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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 1, 2014
'Green News Report' 7/31/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
20m gallon water main break in L.A. exposes decrepit U.S. water sytem; Record wildfires depleting budgets; Repubs fiddle as West burns; PLUS: Flesh-eating bacteria in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/29/14 - Archives...
FEC Commissioners at War Over Rove's Campaign Finance Violations
Deadlock vote, ignoring federal agencies own attorneys, leads to lawsuit and scathing attack of Dem Commissioners by GOP colleagues...
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
'Green News Report' 7/29/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/22/14 - Archives...
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
Record wildfires in Pacific NW; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
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...


Documents reveal Commissioners at war over defending lawsuit charging the agency is failing to enforce campaign finance law
Plaintiffs in case file Motion for Summary Judgment...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2014 5:35am PT  

While Congressional Republicans are busy filing a lawsuit against President Obama, in a purported attempt to bring accountability for...failing to enforce the law...or something, Republican Commissioners on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid enforcing the law.

In the bargain, its GOP Commissioners are railing against their fellow Democratic Commissioners for attempting to bring accountability for actual violations of federal campaign finance law, turning the facts of the case on its head, and publicly attacking their colleagues as "strident" obstructionists, eschewing the rule of law.

Yes, it's another breathtakingly twisted chapter from the unending Partisan Wars of 2014, although a rather important one with potentially far reaching consequences for the nation, as those paying attention might notice --- though few seem to be...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/3/2014 6:05am PT  

With Brad Friedman...

After a recent three-to-three decision by a partisan-deadlocked Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Karl Rove may have thought he was off the hook for federal campaign finance violations by his Crossroads GPS organization. Two non-profit, good government groups, however, feel differently. Last Friday, they filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] against the FEC in hopes of forcing the agency to reverse its ruling, revisit the complaint against his group's 2010 electioneering, and to enforce federal campaign finance rules as specified by law.

Late last Friday, Attorneys from the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center and the Public Citizen Litigation Group filed a civil complaint against the FEC in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

The suit seeks to reverse what the plaintiffs describe as an "arbitrary" and "capricious" decision by the three Republican FEC Commissioners, in contradiction of the advice of their own staff attorneys, to dismiss the administrative complaint the groups had filed against Rove's organization. That administrative complaint charged that Rove's group violated federal campaign finance law during the 2010 election cycle.

The votes by the three Republican FEC Commissioners effectively quashed any further official investigation into the allegations that Rove's group violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) when it spent the majority of its money during the 2010 election cycle on electioneering, but failed to register as a "political committee" with the FEC, as required by law. Their decision to shut down the investigation came after what the FEC's own staff attorneys found to be a likely violation of the federal campaign finance law.

By dismissing the administrative complaint and shutting the door on the investigation, the Republican FEC Commissioners not only allowed Rove to keep, as a secret, the identity of donors of tens of millions of dollars used to support Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010, but effectively offered Rove carte blanche to conceal donor identities with respect to monies spent in subsequent elections, such as the 2012 election cycle in which Crossroads GPS "spent at least $71 million on federal campaign activity," according to the newly filed federal complaint.

The plaintiffs charge that the FEC's deadlock was the result of "an impermissible interpretation of FECA," and the agency's own published guidelines due to an "abuse of discretion" by the Republican commissioners in a manner that was "otherwise contrary to law"...

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

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PLUS: Congress members given network air time to 'red-bait' Edward Snowden; Photo ID struck down in PA; MUCH MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2014 6:05am PT  

[A version of this article has now been cross-published by Salon...]

A number of unhappy "good government" groups will file a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission next month, in hopes that the courts will force the FEC to enforce the federal campaign finance laws that the FEC is, supposedly, there to enforce.

The organizations are particularly unhappy about Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS "behemoth" outfit, which has raised hundreds of millions over the last several years to elect Republican candidates to office, recently receiving a pass from the FEC, even after the agency's Office of General Counsel found reason to believe Rove's group clearly violated campaign finance laws.

The news about the groups' intention to file suit was offered on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast this week by my guest, Craig Holman, the Government Affairs Lobbyist for Public Citizen's Congress Watch. Public Citizen, along with the Campaign Legal Center, Center for Media and Democracy, and Protect Our Elections filed the initial complaint over campaign spending in 2010 by Rove's then new non-profit 501(c)(4) organization. They now plan to sue the FEC for failing to do their job, Holman explained on the show on Wednesday. [Disclosure: Protect Our Elections is a campaign created by VelvetRevolution.us, an organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, though we weren't personally involved with either the complaint or the upcoming suit.]

"What's happened with the Federal Election Commission is," Holman explained during my interview [posted in full at the end of this article], Senator "Mitch McConnell [R-KY], back in about 2008, realized that even though he can't get Congress to rescind campaign finance laws --- and he certainly can't sell the public on rescinding campaign finance laws --- he realized that if he were to appoint three Republican Commissioners to the FEC, he could ensure that the campaign finance laws don't get enforced. And that's exactly what has happened." Holman detailed how three-to-three deadlock votes on whether to pursue further action in most of the campaign finance rulings by the three Democratic and three Republican Commissioners on the FEC has increased "nine-fold" since 2008. A deadlock vote effectively ends the matter, even if wrong-doing had been found by the investigative staff, as is the case here.

In the original complaint against Rove's Crossroads GPS, the FEC's Office of General Counsel (OGC) found that the group had spent a majority of its funding on campaigning in 2010. If so, that's a violation of the law, since Rove's group should have filed with the FEC as a political committee, rather than as a 501(c)(4) which is supposed to be a non-electioneering "social welfare" organization. As a political committee, funders would have to be immediately disclosed, but as a (c)(4), the identity of those funding Rove's organization can remain a secret....

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By Brad Friedman on 3/5/2013 6:05am PT  

So what do the Chinese Government and the Rightwing mega-lobbying group calling itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have in common? Apparently, they are both interested in hacking into the computer networks of their perceived political opponents and appear to be using very similar techniques and tools to do so, as The Nation's Lee Fang reported on Monday.

A computer security expert cited by Fang notes "lots of overlap" between the recent documented Chinese military cyber hacks and tactics proposed for use by federal contractors working with the U.S. Chamber and their attorneys to discredit their enemies.

Readers of The BRAD BLOG will likely remember the emails hacked by Anonymous in February of 2011 revealing that three U.S. government defense contractors had been working with U.S. Chamber of Commerce attorneys from the Washington D.C. lobbying/law firm of Hunton & Williams to develop a $12 million scheme to target their political opponents --- such as unions and progressive organizations --- by hacking into their computer networks, infiltrating the groups, planting false information in hopes of discrediting them, and using other sophisticated computer tools developed for the "War on Terror" by the three cyber-security firms.

One of the perceived political opponents targeted by the Chamber, we would learn from the hacked emails, was I. Personal details about myself and my family showed up in both the emails and a PowerPoint presentation for the U.S. Chamber prepared by "Team Themis," the name used for the illicit project by the three government contractors, HBGary Federal, Palintir, and Berico.

Lee Fang, who was then a reporter for Think Progress, and Scott Keyes, who still is, originally broke the revelations from the hacked HBGary Federal emails there. A slide in one of the presentations prepared for the U.S. Chamber scheme described the effort to "Discredit, Confuse, Shame, Combat, Infiltrate [and] Fracture" the progressive organizations with online tools, hacking and other dirty tricks in order to "mitigate [the] effect of adversarial groups."

Another slide included a photograph of me, and other personal details meant to target VelvetRevolution.us, a not-for-profit good government group (co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) which has long called for accountability for the Chamber and its mafia-like political tactics.

[Our main story on the creepy scheme was here, along with a number of follow-ups, such as the ones here, here and here.]

The news of the hack and its revelations quickly garnered front-page headlines in the U.S. and around the world as an international scandal, even as the Chamber denied having knowledge of the specific cyber-terror threat clearly being created on their behalf by the three defense contractors, and even as neither they nor their attorneys have yet to face any accountability for the scheme to terrorize public organizations and private individuals, such as myself and my family. An official Dept. of Justice investigation into the matter --- and even a brief attempt to do so by Democrats in Congress --- was no doubt crippled by both the enormous power of the Chamber, and the fact that it was the DoJ itself which had referred Bank of America to the very same defense contractors in a parallel scheme mirroring the Chamber's, as revealed by the same email hack. That scheme was being prepared to target perceived supporters of WikiLeaks at the time, including journalist Glenn Greenwald.

"[W]ho better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the DoD and Intelligence Community," read one of the proposals [PDF] created by "Team Themis," as delivered to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's law firm Hunton & Williams.

In Monday's report at The Nation, Fang details how recent cyber attacks against U.S. interests, which appear to be emanating from the Chinese Military, mirror tactics used by the U.S. Chamber's thugs in the eventually aborted 2010/2011 attempt to pull off what Fang describes as "one of the most brazen political espionage efforts in recent memory."

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Brad interviews watchdog attorney Kevin Zeese on KPFK...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2011 10:09pm PT  

He had inappropriate sexual entanglements with a number of women and lied about it repeatedly to the American people. Yet nobody --- save for one Colorado law school prof --- seems to be calling for Justice Clarence Thomas' resignation for some reason.

That, even though Thomas, unlike Rep. Anthony Weiner, appears to have actually, and flagrantly, and repeatedly, broken the law.

As we reported in January, Thomas appears to have "knowingly and willfully" filed falsified Financial Disclosure Forms which withheld disclosure of nearly $700,000 his wife received from the rightwing Heritage Foundation for the better part of the last 20 years. Only once it was pointed out publicly this year did Thomas bother to file "self-initiated amendments" to the forms he had signed just above the legal warning in bold and all caps which reads: "NOTE: ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FALSIFIES OR FAILS TO FILE THIS REPORT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS (5 U.S.C. app. § 104)"

While there has been little indication that law enforcement is actually investigating the crimes of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice (which, as we pointed out in January, are punishable by up to $50,000 and/or 1 year in jail for each instance of falsification), last Friday when Thomas' Financial Disclosure Form for 2010 [PDF] was released, the matter appears to have gotten shadier still, leading at least one government watchdog organization to describe what Thomas and his wife Virginia "Ginni" Thomas may be been doing as "Judicial Insider Trading."

Connecting the dots, it would seem the couple made huge profits from Thomas' participation and insider knowledge of last year's Citizens United ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court, as we'll show you below.

While Barack Obama's DoJ seems to be looking the other way, there was one person in Congress trying to bring attention to this issue last week with his ConflictedClarence.com website: Rep. Anthony Weiner...

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

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Chain of custody violations continue to emerge, particularly in Waukesha, during state Supreme Court election 'recount'
ALSO: $25,000 reward offered for evidence of WI election tampering...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2011 7:44pm PT  

Five out of six bags of ballots from first batch to be counted out of the City of Brookfield in Waukesha County, WI, today were discovered "almost wide open" during Day 9 of the statewide Supreme Court election "recount." The bags were open and unsealed, according to both photographic evidence and an eye-witnesses account from the counting room. (Many more exclusive photos posted below.)

"When the ballot bags were taken out and placed upon the counting table, we were literally stunned," one of the citizen observers, Mary Magnuson, a Kloppenburg volunteer, told The BRAD BLOG this morning. "5 out of the 6 ballot bags were almost literally wide open, and ballots could be clearly seen."

The ballots in those bags were among the 14,000 said to have been cast in the April 5th election, but left off of Waukesha County's tally as reported to the media on Election Night.

Earlier this week we offered a detailed report on the status of the statewide "recount," highlighting a host of disturbing and outright violations of the chain of custody of ballots, including unnumbered and renumbered ballots bags (many of them from Waukesha County); ballots discovered unsecured and/or left out of the original count all together; and exceedingly sloppy record-keeping and reporting of "recount" results by the state's chief election agency, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.). In sum, we described the state of the "recount" of the contested election between Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser and his independent challenger Asst. AG JoAnne Kloppenburg, as "a mess."

Today, after the newest revelations from the Waukesha County counting room, it got a lot messier.

"We are finding significant anomalies, including chain of custody and missing ballots, that we need to shine light on," Kloppenburg campaign manager Melissa Mulliken told The BRAD BLOG earlier this week, while we were working on our previous story. The anomalies she was referring to, given where today's unsecured ballots are said to come from, have gotten much more "significant" in the past few hours...

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And another law prof, Jonathan Turley, similarly opines on the Supreme Court Justice's lawlessness and 'dangerous conceit,' comparing him to Louis XIV
PLUS: VR files bar complaint against Thomas...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2011 7:05am PT  

In Friday's Daily Beast, University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos called for the removal of Justice Clarence Thomas from the U.S. Supreme Court bench, as based on 20 years of scofflaw, criminal behavior in withholding disclosure information on his wife Virginia "Ginni" Thomas' hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from Rightwing organizations which also happened to benefit from Thomas' votes on a number of SCOTUS opinions, including last year's infamous Citizens United decision.

Several weeks ago, The BRAD BLOG was among the first to specifically detail Thomas' years of "knowing and willful" violations of the U.S. criminal code, even as the mainstream corporate media largely ignored or downplayed those violations of the Rule of Law in their limited coverage.

In his column, Campos speaks to those crimes specifically, echoing our own analysis that they "certainly constitute a misdemeanor, and quite probably a felony, under federal law."

The law professor gives voice to the same questions so many of us have been asking about all of this: "Why is it likely that no consequences will be visited on a Supreme Court justice who has committed a series of criminal offenses? Why is this story not a full-blown scandal? And why did Clarence Thomas do what he did?"

He then goes on to offer the troubling answer to some of those questions by explaining...

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ALSO: HBGary's CEO finally resigns, VR files D.C. Bar complaint...
[Now UPDATED with full text of letter]
By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2011 1:05am PT  

Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports tonight for Tuesday's paper that "more than a dozen" Democrats in the U.S. House are now calling on "Republican leaders" to open an investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot which had been set to target the Rightwing lobbying firms' perceived political enemies (which turned out to include me and my family at the top of their list, as reported in detail previously) with a proposed $12 million smear, forgery, fraud, and disinformation campaign.

While the Democrats letter calling for a Congressional probe will not be released until Tuesday [Update: The full text of the letter is now posted at the end of this article below], Eggen's reportage makes it clear that their concerns focus on the same disturbing point which we highlighted in one of our first detailed reports on this matter. Namely, that the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams was organizing the plot with three government-contracted cyber-security/intelligence firms that had planned to turn tools developed for the "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists, and progressive organizations [emphasis added]...

A group of House Democrats is calling on Republican leaders to investigate a prominent Washington law firm and three federal technology contractors, who have been shown in hacked e-mails discussing a "disinformation campaign" against foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter to be released Tuesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen other lawmakers wrote that the e-mails appear "to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics," including "possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech."

The lawmakers say it is "deeply troubling" that "tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens."

As we also noted some weeks ago, Eggen reports, "The companies proposed forming a 'corporate information reconnaissance cell' and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software."

Those "other groups" would include the non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization VelvetRevolution.us, as co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, in response to VR's StopTheChamber.com campaign launched in late 2009 to help expose the U.S. Chamber's perfidy and mafia-like tactics in their extremist Rightwing corporate "advocacy". The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the nation's largest corporate lobbying firm and has spent millions in disinformation campaigns fighting against clean energy legislation and health care insurance reform, just to name two of their recent projects.

While a Congressional investigation would normally be a no-brainer in a plot as pernicious as the one exposed here --- revealed by the release of tens of thousands of emails detailing highly dubious, and most likely illegal, schemes of this sort --- the fact that the U.S. Chamber and its member corporations also spent millions as the top funders of Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010 makes the likelihood of such hearings questionable in the now-GOP-controlled House.

A letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, demanding a special prosecutor be assigned to this case would be equally, if not more appropriate. Unfortunately, the DoJ is also compromised in this affair, having been the ones, incredibly enough, to refer the Chamber's law firm Hunton & Williams to the Bank of America for a parallel plot with the same three private security firms, in order to target WikiLeaks with a focus on discrediting their perceived supporters such as Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald. Given the DoJ's dubious involvement here, it seems similarly unlikely that they would take up such an investigation themselves either, but a letter calling for same from Congressional members might help.

In more new developments in this story tonight...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/28/2011 10:41am PT  

On Thursday night, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert waded into the HBGary muck with an explanation of the scam that the cyber-security intelligence firm, along with two other firms (government contractors all) were putting together for law firm Hunton & Williams on behalf of Bank of America, in hopes of discrediting journalists and organizations that supported WikiLeaks.

As readers of The BRAD BLOG likely know by now, a parallel $12 million scheme was being hatched by the same law firm and same three cyber-security firms on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, targeting me and my family, as well as other citizens and progressive organizations the U.S. Chamber had regarded as their enemies.

(I was likely targeted due to my roll in The BRAD BLOG's co-founding of the non-profit, non-partisan VelvetRevolution.us which has, since late 2009, been running a StopTheChamber.com campaign to expose the insidious, mafia-like tactics of what has become the largest, most extreme corporate lobbying outfit in the nation. Relatedly, late last week, VR filed a complaint with the D.C. Bar Association against the three H&W attorneys heading up these schemes. I hope to have more on that at a later date, but you can now read the complaint yourself right here [PDF]. Legal Times coverage is here, Washington Post's coverage today is here.)

Though the U.S. Chamber side of the plot is not discussed here, here's Colbert summing up the scheme as proposed for Bank of America...


...And here is the short interview that followed with Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald who, the same as I in the U.S. Chamber plot, was placed front and center in the Bank of America plot...

By the way, though I didn't notice it while watching a Tivo'd verison of the interview above on Thursday night --- so don't know if it was in the actual broadcast, or just added online, by someone --- PC Magazine noticed a curious anomaly at the 3:22 mark of the above video. For no more than a moment, the infamous Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta, often used as a sort of trademark by the "hacktivist" collective Anonymous (the group which inadvertently exposed both of the above described plots when they broke into HBGary's corporate servers and stole the emails describing all of this) is briefly superimposed over Colbert's face, for reasons unknown --- but amusing.

* * *

For much more on the U.S. Chamber Plot, please see the links below for The BRAD BLOG's previous coverage of this disturbing story...

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

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UPDATED: 'GRITtv' covers as well, with in-depth discussion...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2011 1:21pm PT  

Sad to say the best video coverage so far (though that's not saying much as I noted Friday night), of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce plot to dishonestly, and perhaps illegally, try and discredit, smear and illicitly undermine their perceived political enemies (such as me and, for some reason, my family) comes from HNN. That's right, from the Hacker News Network.

The report on the U.S. Chamber plot (and the related BofA/WikiLeaks plot) is the very first story --- approximately 5 mins --- right at the top of the video...

See? Was that so hard? [Hat-tip Jeannie Dean.]

* * *

UPDATE 3:55pm PT: GRITtv also covered the story in an in-depth discussion with ThinkProgress' Lee Fang and Firedoglake's Michael Whitney last Wednesday...

* * *

Previously related at The BRAD BLOG:

2/18/11: U.S. Chamber Plot Update: Malware, Fake Personas, Government Contracts, Public Shame, Bar Complaints, Media Failures and Other News

2/15/11: Special Green News Report on the U.S. Chamber Plot

2/14/11: Late Updates on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Plot to Target, Discredit, Defraud Political Enemies

2/14/11: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thugs Used 'Terror Tools' for Disinfo Scheme Targeting Me, My Family, Other Progressive U.S. Citizens, Groups

2/10/11: Hacked Emails Show U.S. Chamber of Commerce Targeted VelvetRevolution.US, Other Progressive Groups With Massive Disinfo Campaign

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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...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
SPECIAL: The U.S. Chamber's Secret Smear Campaign...
By Desi Doyen on 2/15/2011 1:44pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S SPECIAL RADIO REPORT: All-out Info War: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest & most powerful corporate lobbying firm, caught plotting a $12 million disinformation campaign against progressive U.S. organizations, journalists and citizens, including yours truly...

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EXTENDED (non-Chamber-related) EXTRA!:... Obama budget, GOP's draconian cuts; Judge fines Chevron $8 Billion for Ecuador pollution; Strip-mining to begin on sea floor; Actor Costner sued over Gulf oil invention; World approaching "peak phosphorous"?; Alaska warming at 3x rate of Lower 48; Natural gas surge in BP spill; KY protestors sit-in at gov's office against mountaintop removal mining; GE pays handsomely for stake in oil business; EU Carbon trading system plagued by fraud; Smog continues to plague Joshua Tree NP; Insurers warn premiums set to rise for natural disasters; Solar panels can help your home sell faster; Generation HOT: Calling out "climate cranks"; Pesticide co. hires federal agency to challenge pesticide-Parkinson's link ... PLUS: The worst eco-disasters of all time! ...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2011 11:53pm PT  

A few quick followups tonight to my lengthy story from this morning on the proposed $2 million per month plot created for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to use tools and techniques from the so-called "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists and groups who opposed their strong-arm lobbying tactics.

As noted, one of those they'd planned to target in hopes of discrediting in their nefarious scheme was yours truly, as well as my family, and VelvetRevolution.us, the non-profit, non-partisan organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG. I was specifically targeted personally as the Chamber's first, "Tier 1" opponent in a Power Point presentation prepared for the nation's largest corporate lobby's law firm Hunton & Williams (H&W) by the three cyber-security/intelligence firms, HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies. The triumvirate called themselves "Team Themis" in the plots developed for the U.S. Chamber to fraudulently discredit opponents and for a very similar scheme made for Bank of America to try and disrupt WikiLeaks.

So here are a few items following up on our previous report...

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And why they are likely to get away with it...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2011 6:05am PT  

"[W]ho better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the DoD and Intelligence Community."
- 'Team Themis', from their 11/3/10 "Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell" proposal delivered to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's law firm Hunton & Williams.


As I learned late last Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful Rightwing lobbying group in the country, was revealed to have been working with their law firm and a number of private cyber security and intelligence firms to target progressive organizations, journalists and citizens who they felt were in opposition to their political activism, tactics and points of view.

As I went on the air Thursday night --- my fifth in a six-day guest hosting stint on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show --- revelations about the planned multi-million dollar political hit job by the security/intelligence firms working to develop a scheme for the U.S. Chamber (and another one, almost identical to it, on behalf of Bank of America) were just beginning to come to light. Both plots were being developed by the Chamber and BofA by the very same law firm, Hunton & Williams and with the cyber intelligence firms HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies.

As the show began, I was able to report the news, based on an exclusive report from Lee Fang at ThinkProgress, that internal emails from one of the firms, confirmed that VelvetRevolution.us (VR), a progressive non-partisan, non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, and its StopTheChamber.com campaign were specifically highlighted as targets of the Chamber's plot which was proposed to include the planting of a "false document", in hopes they'd be publicly released by VR or other progressive groups, so the U.S. Chamber could then claim the groups involved had created a forgery.

The plan also involved creating "two fake insider personas", one at VR and another at the unrelated Change To Win organization, which had employed a coalition of union groups to create a non-profit campaign, some months after VR's, called U.S. Chamber Watch. The plan presented by Team Themis, as the three security firms called themselves, would then use one of the "fake personas" as "leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second" in hopes of publicizing the fraudulent appearance of some sort of "conspiracy" between the various progressive organizations in order to somehow discredit them.

As Thursday's show continued, I received confirmation that I, personally, along with members of my family, had been highlighted in Themis' proposed hit job, as ThinkProgress followed up with a second story, based on several other emails from HBGary's CEO Aaron Barr. The email focused on me included names, personal information, home addresses, etc. of myself, family members and a number of other members of VR. Naturally, I reported on the then-confirmed news in the second hour of that night's Malloy Show.

An hour or so after the show went off the air Thursday night, The BRAD BLOG was no longer reachable, as our server had been knocked off line hard, so I was unable to follow up with much more information. The server we use, which is also the home for many other progressive websites, was out of commission for nearly 24 hours, though I am told by our server admin that the very unusual outage was related to a serious hardware failure which occurred at what was clearly a very inopportune --- and, naturally, suspiciously timed --- moment. Moments before Friday's show, The BRAD BLOG was finally back up and online.

Over the weekend then, I've finally been able to catch up with a lot of what I had otherwise been unable to on Friday due to the server outage and the need to prep for Friday's show while all of this was happening (and as the Egypt regime was collapsing at the same moment).

As I, and other journalists, have been plowing through some of the tens of thousands of emails from HBGary's CEO --- as stolen and released by the "hacktivist" organization calling themselves Anonymous, following Barr's public threat to expose their names --- I've been able to learn a lot more about the U.S. Chamber plan.

Part of the plan included highlighting me as a "Tier 1" player in a sophisticated disinformation/discrediting scheme that relied on high-tech tools developed for the U.S. Government's "War on Terror".

Team Themis' U.S. Chamber of Commerce plan was to deploy the very same techniques and technology used to track terrorists, terror organizations, and nations such as Iran, against private non-profit political advocates and citizens in the U.S.

As disturbing (and there is a lot that every American citizen and every member of the American media ought to be very disturbed by in this story) Hunton & Williams (H&W), the law firm working on behalf of the U.S. Chamber and the Bank of America, had been recommended to BofA, the nation's largest bank, for the parallel hit scheme to target and discredit WikiLeaks, by our own U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to Barr's email offering personal information on me and my family, the H&W scheme by Team Themis, created for the U.S. Chamber, also included a Power Point presentation in which I am personally highlighted, with photograph, along with my wife "Martha" and "2 boys, James and John Friedman" at our "home at 1055 Raywood Ln, Silver Springs, MD".

Of course, I'm not married and have no children and don't live in MD, but these are the huge private firms receiving millions, if not billions, in U.S. tax-payer dollars to target terrorists, after all, so why let such details like accuracy, or targeting innocent people, or citizens and journalists exercising their right to free speech get in the way of a potential $2 million dollar per month contract from the U.S. Chamber get in the way? The Chamber, of course, is also funded by the world's largest corporations who receive billions in tax-payer bailout dollars and subsidies from the U.S. Government. Can you feel the synergy? Team Themis certainly did...

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UPDATE: 'Brad Friedman' and family personally targeted as well...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2011 4:00pm PT  

UPDATE 2/14/11: A big update, and a lot of new details on this entire story (including the Chamber plot targeting me) now here...

* * *

UPDATE 9:03pm PT: Yes, they do target and name ME and my family, including personal details about us specifically, as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's disinformation attack, as ThinkProgress notes in an update tonight:

Another target was Brad Friedman, co-founder of The Brad Blog. Barr’s profile of Friedman included information about his life partner and his home address.

See TP's most recent article for some of the emails, etc. These are horrible people.

* * *

[Preparing to guest host tonight's Mike Malloy Show, so forgive the terser than usual coverage here as I'm just now learning about this, but wanted to get something out quickly. I expect there will be more to come on this, as you can probably imagine.]

It looks like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce --- the Rightwing lobbying firm now allowed to accept hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in secret funding from corporations likely subsidized with your tax dollars --- has been caught in the act of creating a $2 million disinformation campaign to attack progressive organizations such as VelvetRevolution.us and its StopTheChamber.com initiative. [Since we believe in disclosure, unlike the Chamber: VR was co-founded by The BRAD BLOG.]

After the disinfo campaign targeted "Anonymous," the online "hacktivist" organization which had been working to disrupt those who companies who had attacked WikiLeaks (see our December '10 report: "'ALL-OUT CYBER WAR' OVER WIKILEAKS"), "Anonymous" struck back by hacking one of the "intelligence security firms" retained by the Chamber and posting thousands of their emails online.

Coverage from ThinkProgress' Lee Fang just an hour or two ago includes a snippet from one of the proposals given to the Chamber on November 29, 2010 mentioning Velvet Revolution and a plan to "create a false document," "fake insider personas," and do whatever they needed to do to "discredit" the organization by planting misinformation....

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