'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.)


.
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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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dozens charged in massive U.S. auto insurance fraud scheme

English.news.cn   2012-03-01
            
NEW YORK, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- A total of 36 people were charged on Wednesday in New York City with defrauding automobile insurers out of more than 275 million U.S. dollars in accident benefits.

According to an indictment released in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the racketeering and money laundering ring used phony clinics that billed insurers for unnecessary treatments.

New York law requires vehicles registered in the state to carry no-fault insurance providing as much as 50,000 U.S. dollars per person to cover injuries sustained in auto accidents.

FBI agents and police detectives around the New York City area began taking the suspects into custody early Wednesday morning and suspects will face charges that include racketeering, health care fraud, money laundering, insurance fraud and wire fraud.



Goldman gets Wells notice from SEC: filing

Reuters, Wed Feb 29, 2012

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen on at the company's post on the floor of
 the New York Stock Exchange, January 18, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/ 
Brendan McDermid)

(Reuters) - The Securities and Exchange Commission notified Goldman Sachs Group Inc that it may file a civil case against the bank related to a $1.3 billion offering of subprime mortgage securities, Goldman said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

Goldman received the "Wells notice" on February 24 related to the bond deal, which was underwritten by Goldman in 2006, according to the 10-K filing.

A Wells notice indicates that SEC staff plans to recommend that the Commission take legal action, and gives a recipient a chance to mount a defense.

The bank said it will be making a submission to SEC staff "and intends to engage in a dialogue" with them to address their concerns.

James Murdoch gives up News International chairman role

Reuters, Wed Feb 29, 2012

BSkyB chairman James Murdoch speaks at the BSkyB Annual General 
Meeting at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London
November 29, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Timothy Anderson/BSkyB/Handout)

(Reuters) James Murdoch, the younger son of Rupert, will relinquish his position as executive chairman of News International, its parent company News Corp said on Wednesday.

The younger Murdoch will remain deputy chief operating officer of News Corp and will focus on its international TV business, the company said in a statement.

James Murdoch, once seen as a heir apparent for News Corp's top job, has been under pressure in Britain since last summer following the phone-hacking scandal that erupted at the unit which he oversaw.

Tom Mockridge, chief executive of News International, will continue in his post and report to News Corp President Chase Carey.

News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a statement his son would still play an key role at the company.

"Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

880,000 Pensions Hit by Japan Investment Scandal

Jakarta Globe, February 28, 2012

According to media reports, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has
 ordered AIJ Investment Advisors Co., which manages corporate pension
 funds, to halt operations after investigators found the company lost about
 $2.3 billion. Authorities have to track down the money lost by AIJ as the
 total amount seems to reach new heights to become a major case in
Japan. (EPA Photo)
  
   
Related articles

Tokyo. A growing scandal around an investment company that has lost $2.3 billion has affected pensions for up to 880,000 people, Japan’s government said Tuesday.

AIJ Investment Advisors has reportedly been lying to clients for years, boasting of annual returns of up to 240 percent while in fact 185 billion yen in pension investments has melted away.

The company’s operations were suspended last week and the government ordered a probe of 260 asset management firms nationwide after allegations that most of the money in its care had disappeared.

The scandal has shocked Japan, where a rapidly ageing middle class population is increasingly looking to private pension funds, while the state retirement pot also struggles due to gross mismanagement of its own.

The government said Tuesday that the 185 billion yen was from 84 separate pension funds, and affected 540,000 employees who were saving for retirement, as well as more than 340,000 people already drawing their pensions.

Most of the 84 funds entrusted fractions of their savings to AIJ, but 13 funds had a quarter of their investments exposed to AIJ, the health ministry said.

The company, which was set up in 1989, has consistently reported healthy returns on investments since the start of the last decade, but financial regulators now say the bulk of the money it looked after is gone.

It was not known whether the money was lost due to market turbulence or because the firm diverted it for other purposes.

The head of the Financial Services Agency (FSA), Shozaburo Jimi, said he had ordered investigations into the assets of 260 investment management firms.

“We will put all of our efforts in to clarify the facts of the AIJ case. We will get to the truth and draft ways to prevent similar incidents in the future,” he told a press conference.

Exact details of how much has been lost were not available as the FSA said it was unable to comment on an ongoing investigation.

The case, however, has further highlighted the gap between what the greying nation needs and its creaking public pension system, run by a government already saddled with debt worth double the nation’s GDP.

The state borrows money to finance roughly a half of its annual budget, amid dwindling tax income due to two decades of economic stagnation and a shrinking workforce caused by population decline.

Agence France-Presse

Related Articles:



Barclays prevented from using loopholes to dodge paying £500m in tax

Daily Mail, by Hugo Duncan28th February 2012
 
Barclays was yesterday prevented from using two ‘highly abusive’  loopholes to dodge paying £500million of tax.

The British banking giant – which recently signed a pledge not to engage in tax avoidance – was ordered to cough up the cash by the Government.

It will come as an embarrassment to Barclays and its multi-millionaire chief executive Bob Diamond who is in line for a bonus of up to £10million.


Embarrassment: Barclays was yesterday prevented from using two
'highly abusive' loopholes to dodge paying £500million of tax

Barclays, which earlier this month unveiled £6billion of profits, has faced questions for years about the amount of tax it pays.

The bank is also disputing the amount of tax it should pay, saying the real figure should be £200m.

The Treasury yesterday accused an unnamed lender – understood by the Daily Mail to be Barclays – of using two ‘highly abusive’ and ‘aggressive’ avoidance schemes.

More...

The Government has now outlawed both loopholes. This is expected to earn it a further £2billion in tax in future years that would otherwise have gone unpaid.

David Gauke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, criticised the bank for cooking up the schemes, having pledged not to avoid tax under the Banking Code of Practice on Taxation. 

Bad news: The new development will
come as an embarrassment to Barclays
 and its multi-millionaire chief executive
 Bob Diamond, pictured, who is in line
 for a bonus of up to £10million
‘The Government wants to ensure that the tax system is fair for all and we will not allow those who seek to benefit from this aggressive avoidance to get an unfair advantage,’ he said.

‘We do not take today’s action lightly, but the potential tax loss from this scheme and the history of previous abuse in this area mean that this is a circumstance where the decision to change the law with full retrospective effect is justified.

The Government is committed to creating a competitive tax system and we have brought in a range of corporate tax reforms, but we are absolutely clear that business must pay the tax they owe when they owe it.’

The tax dodges at Barclays came to light after they were disclosed by the bank to HMRC. The first scheme involved the bank claiming it should not have to pay corporation tax on profits made when buying back its own debt.

The second involved claiming tax credits on non-taxable income in what the Treasury said amounted to ‘an attempt to secure repayment from the exchequer of tax that has not been paid’.

Barclays yesterday declined to comment on the matter.


Related Article:

"Big Four" auditors brace for big changes in China

Reuters, by Rachel Armstrong, Tue Feb 28, 2012

(Reuters) - The Big Four global audit firms, which dominate the Chinese market, are negotiating with Beijing to lessen the impact of forced changes that could mean only accountants with Chinese qualifications can be partners in their audit practices.

The overhaul comes at a delicate time for an audit industry reeling from a rash of accounting scandals at Chinese companies, particularly those listed in high-profile overseas markets such as the United States.

Any reduction in the audit capacity of KPMG, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) would increase foreign regulators' and investors' concerns about Chinese auditing.

"The Big Four play a critical role in the integrity of financial markets, it's essential they have the right to practice in China," said Paul Gillis, visiting professor of accounting at Peking University and author of the China Accounting Blog.

The foreign joint venture arrangements signed in China 20 years ago by KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young expire later this year. PWC's joint venture expires in 2017, but it is also involved in restructuring discussions.

China's Ministry of Finance (MOF) is using the expiry milestone to force the global auditing giants to form special group partnerships, which in theory would mean all partners would need to hold notoriously tough Chinese accountancy qualifications.

But China's young accounting industry means there aren't yet enough experienced Chinese-qualified accountants to run these businesses, say people close to the Big Four, who did not want to be identified as they are not authorized to talk to the media.

"The Chinese authorities have indicated for some time that the four will have to convert into the same mode of practice as local firms when the joint venture terms end," said Winnie Cheung, chief executive at the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).

The Big Four dominate China's accounting industry, having won much of the lucrative work to audit the books of the country's state-owned enterprises when they first listed.

In 2010, their audit practices, excluding their consultancy businesses, had combined revenue of more than 9.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), according to the Chinese Institute of CPAs (CICPA). However, their market share has slipped in recent years to around 70 percent of the revenue among the top-10 auditors, down from 85 percent in 2006.

Including consulting, the four firms say they each employ around 10,000 people in Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan.

BIG FOUR LOBBYING

A firm dominated by Chinese-qualified partners would raise concerns at the Big Four's global headquarters as they'll have less control over their China practices. The joint ventures agreed in 1992 allowed foreign-qualified partners to dominate the practices.

The four are now pushing for many of their foreign-qualified partners to be allowed to retain their roles during a 'grandfathering' handover period.

"The Big Four will want to get enough foreign partners into a deal so they can still control it for a few more years," said Peking University's Gillis.

"Although they will be delaying the inevitable, it will at least give them a few more years control until they migrate to a completely Chinese-owned and controlled entity," he added.

Over the last five years, the firms have collectively doubled the number of Chinese-qualified CPAs they employ, according to the CICPA, but many of their partners gained their qualifications in Hong Kong, the United States or Europe.

An email circulated by management at one of the Big Four firms on February 22, seen by Reuters, said the finance ministry was demanding a break-down of all the qualifications held by the firm's China partners.

"This is a complex process and the MOF have been requesting a great deal of information to understand our practice," it said, adding the firm planned to send the data last week.

"The question for the authorities is; are the firms mature and ready enough to just have local qualified partners?" said Cheung at the HKICPA. "They should also think about diversity and expertise, the advantages of allowing a certain number of non-locally qualified partners in the transition of the joint venture to a local firm."

KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PWC all declined to comment for this article. Partners at the firms told Reuters they could not discuss the matter publicly as the MOF had insisted the negotiations be confidential.

Neither the MOF nor CICPA responded to faxes asking for comment.

SCANDAL-TAINTED

Overseas regulators will be watching events keenly.

The U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is in negotiations with the MOF and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) about being allowed to inspect firms that audit Chinese companies listed in the United States.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has struggled in some of its investigations into alleged fraud at U.S-listed Chinese firms, partly due to the fact auditors in China haven't been able to provide them with key information.

Last year, several Chinese companies were de-listed in the United States after being caught up in accounting scandals, some of which were highlighted by short-sellers such as Muddy Waters.

One high-profile blow-up, Longtop Financial Technologies Ltd LGFTY.PK, showed the difficulties that auditors in China can run into.

Deloitte resigned as the software company's auditor last May, alleging Longtop tried to falsify its financial statements and bank confirmations. The auditor noted in its resignation letter that Longtop management had threatened Deloitte staff and tried to stop them leaving company premises when the discrepancies were uncovered.

But the SEC is struggling in its investigation of Longtop management as Deloitte's Shanghai office said it cannot provide U.S. authorities with its audit work papers. The SEC has gone to the courts to try and force Deloitte's hand, but the auditor says it cannot comply as this could breach China's state secrecy rules.

"If the change in the structure of audit firms loosens their ties to the U.S., the challenges for the SEC enforcement program in China will increase," said William McGovern, partner at Kobre & Kim in Hong Kong.

A report last week from the Canadian Public Accountability Board on the audits of Canadian Chinese companies found many auditors in China failed to apply procedures that would be "considered fundamental" in Canada.

While the Big Four were caught up in a number of recent Chinese accounting scandals, most were at mid-cap companies audited by smaller audit firms.

China's accounting exams are among the toughest around. The pass-rate is well below 20 percent and all papers are in mandarin, making it even tougher for non-Chinese auditors at the Big Four to try to convert.

The difficult exams and the economy's rapid growth over the past two decades means there is currently a shortage of qualified accountants in China.

The CICPA wants to have 250,000 members by 2015, up from around 180,000 today, and aims to boost the number of people in the accounting industry nationwide to 12 million.

A wider part of the ministry's plan for the industry is to develop 10 big domestic accounting firms, reducing their reliance on foreign auditors. The MOF wants at least three local audit firms to be among the world's top 20.

"China recognizes the expertise of the Big Four and the need for them as far as the worldwide market is concerned, but they want to expand and help the growth of local firms to the size and expertise and quality that is required to support the country's increased importance," said HKICPA's Cheung.

($1 = 6.2978 yuan)

(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong in SINGAPORE, additional reporting by Dena Aubin in NEW YORK; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)


Related Article:


A protester who accused the World Bank of poisoning China
 is removed by security as he tries to hand out leaflets a
 press conference by World Bank president Robert Zoellick 
at the World Bank China office in Beijing, China, 
February 28, 2012. (Photo: European Pressphoto Agency)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Anonymous joins forces with OWS against NDAA-supporting politicians

RT.com, 28 February, 2012

Photo from anonops.blogspot.com

America’s most powerful protest groups are joining forces to warn elected officials that they will be held accountable for their actions. The campaign is called Our Polls and its being launched with help from both Anonymous and the Occupy movement.

The AnonOps Communications website revealed details early Monday this week regarding the hacktivist collective’s latest campaign. Along with the nation-wide Occupy Wall Street movement, Anonymous says they are going after the politicians in America that supported legislation that both entities have largely advocated against.

“Elected officials serve one purpose — to represent their constituents, the people who voted them into office,” reads a statement posted to the website. “Last year, many of our elected officials let us down by giving in to deep-pocketed lobbyists and passing laws meant to boost corporate profits at the expense of individual liberty.”

The legislation in question include the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. In an act of retaliation aimed at those that supported these bills, the groups have released a roster of politicians that have not only expressed favor for the laws, but that are also up for reelection this year.

“You are one person. You have one vote. Use that vote on November 6 to hold your elected official accountable for supporting bills such as NDAA, SOPA and PIPA,” reads their statement.

Although both SOPA and PIPA have been halted in Congress, the NDAA was successfully signed into law by US President Barack Obama on December 31, 2011, granting the commander-in-chief the power to authorize the military detainment of American citizens without ever bringing charges against them.

“Our Senators and Representatives showed how little they cared about personal freedoms when they voted overwhelmingly to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” reads Monday’s statement, which also calls the act “a prominent threat to the inalienable due process rights of every US citizen as laid out in the Constitution.”

“It allows the military to engage in civilian law enforcement, and to suspend due process, habeas corpus or other constitutional guarantees when desired. Our congressmen passed one of the greatest threats to civil liberties in the history of the United States.”

Similar legislation in the vein of the failed SOPA and PIPA acts have also been drafted since their defeat, which critics fear could cause the US government to implement a veil of censorship over the World Wide Web. Although activists with both Anonymous and Occupy have openly opposed such laws in the past, the latest campaign will at last bring both bodies together to protest any other damning legislation.

According to a statement released Monday, both groups aim to make sure that any lawmaker chosen by the American people will walks away Election Day a loser if they support any such acts.

“We are calling on voters, activists and keyboard warriors under all banners to unite as a single force to unseat the elected representatives who threaten our essential freedoms and who were so quick to minimize our individual constitutional rights for a quick corporate profit,” they write.

Although both Anonymous and OWS are described as leaderless movement with no formal organization, the AnonOps Communication website and its related Twitter accounts have served as an unofficial conduit of sorts in terms of relaying information pertaining to the hacktivist collective. The site has previously announced, confirmed and commented on hacks and other campaigns credited to Anonymous.

During last week’s installment of Anonymous’ #FuckFBIFriday campaign, the group tackled the website of GEO Group, Inc., a multi-national private prison management firm operated out of Florida. In a statement that accompanied that hack, operatives aligned with the Anon collective announced another plan put together in cooperation with the Occupy movement. In that instance, both groups intend to join forces on Tuesday this week to march in cities across America to demand an end to the suppression of the OWS movement. Hacktivists with Anonymous have also previously condemned law enforcement agencies across America for violently responding to the occupier's peaceful demonstrations which began last September in New York.


FBI sees more hedge fund trading probe informants

Reuters, by Grant McCool, NEW YORK, Mon Feb 27, 2012

Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam arrives at Manhattan Federal 
Court in New York May 10, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

(Reuters) - The FBI says it has enough informants lined up to keep its investigations of suspected illegal insider trading at hedge funds going for at least five more years.

In a briefing on Monday with reporters at the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation just blocks away from Wall Street, agents who manage squads of investigators likened the probes to penetrating a secret society.

The investigations are building on a mission dubbed "Perfect Hedge" that have led to the prosecutions of multimillionaire Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam and dozens of traders, executives and research consultants since late 2009.

"We have cooperators set up for years to come," said David Chaves, a supervisory special agent for securities and commodities fraud investigations.

He told reporters that the informants include cooperating witnesses -- people who have been identified as conducting illegal trading but who have agreed to assist authorities to catch others in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence -- and sources within hedge funds.

"I don't want to say it's infinite, but clearly in five years we think we will be working it," Chaves said.

The Galleon prosecution and other recent insider-trading cases have used secretly-recorded telephone conversations to gather evidence, an investigatory tool traditionally used in organized crime or narcotics cases.

The use of wiretaps sent a chill through the hedge fund industry closed to outsiders and what the FBI calls "undercover resistant."

Investigators have tracked mobile phone calls, instant messaging and social media to collect evidence.

The FBI says it is alert to new ways in which people may try to exchange information on publicly traded companies to gain an illegal edge.

"We will go to whatever lengths we have to keep up with changes in technology," said Richard Jacobs, another FBI supervisory special agent for white-collar crime cases.

Both officials emphasized that law enforcement believes that the overwhelming majority of hedge funds and their traders are law-abiding and run their firms responsibly.

A similar briefing was given to reporters in Washington on Monday, where officials discussed the agency's shift in focus of the past 10 years to financial fraud cases involving larger amounts of money than in the past.

For example, out of the 2,600 mortgage fraud investigations open nationally, 70 percent involve more than $1 million, compared with smaller bank frauds under $25,000 that were previously typical of the caseload.

In New York, the FBI said that to date, out of 64 arrests made in "Perfect Hedge," 59 people have been convicted or have pleaded guilty. These prosecutions, in partnership with the office of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, have been an important deterrent, the agents said.

Another tool for deterrence is the publicity the cases have generated in the United States and abroad.

To that end, Michael Douglas, the Academy Award-winning star of the 1987 movie "Wall Street," agreed to a request from the FBI to record a public service announcement.

"In the movie 'Wall Street' I played Gordon Gekko, who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings," Douglas, 67, says in the video recording released on Monday.

"The movie was fiction but the problem is real," Douglas says in the video. "Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is."

Germans protest anti-piracy treaty

Deutsche Welle, 27 Ferbruary 2012



Protesters have hit Germany's streets again to show their oppostion to the global anti-piracy treaty, ACTA. Several European governments, including Germany, have already postponed signing the controversial agreement.

Anti-ACTA Protesters marched in dozens of cities across Germany over the weekend, with the biggest demonstration of around 2,000 people taking place in Munich.

Rallies in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Mannheim and Leipzig attracted more than a 1,000 people each, while numerous smaller demonstrations took place across the country.

ACTA, as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is known, aims to fight the counterfeiting of goods like fake Gucci sunglasses and copied pharmaceutical drugs. It is also designed to reduce online piracy such as the illegal downloads of music, films and software, which the industry says is costing millions in lost revenue around the world.

Critics argue the measures to combat counterfeiting outlined in ACTA could force telecommunication companies to watch over and pass on customers' online movements to the government - which, in turn, could stifle free expression on the Internet.

Internet generation

Many of those against ACTA are in their teens and early 20s, which is hardly surprising considering that the anti-ACTA demonstrations are mainly about the Internet. 

Some protesters have donned Guy
Fawkes masks
One of those protesting on Saturday was Filip (who, like all of those at the rally, preferred not to reveal his last name). A clean-cut computer science student enrolled at the prestigious Karlsruhe University of Technology, Filip had never attended a protest before in his life.

"The Internet is important enough for me to come out in the cold weather and stand around and support everyone who is here to not pass the act," he said at the protest in the south-western town of Karlsruhe, which was attended by several hundred people.

"I don't want my Internet provider to be watching every more I make," he said, his voice almost drowned out by those around him cheering and clapping in support of the protest speakers.

Fourteen-year-old high school student Michael came to the rally to defend his right to download music.

"I can't afford the music I want to listen to and music should be available to everyone," he said, adding it was unjust for Germany to consider banning people from using the Internet who were repeatedly caught illegally downloading content like music and videos.

"Society today only takes place online, and if you don't have Internet access, then you can't be part of society anymore," he said.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has voiced support for ACTA. "It is not a right to use someone else's property for free," said BDI legal expert, Heiko Willems. "Copyright-holders have to decide for themselves if they will make their creations freely available or available on a commercial basis."

For 23-year-old student Shushu, the issue of illegal music and film downloads needs to be tackled in a different way.

Critics say copyright laws should be
 more thoroughly revamped, rather than
tightening Internet regulations
"The content industry needs to make us an offer of how we can legally do this, by accepting a cultural flat-rate fee or setting a monthly streaming fee without having to turn people into criminals," she said.

ACTA on ice

Several countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea have already ratified ACTA. And up until a few months ago, ACTA seemed like a done deal in Europe as well.

In December last year, the European Council representing the European heads of government unanimously agreed to pass ACTA and the agreement was signed by 22 of the 27 European member states. ACTA can't be passed into European law, however, until every one of the European Union's member states agrees to it.

The problem for ACTA is that several European countries, including Germany, Poland the Netherlands, have postponed signing the agreement after a wave of Europe-wide protests over the past month.

In addition, the European Commission last week said it would refer ACTA to Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice, to determine whether it limited the "EU's fundamental rights and freedoms."

Back at the Karlsruhe rally, the crowd marched through the streets chanting, "ACTA, ad acta," a play on a Latin expression used in German to archive something.

"We will keep protesting until ACTA has not just been postponed but shelved for good," one of the protesters said.

Author: Kate Hairsine
Editor: Kate Bowen
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WikiLeaks publishes security think tank emails

Reuters, LONDON, Mon Feb 27, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at the Supreme Court in
Westminster,  on the second day of his extradition appeal, in London,
February 2, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning)

(Reuters) - The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began publishing on Monday more than five million emails from a U.S.-based global security analysis company that has been likened to a shadow CIA.

The emails, snatched by hackers, could unmask sensitive sources and throw light on the murky world of intelligence-gathering by the company known as Stratfor, which counts Fortune 500 companies among its subscribers.

Stratfor in a statement shortly after midnight EST (0500 GMT) said the release of its stolen emails was an attempt to silence and intimidate it.

It said it would not be cowed under the leadership of George Friedman, Stratfor's founder and chief executive officer. It said Friedman had not resigned as CEO, contrary to a bogus email circulating on the Internet.

Some of the emails being published "may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic," the company statement said.

"We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them," the statement said.

WikiLeaks did not say how it had acquired access to the vast haul of internal and external correspondence of the Austin, Texas company, formally known as Strategic Forecasting Inc.

Hackers linked to the loosely organized Anonymous hackers group said at the beginning of the year they had stolen the email correspondence of some 100 of the firm's employees. The group said it planned to publish the data so the public would know the "truth" about Stratfor operations.

Stratfor describes itself as a subscription-based publisher of geopolitical analysis with an intelligence-based approach to gathering information.

WikiLeaks and Anonymous maintain the emails will expose dark secrets about the company. Stratfor said in its statement it had worked hard to build "good sources" in many countries, "as any publisher of global geopolitical analysis would do."

In December, hackers broke into Stratfor's data systems and stole a large number of company emails.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Reuters: "Here we have a private intelligence firm, relying on informants from the U.S. government, foreign intelligence agencies with questionable reputations and journalists."

"What is of grave concern is that the targets of this scrutiny are, among others, activist organizations fighting for a just cause."

Friedman, the chief executive, said on January 11 the thieves would be hard pressed to find anything significant in the stolen emails.

"God knows what a hundred employees writing endless emails might say that is embarrassing, stupid or subject to misinterpretation. ... As they search our emails for signs of a vast conspiracy, they will be disappointed."

MEDIA PARTNERS

People linked to Anonymous took credit for the data theft. "Congrats on the amazing partnership between #Anonymous and #WikiLeaks to make all 5 million mails public," AnonSec Tweeted. AnonSec is one of several Twitter accounts used to promote and organize activities associated with Anonymous.

It was not immediately clear what impact the release of the emails might have on Stratfor, its employees, clients and information sources.

Previous releases from WikiLeaks, such as secret video battle footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2010 have angered the U.S. government. WikiLeaks' disclosures also have raised questions about the safety of confidential sources quoted in previously secret documents.

WikiLeaks said it was working with two dozen media organizations worldwide that have access to a database of the Stratfor emails. These include the U.S. newspaper publisher McClatchy Co..

"We have begun reviewing the emails and will publish as warranted," McClatchy's Washington bureau chief, James Asher, told Reuters.

WikiLeaks said its other media partners include L'Espresso and La Repubblica newspapers in Italy, the ARD state broadcaster in Germany and Russia Reporter.

The group gave a sneak preview of the emails to The Yes Men, an activist group that targets what it views as corporate greed.

The Stratfor emails discuss an elaborate hoax the group staged to criticize Dow Chemical Co's handling of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India, according to Andy Bichlbaum, one of The Yes Men.

"What is significant is the picture it helps to paint of the way corporations operate," Bichlbaum told Reuters. "They operate with complete disregard for rule of law and human decency."

After Stratfor's computers were hacked at least twice last December, the credit card details of more than 30,000 subscribers to Stratfor publications were posted on the Internet, including those of former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle.

The FBI began investigating the matter in December.

Australian-born Assange, 40, is currently under house arrest in Britain and fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes.