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How $65,000 was stolen from each American

The Federal Government can’t account for $21 trillion, does anybody care?

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Here are key excerpts from the most concise, accurate, and clearest, news-reports about something that almost all U.S. news-media have been completely hiding (issuing no reports about, though the theft indisputably happened and grows each year) — a theft of $65,000 from each American.

Consequently, this composite news-report (which is herewith being submitted to all U.S. news-media) will likewise probably be hidden by them. But, the few news-media that have already reported on this very important matter are linked-to here, and deserve great praise for having done so, because the vast majority still haven’t yet reported on this important matter, at all.

On September 10, 2001, then Secretary of the Department of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that for the 1999 DOD budget, “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” The War On Waste [was the CBS News report about this, dated 10 September 2001]. The following day the US sustained the terrorist attacks that forever changed our world, and this startling revelation was largely forgotten, until recently.

When a discrepancy occurs in an account that cannot be traced, it is usual to make what is called an undocumentable adjustment, or journal voucher. This is similar to when your balance is off by ten dollars when you reconcile your checkbook, so you add or subtract that amount to make everything balance with the bank. In 1999 the amount the Pentagon adjusted was eight times the DOD budget for that year, and one third greater than the total 1999 United States federal budget.

By 2015 the amount reported by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) had increased to $6.5 trillion for the Army only. [The 31 July 2016 article,] Pentagon’s Sloppy Bookkeeping Means $6.5 Trillion Can’t Pass an Audit[, by] Dr. Mark Skidmore, Professor of Economics at Michigan State University, [indicated that he] thought this made no sense and suspected an error in media reporting.

Looking into this issue by using data published on the government’s own websites, he found that $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported by DOD and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the years 1998-2015. That’s $65,000 for every person in AmericaHas Our Government Spent $21 Trillion Of Our Money Without Telling Us?

Jim Minnery of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service traveled the country in 2002 looking for records on $300 million. “We know it’s gone. But we don’t know what they spent it on,” he said. He says higher-ups covered up the problem by writing it off, and he was reassigned.

According to a 2013 Reuters report [“Special Report: The Pentagon’s doctored ledgers conceal epic waste”], the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a 1996 law [actually a 1992 law that took effect in 1996] that requires annual audits of all government departments.

The Pentagon has spent tens of billions of dollars to upgrade to new, more efficient technology in order to become audit-ready. But many of these new systems have failed, either unable to perform all the jobs they were meant to do or scrapped altogether.

That Reuters article says:

“Linda Woodford spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts. Every month until she retired in 2011, she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s – a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies. And every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from. For those, Woodford and her colleagues were told by superiors to take ‘unsubstantiated change actions’ – in other words, enter false numbers, commonly called ‘plugs,’ to make the Navy’s totals match the Treasury’s.”

This is also standard operating procedure for the other defense branches. Difficulties included a massive backlog of audits meant to ensure that vendor contracts had been fulfilled.

In a December interview on USAWatchdog (Dr. Mark Skidmore – $21 Trillion Missing from US Federal Budget), an online news outlet run by former CNN and ABC News correspondent Greg Hunter, Dr. Skidmore said he frequently consults for local governments, and undocumentable adjustments, while common, are never more than one percent of the budget. In the case of the Army in 2015, the adjustment was over 50 times their budget for that year.

Of the missing $21 trillion he discovered, $11.5 trillion was for the Army, usually on the expenditure side. But in the 2016 OIG report for 2015, he found a single transfer from the Treasury to the Army of $800 billion when their budget was only $122 billion. The additional $688 billion had not been appropriated by Congress, and the Army doesn’t know what it was spent on.

Skidmore talked with OIG but could never make contact with anyone who had worked on the report. He also talked with the Congressional Budget Office and the General [actually “Government”] Accountability Office.

They said if there was a problem there would be Congressional hearings. Donald Rumsfeld did testify before Congress in 2005, but no substantive answers were forthcoming. 2.3 Trillion Dollars Missing from DOD Day before 911 2001 Rumsfeld LIES [A] short time later, Dr. Skidmore discovered that the online links to all the relevant documents he had researched had been disabled. Fortunately he had made copies and they are available at Solari.comDOD and HUD Missing Money: Supporting Documentation In his Watchdog interview he made a public appeal. “If you have a background in accounting or bookkeeping, please take a look at it. We need your help. Does this make any sense to you? The Federal Reserve is the fiscal agent for the Federal Government. I think if we wanted we could see the flow of resources through the Fed.”

After Dr. Skidmore made the document removals known, they were put back up online in a different location.
He further explains that:

“These reports are not at all transparent. It’ll say for example there are thousands of missing records. Not just missing but records appear to be erased. But there’s no indication of how much money would be associated with those records that we can’t see. Similarly the one report for the Army at 6.5 trillion dollars, it’ll say something like, there were 170 unsupported journal voucher adjustments that account for two billion dollars and then it stops. In my mind I’m thinking the next step would be to go into those 170. 170 doesn’t seem like that many to look into. Why don’t we go and look?”

“These government documents say we have inadequate computing systems that don’t talk to one another. That we have incompetence at some level. We have explanations of erased records and computing error and inadequate audit trails.”

Greg Hunter: “You’re not saying they’re incompetent.”

Mark Skidmore: “Yeah, I’m not saying that. That’s what they’re suggesting. In my experience with people within the Federal Government, that is not the case. They are not that stupid. They are very sharp. And many of them care about what’s going on and want to do a good job. That’s my personal experience. I’m sure that there is some level of people who aren’t as competent as they could be, but there are many competent people and typically those people are the ones who are appointed to positions of responsibility. But that’s what these reports say.”

Greg Hunter: “We lost 21 trillion and we’re just stupid. I mean that’s just what they’re saying.”

Mark Skidmore: “For me it’s like how can we have these kinds of adjustments and this massive amount of money? It doesn’t make sense to me. …

On 22 November 2013, McClatchy bannered “Pentagon’s bosses thwart accurate audit of DOD’s main accounting office”, and reported that the whistleblowing former Defense Finance and Accounting Service accountant, Jim “Minnery described a lucrative audit mill in which private certified public accounting firms make millions of dollars each year providing financial seals of approval that the Pentagon and other federal agencies then point to as proof that their congressionally approved funds are not mismanaged. ‘The reason the Defense Department gets these clean audits is because these firms that audit them want to do more business with the Pentagon,’ he said.” So: the higher-ups at the ‘Defense’ Department are the ones applying pressure to keep the Deparment’s books fraudulent, like they are.

Here are the gory details, the documentation of the dollar-amounts that have been faked (untraceable):

>And here are my analyses of what’s behind all this, and of whom the chief beneficiaries of these massive thefts from the public have been (my hypotheses, of what and who and how has caused this theft of $65,000 from each person in America):

“How the Military Controls America”

“Taxpayer-Funded Mercenaries Serving Both U.S. & Foreign Aristocracies”

To summarize the argument in my two articles: the U.S. military controls American foreign policies, in order to maximize sales-volumes for the corporations that really pay, in retirement, the bulk of the top-brass’s lifetime income; and so those generals — even while being paid by the Government; i.e., on the government-side of the revolving door between ‘public’ service and ‘the private sector’ — are actually mainly salespeople for those private firms, getting contracts for all those unnecessary weapons.

How else, for example, could the narrative that’s documented in the 2013 Reuters report, “Special Report: The Pentagon’s doctored ledgers conceal epic waste”, make sense? Those generals were doing what their arms-merchant masters needed to be done in order to puff-up American military spending to become now around half of the entire world’s military spending.

Here (click on this link) are the top 100 sellers to the U.S. military.

The top 5 U.S. military contractors (Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman) = 32.44% of the total military sales to the U.S. Government.

The top 10 = 40.74% of the total such sales.

So, in order starting at the very largest, here are the top 10 beneficiaries of this system: Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies, BAE, L-3, Huntington Ingalls, Humana.

Adding in the next 10, adds only around another 6% to that nearly 33%, and they are, also in order: Bechtel, Unitedhealth, McKesson, Healthnet, Bell-Boeing, SAIC, AmerisourceBergen, Textron, Booz Allen, GE.

So: U.S. military purchases are highly concentrated in only the top 5 (Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman), which, collectively, sell around a third of all U.S. military purchases. The clout that these five gigantic firms have is about half as much as all of the others combined; and, since there are only 5 of them, they can coordinate amongst themselves much more easily than the dozens of those others can; so, these 5 firms (perhaps in conjunction with America’s big oil firms, and other big international extractive industries) probably effectively control the U.S. Government’s foreign policies (i.e., decide which countries will be invaded, what weapons will need to be purchased in order to do that, etc.).

Though the taxpayer-costs are costs to the public, the corporate-stock-value growth and dividends, etc., are private gains to the controlling owners. This system is called “capitalism.” And that is capitalism explained as “imperialism” — the international, instead of (as is more typical) as the domestic, economy. It’s international capitalism, instead of merely national capitalism. It is the aristocracies that profit from invasions and from military occupations. The biggest losers from this are the countries that become invaded and occupied — destroyed — by these aristocracies.

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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