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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Latest developments in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce scheme to illicitly target me and my family, as well as other progressive citizens, journalists and organizations...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2011 8:04pm PT  

It's strange, difficult and a bit uncomfortable reporting on the $12 million U.S. Chamber disinfo plot and smear campaign after finding myself (and my family), much less VelvetRevolution.us (VR), the non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, as direct targets of it. As you might have assumed, there is much going on behind the scenes that I can't report on at this time, but I've been happy to see some fairly decent coverage --- even by some in the print MSM, if not much in the broadcast media yet --- of this important, disturbing and still developing story.

It's easier to talk and opine on what I've learned about the plot, as I've been doing in a lot of media interviews over the past week (a few of those radio appearances are linked below), than it is to actually report on it, per se. Yet, there have been several noteworthy points and advancements in the story over the past week since I originally covered it in depth here on Monday.

New information being dug up over the last several days, since I initially reported on this story in depth at the beginning of the week, now indicates that the Chamber Plotters had likely intended to use cyber attacks and hacks against us as well.

Those key updates, and the very quickest of backgrounders for those unfamiliar with the sordid tale up until now, follow below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2011 11:01am PT  

Here's what happened last night in Egypt (late last night in U.S.):

And with that, Egypt effectively "vanished from the Internet" yesterday as the uprising against a repressive, U.S. backed regime began to take full bloom and, as of this hour, continues to rage.

Meanwhile, back in these United States, folks like Sen. Joe Lieberman are pushing a bill, the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset" act, to make provisions for a U.S. government "Internet Kill Switch" to allow them to do the same. Now why would folks like Lieberman want that?

The latest revision of this bill, according to FastCompany, "bans judicial review over executive decrees" to take down all, or portions of, the Internet.

On a very related note... Thanks to the Internet, you can watch the uprising in Egypt going on as we speak, via Al Jazeera English's streaming live coverage here, just in case you find that CNN and the others are still offering wall-to-wall coverage of Charlie Sheen. You can also follow ongoing Twitter reports on Egypt via the #Jan25 and #Egypt hashtags.

And on another very related note... The recent uprising, revolution and new government in Tunisia was triggered, in no small part, thanks to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks detailing the corruption of the ruling family. That revolution helped spark the one going on right now in Egypt, where the people have taken to the streets to challenge the thirty-year, iron-fisted rule of Hosni Mubarik, a long-time U.S. ally.

WikiLeaks has now released U.S. cables describing "routine and pervasive" use of police brutality and widespread torture by the Egyptian state, our allies, against "criminals, Islamist detainees, opposition activists and bloggers," as The Guardian describes the leaked cables today.

In Yemen, another ally of the U.S., citizen protests inspired by Tunisia and Egypt are also reportedly underway. And this morning, rumors of unrest in Syria were also spreading via Twitter.

With very real democratic revolutions happening in the Middle East --- one of the purported excuses once given for the U.S. invasion and mass murders in Iraq --- coming about through peaceful uprisings (but for governmental aggression in response) there, thanks in no small part to WikiLeaks, wouldn't folks like Joe Biden be wise to reconsider his recent, offensive assessment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a "high-tech terrorist"?

Perhaps not. Perhaps the Vice President has good reason to stand by that astonishing incitement of violence against a private Australian citizen and an organization neither charged with, nor convicted of, any crimes against the U.S.. After all, we have, for decades, been propping up the repressive Egyptian regime with billions of dollars in funding and armaments. And, by way of reminder, it is being reported that the tear gas canisters being hurled against Egyptian citizen demonstrators right now are clearly and proudly marked as "Made in the U.S.A."

But, of course, "they hate us for our freedoms." So remind us again, Mr. Vice President, who are the terrorists --- high-tech or low-tech --- here?

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By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2010 3:28pm PT  
NORAD: Loses Contact With Santa Over Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan: December 24 - America's NORAD tracking facilities in Virginia confirmed that at 2:06 PM today they lost contact with Santa Clause's sleigh. At the time the signal showed Santa's slay over the autonomous tribal regions that share a border with Afghanistan.

"We have no further information at this time," said a NORAD spokesman. "The last transmission we had from Santa was when he filed his flight plan upon leaving Iranian airspace headed for Afghanistan. We had issued Santa the standard travel warnings about the region, but he insisted on keeping to his traditional flight track."

Pentagon sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said a CIA listening post on the Afghan/Pakistan border picked up a garbled distress call around the time NORAD lost Santa's signal. "It was barely legible," the sources said, "but there was something about going down and something about a drone. After that all we heard were jingle bells ringing like holy hell followed by twelve 'splat-like" sounds and then silence."
...
As we went to press al Qaeda in Pakistan issued a statement on Santa's disappearance.

"The infidel Claus was struck from our skies by the hand of Allah who caused a US drone to fire on his craft. Our fighters reached the crash site and report that reindeer taste like goat, but tougher. The infidel Claus is alive and is being held for interrogation. Our demands for his release will follow shortly. In the meantime, thanks for the printer cartridges. As for the mens' underwear, we clearly asked for briefs, not boxers. You are not only infidels but also stupid."

Full report...

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VIDEO: David Swanson's L.A. book event for 'War is a Lie', with Lila Garrett, Jason Leopold, Brad Friedman...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2010 4:05pm PT  

On the day it was published, David Swanson guest blogged here about his new book, War is a Lie. A few days later, while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show he and I had a spirited debate about one aspect of the general premise of the book.

And last Sunday, the good Mr. Swanson came to Los Angeles for a book event at the home of actress and PDA advisory board chair Mimi Kennedy where I joined him, along with KPFK's Lila Garrett and Truthout's Jason Leopold, on a panel to discuss it.

The over-flow event --- impressive for any day in laid back L.A., much less in the middle of record rainfall --- was video-taped and is now posted below in seven parts, if you're interested.

(If you're looking for me in the videos below, my opening statement is near the beginning of Part 3, and my closing statement is in Part 7, beginning just before the 4 minute mark. As mentioned in my remarks, please support independent media and, along with it, the truth. You can help do so, among other ways, by buying David's book here.) Enjoy...

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

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Featuring interviews with Coleen Rowley, Daniel Ellsberg & more...
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2010 3:10pm PT  

...is posted below, commercial-free, in case you missed it the first time around when it ran live, as guest hosted by yours truly.

Lots of important stuff discussed, much of which, I predict, will be worth remembering in the days, weeks, months (and possibly even years) ahead as the fallout continues around WikiLeaks (the new new media), and as the outrageously irresponsible governmental/state media assaults against both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and alleged leaker PFC Bradley Manning continue to disinform the American people.

[My thanks also to Daily Kos blogger "cedar park" for picking up Friday's show and letting folks over there know about it over the weekend.]

Listen to each 38-minute "Hour" online below, or right-click "Download MP3" and select "Save Target As..." to save it to your hard drive for listening later.

HOUR 1: The FBI's 9/11 whistleblower and TIME's 2002 Person of the Year, Coleen Rowley, joins us for a very compelling hour, literally on her way home from her arrest at the White House Thursday while protesting war crimes and rallying in favor of the exposure of war crimes via WikiLeaks, and in support of alleged leaker PFC Bradley Manning; We also discuss her recent LA Times op-ed asserting that WikiLeaks might have helped to avert 9/11, her concerns about federal whistleblower legislation just passed by the U.S. Senate and much more...
Download MP3 or listen online below...

HOUR 2: ...Rowley (and the 17 compatriots in her van heading back to MN with her) continue with us for a few more minutes. Then we take some calls and offer some thoughts on the allegations made against Julian Assange and the deplorably inhumane captivity of Bradley Manning.
Download MP3 or listen online below...

HOUR 3: We play some clips in support of Manning from my recent interview with "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, as well as from the interview with 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern by CNN's Don Lemon, along with their official statement in response to my recent critique of that interview where they irresponsibly smeared Assange as a "terrorist" despite his having been charged with no crime nor having killed a single person. Plus more listener phone calls on all of the above...
Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'War on Terror' or War to Inflict State Terror?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/14/2010 7:13pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

In "Plumbing the Depths of Lawless Executive Depravity", I argued that targeted assassinations threaten the very foundation of our republic. This occurs not only due to the potential for collateral damage but due to the distinct possibility that many whom we target as "suspected" terrorists may be entirely innocent.

A more recent article of mine here, "WikiLeaks' Pakistan, Yemen Cables Expose Unchecked Executive Power, 'Hatred for Democracy'" addressed a specific form of targeted assassinations --- the predator drone strike. In it, I noted that the secret expansion of such strikes into Pakistan and Yemen, as confirmed by diplomatic cables recently published by WikiLeaks and their media partners, reflected a dangerous usurpation of power by the Executive branch.

These two articles, and former CIA field operative Robert Baer, in a must-see RethinkAfganistan.com video (embedded at end of this article), assume the targets of the drone strike are suspected insurgents and terrorists. Both of them deal with the counterproductive effect of unintended civilian deaths ("collateral damage") which serves to destabilize "friendly" governments, provide a recruiting tool for those bent on revenge, and increase the likelihood of "blowback," a CIA term that describes "the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people."

Have Baer and I erred in assuming these strikes are not aimed at civilians?...

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

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Congress cowers as White House expands secret wars, abandons all pretense of compliance with War Powers Resolution...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/3/2010 2:46pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"One of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population...[The WikiLeaks cables reveal a] profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership." -Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now, 11/30/2010

There is no issue of greater import to the aspirations of a democratic people than matters of war and peace. There can be no greater display of contempt for democracy on the part of an American President than that reflected by a covert decision to engage in a secret war without the knowledge or consent of Congress or the American people.

As late as 2002, George W. Bush felt compelled to seek some semblance of compliance with the War Powers Resolution of 1973, albeit via deceit in which false claims of Iraqi WMD and links to al Qaeda were presented in order to secure Congressional approval of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution.

According to Jeremy Scahill (video below), "in '03/'04 the Bush administration issued an Executive order that authorized U.S. forces to go anywhere in the world where al Qaeda was to fight them; essentially declared the whole world a battlefield..."

The WikiLeaks Pakistan/Yemen cables confirm that President Barack Obama, possibly relying upon the Bush/Cheney cabal's extremist position that the Sept. 14, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists ("AUMF") is tantamount to a blanket license to initiate wars anywhere and everywhere there is a "suspected" presence of al Qaeda, has both perpetuated and expanded these dangerous claims of lawless Executive power...

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

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Tonight: DELAY GUILTY! Plus: Andy Worthington, Susan Pynchon, Derek Brett...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2010 4:30pm PT  

Another big show tonight as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show this week. (Note: We're off tomorrow, but back on Friday!)

We'll be BradCasting again LIVE tonight from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). Please join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

So far scheduled for tonight's show...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

Click here to jump into our LIVE Chat Room during the show. Or just see below!...

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Commercial free audio archives are below (and the chat room archive is below them.) Lots of interest stuff tonight, some great calls, and plenty to be thankful for...somehow...including my thanks to Mike and Kathy for allowing me to fill in. My favorite call tonight: Curtis in the third hour. Mike is back tomorrow with a Thanksgiving "Best Of" and then I'll be back again Friday night! See ya then! Happy holidays and enjoy the archives until then...

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

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By David Swanson on 11/22/2010 11:35am PT  

-- By David Swanson, Special to The BRAD BLOG

[Ed Note: I'll be guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show several days this week. David Swanson will be one of my guests to discuss his new book. UPDATE: That interview with Swason, a somewhat contentious one at times, is now posted here. - BF]

I didn't write this new book, "War Is A Lie" in order to knock George W. Bush's offensive plagiarized package of lies and open criminality off the top of the book charts, but it certainly would have been worth the effort.

"War Is A Lie" was to be published on Monday, but on Sunday night word was spreading. At 3 p.m. ET the book ranked #1,845 on Amazon.com while Bush's was #1. By 4 p.m. "War Is A Lie" was #1,088; and at 5:30 p.m. #696; at 7:10 p.m. #460; at 8:10 p.m. #226, and at 9:10 p.m. #130. If people kept buying books all night, and certainly if they did so on Monday, Bush was going to be uncrowned. Check where things stand now.

The throne room that Bush made of the oval office may someday be brought back within a representative republic as well.

I've blogged about this today over at Tom Dispatch. Or, rather, I've blogged about the prospects for war and peace in the coming year with the newly elected (or not, who knows?) Congress.

It's going to be fun watching Republican committee chairs subpoena the president and people who obey him, while President Obama has adopted the Bush-Cheney position that Congress has no power over the rest of the government...

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

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UPDATE: Conyers calls on DoJ to review Bush waterboarding order, reconsider decision to let CIA torture tape destroyers off the hook...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2010 3:55pm PT  

If there was ever an article worth reading in its entirety (and it's not a long one), it would be Dahlia Lithwick's "Interrogation Nation" as published yesterday at Slate. Here is one of several key passages as written on the heels of George W. Bush's latest proudly shameless admission that he ordered torture, and this week's announcement that nobody will be held accountable for purposely covering up some of those heinous acts by destroying video-taped evidence...

We keep waiting breathlessly for someone, somewhere, to have a day of reckoning over the prisoners we tortured in the wake of 9/11, without recognizing that there is no bag man to be found and that therefore we are all the bag man.

President Barack Obama decided long ago that he would "turn the page" on prisoner abuse and other illegality connected to the Bush administration's war on terror. What he didn't seem to understand, what he still seems not to appreciate, is that what was on that page would bleed through onto the next page and the page after that. There's no getting past torture. There is only getting comfortable with it. The U.S. flirtation with torture is not locked in the past or in the black sites or prisons at which it occurred. Now more than ever, it's feted on network television and held in reserve for the next president who persuades himself that it's not illegal after all.

We have argued since forever that if Bush and his gang of proudly boasting war criminals were not held to account for their abhorrent crimes, the future would be a dim one indeed, where any president in the future, of any political party, would preside over an ever-lowered bar for criminality. This is that future.

Lithwick's commentary is a chilling and maddening one, but it should be required reading for everyone in these United States --- at least for those who may someday wonder what the hell happened here, on our watch.

In the meantime, pressure is growing again, at least in a few circles which still seem to care about the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution, for a probe of Bush's torture orders, particularly in light of his recent admissions and our obligation to do so under the U.N. Convention Against Torture as signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1994.

* * *

UPDATE: Late this afternoon, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers issued a statement urging the DoJ to "reconsider their decision reconsider the recent decision not to pursue justice against those responsible for destroying videotape evidence involving water boarding by the CIA" and, as importantly commit to "a thorough review of President Bush's now admitted ordering of waterboarding take place."

Conyers' statement goes on to say: "We are a nation of laws, not men, and the domestic and international laws - including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - governing the use of torture are clear in their scope and application. There is no exception for the President or any other official and no lawyer's opinion can provide immunity from these laws."

The full statement follows below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2010 12:50pm PT  

From @PeterDaou during Obama's presser this morning:

Obama: Burning Quran "contrary to what this nation stands for" - so how about assassinating Americans without a trial? http://bit.ly/afcB4X

...Or disallowing torture victims a day in court, for that matter.

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Atty: 'Court closed to victims, complete immunity to torturers'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/8/2010 4:36pm PT  

From Charlie Savage at New York Times [emphasis added]:

A sharply divided federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit [PDF] involving the Central Intelligence Agency’s practice of seizing terrorism suspects and transferring them to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. The ruling handed a major victory to the Obama administration in its effort to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy power.

Gosh. Can't understand why Obama's approval ratings keep falling.

In any case, the heart of this matter is the Government's "alleged" right (the President of the United States' actually) to use the so-called "state secrets privilege" to keep victims of alleged torture from ever even having a day in court --- even when one of those victims, as in this case, charges that his torture included "cutting his penis and other body parts with a scalpel and then pouring stinging liquid on the wounds."

Good thing none of this was done by Iran. We'd be outraged...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/26/2010 9:54pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 do not represent Islam. Far better representatives of Islam are the over 100 Muslims who died at work in the towers that day. No one need apologize for Islam."—Hal Donahue, VoteVets.org

Seeing it as part of their duty to support and defend the Constitution and dismayed by the "toxic effect" of the never-ending "war on terror" upon our society by the process of "dehumanization" which has created "a propensity to violence, a devaluing of others, even our own citizens, and a decided lack of empathy," VoteVet.org, a nation-wide group of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is circulating an "open letter" in support of the right to build a Muslim community center near "Ground Zero"...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/19/2010 8:31am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."- Heinrich Heine (1823)

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

Heine's ominous warning came more than a century before the infamous May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning where Joseph Goebbels told the Berlin student book burners, "The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end."

It was the beginning of the end for millions who would be gassed and then shoved into the death camp ovens over the next twelve years.

Today, we find a group of whack right-wing Christians operating under the Orwellian-labeled Dove Outreach Center. The group, which openly proclaims "Islam is the Devil," announced that they planned "to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by burning Korans."

Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gainesville officials denied the group "a bonfire permit."

I'm reminded of Pete Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone?: "When will they ever learn?"

* * *

Update: Despite the denial of the permit, the Dove Outreach Center has vowed to proceed with its plan to burn Korans. I suppose one could call it an act of uncivil disobedience.

Update 08/20/10: There have been a number of comments, here, and elsewhere, raising First Amendment concerns about the City of Gainesville's decision to deny a bonfire permit. Deputy Chief Tim Hayes of the Gainesville Fire Dept., however, said that his department's denial was not related to the content of the books but on a city ordinance which prohibits the burning of "newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board or office paper, which are akin to books."

No doubt, attendees from the Sarah Palin/Dr. Laura School of Law would regard it as an infringement of the Dove Outreach Center's First Amendment rights, should a group of concerned citizens peacefully surround these book burners, whom Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe describes as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community," holding up signs which quote Heine's "Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."

Update 09/07/10: General David Petraeus has expressed his concern that the proposed Quran-burning "could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan."

What Petraeus fails to mention is that the swiftest way in which he and his boss, President Barack Obama, could insure the safety of American troops and ratchet down tensions between the people of the Middle East and those residing in the U.S. would be to immediately end our imperial occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan by way of a orderly but complete and total withdrawal of all U.S. military forces as well as all private mercenaries.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2010 6:10pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

Tonight, it's been announced, the last U.S. "combat brigade" has left Iraq, some 7 years, 4 months and 29 days after they were sent there for specious and deadly reasons by the Administration of George W. Bush.

Coincidentally, it is just over 5 years to the day since 14 Marines from a base in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Brook Park were killed by a roadside a bomb in Iraq. The incident, the deadliest bombing there at the time, when "just" 1,820 U.S. troops had died to date, led Bush to tell "the people of Brook Park" that he "hope[d] they also take comfort in the understanding that the sacrifice was made in a noble cause."

That statement brought one very courageous woman --- Cindy Sheehan, whose son had also been killed in Iraq --- down to Crawford, Texas, where Bush had been vacationing at his ranch, in hopes of asking him in person "what noble cause" her son, and those from Cleveland, and from so many other cities and towns around the U.S., had died for.

Sheehan faced down an extraordinary gathering of seething hatred on the blistering hot Central Texas prairie for several weeks in response, in hopes of getting an answer from her son's Commander-in-Chief to that simple question. (And yes, it was nothing short of seething hatred, which we saw first-hand as we covered the extraordinary moment on the ground for this blog and during more than 50 hours of live radio broadcasts, smack dab in the center of it all.) She was joined, in support, by dozens of other family members of the fallen, scores of U.S. Armed Service veterans and thousands of regular, patriotic U.S. citizens on that cow pasture near Bush's home.

5 years later, nearly to the day, after that extraordinary summer and extraordinary display of American courage, the last U.S. "combat troops," we're told, have left Iraq, leaving "just" 50,000 behind, theoretically for logistical and training purposes.

4,415 U.S. troops, including U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, never came home from Iraq. At least not alive. Tens of thousands more have had their lives forever shattered due to permanent physical and emotional injury. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis were also slaughtered and maimed in the bargain.

And tonight, after all of that time, we're still left wondering: What was that "noble cause"?

* * *

UPDATE 8/19/10: NYU's Nir Rosen tweets wryly: "american combat troops pull out of iraq. the remaining fifty thousand are armed only with sticks, fly swatters, pepper spray and nunchucks"

And we later followed with: "Last one out of Iraq, turn out the lights (as soon as they get electricity back)."

Video from MSNBC's exclusive coverage of the last U.S. "combat brigade" leaving Iraq and entering into Kuwaiit follows below...

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

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