Category: Misappropriation of Funds

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ISIS driving Toyotas a little too often, US Treasury wonders why

© Stringer
ISIS has many faults, but it sure knows a good car when it sees one. The US Treasury is now pressing Toyota about why so many of its vehicles are being driven around by the terrorist group, as evidenced in their propaganda videos.

Toyota has issued a statement to explain that this is part of a wider probe into terrorist supply chains and capital flow, according to ABC. The company also says it does not know how its trucks ended up in ISIS hands in such a quantity, and is “supporting” the inquiry.


The model most popular with Islamic State drivers seems to be the Hilux, similar to Tacomas and Land Cruisers. This overseas version is a mainstay in ISIS propaganda videos, often loaded to the brim with heavy weapons.

The company says the cars in the videos aren’t recent models, but ABC spoke to the Iraqi ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily, who said that in addition to re-purposing old vehicles, the terrorist group has been acquiring “hundreds” of “brand new” ones in recent years.

“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” the ambassador said. “How could these brand new trucks… these four-wheel drives, hundreds of them – where are they coming from?”

Some of the other cars paraded in victory parade videos include Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu.

“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the United Nations. Wallace is CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, a group specializing in tracking terrorist finance channels.

“ISIS has used these vehicles in order to engage in military-type activities, terror activities, and the like,” he said. “But in nearly every ISIS video, they show a fleet – a convoy of Toyota vehicles and that’s very concerning to us.”

But according to Lewis, “It is impossible for Toyota to completely control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated.”

The current inquiry isn’t the first time somebody’s asked about Toyota popping up frequently in IS hands. A report last year by Public Radio International exposed a delivery by the US State Department of 43 Toyota trucks to Syrian rebels – the “moderate” ones, as has been the Western line since the start of the Syrian war in 2011. Australian media has also this year been circulating reports of some 800 vehicles stolen, and authorities believing they may have been shipped to war zones in the Middle East.


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This one Toyota pickup truck is at the top of the shopping list for the Free Syrian Army — and the Taliban



Rebels operating under the Free Syrian Army sit in a Hilux pickup truck on one of the battlefronts in Jobar, Damascus, August 2013

Credit: REUTERS/ Mohamed Abdullah


The Hilux, a pickup truck Toyota has built since the late 1960s, isn’t available in the US, but it’s popular around the globe, including with insurgent groups such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.


This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks.

Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army’s wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck.

“Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground,” he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons.

“You can absolutely expect for many of those trucks to be mounted with crew-served machine guns or other type of equipment, military equipment, that the opposition forces have access to. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why the Toyota Hilux is such an important force multiplier, because it could be used both for humanitarian purposes and for operational purposes as well.”

Syria is only the latest war zone where the Hilux has been a vehicle of choice. The BBC’s Kabul correspondent, David Loyn, saw the Hilux put through its paces by the Taliban in the 1990s, and credits the truck with having given Taliban forces a battlefield edge.


Read More and Liste to the Interview Here

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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:15AM
A tank operated by Saudi-led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen's northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015. (Reuters photo)
A tank operated by Saudi-led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen’s northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015. (Reuters photo)

A new report says mercenaries and military advisers from the infamous US security firm, formerly known as Blackwater, are replacing UAE troops in the Saudi war in Yemen.   

The Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper said on Thursday UAE forces are being gradually replaced by recruits from the US-based private military contractor, which now goes by the name, Acamedi.

The move came after the UAE evacuated some of its military sites in Yemen following its failures in several operations, the Lebanese daily added.

According to al-Akhbar, UAE’s move to involve the private military contractor in the Yemen conflict has raised objections among some members of the Saudi-led coalition.

On Wednesday, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah news website said the commander-in-chief of Blackwater mercenaries in the country was killed in the al-Omari district of Ta’izz Province.


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Blackwater: Shadow Army

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Daily Caller News Foundation

Feds Hide Secret List Of 11 Staggering Obamacare Insurers

Richard Pollock


Federal officials have a secret list of 11 Obamacare health insurance co-ops they fear are on the verge of failure, but they refuse to disclose them to the public or to Congress, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has learned.

Just in the last three weeks, five of the original 24 Obamacare co-ops announced plans to close, bringing the total of failures to eight barely two years after their launch with $2 billion in start-up capital from the taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act.

All 24 received 15-year loans in varying amounts to offer health insurance to poor and low income customers and provide publicly funded competition to private, for-profit insurers. The eight co-ops to announce closings served populations in ten states: Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.

Nearly half a million failing co-op customers will have to find new coverage in 2016. More than $900 million of the original $2 billion in loans has been lost.

The 11 unidentified co-ops appear to be still operating but are now on “enhanced oversight” by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which manages the Obamacare program. The 11 received letters from CMS demanding that they take urgent actions to avoid closing.

Aaron Albright, chief CMS spokesman, said 11 co-ops “are either on a corrective action plan or enhanced oversight. We have not released the letters or names.” He gave no grounds for withholding the information from either the public or Congress.

CMS officials have stonewalled multiple congressional inquiries into the co-op financial problems. The latest congressional inquiry came in a September 30 letter to CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt demanding transparency over the troubled program.

“We have long been concerned about the financial solvency of CO-OPs,” three House Ways and Means committee members wrote to Slavitt. “Which plans have received these warnings or have been placed on corrective plans,” the congressmen asked. To date, they have received no reply.

Insurance commissioners in Vermont were the first to refuse to license the federally approved co-op there in 2013 because they feared those financial plans were unrealistic. But then the dominoes began to fall this year, resulting in at least eight co-op failures. And if CMS officials are to be believed, more failures may be on the way.

Sen. Charles Grassley , a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee who has been an outspoken critic of the troubled co-op program, said transparency should be a top priority for the faltering program.

“Since the public’s business generally ought to be public, CMS should have a good reason for not disclosing which co-ops are troubled,” he said.


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Consortium News

US Tax Dollars and Ukraine’s Finance Minister

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Special Report: Though touted as the face of reform inside Ukraine’s post-coup regime, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko enriched herself at the expense of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund – and USAID now says it’s missing some of the audit records detailing Jaresko’s dealings, reports Robert Parry.


By Robert Parry


The U.S. government is missing – or withholding – audit documents about the finances and possible accounting irregularities at a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund when it was run by Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who has become the face of “reform” for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev and who now oversees billions of dollars in Western financial aid.

Before taking Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister in December 2014, Jaresko was a former U.S. diplomat who served as chief executive officer of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by Congress in the 1990s with $150 million and placed under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help jumpstart an investment economy in Ukraine.

After Jaresko’s appointment as Finance Minister — and her resignation from WNISEF — I reviewed WNISEF’s available public records and detected a pattern of insider dealings and enrichment benefiting Jaresko and various colleagues. That prompted me in February to file a Freedom of Information Act request for USAID’s audits of the investment fund.

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breakingtheset breakingtheset·

Published on Jan 23, 2014

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Worst of Congress, Georgism, a Police Abuse Round Up, and Snowden’s Q&A.
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EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin remarks on fears by Iraqi officials that the al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could be gaining enough strength to attack Baghdad. Abby then calls out 6 of the most corrupt and least popular members of congress, going over some of the conflicts of interests and blatant hypocrisy that have come to characterize the 113th Congress. Abby then speaks with Scott Baker, president of Common Ground NYC about the Georgism Philosophy, and how the elimination of all taxes except a land use tax could be applied and sustained. Abby then calls attention to three recent cases of police abuse in the US, including an instance where an officer ruptured a young man’s testicle. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with David Seaman, journalist and host of the David Seaman Hour, going over Edward Snowden’s recent live online Q&A in response to Obama’s speech on the most controversial aspects of the NSA’s global spying apparatus.

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HuffPost Live HuffPost Live

Published on Jan 13, 2014

Just days after dismissing two top advisers for their roles in the George Washington Bridge scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing questions over the use of Superstorm Sandy relief funds.

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Chris Christie rocked by Superstorm Sandy relief scandal

NEW JERSEY governor Chris Christie is being investigated over claims he used Superstorm Sandy relief funds to make tourism ads starring him and his family.

News of the investigation couldn’t come at a worse time for the “scandal-plagued Republican”, says CNN. Late last week he was forced to sack two aides who allegedly ordered the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge as part of a vendetta against a political opponent.

Christie’s office has been “paralysed” by the bridge scandal which is about to trigger a “flurry of subpoenas”, according to reports.

CNN says the federal probe examining New Jersey’s use of $25m in relief funds for a marketing campaign to boost tourism in the state, could be even more damaging to Christie’s political ambitions than the bridge scandal. That’s because the governor’s performance during and after the storm has been “widely praised and is a fundamental part of his straight-shooting political brand”.

The New York Post understands that Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, are likely to be issued with subpoenas as early as today in relation to the bridge scandal. Kelly allegedly orchestrated the lane closures in an effort to undermine a New Jersey mayor who refused to support Christie’s re-election campaign; Stepien was “kept in the loop” about the plan.

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Published time: November 12, 2013 17:16
Edited time: November 12, 2013 18:14

Michael Nagle / Getty Images / AFP

Michael Nagle / Getty Images / AFP

A former Federal Reserve employee responsible for managing the agency’s quantitative easing program has written an op-ed apologizing for what he called “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.”

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Andrew Huszar detailed his concerns about the Fed’s massive bond-buying measures. He argued that while the Reserve initially claimed the program would lower borrowing rates for average citizens, the trillion-dollar initiative primarily ended up lining the pockets of Wall Street executives.

“Despite the Fed’s rhetoric, my program wasn’t helping to make credit any more accessible for the average American,” Huszar wrote. “The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn’t getting much cheaper. QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash.”

What’s more, Huszar claimed that several Federal Reserve managers expressed apprehension over the effects of quantitative easing (QE) only to find their concerns ignored.

“Our warnings fell on deaf ears,” he wrote. “In the past, Fed leaders—even if they ultimately erred—would have worried obsessively about the costs versus the benefits of any major initiative. Now the only obsession seemed to be with the newest survey of financial-market expectations or the latest in-person feedback from Wall Street’s leading bankers and hedge-fund managers.”


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Despite Eight Ongoing Criminal/Civil Investigations of JPMorgan, the Bank’s a Law Enforcement Partner With the NYPD

By Pam Martens: November 4, 2013

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly Inside the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center

Nothing reveals the incestuous, one-percent-mindset that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have with Wall Street than the next to last photo at this link. The photo shows an employee of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s number one target for financial fraud investigations, JPMorgan Chase, working inside a high security spy center in Lower Manhattan to — wait for it — help the New York City Police Department catch crooks.

While most law enforcement bodies around the U.S. would instantly weed out serial wrongdoers as job hires, Bloomberg and Kelly have created an art form out of joint policing ventures with Wall Street, operating both a rent-a-cop program with Wall Street as well as pumping at least $150 million of taxpayer money into the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center where Wall Street employees sit elbow to elbow with NYPD officers.

Under some Orwellian concept of citizen surveillance, the very Wall Street banks that proved they were a far greater threat to the United States than any foreign terrorist when they collapsed the Nation’s financial system in 2008, are part of a joint venture with the NYPD to use high-tech spy equipment to monitor the comings and goings of citizens in the streets of Manhattan – the majority of which, unlike Wall Street, are law abiding citizens.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is under eight separate investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of the investigations involve potentially criminal matters ranging from allegations of hiring well-connected family members to get business in Asia; turning a blind eye to fraudulent transactions that Bernard Madoff ran through his business bank account at JPMorgan; rigging the Libor interest rate index; manipulating energy trading markets; gambling in London with insured deposits (London Whale episode); to improper credit derivatives and mortgage bond sales.

One of the most serious crimes for which JPMorgan is under investigation is the decades-long Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, which stole $17 billion in actual cash from thousands of investors while producing account statements showing the fictitious portfolios had grown to $64 billion. The fraud left hundreds of families destitute or forced to move in with children.

Outside of Madoff and his employees, no one had a better birds-eye view of this operation than JPMorgan Chase, the bank where Madoff held his business bank account for 22 years. According to lawsuits filed by the Trustee handling the Madoff recovery funds, Irving Picard, JPMorgan knew that Madoff was engaged in an investment advisory business for a broad array of customers but the Madoff bank account that JPMorgan Chase oversaw never showed a payment going to clear or process a stock trade.


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Wall Street’s Biggest Banks Had a Trading Scheme With Madoff

By Pam Martens: October 30, 2013

The trial of five former employees of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi operation is currently playing out in Manhattan as the U.S. Justice Department weighs bringing charges against JPMorgan Chase, where Madoff had his primary business banking account, for ignoring flashing red lights that a fraud was taking place.

According to lawsuits filed by Irving Picard, the Trustee handling the Madoff recovery fund, JPMorgan knew that Madoff was supposed to be engaged in managing stock portfolios for hundreds of clients. JPMorgan even created structured investments that allowed investors to make leveraged bets on the returns achieved by Madoff. But the Madoff business bank account that JPMorgan Chase oversaw, showed billions of dollars in cash being wired in and out but no payments ever going to any party engaged in processing or clearing a stock trade. Under Wall Street’s Know Your Customer Rule, the activity in the account should have been reported to U.S. regulators because it was completely incompatible with transactions that would be happening in a legitimate investment advisory account.

On October 28, 2008, less than two months before the Madoff Ponzi scheme collapsed following a confession by Madoff, JPMorgan finally did reveal its suspicions to a regulator that Madoff was running a fraud – to the Serious Organized Crime Agency. That regulator is based in the United Kingdom. According to Picard, JPMorgan never reported its suspicions to U.S. authorities.

But there are four other major Wall Street firms and their high-priced lawyers who have some explaining to do. According to prosecutors trying the current case against the five former employees, Madoff was funneling tens of millions of dollars that he was stealing from his investment advisory clients into his broker-dealer operation. Madoff has heretofore said this was a legitimate business. One such check for $31 million was dated December 28, 1999.

That was a little more than three months after Madoff started a business with four of the biggest names on Wall Street, effectively putting these primary dealers to the U.S. government’s Treasury auctions in business with the biggest financial felon in U.S. history.

On September 14, 1999, Citigroup’s Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs partnered with Madoff to compete with the New York Stock Exchange in a venture called Primex Trading. When Wall Street behemoths create a joint venture with a much smaller firm like Madoff’s, it would be expected that the top law firms on Wall Street would have been crawling all over its books and conducting a thorough due diligence.(Major European banks were harmed in the Madoff collapse. No major Wall Street bank had any serious exposure.)

Madoff had purchased the rights to a new technology called Financial Auction Network (FAN) created by Christopher Keith, a 17-year veteran of technology creation at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Keith had retired from the NYSE and started a technology think tank in lower Manhattan in the early 1990s called Exchange Lab. FAN was one of the early technology offerings and the rights to develop it were bought by Madoff, ostensibly with stolen customer funds it now appears. The firm that emerged was Primex Trading, a division of Primex Holdings.


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It’s About Shutting YOU Down!


Published on Oct 9, 2013

Forget the Government Shutdown — It’s About Shutting YOU Down!
Americans are being treated to political theater at its finest. It’s not a theater of entertainment, however, but a coliseum of enslavement where in the world of deception, perception becomes reality. This theater requires audience participation, where we, the theater-goers, become part of the play. We are a truly captive audience, entranced into mindlessly choosing sides at the frenzied urging of the corporate media and partisan cheerleaders firmly seated behind the microphones and television cameras of the nationally syndicated media. From RINF:…


Americans Are Being Treated to Political Theater: Forget the Government Shutdown – It’s About Shutting YOU Down


The government is red, the middle class is dead & they want us all dead

Americans are being treated to political theater at its finest. It’s not a theater of entertainment, however, but a coliseum of enslavement where in the world of deception, perception becomes reality. This theater requires audience participation, where we, the theater-goers, become part of the play. We are a truly captive audience, entranced into mindlessly choosing sides at the frenzied urging of the corporate media and partisan cheerleaders firmly seated behind the microphones and television cameras of the nationally syndicated media.

As the play progresses, we, the American people, become part of each act, believing that we actually have a voice in this pre-scripted performance. We are bombarded with lie after lie, each worse than the previous in an attempt to convince us that we can making a difference by choosing and cheering seemingly opposing sides on the stage before us. The biggest lie of them all is that there are not two sides, but just one. It’s “them versus us” in a fight to the death playing out before us in this 21st century Shakespearean tragedy. It’s not just death, but the premeditated murder of the middle class and anyone without a reservation at the globalists’ table. And the space at that table is limited.

The actors of this play are ostensibly at odds over funding the Affordable Care Act while a peek behind the curtain tells a different story altogether. Like any play, the ending of this has already been determined.  The ending, however, is not the same as written in the commemorative program you were given upon your arrival at this theater.

The house lights have been dimmed not just for the performance, but to induce us into a hypnotic trance further enabled by the media mouthpieces of malice. As you gradually become accustomed to the theater lighting, you’ll see that it’s not just a play, but you’re being played. You’re being manipulated into believing that the government shutdown is the actual plot of the play, while it is merely the method to continue the lie of a fictitious political paradigm.

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Is the government shutdown actually the ground work of a well laid out plan to confiscate money in the US ?


Money Confiscation Legal?


Published on Apr 26, 2013

A chilling peek into the future by way of the past from Matthias Chang. here;…

Ask your local police, sheriffs, lawyers, judges the following questions:

1) If I place my money with a lawyer as a stake-holder and he uses the money without my consent, has the lawyer committed a crime?

2) If I store a bushel of wheat or cotton in a warehouse and the owner of the warehouse sold my wheat/cotton without my consent or authority, has the warehouse owner committed a crime?

3) If I place monies with my broker (stock or commodity) and the broker uses my monies for other purposes and or contrary to my instructions, has the broker committed a crime?


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Devastating Trump Card

Business Insider

bridge cards trump card

Bruno Vincent/Getty

The shutdown battle has become, essentially, a high-stakes blame game.

Republicans tried to raise those stakes yesterday by offering a piecemeal plan to reopen popular parts of the federal government, in the hopes that it would be politically costly for the Democrats to oppose things like aid to veterans. The bill failed to move forward.

But in a note to clients, Potomac Research Group’s Greg Valliere says that President Obama still has one “trump card” of his own left to play, Social Security:

THE HEAVY ARTILLERY:  We have thought for weeks that Obama would play the Social Security trump card if there was no deal on the debt ceiling by mid-October. This is one of several reasons why we think a default is unlikely, and it’s one of several reasons why Boehner will capitulate; the only questions are when and under what terms. We think he may get a few crumbs, but no major concessions.


Obama Just Played His Big ‘Trump Card’ On The Debt Ceiling

Business Insider

Brett LoGiurato Oct. 3, 2013, 11:59 AM
Barack Obama
Early Thursday morning, Potomac Research Group analyst Greg Valliere predicted that if the debt-ceiling deadline grew closer, President Barack Obama would play his “trump card” in the debate. He would remind seniors that if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, seniors wouldn’t get their Social Security checks.”GOP strategists like Karl Rove surely know that it’s just a matter of time before President Obama throws a game-changer — warning senior citizens that their Social Security checks won’t be mailed because of John Boehner,” Valliere wrote in a note to clients.A few hours later, Obama did just that during a speech at M. Luis Construction Company in Rockville, Md. He spent much of the speech warning that while the ongoing government shutdown was damaging, failure to raise the debt ceiling by an Oct. 17 deadline would be even worse.

“In a government shutdown, Social Security checks still go out on time. In an economic shutdown — if we don’t raise the debt ceiling — they don’t go out on time,” Obama said. “In a government shutdown, disability benefits still arrive on time. In an economic shutdown, they don’t.”

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