zaterdag 29 december 2012

The Empire 881

Naomi Wolf: On making change

Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent
Occupy Oakland clashes
Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP
It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledgesOccupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat":
"FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conductingsurveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country."
"This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."
The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.
Jason Leopold, at, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration ofOccupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.
There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.
Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.
Why the huge push for counterterrorism "fusion centers", the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.

'Deskundigen' 68

Amerikanen zagen zichzelf als uitverkoren volk dat na veel ontberingen eindelijk het ‘beloofde land’ had bereikt.
Geert Mak. Reizen zonder John. Pagina 97.

Achter de mainstream-versie van de werkelijkheid schuilt de complexere werkelijkheid.

The percentage of Americans who joined Protestant churches increased sixfold between 1800 and 1860.

Hoe massaler de blanke binnendringers de indianen uitroeiden en hun land in beslag namen des te meer kolonisten de christelijke god begonnen te aanbidden. De grootscheepse misdaad moest door het ‘uitverkoren volk’ op de een of andere manier gelegitimeerd worden. Daarbij gold wat de auteurs van The Chosen Peoples. America, Israel and the Ordeals of Divine Election poneren:

If the hero incarnated a man’s duty to stand strong for an exceptional nation, he could rise to the Oval Office. Later, Herman Melville would capture this mood in Moby-Dick with a rhapsody to ‘immaculate manliness… that democratic dignity which… radiates without end from God Himself… thou just Spirit of Equality… thou great democratic God! who didst pick up Andrew Jackson (Amerikaanse president, bijgenaamd de ‘Indian-Killer’ svh) from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne!’ Jackson bore no small resemblance to Captain Ahab, the wouded, weathered warrior who maniacally, ruthlessly, violently seeks to subdue the natural world… it is in the nature of a nation that believes itself chosen to antagonize the unchoseen, to suspect them, test them, encroach upon them, and often enough go to war with them, as those on the other side of the vanishing boundary feel called upon to do the same reciprocally.
For most Americans who left any record of their views, there was no stopping with the Louisiana Purchase. As the market economy flourished, a nation whose citizens were increasingly individualistic would be bound together with an idea of a common destiny, a manifest destiny that was (to use an earlier term for America’s confidence in its truths) ‘self evident’ – a destiny that could be read off from the natural wonder on display in American territory.

Of om het kort samen te vatten:

Only a whole nation defined against outsiders could enfold a multiplicity of American ideals that ranged, not least, from slavery to abolition.

Zonder een gemeenschappelijke vijand kan de pluriforme VS met al zijn interne tegenstellingen tussen arm en rijk, machtig en machteloos, uitbuiters en slachtoffers niet bestaan. En om dit te verhullen werd de ideologie van het expanionisme gebruikt of, zoals John O’Sullivan het stelde, de journalist die de term ‘manifest destiny’ in 1845 voor het eerst gebruikte:

We are the nation of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward march? Providence is with us… the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles.

De ‘future history’ van de VS zou zijn ‘to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man – the immutable truth and beneficence of God.’ Het is niet verwonderlijk dat een dergelijk irrationeel geloof in de dagelijkse praktijk buitengewoon gevaarlijk uitwerkt. Manifest betekent immers onweerlegbaar, onomstotelijk, onaanvechtbaar, en op die manier gaat de VS dan ook te werk. Om een willekeurig, tamelijk recent, voorbeeld te geven: nadat in 1988 de Amerikaansde marine een Iraans verkeersvliegtuig neerschoot, waarbij alle 290 burgers, onder wie 66 kinderen, om het leven kwamen, verklaarde president Bush senior I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don't care what the facts are.’ De betreffende Amerikaanse commandant werd naderhand zelfs onderscheiden met ‘The Legion of Merit,’ om daarmee de Amerikaanse meedogenloosheid te onderstrepen tegenover degenen die niet ‘uitverkoren’ zijn.
We hebben hier te maken met dezelfde gedachtewereld als die van de Amerikaanse Senator Thomas Hart Benton waarbij de buitenstaander een verwaarloosbare rol speelt. In de negentiende eeuw verklaarde Benton dat de indianen net als de Mexicanen goed land ‘verspilden,’ terwijl de blanke kolonisten de grond gebruikten ‘according to the intentions of the Creator,’ en dat zij ‘children of Israel’ waren die ‘entered the promised land, with the implements of husbandry in one hand and the weapons of war in the other.’ Vandaar de veel gebruikte woorden van ook de huidige generatie presidenten: ‘God Bless America,’ al dan niet met de hand op het hart. De overtuiging uniek te zijn was en is wijd verspreid onder het Amerikaanse establishment. De dichter des vaderlands, Walt Whitman, schreef:

What has miserable, inefficient Mexico – with her superstition, het burlesque upon freedom, her actual tyranny by the few over the many – what has she to do with the great mission of peopling the new world with a noble race? Be it ours, to achieve that mission!

Zonder enige terughoudendheid was men openlijk racistisch over gekleurde volkeren die onderworpen konden worden aan de macht van de blanke protestantse christen als ‘another clinching proof of the indomitable energy of the Anglo-Saxon character.’  Een energie die schril afstak tegen de ‘ignorant, prejudiced, and perfectly faithless,’ katholieke Mexicanen. En daarom was het in ‘the interst of mankind that [America’s] territory should be extended – the farther the better. We claim those lands, thus, by a law superior to parchments and dry diplomatic rules,’ zo stelde Whitman meer dan een halve eeuw voordat de Britse dichter Rudyard Kipling de bloedige Amerikaanse onderdrukking van de Filipijnse bevolking bejubelde met woorden als deze: ‘Take up the White Man’s Burden. The savage wars of peace… Voor de elite die van de VS een hegemonistische wereldmacht wilde maken gold dat ‘America was simply too splendid, too intoxicating, to be taken as anything less than spectacularly entitled.‘ Het land moest expanderen, vandaar dat Lincoln en de noordelijke geldaristocratie bereid waren 625.000 Amerikanen op te offeren om de afgescheiden staten te dwingen binnen de federatie te blijven, overigens zonder enige juridische bevoegdheid daartoe. Expansie als de verlossing van de mensheid waarbij Lincoln verklaarde:

I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great strugle,

te weten: het behoud van de de federale macht in Washington. Omdat elke rationaliteit, behalve machtslust, hiervoor ontbrak was Lincoln aangewezen op metafysische begrippen als:

Divine Providence, the Providence of God,  that God who has never forsaken this people, the Divine Power, without whose aid we can do nothing, that Supreme Being who has never forsaken this favored land, the Maker of the Universe, Almighty God,

en meer van deze hoogdravende begrippen om het onvoorstelbare bloedbad te rechtvaardigen. Het is niet verwonderlijk dat, zoals de auteurs van The Chosen Peoples over Lincoln schreven,

As he assumed and endured responsibility for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the course of steering the Union through the Civil War, his latent religiosity came to the surface… The immensity of the Civil War brought to a boil the sense, shared in North and South alike, that America must have a providential role to play in God’s design… It became common to suggest that God must have a purpose in this war. The question was, what purpose? […] Lincoln found it politic to ally himself with the militant clergy. Some Protestant clergymen in the North went so far as to say that the war was hastening the millennium. More common was the humbler belief that America’s suffering marked it for a distinct mission.

Omdat het bloedoffer van 625.000 landgenoten toch gelegitimeerd moest worden en de de Emancipation Proclamation, waarbij de slavernij in de afgescheiden staten zou worden afgeschaft, pas twee jaar na het begin van de burgeroorlog door Lincoln als reden van de burgeroorlog werd afgekondigd, moest opnieuw een beroep worden gedaan op het metafysische en op een 'missie' om de hele mensheid te ‘verlossen’ :

Once the nation was purged of its original and besetting sin, what could stand in the way of that mission? The Chicago Tribune was not alone in expressing the judgement that the Civil War ‘is in its profoundest aspect, a religious contest… a war for Christian civilization, for God’s pure truth,’ and in wondering what subsequently ‘shall prevent the American Union from being, henceforth the crowning national work of the Almighty, the wonder of the world?’ […] the renowned theologian Horace Bushnell indulged in a one-man orgy of consecration on the theme that ‘without shedding of blood, there is almost nothing great in the world’ and thus that ‘the blood of our dead has… begotten… the possibility of… a true public greatness,’

een argument dat elke hedendaagse terrorist zou kunnen gebruiken. Opnieuw The Chosen Peoples:

Bushnell so effusively, so breathtakingly stirred together the themes of blood sacrifice, national destiny, and the Genesis and Christian frames as to warrant quotation at length. he declared that 'as when the flood of Noah recede… so the unity now to be developed, after this war-deluge is over, is even like to be more cordial. It will be no more thought of as a mere human compact… but it will be that bond of common life which God has touched with blood; a sacredly heroic, Providentially tragic unity, where God’s cherubim stand guard over grudges and hates and remembered jealousies, and the sense of nationality becomes even a kind of religion. […] In these rivers of blood we have now bathed our institutions, and they are henceforth to be hallowed in our sight. Government is now become Providential – no more a mere creature of our human will, but a grandly moral affair… What then shall we look for but for a new era now to break forth, a day of new gifts and powers and holy endowments from on high, wherein great communities and friendly nations shall be girded in sacrifice, for the cause of Christ their Master?'

Het bleef niet bij krijgszuchtige taal, het volk dat meer dan een half miljoen van zijn eigen mensen had opgeofferd, was bereid om miljoenen buitenlanders te vernietigen om de eigen doeleinden na te jagen. Bushnell’s rede weerklonk in een natie die wanhopig zichzelf overtuigde dat de oorlog het aantal slachtoffers waard was geweest. De Amerikaanse historica Drew Gilpin,  president of Harvard University:

The war’s staggering human cost demanded a new sense of national destiny, one designed to ensure that lives had been sacrificed for appropriately lofty ends.

In haar essay in Harvard Magazine getiteld In My Mind I Am Perplexed. The Civil War and the invention of modern death wees ze in 2008 op de continuiteit die na de Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog was ontstaan:

Killing was the essence of war. But it also challenged men’s most fundamental assumptions about the sanctity of their own and other human lives. Killing produced transformations that were not readily reversible—the living into the dead, most obviously, but the survivors into different men as well, men required to deny, to numb basic human feeling at costs they may have paid for decades after the war ended, as we know twentieth- and twenty-first-century soldiers from Vietnam to Iraq continue to do; men who, like James Garfield (Generaal tijdens Burgeroorlog en later Amerikaanse president. svh), were never quite the same again after seeing fields of slaughtered bodies destroyed by men just like themselves. […] We still live in the world of death the Civil War created. We take for granted the obligation of the state to account for the lives it claims in its service. The absence of next-of-kin notification, of graves registration procedures, of official provision for decent burial all seem to us unimaginable, even barbaric. The Civil War ended this neglect and established policies that led to today’s commitment to identify and return every soldier killed in the line of duty. But even as the Civil War brought new humanity—new attentiveness to ‘sentiment’—in the management of death, so too it introduced a level of carnage that foreshadowed the wars of the century to come. Even as individuals and their fates assumed new significance, so those individuals threatened to disappear into the bureaucracy and mass slaughter of modern warfare. We still struggle to understand how to preserve our humanity and our selves within such a world. We still seek to use our deaths to create meaning where we are not sure any exists. The Civil War generation glimpsed the fear that still defines us—the sense that death is the only end. We still work to live with the riddle that they—the Civil War dead and their survivors alike—had to solve so long ago.

En zo ontstond het wonderlijke beeld dat de VS de wereld moest verlossen van het kwaad, een efficient werkend argument om het Amerikaanse expansionisme te rechtvaardigen, terwijl het in werkelijkheid om economische motieven ging en nog steeds gaat, om het met geweld verkrijgen van nieuwe markten en vitale grondstoffen. Zelfs een intelligente abolitionistische zwarte leider als Frederick Douglass was ineens voorstander van manifest destiny,’ een ideologie van ‘sacred significance… to unify and reorganize the institutions of the country.’  Sterker nog:

The blow we strike is not merely to free a country or continent, but the whole world, from slavery; for when slavery falls here, it will fall everywhere… We are writing the statutes of eternal justice and liberty in the blood of the worst of tyrants as a warning to all aftercomers.

Het bloedoffer van de Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog, het opofferen van mensen voor een vermeend hoger doel, heeft logischerwijs diepe sporen achter gelaten in de geest van de Amerikanen. Gitlin en Leibovitz:

With the devaluing of individual life, amid all the carnage, came numbness, and after numbness came a surge of vigorous, aggressive, militaristic love for the nation that had suffered, and commanded, so much death.
One of the nonfiction best-sellers of the nineteenth century – it sold 130.000 copies during the first five years in print, and excerpts were widely reprinted in newspapers – was a millenarian tract by an Ohio missionary declaring: ‘Ours is the elect nation for the age to come. We are the chosen people. We cannot afford to wait. The plans of God will not wait.’

De predikant die dit beweerde, Josiah Strong, onderbouwde de ‘plannen’ van zijn protestants-christelijke god met de laatste wetenschappelijke kennis op het gebied van demografie en economische statistieken, de evolutietheorie van Charles Darwin en de ‘survival of the fittest’ theorie van de Britse filosoof Herbert Spencer. Om de Amerikaanse ‘mission’ op aarde waar te maken in ‘one of the closing stages in the world’s career,’ moest de VS alles in het werk stellen ‘to become God’s right arm in his battle with the world’s ignorance and oppression and sin.’ Of zoals de imperialistische president Theodore Roosevelt tijdens een toespraak in 1899 stelde, de Angel-Saksische Amerikanen moesten een ‘streneous life’ leiden. De Amerikaanse elite was net als vooraanstaande Amerikaanse geestelijken van mening dat ‘the Anglo-Saxon race… an instinct or genius for colonizing’ bezat en dat daarom ‘it is chiefly to the English and American peoples that we must look for the evangelization of the world.’ God was namelijk druk doende ‘the Anglo-Saxon race’ op te leiden ‘for an hour sure to come in the world’s future,’  voor het moment dus dat de mensheid de fase in zal gaan van ‘the final competition of races, for which the Anglo-Saxon is being schooled.’ Men was er diep van overtuigd dat de mens aan de vooravond stond van de lang gehoopte en verwachte  Verlossing van de Mensheid uit het Kwaad, en dat alles onder leiding van Washington en Londen. Deze gedachte komt telkens weer naar voren bij vooraanstaande Amerikaanse politici, als bijvoorbeeld president George W. Bush toen hij op 11 september 2001 sprak van ‘This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.’ En op een meer verhulde manier vinden we het terug bij de voormalige Democratische presidentskandidaat John Kerry toen hij het volgende zei: ‘The American spirit wears no political label. In service to others and yes, in sacrifice for out country, there are no Republicans; there are no Democrats; there are only Americans.’  Telkens weer duikt de religieuze terminologie op om de vermeende Amerikaanse ‘missie’ in de wereld te onderstrepen. Aan het begin van het Amerikaanse overzeese imperium, eind negentiende eeuw, stelde de Amerikaanse geestelijke Josiah Strong de volgende retorische vraag:

Is there room for reasonable doubt that this race, unless devitalized by alcohol and tobacco, is destined to dispossess many weaker races, assimilate others and mold the remainder, until, in the very true and important sense, it has Anglo-Saxonized mankind.

Blanke protestantse Amerikanen zagen zichzelf als een uitverkoren ‘master race,’ drie decennia voordat de Nazi’s zichzelf een ‘Herrenvolk’ betitelden. Dit geloof is bij de Amerikaanse protestantse aristocratie nooit verdwenen, en in feite geldt dit voor een aanzienlijk aantal Amerikanen. Het maakt daarbij niet uit of ze in een hogere macht geloven dan wel in de macht van geavanceerde technologische wapens. Meer daarover maandag.

vrijdag 28 december 2012

The Neoliberal Religion 59

Angelo Mozilo, Former Countrywide CEO, Claims He Doesn't Know What 'Verified Income' Is

Angelo Mozilo
Angelo Mozilo
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Another day, another corporate titan suffering from devastating amnesia. This time, the memory-loss patient is none other than Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial.
Deposed in the landmark lawsuit between the monoline insurer MBIA and Countrywide/Bank of America, Mozilo professed not to know the difference between "verified" income and "stated" income. He also made some incredible remarks regarding his notorious "Friends of Angelo" lending program, in which, among others, political figures like North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad and Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd received Countrywide mortgages on highly advantageous terms just because they were tight with the CEO.
As chief of Countrywide, Mozilo headed the single most corrupt subprime mortgage lender in America during the period preceding the crisis. Charged with mass fraud and headed for trial in October of 2010, Mozilo and the SEC ultimately settled four days before opening arguments were set to begin in Los Angeles. Ultimately, Mozilo got away with no jail time, paying a $67.5 million settlement, $20 million of which was covered by Countrywide, which by then had been acquired by Bank of America, a major bailout recipient. Just in the years between 2000 and 2008, Mozilo made over half a billion dollars – $521.5 million, according to one corporate research firm.
If you were going to assign blame to any single person for the financial crisis, Angelo Mozilo would rank right up there with people like Lehman's idiot CEO Dick Fuld, deranged credit-default-swap peddler Joe Cassano of AIG's Financial Products unit, and deregulatory pioneers like Bob Rubin and Phil Gramm. Mozilo's role, however, was probably the single most shameful, as he represented the conscious decision of mortgage underwriters to abandon lending standards in order to claim ever-larger chunks of market share.
Mozilo was actually deposed last June in the MBIA lawsuit, but the Mozilo depo only just became public recently. In the suit, the insurer claimed to have been fraudulently induced to insure mortgages that did not conform to Countrywide's stated underwriting standards. The "Friends of Angelo" program was therefore highly relevant to the MBIA action, because Mozilo was apparently unilaterally approving loans for people who didn't meet underwriting guidelines simply because Mozilo knew them.
In the deposition, Mozilo, demonstrating admirable chutzpah, claimed that the "FOA" program (which he denied was organized – "it was not a program," he said, adding that people would just put things on his desk marked "FOA") was not just for the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, but also for "taxi drivers" and other such ordinary folk:
Waiters, taxi drivers, limo drivers, stewardesses, gardeners – and I'd give them my card, and when they called, I put those loans into our underwriting system. My people decided to label "FOA." They were not friends. But it was business.
That the "business" also involved giving discounts of roughly $2,700 a year to Dodd and $10,000 a year to Conrad seems to be immaterial to Mozilo. In any case, in the deposition, he is asked about how the "Friends of Angelo" program worked. I'll add more to this later in the day, but to me this pair of passages is the money shot. Unfortunately, the names of the particular "friends" remain sealed by the court:
Q. Can you turn ahead to the document… dated April 6th, 2006… You say in that, in that request, you say: "Close the loan right away, and thank [REDACTED] for this business. He is a close, personal friend." Do you see that?
MR. SIEGEL: Hang on a second, Angelo, while I try to find this document.
THE WITNESS: Towards the end.
MR. SIEGEL: Oh, it's towards the end. Okay. Got it.
Q. Again, my question is: Do you see that you stated: "Close the loan right away, and thank [REDACTED] for this business. He is a close, personal friend"? Do you see that?
A. Yes.
Q. And was that true?
MR. SIEGEL: Question's irrelevant.
THE WITNESS: A close friend, yeah.
So we've established that Mozilo is okaying loans for close friends. Does he bend at all to get the deal done? Read for yourselves:
Q. Okay. And in the e-mail that came to you, do you notice that it states, in the list of attributes, "Verified income is $5,848 versus 20,833 stated"? Do you see that?
THE WITNESS: I don't see that.
Q. It's the sixth line up, seventh line up from the bottom.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Do you see that?
A. Yes.
Q. What does that mean, "Verified income is 5,848 versus 20,833 stated"?
A. I don't know.
Q. Doesn't it mean that he said on his application he earns 20,833 per month, whereas all Countrywide could verify was 5,848?
A. I'm not sure.
Q. You don't know. Did you know at the time?
A. Did I know in 2006? I don't know what I knew in 2006.
Again, more on this coming later today, but this is pretty rich stuff. Angelo Mozilo, onetime CEO of America's biggest mortgage originator, is claiming that he didn't know the difference between verified and unverified income.
This raises obvious questions – like for instance, how did he know how to answer this email, if he didn't know what it meant – but again, the more amazing thing is the balls. Here's a guy who wrecked more lives than anyone else in America in the mortgage crisis, got to keep virtually all of his ill-gotten gains, didn't do a day in jail, and then, when sued, testifies that he doesn't remember anything. And that will probably turn out to be an effective strategy for him. Amazing stuff.
There's more in there on FOA to come . . .

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