Dr. Tiller’s Murder and the Government’s Pursuit of Anti-Abortion Terrorism

On Monday, we posted about the murder of Dr. George Tiller–an abortion provider who offered critical services to women–and how the media is covering the case and how the government has responded. We noted that it hasn’t been labeled “terrorism,” even though the action was clearly aimed at intimidating doctors and abortion rights advocates.

Environmental writer Will Potter–who has written extensively on the radical environmental and animal rights movement–wrote a thoughtful piece earlier this week that asks why the murder isn’t being called terrorism. Potter points out that even though the chief suspect in the case was arrested back in the 1990s ammunition, gunpowder, a blasting cap, and a fuse–the government is not calling this shooting “terrorism.” Potter says that this is due to the fact that clinics do not have the lobbying power of multi-national corporations, that it’s not a threat to profits, and that it doesn’t “threaten the American way of life. Potter argues that companies that exploit animals have sought and won protective legislation, but doctors and pro-choice advocates have been unable to make similar gains.

Sadly, news has also come out that the FBI was warned about Dr. Tiller’s shooter within the past week. Democracy Now reports:

New information indicates that Scott Roeder, the man arrested and charged with first-degree murder for Dr. Tiller’s death, was seen vandalizing a Kansas City women’s health clinic called Aid for Women on two separate occasions last week, a week before Dr. Tiller was killed and a day before his murder.

The clinic manager, calls himself “Jeff Pederson” to protect his identity, says he called the FBI and local law enforcement, but the vandal, Scott, was not arrested.

The first incident was discovered on Memorial Day; the second, this past Saturday. That’s May 30th. Pederson and other clinic staff recognized the vandal as “Scott” from anti-abortion protests and gave the FBI his first name, his license plate number, and video footage of the incidents from a security camera at the clinic.

However, the FBI allegedly did not act on the tip according to the manager of Dr. Tiller’s Aid for Women clinic.

Democracy Now! also interviewed one of Tiller’s colleagues about law enforcement’s unwillingness to pursue anti-abortion protestors. In addition, The Michigan Messenger published a piece looking at how few prosecutions are pursued against anti-abortion groups.

To be sure, there is a lot to focus on with this murder–the radical anti-abortion movement, the need for the government to take this crime seriously (as it hasn’t done in the past with anti-abortion terrorism), the critical importance of the abortion services offered by Dr. Tiller, and the need to support women’s access to abortion–the media’s coverage of the murder is just one facet.

Local and Michigan Headlines: GRPS Cuts Approved; PETA Opposes Horse-drawn Carriages in Holland

Here’s some local and Michigan headlines:

If we missed anything, let us know in the comments.

Abortion Doctor Murdered, Media and Government don’t Label it “Terrorism”

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Over the weekend, an a doctor named George Tiller–who provided abortions to women who needed them–was gunned down as he entered his church. The shooting was part of a long campaign of anti-abortion violence aimed at intimidating doctors who perform abortions. Not only that, it’s part of an upsurge in harassment of clinics since President Barack Obama took office. The lead suspect in the case has long been associated with the anti-abortion movement–a movement which has successfully restricted access to abortion over the years.

While the media coverage of the shooting has been correct to put in the context of a long history of anti-abortion violence–including shootings and clinic bombings–few media outlets spoke of the attack as an act of terrorism. Almost universally the shooting was referred to as simply a “shooting” or a “murder”–not as an act of terrorism. The only newspaper that mentioned the shooting in relation to “domestic terrorism” was the Los Angeles Times. Online alternative media has been quick to call the shooting terrorism, with The Huffington Post (1, 2) and Salon.com both ran articles calling the attack an act of domestic terrorism.

I’m not a huge fan of calling every crime under the sun terrorism, as the government has been wont to do in recent years, but it’s hard to imagine calling this attack anything else. The federal government defines “domestic terrorism” as:

`(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

`(B) appear to be intended–

`(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

`(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

`(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;

Under this definition, this was clearly an act of domestic terrorism. Tiller was specifically targeted for assassination with the goal of ending his capacity to perform abortions and intimidating doctors who perform them. Tiller’s movements were tracked by the anti-abortion movement and he was hated within that movement. He had previously been the target of protests and acts of violence. In the 1980s, his clinic was regularly targeted by protestors, it was bombed, and Tiller himself was shot. Recently, his clinic had been vandalized–an act that did thousands of dollars of damage. Tiller had also just beaten trumped up charges that he violated Kansas law.

Contrast with Left-Wing Violence

I think it’s interesting to contrast the media’s coverage of this case with so-called acts of terrorism committed by the left in the United States. Crimes committed by the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front–groups which engage in the criminal destruction of property and economic sabotage–are routinely labeled “terrorist” and both the media and the government are quick to call those crimes “terrorism.” For example, when environmental activist Marie Mason was arrested last year for a politically motivated arson at Michigan State University (MSU), the corporate media universally called the act “terrorism,” even before she was convicted. This echoed coverage back when the arson happened in 2000. No human lives were harmed or threatened–although the government and media would later hype the fact that the resulting fire put firefighters in harm’s way.

Similarly, environmental and animal activists have been rounded up as part of the government’s “green scare” campaign and labeled “terrorists”–and even imprisoned–when they have engaged only in acts that damage property, not taken human life. Moreover, there has been a recent trend of charging animal rights activists with terrorism for undertaking acts that are otherwise protected under the First Amendment–such as protests and informational campaigns.

How do you think the media and government would respond if it was a vivisectionist that was shot? I’m willing to bet there would be allegations of “terrorism” coming from all quarters.

Local and Michigan Headlines: Agema Ranked Least Effective Legislator in Michigan House; U of M Study Says Smoking Ban Won’t Hurt Businesses

Here are some recent headlines published elsewhere covering Grand Rapids and Michigan:

  • Goodbye, GM – Michael Moore–writing from the Flint birthplace of General Motors–looks at the company’s bankruptcy.
  • Congratulations to Rep. Dave Agema – Representative David Agema of Grandville was ranked the least effective legislator in the House of Representatives according to a survey conducted by the Lansing based MIRS news service. Apparently Agema’s attacks on immigrants, LGBT people, and Native Americans aren’t working in his favor.
  • E-Verify is Verifiably Bad – The ACLU of Michigan is criticizing a proposal by an Oakland County Commissioner to require that contractors and vendors doing business with the county participate in the “E-Verify” program. E-Verify is a flawed federal database that is supposed to determine if people are legally able to work in the United States. The ACLU says that 17.8 million of the database’s files have incorrect information and that the program is an invasion of privacy.
  • Convicted Detroit reporter faces sentencing – A Detroit-based reported will be sentencing this week after being convicted of felony police obstruction. Many see her conviction as retaliation for her work in illuminating police brutality in Detroit.
  • Detroit: Farm city – Urban gardening in Detroit has received a lot of attention in recent years and now a Detroit businessman is touting a plan to create the largest urban farm in the world in Detroit. It’s an interesting idea.
  • U of M study concludes a workplace smoking ban will not hurt business – A University of Michigan study has concluded that a ban on smoking in the state’s bars and restaurants would not negatively affect revenues.
  • Kent County Board members propose ‘local first’ policies – Three Democratic Kent County Commissioners are proposing a subcommittee to develop a “local first” policy for the county that would emphasize using local companies. The rationale is that it would keep more jobs and money in the county.
  • Union agreement with GM not enough to revive Wyoming stamping plant after Friday’s closing – Local workers hoped that the GM plant in Wyoming might reopen after GM declared bankruptcy, but the plant was not listed among GM’s stand-by plants.
  • Proposed budget for Grand Rapids school district cuts 95 teaching jobs, almost $9 million in spending – The Grand Rapids Public Schools is proposing eliminating 95 teaching jobs and $9 million in spending. The Board will discuss the plan tonight at its meeting.
  • Stupak: Move Gitmo to UP Mackinac meeting – U.S. Representative Bart Stupak–who represents residents in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula–is advocating that the Obama administration consider moving the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to a detention facility in the U.P. Representative Pete Hoekstra of Holland said that he has been to Guantanamo and that the people held there are “evil people” and that they would “become magnets for homegrown terror” if they were moved to Michigan.

If we missed anything, let us know in the comments.

State Website Tracks Michigan Stimulus Spending

Michigan Recovery Spending

A couple of weeks ago, we posted about the City of Grand Rapids stimulus tracker that allows people to see where money from the federal stimulus package is being spent.

Now, the State of Michigan is following suit with a new website that reports where stimulus money is being spent in the state. Thus far, $3.6 billion has come to the State of Michigan and it is expected that over the next two years that total will reach $7.5 billion.

Large allocations include:

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  • More than $1 billion for roads, bridges, mass transit and airports.
  • $931 million for education.
  • $464 million additional for Medicaid.
  • $538 million to upgrade sewers and drinking water facilities.
  • $400 million in tax cuts for 3.7 million workers.
  • $242 million for weatherization programs.
  • One of the nicer features of the website is a map that allows visitors to track stimulus spending by county. For example, the Kent County map reports that $6.9 million has been designated for home weatherization in the county, $1.5 million for Community Services Block Grants, $854,366 to the Grand Rapids Housing Commission for improvements to public housing in the city, and $400,000 for Brownfield Redevelopment Grants.

    Local and Michigan Headlines: Local Abstinence-only Programs Face Cuts; GRCC Raises Tuition

    Here is a round-up of some important stories published in the last 24 hours that cover Grand Rapids and Michigan:

    If we missed anything, let us know in the comments.

    Superfund Lawyer with Ties to Major Polluters Nominated to Run DOJ Environmental Division

    President Barack Obama has made a controversial pick to head the Department of Justice’s Environmental Division. Last week, President Obama nominated Ignacia S. Moreno to be Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice.

    Ignacia has an extensive corporate background and is currently the corporate environmental counsel for General Electric. General Electric is the United States’ #1 Superfund polluter and just recently lost an eight-year case in which it attempted to show that parts of the Superfund law are unconstitutional.

    Before joining General Electric, Moreno defended General Motors in another Superfund case while a lawyer at Spriggs and Hollingsworth. In the 1990s, Moreno worked for the Clinton administration and attempted to weaken the dolphin-safe tuna law.

    This is all problematic because Moreno’s position would be to enforce federal environmental laws, including protections of such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Superfund. It’s hard to see how she would be a good choice to hold companies accountable, especially when she specifically argued that one of the laws was potentially unconstitutional.

    This is made all the more disappointing when you consider that it is coming on top of news that the Obama administration has ruled that 42 out of 48 mountaintop removal coal mining permits are “environmentally responsible”.

    Michigan’s Infrastructure Ranked Poorly in Study

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    In January–before the Obama administration took office and amidst discussion about the possibility of pouring millions of dollars into the economy for infrastructure improvement projects as form of economic stimulus–the American Society of Civil Engineers released a “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure” that found that the United States needs major improvements in its infrastructure.

    Now the group has released state-by-state rankings, and not surprisingly for anyone that has driven on Michigan’s roads, Michigan ranked quite poorly with the group stating that “Michigan’s infrastructure is in dire need.”

    In a 50-page report on the state of Michigan’s infrastructure, the group rated several key components of Michigan’s infrastructure:

    AVIATION: C – Michigan’s 200+ airports generate $4.3 billion for Michigan’s economy each year. The individual components — runway systems, pavement conditions, terminals, weather access, security and pilot and aircraft services — are in satisfactory condition. However, current infrastructure repair, maintenance and expansion needs exceed $1.3 billion over the next five years, a figure well beyond existing revenue. It is imperative that Michigan establish dedicated funding for airport infrastructure.

    DAMS: D – Over 90% of Michigan’s 2,581 dams will reach or exceed their design life by 2020. Many dams are abandoned, no longer serve any useful purpose, and pose safety hazards to downstream residents. No funding is currently available in Michigan to help dam owners repair, or remove aging dams.

    DRINKING WATER: D – The State of Michigan is in the unique position of being surrounded by the Great Lakes, which offer an abundant supply of fresh water. Yet the State faces crucial funding challenges both in treating and distributing clean drinking water to continue to meet the level of service demands of its residents. Nearly 75% of Michigan’s population is served by a community water system. The current fiscal needs for water system rehabilitation in the State exceed $11 billion.

    ENERGY: C – The overall health of the energy generation and transmission system in Michigan generally meets the state’s current needs. However, reliability and security concerns are posed by the state’s dependence on coal and natural gas fueled generation and reliance on fuel supplied by external sources. Congestion limitations and interface limits exist between the State of Michigan’s transmission system and neighboring grids in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio and Ontario, Canada. Diversification of energy supply, investments in renewable energy and transmission system upgrades are needed to alleviate congestion and to reduce dependency on fossil-based generation.

    ROADS AND BRIDGES: D – Michigan’s extensive network of roads and bridges allows the state’s 10 million residents to safely and freely travel while enabling businesses to efficiently serve their customers. However, Michigan’s network is rapidly aging. 38% of roads are in poor condition, 28% of the bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and U.S. truckers rate Michigan roads as 3rd worst in the country. While road and bridge funding should be increasing to keep pace with rising construction costs, the reality is that revenues are declining. Continuing to shortchange our transportation system will lead to declining quality of life and reduced economic competitiveness in the global economy. Bold action is required now.

    STORMWATER: D – Michigan’s stormwater management system provides flood protection, fosters development, improves agricultural production and extends the service life of roads, streets and highways. Stormwater management improves the water quality of streams, rivers and the Great Lakes. Statewide operation and maintenance procedures are inconsistent and the state does not maintain an inventory of its stormwater management system. Funding for continued maintenance, repair and water quality improvement is inadequate and nonexistent in many areas.

    TRANSIT: D – Following a national trend, transit use in Michigan has grown faster over the last two decades than any other mode of transportation. The rise in demand is outstripping capacity. Often the money used for the expansion comes from funds allotted to maintenance. As a result, the physical condition of the infrastructure is declining. Some form of public transportation is available throughout the state and in many rural areas, but the capacities of most urban systems fail to meet demand. The presence of efficient public transportation increases property use and value. Improving public transportation services within the state is a key component in reviving Michigan’s economy.

    WASTEWATER COLLECTION SYSTEMS: C – The Great Lakes State’s 35,000 inland lakes and ponds, 54,300 miles of river systems and five million acres of wetlands are its greatest resource. Much of the state’s wastewater collection system infrastructure — sewers, pumping stations and wastewater treatment facilities — is decades beyond a system’s life expectancy. The EPA calculates Michigan’s funding requirements at $6 billion to address the system’s replacement, rehabilitation, expansion and process improvement needs. Approximately $2 billion alone is needed to prevent combined sewer overflows.

    NAVIGABLE WATERWAYS: C – Michigan’s navigation system includes coastal infrastructure, navigation harbors, channels, locks, and dams. The system contains approximately 90 harbors, 14 waterways or rivers, the significant Soo Locks system, and disposal facilities for depositing dredged material. Annual maintenance and repair costs outpace the limited federal funding from the Army Corps of Engineers, which causes total system needs to grow each year. Because commercial harbors have priority and the needs exceed the available funding, recreational harbors rarely receive dollars for maintenance or improvements.

    In each section, the group makes specific recommendations for improvement. These include everything from allotting more staff members to regulatory agencies to increasing taxes to pay for necessary upgrades.

    Nationwide, the group calls for more federal involvement in maintaining and expanding the country’s infrastructure.

    Headlines: New US. Commander in Afghanistan; Health Providers Offer to Cut Costs but Give Few Specifics

    Democracy Now Headlines: New US. Commander in Afghanistan; Health Providers Offer to Cut Costs but Give Few Specifics

    Headlines from DemocracyNow.org, a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 650 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the US.

    Gates Removes Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan

    The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan has been forced out and replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, a former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command. McKiernan is reportedly the first general to be dismissed from command of a theater of combat since Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.

    New Commander Tied To Secret Assassination Team

    The new commander, Stanley McChystal, is viewed as an expert on counterinsurgency and guerilla warfare. As head of Special Operations, McChrystal oversaw a secretive program to hunt down and assassinate suspected terrorists around the globe. According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh the Joint Special Operations Command carried out assassinations in a dozen countries. Last year lawmakers delayed Stanley McChrystal’s nomination for a key position because of questions about prisoner abuse by forces under his command. At least 64 service personnel assigned or attached to Special Operations units were disciplined for prisoner abuse between early 2004 and the end of 2007. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the change yesterday and said Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez will take responsibility for the day-to-day management of the war in Afghanistan.

    Robert Gates: “The way I look at this is as McChrystal and and Rodriguez as a team. They each bring tremendous skills in a variety of areas that are very pertinent to the kind of fight that we have Afghanistan. And it is their combined skill set that I think gives us some fresh opportunities looking forward.”

    Lt. Gen. McChrystal ran special operations under General David Petraeus during the surge in Iraq. Fred Kaplan of Slate writes “McKiernan’s ouster signals a dramatic shift in U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan. And it means that the war is now, unequivocally, ‘Obama’s war.'”

    Taliban Fighters Attack Gov’t Buildings in Khost

    Earlier today in Afghanistan about 30 Taliban fighters wearing suicide vests attacked government buildings in the Afghan city of Khost. At least six people died in the attacks.

    Afghan Lawmakers Protest Civilian Deaths

    Afghan lawmakers walked out of parliament Monday to protest the latest civilian casualties at the hands of US-led forces. Lawmakers are demanding legal restrictions be placed on U.S. and coalition forces to prevent further civilian deaths.

    U.S. Drone Strike Kills Eight In Pakistan

    In Pakistan, at least eight people have died after a U.S. drone blew up a house in the South Waziristan district, near the Afghan border.

    US Soldier in Iraq Kills 5 Comrades at Stress Clinic

    Five U.S. soldiers died in Iraq Monday after a fellow soldier opened fire at a stress clinic at a U.S. military base in Baghdad. The killings appear to be the single deadliest episode of soldier-on-soldier violence among U.S. forces since the United States invaded Iraq six years ago.

    Journalist Roxana Saberi Released From Iranian Jail

    The Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was released from an Iranian jail Monday and has been reunited with her family. Her father Reza Saberi spoke to reporters after her release.

    Reza Saberi: “Roxana is well and is staying at a relative’s home tonight. We are preparing to go. The exact date of our departure is not clear but we should get ready for our trip to America.”

    Roxana Saberi had been held since January.

    U.S. Continues to Imprison Reuters Photographer in Iraq

    The United States is continuing to imprison at least one journalist without charge. Ibrahim Jassam, a freelance photographer for Reuters, has been held in Iraq since September despite objections from the Iraqi government, Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders and Reuters. Unlike Saberi’s case, Jassam’s imprisonment has received little news attention in the United States.

    Prisoner Who Tied Iraq to Al-Qaeda Found Dead in Libyan Jail

    A Libyan man whose fabricated testimony about al Qaeda was used by the United States to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq has reportedly killed himself in his Libyan jail cell. Human rights groups are demanding an immediate investigation into the death of Ibn Sheikh al-Libi. After his capture in Afghanistan in 2001. U.S. forces sent him to a prison in Egypt where he was tortured. After being beaten and subjected to a “mock burial” by his Egyptian interrogators, Libi made up the false claim that Iraq had provided training in chemical and biological weapons to al-Qaeda operatives. The Bush administration used Libi’s false testimony to make the case for invading Iraq. Al-Libi was later held in a secret overseas CIA prison.

    Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch said, “He was Exhibit A in the narrative that tortured confessions contributed to the massive intelligence failure that preceded the Iraq war.”

    Former friends of Libi have cast doubt on his reported suicide, arguing that the former mosque preacher knew suicide was prohibited by Islam.

    Guantanamo Prisoner Attempts Suicide

    Meanwhile a prisoner at Guantanamo tried to commit suicide on Sunday during a meeting with his attorney. The Yemeni man, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, used a piece of a table to cut a vein in his wrist. The prisoner then hurled blood at his attorney. Latif has been held at Guantanamo without charge since January 2002.

    Health Providers Offer Few Details On Plan to Cut Costs By $2 Trillion

    In Washington President Obama met with a coalition of U.S. health groups Monday after the groups pledged to cut rising health costs by $2 trillion over the next decade. The coalition representing doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers, insurers and laborers had agreed to help reduce the rise in healthcare costs by 1.5 percentage points per year for 10 years. None of the groups offered detailed specifics on how they would pare down costs. Single payer advocate Kevin Zeese criticized the plan. He said “The voluntary plan is a promise that can’t be enforced, and they’re talking about a 20 percent decrease in the expansion. That still means projected increases of nearly $2 trillion over the next ten years.” Zeece was arrested last week at a Senate Finance Committee hearing while protesting the committee’s exclusion of any advocates for single payer or Medicare-for-all. The Senate Finance Committee will hold another hearing on healthcare reform today. Committee chair Max Baucus has not invited any single-payer advocates to testify.

    Federal Deficit to Reach Record $1.8 Trillion

    The Congressional Budget Office is estimating the federal deficit will reach a record $1.8 trillion this year. This means the government will have to borrow nearly 50 cents for every dollar it spends.

    Goldman Sachs Pays $60 Million to Settle Predatory Lending Case

    In other economic news, Goldman Sachs has agreed to a $60 million settlement to resolve claims by a Massachusetts regulator that it participated in predatory lending practices involving subprime mortgages.

    Pope Visits Sacred Jewish and Muslim Sites In Jerusalem

    On his second day of his Holy Land Tour, Pope Benedict XVI called for Israelis and Palestinians to engage in a “a sincere dialogue aimed at building a world of justice and peace.” The Pope made the comment as he was visiting the most contentious site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, and the adjacent Western Wall, the last remnant of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

    On Monday a senior Palestinian Muslim cleric fiercely denounced Israeli policies in Jerusalem in the presence of Pope Benedict and appealed to the pope to help end what he called the “crimes” of Israel. Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, the chief judge of the Muslim religious courts in the Palestinian territories, spoke at a meeting between the pope and Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy.

    Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi: “Your holiness the pope, I call on you in the name of the one God, to condemn these crimes and exert pressure on the Israeli government so it can stop it’s aggression against the Palestinian people and release thousands of prisoners from the occupation cells, and demolish the racist separation wall, remove the settlements and return the confiscated land to its owners, and to stop the demolition of houses in Jerusalem, and the eviction of it’s people in order to form a just peace which would return the rights to it’s people.”

    Anniversary of Immigration Raids Marked in Postville, Iowa

    And one year ago today federal immigration agents raided a Kosher slaughterhouse in Postville Iowa, arresting nearly 400 immigrant workers in what at the time was the largest immigration raid in U.S. history. The raid devastated the town of Postville. The slaughterhouse owned by Agriprocessors has since closed down taking with it hundreds of jobs. The number of vacant rental homes in Postville has soared. Half of the town’s population has left. The town’s mayor resigned earlier this year. Nearly all of the male workers arrested last year were deported. Many of the female workers have been allowed to stay to care for their children but are unable to legally work.

    New Report Criticizes Banks Behind Subprime Lenders

    Who's Behind the Economic Meltdown

    Who’s behind the financial meltdown? It’s a question that has been asked often in recent months–one that has been answered in many different ways. Large banks, mortgage companies, and deregulation have all been faulted for their role in the crisis.

    The Center for Public Integrity has released a new analysis called “Who’s Behind the Financial Meltdown?” that analyzes the top 25 subprime lenders and the banks that demanded the troublesome loans. In their detailed look at the financial crisis, the Center for Public Integrity finds that those top subprime lenders were either owned or backed by the giant banks that are now collecting bailout money. Indeed, far from being “victims” of the financial crisis, the banks–including prominent ones such as Lehman Brothers, Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch–deliberately financed the lending practices that led to the financial crisis. These high-risk, high-yield bonds backed by home mortgages were aggressively sought by the largest banks in the United States and Europe. Some of these banks later bought up the troubled mortgage companies once they failed.

    Some key findings from the report:

      At least 21 of the top 25 subprime lenders were financed by banks that received bailout money — through direct ownership, credit agreements, or huge purchases of loans for securitization.
    • Nine of the top 10 lenders were based in California, including all of the top 5 — Countrywide Financial Corp., Ameriquest Mortgage Co., New Century Financial Corp., First Franklin Corp. and, Long Beach Mortgage Co.
    • Twenty of the top 25 subprime lenders have closed, stopped lending, or been sold to avoid bankruptcy. Most were non-bank lenders.
    • Eleven of the lenders on the list, including four recipients of bank bailout funds, have made payments to settle claims of widespread lending abuses.

    On top of these findings, the report also examines how Washington ignored the risk posed by these loans and in many cases altered regulations that made it easier for banks to pursue these loans.