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Friday, 21 August 2015

JP Morgan Hires Recently Retired U.S. General, Raymond T. Odierno

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How can you ensure that the interests of TBTF Wall Street mega banks and the military-intelligence-industrial complex remain aligned? Create a revolving door of course.

This is a trend I’ve been following over the past several years. Below are a couple of notable examples:

Video of the Day – General Wesley Clark Suggests Putting “Disloyal Americans” in Internment Camps

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David Petraeus – How This Leaker of Classified Information is Peddling KKR Funds as Opposed to Serving Jail Time

Now for the latest. From the Wall Street Journal:

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will bring on Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the recently retired chief of staff of the Army, as a senior adviser to the firm, the bank announced Thursday. 

Starting Sept. 1, Gen. Odierno will advise the bank’s board and Chief Executive James Dimon on topics such as the risks of doing business in various countries, technology and physical and cybersecurity.

At J.P. Morgan, Gen. Odierno will help structure the firm’s leadership training programs, sit on the firm’s military and veterans affairs council, and will represent the bank in meetings with government officials and policy makers. 

JP Morgan has a “military and veterans affairs council?” Why not, they’re the real government anyway.

J.P. Morgan isn’t the first bank to tap members of the U.S. military for their expertise. Wells Fargo & Co., the nation’s largest bank by market value, in February named Suzanne M. Vautrinot, a retired Major General and Commander in the U.S. Air Force, to its board.

In case you missed it, now would be a good time to read the article published earlier today:

Introducing the Gigantic and Dangerous Wall Street Loophole You’ve Never Heard of

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

United States Just Passed up Old Soviet Union Gulags For Largest Prison System


For decades, the Soviet Gulags under Joseph Stalin had been considered some of the worst prisons in all of history. But now things have changed.

The United States has far exceeded the horrific tolls of the gulags. In the Soviet example, there were more than 18 million victims during the gulags’ use over four decades.

Around a million people died in the gulags over the years.

Now, as of 2009, the United States tolls soar higher than 7 million in prison, on probation or in some way caught up in the American prison system.

On the surface that might sound like a lot less than the gulag total above. But when you factor in all who have been put through the US prison system, we find a total that is higher than 19 million. That’s more than the 18 million locked up in the gulag system over those forty years.

Just like the Soviet Gulag System, the American Prison-For-Profit industry sells itself with the pitch that it is about “rehabilitation.” The government even has the audacity to call the prison system the “U.S. Department of Corrections.”

In the former Soviet Union, they called this vospitaniye and perevospitaniye, meaning essentially: “re-education.”

Oddly, however, in the Soviet gulags, prisoners were forced to learn the arts – playing in orchestras and the like. In the United States Gulags, prisoners are forced to make uniforms for McDonald’s and Applebees, or to harvest produce for Whole Foods.


The private prison companies, well-known for profiting off of incarceration and crime, is now saying that the state’s they have contracted with aren’t keeping up their end of the bargain. The private prisons rely on a certain number of inmates for free and virtually-free slave labor.

That labor is used for a variety of trades, including making uniforms for popular restaurants like McDonalds and Applebee’s. But if the private prisons don’t have enough inmates locked up then production goes down correlative with the decrease in free labor (i.e. slavery).

It comes as a surprise to many Americans, but slavery was never actually abolished in the United States. That’s not a metaphor, it’s a matter of careful reading of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. That amendment – often lauded for abolishing slavery – actually makes an exception for prisons. Slavery is still completely legal as “punishment for a crime.”

USA Today explains the following:

Ratified at the end of the Civil War, the amendment abolished slavery, with one critical exception: Slavery and involuntary servitude actually remain lawful “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” In other words, according to this so-called punishment clause, if you get pulled over with the wrong controlled substance in your trunk, there’s nothing in the 13th Amendment to ensure you can’t be considered a slave of the state.

The punishment clause was taken directly from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and reflected the belief of the time that hard work was essential to prisoners’ moral rehabilitation. But the language was also ambiguous enough to be grossly abused. Soon, the clause was being used to reinstitute slavery under another guise.

Consider that there are more African Americans behind bars today than there were enslaved at any given time in American history and it becomes clear how corporations got their “work around” to keep slavery 100% legal. This is nothing new. This is the way it has been since slavery was supposedly abolished.

Now, the private prison industries say the government isn’t keeping up their end contracts for this slave labor.

Those government agencies signed contracts guaranteeing a minimum occupancy or quota of prisoner-slaves

California guarantees that prisons will be filled to 70% capacity at all times. Arizona promises almost 100% occupancy.

With crime dropping, the private prison industry is losing money and they are none too pleased.

In order to avoid these lawsuits, judges will have to dish out extra-long maximum sentences – not because the defendant deserves it, but because the state wants to keep these contracts in good standing with the private prison industry.

If you oppose slavery, then help us SPREAD THE WORD about this legal-loophole that has been keeping slavery in full effect since the 13th amendment was written.

(Article by M. David; h/t to Addicting Info for some of the Gulag data) 

Fears Of Another Mid-East War After Israel Conducts Air Strikes In Syria

“Israel is trying to divert attention from the defeat that it suffered in the face of the determination of the hero prisoner, Mohammed Allan.”

That’s from a spokesperson for the subtly named Islamic Jihad, a rebel group whose leadership is based in Damascus. Mohammed Allan had been starving himself for more than two months while in Israeli detention. He apparently decided to start eating again on Wednesday after Israel’s high court suspended his arrest warrant.

This “defeat”, Islamic Jihad claims, prompted Israel to blame the group for a rocket attack that hit an Israeli village on Thursday.

The rockets fell harmlessly into the brush and even if they hadn’t, Israel had deployed Iron Dome interceptors “as a precaution,” so in the event citizens were at risk, the missiles likely would have been shot down, but nevertheless, the Israeli military retaliated in characteristically disproportionate fashion striking targets in the Syrian Golan Heights “five or six times” on Friday. Here’s Reuters:

Israeli officials said two rockets struck close to a northern village in the upper Galilee, near the Lebanese border, setting off brush fires but causing no casualties. Air-raid sirens had sent residents to shelters.

The attack was unusual as that frontier had been largely quiet since the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. By contrast, the Israeli-occupied Golan, about 16 km (10 miles) to the east, has occasionally come under fire from within Syria during the four-year-old civil war there.

An Israeli military source said the air force and artillery had struck “five or six times” in the Syrian Golan.

Syrian state TV confirmed Israeli strikes had hit, but said only material damage was done after “several missiles” targeted a transportation center and a public building in the Quneitra area near the Israeli frontier.

Rebel sources in Syria, however, said the strikes hit some of Damascus’s military facilities on the Golan. A monitor initially reported casualties but did not elaborate.

For their part, Israel says a cell within the group fired the rockets at the behest of an unnamed “Iranian commander.” That commander is apparently now dead, along with at least three out of four militants whose car was the target of the Israeli airstrikes.

More from Hareetz:

On Friday morning, an Israeli aircraft struck a car carrying five people in Syria. According to Syrian state TV, the attack took place in a village near Quneitra but gave no further details. According to the IDF, four were killed in the attack, while the condition of the fifth was unknown. It said that the men were members of the Islamic Jihad.

In Syria, there were conflicting reports as to the identity of those killed in the attack. Sources in the Syrian opposition said that five people were killed in the attack, including an Iranian commander. Syrian state TV said the five were civilians. 

A senior Israeli officer told reporters on Friday that the IDF was tracking the cell following the rocket attack. He said that the decision to target them was reached after intelligence information confirmed that they fired the rockets on Thursday.

The strike was carried out at the center of the Syrian Golan Heights, ten kilometers from the border with Israel. The senior officer stressed that the attack took place in an area controlled by the Syrian army.

“We have no wish to continue heating up [the border], but to protect the security of the State of Israel and its northern border,” the officer said. He stressed that the militants received their directions from Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “has no intention to escalate the events, but our (Israel’s) policy stands. He added:“The states rushing to embrace Iran should know that an Iranian commander gave the cell orders to fire at Israel.”

The implications here are as yet unclear, but there are two things worth noting.

First, Islamic Jihad is openly backed by Iran. Should the conflict escalate it will likely serve as further ammunition (figuratively speaking) for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been a sharp critic of the nuclear deal which is currently the subject of fierce debate among US lawmakers ahead of an attempt by Republicans to undercut the agreement and override a Presidential veto next month. From FT:

[The attacks] came as Israel delivered a demarche to the six world powers who signed a nuclear deal with Iran, which it blames for having co-ordinated the rocket attack.

“This is another clear and blatant demonstration of Iran’s continued and unabating support and involvement in terrorist attacks against Israel and in the region in general,” the demarche, published by Israel’s foreign ministry on Friday morning, said.

“This attack has also occurred before the ink on the . . . nuclear agreement has even dried, and provided a clear indication of how Iran intends to continue to pursue its destabilising actions and policies as the international sanctions regime is withdrawn in the near future,” the Israeli protest said.

Perhaps more importantly, Israel says it “holds the Syrian government responsible for [the] attacks,” which would seem to suggest that in the event further “stray” rockets should find their way into Israel setting off any more brush fires, the Israeli military – which, you’ll note, isn’t exactly shy about retaliating mercilessly in the face of “aggression” – might just join the melee across the border.