Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
More photos as I can get time to add them once I'm back home and/or off the road for a bit. Though here's a very quick clip from inside the theater --- with a great crowd turning out! --- during the screening...
Good news! The bombshell report on the front page of London's Sunday Times on charges made by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, has finally led to press coverage by the mainstream media!
From one side of the globe to the other, as expected, the explosive whistleblower allegations concerning highly-placed, well-known U.S. officials in the Departments of State and Defense involved in an illicit, for-profit scheme to develop and protect a network of spies, who then stole and sold American nuclear secrets to the international black markets via Turkey, Israel and Pakistan, is now worldwide news!
That, even though the Times only covered "about 20%" of the story she has to tell, according to Edmonds, with whom we spoke late last night.
Sunday's British blockbuster, detailing how nuclear secrets were then proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially even al-Qaeda, was picked up on Monday and reported by international mainstream outlets such as The Times of India, Pakistan's Daily Times, Iran's PressTV, Israel's Haaretz and even the Turkish Daily News.
Here in the United States, the mainstream media coverage included:
That's right. Nobody. None of them. Zilch. Not a one.
Edmonds told The BRAD BLOG last night that her phone had been ringing of the hook since the Times story hit. From reporters around the globe, she said. As to America: "Not a single mainstream media channel, not even a newspaper."
Apparently American nuclear secrets, stolen by "moles" at America's most sensitive nuclear installations, sold on the black market with the help and protection of highly placed American officials, which then found their way into the hands of America's enemies, is not notable news to Americans. According to the American corporate mainstream media, anyway. We suppose they're all too busy fighting the War on Terror in New Hampshire or something.
And you wonder how our country got into this mess?
Edmonds was no longer amazed by it all. We still are.
(Hat-tip to Mizgîn, a Kurdish blogger at Rastî, for her collection of foreign press articles covering the Sunday Times story. Note: Mizgîn also has some harsh words for the coverage of our friend Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY at that same link. We are friends with Alexandrovna, and are thus likely compromised on this point. So we'll stay out of it for now and let each of them deal with the particulars as they see fit.)
UPDATE 6:22pm PT Credit where it's due. Independent American broadcast media outlet, INN World Report, seen on some satellite TV providers, covered the report in detail, including an interview with yours truly...
Okay, we will ask again. We report on what the American people (and the world) need to know about. The corporate mainstream media does not --- as evidenced above. Therefore, we ask again for your support, so we can continue to do exactly that, via an online donation to The BRAD BLOG. If you don't support our efforts, make no mistake, nobody else will.
And then, with facts and faces and names in mind...there's this to ponder over your breakfast, lunch, dinner or nightmare. Also courtesy of the good Mr. Ryland, as originally posted last summer, if somehow more fitting of late, as the noose begins to tighten...
[Updated --- now several times --- with a number of significant items, additional info, background, reaction and analysis from around the blogosphere, all at the end of the article.]
Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been under a Bush administration gag order for the past 5 years, has now begun to disclose some of the classified information she has been prohibited from revealing.
"A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets," reports Great Britain's Sunday Times in the lede of their front page exclusive, headlined "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."
In the article, just filed tonight, Edmonds reveals details overheard on wiretaps she translated during her time at the FBI, just after 9/11. Her disclosures to the Times reveal a maze of nuclear black market espionage involving U.S. Defense and State Department officials, that resulted in the sale and propagation of nuclear secrets to Turkish and Israeli interests. In turn, that information was then sold to Pakistan and used by A.Q. Kahn for development of nuclear weapons. The secrets were subsequently proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, just weeks prior to September 11th, 2001.
The explosive allegations, shared with the Sunday Times over the last several weeks, follow on the heels of two reports published late last year by The BRAD BLOG, based on our own exclusive interviews with Edmonds.
Nearly 1,300 words into Sunday's New York Timesarticle revealing new details of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, the lawyer for an AT&T engineer alleges that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
In a New Jersey federal court case, the engineer claims that AT&T sought to create a phone center that would give the NSA access to "all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through" a New Jersey network hub.
The former AT&T employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Times said he took part in several discussions with agency officials about the plan.
“What he saw,” Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told the Times, “was decisive evidence that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
Democrats in Congress have a plan to not take decisive action immediately in regard to this most disturbing news!
In brief, I became known to some as the "Diebold Whistleblower" when, in January of 2004, I stole and exposed legal documents [PDF] proving that Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was using and planned to continue using illegal, uncertified software in their California voting machines. (By the way, Diebold recently changed its name to Premier Election Solutions, but don't let that fool you; it's still the same bunch of idiots.) Details about my case can be found here and here [PDF].
The documents I stole were covered under attorney-client privilege, so my theft was a serious crime. In February of 2006 I was charged with three felonies. On November 20, 2006, I plead guilty to one felony count of unauthorized access to a computer, and in exchange for my guilty plea and a restitution payment of $10,000 to the law firm from which I stole the documents, the law firm promised they wouldn't bring a civil suit against me, and I was put on felony probation instead of being sent to jail. The term of probation was to be at least one year, and as much as three years.
Now, one year after my guilty plea, because I've stayed out of trouble and because I'm a first offender, the judge has reduced my felony to a misdemeanor. Sometime in 2008, my lawyers will petition the court to have my misdemeanor expunged.
The bad part is that the most troublesome aspect of my probation is still in force. Before I can accept a job at which I would use a computer networked to one or more other computers (basically any job for which I'd be qualified), any potential employer must write to the judge in my case, tell him that they know about my conviction and that they still want to hire me, and then we have to wait until the judge responds with a "yes" or a "no" before I can accept the job and start work (and then only if the judge says "yes"). So as you can see, employers will be falling all over themselves to hire me.
Meanwhile, my wife (an actor, filmmaker and writer) certainly hasn't lost her sense of humor. She had been calling me Felonious Punk, but now that I'm no longer a felon, she's switched to Mister Meanor. Ain't it great being married to a comedy writer?
To be clear, breaking attorney-client privilege is a very serious crime, and I accept responsibility for what I did. I'm still being punished for it, and so far the punishment has cost my wife and me over $210,000 - and counting. $210,000 is an enormous amount of money to us. My wife and I have paid and are continuing to pay a very high price for my crime.
But, as we're not Republicans, we might have expected that.
Which got me thinking about other crimes in America that have recently been committed or alleged, and what's happened to those involved. Among the first of many, Lewis "Scooter" Libby comes to mind...
If you've followed our recent blockbusters about FBI translator-turned-whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds (the latest, in which legendary 1970's whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg describes her case as "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers," is here), but remain unclear on the heart of what she has to expose --- if she's ever able to expose it --- our friend Lukery at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, offers a good summation today, as culled from his near-encyclopedic knowledge of the case. If you're unclear on things, and it's easy to be, given the scope of her allegations, please read his piece today.
Lukery points us to Philip Giraldi's column on Edmonds from the American Conservative (yes, the American Conservative), which Edmonds has described as "the most accurate summary of my case". According to Giraldi...
Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish FBI translator turned whistleblower who has been subjected to a gag order could provide a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time. On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection.
The Giraldi piece is short and to the point, and described by Edmonds as "100% right", so we recommend you give it a quick read.
Sibel's case involves illegal weapons sales, money laundering, drug trafficking, nuclear black market, terrorism and the corruption of the US Govt.
Sibel has already named names (though not all) - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, William Cohen, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston and others - and she has also named the countries involved: Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, the other 'Stans - and of course the US.
He also offers a few contacts for some of the media outlets we mentioned in our exclusive yesterday, as having so far failed to take up Edmonds' couragous offer to hand them one helluva blockbuster interview. We're happy to repost those contacts here for you, as without noise from the public (that would be you!), the American corporate media will continue to avoid the issue like the plague, and the bad guys will simply keep smiling from the shadows...
"I'd say what she has is far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers," Daniel Ellsberg told us in regard to former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.
"From what I understand, from what she has to tell, it has a major difference from the Pentagon Papers in that it deals directly with criminal activity and may involve impeachable offenses," Ellsberg explained. "And I don't necessarily mean the President or the Vice-President, though I wouldn't be surprised if the information reached up that high. But other members of the Executive Branch may be impeached as well. And she says similar about Congress."
The BRAD BLOG spoke recently with the legendary 1970's-era whistleblower in the wake of our recent exclusive, detailing Edmonds' announcement that she was prepared to risk prosecution to expose the entirety of the still-classified information that the Bush Administration has "gagged" her from revealing for the past five years under claims of the arcane "State Secrets Privilege."
Ellsberg, the former defense analyst and one-time State Department official, knows well the plight of whistleblowers. He himself was prepared to spend his life in prison for the exposure of some 7,000 pages of classified Department of Defense documents concerning Executive Branch manipulation of facts and outright lies leading the country into an extended war in Vietnam.
Ellsberg seemed hardly surprised that today's American mainstream broadcast media has so far failed to take Edmonds up on her offer, despite the blockbuster nature of her allegations.
As Edmonds has also noted, Ellsberg pointed to the New York Times, who "sat on the NSA spying story for over a year" when they "could have put it out before the 2004 election, which might have changed the outcome."
"There will be phone calls going out to the media saying 'don't even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security,'" he told us.
"I have been receiving calls from the mainstream media all day," Edmonds recounted the day after we ran the story announcing that she was prepared to violate her gag-order to disclose all of the national security-related criminal allegations she has been kept from disclosing for the past five years.
"The media called from Japan and France and Belgium and Germany and Canada and from all over the world," she told The BRAD BLOG.
"But not from here?" we asked incredulously.
"I'm getting contact from all over the world, but not from here. Isn't that disgusting?" she shot back.
Are bloggers journalists? More importantly, should bloggers receive the same privileges the government bestows upon “professional” journalists including, in most states, protection from the forced disclosure of confidential sources of information by way of journalist shield laws?
Part 1 (7:32) of our interview above covers all things related to the shield law. Part 2 (8:30) of the interview above concentrates on access privileges and other benefits that journalists receive from the government that may be important to bloggers. Both follow below...
Well, this is interesting. It seems our Monday Exclusive on "gagged" FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has disappeared from Google News. Sort of.
A simple news search for "Sibel Edmonds" at Google no longer offers the rather blockbuster story, in which it's announced that she is now challenging American mainstream media television outlets to allow her to tell her story, uncensored and in violation of the ridiculous years-long "State Secrets Privilege" that the DoJ has been using to keep her quiet.
The story can be found via Google News, but it requires a search for both "Sibel Edmonds" and "Brad Blog," or drilling by date, etc. We've got no idea why the story fails to show up otherwise.
That's particularly odd since it's been incredibly popular since we first blogged it, having made it's way to #3 at Digg.com and #4 at Reddit.com, as well as becoming the #1 "recommended" diary at DailyKos.com for most of the day it first ran. (Those rankings alone translate to big traffic on the Internets, for those not familiar with how these things work.) We also ran a version of the report over at Huffington Post. That one doesn't show up either.
Oddly, our much older story from two weeks ago, in which we referred to and quoted Edmonds --- in relation to the recent House resolution declaring "genocide" in Turkey, and her damning allegations concerning former Speaker Dennis Hastert's corrupt bargain while pushing the same legislation in 2000 --- does show up via the Google News search for "Sibel Edmonds." Even though that one, unlike this week's, doesn't even have her name in the headline and was far less popular and infrequently linked to.
No idea what all of that is about, of course, but it seems noteworthy.
In related news, we'll have an exclusive follow-up soon on Edmonds, and the interesting response (or lack thereof), she's so-far received from the American mainstream media in the wake of the blockbuster Monday report. Here's a hint, she's called it "disgusting."
In the meantime, the blogger who pointed out the above anomaly suggests the "Stephen Colbert Effect" might be useful in Edmonds' matter as well.
UPDATE 11/1/07 12:02pm PT: The original story that wouldn't appear via simple Google News search for "Sibel Edmonds" now does show up as a result of that search. We have no idea what, if anything, has changed, but since we ran this report (which also shows up on the same search) 24 hours ago or so, the story now shows up as expected, when it did not previously. No clue what to make of it all still, of course, but noting it nonetheless.
Attention CBS 60 Minutes: we've got a huge scoop for you. If you want it.
Remember the exclusive story you aired on Sibel Edmonds, originally on October 27th, 2002, when she was not allowed to tell you everything that she heard while serving as an FBI translator after 9/11 because she was gagged by the rarely-invoked "States Secret Privilege"? Well, she's still gagged. In fact, as the ACLU first described her, she's "the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America."
But if you'll sit down and talk with her for an unedited interview, she has now told The BRAD BLOG during an exclusive interview, she will now tell you everything she knows.
Everything she hasn't been allowed to tell since 2002, about the criminal penetration of the FBI where she worked, and at the Departments of State and Defense; everything she heard concerning the corruption and illegal activities of several well-known members of Congress; everything she's aware of concerning information omitted and/or covered up in relation to 9/11. All of the information gleaned from her time listening to and translating wire-taps made prior to 9/11 at the FBI.
Here's a handy bullet-point list, as we ran it in March of 2006, for reference, of what she's now willing to tell you about.
"People say, 'why doesn't she just come forward and spill the beans?' I have gone all the way to the Supreme Court and was shut down, I went to Congress and now consider that shut down," she told The BRAD BLOG last week when we spoke with her for comments in relation to our story on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's original attempt to move a resolution through the U.S. House in 2000 declaring the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey as "genocide."
"Here's my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks --- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX --- promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know," about everything mentioned above, she told us.
"I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up," she continued. "I'm not compromising ongoing investigations," Edmonds explained, because "they've all been shut down since."
Earlier this month, BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns, sat in on Senate Judiciary Committee hearings concerning a federal "reporter's shield law," ostensibly meant as a way to offer protection for the sources of journalists, while defining exceptions for national security issues. As the bill was voted out of committee she posed some interesting concerns here about it.
Yesterday, Burns wrote at her own site, the House passed their own version of the GOP-introduced, MSM-supported law, but she notes there's a small --- yet very important --- difference in the House bill's definition of "covered person"...
"(2) COVERED PERSON- The term 'covered person' means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person."
"(2) COVERED PERSON- The term 'covered person' means a person who is engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such person."
Well, that's an important difference, indeed. One that could substantially effect bloggers, such as ourselves, and certainly those on blogs both smaller and larger (e.g., even the huge Huffington Post, where bloggers are not paid). Under the law, if the compromise version of both houses is passed using the House definition, it could potentially mean that we would not be "covered person" and thus not protected from being required by law to disclose our sources.
Such a statue could be a devastating blow to the ability of folks like us, not on a regular salaried contract with a major metropolitan newspapers or broadcast network, to guarantee privacy to our sources. Many of the stories that The BRAD BLOG has broken and reported over the years simply could not have existed without such promises to insider and whistleblower sources.
Burns goes on to bullet-point a list of those she feels would and wouldn't be covered by the definition of "covered person" in the House version of the bill, including most bloggers as she sees it.
"In other words," she charges, "a 'covered person' is basically anyone Bob Novak could tolerate, and not covered is everyone who might hypothetically or even accidentally be perceived as a threat to the Novaks of this world. What could be sweeter? --- for Robert Novak."
If The Resolution is a 'Democratic Ploy,' It Sure Was Clever to Have the GOP House Speaker Lead the Way!
ALSO: Recalling FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' Claim that Hastert Called Off Full House Vote After Possibly Receiving $500k from Turkish Interests, And Additional New Information on Her Gag-Ordered 'States Secrets' Case...
We're anything but experts on the long and storied history of American-Turkish-Armenian relations. We're also not particularly partisan, or inclined to come to the defense of the Democrats. But we do have a thing about facts and fairness.
So with Rush Limbaugh, this morning, leading the charge of the Rightwing goon squad attempting to characterize an increase in saber rattling in Turkey as "Nancy Pelosi's War," it seems a bit of a fact-check reminder is necessary here.
The brouhaha, which Limbaugh hopes to turn into a Republican electoral advantage, surrounds a House resolution to declare the 1915 mass killing of more 1.5 million ethnic Armenians a "genocide." While the resolution passed out of the Foreign Affairs Committee last week on a bi-partisan 27 to 21 vote, the Bush Administration has suggested it will make life difficult for their efforts in Iraq, such that they are, which depend on Turkish support. Passage of the resolution could lead to inflamed ethnic violence on the Turkish/Kurdish border and lead to a widening of the war.
Limbaugh and the GOP opportunists have been declaring the resolution a Democratic ploy to ruin Turkish-American relations, embarrass George W. Bush, and help spread the war into a full-blown regional conflagration.
But what Limbaugh and friends seem to be avoiding is the fact that it was Republican Dennis Hastert who, as House Speaker back in 2000, last pushed for the same resolution, seeing it through the then-Republican-led International Relations Committee, where it passed by a large majority, and then scheduled it for a full vote on the House floor, only to pull the legislation just minutes before the vote --- supposedly at the urging of President Bill Clinton.
A similar resolution made it through the then-Republican-led House International Relations Committee by a lopsided vote of 40 to 7 just two years ago, even though Republican Minority Leader John Boehner now declares the measure to be "totally irresponsible."
When reporting on claims made by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in 2005, Vanity Fair's David Rose reported notable details on the 2000 Hastert-pushed version...
Guest Blogged by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns
It was a big day on Thursday in the national capital, with several flaming surges hitting the news at once – the Washington Post hooking up with the MSM campaign to put “Hillary” over the top before the magic deadline of October 15 (more on that later, elsewhere); Rep. Henry Waxman and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee holding a powerful hearing on Iraqi corruption; the blocking of Hans von Spakovsky's nomination to the FEC; and discussion of a proposed federal shield law for journalists (full text of bill here), which was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today to the full Senate.
While I was able to sit in for hearings on two of the items above, space and time regrettably being constraints, I'll cover only the proposed shield law for the moment. Right up top, I have to say that I have qualms about it. A real leak, by a whistleblower exposing a crime or some danger to the public, is one thing. But protecting journalists from exposing a politically motivated ‘source’ trying to plant misinformation is another. This bill, as it was debated in committee and written about in papers yesterday, might equally protect both, if it protects either...