Witnesses, including an anonymous inmate serving time in a South Carolina
corrections facility, said prisoners use a variety of tactics to cheat the
tax system. Schemes include filing false tax returns using stolen Social
Security numbers, filing false forms, or claiming tax credits to which the
prisoners were not entitled,
Criminal Investigation Chief Nancy J.] Jardini said. The inmate said that
, he filed between 600 and
700 false returns for himself and fellow inmates, of which about 90 percent
successfully resulted in refunds. The total amount he claimed in refunds was
approximately $3.5 million, he said.
Inmates often use accomplices outside of the prison system to carry out their
schemes, witnesses said. In fact, according to
Rep. Ric Keller,
R-Fla., one person recently indicted for helping
prisoners commit tax fraud was an
J. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s
inspector general for taxation, said
figures show that the number of fraudulent tax returns filed by prisoners
quadrupled from 4,300 in to 18,000
“Of particular concern is the fact that the
frequently pays refunds on returns it has identified as fraudulent,” George
said. “In , the
paid 36,000 refunds on returns that it determined to be fraudulent; 4,100 of
these were issued to prisoners.”
A good op-ed
piece by Brendan O’Neill from the Christian Science
Monitor, excerpts below:
Memo to those who opposed the war in Iraq: Please stop talking about the
Downing Street memos! And I say that not as a defender of the war, but as one
who was implacably set against it.
The antiwar lobby’s obsession with secretive things — whether it’s these
latest memos, earlier dodgy dossiers, or rumors about who said what to whom
in the backrooms of the White House and Whitehall — degrades the debate about
Instead of mounting a serious opposition to the invasion of Iraq, antiwar
activists have spent the last two years searching endlessly for proof that
they and their fellow citizens were lied to. They’ve seemed more intrigued by
the decision-making processes that led to the war than outraged by the war
The Downing Street Memos are but another chapter in — or perhaps even the
climax of — this ongoing saga.…
Antiwar activists have relentlessly scrutinized this and subsequent memos,
gloating over their finds. According to one antiwar website, “The [memo]
reveals gross duplicity in the actions of both governments.”
I find this creepy fascination with confidential communications irritating
for three reasons:
First, you would have to be spectacularly naive to be shocked that powerful
governments in the West had tinkered with the truth in order to launch a war.
From the Gulf of Tonkin claims in Vietnam
to the story about Kuwaiti babies being tossed from incubators in the run-up
to the Gulf War of , governments on the
verge of war have always been less than honest.
It’s been nearly 90 years since
US Senator Hiram
Johnson purportedly said, “The first casualty when war comes is truth,” yet
antiwar activists still seem to think that “Bush lied!” counts as a
So much energy has been expended on digging for dirt there is none left for
offering a genuine alternative to Western military intervention abroad.
Antiwar activists should be ashamed of themselves: Their petty obsessions
have detracted from the debate we really need.
If you are against war, then forget about the Downing Street memos. The
debate about war should be political and moral, not legalistic; we should
interrogate the consequences of war for those on the receiving end, and for
peace more broadly — not get hung up over what some British official wrote on
a piece of paper.
In short, we need a political opposition to war — because,
, we still don’t have one.
The problem seems to be that a lot of people who are against the war are
looking for the easy, quick fix. They want to be able to pull a lever in a
voting booth and then a new set of politicians will fix the problem. Or they
want to point out some smoking gun and then the press and a newly-enraged and
scandal-hungry public will do the job. Or they want to find some sort of
“proof” of “illegality” in how the war was started or conducted, whereupon
some currently nonexistent sovereign global legal authority (or perhaps God
Almighty) will punish the wrongdoers and set things right.
They beg the Congress for impeachment proceedings in the hopes that Congress,
of all things, will — I dunno — put Cheney in charge or something useful like
that. (Remember how the anti-war movement evaporated during the election
campaign last year? Imagine what an impeachment hearing would do.)
They, by and large, are trying to avoid the hard work of using their own power
and throwing their entire weight behind their outrage. Polls are showing that
an increasing majority of the American people say that they oppose the war in
Iraq. I’ll wager that 99% of them are lying.