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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, April 16, 2014
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free charitable medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of clientele...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
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'Green News Report' 4/8/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
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Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Federal Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide documentation related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove the discriminatory intent of the new GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
'McCutcheon' Mints Millions for Mass Media
Veteran journalist and media activist Sue Wilson explains how the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a windfall for the MSM. She also has an idea what to do about it...
'Green News Report' 4/3/14
Startling U.N. climate change report; Kochs enviro champs, say Kochs; TX wind power record; PLUS: ExxonMobil says 'F#@K you! We're ExxonMobil!'...
Reproductive Rights & Campaign Finance Law: KFPK 'BradCast'
Katie Klabusich says she's being 'targeted' by Eric Scheidler's anti-choice group. They both join Brad. PLUS: Ian Millhiser on SCOTUS McCutcheon ruling...
SCOTUS 'MCCUTCHEON' RULING TRASHES EVEN MORE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LIMITS
'Free speech' for the super rich wins again at the Roberts Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 4/1/14
It's our special 'April Fox Day' edition of the GNR! Celebrating the anti-scientists and fossil-fueled fools at Fox 'News'!...
FCC Rolls Back Corporate TV Consolidation
Under its new chairman, the federal agency finally takes one small step to fulfill their mandate of assuring the public airwaves are actually used in the public interest...
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...
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'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...


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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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2010 5:05pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On Sunday, Brad Friedman posted a "Toon of the moment" in which a hypnotist sits dangling a watch in front of two stupified voters as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) look on. The hypnotist tells the voters:

You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back...

Replace the hypnotist and watch with "illegal immigrants" or a "Ground Zero Mosque" (what the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten refers to as a "rising tide of Nativism") and the cartoon would be equally spot on, though this form of hypnosis is utilized by the billionaire-funded hard-right not only to "forget" the disaster that was the Bush/Cheney cabal but to avoid a debate on the Republicans' cold and heartless, class-based decisions to oppose an extension of unemployment benefits, to block funds for state governments intended to prevent a layoff of thousands of teachers, to block vital environmental legislation, to engage in never-ending privatization schemes, which by design are intended to destroy government's ability to provide vital public services (police, fire, health care, education), and to repeatedly level false charges of insolvency as part of their scheme to permit the thieves of Wall Street to raid the Social Security trust fund.

Those who are rational and see the mosque as an issue of First Amendment religious freedoms (and common sense) fail to appreciate the visceral appeal of Republican race-baiting, which, in the case of the mosque, seeks to tap into a deep-seated, cultural anxiety that has been created not only by 9/11 but --- as I explained in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization" here at The BRAD BLOG, and in its follow-up --- by the vilification of Arabs and Muslims in books, films and on television over a span of decades. It was this same deep-seated and subconscious loathing which permitted the Bush/Cheney cabal to conflate Saddam Hussein --- just another swarthy, mid-Eastern bad guy --- with al Qaeda for the purpose of invading Iraq.

The politics of Republican fear-mongering and race-baiting exploits cultural dehumanization so as to conflate all Muslims with 9/11. The result is a perversion of that seminal event --- which, even under the Bush/Cheney Administration's own "official theory," entailed only al Qaeda --- into an unprovoked assault by the Muslim world on "Christian America."

"You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back..."

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2010 8:45pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Sorry, Mr. Gibbs, but your description of a "professional left" whose critiques of your boss, President Barack Obama, should be disregarded as the "crazy" musings of "people who ought to be drug tested" reflects that you are both authoritarian and out-of-touch.

The vast majority of citizens who supported the President in 2008 favor positions on policies that are far more progressive than anything which has emerged from either the corporate-controlled Democratic "leadership" in Congress or the Obama White House. The majority of Americans are by no means obligated to ignore the "democracy deficit" or the betrayal of the President's promise to bring "change we can believe in."

While one can readily agree that many of the Obama administration's policies are an improvement over those which are advanced by the reactionary fascist billionaires, and their mindless "Tea Party" followers, there are many instances in which the policies of the current administration threaten more harm than those of its predecessor. E.g,, those documented by a recent ACLU report (see Democracy Now video below) in which the current administration has created policies that may "enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."

Perhaps most disturbing is that the President's zeal to please his true constituency --- corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex --- comes from the same Presidential candidate whose soaring and lofty, yet deceptive campaign rhetoric gave rise to hope in so many that Election Day 2008 would mark a return to economic fairness, transparency, a restoration of the rule of law, an end to the fear-driven perpetual "war on terror," and a restoration of nature's ecological balance.

The title of Studs Turkel's powerful book is Hope Dies Last.

Even during the darkest days of the Bush/Cheney cabal, there was the hope that the foundering American ship of state could be righted by way of the electoral process. By raising the hopes of the American people during the course of the 2008 campaign, only to dash those hopes by betraying his own rhetoric, President Obama has, in some measure, caused more harm than the Bush/Cheney regime...

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'Targeted Assassinations' Threaten Very Foundation of Our Republic...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/6/2010 8:06am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"There's no difference between one's killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It's exactly the same thing, or even worse." - Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir

In a March 25, 2009 article, "Prosecute or Perish," in which I urged that "the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal," and again 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 --- an "illogical formulation [that] was incompatible with the very essence of the rule of law."

I was naive. I thought the President was merely evading his constitutional obligation out of political expediency; that he actually intended to restore the rule of law and salvage what was left of our nation's honor.

A growing body of evidence, including confirmation contained in the recently exposed Afghan "Pentagon Papers," suggests the President did not look back at his predecessor's war crimes because he saw, in the failure to prosecute, the ground work for his own round of "Unitary Executive" lawlessness --- an expanded, illegal and increasingly covert "war on terror" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of paramilitary assassins, operating in secret and beyond the rule of law, carry out targeted killings of "suspected" terrorists on a global scale --- a program that has already produced massive collateral casualties amongst innocent civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Worse, as revealed by a newly filed lawsuit, the Obama administration has moved beyond the Bush/Cheney cabal's assertion of unchecked Executive lawlessness in the form of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and torture. The Obama administration has now not only asserted a right to assassinate anyone that the Executive branch labels a terrorist, including U.S. citizens, but has gone so far as to place lawyers in legal jeopardy should they seek a court order to block an extrajudicial execution unless the executive branch grants the lawyer permission to do so...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2010 10:15am PT  

Ditto:

If We Cared About The Women And Children Of The World

It would be far better to spend $100 billion per year granting them political asylum and paying for their transport and relocation to the US than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs.

Or you could come up thousands of other ways to spend $100 billion all of which would be almost infinitely better than invading their countries and caressing them with our freedom bombs if we cared about the women and children of the world.

So when an asshole like [Time magazine's managing editor] Rick Stengel suggests we must stay in Afghanistan otherwise more girls will be mutilated even though we're currently in Afghanistan and poor girls are still being tragically mutilated, I don't think that's the real reason he thinks we should be there.

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Our military and political leaders are still deceiving us after all these years...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/26/2010 6:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"Somehow this madness must cease."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967.

In Beyond Afghanistan, I utilized Dr King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech to deconstruct the empty words used by our Harvard-educated President during a December 1, 2009, address in which he sought to justify an escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

I noted then that President Barack Obama deliberately conflated the Taliban with al Qaeda just as "President" George W. Bush conflated Saddam with al Qaeda to exploit the fear and anger engendered by 9/11. Robert Scheer revealed, in War of Absurdity that there were, at that time, less than 100 members of al Qaeda still inside Afghanistan, who, per General James Jones, did not retain the "ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies." I added:

To defeat the ignoble 100, the U.S. is rapidly building toward an in-country presence of 100,000 American troops at a cost of $100 billion per year. NATO will also add 7,000 more troops, bringing a combined total to 140,000 foreign occupiers to that impoverished nation. To this, add some 104,000 "private contractors" aka armed mercenaries, who are paid more than three times the amount received by American troops.

Earlier, I posted a five part series on the more than 50-year history of CIA torture. In Part III, citing Victor Marchetti's heavily redacted The CIA & The Cult of Intelligence, I reported on how the CIA's William Colby constructed interrogation centers whose [emphasis added] “operations…consisted of torture tactics against suspected Vietcong…usually carried out by Vietnamese nationals”; that this morphed into the infamous Phoenix torture, then kill and dump program, in which an estimated 46,000 Vietnamese lost their lives; that General Petreus suggested that the Phoenix Program be reinstated on a “global scale.”

A powerful, must-see Democracy Now segment, The New Pentagon Papers: WikiLeaks Releases 90,000+ Secret Military Documents Painting Devastating Picture of Afghanistan War (video below) potently establishes that nothing has really changed.

Our current crop of military and political leaders inside the Bush and Obama administrations have erected an elaborate deception as they carry out wars of imperial conquest and war crimes, including targeted killings of suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, just as our past military and political leaders in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations erected an elaborate deception to justify the quagmire in Southeast Asia a generation ago...

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Says 'evidence overwhelming' they 'participated in criminal conspiracies to violate federal law and guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2010 4:17pm PT  

Wow. Seriously. Just...really...Wow.

Fox "News" analyst and former NJ Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano was featured on a segment of C-Span's BookTV over the weekend, to discuss his book, Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History.

While being interviewed by Ralph Nader, Napolitano says what Bush and Cheney did while in office was "blatantly unconstitutional, and in some cases criminal."

When asked by Nader what the consequences should be, the judge says, in no uncertain terms: "They should have been indicted! They absolutely should have been indicted! For torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant."

Wow. Guess his contract on Fox must be up. If it wasn't, we suspect it is now. The text transcript and video --- with Napolitano explaining that the "evidence...is overwhelming" that Bush and Cheney "participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings --- follows below. Take a look...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/14/2010 11:21am PT  

Eavesdrop on the phone calls of a U.S. citizen without court order? No.

Target a U.S. citizen for assassination without court order or trial? No problem!...

The Obama administration’s decision to authorize the killing by the Central Intelligence Agency of a terrorism suspect who is an American citizen has set off a debate over the legal and political limits of drone missile strikes, a mainstay of the campaign against terrorism.
...
To eavesdrop on the terrorism suspect who was added to the target list, the American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is hiding in Yemen, intelligence agencies would have to get a court warrant. But designating him for death, as C.I.A. officials did early this year with the approval of the National Security Council, required no judicial review.

“Congress has protected Awlaki’s cellphone calls,” said Vicki Divoll, a former C.I.A. lawyer who now teaches at the United States Naval Academy. “But it has not provided any protections for his life. That makes no sense.”

More from NYTimes...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2010 2:38pm PT  

House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has just issued a statement [posted in full below] calling on the FBI to fire those who broke the law by issuing improper letters from the FBI in order to receive access to thousands of Americans' phone records from 2003 through 2006 under the guise of "national security."

"I call upon FBI Director Mueller to take immediate action to punish those who violated the rules," Conyers says in the statement, "including firing them from the agency."

"Today's hearing showed that the FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the General Counsel's Office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said Conyers. "In some cases agents sent letters with information known to be false."

His statement even quotes the former Republican chair of the Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), sharing the sentiment:

'I'm extremely disappointed that every time Congress has tried to plug potential civil rights and civil liberties violations in our counterterrorism activities, the FBI seems to have figured out a way to get around it.

In a related matter, late last month a federal judge found the Bush Administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program to be illegal. So this would be the second time in several weeks where the former administration was found to have violated the law and the U.S. Constitution in order to spy inappropriately and illegally on American citizens.

Will those Tea Baggers who claim to believe in the Constitution and the Rule of Law join the call for accountability yet? (Careful: It's a trick question, Tea Baggers, since the accountability would include members of the Bush Administration, and we realize your calls for "accountability" only go so far. On the other hand, if it's okay for Bush to have done it, we'll presume you don't mind if Obama spies on you either.)

Conyers' complete statement, issued late this afternoon, follows below...

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U.S. Intelligence treats whistleblowing website as security threat, seeks ways to marginalize them...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/6/2010 2:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Appearing on Democracy Now (video posted below) today, constitutional law attorney and Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald observed:

WikiLeaks has done an extraordinary valuable service because it has exposed what it is that war actually is; what we are actually doing in Afghanistan and Iraq on a day-to-day basis. My concern with the discussions that have been triggered, though, is that there seems to be the suggestion in many circles ... that this is some sort of extreme event, or this is some sort of aberration ... In fact it’s anything but rare. The only thing that’s rare about this ... is that we happen to be seeing it take place on video.

This is something that takes place on a virtually daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places where we invade, bomb and occupy, and the reason why there are hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq and thousands of dead in Afghanistan is because this is what happens, constantly when we are engaged in warfare ... This is what war is. This is what the United States does in these countries and that is the crucial point to note along with the point that the military fought tooth and nail to prevent this video from surfacing precisely because it would shed light on what their actual behavior is during war.

During the same remarkable Democracy Now broadcast, Julian Assange, a WikiLeaks co-founder, revealed that even before it exposed this horrific video yesterday, Wikileaks had been targeted in a counterintelligence report [PDF], which describes WikiLeaks as an "information security threat to the U.S. Army." The report discusses outing the identify of the whistleblowers in hopes of destroying them and to deter others from leaking to the website:

The report states:

Web sites such as Wikileaks.org use trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers. The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.

But, as revealed by The BRAD BLOG's extensive coverage of the Sibel Edmonds story --- and as discussed by "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg in his 2008 BRAD BLOG guest editorial --- the real threat to U.S. national security more often lies not with those who expose government lies, but with those who hope to keep them.

Greenwald wrote more about the leaked video yesterday, and later sent out this noteworthy tweet commenting on both that news and word yesterday of a massacre by NATO forces in Afghanistan which U.S. Special Forces attempted to cover up as well:

The key thing to remember when watching the WikiLeaks/Iraq video and reading about the Afghan massacre: THEY HATE US FOR OUR FREEDOMS!!!

UPDATE 04/07/10: Democracy Now reported today that the "Obama administration is refusing to call for a new probe into the US military’s killing of twelve Iraqis despite the public release of video footage capturing the attack on tape."

UPDATE 04/08/10 Rick Rowley, an independent journalist with Big Noise films, who interviewed witnesses one day after this massacre, told Amy Goodman that there was "no reason at all to believe...any of the people in that picture [were] armed insurgents:"

you can see two men with Kalashnikovs, but this is 2007 in Baghdad. This is the height of the civil war, when dozens of bodies a day were being picked up from the street, when sectarian militias filled the Iraqi security forces, the police and the army. Every neighborhood in Baghdad organized its own protection force. And it was legal at the time for every household to own a Kalashnikov in Iraq, and every household I ever went to did.

* * *

The April 6, 2010 segment of Democracy Now's coverage of the WikiLeaks video follows below...

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

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