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New evidence reveals every single selling point was a lie...
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2013 4:19pm PT  

On Monday night, NBC News aired its new documentary, Hubris: Selling the Iraq War, based on the book of a similar name by David Corn and Michael Isikoff. The film offered a number of new and disturbing insights since the original 2007 book was published.

While it may be maddening --- particularly for those of us who followed the massive scam as it was ongoing --- the documentary should be mandatory viewing for those who have lost sight of just how each and every single one of the key reasons used to sell the U.S. on war with Iraq was built on known lies. Each and every point --- from Saddam's alleged ties to al-Qaeda, to his alleged mobile chemical labs, to his alleged nuke program, to those aluminum tubes said to have been for use in uranium enrichment, to the "fissile material" (yellowcake) he was said to have been trying to obtain from Niger --- was a lie. And each an every lie was known to be a lie by the scoundrels and war criminals who sold it to the American public and a compliant American media.

Even with its failures, and several of them are identified here, Hubris reminds us of how each and every one of those points was a scam. Period. And, while it's not expressly highlighted (but should be in a follow up!), we are reminded how none of the liars have ever faced any accountability whatsoever, despite nearly 4,500 U.S. troops killed, more than 30,000 of them wounded, well over 100,000 Iraqi citizens murdered and some $3 trillion looted from our nation's coffers. You should take the time to watch it.

The entire documentary, broken into 6 parts, narrated by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and originally aired on 2/18/2013, follows in full below...

...PART 1...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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NBC News documentary on the lies used to sell the Iraq War, while worthy, conveniently avoids several key points...
By David Swanson on 2/19/2013 12:52pm PT  

As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air.

The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week --- and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world --- as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people.

From there, MSNBC proceeded to support the war with mild critiques around the edges, and to white-out the idea of impeachment or accountability.

But now MSNBC has seen its way clear to airing a documentary about the fraudulent case it assisted in, a documentary titled Hubris. This short film (which aired between 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, but with roughly half of those minutes occupied by commercials --- watch the entire documentary now online here) pointed out the role of the New York Times in defrauding the public, but not MSNBC's role.

Yet, my primary response to that is joy rather than disgust. It is now cool to acknowledge war lies. Truth-tellers, including truth-tellers rarely presented with a corporate microphone, made that happen...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2013 12:18pm PT  

[UPDATE: Watch the entire documentary now online here.]

David Corn at Mother Jones offers a preview of some of the new information coming Monday, in Hubris: Selling the Iraq War, an MSNBC documentary based on the book of a similar name by Corn and Michael Isikoff.

The film, to be narrated by Rachel Maddow, is said, like the book, to detail the inside story of how America and the world were knowingly scammed by the Bush Administration into invading Iraq ten years ago next month, leading to, as Corn describes it, "a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 service members wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians."

"The tab for the war topped $3 trillion," he adds, even though "it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true."

The facts of how the nation was conned into going to war, Maddow has argued over the past week while promoting and previewing the new film, are important to understand in order to avoid the same thing happening again. "If what we went through 10 years ago did not change us as a nation --- if we do not understand what happened and adapt to resist it --- then history says we are doomed to repeat it," she says.

Maddow says the documentary will likely ruffle many political feathers, and Corn offers a few of the new nuggets of new information on the scam that have been revealed since the publication of his and Isikoff's 2007 book that will be presented in the MSNBC film on Monday, Presidents Day. Among them...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2013 12:45pm PT  

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(But not some Americans already murdered)...
By David Swanson on 2/5/2013 11:07am PT  

Here is the 'white paper'. With a few tweaks and a more creative title --- like "Murder With Your Hands Clean" --- this memo could sell a lot of copies.

And why not? Either there's a whistleblower in the Department of So-Called Justice about to be charged with espionage, and NBC is about to face the same persecution as WikiLeaks, or this is one of those "good" leaks that the White House wanted made public in an underhanded manner --- perhaps as an imagined boost to morality-challenged CIA director nominee John Brennan who faces his Senate Rejection Hearing on Thursday.

The white paper, which is thought to be a summary of a longer memo, says the United States can murder a U.S. citizen abroad (abroad but somehow "outside the area of active hostilities" even though killing him or her seems rather active and hostile) if three conditions are met:

1. an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States;

The memo goes on to base its claims on the supposed powers of the President, not of some random official. Who is such an official? Who decides whether he or she is informed? What if two of them disagree? What if he or she disagrees with the President? or the Congress? or the Supreme Court? or the U.S. public? or the United Nations? or the International Criminal Court? What then? One solution is to redefine the terms so that everyone has to agree. "Imminent" is defined in this memo to mean nothing at all. "The United States" clearly means anywhere U.S. troops may be.

2. capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible;

And if a high-level official claims it's infeasible, who can challenge that?

3. the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.

When a U.S. drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, no one had shown either of them to meet the above qualifications.

When a U.S. drone strike targeted and killed 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, no one had shown him to meet the above qualifications; I don't think anyone has made such a claim to this day. And what about his cousin who died for the crime of being with him at the wrong time?

The sociopaths who wrote this memo have "legalized" the drone-killing of Americans with the exception of all the Americans known thus far to have been murdered by our government with the use of drones.

* * *

Cross-posted at WarIsACrime.org...

David Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org and works for RootsAction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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Prime-time anchor little more than 'conservative consensus' tool...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2013 7:35am PT  

In the twisted Rightwing world of CNN's Erin Burnett, one "tempers" ones views by favoring war over diplomacy. It's the world upside down. But it's prime-time anchor Burnett's world, so, unfortunately, it must be ours as well.

"In Washington, there's no ruling party," progressive activist and congressional expert Howie Klein of "Down With Tyranny" told me during my interview with him on the Mike Malloy Show just prior to Thanksgiving. We were discussing issues surrounding the increasingly conservative bent of the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House.

"The ruling clique in Washington is what's called 'the conservative consensus'," he continued. "And 'the conservative consensus' is the Republicans, not just in Congress, but the Republicans who stay there forever --- in think tanks, and in the media, and in the consultant world, the pundit world. So them --- and the Democrats who are also part of that world --- that's 'the conservative consensus'. It's everybody but the progressives."

That "conservative consensus" is on display every night on CNN, courtesy of Burnett and her insipid Out Front program. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more blatant example of the "conservative consensus" in the media than her comments that I happened to catch last week while on the road.

Here's Burnett during a discussion on her show last Monday (1/7/2013, the full video is here) about the various concerns --- pretend or otherwise --- about President Obama's nomination of former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as the next Secretary of Defense. Her guests were former George W. Bush Speechwriter and Senior Adviser David "Axis of Evil" Frum and former Pentagon Press Secretary for Barack Obama, Doug Wilson. [Emphasis added.]

BURNETT: Hagel voted against sanctions [on Iran]. Now he says he's for multilateral sanctions, but he voted against unilateral sanctions. He voted against recognizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard core as a terrorist organization. That, of course, was well outside the mainstream. The Senate voted 76 to 22 in favor of that.

And in 2006, to David [Frum]'s point, Hagel said, and I'll just quote him in part: "I would say that a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible responsible option ... I believe a political ... settlement will be the answer. Not a military settlement."

Now, since then, to be fair, he has tempered his point of view. In an op-ed as recently as September, he says "war with Iran is not inevitable, but U.S. security is seriously threatened by an armed Iran."

But is he really outside the mainstream on Iran?

What she did right there, with that almost off-handed, almost imperceptible throw-away line --- "to be fair, he has tempered his point of view" --- is simply incredible to me, and a perfect example of the "conservative consensus" that Klein was talking about.

Since when did shifting one's position towards a possibility of war, rather than diplomatic solutions, become a "tempered" point of view in this country? That nobody on the show even blinked an eye about it is even more astounding.

For the record, no matter the way he is being slimed by the "conservative consensus" at CNN and elsewhere on this and other matters, Hagel, a two-time Purple Heart recipient during his time as an infantry squad leader in the Vietnam War, is anything but a pacifist or a so-called left-wing peacenik when it comes to these matters...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2013 7:35am PT  

We're just returning to The BRAD BLOG Universal News Headquarters from a couple of weeks on the road with family, during which we spent much of our time off the political grid, trying to look the other way, and otherwise hoping our brain might heal a bit in the bargain following an exceedingly grueling year.

Lots to catch up on before we're back at full speed, but if the news out of the White House was always this much fun perhaps this work wouldn't be so difficult in the first place.

As promised, when a petition posted to the White House's "We the People" website crosses the threshold of garnering a certain number of signatures, they issue an official response to it.

Recently, the petition calling on the Obama Administration to "Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016," crossed that threshold.

There is no word on whether Dick Cheney was the one who filed the original petition, but the official response from Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, is awesomely geek-worthy and follows in full below. Among other observations, he astutely asks: "Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"

The Force is strong with Mr. Shawcross...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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LA Times edits, publishes my personal letter in response...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/26/2012 12:05pm PT  

There has been much debate over the last several weeks over the inaccurate use of scenes of torture in the new film Zero Dark Thirty to suggest that so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" were key to the capture and ultimate killing of Osama Bin Laden. (See "Zero Dark Thirty's Wrong and Dangerous Conclusion" by Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, for example, or Glenn Greenwald's "Zero Dark Thirty: new torture-glorifying film wins raves", which asks "Can a movie that relies on fabrications to generate support for war crimes still be considered great?")

Beyond the question of whether it is appropriate or not to use blatantly false and misleading "dramatic license" in a theatrical film which it's filmmaker describes as employing "almost a journalistic approach to film", there is another troubling issue that seems to be getting lost in the debate.

It is disturbing, if not altogether surprising, to find an article on the front page of the Los Angeles Times recently, discussing the film, and its related "debate" amongst Democrats and Republicans on the U.S. Senate Intelligence over "the value of 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

The topic is one we have covered extensively here at The BRAD BLOG --- coverage that has included a five-part series on the history of CIA torture and a dire warning that the very survival of our Constitutional Democracy could hinge on justified prosecutions of those who previously ordered or engaged in torture.

In early 2009, in "Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy," I took dead aim at the sophistry employed by President Barack Obama to evade his constitutionally mandated obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed. The same Harvard Law School-educated President who said that, in torture, America had lost its "moral bearings," suggested we must only look forward, not back. As I noted at the time, it was an "illogical formulation [that] was incompatible with the very essence of the rule of law."

Those prosecutions were not forthcoming, and, as a result, we find two writers at Los Angeles Times discussing the dispute triggered by the movie, Zero Dark Forty, over the efficacy of torture without so much as a passing reference to the fact that torture is a crime under both U.S. and international law.

This woefully deficient "coverage" drew a sharp and very personal response, given my family's history, by way of a Letter to the Editor I wrote to the paper, which they recently edited, and then published...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2012 3:54pm PT  

Steve Heller notes in BRAD BLOG comments today...

Regarding the "2nd Amendment protects us from tyranny" argument: Let's think about the so-called Patriot Act. That law isn't some right-wing paranoid fantasy about "Obama will take our guns!" or black helicopters or blue-helmeted UN troops putting us in concentration camps. That law is a REAL infringement on our liberties. Under the still-in-effect Patriot Act, the fed. govt. can, at any time and without having to provide any reason, cry "National Security!" and arrest us without warrant or charges, imprison us indefinitely, hold us incommunicado, deny us legal representation, search our homes, persons, cars, papers, email, phone records, snail mail, etc. in secret and without a warrant, take away our right to Habeas Corpus (the right to go before a judge to contest our imprisonment), send us to foreign nations for "interrogation" by the authorities of said foreign nation (read "torture"), and a host of other liberty-destroying provisions too numerous to list here.

Where was the NRA while the Patriot Act was being passed? Where are they now while it's still in effect?

Most importantly, why didn't our right to bear arms protect us from this drastic, powerful, and seemingly permanent destruction of many of our Constitutional liberties??

Look, if gun owners really and truly want to protect our liberties, they should put down their guns and get politically active. Guns did not protect us and would not have protected us from the Patriot Act. Only active engagement in our political system would have or could still save us from the Patriot Act and/or other infringements of our liberties.

He then added separately...

P.S. Forgot to add, I'm a gun owner. But I try (in my very small and limited way) to protect liberty not by carrying my gun everywhere but by being actively engaged in the political process.

We'd add only one other thought for now: Where does the 2nd Amendment, or any other, afford anybody the "civil liberty" of buying and purchasing as many semi-assault rifles, boxes of ammo and high-capacity magazines as they want without restriction or regulation? We can't seem to find that in our copy of the U.S. Constitution and, though we've asked, no one has yet identified for us where that "liberty" is enumerated.

That said, Heller's point above is probably far more important.

IMAGE: Shutterstock/Sascha Burkard

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By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2012 8:24pm PT  

A few items of late that have caught our eye, but we haven't had time to cover in detail. So, you get the Readers Digest versions for now. You're welcome!

Susan Rice and the Democrats once again succumb to the demands of terrorists.

• Whodathunkit? But questions arise about the legitimacy of the claims made by Fox' latest wannabe James O'Keefe, about that video purporting to show an "unprovoked attack" by "union thugs" outside the capital building in Lansing, MI this week. The most amazing part? Someone at The New York Times --- yes, that New York Times --- is one of those actually noticing the big honkin' edit in the middle of the video, rather than just reporting it all as unquestioned fact.

Eric Holder spoke about the need to protect voting rights at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We have more than a few bones to pick about it, but we'll just point you to the actual speech for the moment.

• What's the difference between this and just stealing? House Republicans secretly --- secretly --- authorized $500,000 in tax payer dollars to defend the unconstitutional "Defense of Marriage Act". More of that small government "conservatism", apparently.

• Finally, for now, the critically acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty, the new theatrical film about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, reportedly glorifies the torture that led to his capture and killing, even though no torture whatsoever actually led to his capture and killing.

Discuss.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2012 4:10pm PT  

I'd say I was stunned to see a local TV news reporter --- any TV news reporter, frankly --- asking the President directly about his targeted assassinations of U.S. citizens, except that the reporter was Cincinnati Fox 19's Ben Swann.

Swann's reporting was key last February, in covering the Maine GOP's attempt to steal the state's caucuses for Mitt Romney, while largely everyone else in the corporate mainstream media had dutifully moved on to whatever the "next state" was at the time.

As Glenn Greenwald tweeted, here we find a "local anchor doing real journalism". Imagine that. Someone get this guy a network gig, please!

Here's his questions to President Obama last night on the U.S. drone strikes which targeted U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son in Yemen, both without any form of due process...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2012 4:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has taken refuge in Ecuador's Embassy in London, where he has applied for political asylum, stating:

'I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Quito.

I am grateful to the Ecuadorian ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application.

Ecuador, which, two years ago, offered Assange asylum and which also has an extradition treaty with the U.S., confirmed that it is considering Assange's asylum application, but stated that its decision to do so, "should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden," according to CNN.

Assange, an Australian, as we previously reported, has maintained that the sex charges against him, and Sweden's request for extradition from England where Assange has been staying since the charges were initially filed against him, are being utilized as an excuse to ultimately transport him to the U.S. for political persecution.

Assange suffered a significant legal setback last week when the UK's Supreme Court dismissed his application to reopen his appeal against extradition. He was scheduled to be extradited to Sweden in nine days.

UPDATE 6/20/12: In a public email, the advocacy group, RootsAction alleges:

Sweden has a record of bowing to U.S. pressure, including the handing over of two men to the CIA in 2006 --- leading the U.N. to find Sweden complicit in torture.

The United States reportedly has a sealed indictment prepared for Assange, charging him with crimes against 'national security.'

The group has an on-line petition requesting that Ecuador grant asylum, which can be signed here.

Meanwhile, the UK's Guardian reports that Assange's asylum request could prove an empty gesture. Absent "giving Assange Ecuadorian diplomatic status...there seems no way in which he can get to Healthrow, let alone Ecuador, without being arrested for breach of his bail conditions," the Guardian reported.

A video containing Democracy Now's more extended coverage of the event, including London's announcement that Assange is now subject to arrest and Assange's prior interview of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on RT, is posted below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Come November, CA voters may be forced to choose between two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/30/2012 1:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Recently, The BRAD BLOG criticized the undemocratic features of the new "Top Two" open primary system (aka the "Cajun Primary") in California. The new system, approved via a ballot initiative in 2010, changes the state's primary to system to allow a single, open primary in which the two candidates who receive the highest numbers of votes, go on to face each other in the November general election even if the combined totals of the 'Top Two' do not amount to a majority of votes cast in the primary.

In our critique, we cited the race for the newly created CA-26 Congressional seat where, despite a Democratic Party voter registration advantage, come November, voters may be forced to choose between a 'Tea Party' Republican and a stealth Republican who changed her party registration to independent just days prior to the candidate filing deadline because the two are matched against four Democrats on the June 5 "Top Two" primary ballot.

Our analysis drew criticism in comments from some right-leaning readers claiming our critique was simply a case of sour grapes by a progressive author. But, the state's upcoming U.S. Senate race reveals that the undemocratic potential of the 'Cajun Primary' cuts both ways; that there is a distinct possibility that all Californians, come November, will be forced to choose between the incumbent corporate Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein, and the Occupy Wall Street-connected, computer scientist David Levitt (see video below), who is also a Democrat...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2012 8:09pm PT  

After a month off for KPFK's latest fund drive, The BradCast was finally back today in its normal Wednesday 3pm slot on Pacifica Radio's L.A. affiliate (and on other fine networks as well.)

On today's show I was joined by Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net to discuss the madness of Obama's policies for targeting U.S. citizens as "terrorists" without due process, as discussed by AG Eric Holder earlier this week; a Green News Report segment with a major audio glitch and Desi Doyen live in studio; PLUS: the story of IN Sec. of State Charlie White getting off virtually scot-free for three counts of felony voter fraud, the former U.S. Marine who pushed back against the GOP's polling place Photo ID restrictions in TN this week, the good news out of WI concerning that state GOP's own attempt to suppress Democratic-leaning voters and MUCH MORE! Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online right here [appx 58 mins]...

P.S. I don't always get to post archive for The BradCast here, but you can subscribe to the RSS feed for free right here, or otherwise check the KPFK archive page for the show right here.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/29/2012 3:40pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The title of historian Kevin Phillips' otherwise excellent work, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, is somewhat misleading. With the exception of constitutional monarchies, which preclude royalty from all but figurehead status, democracy and the concentration of great wealth cannot co-exist in the same society.

If citizens can see past the corporate media-erected contest of personalities so as to examine how it reflects the undemocratic structure of our society, the 2012 Presidential election can provide us with a teachable moment of great value. This is true whether we examine the flood of SuperPAC monies, courtesy of the now infamous Citizens United decision, the striking similarities in their methodology of wealth acquisition depicted both in the 1987 movie Wall Street through its fictional Gordon Gekko and in real life by Bain Capital and Mitt Romney, the ridiculously low 13.9% federal taxes on Romney's $21.7 million income in 2010, his extensive Goldman Sachs holdings and as much as $32 million maintained in off-shore accounts, or the fact that only one, essentially marginalized Presidential candidate in either of the two major political parties --- Ron Paul --- is willing to discuss an end to perpetual war and our global military presence.

Here, Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney provides the principle focus, not because of personality, or "envy", but because his candidacy affords an opportunity to explore the inconsistency between wealth and democracy...

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