As I’ve told you in this space over the last two weeks, Judicial Watch uncovered a major scandal inside the USDA, Obama Official Portrait Smilewhere taxpayers have been funding an expensive “cultural sensitivity” program that requires federal employees to bang on tables and repeat the words, “The Pilgrims were illegal aliens,” among other ridiculous chants.

And now this week the Obama administration announces, using the excuse of sequestration, it simply doesn’t have enough money to detain illegal alien lawbreakers. And so criminals of all kinds are now roaming the streets in cities across America looking for their next victims.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released “several hundred” immigrants from deportation centers across the country, saying the move is an effort to cut costs ahead of budget cuts due to hit later this week.

Announcing the news Tuesday, ICE officials said that the immigrants were released under supervision and continue to face deportation. After reviewing hundreds of cases, those released were considered low-risk and “noncriminal,” officials said.

That’s right, they call them “low-risk” and “non-criminal.” Now where did we hear this before?

Oh, yes – back in 2010, when the Obama administration’s “selective deportation” scheme first exploded into the news. At the time, it was reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton had authorized ICE attorneys via an internal memo to block deportation proceedings for illegal aliens who were deemed “low-risk.”

But that turned out to be an utter fabrication. A spreadsheet obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) listed the specific violent crimes that immigration officials were prepared to overlook. They included: sexual assault, solicitation of murder, aggravated assault, assaulting a police officer, and kidnapping, as well as numerous drug charges.

But setting this aside for the moment, if nearly three years ago only those illegal aliens deemed “low risk” were released, what names do you suppose would be left in the ICE database?  That’s right. “high risk” illegal aliens, which are evidently the individuals who are now being subject to this new component of the Obama administration’s amnesty agenda.

We also heard reference to the well-behaved illegal alien Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who killed a nun while driving drunk in Prince William County, VA, in August 2010. Judicial Watch fought tooth-and-nail to obtain an internal Obama Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on Montano, who had reportedly been arrested and detained several times prior to the accident. (Once again, we had to file a lawsuit against the DHS to get the report.) And what did we learn?

After being arrested for a series of crimes, including reckless driving and driving under the influence on no less than four occasions, Montano was repeatedly released by authorities, including the DHS.

The reason given by the Obama administration for releasing an illegal alien criminal then is the same reason we’re being given now – not enough resources. According to the report, “In 2008, when the decision was made to release Montano, fewer beds were available in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.”  The report also points to government policies that allowed immigration officials “broad discretion” about how to use detention resources.

And then there’s this “poster child” of the Obama administration catch-and-release-illegal-alien scheme, courtesy of the New York Times:

Among those released in the past week was Anthony Orlando Williams, 52, a Jamaican immigrant who spent nearly three years in a detention center in Georgia. “I’m good, man,” he said. “I’m free.”

Mr. Williams, in a telephone interview from Stone Mountain, Ga., said he became an illegal immigrant when he overstayed a visa in 1991. He was detained in 2010 by a sheriff’s deputy in Gwinnett County, Ga., when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse, charges that sprung from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time. He was transferred to ICE custody and has been fighting a deportation order with the help of Families for Freedom, an immigrant support group in New York.

So now illegal aliens charged with assault, battery and child abuse are “low-risk” and non-criminal!? Under this administration, yes.

Folks, here’s the unfortunate reality as I see it: People are going to die as a result of this reckless and shamelessly political decision. It’s that serious. How do I know?  Because it has already happened – many times.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who also doesn’t buy the Obama administration’s “sequester made me do it” excuse, agrees:  “It’s abhorrent that President Obama is releasing criminals into our communities to promote his political agenda on sequestration. By releasing criminal immigrants onto the streets, the administration is needlessly endangering American lives.”

As you might imagine, when the American people began to express outrage over this decision, the finger-pointing began. The Obama White House immediately passed the buck:

The White House and the Department of Homeland Security were unaware of Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s decision to release detainees until the agency announced it, administration officials said Wednesday.

 ”This was a decision made by career officials at ICE without any input from the White House, as a result of fiscal uncertainty over the continuing resolution, as well as possible sequestration,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.

I presume that Carney’s statement is a lie, but if this was done without the White House’s approval, then Janet Napolitano, head of the DHS, and John Morton, head of ICE, should be fired.  (At least one official in ICE, who ran the detention program, seems to have resigned over this latest outrage.)  This is among the most craven, cynical and dangerous actions taken by this presidential administration. Even illegal immigration advocates were shocked by the move. One illegal alien criminal thought it was a joke!

But it’s no joke. This is reality under President Obama’s second term. Our investigators and lawyers are on the case. Stay tuned.

Judicial Watch Investigates Obama Cronies’ Ties to Chinese Government-Company Acquisition of Canadian Energy Company

Time and time again we’ve seen the Obama administration take care of its own with shady wheeling and dealing. Remember Obama campaign bundler and Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser? He was Solyndra’s top financial backer, who certainly stood to benefit from the Department of Energy’s massive half-billion dollar bailout of the now defunct energy company (which may be why Kaiser visited the Obama White House so many times to discuss it).

Well, Obama influence peddlers are evidently at it again. This time it’s not a bailout at issue, but rather a very curious and potentially threatening decision to approve a deal that puts China in control of drilling interests in the Gulf of Mexico and puts cash in the pockets of Obama campaign donors and bundlers.

On February 14, 2013, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Treasury to obtain records relating to the Obama administration’s approval of the acquisition of the Canadian energy company Nexen Inc. by the Chinese government-owned Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

This acquisition will allow CNOOC access to drilling in northern Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, but that’s not all. The deal will also provide a windfall of financial returns to major Obama campaign contributors.

On November 13, 2012, Judicial Watch sent a FOIA request to Treasury seeking the following information: “Any and all Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) records regarding, concerning, or related to the proposed takeover of Nexen, Inc. by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all records of communications by any official, employee, or representative of the Department of the Treasury and any other party regarding, concerning, or related to the proposed takeover.”

By a letter dated November 16, 2012, Treasury acknowledged receipt of the Judicial Watch FOIA.  Though required by law to respond within 20 days, to date, Treasury has not done so and we are now in court to compel a response. The Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 14, 2013.

And why is this acquisition so concerning?

CNOOC’s July 2012, acquisition of Nexen drilling interests in northern Canada and the Gulf of Mexico allowed the Chinese government a partial takeover of a vital strategic asset (accessible crude oil in the Western Hemisphere). The acquisition is the largest Chinese takeover of a foreign company in history. And it could have been blocked by the U.S.

Because of the Nexen’s holdings in the Gulf of Mexico, the CNOOC takeover required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and includes the Attorney General, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, State, and Energy.

And China got exactly what it wanted. On February 12, 2013, the CFIUS announced its approval of CNOOC’s takeover of Nexen. As a state enterprise, CNOOC is owned by the Chinese government and is managed by Communist Party officials. CNOOC offered Nexen 60% premium over the stock’s trading value at the time of the takeover, prompting analysts to describe the terms as “a fantastic deal for Nexen” and raising questions as to whether the Chinese government’s interest were more strategic than economic.

It certainly appears that the Obama administration’s interests were strategic. The acquisition will apparently provide a windfall return to Obama-connected investors who profited heavily from Treasury’s approval of the takeover and Chinese expansion into the hemisphere, including:

So, in summary, with one ill-chosen action, the Obama administration has managed to undermine our strategic interests and reward its corporate cronies. It’s little wonder that the Treasury Department is defying open records law to stonewall accountability. And Americans may want to compare and contrast the quick approval of this Chinese strategic initiative – which benefits the Communist Chinese – with the Obama administration’s scandalous delay of the related Keystone XL oil pipeline project, which would bring energy independence, jobs and resources to America.

Judicial Watch Sues Obama HHS for Records Detailing Payouts Made to Victims of HPV Vaccines

I cannot imagine what information the Obama administration is trying to keep secret regarding Gardasil, a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV), because what we know so far from the records we’ve already uncovered is truly frightening.

As you may recall if you’ve been reading this space for some time, since 2007 Judicial Watch has uncovered government records documenting thousands of adverse reactions associated with the vaccine, including seizures, paralysis, blindness, pancreatitis, speech problems, short-term memory loss, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and death. (We initiated an investigation of HPV vaccine Gardasil after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast-tracked the vaccine through the approval process in 2006 and officials started trying to mandate the vaccines use for young girls and boys.)

I think it’s fair to say that our investigation has led to a deeper public understanding of the risks associated with the vaccine, which we consider a tremendous public service.

But our philosophy is that more information is better. And now we want to get some records related to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), a program that compensates patients who have been adversely affected by certain vaccines, including Gardasil.

The response from the Obama administration? Nothing but silence.

And so we were once again forced to do what we always do in the face of Obama stonewalling – we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Here’s what we’re after pursuant to our November 1, 2012, FOIA request filed with the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS:

1. Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the inclusion of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines as covered vaccines under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

2. Any and all records depicting the number of claims filed under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for injuries or deaths allegedly associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

3. Any and all records depicting the amount of compensation paid to claimants under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) pursuant to claims related to injuries or deaths allegedly associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

The agency acknowledged receipt of our FOIA request on November 2, 2012. By law, HHS was required to respond no later than December 4, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the agency has failed to provide responsive documents, indicate when a response is forthcoming, or notify Judicial Watch why the records should be exempted from disclosure.

VICP is a HHS program that compensates patients who have been adversely affected by certain vaccines. The HHS web site describes the program as a “no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system,” and it covers 16 specific classes of vaccines, including HPV vaccines which were added in 2007.

Why are we after these records? Because we think the number of successful claims made under the VICP to victims of HPV will provide further information for the American people about the dangers of the vaccine, including the number of well-substantiated cases of adverse reactions.

And let me tell you, the track record of this vaccine is truly horrible. Let me show you what I mean by sharing with you just a few excerpts from the adverse event reports we’ve previously uncovered:

  • The information was received from the patient’s mother…concerning her healthy 14 year old daughter who in August 2007, January 2008, and June 2008, was vaccinated with a first, second and third dose of GARDASIL…It was reported that the patient experienced several symptoms including numbness and tingling in her fingers and toes, fatigue, a really hard time falling asleep, urinary tract infections, ovarian cyst, moody, trouble getting out of bed and seizures. The patient had had upwards of 150 seizures following her third shot in June 2008. During her seizures she stopped breathing for periods of 30 to 40 seconds. The patient was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic syndrome and seizures. It was reported that the patient died due to ovarian cyst. The reporter felt that the patient’s symptoms were related to vaccination with GARDASIL.

  • Additional information was received from a newspaper article concerning a 18 year old female…who on 10-MAY-2007 was vaccinated with GARDASIL…in the right arm…The patient who was a college freshman travelled on 05-OCT-2007 to visit her family for the weekend. The patient reportedly felt “slightly ill” upon her arrival and subsequently took an aspirin and went to bed awakening at 1:30 PM the following afternoon “appearing refreshed”. The patient became feverish again that night and woke at 1:00 AM the morning of 07-OCT-2007 with chills and a severe headache complaining that “my headache is about to explode”. The patient was taken to a local hospital, where a brain computed axial tomography (CAT) scan was performed and the brain revealed meningococcal disease in her brain and brain stem. The patient was immediately transferred to another hospital and died the evening of 07-OCT-2007 due to complications of meningitis.

  • Information has been received from a physician regarding a 15 year old female who on 26-SEP-2007 was vaccinated with her second dose of GARDASIL for prevention of HPV…Thirty minutes after the vaccination, the patient experienced a headache and that night went home and slept until the next morning. The patient woke up the next day and went to school. The school nurse called the patient’s mother and informed her that the patient felt tingling in both hands. Later that day, the patient was again sent to the nurse’s office due to a shaking sensation all over. Later that evening, things became worse and the patient started crying from the pain and burning in her back. The patient was taken to the emergency room by her parents. In the emergency room, the patient collapsed and was not able to walk; she was paralyzed from the waist down. It was reported that the patient was hospitalized for two months.

But don’t take our word for it (or the government reports).  According to the Annals of Medicine: “At present there are no significant data showing that either Gardasil or Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) can prevent any type of cervical cancer since the testing period employed was too short to evaluate long-term benefits of HPV vaccination.”  See more here.

From the very beginning the federal government has attempted to shield the public from the significant safety concerns about Gardasil.  Instead of pushing Gardasil on young girls and boys, the Obama administration should pull the vaccine off the shelf and immediately undertake a full safety review. And step one is to respond to our FOIA request and release all records detailing the adverse reactions to the vaccine, including information related to these HPV vaccine payouts.

Now if you want more information, you can read the records we obtained from the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for yourself here. Or you could also read Judicial Watch’s special report published in 2008 detailing Gardasil’s approval process, side effects, safety concerns and marketing practices. Either way, just know that the information contained in these materials is very graphic and disturbing – all the more reason for the Obama administration to come clean.

Read more at Judicial Watch

Tom FittonTom Fitton, President

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people.

Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach