From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Judicial Watch Forces Release of Bank Bailout Documents
Judicial Watch again made major news this week with our announcement that we forced the Obama administration to release documents about the October 13, 2008, Treasury Department meeting that coerced major banks into allowing the government to take $250 billion in equity stakes. Among other news, the documents confirm former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told the CEOs of nine major banks that they had no choice but to allow the government to take equity stakes in their institutions. The documents show Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, FDIC Chairman Shelia Blair and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke co-hosted the meeting with Paulson.
We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the bankers meeting on October 16, 2008. After months of stonewalling, a FOIA lawsuit was filed against the Obama Treasury Department on January 27, 2009. Incredibly, on February 4, Treasury responded it had no documents about the historic meeting. Pressure from Judicial Watch forced Treasury to reevaluate its response, which resulted in this document release last month. Included in the new documents are:
- "CEO Talking Points" used by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson confirming that the nine bank CEOs present at the October 13 meeting had no choice but to accede to the government’s demands for equity stakes and the resulting government control. The talking points emphasize that "if a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware your regulator will require it in any circumstance." Suggested edits of the "talking points" by Tim Geithner, then-New York Fed President, were withheld by the Obama Treasury Department.
- "Major Financial Institution Participation Commitments" signed by the nine bankers on October 13. The CEOs not only hand wrote their institution’s names but also hand wrote multi-billion dollar amounts of "preferred shares" to be issued to the government.
- Email documenting that, on the very day of the meeting, the Chief of Staff to the Treasury Secretary and other top Treasury staff did not know the names of any of the banks that would be in attendance.
- Email showing Treasury officials wanted to use the Secret Service to help keep the press away from the CEOs arriving at the meeting.
- Email showing a public relations effort, run in part out of the Bush White House, to tamp down public concerns about "nationalizing the banks."
- Email showing that Paulson was able to brief Barack Obama about the bankers meeting almost immediately, but could not reach Senator John McCain.
The government thuggery evident at this meeting would seem more at place in Putin’s Russia or Chavez’s Venezuela. This government control, which began during the Bush presidency, has metastasized under the Obama administration – with Obama taking effective control of not only these major banks but the domestic auto industry.
The CEOs present at the October 13 meeting were Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, Richard Kovacevich of Wells Fargo, John Thain of Merrill Lynch, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Robert Kelly of Bank of New York and Ronald Logue of State Street Bank.
These documents show our government exercising unrestrained power over the private sector. Despite promises of transparency, the Obama administration tried to cover up the very existence of these smoking-gun documents. And the cover-up continues, as the Obama administration protects Timothy Geithner by withholding a key document about his role in this infamous bankers’ meeting.
You can be sure that we will continue our legal and investigative efforts to extract documents about the so-called financial bailout. As you can see, our very freedoms may be at stake.
To view the bank meeting documents, you can go to our Internet site at www.judicialwatch.org.
Court Rejects FBI Censorship on Terrorism Investigation
These days, too many of our politicians seem to think terrorism is no longer a significant threat. A major Judicial Watch victory ought to remind Americans otherwise. This week we received a favorable decision by a federal court in a lawsuit against the FBI’s efforts to censor the speech of agents seeking to expose the mishandling of a terrorism investigation in the days before 9/11. The investigation, known as Vulgar Betrayal, touched upon both Hamas and Al Qaeda. The court ruling was handed down on May 8, 2009, by U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler in our lawsuit filed on behalf of FBI Special Agent Robert G. Wright, Jr. and retired FBI Special Agent John Vincent (Wright v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (02-915) (D.D.C.); Vincent v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (03-226) (D.D.C.)).
Special Agent Wright wanted to publish a book as well as complaints he made with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, and he wanted to respond to a media inquiry from Judith Miller, a then-reporter of The New York Times. Wright had been censored in these efforts by the FBI. Wright’s former partner John Vincent, now retired from the FBI, had been similarly censored by the FBI and Department of Justice over his answers to the New York Times inquiry. Judge Kessler excoriated the FBI’s censorship and emphasized the public importance of the lawsuit:
"This is a sad and discouraging tale about the determined efforts of the FBI to censor various portions of a 500-page manuscript, written by a former long-time FBI agent, severely criticizing the FBI’s conduct of the investigation of a money laundering scheme in which United States-based members of the Hamas terrorist organization were using non-profit organizations in this country to recruit and train terrorists and fund terrorist activities both here and abroad. The FBI also sought to censor answers given by both Plaintiffs to a series of written questions presented to them by a New York Times reporter concerning Wright’s allegations about the FBI’s alleged mishandling of the investigation. In its efforts to suppress this information, the FBI repeatedly changed its position, presented formalistic objections to release of various portions of the documents in question, admitted finally that much of the material it sought to suppress was in fact in the public domain and had been all along, and now concedes that several of the reasons it originally offered for censorship no longer have any validity.
Unfortunately, the issues of terrorism and of alleged FBI incompetence remain as timely as ever."
For over seven years, FBI Special Agent Wright and retired FBI Special Agent Vincent wished to exercise their First Amendment rights to expose FBI and Department of Justice bungling that shut down efforts to roll up terrorist financial networks in the United States prior to 9/11. Special Agent Wright is the only FBI agent prior 9/11 to have seized funds (over $1.4 million) from U.S.-based terrorists using federal civil forfeiture statutes.
We are pleased that a federal court beat back the FBI’s illegal effort to censor criticism by its own agents. Wright and Vincent sought to blow the whistle to help prevent other terrorist attacks like 9/11. We hope it is not too late for the FBI to listen to our clients, clean up its act, and better protect our nation from the Islamic terrorist threat.
Gardasil Linked to Guillain-Barre Syndrome
How many young girls have to suffer before the FDA pulls the vaccine Gardasil off the market? Judicial Watch has been leading the charge against Gardasil, uncovering more than 11,000 adverse reaction reports from the FDA related to the vaccine. This week, Gardasil was back in the news, this time for a link to Guillain-Barre syndrome.
According to WebMD:
Girls and women who receive the Gardasil vaccine to prevent cervical cancer may be at increased risk of a rare but serious disorder of the nervous system in the first few weeks after getting their shots, researchers report.
Overall, the vaccine does not raise the odds of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a disorder of the peripheral nervous system, says Nizar Souayah, MD, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.
"But there is clear evidence from our database of an increased incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome in the first six weeks, especially the first two weeks, after vaccination," he tells WebMD.
The link to Guillain-Barre is serious, for sure. We’ve been attacked for highlighting the dangers, but now we have scientific confirmation of our concerns. But Guillain-Barre is just one of the many dangerous side effects associated with this vaccine. Here’s just a small sampling of what we’ve found through our investigation. (You can read the adverse event reports for yourself by clicking here):
- Information has been received…concerning a 20 year old female with no medical history reported, who on 01-APR-2008 was vaccinated with a dose of Gardasil….The patient died four days after…patient sought unspecified medical attention. An autopsy was performed which ruled out suicide and anything suspicious. The cause of death is currently unknown. VAERS ID: 310262-1 (D)
- Information has been received…concerning a 23-year-old female…who on 31-JAN-2008 was vaccinated with her 1st dose of Gardasil…the patient experienced anaphylactic shock 2 minutes after vaccination characterized by a brief loss of consciousness…respiratory arrest, eyes rolled upwards, blurred vision and greyish skin tone…Anaphylactic shock was considered to be immediately life-threatening. VAERS ID: 304739-1 (S)
- Cold sweat, Fall, Foaming at mouth, Grand mal convulsion, Immediate post-injection reaction….Pt [patient, 14-year-old female] received vaccine, took 6 steps, fell to the ground unconscious and had a 60 sec grand mal seizure then regained consciousness. [Blood pressure] after seizure 60/40 pale clammy skin. [Patient] had bit her tongue and had foam around her mouth. VAERS ID: 305259-1 (S)
- Information has been received from a physician concerning a female patient who on an unknown date was vaccinated with a dose of Gardasil. Subsequently, the patient experienced a coma and is now paralyzed. At the time of this report, the patient’s outcome was unknown. VAERS ID: 303188-1
Overall, there have been as many as 20 deaths associated with Gardasil, 140 "serious" reports (27 deemed life threatening), and 10 spontaneous abortions in its short history. As you may recall, the Clinton FDA rushed Gardasil to the market without conducting a thorough analysis of its safety and effectiveness. And now young girls are paying the price. By the way, Judicial Watch published a report on its FDA findings. You can find it by clicking here.
We continue to monitor this issue (and have ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation to get more information to help protect the public).
Until next week…
Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.