Immigration Equality is a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. which is fighting for immigration reform for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In the post, Ralls writes:

Simply put: Abdollahi, if arrested, will likely be deported to a country where gays and lesbians are put to death.

That is why the DREAM Act – which was recently included in a Senate immigration outline for comprehensive immigration reform – is so important to so many immigrants, both gay and straight. It is, quite literally, the difference between building a future in the United States or spending the future in a place where they must fear for their lives.

Meanwhile, KOLD was on the scene when the activists were loaded into the Tucson Police arrest van. Video can be seen here.

The protests were also reported by the New York Times, The Arizona Daily Star, The Phoenix New Times, and AnnArbor.com.

While the activists were sitting in McCain’s office, protesters gathered outside. They were met with some resistance, and confusion. Activist David Abie Morales has video on his Facebook page showing that activists were told the building in which McCain’s office was located was both privately owned and U.S. Government property.

Activists in Michigan are planning vigils in Detroit and Lansing Tuesday night. They will also hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon at a church near the state capitol.