The People vs. Goldman Sachs: Public Hearing Today at Liberty Square

For Immediate Release

The People vs. Goldman Sachs: Public Hearing Today at Liberty Square

LIBERTY SQUARE, NY - Today (Thursday, November 3rd) the People, the 99 percent, will hold A People’s Hearing of Goldman Sachs in Liberty Square Park and march on Goldman Sachs! The people will bring to justice perhaps the single most egregious perpetrator of economic fraud and corruption in the United States. The Hearing will include testimonials from individuals directly affected by Goldman’s fraudulent manipulation of financial markets, including victims of housing foreclosures, pension losses, public lay-offs and untenable student debt.

Outline of Today's Event:

  • 09:45 Guests and Panel are seated
  • 10:00 Introduction to A People’s Hearing, Tony and Sandra Nurse, Occupy Wall Street
  • 10:10 Opening Statement, Dr. Cornel West
  • 10:20 Background of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Chris Hedges
  • 10:20 Witness Testimonials
  • 11:00 Proposal of Verdict
  • 12:00 A Call to Action – March to Goldman Sachs

The proceedings will also include expert analysis from Ralph Nader, Cornel West and Chris Hedges. Following the 99-minute hearing the people will decide on a fair and deliverable verdict via our own process of consensus-based direct democracy – and we intend to deliver it ourselves – to the headquarters of Goldman Sachs at 200 West Street, eight blocks from Liberty Square. We will ask for something our judicial and legislative systems have so far failed to deliver – the return of billions of taxpayer dollars to the 99 percent and criminal sentences for those Goldman Sachs executives who carried out the fraud. The event will be broadcast live via the Occupy Wall Street Livestream, among other public media outlets.

The People’s Hearing will examine the collapse of regulations and political and economic controls that permitted Goldman Sachs to loot the U.S. Treasury. It will look at how we came to live in a country where it became impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. It will ask why Goldman Sachs was allowed to enrich itself not only at the expense of millions of small investors but through its control of the bailouts and the regulatory process. It will demand to know why Goldman Sachs, one of the prime culprits in the destruction of the global economy, is permitted to continue to bankrupt countries such as Greece, creating massive human suffering, without oversight or control. The People’s Hearing will finally give Goldman Sach’s victims a voice.

Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." The broad outlines of Goldman Sachs’ massive fraud are well documented. It put together a collaterized debt obligation (CDO) from mortgage-backed securities that the company assumed would fail. It sold these CDOs as assets and secure investments to pension and mutual funds as well as institutions and banks while betting against them through credit default swaps (CDS). A credit default swap, or CDS, is an insurance policy where the issuer makes up a loss if an asset goes bad. Goldman Sachs, in essence, sold toxic garbage to investors and when this garbage was exposed as garbage, wiping out tens of millions of individual investors who had put away money for retirement or college, Goldman Sachs raked in money from insurers. AIG, which insured these worthless CDOs, lacked sufficient funds to pay Goldman Sachs during the financial meltdown of 2008, a meltdown that evaporated some $ 40 trillion in worldwide wealth. Goldman Sachs, with numerous former officials ensconced in the Treasury department and government, simply looted the U.S. Treasury to pay itself. And they are sitting on our money to this day.

The firm has committed numerous acts of fraud that extend beyond our shores. Goldman Sachs was instrumental in helping Greek authorities hide its mounting government budget deficit by selling swaps to the Greek government in return for future revenue streams. The Greek government was able through this arrangement to mask the loan which would have raised its budget deficit above euro zone limits. The sleights of hand now threaten to see Greece go into default and could trigger a massive banking crisis through Europe. The crisis has seen the Greek government unleash draconian austerity measures that are taken out on the backs of students, the poor and the working class. Goldman Sachs is a global criminal syndicate.

Goldman Sachs, while its victims suffer from foreclosures and bankruptcy, has set aside $ 10 billion in compensation and bonuses for its chief executives this year. These bonuses are being paid out even as Goldman Sachs dismissed 1,300 employees with another 1,000 employees expected to lose their jobs by the end of the year. No one is safe from our oligarchic elite, not even the underlings at Goldman Sachs. We invite the newly unemployed from Goldman Sachs to join us.

The median paycheck in the United States, even while these corporate heads pulled in salaries that often equate to $ 900,000 an hour, fell by 1.2 percent to $ 26,364. The number of poor and unemployed is swelling while the number of Americans making $ 1 million or more climbed to 94,000, a 20 percent increase from 2009. Corporate profits now account for 88 percent of all income growth while wages account for 1 percent. The top one percent has, through fraud and the corporate control of the judiciary and regulatory agencies, accounted for about half of all income growth since the 1970s.

How is it possible that in a democracy the bottom 99 percent sees only half of economic growth? How is it possible that the economy does not work on behalf of the 99 percent? How is it possible that financial swindlers and liars continue to run our economy and our government?

It's time to bring justice to Goldman Sachs!

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