Friday, July 28, 2017

Foster Care & Human Trafficking By The Numbers


The video failed to mention the boys, foster care & adoption.

These data are taken from the kids they found.

There is no mention to the missing data or margin of error in reporting.


Foster Care & Human Trafficking


FACTSHEET: FOSTER CARE AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?

A system to care for children who are (a) removed from their parents/guardians, or (b) surrendered to the state by their parents. These children are placed with non-relative foster families, relatives, or group homes and institutions in exchange for a stipend.
Foster care is supposed to be short-term until either the child is reunified with the biological family (when conditions are safe) or is adopted by a loving family. However, the average length in foster care is nearly two years. Some children are never reunified or adopted. They spend their childhood with no real family.
Snapshot of Foster Care: 2013United StatesCalifornia
# of foster children on September 30th399,45654,388
…as % of all children0.5%0.5%
# of children waiting for adoption101,71913,000
# of new terminated parental rights58,5876,578
# of children adopted52,0396,208
Average age of foster child9.111

 WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Human trafficking is a criminal business that profits from enslaving people for sexual servitude and forced labor. It is said to be a $32 billion worldwide industry, and the fastest growing and second largest criminal enterprise in the world today (second only to drug trafficking and tied with illegal arms).
Human Trafficking Numbers In California
72% of 1,277 victims identified are from the United States
Average age of entry to sexual exploitation:
Boys: 11 to 13 years
Girls: 12 to 14 years

WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN FOSTER CARE AND SEX TRAFFICKING?

Foster care children are targeted by traffickers because of their need for love, affirmation, and protection.
Victims are trained to call sex traffickers “daddies” and themselves “wifies” – a perverted reflection of the family unit that these children are seeking.  These children long for a family…even if it means being subjected to extreme violence and abuse.
Selling America’s Foster Youth and Children
In 2012, studies estimate that between 50 and 80 percent of commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) in California are or were formally involved with the child welfare system.
58% of 72 sexually trafficked girls in Los Angeles County’s STARS Court in 2012 were foster care kids
In Alameda County, 41% of 267 victims in 2011-2012 were foster care kids


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Rep. Runestad seeks public input on child custody reforms

Image result for jim runestad
Michigan House Judiciary Chairman,
Jim Runestad
Michigan State Rep. Jim Runestad has scheduled two public meetings to gather input on proposed child custody reforms.
Runestad, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is working on legislation establishing shared custody with equal parenting time as the starting point for all child custody deliberations in Michigan.
“I want to get as much input as possible from people involved with the family court system throughout our state, including parents, attorneys and other experts,” said Runestad, of White Lake. “This information will allow me to move forward and make meaningful reforms that improve child custody laws in Michigan.”
Public meetings will be at the following times and locations:
·         Aug. 21 at Studio D2D, 401 Hall St. SW in Grand Rapids, from 6 to 8 p.m.
·         Aug. 22 at Antonio’s Cucina Italiana, 2220 N. Canton Center Road in Canton, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Anyone unable to attend one of the meetings is encouraged to contact Runestad’s office at (517) 373-2616 or email JimRunestad@house.mi.gov.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Calls For Special Investigation of Loretta Lynch, James Comey & Hillary Clinton


Letter of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a plethora of matters connected to the 2016 election and its aftermath, including actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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Guardianship Firm and its Principals Charged with Federal Conspiracy, Fraud, Theft and Money Laundering Offenses

Welcome to the world of child welfare fraud.

This case also included adults who have aged out of foster care.

Now, stand up and bow down in humble honor to the work of the U.S. Department of Justice, Albuquerque Division for taking these nefarious fraudfeasors out and returning the assets to the people.

This goes on in every state in the United States and the time has come to end it.

Twenty-Eight Count Indictment Alleges that Co-Founders of Ayudando Guardians, Inc., Embezzled Millions from Client Accounts to Support Lavish Lifestyles


U.S. Marshals Service Assumes Control of Ayudando Guardians, Inc.,
to Ensure Continuity of Services for Special Needs Clients

ALBUQUERQUE – Federal law enforcement officials today announced the filing of conspiracy, fraud, theft and money laundering charges against Ayudando Alpha, Inc., d/b/a “Ayudando Guardians, Inc.” (Ayudando), and its co-founders, Susan Harris, 70, and Sharon Moore, 62, both residents of Albuquerque, N.M. The charges, which are contained in a 28-count indictment, arise out of an alleged decade-long sophisticated scheme to embezzle funds from client trust accounts managed by Ayudando, a non-profit corporation that provides guardianship, conservatorship and financial management services to hundreds of individuals with special needs.

According to the indictment, Ayudando – which means “helping” in Spanish – receives government benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of many of its clients, and acts as a fiduciary or representative payee for these clients by paying their expenses and maintaining the balances for the benefit of the clients. The indictment alleges that Harris and Moore, the primary owners and operators of Ayudando, have embezzled millions of dollars from their special needs clients to support lavish lifestyles for themselves and their families.

The charges against Ayudando, Harris and Moore are the result of an ongoing multi-agency investigation by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), VA Office of Inspector General and SSA Office of Inspector General. This morning federal law enforcement agents arrested Harris and Moore. Harris and Moore made their initial appearances in federal court in Albuquerque this morning. They are scheduled to return to court at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, July 20, 2017, to be arraigned on the indictment and for detention hearings.

Federal authorities also enforced a federal court order that authorized the USMS’s Complex Assets Unit to assume control of Ayudando’s business operations. The court order appoints the USMS as the Receiver and Monitor of Ayudando, including all its financial accounts. The order authorizes the USMS to operate the business to ensure that its assets are not improperly spent or removed, and that the interests of Ayudando clients are protected as the prosecution of the criminal case goes forward. The USMS’s operation of Ayudando will ensure continuity of services for Ayudando clients.

The charges against Ayudando, Harris and Moore were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney, U.S. Marshal Conrad E. Candelaria, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr., of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Carl D. Scott of the Criminal Investigations Division of the VA’s Office of Inspector General, and Special Agent in Charge Robert Feldt of the Dallas Field Division of the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General.

In making the announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney said, “This case is all about the victims. The victims in this case relied upon Ayudando to manage their finances and meet their needs. If the allegations in the indictment are true, the principals of Ayudando cruelly violated the trust of their clients and looted their benefits. Federal law enforcement has now stepped in to ensure that the looting stops. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners will conduct this prosecution in a manner that provides for the continued receipt of benefits by Ayudando’s clients, while holding the principals of the company accountable for their conduct.”

“This morning the U.S. Marshals Service assumed control of Ayudando’s business operations to ensure that the victims of the crimes charged in the indictment, which include our disabled veterans, and other Ayudando clients will continue to receive the services they deserve and are entitled to,” said U.S. Marshal Conrad E. Candelaria. “The U.S. Marshals Service also will continue to assist its law enforcement partners in the continuing investigation.”

“Many of our most vulnerable Americans, such as those with special needs, trust fiduciaries to handle their government benefits for them. Unfortunately, there are plenty of criminals willing to steal what could be a person’s only source of income, using the money to support a lavish lifestyle,” said Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. “The FBI, working with our law enforcement and government partners, is committed to bringing to justice those individuals whose greed destroys the lives and dreams of innocent people.”

“The indictment alleges that, instead of helping people with special needs, the defendants were greedy and helped themselves to their clients’ money,” said Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr., of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS Criminal Investigation will always investigate individuals who misuse non-profit businesses and cause harm to those whose needs are supposed to be served by those businesses.”

“Professional fiduciaries who defraud vulnerable veterans are reprehensible,” said Special Agent in Charge Carl D. Scott of the Criminal Investigations Division of the VA Office of Inspector General. “The VA OIG will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to expose those who harm veterans or exploit VA benefits systems and bring them to justice.”

“The SSA OIG is committed to investigating cases of suspected representative payee fraud, which can involve the theft of government funds and harm some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Feldt of the Dallas Field Division of the SSA Office of the Inspector General. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney's Office on this case.”

The 28-count indictment, which was filed under seal on July 11, 2017 and was unsealed and publicly posted earlier today, includes two conspiracy counts, ten counts of mail fraud, nine counts of aggravated identify theft and six counts of money laundering. According to the indictment, from Nov. 2006, when Harris and Moore founded Ayudando, and continuing until July 2017, Ayudando, Harris and Moore embezzled millions of dollars from Ayudando client accounts to cover their personal expenses and support lavish lifestyles for themselves and their families. The indictment alleges that Harris and Moore perpetuated the embezzlement scheme by:
  • Establishing Ayudando as a non-profit corporation in Nov. 2006, to position it as a guardian, conservator, fiduciary and representative payee for individuals needing assistance with their financial affairs;
  • Setting up client trust and company bank accounts which only they controlled;
  • Transferring funds from client accounts to Ayudando company accounts;
  • Using client funds to pay off more than $4 million in charges on a company credit card account used by Harris, Moore and their families for personal purposes;
  • Writing checks from Ayudando company accounts to themselves, cash and to cover personal expenses;
  • Replenishing depleted client accounts with funds taken from other clients;
  • Mailing fraudulent statements and certifications to the VA; and
  • Forging and submitting forged bank statements to the VA.

The indictment identifies some of the ways in which Harris and Moore used the money they allegedly stole from Ayudando clients. For example, the indictment alleges that between June 2011 and March 2014, Harris wrote 12 checks in the total amount of $457,883 on the Ayudando client reimbursement account for personal purpose, including a $50,950 check made out to Mercedes Benz of Albuquerque and a $26,444 check made out to Myers RV Center. It also alleges that between Jan. 2013 and Feb. 2017, Harris used an Ayudando company credit card to pay $140,790 to cover luxury vacations for herself and others, including cruises in the Caribbean isles and a “Final Four” basketball junket, while knowing that Moore would pay off the charges using client funds.

The mail fraud charges in the indictment describe some of the fraudulent documents allegedly mailed by Ayudando, Harris and Moore to the VA to perpetuate and conceal their embezzlement scheme. For example, between Jan. 2016 and Nov. 2016, Moore allegedly mailed fraudulent documents to the VA that falsely represented the balances in ten client accounts. According to the indictment, the documents falsely claimed that the ten client accounts had an aggregate balance of $1,906,908, when the actual value of the ten accounts was only $72,281. The ten client accounts identified in the indictment are examples of the fraud allegedly perpetrated by the defendants as part of their embezzlement scheme.

According to the indictment, Ayudando, Harris and Moore also engaged in aggravated identify theft by using their clients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers and VA file numbers to commit mail fraud offenses. Harris and Moore also allegedly committed money-laundering offenses by using $392,623 from the Ayudando client reimbursement account to pay off balances on a company credit card used by the defendants and their families for personal purposes. The indictment includes forfeiture provisions that seek forfeiture to the United States of any proceeds and property involved in, or derived from, the defendants’ unlawful conduct.

If the defendants are convicted on the crimes charged in the indictment, they face the following maximum statutory penalties:
  • Count 1, conspiracy – 30 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine;
  • Counts 2-11, mail fraud – 30 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine;
  • Counts 12-21, aggravated identity theft – a mandatory two-years of imprisonment that must be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed on other counts and a $250,000 fine;

  • Counts 22-27, money laundering – ten years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine or twice the amount of the property involved in the crime; and
  • Count 28, conspiracy to commit money laundering – ten years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine or twice the amount of the property involved in the crime.


  • The Albuquerque offices of the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation, which resulted in the charges in the indictment, and are leading the continuing investigation. The Complex Assets Unit and the Albuquerque office of the USMS, the Criminal Investigations Division of the VA Office of Inspector General, and the Dallas Field Division of the SSA Office of Inspector General are assisting in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy Peña and Brandon L. Fyffe are prosecuting the case.

    Ayudando clients or family members of Ayudando clients who need to speak with someone about their accounts or expenses should call Ayudando, which is now being operated by the U.S. Marshals Service, at 505-332-4357.

    Starting tomorrow, information about the federal investigation into Ayudando, including the indictment and the federal court order, will be available at www.justice.gov/usao-nm/ayudando-guardians. Also starting tomorrow, Ayudando clients can direct their comments or concerns to the U.S. Attorney’s Office at USANM.Ayudando@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail) or 505-346-6902.

    Charges in indictment are merely allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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    CONYERS Statement On Senator Daines Using Medicare For All As A Pawn


    Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) today released the following statement on Republican Senator Steve Daines using Rep. Conyers’ H.R. 676, Medicare for All legislation as a pawn in his scheme to force a vote on Senate Democrats:

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “The process by which the Senate is considering changes to our nation’s healthcare plan is a sham, and Senate Democrats are right not to take part in it. We’ve said all along that Republicans should be holding hearings, soliciting input from the public, and carefully weighing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. My proposal is no different. In fact, Medicare for All is far more popular than the status quo or anything Republicans have put forward, with about 60% of Americans in support, so it’s even more deserving of hearings and a CBO score.

    “Poll after poll shows that Americans agree that we have a collective obligation to guarantee healthcare coverage to everyone through a government financed healthcare system. A majority of my Democratic colleagues in the House are cosponsors of my Medicare for All bill. Republicans are right: thanks to its overwhelming popularity, Medicare for All has become the alternative to Trumpcare. So let’s have a real debate, including hearings, independent analysis, and input from doctors, patients, and hospitals. What we shouldn’t be doing is holding disingenuous 11th-hour votes on any ideas that haven’t be subjected to the normal legislative process.”

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    Day 280 - Hillary's Leakers, Hackers, and Henchmen: How We Got To This Point

    Slide Summary of How We Got To the Awan Brothers, Smashed Hard Drives, Gov't Laptops, and Hacked Blackberries


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    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    CONYERS: House Judiciary Committee To Consider Sessions' Recusal and Comey Firing Resolution




    Washington, DC – On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee will consider Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and David Cicilline’s (RI-01) resolution of inquiry requesting the Trump Administration to release any and all information pertaining to Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in the firing of FBI Director James Comey in violation of his recusal and related matters. The full text of the Resolution of Inquiry can be found, below.


    Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., issued the following statement:

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “The Majority has shown itself to be in complete lockstep with President Trump.  Rather than talk about a crisis at the Department of Justice, our colleagues would rather re-litigate the 2016 election and question the credibility of a long list of public servants who no longer work for the government.

    “There is simply no excuse for our Committee’s failure to hold a single oversight hearing on these matters.  Their attempt to hide behind stale conspiracy theories is both tone deaf and counterproductive.  It makes the Majority complicit in the actions of President Trump and his associates.


    “I am disappointed that the Republicans denied us an opportunity to debate our resolution, but we will not be deterred.  Whether the crisis comes to the Committee or the Committee comes to the crisis, we will conduct oversight of the Trump Administration.”

    BACKGROUND:  A resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote.

    House Judiciary Committee Democrats have long been calling for House Judiciary Republicans to provide proper oversight over Trump and his Administration. Democrats have written to Chairman Goodlatte four times to request hearings on Russian interference with the 2016 election, potential collusion with Russia, the firing of James Comey and Attorney General Sessions’ recusal. 

     Democrats have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting related information. 

    Despite Judiciary Republicans’ attempts to block Democratic efforts, resolutions of inquiry should be the proper next step in the Committee’s oversight of the Trump Administration.  House Judiciary Republicans have so far blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) resolution of inquiry and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Ted Lieu’s (D-CA) resolution of inquiryfrom reaching the House floor.  


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    Congressional IT staffer charged with home equity loan fraud

    A congressional information technology staffer was arrested Monday evening before a scheduled flight for Lahore, Pakistan, and charged with bank fraud in connection with a $165,000 loan from the congressional Federal Credit Union, authorities said.

    Imran Awan, 37, pleaded not guilty Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in Washington and was released to a high-intensity supervision program whose conditions include GPS monitoring, a nighttime curfew and staying within a 50-mile radius of his home in Lorton, federal prosecutors said. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport, his attorney said.

    Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, allegedly secured a $165,000 home equity loan in January from CFCU on a house in Alexandria after claiming it was their primary residence, when it was a rental property, FBI Special Agent Brandon C. Merriman wrote in an affidavit for Awan’s arrest. The couple told the credit union to wire the money to Pakistan for use in purchasing a property, Merriman wrote.

    Alvi, also a former House IT worker, and the couple’s three school-aged children, were approached by federal agents but allowed to board a flight to Lahore on March 5 Merriman wrote, but he said that he “does not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States.”

    Awan’s attorney, Chris Gowen, said in a statement, “Because we are confident in the integrity of the U.S. justice system, we are confident that Mr. Awan will soon be able to clear his name and get on with his life. Neither Mr. Awan nor his wife have ever had any intention to ‘flee’ the United States.”
    “They are U.S. citizens who have built a full life and have a strong community life in this country.

    They will stand and fight whatever charges are presented,” Gowen said. The couple had round trip tickets, and Awan had informed the government of his plans to travel, Gowen said.

    Awan had worked for the House since 2004 as a shared employee, getting paid about $165,000 per year from about a dozen Democratic members in 2015 and 2016, for example, according to Legistorm. Most payments ended by early February, the congressional data tracking service reported.
    Awan worked most recently for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), before he was fired Tuesday, her spokesman said.

    “Mr. Awan previously served as an employee in our office, but his services have been terminated,” David Damron said.

    A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office of the District and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police declined to comment, citing the pending case.


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    Former Wasserman-Schultz IT Staffer Imran Awan Arrested at Airport While Trying to Flee U.S.

    The Gateway Pundit previously reported the FBI seized smashed hardrives belonging to Imran Awan.
    Is justice finally being served to the DNC? In an exclusive report by the Daily Caller reveals “FBI agents seized smashed computer hard drives from the home of Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s information technology (IT) administrator.“
    Daily Caller reports:
    Pakistani-born Imran Awan, long-time right-hand IT aide to the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman, has since desperately tried to get the hard drives back, the individual told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group. 
    A high-level congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, confirmed that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network” by Imran and three of his relatives, who had access to the emails and files of the more than two dozen House Democrats who employed them on a part-time basis. 
    Capitol Police have also seized computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker.
    Awan’s younger brothers, Abid and Jamal, his wife, Hina Alvi, and Rao Abbas, Imran’s best friend, are also under investigation. There have been no arrests in the case.
    There is also evidence of financial schemes that extend beyond the Capitol Police’s purview and may expand to Pakistan, where Imran spends significant portions of the year.
    The Gateway Pundit has closely reported the story of the Awan brothers from the beginning. Below is all you need to know about who they are and what they were doing in Congress.

    In an interesting turn of events, it appears that the Russians may have not been behind the hacks into the American political system after all. Meet the three men who are now the center of attention for the hacks: Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan.

    The Daily Caller News Foundation is reporting that three brothers who managed office IT for government officials have been relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed specific computer networks without permission, also known as hacking.
    From The Daily Caller:
    Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned. 
    Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
    The Daily Caller goes on to state that one of the possible computer systems that may have been hacked in connection to these three brothers belongs to Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Schultz served as the chairman for the DNC when the now infamous DNC hacks took place during the 2016 presidential campaign. Many Democrats and media outlets reported for months, with little evidence, that the Russians were behind the hacks in a deliberate attempt to help President Trump win the election.


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    Zoe's Ark: There Are No Blurred Lines Between Humanitarian Aid And Exploitation

    In the following video, one can witness H.A. Goodman, visibly unnerved in the reading of the article I have provided, below.

    The piece is on international adoptions, or, what I prefer to call it, human trafficking.

    Political pundits refuse to speak upon the U.S. Child Welfare System, and understandably why: I am the only source and it operates under a legal cloak of secrecy.


    With all due respect, political pundits are also into self-promotion, a career sustainable action, but I am in this game as an original source...on a mission.



    There are no blurred lines between humanitarian aid and exploitation because it is nothing but the residuals of the peculiar institution, another subject no one wishes to discuss, or rather understand that it only applies to "The Poors" (always said with clinched teeth) and it is done, as the good christian (yes, I intentionally used a lower case "c") thing to do, in the name of the tax exempt God.


    "It takes a village...then pillages the treasury."

    Zoe’s Ark And The Blurred Lines Between Humanitarian Aid And Exploitation

    Where is the line between humanitarian aid and exploitation?

    Cases like the Zoe’s Ark scandal, the Silsby scandal, and others provide a troubling picture of war torn or disaster stricken areas creating situations ripe for abuse by NGO’s and other “charitable” groups that severely lack public or governmental accountability. These cases raise the question of transparency in aid work, and suggest that issues in this area have been ongoing in different regions for some time.

    To get an idea of how relevant this issue currently is, Russia Today published an article yesterday revealing that more than 100 missing refugee children in Calais may have become victims of sex trafficking. Julian Assange has also questioned the legitimacy of Bono’s “One” foundation, calling it a “special ops match made in heaven.” Elizabeth Lee Beck, a Yale-educated litigator in the DNC Fraud Lawsuit, appeared in a bombshell interview with alternative media website Infowars, where she referenced issues that had come up in her research in regards to the death of Peter Smith, Beranton Whisenant and others. Given these developments, it is especially timely to take a closer look at scandals like Zoe’s Ark and ask why, after over a decade, the issues stemming from such cases have not been fully addressed.

    The 2007 Zoe’s Ark scandal was one of the first of a string of NGO related cases of misconduct which resulted in accusations from the President of Chad that the NGO had been intending to sell the children to human trafficking and organ trafficking networks. Despite the members of the charity receiving convictions on charges of child trafficking, and receiving sentences of eight years hard labor, the accused were repatriated to France after the intercession of Nicholas Sarkozy. Sarkozy personally persuaded Idriss Deby to give the offenders Presidential pardons. The group later faced related charges in France.

    Zoe’s Ark workers in Chad after their arrest.
    Where is the line between humanitarian aid and exploitation? Cases like the Zoe’s Ark scandal, the Silsby scandal, and others provide a troubling picture of war torn or disaster stricken areas creating situations ripe for abuse by NGO’s and other “charitable” groups that severely lack public or governmental accountability. These cases raise the question of transparency in aid work, and suggest that issues in this area have been ongoing in different regions for some time.

    To get an idea of how relevant this issue currently is, Russia Today published an article yesterday revealing that more than 100 missing refugee children in Calais may have become victims of sex trafficking. Julian Assange has also questioned the legitimacy of Bono’s “One” foundation, calling it a “special ops match made in heaven.” Elizabeth Lee Beck, a Yale-educated litigator in the DNC Fraud Lawsuit, appeared in a bombshell interview with alternative media website Infowars, where she referenced issues that had come up in her research in regards to the death of Peter Smith, Beranton Whisenant and others. Given these developments, it is especially timely to take a closer look at scandals like Zoe’s Ark and ask why, after over a decade, the issues stemming from such cases have not been fully addressed.

    The Laura Silsby Scandal in Haiti in 2010 echoed the earlier
    Zoe’s Ark affair in Chad.
    The 2007 Zoe’s Ark scandal was one of the first of a string of NGO related cases of misconduct which resulted in accusations from the President of Chad that the NGO had been intending to sell the children to human trafficking and organ trafficking networks. Despite the members of the charity receiving convictions on charges of child trafficking, and receiving sentences of eight years hard labor, the accused were repatriated to France after the intercession of Nicholas Sarkozy. Sarkozy personally persuaded Idriss Deby to give the offenders Presidential pardons. The group later faced related charges in France.

    Charity involvement in child and organ trafficking is a concerning issue; these concerns were repeated in 2010, this time in Haiti with the Laura Silsby child debacle. The accusations mirrored similar comments made by the Prime Minister of Haiti in an interview with CNN where he accused American NGOs of removing children for the express purpose of selling them to pedophilia and organ trafficking rings. Former French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and founder of Médecins Sans Frontières Bernard Kouchner bridges these cases in some respects, and casts additional light on the concerning lack of transparency that NGO’s enjoy and the corruption that has consistently resulted in these chaotic conditions.


    After his talk, Bernard Kouchner (right), founder of Doctors Without Borders,
    confers with Paul Farmer, Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine
    at the Medical School. (Staff photo by Jon Chase) Via The Harvard Gazette
    Zoe’s Ark, also known as L’Arche de Zoe and Children Rescue, was registered as an NGO with the French government in 2004 in the wake of the Asian Tsunami. The charity’s leader, Eric Breteau, soon turned the group’s attention towards conflict in Darfur. The 2007 incident that resulted became infamous when it was revealed that members of the organization including its founder had intended to sell the children for thousands of Euros to French families.

    The BBC reported that the children recovered from Zoe’s Ark were healthy, specifying that the children were not being treated for any serious illnesses or injuries. According to NBC News, Zoe’s Ark workers had presented the children as ill and injured by applying bandages to non-existant wounds. This suggested that Zoe’s Ark had intentionally faked injuries on the bodies of healthy children, possibly to hide their identity and origin.

    Furor was heightened when it emerged that most of the children recovered from Zoe’s Ark  originated from areas not involved in the Darfur conflict. The vast majority of those children were between the ages of three and five years old, with several infants. Zoe’s Ark described their motivations as altruistic, despite admitting that they had planned to circumvent African and European adoption laws in order to remove the children. That the charity would take children with living relatives from a location that was not involved in the Darfur conflict, then intentionally create an appearance of injuries in order to further misconstrue the children’s origin, is deeply disturbing and raises concerns regarding the NGO’s intentions.

    Hashim Thaci, Bernard Kouchner, Agim Ceku, and others
    Outrage surrounding the scandal intensified when it was revealed that the 103 children recovered from the charity represented only a tiny fraction of the total number the charity planned to remove under such controversial circumstances. According to the Berkley Center for Peace, Religion and World Affairs, Zoe’s Ark had intended to remove as many as 10,000 children from the area during the single operation in Chad. The wealth that Zoe’s Ark would have gained from removing ten thousand such children is truly mind boggling to contemplate. French citizens were reported to have been prepared to pay thousands of Euros (up to $11,000) per child.

    Six Zoe’s Ark workers were charged with acting illegally as an adoption intermediary, facilitating illegal entry into France, and fraud in regard to hundreds of families who had expected to adopt children. Despite receiving Presidential pardons in Chad, members of the charity were eventually convicted on related charges in France. During these French proceedings, Zoe’s Ark leader Eric Breteau was described by a witness as a “powerful manipulator.”

    Zoe’s Ark, also known as L’Arche de Zoe and Children Rescue, was registered as an NGO with the French government in 2004 in the wake of the Asian Tsunami. The charity’s leader, Eric Breteau, soon turned the group’s attention towards conflict in Darfur. The 2007 incident that resulted became infamous when it was revealed that members of the organization including its founder had intended to sell the children for thousands of Euros to French families.

    The BBC reported that the children recovered from Zoe’s Ark were healthy, specifying that the children were not being treated for any serious illnesses or injuries. According to NBC News, Zoe’s Ark workers had presented the children as ill and injured by applying bandages to non-existant wounds. This suggested that Zoe’s Ark had intentionally faked injuries on the bodies of healthy children, possibly to hide their identity and origin.

    Furor was heightened when it emerged that most of the children recovered from Zoe’s Ark  originated from areas not involved in the Darfur conflict. The vast majority of those children were between the ages of three and five years old, with several infants. Zoe’s Ark described their motivations as altruistic, despite admitting that they had planned to circumvent African and European adoption laws in order to remove the children. That the charity would take children with living relatives from a location that was not involved in the Darfur conflict, then intentionally create an appearance of injuries in order to further misconstrue the children’s origin, is deeply disturbing and raises concerns regarding the NGO’s intentions.

    Outrage surrounding the scandal intensified when it was revealed that the 103 children recovered from the charity represented only a tiny fraction of the total number the charity planned to remove under such controversial circumstances. According to the Berkley Center for Peace, Religion and World Affairs, Zoe’s Ark had intended to remove as many as 10,000 children from the area during the single operation in Chad. The wealth that Zoe’s Ark would have gained from removing ten thousand such children is truly mind boggling to contemplate. French citizens were reported to have been prepared to pay charged with acting illegally as an adoption intermediary, facilitating illegal entry into France, and fraud in regard to hundreds of families who had expected to adopt children. Despite receiving Presidential pardons in Chad, members of the charity were eventually convicted on related charges in France. During these French proceedings, Zoe’s Ark leader Eric Breteau was described by a witness as a “powerful manipulator.”


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    CONYERS Condemns Senate Vote To Start Obamacare Repeal Process


    Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to start debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act:

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “I’m horrified by what today’s vote means for poor and working people in this country. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect and I have said this many times. However, in Detroit alone, the uninsured rate has dropped from 22% to 7.4% over the last 3 years. That progress will be undone by today’s vote.

    “The proposals that Republicans have on the table will result in more than 50,000 people in my district losing coverage. Nationwide, premiums will skyrocket for those lucky enough to have insurance and Medicaid will be cut by 1/3 - meaning that people will likely die. I don’t say that to be hyperbolic; it’s simply a fact that lack of access to care results in preventable deaths.

    “Today’s vote makes clear what I’ve been saying for decades: the only way forward is through a single, national insurance plan: Medicare for All. Virtually every other advanced country on earth uses a government guaranteed model rather than relying on employer-sponsored care through a for-profit insurance industry. These countries spend 30-60% less than we do, with longer life-expectancy and lower infant and maternal mortality rates. We are the richest country on earth. It is a moral failure that we lag so far behind the rest of the world on healthcare. When Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House, it is essential that we invest in Medicare expansion and extend it to every American.”

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    Tuesday, July 25, 2017

    CONYERS: An unchecked presidency is a danger to the Republic

    By: Reps. John Conyers and Elijah Cummings 

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    On Saturday, Oct. 20, 1973, President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox because he refused to back down from his pursuit of the Watergate tapes.

    Nearly a half century later, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because of, in the president’s own words, “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”

    And Wednesday, the president complained about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation; Mr. Trump said he “would have picked someone else” to run the Department of Justice had he known that was coming.

     How Congress responds to moments like these matters.

    The differences between Congress’ response in 1973 and our response today are stark — and, frankly, disappointing.

    In 1973, the House Judiciary Committee had a serious and bipartisan response, subpoenaing and eventually releasing the Watergate tapes.

    The current Republican response has been tepid at best; they have not issued a single subpoena to the White House, and Speaker Paul Ryan defended Mr. Trump’s interference in the Russia investigation by assuring us that “he’s just new to this.”

     As the senior Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, we believe it is critical that Special Counsel Robert Mueller be given the independence, time and resources to conduct a thorough investigation and report his findings to Congress.

    At the same time, as a co-equal branch of government, Congress must fulfill its constitutional duty to investigate the full range of Trump administration and Trump campaign actions.

     Successful congressional investigations develop a comprehensive, fact-based record to form the basis for further action.

    The House and Senate Watergate investigations led to Nixon’s resignation and adoption of the Ethics in Government Act. It was serious, deliberative, bipartisan, transparent and operated in parallel to law enforcement investigations. In the absence of any meaningful investigation by House Republicans, Democratic members have sent requests for information on our own.

    Our efforts have been met with months of stonewalling.

    The Trump White House recently told government agencies “not to cooperate [with any oversight] requests from Democrats,” and issued a contrived Justice Department legal opinion that such queries are “not properly considered to be oversight requests.”

     We will continue to press for answers because the information we seek goes to the central question of the Trump presidency: Is the administration acting in the public interest, or merely to benefit the private interests of President Trump?

     And because our requests have been largely ignored by the administration and the GOP — including the chairs of our own committees — we have been forced to utilize alternative means of accountability.

     For example, more than 200 members of Congress have filed a lawsuit to force the president to comply with the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Oversight Committee Democrats are attempting to use their special statutory authority to obtain information from the General Services Administration about the lease of the Trump International Hotel to the president.

    Together, our committee Democrats have asked the inspector general of the Department of Justice to investigate whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated the terms of his recusal when he participated in the decision to fire Director Comey.

     Democrats have also demanded up or down votes where critical oversight requests have been denied.

    The House has voted on 10 privileged resolutions — each one defeated by the Republicans — to obtain copies of the president’s tax returns.

    Democrats are introducing 12 separate resolutions of inquiry in six committees seeking information on matters ranging from possible obstruction of justice, to the president’s foreign entanglements, to abuse of power.

    And Democrats have filed a discharge petition asking every Member of the House to go on record as to whether they support an independent bipartisan commission to examine foreign intervention in our elections.

     An unchecked presidency — such as that of Richard Nixon or Donald Trump — represents a clear and present danger to the Republic.

    We have taken this series of steps in an attempt to provide at least a measure of independent scrutiny and to mark how Republicans in Congress have repeatedly failed in this responsibility.

    We do not have the right to remain silent.

    Our investigations must continue separate from, and in addition to, the special counsel’s work.

     The next constitutional crisis — the firing of Special Counsel Mueller, perhaps — is not hard to envision.

    Mr. Trump has already characterized the Russia investigation as “the single greatest witch hunt in American history,” being “led by some very bad and conflicted people,” and warned Mr. Mueller not to expand the investigation into his family’s finances beyond Russia.

     In recent days, we have seen evidence of the willingness by Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump campaign to obtain information damaging to Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — information that is as probative to Mr. Mueller’s investigation as it is threatening to the president.

    Congress must ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue his investigation independently, effectively, and steadfastly.

    Should Mr. Mueller be fired, the current majority must understand they have a duty to enforce our system of checks and balances — as we did in 1973. c

    If Republicans cannot appreciate that obligation, then the American people will be forced to decide whether they really want a Congress that continues to ignore its responsibility.

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    CONYERS: Statement for the Hearing on H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017


    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    Before I begin my remarks, I’d like to take a moment to recognize Joseph Ehrenkrantz for his dedicated service to the House of Representatives.

    Over the past two years, he has diligently served the House Judiciary Committee as a Professional Staff Member.

    Joe began his career with the House Judiciary Committee Democrats shortly after graduation, and has worked tirelessly on issues of civil rights, state and local taxation, and voting rights ever since.

    Joe has served the Members and staff of the Committee with great energy and enthusiasm, working to ensure the smooth functioning of Committee business by coordinating briefings, staffing hearings, and clerking markups.

    We thank Joe for his many outstanding contributions to the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives, and wish him well as he begins law school at Georgetown University this fall.

    He will surely be missed.

    Turning to today’s hearing, which focuses on H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017,” it appears that supporters of this legislation intend to address the apparent problem of states regulating beyond their borders.

    Twenty-five years ago, the Supreme Court in Quill held that a state may require a business to remit a sales tax only if such business had a physical presence in the state where the goods or services are provided. 

    In an effort to respond to this holding, various legislative responses have been introduced over the years, including two of which I strongly supported, namely, The Remote Transactions Parity Act and the Marketplace Fairness Act. 

    Although one of these bipartisan measures overwhelmingly passed the Senate in 2013, our Committee has unfortunately failed to consider either of these bills. 

    Instead, we are focusing today on H.R. 2887, a highly-flawed measure. 

    Among its many flaws, this bill would eviscerate the 10th Amendment and override the powers of all 50 states by expanding the physical presence standard to all taxes and all regulations.

    H.R. 2887 represents an extreme rethinking of the constitutional role of states in our Nation and would strip essential consumer protection powers and taxing authority from all 50 states.

    To quote the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, this legislation “is a direct threat to representative self-government.”

    Simply put, H.R. 2887 would preempt tens of thousands of state laws and saddle these states with untenable budget constraints by reducing their ability to collect tax revenues.
    Second, this bill appears to ignore the real problems that main street retailers face today.

    Local retailers—that have to collect sales taxes—are desperately struggling to compete with the reduced prices and conveniences offered by remote Internet sellers, whose online prices are generally lower because many consumers do not pay any sales taxes and thereby can save upwards of 10% or more on the purchase price of these items.

    Technological advancements have made it easier for consumers to take advantage of this disparity and the consequences of this loophole are becoming increasingly more apparent.

    Since October, at least 10 major, nationwide brick and mortar retailers have filed for bankruptcy and more than 90,000 workers have been laid off. 

    Retail sector growth is at its weakest since the Great Recession, and recent projections estimate that a quarter of all U.S. shopping malls will close in the next five years.

    Without question, I am a strong supporter of competition, especially when it benefits consumers and encourages innovation. Nevertheless, competitors should compete on things other than sales tax policy.

    We should ensure parity at the point of sale among retailers and level the playing field.

    Finally, H.R. 2887, by codifying Quill, would effectively prevent states and local governments from accessing a substantial part of their tax base.

    State governments rely on sales and use taxes for nearly one third of their total tax revenue. Yet, as more Americans purchase more of their goods on the internet, the states receive less in sales tax revenue.

    We owe it to our local communities and local retailers, as well as state and local governments, to take up helpful legislation rather than considering such flawed measures as H.R. 2887.  Accordingly, I urge Committee Chairman Goodlatte and Subcommittee Chairman Marino to instead consider H.R. 2193, the “Remote Transaction Parity Act,” bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Kristi Noem earlier this year.

    In closing, I look forward to hearing the testimony from our witnesses today and yield back the balance of my time.

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