Thursday, December 1, 2011

Press Conference: Divest From Wells Fargo!

Press Advisory
Date: Thursday December 1, 2011
Contacts: Salvador Reza: (602) 446-9928, Anayanse Garza: (602) 487-0186

La Huelga del Pueblo
Press Conference

What:              Press Conference
Where:            Wells Fargo Bank, Washington and 1st Avenue
When:        12:00 – 1:00 PM Friday December 2, 2011
Who:            Los Comites de Defensa del Barrio

Phoenix, AZ - In response to the presence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) national conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this week and the call by a broad range of public constituencies to bring accountability to the policies supported and funded by ALEC accomplices in government and the financial sector, Los Comités de Defensa del Barrio will present their message to the State of Arizona and the American public during a press conference to take place at noon on Friday December 2, 2011 in front of the Wells Fargo Bank in central Phoenix.  The Wells Fargo Building is also home to the offices of Maricopa County Sherrif J. Arpaio.

The call by the Boycott Commission of the CDB is for transparency and accountability for the economic interests that have been profiteering through contracts with the private prison industry in cahoots with law enforcement personalities and financial institutions across the state, and in complicity nationally through the consortium of private prison corporations such as Corrections Corporation of America affiliated with ALEC.

Prominent among the financial institutions that have been profiteering off of the criminalization and exploitation of Migratory Workers and their Families in particular has been the Wells Fargo Bank.  The press conference on Friday will renew the call nationally to DIVEST FROM WELLS FARGO, along with calls of solidarity for the cause to from throughout the country.

In Colorado, in October of 2011 members of the Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC) joined with over 300 Wells Fargo account holders and one local union in divesting their accounts from Colorado's largest bank due to predatory lending habits, continued failure to approve substantial numbers of eligible HAMP modifications and their refusal to stop foreclosure proceedings after disclosing "robo-signing" like errors in their approval.

The call for solidarity and mutual respect from the Comités de Defensa del Barrio is an example of the resistance and rebellion against the corporate tyranny of Wall Street and their henchmen in the form of ALEC. 

"This isn't just Wall Street, this Wall State," said Tupac Enrique Acosta of Tonatierra.  "And these are not governors of governments, these are accomplices in crime."

Just yesterday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer delivered an address at the ALEC conference in Scottsdale while protests at the gate calling to “SHUT DOWN ALEC” resulted in arrests and the pepper-spraying of protesters.

Signed by Governor Brewer in April of 2010, AZ SB1070 is a piece of legislation which was crafted in the bowels ALEC and then imported into the Arizona State legislature by AZ Senate President Russell Pearce, who has since been recalled from office.

The call today by the Boycott Commission of the CDB is for transparency and accountability for the economic interests that have been profiteering through contracts with the private prison industry in cahoots with law enforcement personalities and financial institutions across the state.

Besides the openly acknowledged association with the ALEC by former state Senator Pearce, the demand for accountability is also directed to Arizona State Governor Jan Brewer, and the professional lobbyists working at the Arizona Legislature for the Corrections Corporation for America (CCA) such as Chuck Coughlin of HighGround.

From the Center for Democracy in Media website:

“Prior to release of ALEC documents by the Center for Media & Democracy, NPR conducted an undercover investigation of Pearce and Coughlin's role in making deals with CCA lobbyists to enlist ALEC in drafting of SB1070. This investigation was released in a 2-part series October 2010 -- less than a week before the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election. Coughlin effectively blocked media reports so most voters never had access to this information until now. The outcome went as planned: Jan Brewer became our governor.”

The quote continues:

“SB1070 was never about immigration. It was formulated for the express purpose of creating "demand" for private prisons through the rounding up of detainees for profit. It required elaborate storytelling about headless bodies in the desert and assorted scare tactics that have separated neighbor from neighbor -- needlessly and heartlessly -- for political gain. What are we protecting ourselves from through enabling these immoral practices that have divided our state and our people?”

No big U.S. bank -- Wells Fargo included -- has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

‘No Capacity to Regulate’

Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.

Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering.

The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

“There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,” Blum says. “They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.” 

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel. During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.



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