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U.S.: Clawbacks Without Claws
by Gretchen MorgensonNew York Times
September 10th, 2011
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 encouraged the Securities and Exchange Commission to fine corporate executives if they certified financial results that turned out to be bogus. The record suggests a bark decidedly worse than its bite. The SEC has filed cases against 31 executives at only 20 companies so far and recovered a total of $12.2 million from nine former executives to date.

LIBERIA: Hunting for Liberia’s Missing Millions
by Doreen CarvjalNew York Times
May 30th, 2010
How much money did Charles G. Taylor, the deposed president of Liberia, siphon out of his war-shattered country, and where is it? Investigators are developing a new strategy involving filing civil damage claims against companies, governments and international banks that they contend aided Mr. Taylor in illegal transactions.

NIGERIA: Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it
by John VidalThe Guardian (UK)
May 30th, 2010
With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. More oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the current BP/Transocean oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

US: Oil Hits Home, Spreading Arc of Frustration
by Campbell Robertson, Clifford Krauss and John M. BroderNew York Times
May 24th, 2010
More than a month has passed since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up, spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico and frustrating all efforts to contain it. The disaster underscores the enduring laxity of federal regulation of offshore operations and has shown the government to be almost wholly at the mercy of BP and of Transocean, the company leasing the rig.

US/AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
by Mark MazzettiNew York Times
May 15th, 2010
Top military officials continue to rely on a secret network of private spies set up by Michael D. Furlong, despite concerns about the legality of the operation. A New York Times review found Mr. Furlong’s operatives still providing information, with contractors still being paid under a $22 million contract, managed by Lockheed Martin and supervised by a Pentagon office.

US: U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits
by Ian UrbinaNew York Times
May 13th, 2010
The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

US: BP Is Criticized Over Oil Spill, but U.S. Missed Chances to Act
by Campbell Robertson and Eric LiptonNew York Times
April 30th, 2010
The Obama administration began Friday to publicly chastise BP America for its handling of the spreading oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials initially seemed to underestimate the threat of a leak, just as BP did last year when it told the government such an event was highly unlikely.

US: Oil Spill’s Blow to BP’s Image May Eclipse Costs
by Clifford Krauss New York Times
April 29th, 2010
BP says that the offshore drilling accident that is spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico could cost the company several hundred million dollars. Nobody really knows whether the oil giant is being too conservative about the cost for the April 20 accident, which some experts say could end up as the biggest oil spill in history.

US: Financial Debate Renews Scrutiny on Banks’ Size
by Sewall ChanNew York Times
April 20th, 2010
One question has vexed the Obama administration and Congress since the start of the financial crisis: how to prevent big bank bailouts. In the last year and a half, the largest financial institutions have only grown bigger, mainly as a result of government-brokered mergers. They now enjoy borrowing at significantly lower rates than their smaller competitors, a result of the bond markets’ implicit assumption that the giant banks are “too big to fail.”

US: Courts Take On Campaign Finance Decision
by Adam LiptakNew York Times
March 26th, 2010
Two federal courts here issued decisions on Friday addressing the impact of Citizens United, January’s big Supreme Court campaign finance ruling, on a new issue — whether the government may constitutionally restrict the size of contributions to groups that spend money to support political candidates.

AFGHANISTAN/US: Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants
by DEXTER FILKINS and MARK MAZZETTINew York Times
March 15th, 2010
Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States. The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives.

US: Obama's Budget Calls for Billions in New Spending for Drones
by Jason LeopoldTruthout
February 2nd, 2010
Shares of major US defense contractors including Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman rose upon the unveiling of President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2011 spending plan for the Pentagon, part of the president's overall $3.8 trillion budget proposal. More than $2 billion will be used to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, blamed for a significant rise in civilian casualties in the "war on terror."

US: Idea of company-as-person originated in late 19th century
by Martha C. WhiteWashington Post
January 31st, 2010
The Supreme Court's 5 to 4 decision in Citizens United v FEC rolled back long-standing restrictions on corporate campaign finance donations. At the crux of the decision was a determination that corporations have a right to free speech. The court ruled that limiting the amount that companies can spend promoting their favored candidates is tantamount to denying First Amendment rights.

US/KUWAIT: Settlement possible in military contractor fraud case
by Bill RankinAtlanta Journal-Constitution
January 29th, 2010
Kuwaiti firm Agility (formerly Public Warehousing) indicted here for overcharging the Army on an $8.5 billion contract is negotiating a possible settlement with the Justice Department. On Nov. 9, a federal grand jury in Atlanta indicted the firm on charges it gouged the U.S. government by overcharging on its contract to supply food to American troops in Iraq.

UK: U.K. to Crack Down on Tax Evasion in Developing Countries
by Laurence NormanWall Street Journal
January 26th, 2010
The U.K. government will on Wednesday set out proposals to broaden the crackdown on tax evasion to benefit developing countries, setting a year-end deadline for a U.K.-led multilateral tax-information-sharing accord with emerging nations. That could eventually open the way for multination tax-information accords, which would include former tax havens, developed and developing nations.

US: Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit
by Adam LiptakNew York Times
January 21st, 2010
Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

US: Banks Set for Record Pay
by STEPHEN GROCERWall Street Journal
January 14th, 2010
Major U.S. banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their people about $145 billion for 2009, a record sum that indicates how compensation is climbing despite fury over Wall Street's pay culture.

US/IRAQ: U.S. Companies Join Race on Iraqi Oil Bonanza
by TIMOTHY WILLIAMSNew York Times
January 13th, 2010
American companies have been arriving in Iraq to pursue an expected multibillion-dollar bonanza of projects to revive the country’s petroleum industry. But there are questions about the Iraqi government’s capacity to police the companies. “These are for-profit concerns and they are trying to make as much money as they can,” said Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch.

NIGERIA: Ex-militant leader heads SPDC’s patrol team
by Chris EjimNigerian Compass
January 8th, 2010
Authorities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) have unveiled a new security strategy for securing oil pipelines and platforms within the Niger Delta region. Shell has appointed former MEND militant commander, Eris Paul, and his company, Eristex Pipeline Patrol, to secure oil facilities in the Southern Ijaw area of the Delta.

US: Judge dismisses all charges in Blackwater shooting
by Associated PressLos Angeles Times
December 31st, 2009
A federal judge has dismissed all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards charged in a deadly Baghdad shooting.

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