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“Woke Companies” Are Funding Both Black Lives Matter and The Police

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A new report from the Public Accountability Initiative exposes how corporate America is actually bankrolling police departments across the country, many of which are the same businesses that claim to be supporting Black Lives Matter.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jaime Dimon very publicly took a knee outside a New York branch of his bank in early June, to support Black Lives Matter. Dimon also circulated a memo declaring the bank’s alleged “dedication” to struggling against injustice. “Let us be clear — we are watching, listening, and want every single one of you to know we are committed to fighting against racism and discrimination wherever and however it exists,” Dimon and the company’s diversity chief wrote.

JPMorgan wasn’t the only company to back Black Lives Matter as a PR move. Two oil giants also joined in on the new “woke” message that Black Lives Matter attempting to reframe their image. Marathon Petroleum, the U.S.’s 22nd largest business according to Fortune magazine, its public Facebook page, declared itself to “stand firmly against racism, intolerance and hate of any kind.” “Commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. is one way we’re encouraging learning and empathetic dialogue among our employees, as we work together to identify meaningful ways we can make progress,” the company wrote.

Chevron a company responsible for oil spills in Ecuador which have refused to pay the Amazonians for damages also tried to emphasize with the movement. “Black lives matter,” it said via Twitter, sharing words from its CEO Mike Wirth, who claimed he, “shared the anger and pain felt by so many Americans at the recent killings of unarmed black men and women.” “Racism and brutality,” he added, “have no place in America.”

However, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s new study these companies were responsible for bankrolling police departments across the U.S, by giving money to police foundations. The corporations essentially bought weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for law enforcement adding to the struggle of police brutality enabling it in essence.

“These companies, which rely on extraction and exploitation to secure their profits, have an incentive to form tight bonds with police forces, which function to uphold and protect their interests in the face of community opposition. In many states, these companies go so far as to back laws to criminalize protests of dirty energy projects such as pipelines, openly weaponizing the police and criminal justice system to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry and the banks that fund them,” Public Accountability Initiative write.

For instance, JP Morgan Chase is an official “corporate partner of police” according to the report. In fact, in 2011 during the Occupy Wall St protests the financial institution donated $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. Marathon, a company synonymous in Michigan with polluting communities of color, also has a close relationship with the police, its Security Director sitting on the board of Detroit’s police foundation. Meanwhile, Chevron is a top corporate sponsor of police departments all over the country, including in New Orleans, Houston, and Salt Lake City. Together, these companies not only donate huge sums to law enforcement but also sponsor events and galas celebrating the institution, reminding the public, in the report’s words, “that police power is backed up by corporate power.”

The list funding police is way larger than just these three companies, according to the report, these are some of the other companies supporting police departments across the U.S. The report expresses that the “fossil fuel industry” and many of the most powerful private utilities and financial institutions that drive environmental injustice are also backers of police departments. These companies include — Shell, Blackrock, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo to name a few.

Shell is a “Featured Partner” of the New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation and a sponsor of the Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol.

BlackRock’s Larry Fink is a big supporter of the one of the most powerful police foundations in the US, the NYC Police Foundation. Not only is Fink a donor to the foundation, but he has also co-chaired its annual gala from 2016 to 2019. Color of Change, which calls itself “the nation’s largest online racial justice organization,” is currently demanding that Fink and BlackRock stop supporting the foundation.

Bank of America is a sponsor of the Philadelphia Police Foundation and has seats on the Chicago, NYC, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police foundation boards. Its charitable arm has given $200,000 to the NYC Police Foundation, $51,250 to the Atlanta Police Foundation, $25,000 to the Boston Police Foundation, $10,000 to the Los Angeles Police Foundation, and smaller donations to police foundations in Sarasota, Duluth, Sacramento, and elsewhere.

Wells Fargo is a platinum sponsor and has two board seats with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation. It is also a partner and donor to the Seattle Police Foundation, a director and sponsor of the Atlanta Police Foundation, and a donor to the Salt Lake City Police Foundation.

These “woke” corporations like — JPMorgan Chase, Chevron, and Marathon claim to be supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, however, their money trail to police, the report expresses helps to “tyrannize the very communities” these corporate entities are claiming to stand with against injustice.

There are way too many to list here in this article, see the unsurprising list exposing corporate America compiled by LittleSis.org here.

Alex Baldridge is an activist and freelance journalist from the midwestern United States who was inspired to become a writer after watching the development of the Wikileaks story and the persecution of Julian Assange. Alex is especially interested in topics like surveillance, the rise of automation, foreign policy, prison reform, and the legal system.

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Colombian Govt Wants To Legalize Cocaine And Then Sell It

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This article was originally published On Dec 3, 2020

Colombia is one of the most notorious producers of cocaine in the world, despite the fact that the country has gone to great lengths in hopes of diminishing the trade of the drug trade within its borders.

Now, some members of the Columbian government are proposing a new approach. They are calling for the drug to be legalized and for the government to take control of the industry for themselves.

In a new bill first proposed earlier this year, senators Iván Marulanda and Feliciano Valencia call for the Colombian government to take total control of the cocaine industry to bolster public funds and cut violent cartels out of the trade.

In a recent interview with VICE, Marulanda explained that the government would purchase coca at market price from the 200,000 farming families that are believed to be involved in the trade.

The senators argued that it would actually be cheaper for authorities to buy the crop from the farmers than it would for them to destroy their crops. It costs the government roughly $1 billion every year to destroy coca crops, while it would only cost about $680 million to buy it.

The thing is, we have to recover control over the state. We’re losing control of the state to corruption, narcos in politics. They’re in municipalities, in departments and in congress. All the way to the highest echelons of government,” Marulanda explained.

From here, the state would supply cocaine to users and research groups looking to study its use for painkillers, but it would not be sold recreationally. However, cocaine use is already legal in Columbia, after a court ruled that personal consumption was a human right.

Marulanda is not sure if his bill will make an impact, or how long it will take to gain traction, but he is hoping to make it a major election issue in 2022.

‘The first big obstacle is to open up the conversation among public opinion. This has been a giant taboo. Colombians are born and raised under this assumption that drug-trafficking is a war. There’s no information about coca and cocaine. So, with this bill we hope to open the conversation,” he explained.

In recent years, the government has stepped up their military-police-style enforcement of the industry, and yet cocaine production continues to grow in the country.

Coca cultivation reached 212,000 hectares last year, a rise of nearly 2% from 208,000 hectares the year before, according to figures released by the White House in March. Potential pure cocaine production, meanwhile, rose to 951 metric tons, an 8% increase, according to the Associated Press.

“It’s pretty remarkable that they manually eradicated 100,000 hectares last year and didn’t move the needle,” Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America think tank said earlier this year. “I guess it means replanting has at least kept pace.”

It seems that no matter what the government does, the cocaine keeps on coming, so politicians are willing to try things that may drastic. However, as Marulanda pointed out in his interview with Vice, cutting out the criminal middlemen will reduce the violence seen in the country’s drug war, and also make the drug safer for the people who use it.

UPDATE: Historic win for coca/cocaine regulation Bill in Colombian Senate – 22nd April 2021

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Another Little Black Book That Once Belonged To Epstein With New Names Is Found

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It is well-known that the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein kept detailed records of all the powerful people that he stayed in contact with. There is a notorious “little black book” that was published by Gawker in 2015, which exposed many of the powerful people in his circle. This book is believed to contain the contacts that he most frequently called around 2004 and 2005. However, a new list of contacts, recently published by The Insider, reveals new names that were friends with Epstein in the 1990s.

The new black book has the names of 349 people, many of whom did not appear in the list that was previously released to the public.

Among the names on the list are Suzanne Ircha, who’s married to Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, famous wall street investor Carl Icahn, supermarket owner John A. Catsimatidis, actress Morgan Fairchild, former New Republic owner Marty Peretz; and Cristina Greeven, the wife of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.

The new black book was made public through a strange twist of fate. A woman initially found the book in the late 1990s and saved it for many years until she finally sold it on eBay.

Denise Ondayko, the woman who found the book, said she was walking down Fifth Avenue in the mid-’90s when she spotted a black address book on the ground. She said that she didn’t realize it was Epstein’s book at the time, because he was pretty much unknown to the public, but she did realize that it had a lot of famous names and figured that it might be worth something, so she held onto it.

Last year, Ondayko was cleaning out an old storage unit where she was keeping some of her things and she stumbled upon the book. Now that Epstein was all over the news, the information contained in the book was much more obvious to identify.

Ondayko said she reached out to everyone in the media that she could, including John Oliver, Rachel Maddow, and The New York Times, but none of them ever got back to her, so she eventually just put it up for sale on eBay.

The buyer was Chris Helali, an aspiring politician from Vermont. He purchased the book for $425.

Helali also tried reaching out to the media, including journalists that were already reporting on Epstein, but none of them seemed interested. Finally, Nick Bryant, the reporter who wrote the original Gawker black book story forwarded the book to the Insider who decided to publish.

Insider hired Dennis Ryan, a former forensic document examiner and laboratory supervisor for the Nassau County Police Department, to verify the authenticity of the book. Ryan says that the book is definitely from the late 90s, and many of the dates and addresses match up perfectly with Epstein’s properties and known contacts at the time.

The Insider also reached out to dozens of contacts listed in the book who had never previously been publicly associated with Epstein. Fourteen acknowledged on the record that they knew or had met Epstein in the ’90s.

There are over 120 names that appear in both books, including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Some of the other names included, Steve Rattner, Beth Anne Bovino, Dominique Bluhdorn, Jill Harth, Ted Field, Robert Nunnery, Stanley Shopkorn, Steve Ruchevsky, Ellen Susman, William and Ann Nitze, Les Gelb, Ron Daniel, Sandy Warner, Cyril Fung, Marius Fortelni, Michael Cutlip. Many of these names aren’t necessarily famous, but they are very powerful people in business and finance.

The address book is now available in a searchable database on the Insider, but it is unfortunately hidden behind a paywall.

 

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Ghislaine Maxwell’s Lawyers Cite Cosby Case As Precedent To Have Her Released From Prison

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Last week, former actor Bill Cosby was released from prison on a technicality, despite the fact that he admitted to drugging and assaulting multiple women, and was accused by many others. After his release, legal experts warned that the ruling could set a dangerous precedent that attorneys in similar cases would use to get their clients released as well.

Now, just a week later, Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers are arguing that she should have her case thrown out on the same grounds, according to The Guardian.

Cosby was released because the prosecutor involved initially didn’t press any charges, and claimed that Cosby would not be facing any legal trouble, so when Cosby later confessed, his confession was called into question and no longer admissible in court. The judge also ruled that Cosby had no chance of a fair trial because evidence that was not admissible was so freely available in the media that the jury was unable to make a judgment without considering those facts.

Photo: AP

Maxwell’s case is similar because the first time that Epstein was arrested for human trafficking, he was given a sweetheart deal by Alex Acosta, a friendly prosecutor. The deal helped Epstein avoid any serious jail time, but it also gave him and his associates legal protection from being held accountable for any future crimes.

Obviously, it is not possible to shield a criminal from the consequences of actions that they will take in the future, so Epstein was arrested again many years later after it was discovered that he continued his crimes long after his initial arrest. If Epstein and his friends did have any kind of immunity from that deal, it ended when they continued to commit crimes after the deal was made.

Still, Maxwell’s lawyers are optimistic after Cosby’s recent release.

“The government is trying to renege on its agreement and prosecute Ms Maxwell over 25 years later for the exact same offenses for which she was granted immunity,” Maxwell’s lawyers wrote in a statement to Judge Alison Nathan.

However, the judge has previously ruled that the deal did not apply to the current case.

In an opinion piece for the New York Daily News, Maxwell’s attorney David Oscar Markus wrote that releasing Bill Cosby from prison was the right decision, and that Ghislaine Maxwell should be released as well. Markus argued that prosecutors should have to keep the promises that they make to suspects, because people will sometimes incriminate themselves if they think they have immunity.

However, many times prosecutors are corrupt and make promises that are against the best interests of the public, as we saw in Jeffrey Epstein’s first “sweetheart deal” with Alex Acosta while he was district attorney in Southern, Florida. Prosecutors are lawyers, they aren’t the judge and jury, and they shouldn’t hold this much power in a case this serious.

Judge Alison Nathan has not yet responded to the recent request, but she did condemn the recent opinion piece that was published by her lawyers in the New York Daily News earlier this week.

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