'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick

Hong Kong's grandpa protesters speak softly but carry a stick
'Grandpa Wong' is a regular sight at Hong Kong's street battles (AFP Photo/VIVEK PRAKASH)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018
The " Fearless Girl " statue on Wall Street is seen by many as a defiant symbol of women's rights under the new administration of President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

You are going to see more and more personal secrets being revealed about persons in high places of popularity or government. It will seem like an epidemic of non-integrity! But what is happening is exactly what we have been teaching. The new energy has light that will expose the darkness of things that are not commensurate with integrity. They have always been there, and they were kept from being seen by many who keep secrets in the dark. Seen the change yet?

In order to get to a more stable future, you will have to go through gyrations of dark and light. What this means is that the dark is going to be revealed and push back at you. It will eventually lose. We told you this. That's what you're here for is to help those around you who don't see an escape from the past. They didn't get their nuclear war, but everything else is going into the dumper anyway. … “

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Doomed teen Ben Breedlove shares life after death experiences on YouTube

Rawstory, by Agence France-Presse, Friday, December 30, 2011 

Ben Breedlove
CHICAGO — A week before Ben Breedlove died of a heart attack, the Texas teenager posted a remarkable video describing the peace and bright lights he’d found the other times his heart stopped. 

Breedlove, 18, tells his story with simple note cards and the occasional smile, sitting close to the camera and stepping back just once to show the scar from when a pacemaker was implanted to help his troubled heart.

It is a remarkably hopeful video, though Breedlove also describes the fear he lived with after being born with a serious heart condition and disappointment that he could not play sports and “be the same as everyone else.” 

“The first time I cheated death was when I was 4,” one of the cards said.

Breedlove had a seizure and as nurses rushed him down a hospital hallway, he told his mother of the bright light overhead.

She said she couldn’t see anything, but he felt his fear and worries washed away and couldn’t help smiling.

“I can’t even describe the peace, how peaceful it was,” he wrote. “I will NEVER forget that feeling or that day.”

Breedlove nearly died again a few months ago when his heart stopped during a routine surgery to remove his tonsils.

“It was a miracle that they brought me back,” he wrote. “I was scared to die but am SO glad I didn’t.”

Breedlove’s heart stopped again on December 6. He was at his Austin high school and sat down on a bench after feeling like he was going to faint.

He passed out and when he woke up, he couldn’t talk or move. He could only watch and listen as paramedics put shock pads on his chest.

He heard them say that his heart had stopped and that he had no pulse, which he explains by the fact that “when people’s bodies ‘die’ the brain still works for a short time.”

“I really thought to myself, this is it, I’m dying,” he wrote.

“The next thing that happened I’m not sure if it was a dream or vision. But while I was still unconscious I was in this white room. No walls, it just went on and on…”

He found himself standing with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi, and they were both dressed in really nice suits.

“Why he was the only one there with me, I’m still trying to figure out,” Breedlove wrote.

“I had that same feeling, I couldn’t stop smiling. I then looked at myself in the mirror and I was proud of MYSELF. Of my entire life, everything I have done. IT WAS THE BEST feeling.”

Kid Cudi put his hand on his shoulder and then Breedlove’s favorite song came on, the part where Cudi raps “when will this fantasy end… when will the heaven begin?”

Cudi told him “Go now” and Breedlove woke up.

After viewing the video, the rapper said he broke down in tears watching it.

“This has really touched my heart in a way I cant describe, this is why I do what I do. Why I write my life, and why I love you all so much,” Kid Cudi wrote on his blog.

“I know Ben is at Peace, and I hope he gets a chance to sit and talk with my Dad.”

Breedlove ended his video with four final cards: “I didn’t want to leave that place. I wish I NEVER woke up. Do you believe in angels or God? I Do.”

Breedlove died at Christmas and his family said in his death notice that it was a gift from God.

“We know the Lord used the amazing life of our precious son to reach a weary world on Christmas night, just as He did over 2000 years ago with his own Son,” they wrote, and urged people to find the video that Breedlove posted on YouTube on December 18.

Related Articles:

"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Quantum TeachingThe Fear of God, Near-death Experience, God Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent Creator,Global Unity.... etc.(Text version)

“… When a Human almost dies, they get close to the veil, very close. They are ever so close to the creator's energy and just barely touched by it. When their heart was stopping and their breathing was almost gone, before they were brought back to life with science, they got to touch the hand of God for just an instant. What they saw was magnificent! The energy before them was filled with love and light, filled with family, filled with beauty. There was no strife there. There was no punishment there or even the hint of it. And when they came back from that experience, listen to what they told you. It changed their lives, didn't it? Listen to each one talk about it, for they continued to say, "There is nothing to fear and death is something you experience as a normal transition." Blessed is the Human Being who experiences both death and birth and has the wisdom to report, "Oh, it's uncomfortable, but I'll get through it, because I've done it before." The person who has experienced a near-death experience is no longer afraid to die! What does that tell you? They have seen what is there and they embrace it! …”

Fox asks: Did the Jews kill Jesus?

RT.com, 30 December, 2011


Fox Latin America is being forced to apologize after Rupert Murdoch’s Spanish-language outlet added a questionable poll to its Facebook page as part of a failed promotion.

In an outlandish effort to promote a Christmas special this year on the National Geographic Channel, a Fox Latin America staffer asked fans on the group’s Facebook page, "Who do you think is responsible for the death of Christ?”

The options were Pontius Pilate, High Priests and “Jewish People.” Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with a decent number of Fox’s audience.

In the past, Fox has been called out for its criticism with Muslims and its misrepresenting of followers of Islam, and regularly considered a supporter of Judeo-Christian beliefs. The poll that made it to the network’s Facebook page suggests that a new religion might be on the hit-list for the Latin American branch of the News Corp empire, however.

Fox Spokeswoman Guadalupe Lucero immediately apologized to those offended by the error and assures the network’s Facebook followers that it would be the last time such a gaffe was given the go-ahead. The Simon Weisenthal Center, a Jewish advocacy group based out of Buenos Aires, says it isn’t that easy to dimiss, however. In a statement to the Associated Press, the group calls the inclusion of Jews in the answer pool a reference to outdated Catholic propaganda that characterizes Jewish people as the killers of Jesus Christ. That campaign, says the center, "resulted in the persecution and murder of Jews for two millennia."

Pope Benedict XVI has criticized the Catholic Church for the campaign himself, and in his book Jesus of Nazareth Part II he says there is no wording in the Bible that singles out the Jews for the killing of Christ.

Related Articles:

(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" .. If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening...."

"Perceptions of God" – June 6, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Quantum Teaching, The Fear of God, Near-death Experience, God Becomes Mythology, Worship, Mastery, Intelligent Design, Benevolent Creator,Global Unity.... etc.(Text version)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

US Banks can't keep up with foreclosures anymore

RT.com, 30 December, 2011

Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP

With an economy in ruins, how many foreclosures do banks have to deal with nowadays? Enough that the process of dealing with homeowners in default is taking years to complete.

As a result, more and more Americans are learning that if mortgage payments are becoming too much of a burden on the old bank account, a new surefire way to curb the bills is to simply foreclose. The wave of foreclosures has swept so many homeowners into default that banks can’t deal with the droves of customers and the unfortunate filers for foreclosure are finding a positive side to the depressing ordeal.

Homeowners are quickly realizing that the foreclosure processes — in all of its complicated glory made seemingly impossible by red tape and written forms — could take upwards of two years’ time to go through. In the interim, Americans are foregoing mortgage payments and living scot free while they wait for the banks to catch up on their calling it quits.

Now it seems like the best way to buy a home is to buy your time with the banks.

With the average foreclosure taking 631 days to go through, homeowners are learning that they can stay sheltered for upwards of two years even with the banks aware. While waiting for the paperwork to go through, homeowners are learning that banks aren’t apt to approach them for missing payments if the foreclosure process is almost finalized either.

"It is happening and it's happening more frequently," Chantay Bridges, a senior real estate specialist with Clear Choice Realty & Associates, tells Business Insider. "They know they have a least a year (for the foreclosure to go through), at minimum, and people are taking advantage of it."

With the US economy in shambles, living mortgage-free while planning ahead, even if for a few months, is one of the only breaks homeowners can get. In exchange often, the only sacrifice is a few points on a credit score.

“The longer I’m in foreclosure, the longer I’m able to save and look towards the future, and after my foreclosure,” Alex Gregg told ABC News last year. Gregg made that comment 19 months after beginning to have the banks foreclose on his home near St. Petersburg, Florida.

Florida has among the highest foreclosure rates in America, with homes in Miami-Dade County foreclosing at about a rate of 1 in 181. Roughly a dozen other counties in the southern state have rates around or under 1 in 300.

More people like Gregg are learning the tricks of the trade thanks to people that are publicizing the way around foreclosure — or at least the ways to prolong the process as long as possible. YouWalkAway.com instructs clients on how to work their way through the foreclosure process, and foreclosure defense attorneys such as Mark Stopa will tell clients to stay put while he fights for them in court.

“If you hire a lawyer such as myself to defend a case, then the process can take longer because a lawyer can force a bank to prove its case,” Stopa told ABC News last year. Stopa runs a similar website to the one above called StayInMyHome.com. There Stopa writes, “[J]ust because you can't pay your mortgage doesn't mean you have to leave your home.Just because the bank mails you a letter or files suit against you doesn't mean you need to leave your home.You don't need to leave your home unless and until the bank wins a foreclosure lawsuit against you.”

Around 40 percent of homeowners in default have been occupying their homes for free for at least two years, adds CNN.

Obama campaign chief rejects $1 billion goal

Reuters, by Eric Johnson, CHICAGO, Thu Dec 29, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama looks back as he boards the Air Force One
 at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington December 23, 2011. Obama is
travelling to Hawaii for the end-of-year holidays. (Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's campaign manager on Thursday rejected speculation that the president's 2012 re-election effort will raise $1 billion, saying the goal is to build a "real grassroots" operation.

Democratic Party and Obama campaign officials have railed for months against the notion that the campaign aims to raise $1 billion to finance the president's re-election effort. But a Democratic official said earlier this year the goal was in excess of about $750 million, the record sum Obama collected in 2008 for his first presidential campaign.

The Obama campaign has identified more than 40 ways to get the electoral votes necessary to win the November 2012 election against the eventual Republican nominee, campaign chief Jim Messina said in a video to supporters. The video presented strategies for collecting the 270 electoral votes that Obama needs to win the election.

"People have speculated that this is a billion dollar campaign. That's bullshit," said Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff who has been described as having a short temper.

"We don't take PAC (political action committee) money unlike our opponents. We fund this campaign in contributions of three dollars or five dollars or whatever you can do to help us expand the map, to put more people on the ground, to build a real grassroots campaign that is going to be the difference between winning and losing," Messina added.

The Obama campaign excelled at persuading small donors to contribute in 2008 when he won the White House, and Obama was keeping that up so far in his 2012 re-election bid with about 98 percent of donations in increments of $250 or less, the campaign said in mid-October when it last filed its quarterly fund-raising figures.

The campaign and Democrats do rely on big-money donations, with 357 top fundraisers directing at least $55.9 million toward Obama's re-election effort, money that goes into the coffers of his campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The campaign does benefit from a PAC, called Priorities USA Action, which was formed in April by former White House spokesman Bill Burton and former White House aide Sean Sweeney. The PAC raises money and conducts supporter and media outreach to benefit the campaign.

Together with the Democratic National Committee, the campaign has raised roughly $155 million through the end of September. The campaign seeks to raise $60 million in the final three months of 2011 to benefit the re-election bid and the Democratic party, a campaign official said last week.

If it hits that public goal, which is expected, they will end a non-election year having raised more than $200 million dollars without a specific Republican nominee to provide the contrast the campaign will use to rally supporters.

In an email to supporters on Thursday, Messina said "chatter from the other side about the President's so-called 'billion-dollar war chest'" is designed to turn people off from politics and tell supporters small-dollar donations do not matter.

"Here's the truth: $3 and $10 donations have powered this organization from the start," Messina said as the campaign tries to meet its end-of-year fundraising goals by Saturday. "And we measure our success not by how many dollars we raise, but by how many people are inspired to own a piece of this campaign."

(Reporting By Eric Johnson)

Related Articles:

"The New Paradigm of Reality" Part I/II – Feb 12, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

Spanish duke Inaki Urdangarin to appear before judge

BBC News, 29 December 2011

Related Stories 

Inaki Urdangarin agreed to step down from
official duties amid the accusations
The son-in-law of Spain's King Juan Carlos has been summoned to appear before a judge over allegations of corruption.

A court in Palma, Majorca, has summoned the Duke of Palma, Inaki Urdangarin, to appear on 6 February.

The duke, married to Princess Cristina, is being investigated over claims he misused public funds given to a foundation he ran.

The former Olympic handball player has denied any wrongdoing.

In the wake of the accusations, the Spanish royal family on Wednesday made its accounts publicly available.


Exact details of the accusations against the duke have not been made public.

However, Spanish media have said he is accused of misdirecting part of some 6m euros (£5m: $8m) sent to his not-for-profit Noos Institute by regional governments to organise sporting events.

It is alleged that some of the money ended up in companies that he ran. The events in question happened in 2004 to 2006 and the duke stepped down as head of the institute in 2006.

While denying any wrongdoing, the 43-year-old duke has said he regrets the "damage" caused.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the duke said he had agreed with the palace not to take part in official duties while investigations continued.

The Spanish royal family responded to the allegations against the duke by announcing it would make available a full breakdown of its annual budget.

The palace said that the release of royal budget figures on Wednesday was in the spirit of transparency and modern times.

Related Article:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No trial delay for accused Ponzi schemer Stanford

Reuters, Wed Dec 28, 2011

Texas billionaire Allen Stanford flashes a ''thumb up'' as he leaves the
 Federal courthouse in Houston, Texas June 26, 2009, in the custody
of a US Marshal. (Credit: Reuters/Steve Campbell)

(Reuters) - Allen Stanford, accused of running a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme, on Wednesday lost his bid for a three-month delay in his criminal fraud trial, clearing the way for jury selection to begin on January 23.

District Judge David Hittner said the public interest in a speedy trial was "particularly acute," citing the allegations that Stanford deceived thousands of investors into buying certificates of deposit from his Antiguan bank, resulting in billions of dollars of losses.

The Houston-based judge also noted that Stanford has been in pre-trial detention for 2-1/2 years since his arrest.

"This case needs to be tried," Hittner wrote.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York)

Russia scolds United States for human rights abuse

Reuters, MOSCOW,  Wed Dec 28, 2011

A demonstrator protests against
Guantanamo  Bay prison during a Stop
the War rally in Trafalgar Square, 
central London October 8, 2011.
 (Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor)
(Reuters) - Russia sought to undermine the authority of the United States as a global judge of human rights on Wednesday with Moscow's first report to detail allegations of torture, phone tapping and abuse by the U.S. government.

Criticizing the United States for double standards, Russia said President Barack Obama had failed to shut the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and accused the White House of sheltering officials and CIA operatives from prosecution.

The Foreign Ministry's report "On the situation with human rights in a host of world states," follows China's example in highlighting U.S. failings in an attempt to counter U.S. State Department criticism of domestic human rights abuses.

"The situation in the United States is far from the ideals proclaimed by Washington," Russia's foreign ministry said in a 63-page report posted on its www.mid.ru Web site. "The main unresolved problem is the odious prison in Guantanamo Bay."

"The White House and the Justice Department shelter from prosecution CIA operatives and highly placed officials who are responsible for mass and flagrant breaches of human rights," it said.

Every year since 1976, the U.S. Department of State has published a detailed report on the state of human rights in the world, often with scathing analyses of abuses in China and Russia.

Washington scolded Russia for "governmental and societal human rights problems and abuses during the year" in its report published in April.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton angered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this month by suggesting that Russia's parliamentary elections were neither free nor fair.

Russia's counter-report is unlikely to harm ties with its former Cold War foe, though Obama's attempt to forge more friendly ties with the Kremlin has cooled since Vladimir Putin said in September he planned to run in the March presidential election.

"These kinds of human rights reports can be a useful mechanism," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

"We certainly don't regard it as interference in our internal affairs when foreign governments, individuals or organizations comment on or criticize U.S. human rights practices."

Russia also criticized European Union countries for the treatment of religious minorities and Britain in particular for breaching human rights in the wake of August's riots.

The report focused on the United States and European countries, mentioning China only once and then in passing.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn; Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by MatthewJones)

Related Articles:

EU proposals erode internet freedoms

RNW, 27 December 2011, by Willemien Groot

 (Cartoon movement)
While Europeans were busily preparing for the festive season, Brussels quietly published a document that will have far-reaching consequences for everyone's ability to see what they want on the internet.

The plans contained in the CleanIt Project are supposed to create a clean internet without any terrorists or extremists. The new blueprint for the internet is a dangerous development.

The CleanItProject is a European public-private partnership that fights "the illegal use of the internet by terrorists and extremists" from the perspective of counter-terrorism. Because governments, entrepreneurs and businesses cannot agree on measures to 'keep the internet clean, tidy and safe', Cleanit's proposals are an attempt to impose an agreement on cleaning up the internet. Concerned parties can simply implement the proposals on a voluntary basis. The proposals are not anchored in legislation but are a framework of general principles and best practices.

European point of view

It is difficult to find political and cultural nuances in the proposals. CleanIt contains the well-known list of 'threats to a clean and safe internet'. The threats stem from a limited European idea of reality. Internet crime, discrimination, illegal software, child porn and terrorism are all trotted out and displayed as threats that ordinary, decent folk need to be protected against in their everyday internet use.

Political threats come from every level of society: extreme-left, extreme-right, animal rights extremists, environmental extremists, racists and religious fanatics. Governments have already prohibited the dissemination of violent images, propaganda material and training handbooks for terrorist activities.

It is an uncomfortable truth; the democratisation of the internet has led to a gradual erosion of liberties. Very few people want violent images or child pornography on the net but banning such content is not a solution, it will only go underground.

Murky waters

The think tank behind the proposals, which is partially funded by EU money, maintains that existing national laws prohibiting illegal use of the Internet by extremists and terrorists are more than adequate to counter the threats posed by 'dangerous individuals or organisations'. However, one can debate the veracity of that statement: should the WikiLeaks cables be considered subversive and a threat to national security? Should the Ku Klux Klan be allowed to have a website? Is an instructional video uploaded by a Dutch animal rights activist a call to violence? The answers all lie in the eye of the beholder.

Western governments praised the Arab Spring - the uprisings across much of the Arab world that were driven by social media - but at the same time they demanded strict controls over the selfsame social media in order to block 'unwanted' content. The Egyptian authorities agreed wholeheartedly and simply cut all internet links during the first demonstrations on Cairo's Tahrir Square.


The CleanIt document predicts a far from happy future; it's not easy to create a clean world wide web. Everybody has to be vigilant; not only governments and companies but also internet providers, human rights organisations, churches, social and cultural organisations... the list goes on and on.

Ordinary people can also join the vigilantes: according to CleanIt: “individual users can help by warning providers and police about internet use by terrorists and extremists.” Welcome to North Korea.

The proposals have to be viewed alongside the increasing calls for prohibiting people from using the internet anonymously. Chinese authorities in several cities already force people using Weibo - the Chinese version of twitter - to register under their own name. Google+ doesn't allow pseudonyms and Facebook is doing its level best to get rid of people using pseudonyms as well.

Terrorist or freedom fighter?

CleanIt emphasises that the proposals are not anchored in law and only serve as guidelines. But as time goes on, these sorts of guidelines can sometimes assume the authority of actual legislation.

If the European Union decides that extremist views do not belong on the internet; will then be all right for China, Indonesia and Syria to come to a similar decision? Every country will be able to ban what it decides are extremist views. Indonesia can quietly continue working on its own internal code of conduct that every internet user will be forced to adhere to.

The guidelines are not only poorly thought out, they also gnaw away at the unregulated and uncontrolled access that makes the internet such a glorious, free place that users love and want to preserve. Everyone who believes that it is possible to bend the chaotic internet into a neat and tidy, well-mannered place, falls into the same trap.

It is impossible to promote internet access as a human right, which is high on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s agenda, and at the same time try and restrict and regulate it. The best policy is no policy.

Whistleblower documents illuminate case against BNY Mellon

Reuters, by Carrick Mollenkamp, NEW YORK, Wed Dec 28, 2011

(Reuters) - Confidential whistleblower documents that helped spark a massive state and federal investigation into how Bank of New York Mellon Corp charged pension funds for currency exchange, provide a rare window into how a bank insider aided a lawsuit against the bank.

The information provided by whistleblower Grant Wilson, who worked at BNY Mellon, included a detailed analysis of how the bank allegedly provided "fictitious" foreign-currency costs for pension funds.

The analysis included a step-by-step guide to how currencies were traded and internal profits generated by the bank, according to documents seen by Reuters. A memo detailing fellow employees also was provided.

Aided by Wilson's information, multiple states, including Virginia, Florida and New York, have sued BNY Mellon, alleging that the bank improperly charged state and local pension funds for foreign exchange. The Department of Justice also has sued the bank.

The allegations center on claims that BNY Mellon provided unfavorable currency-exchange rates for state and local pension funds for a decade. In a lawsuit in October, the New York attorney general alleged BNY Mellon earned $2 billion over the decade from the trading.

A bank spokesman said the bank believes that many comments detailed in the documents were taken out of context or not said at all.

"A handful of purported statements cherry-picked from millions of documents gathered over a decade do not reflect the way we do business or the value we provide our client," the spokesman said.

The documents illuminate why insiders with highly confidential information can be a potent force in whistleblower lawsuits. Much of the information a whistleblower provides remains confidential.

Wilson, for example, worked at the bank even as he secretly provided to his legal team -- lawyers in Boston and New York -- information about how BNY Mellon allegedly conducted foreign-exchange trading.

Wilson's information was provided to the legal team that filed whistleblower lawsuits against BNY Mellon in 2009 and then aided state attorneys general in subsequent probes. The legal team includes Boston lawyer Michael Lesser, and Philip Michael, a lawyer in New York, as well as Harry Markopolos, a fraud investigator best known for warning that Bernard Madoff was operating a fraudulent scheme.

Lesser, an attorney at Thornton & Naumes, said Wilson was not available for a comment.

The information then was provided by Wilson's lawyers to the Florida attorney general in 2009 and 2010. The attorney general at the time was weighing whether to intervene in an October 2009 whistleblower lawsuit against BNY Mellon. That lawsuit was based on Wilson's information.

In August this year, Florida Attorney General Pamela Jo Bondi filed her lawsuit in Leon County.

A bank spokesman said the Florida lawsuit is "without merit."

The Wall Street Journal earlier this year identified Wilson as the whistleblower behind the state and federal investigations and reported the existence of the documents.

Wilson, according to the documents, worked as a foreign-exchange trader for 19 years. He joined a predecessor bank to BNY Mellon in 1997 and left this spring. He worked at BNY Mellon's Pittsburgh office.

The documents detail Wilson's experience at the bank, noting that the trader "possesses deep and sophisticated knowledge and personal experience in these businesses, particularly with regard to foreign exchange." The documents note that he "never received a reprimand" during his career.

Wilson's first-hand knowledge was crucial to the state lawsuits. Information provided in 2009 underpinned subsequent state claims. Wilson "can describe, step-by-step, how the fraud is committed against the affected funds and how the various departments of the Bank work to make the process as profitable as possible," one document alleges.

Wilson and his lawyers, for example, provide 11 chronological steps to explain how pension clients allegedly receive a "falsified trade price," documents show. Those clients used a so-called "standing-instruction" program in which they effectively give control of foreign exchange to the bank.

In one document, Wilson's lawyers provide a question-and-answer tutorial so the Florida attorney general's office knows the right questions to ask BNY Mellon employees.

The documents also show how Wilson aided the legal effort even as he continued to work at BNY Mellon. One memo was written by Wilson's lawyers in August 2010, some eight months before Wilson left the bank. In the memo, Wilson's lawyers tell the Florida attorney general that Wilson knows that efforts to obtain documents from the bank are being stymied with "claims of difficulty in production or other delays."

The memo, using Wilson's knowledge of the bank, states that the information actually could be easily obtained because it is "centrally stored."

"It is stored at a state-of-the-art facility that should hasten, rather than hinder, any document response from the bank."

A month later, in September 2010, Wilson's lawyers submitted another memo to Florida's attorney general, noting: "We would also like to remind you that (Wilson) continues in his employment at the bank. Specific information, documents and conversations mentioned here could be connected" to Wilson.

That memo alleges that BNY Mellon "is now actively and hurriedly formulating a strategy" aimed at preserving profits from the foreign-exchange business at the center of the state inquiries. The memo explains that BNY Mellon publicly wants to provide a supposedly more "transparent" foreign-exchange system.

Actually, the "Project Gateway" strategy provides "no true change," the memo claims.

The memo also claims that one BNY Mellon client had received better pricing on currency transactions even as the bank continued "to steal" from other clients.

The documents also show some inside BNY Mellon allegedly worried about the impact of the investigations and whether profits would soon disappear. One employee, having learned that probes were looking at how BNY Mellon traded currencies, said: "It's over, it's all over," according to a March 2010 document.

Another document describes two months later how a senior banker addressed FX traders and told them the bank had received 16 subpoenas. This employee told the traders, "We have not done anything wrong."

In a seven-page memo, Wilson and his legal team provided detailed biographies of fellow traders and employees at BNY Mellon to help determine whether they might be helpful in the whistleblower legal effort. One employee was described as "worried about job security ... Not financially secure. Scared and probably loyal to the Bank. But also would not be inclined to perjure herself ... She has a lot of information."

Another senior executive "likes to rant and rave ... Mr. Wilson assumes he will want to defend the bank." A sales executive "seems willing to push the envelope when it comes to producing profits."

(Reporting by Carrick Mollenkamp; Editing by Michael Williams and Maureen Bavdek)

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