Madoff victims threaten legal action

Banks and investment firms blamed for introducing clients to ‘$50bn fraudster’

By Stephen Foley in New York
December 17 2008

The victims of the world’s biggest fraud are raising harsh questions about how Bernard Madoff was able to run his $50bn (£33bn) scam for so long without his staff, the authorities or his trading partners noticing.

A firestorm of legal action is gathering as individuals who lost their life savings and charities threatened to pursue the banks and investment firms that made their ill-fated introduction to Mr Madoff.

“If this were a traditional bank robbery, the eyewitness reports would say Mr Madoff walked out with billions of dollars as someone held the door open for him,” said Jeffrey Zwerling, a lawyer representing some of the victims. “There is just no way that this happens without help of some kind.”

The fall-out from Mr Madoff’s arrest on Thursday is being felt around the world as banks, hedge funds, charitable organisations and thousands of well-to-do individuals tot up their losses. With each passing hour, new victims come to light, often in the tight-knit world of Jewish philanthropy, where Mr Madoff managed cash for numerous charities and for many of their biggest donors.

Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US financial regulator, said last night that he was “gravely concerned by the apparent multiple failures over at least a decade” and that he had ordered “full and immediate review of the past allegations regarding Mr Madoff and his firm and the reasons they were not found credible”.

More European finance houses confessed to losses, including Crédit Mutuel, France’s second-largest bank. Regulators in Spain said 224 investment funds in the country had been exposed and faced losses of €107m (£97m). Among the celebrity victims revealed yesterday is Uma Thurman. Her husband, Arpad Busson, had £145m invested with Mr Madoff through his hedge fund. A charity connected to Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood director, was already among the list of victims. UK banks HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander – owner of Abbey and Alliance & Leicester – have previously admitted exposure of more than $5bn between them.

The breathtaking fraud, committed over many years by one of Wall Street’s best-respected investment managers, was uncovered only when Mr Madoff confessed to his two sons a week ago that he was “finished”. In a criminal lawsuit filed the next day, public claims that Madoff Investment Securities was managing $17bn of client money and had made double-digit returns every year for almost a decade were “all just one big lie”, he had told them.

Mr Madoff was running a giant pyramid scheme, paying out to existing investors with money coming in from new ones. But as the credit crunch began to bite, investment dwindled and there was a surge in requests to cash out. It proved to be his undoing.

Lawyers said the investment managers who recommended that their clients invest with Mr Madoff should have investigated his methods, which he had shrouded in mystery. They pointed to red flags going back as far as 1999, when Harry Markopolos, a securities industry executive, urged the SEC to investigate Madoff Investment Securities. Last year, investigators hired by potential investors urged them not to invest because they were suspicious.

The New York Law School – which fears losing $3m of its endowment fund – launched a lawsuit against one of its financial managers, Ascot Partners, Ascot’s boss, Ezra Merkin, and the auditor, BDO Seidman. The defendants “recklessly or with gross negligence caused and permitted $1.8bn, virtually the entire investment capital of Ascot” to be handed over to Mr Madoff, according to the suit. Separately, Yeshiva University said it was considering its options after it lost about $110m.

Mr Madoff is due in court today for a bail hearing. He was released on a $10bn bond last week but has failed to find the required three co-guarantors. Meanwhile, details are emerging of the two separate sets of books he kept: ones showing the real losses, the other detailing the fictitious trading and profits, which he would mail to investors.

Mr Madoff has told the FBI he acted alone. His sons, Andrew and Mark, work in a different part of the business and the Massachusetts Secretary of State, William Galvin, did not suggest his brother Peter was involved.

The victim: A charity devoted to the poor

As well as the super-rich circling Mr Madoff in his playgrounds of Palm Beach, Florida, and Long Island, New York, there are scores of philanthropic victims of his record-breaking fraud, the JEHT Foundation among them. Since it was formed in 2000, it has given away $62m to fund research, to lobby for progressive reforms, and to prop up projects in some of the most deprived areas of the US. It harnessed the fortune of the late real estate mogul Norman Levy, but the family’s money was invested with Mr Madoff, and is probably now gone.

Source

Bank billions at risk from Wall Street Fraud

Obama Victory Triggers Racist Backlash: At Least 200 Incidents Reported

By Patrik Jonsson

November 17, 2008

Atlanta – In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting “inappropriate” comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.

The election of America’s first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center — a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters’ comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama’s election to be a potent recruiting tool — one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there’s even talk of secession.

Source

By Patrik Jonsson

November 17 2008

In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting “inappropriate” comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.

The election of America’s first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters’ comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama’s election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there’s even talk of secession.

“Most of this movement is not violent, but there is a substantive underbelly that is violent and does try to make a bridge to people who feel disenfranchised,” says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “The question is: Will this swirl become a tornado or just an ill wind? We’re not there yet, but there’s dust on the horizon, a swirling of wind, and the atmospherics are getting put together for [conflict].”

Though postelection racist incidents haven’t posed any real danger to society or the president-elect, law enforcement is taking note.

“We’re trying to be out there at the cutting edge of this and trying to stay ahead of groups that are emerging,” says Special Agent Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the Secret Service, which guards the US president.

“Anytime you start seeing [extremist propaganda] floating around, you have to be concerned,” adds Lt. Gary Thornberry of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. “As far as it being an alarmist situation, I don’t see that yet. From a law enforcement point of view, you have to be careful, because it’s not illegal to have an ideology.”

After sparking conflict and showdowns in the 1990s – think Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing – white supremacist and nationalist groups began this century largely splintered and powerless. Though high immigration levels helped boost the number of hate groups from 602 in 2000 to 888 in 2007, key leaders of such groups had died, been imprisoned, or were otherwise marginalized.

But postelection, at least two white nationalist websites – Stormfront and the Council of Conservative Citizens – report their servers have crashed because of heavy traffic. The League of the South, a secessionist group, says Web hits jumped from 50,000 a month to 300,000 since Nov. 4, and its phones are ringing off the hook.

“The vitriol is flailing out shotgun-style,” says Mr. Levin. “They recognize Obama as a tipping point, the perfect storm in the narrative of the hate world – the apocalypse that they’ve been moaning about has come true.”

Supremacist propaganda is already on the upswing. In Oklahoma, fringe groups have distributed anti-Obama propaganda through newspapers and taped it to home mail boxes. Ugly incidents such as cross-burnings, assassination betting pools, and Obama effigies are also being reported from Maine to Alabama.

The Ku Klux Klan has been tied to recent news events, as well. Two Tennessee men implicated for plotting to kill 88 black men, including Obama, were tied to the KKK chapter whose leader was convicted in a civil trial in Brandenburg, Ky., last week, for inciting violence. The murder last week in Louisiana of a KKK initiate, allegedly killed after trying to back out of joining, came at the hands of a new group called Sons of Dixie, authorities say.

“We’re not looking at a race war or anything close to it, but … what we are seeing now is undeniably a fairly major backlash by some subset of the white population,” says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report in Montomgery, Ala. “Many whites feel that the country their forefathers built has been … stolen from them, so there’s in some places a real boiling rage, and that can only become worse as more people lose jobs.”

In an election in which barely 20 percent of native Southern whites in Deep South states voted for Obama, the newly apparent political clout of “outsiders” and people of color has been unnerving to some.

“In states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, there was extraordinary racial polarization in the vote,” says Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “Black Americans really do believe that Obama is going to represent their interests and views in ways that they haven’t been before, and, in the Deep South, whites feel exactly the opposite.”

But for nonviolent secessionist groups like the League of the South, the hope is for a more vigorous debate about the direction of the US and the South’s role in it, says Michael Tuggle, a League blogger in North Carolina.

Mr. Tuggle says his group isn’t looking for an 1860-style secession but, rather, a model that Spain, for one, is moving toward, in which “there’s a great deal of autonomy for constituent regions” – a foil to what is seen as unchecked, dangerous federal power in Washington.

“To a lot of people, the idea of secession doesn’t seem so crazy anymore,” says Tuggle. “People are talking about how left out they feel, … and they feel that something strange and radical has taken over our country.”

Source

Racial Incidents and Threats Against Obama Soar: Here Is a Chronicle

By Greg Mitchell

November 15, 2008

Since election day, the number of threats against the president-elect, and racial or violent incidents directed at his supporters, have soared. The Secret Service is concerned, calling it the highest number of threats against a President-elect in memory, but the national media until this weekend have largely ignored the disturbing pattern. So a few days ago, over at the Editor & Publisher site, we started chronicling the incidents, which has drawn wide attention (so we will continue, though we hope the problem subsides).

Some claim that, given the size of this great country of ours, the incidents don’t amount to much or are merely anecdotal. I would argue: The ones we know about may represent only the tip of the iceberg — the ones that make it into the local press. And, yes, they may die down as the country gets used to the idea of a President Obama. On the other hand: They could soar again as that reality nears.

So let me just briefly list the full range of episodes, which doesn’t even include several cross burnings on front lawns. These aren’t necessarily the worst but they do capture the national flavor/fever. Note that about 2 out of 3 took place in states that Obama won.

* In a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into “The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool,” saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. “Let’s hope we have a winner.”

* In Idaho, the Secret Service is investigating a “public hanging” sign erected by a man upset with the election outcome, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported Thursday. A handmade sign posted on a tree reads “FREE PUBLIC HANGING” written in large letters beneath a noose fashioned from nylon rope. The most prominent name on the sign is “OBAMA,” according to the Bee. “That’s a political statement. They can call it whatever they want, a threat or whatever,” the creator of the sign, Ken Germana, told the Bee.

* A popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day. The site, stormfront.org, was temporarily off-line on Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received. One poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, “I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how ‘messiahs’ come to rest.”

* From the Orange County (Ca.) Register: “Two gang members pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crime and attempted robbery charges in connection with the beating of a black man who was trying to buy cigarettes at a Fullerton liquor store.” The two men shouted racial and anti-Obama epithets in the attack.

* From today’s New York Times: “Two white Staten Island men face hate crimes charges after they were arrested on Friday in the beating of a black teenager on the night that Barack Obama was elected president, the police said on Saturday. The teenager, Alie Kamara, 17, was walking home on Pine Place in the Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton when several men hit him on the head with a baseball bat and yelled ‘Obama,’ said Aliya Latif, the civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who was in contact with Alie’s family since the attack and spoke to his mother on Saturday after the arrests were announced.”

* In Mississippi alone, the American Civil Liberties Union has received more than 10 calls since the staff first reported anti-Obama incidents last Friday, according to the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press.

* In Midland, Mich., a man dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia walked around toting a handgun and waving an American flag. Initially denying it, the man eventually admitted to police that the display was a reaction to the Obama victory. “[The man] had a concealed weapon permit and was walking up and down the sidewalk in front of a vehicle dealership while some motorists shouted obscenities at him and others shouted accolades,” police told The Saginaw News.

* Parents in Rexburg, Idaho, contacted school officials this week after they learned that 2nd and 3rd graders on a school bus were chanting, “Assasssinate Obama!”

* At the University of Texas in Austin, a racist post on Facebook has cost one student his place on the university football team, according to the Houston Chronicle. Buck Burnette, a sophomore offensive lineman for the fourth-ranked Texas Longhorns, was dismissed from the team on Nov. 5 after posting a racist remark about President-elect Obama as his “status” on the social networking Web site. Burnette posted: “All the hunters gather up, we have a [slur] in the White House,” the Chronicle reported.

* AP reports: “While the world watched a Grant Park celebration heralding the election of the first black U.S. president, some white Chicago police officers committed hate crimes against black residents cheering Barack Obama’s victory elsewhere in the city, attorneys alleged Thursday.” Lawsuits have been filed.

* At Appalachian State University, the administration has expressed disappointment at the numerous times black students have expressed being harassed in residence halls since the election. The Appalachian, a student newspaper serving the university, also reported conversations suggesting Obama may not be alive in 2009 and a t-shirt seen around campus that reads “Obama ’08, Biden ’09.”

* Mentioned in the same article, racist comments were discovered at North Carolina State University last week. Spray-painted in university’s free expression tunnel after the election were the phrases, “Kill that n…” and “Shoot Obama,” the Appalachian reported. The NAACP has called for the expulsion of the four students accused of the graffitti, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

* The Associated Press revealed on Wednesday, “Police on eastern Long Island are investigating reports that more than a dozen cars were spray painted with racist graffiti, reportedly including a message targeting President-elect Barack Obama. The graffiti included racist slurs and sexually graphic references. At least one resident in the quiet Mastic neighborhood told Newsday her son’s car was scribbled with a message threatening to kill Obama.”

* Employees at Hampel’s Key and Lockshop in Traverse City, Michigan, flew an American flag upside down last Wednesday protesting of the new president-elect, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. One worker used a racial slur during an interview with the Record-Eagle: “(The inverted flag is) an international signal for distress and we feel our country is in distress because the n—– got in,” said Hampel’s employee Rod Nyland, who later apologized for the comment, according to the Record-Eagle.

* Authorities in Temecula, Calif., found spray-painted graffiti on a city sidewalk containing a swastika and anti-Obama slogan. And from the Los Angeles Times: “Vandals spray-painted swastikas and racial slurs on a house and several cars in Torrance that displayed campaign signs or bumper stickers for President-elect Barack Obama, authorities said Tuesday. The incidents occurred Saturday night in the Hollywood Riviera section of the city, said Sgt. Bernard Anderson. Four separate incidents were reported the next day, he said. No arrests have been made.”

* And from Maine: “More than 75 people rallied Sunday against an incident last week in which black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island the day after Barack Obama won the presidential election,” according to the Bangor Daily News.

Source

I see the bigots and haters are coming out of the woodwork.

How sad it all is.

Many leaders around the world are thankful Barack Obama was elected. They see him as someone who they can communicate with on an intelligent level. They see him as someone who will strive for Peace as opposed to endless war.

Barack is well educated and very articulate. He knows the issues and has some great ideas.

I say let him lead and those who hate should really take a look at “What Bush left behind”.

White supremacy is ignorance at it’s finest and they are showing their true colors. Hate only promotes more hate.

They may hide under their sheets or behind their religion,  but they are still promoting their hate.

They are the great pretenders.  They always pretend to be something they are not. They just hate.

They know little if anything about love or who they hurt.  They hate for the sake of hating.

They are brainwashed from the day they are born. If they weren’t they are brainwashed by other haters.

They fill their heads with propaganda instead of truth. They follow blindly as if they were zombies.

They are taught not to think for themselves,  just to believe what the haters have taught them.

How sad. They never reach out to someone who may be the most wonderful person they could ever want to meet.

How lonely it is, to live in a world so small  and limited.

I just can’t imagine living with so much hate in my life.

I can’t imagine hating someone because of the color of their skin or religion or sexual preference.

I know people from all the above groups.  The love, they have to give is incredible.

I would never trade what I have to become some one who hates with such ignorance.

Everyone has a gift to give. The gifts given to me by my friends whether they be black, white, green, orange, yellow or the purple people eater, are love and understanding. I don’t really care what race or religion they are and I really don’t care who they sleep with.

None of it changes the kind of person they are. What is important is what is in their hearts.

None of the people I know don’t care about what color I am, religious beliefs I have, what race I am and they certainly could care less about who I sleep with either.

They judge me by what is in my heart.

Love begets Love, Hate begets hate.

I am loved by my friends and that is more important then anything else.

We love, we respect, we cherish and we understand each other.

What could be more rewarding?

I am purple with pink polka dots.

Got a problem with that?

Take it up with the creator. I was made that way. Just like the creator made everyone.

No one is better then anyone else.  We are all created equal. Then life takes over.

Threats Against Obama on the Rise

Hate Messages from KKK Rears Its Ugly Head On Long Island

Incident Follows Alleged Gang Bias Killing Of Man In Patchogue And Anti-Barack Obama Graffiti In Mastic

Hateful Newsletter Turns Up On Windshields And Driveways

This newsletter appeared in several driveways and on car windshields in the Long Island community of Islip Terrace on Nov. 12, 2008.

ISLIP TERRACE, N.Y. (CBS) ― Messages of hate were left at the front doors of homes in our area on Wednesday.

Residents on an Islip Terrace street said hate hit their driveways and doorsteps in the form of literature called “The Klansman’s Voice.” It is from the Ku Klux Klan and no one seems to know who delivered it to dozens of Suffolk County homes.

“Everything about it is scary to me,” preschool teacher Jill Thompsett said. “I just didn’t think it would be around here.”

Thompsett said she felt sick as she read all six pages of small type. It begins with a plea that everyone buy American-made products.

On page 1 the newsletter reads: “How much longer are you going to wait before you do something to help this problem we all have. Continue on this slippery slope and your children may be learning Spanish and Chinese in school.”

Then the focus shifts to immigration.

“The part, ‘Jose, we’re coming for you were going to get you,’ that’s the threat,” Thompsett said.

What she’s talking about is a passage from page 4 that says: “A bad storm is coming our way. Yes folks, things are going to become ugly for us — no doubt about it. But things are going to become very, very ugly for you, Jose.”

“A lot of typos a lot of ignorant people,” Thompsett said.

The biggest shocker was the inclusion of a business card that reads “join the KKK,” with a web address and an ominous P.O. box.

“State office in Babylon, N.Y. … Babylon, N.Y. … right here and that’s scary,” Thompsett said.

Suffolk County police are investigating this at a time when its Hate Crimes Unit is busy on several other cases, including one in Mastic, where dozens of cars were discovered with painted on death threats against President-elect Barack Obama.

“It’s something that, you know, we don’t tolerate in Suffolk County,” Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said.

The car cases have the attention of the U.S. Secret Service. To get a handle on the hate crimes across Suffolk County, police are calling on everyone to help to get these cases solved.

Last month KKK newsletters were left on the windshields of commuter cars at train stations in Deer Park and Babylon.

Source

This is one of the terrorist organizations in America.

Unfortunately there are more White Supremacy organizations.

Their message is that of  Hate.

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 12:21 am  Comments Off on Hate Messages from KKK Rears Its Ugly Head On Long Island  
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