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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 27, 2015
'Green News Report' 11/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Carbon tax coming to Alberta tar sands; Obama: Paris conf must proceed; Senate Repubs to monkeywrench int'l agreement; PLUS: FDA okays GMO salmon for humans...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/15 - 11/17/15 - Archives...
Sunday 'This Means War' Toons
PDiddie's must-see collection of the past shameful week's best -- and most dead-on and occassionally horrifying -- toons...
ISIS Wins in US House; Plus: TPP, NAFTA and the Return of KXL?: 'BradCast' 11/19/15
With guest David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times, The Intercept, et al...
'Green News Report' 11/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP's war against climate scientists; October 2015 was hottest on record; Fossil fuel subsidies at $500B/year; UK phases out coal; PLUS: Canada kills another tar sands pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 11/17/15 - 11/12/15 - Archives...
Home of the Brave:
'BradCast' 11/18/15
GOP Governors and Presidential candidates help ISIS dreams come true by turning against refugees from war-torn Syria, as some Americans follow their lead by turning against fellow citizens after the Paris attacks...
How NOT to Respond to the Paris Terror Attacks: 'BradCast' 11/17/15
Anti-war author David Swanson on how we got here, how the media and politicians continue to make it worse, and what we must do instead...
'Green News Report' 11/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate gets short shrift in 2nd Dem Debate; Yes, climate change is a NatSec threat; Intn'l climate talks in Paris after attacks; PLUS: NY's Cuomo vetoes major NatGas project...
Previous GNRs: 11/12/15 - 11/10/15 - Archives...
A Word About Paris; Coverage of CBS' Dem Debate in Iowa: 'BradCast' 11/16/15
Salon's Heather Digby Parton and longtime GOPer Fred Karger on the debate the DNC didn't want you to watch...
Sunday Somewhat Horrible Toons
PDiddie's round-up of a number of smart toons in the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris...
'Very Similar, If Not Identical': DoJ's Big Tobacco Prosecutor on Case Against ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 11/12/15
Attorney Sharon Eubanks on RICO, conspiracy and the big lies of Big Tobacco and Big Oil...
'Green News Report' 11/12/15
2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates talk climate, energy, and the path forward in GOP Debate and Dem Forum...
Decoding and Debunking Fox Biz Channel's GOP Debate: 'BradCast' 11/11/15
Smartest post-debate analysis anywhere! With journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
Impossible Results for OH Pot Measure?: 'BradCast' 11/10/15
Screenshots suggest disappearing 'Yes' votes; OH SoS offers us explanation. PLUS: Calls for KY hand-count...
'Green News Report' 11/10/15
Obama rejects KXL; Big Coal caught lying about climate change; ExxonMobil facing probe; PLUS: 2nd cyclone for Yemen & Sea World responds to critics...
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
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose false tortured confession was used as basis for Bush's war, has reportedly committed suicide...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2009 8:18pm PT  

British journalist and historian Andy Worthington, an expert and author on Guantanamo, reports that the man who had supplied a key false tie between Iraq and al-Qaeda --- after being tortured in Egypt, where he had been rendered by the U.S. --- has died in a Libyan prison. "Dead of suicide in his cell," according to a Libyan newspaper.

Worthington has excellent coverage of the story tonight, which, he says, is "ablaze" in the Arabic media, but so far unreported in all but one English language outlet.

"This news resolves, in the grimmest way possible," Worthington writes, "questions that have long been asked about the whereabouts of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, perhaps the most famous of 'America's Disappeared' - prisoners seized in the 'War on Terror,' who were rendered not to Guantánamo but to secret prisons run by the CIA or to the custody of governments in third countries - often their own - where, it was presumed, they would never be seen or heard from again."

The "emir" of a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, al-Libi "was one of hundreds of prisoners seized by Pakistani forces in December 2001, crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Most of these men ended up in Guantánamo after being handed over (or sold) to US forces by their Pakistani allies, but al-Libi was, notoriously, rendered to Egypt by the CIA to be tortured on behalf of the US government."

Worthington reports:

In Egypt, he came up with the false allegation about connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by President Bush in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, just days before Congress voted on a resolution authorizing the President to go to war against Iraq, in which, referring to the supposed threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime, Bush said, "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases."

Four months later, on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell made the same claim in his notorious speech to the UN Security Council, in an attempt to drum up support for the invasion. "I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda," Powell said, adding, "Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story." As a Newsweek report in 2007 explained, Powell did not identify al-Libi by name, but CIA officials - and a Senate Intelligence Committee report - later confirmed that he was referring to al-Libi.

Al-Libi recanted his story in February 2004, when he was returned to the CIA's custody, and explained, as Newsweek described it, that he told his debriefers that "he initially told his interrogators that he 'knew nothing' about ties between Baghdad and Osama bin Laden and he 'had difficulty even coming up with a story' about a relationship between the two." The Newsweek report explained that "his answers displeased his interrogators - who then apparently subjected him to the mock burial. As al-Libi recounted, he was stuffed into a box less than 20 inches high. When the box was opened 17 hours later, al-Libi said he was given one final opportunity to 'tell the truth.' He was knocked to the floor and 'punched for 15 minutes.' It was only then that, al-Libi said, he made up the story about Iraqi weapons training."

Worthington concludes: "The most important question that needs asking just now, of course, is whether it was possible for al-Libi to commit suicide in a Libyan jail, or whether he was murdered. I doubt that we will ever find out the truth...Whatever al-Libi’s actual crimes, his use as a tool in a program of 'extraordinary rendition' and torture, exploited shamelessly not to foil future terrorist plots but to yield false information about al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, remains a low point in a 'War on Terror' that has few redeeming features."

UPDATE: 16 hours later, and virtually zero coverage of this story in the U.S. corporate mainstream MSM. Amazing. Details now here... [That report has now also been updated to include a few U.S. outlets finally jumping in to the story, 24 hours later.]

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By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2009 12:22pm PT  

A few quick-hit gems worth noting from Josh Marshall and David Kurtz at TPM over the last day or two...


Anticipate Karl Rove's long-awaited testimony before Congress about the US Attorney firings sometime in early June, Rove's lawyer tells TPMmuckraker.


Not to be outdone in an effort to eke out a few more minutes in the spotlight, Joe The Plumber announces he too has had enough and is leaving the Republican party.

Of course, in Joe's case, it does raise the question of what party or militia he's leaving the GOP to join. Any ideas?


Number of Gitmo detainees that the GOP hopes to keep off mainland U.S. soil with its "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act": roughly 250.

Number of Axis POWs detained in camps on the U.S. mainland at the end of WWII: roughly 425,000.


Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?

I guess it really is a center-right nation.

Our observation on the final item above: Looks like those old "Liberal Media" are still partying like it's 1999 2007. Color us shocked. Shocked!

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Military Torture, Legal Fig Leaves & Premature Exculpation...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/6/2009 12:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Part I of a Five-Part Special Series
(Part II is now here. Part III is now here. Part IV is now here. Part V is now here.)

"When any modern state tortures even a few victims, the stigma compromises its majesty and corrupts its integrity. Its officials must spin an ever more complex web of lies that, in the end, weakens the bonds of trust and the rule of law that are the sine qua non of a democracy. And, beyond its borders, allies and enemies turn away in collective revulsion." - Prof. Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture (2006).

Truth and justice are essential components of democracy and the rule of law. We cannot move forward unless we honestly examine our past. Accuracy is vital to every decision we make, be it impeachment, prosecution or a restoration of our nation’s honor and integrity.

This is the first in a five-part series of articles which will strive to correct misperceptions arising from the erroneous blending of military and CIA torture. This task has become especially relevant now that the Justice Department's the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the very section which had issued the torture memos, tasked by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey with investigating itself, has now released a recommendation that none of the authors of the torture memos be prosecuted. This recommendation stands in stark contrast to our nation's post-World War II decision to prosecute German judges for war crimes at Nuremberg.

Part I addresses the relatively public involvement of the U.S. military and private contractors at Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It will dispel the notion that the Bush White House sought out independent legal opinions from the OLC before deciding to torture.

Part II will discuss the CIA's dark beginnings, including its recruitment of former Nazis, its devotion to covert "psychological operations" as a founding principle, the experiments on unwitting subjects that were part of a maniacal quest to crack the code of human consciousness, and the scientific studies that led to KUBARK, the CIA's torture manual.

Part III provides a vital historical account of CIA torture applied by surrogates in developing nations as a component of empire, an account that belies the suggestion made by the The New York Times that CIA torture first arose as an aftermath of 9/11.

Part's IV and V will address the CIA's involvement in extraordinary rendition and an ultra-secret system of “black-sites” into which “ghost detainees” would disappear. It will show how the techniques used on "ghost detainees" are the culmination of a half-century of CIA research and practices...

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The former FBI translator and whistleblower suggests blackmail may be at the heart of Congressional refusal to bring accountability and oversight to its own members - such as both Hastert and Harman - in matters of espionage and national security
Exclusive to The BRAD BLOG...
By Sibel Edmonds on 5/4/2009 1:41pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Sibel Edmonds

I have been known to quote long-dead men in my past writings. Whether eloquently expressed thoughts by our founding fathers, or those artfully expressed by ancient Greek thinkers, these quotes have always done a better job starting or ending my thoughts - that tend to be expressed in long winding sentences. For this piece I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a living current senator, John Kerry: "It's a sad day when you have members of Congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken."

The people do indeed look at Washington and know that this city is 'badly' broken, Senator Kerry. The public confidence in our Congress has been declining drastically. Recent poll results highlight how the American people's trust in their Congress has hit rock bottom. A survey of progressive blogs easily confirms the rage rightfully directed at our Congress for abdicating its role of oversight and accountability. Activists scream about promised hearings that never took place - without explanation. They express outrage when investigations are dropped without any justification. And they genuinely wonder out loud why, especially after they helped secure a major victory for the Democrats. The same Democrats who had for years pointed fingers at their big bad Republican majority colleagues as the main impediment preventing them from fulfilling what was expected of them.

The recent stunning but not unexpected revelations regarding Jane Harman (D-CA) by the Congressional Quarterly provide us with a little glimpse into one of the main reasons behind the steady decline in the integrity of Congress. But the story is almost dead - ready to bite the dust, thanks to our mainstream media's insistence on burying 'real' issues or stories that delve deep into the causes of our nation's continuous downward slide. In this particular case, the 'thank you' should also be extended to certain blogosphere propagandists who, blinded by their partisanship, myopic in their assessments, and ignorant in their knowledge of the inner workings of our late Congress and intelligence agencies, helped in the post-burial cremation of this case.

Ironically but understandably, the Harman case has become one of rare unequivocal bipartisanship, when no one from either side of the partisan aisle utters a word. How many House or Senate Republicans have you heard screaming, or even better, calling for an investigation? The right wing remains silent. Some may have their hand, directly or indirectly, in the same AIPAC cookie jar. Others may still feel the heavy baggage of their own party's tainted colleagues; after all, they have had their share of Abramoffs, Hasterts and the like, silently lurking in the background, albeit dimmer every day. Some on the left, after an initial silence that easily could have been mistaken for shock, are jumping from one foot to the other, like a cat on a hot tin roof, making one excuse after another; playing the 'victims of Executive Branch eavesdropping' card, the same very 'evil doing' they happened to support vehemently. Some have been dialing their trusted guardian angels within the mainstream media and certain fairly visible alternative outlets. They need no longer worry, since these guardian angels seem to have blacked out the story, and have done so without the apparent need for much arm twisting...

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'It's hard not to believe there was something deliberate about it'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2009 12:04pm PT  

A few developments this week in the case of Mike Connell, the GOP IT guru who died in a single-engine plane craft last December, just after being forced to testify in a long-standing OH 2004 voting rights case, but before the case could come to trial. As The BRAD BLOG has long covered both the lawsuit, and Connell's central role, I wanted to make sure the new developments were noted here. Forgive my quick copy and paste, necessarily, given the circumstances of the week which still have me otherwise distracted in many ways. Background links on the entire Connell story are included at the end of this item...

First via RAW:

The sisters of Michael Connell, a GOP IT consultant and former associate of Karl Rove who died in a plane crash last December, are now questioning the circumstances surrounding his death.

“Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work,” a local Wisconsin paper reported Thursday. “She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn’t until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.

“‘At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead,” the paper quoted Shannon as saying. “But as time goes on, it’s hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it.”

“A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002,” the paper adds, “the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother’s death: ‘It doesn’t seem right to me at all.’”

There were a few other notable tidbits from Bill Lueders' original report in Wisconsin's The Daily Page...

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Update: Pulitzer Prize Winner: Bush must have been 'Just kidding'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2009 3:05pm PT  

George W. Bush just before the invastion of Iraq:

War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”

And let's also not forget what Saint Ronnie similarly said on these matters. Seems to me the Republicans themselves have made a very compelling case for prosecuting war criminals, such as George W. Bush.

UPDATE: Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson on Bush's pre-war statement: "I think the message there is 'just kidding, folks.'" Details, video...

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Sending them out to chase shadows...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/27/2009 11:12am PT  

Opinion by guest blogger, Ernest A. Canning

Keith Olbermann was astonished (full video below):

Despite the new wealth of evidence that the Bush administration’s desire to torture suspects was driven by a desire to gin up phony links between Iraq and al Qaeda, not by concerns about another terrorist attack, former Vice President Cheney is sticking to his story that it was all about terrorism. In part II of his interview with Fixed News, the Dark Lord accusing the Obama administration of not believing that the U.S. is threatened by terrorism.

The Fox "News" interview was vintage Cheney. He referred to torture as “a robust interrogation program on detainees” that was vital “to the very existence of the nation.”

CHENEY: What the Obama administration is doing, in effect, is saying that we don’t need those tough policies that we had. That says, either they didn’t work, which we know is not the case—they did work, they kept us safe for seven years...

You have to see a Cheney performance in order to appreciate the effectiveness of Cheney propaganda. Unlike George W. Bush, who was inclined to trip over his own tongue, Cheney has perfected the quiet lie. His words may be false but he delivers them as facts so uncontroversial you’d think he was a local network anchor reporting on traffic conditions...

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There has to be a morning-after pill...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2009 10:46pm PT  

I was scheduled to be on CNN's new online "Live" format last Thursday, before they knew what the "topic of the day would be". Turned out to be the FDA's approval to allow Plan B, a.k.a "the morning-after pill", to be sold to 17 year-olds after they were ordered by a U.S. District Court to do so. The judge also ordered the FDA to re-evaluate whether all age restrictions should be removed, following a determination that the Bush Administration's FDA had used politics, for years, instead of science, in determining whether Plan B was safe and effective enough to be sold over the counter.

Here's the video from my appearance along with a coupla other bloggers, Rachel Campos Duffy of AOL's parentdish and Gina Cooper from (she blogged about her appearance here). No comment on the use of the cutesy "Blogger Bunch" name for the segment, or for the allegation that Brad "leans to the Left" during the intro, even though Rachel, who doesn't "lean", but rather seems to live "on the Right" isn't described as such. But, as I say, no comment on any of that. I look forward to being invited back again soon...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2009 8:56am PT  

Reagan on torture prosecution, via Andrew Sullivan, from the days before George W. Bush decided how to use signing statements for evil, rather than good...

From his signing statement ratifying the UN Convention on Torture from 1984:

"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

My italics. Reagan was admant [sic] about prosecuting torture, but also prosecuting inhuman treatment that some might claim was not full-on torture. Now go read National Review or The Weekly Standard. And look what has happened to conservatism in America.

Reagan was, of course, part of the Blame-America-First crowd. Soft on terror. Friend of the evil-doers. Why did Ronald Reagan hate America?

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By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2009 1:16pm PT  

Hope? David Swanson reported last night that the AG "made [him] a promise":

As Attorney General Eric Holder left an appropriations subcommittee hearing on Thursday I spoke loudly from the third row as he prepared to leave the room:

"We need a special prosecutor for torture, Mr. Attorney General. Americans like the rule of law. The rule of law for everybody."

He replied as he approached and walked by, surrounded by bodyguards:

"And you will be proud of your country."

I was joined by others in replying simultaneously:

"Yes, we want to be proud of our country. We're ready. No need to wait."

Holder knew exactly what it would take for me to be proud of my country, and he told me directly that I would be.

Will I? Time will tell.

UPDATE 7/11/09: NEWSWEEK reports that Holder "may be on the verge of" and "leaning toward appointing" a prosecutor to investigate Bush/Cheney-era torture. Their story notes that his initial deliberations on this matter seem to have coincided with his comments as noted above. Details on all now here...

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The harsh realities of torture and following orders are quite different from the fictional world of Hollywood's anti-terror warriors, says a noted former FBI Special Agent and 9/11 whistleblower...
By Coleen Rowley on 4/24/2009 11:09am PT  

Guest Blogged by Coleen Rowley, FBI whistleblower, TIME's 2002 'Person of the Year'

Back in December 2007, when I wrote "Torture is Wrong, Illegal and It Doesn't Work," I mentioned that "the FBI agent who reportedly had the best chance of foiling the 9/11 plot, Ali Soufan, the only Arabic-speaking agent in New York and one of only eight in the country, and who has since resigned from the FBI, could and should tell people the truth of how the CIA's tactics were counterproductive."

Well guess what?! HE FINALLY DID SO ON WEDNESDAY! The points Soufan makes are very instructive as our country begins to unravel the differences between the fictional world of Hollywood's "Jack Bauer," and the real world dilemmas and questions of morality and legality as faced by actual intelligence and law enforcement officers.

"My Tortured Decision" is how former FBI Agent Soufan titled his New York Times op-ed, speaking out to specifically refute a number of Dick Cheney's lies about how torture "worked." The truth, according to Soufan, is quite the opposite from how Cheney continues to paint it...

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Fox 'News' host goes ballistic. Thank you...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2009 2:38pm PT  

Shepard Smith's days at Fox "News" may have to be numbered at this point. Even the filthy Judith Miller, for Chrissakes, is joining him in being appalled by the torture memos.

"If there was torture, there was a crime. If there was a crime, there were criminals who ordered the torture," he says to the reprehensible apologist Clifford May before he and Miller both concur that these "horrendous techniques are illegal"...

But later, Smith completely blows his stack on Fox's online-only show The Strategy Room, pounding on the table and SHOUTING: "We are America! I don't give a rat's ass if it helps! We are America! We do not fucking torture!!!":

(Hat-tips HuffPo and RAW STORY.)

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For that matter, why didn't Condoleezza Rice?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2009 4:56pm PT  

The former State Department adviser to Condoleezza Rice and executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, disclosed at Foreign Policy's Shadow Government yesterday that he offered a dissenting view to the torture memos and policies of the Bush Administration. (Ernie Canning discussed those memos and policies in detail here this morning.)

Zelikow not only dissented from the party line, admirably, but he also learned at one point that while the administration disagreed with his opinion, they were taking it a step further by actually going out of their way to destroy all copies of his memo. As he explained at FP yesterday:

At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn't entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department's archives.

While it's admirable, I suppose, that he's finally speaking up to reveal that at least someone in the Bush Administration dissented from their tortured legal justifications for war crimes, the question must be raised as to why Zelikow didn't simply resign when it became clear that the administration was going far beyond simply disagreeing with him. They were stepping over what would seem to clearly be the line of legality, by actually destroying (or attempting to), all copies of his opinion.

Surely that was a red flag that something was gravely amiss there, no?

Zelikow was on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night (complete video and transcript below), and she asked directly if he'd considered resigning at that point. But I find his answer rather unsatisfying, in my opinion...

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The Case for 'Looking Forward' to the Impeachment of Jay S. Bybee...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/22/2009 9:48am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

At the same time he took a step forward, releasing the four Justice Department torture memos he described as a "dark and painful chapter in our history," President Barack Obama assured CIA employees, who tortured under cover of these quasi-legal sophistries, they would not be prosecuted. The President said this was "a time for reflection, not retribution...nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb explained that the President insisted on "looking forward." U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not only seconded the President's promise not to prosecute, but vowed to provide legal counsel to defend these war criminals and to pay the damages awarded to their victims.

Great Britain's Times Online, quoting an unnamed former official, suggested there may be cases where the CIA exceeded the DOJ guidelines; perhaps even killed detainees. The President's hint at immunity does not extend to officials who exceeded the guidelines. Although the President, in his remarks, made no mention of those who ordered torture, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last Sunday that the President did not believe "those who devised the policy" should "be prosecuted."

The President's promise not to prosecute generated a firestorm of protest from the legal community. Law Professor Jonathan Turley blasted the effort to equate law enforcement with "retribution."

He is trying to lay the ground work for principle when he is doing an unprincipled thing....President Obama himself has said that waterboarding is torture, and torture itself violates four treaties and is considered a war crime. So the refusal to allow it to be investigated is to obstruct a war crimes investigation.…There aren't any convenient or inconvenient times to investigate war crimes. You don't have a choice....You have an obligation to do it, and what I think the President is desperately trying to do is to sell this idea that somehow it's a principled thing not to investigate war crimes because its going to be painful…It will be politically unpopular because an investigation will go directly to the doorstep of President Bush…and there's not going to be a lot of defenses that can be raised for ordering a torture program.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who serves on a House Intelligence Sub-Committee, added fuel to the firestorm by contrasting the President's advancement of the "I was only following orders" defense to the principles our nation applied at Nuremberg after WWII. Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said the President's refusal to prosecute violates the UN Convention Against Torture.

Before discussing the refreshing news that we have a President who, in the face of such a powerful critique, is not afraid to reverse course, let's consider what it means to "look forward" given that the principle author of these torture memos, Judge Jay S. Bybee, now sits on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, passing judgments on others. Absent incapacity or impeachment, there he will stay for the rest of his life...

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It's time for AG Eric Holder to investigate and vacate eight years of miscarried justice
Join more than 700 who've already signed on to our letter...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2009 9:35am PT  

What follows below is a letter I sent to AG Eric Holder last week, on behalf of (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder), calling for his immediate investigation of all political prosecutions at the DoJ during the Bush era, including those of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney/Democratic fundraiser Paul Minor. On the heels of the DoJ's dismissal of charges against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the DoJ needs to similarly vacate charges against anyone who was specifically targeted, for political reasons, by the Bush Admin's perversion of justice at the DoJ.

There are now well over 700 organizations and individuals, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ray McGovern and Scott Horton currently signed on to the letter, and you are invited to do so yourself via the campaign's main page at More details are over there. We hope you'll both sign on, and help spread the word.

Here is the letter to Holder, sent last week just before Minor's wife passed away, and prior to the release of the Bush regime's appalling torture memos which we will, no doubt, be dealing with in a future campaign...

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