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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Electric BUG-Aloo: How VW Can Save Itself and the World: 'BradCast' 10/6/15
Author Steve LaVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future; ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker; and Jeb's 'death rattle'...
'Green News Report' 10/6/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record rain, flooding in South Carolina -- is this the new normal?; India will cut its carbon emissions; PLUS: EPA announces new ozone rules to cut dangerous air pollution...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 9/29/15 - Archives...
'New Normal': Climate Change and SC's '1000-Year Flood': 'BradCast' 10/5/15
Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann joins us to discuss that and much more. Plus: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Making Sense' Edition
A grim week in the Toons, though 'PDiddie' manages to find a few laughs in his latest curated collection of the week's best...
AL Shuts Down Photo ID Offices; IA Blocks Former Felons: 'BradCast' 10/1/15
With ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein; PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
'Green News Report' 10/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jeb wants more oil and gas in US; Alberta, home of tar sands oil, wants to phase it out; New standards for refineries; PLUS: Tesla unveils world's first all-electric SUV...
Previous GNRs: 9/29/15 - 9/24/15 - Archives...
Hand-Counting Paper Ballots in Columbia County, NY: 'BradCast' 9/29/15
Guests: Both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners of Columbia County! Plus: Rush on Mars; MSNBC snubs Bernie...
'Green News Report' 9/29/15
China to launch cap and trade system; Pope calls for UN climate treaty; Report: World can move to 100% renewables in just 35 years; PLUS: Shell quits the Arctic...
Exxon Knew All Along: 'BradCast' 9/28/15
Neela Banerjee on Exxon's long knowledge of global warming and their efforts to obscure it. Also: Shell quits the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama, Putin at U.N....
Sunday Toons: 'Political Climate Change'
PDiddie's latest curated collection of an explosive week in political toonery...
Bye, Bye, Boehner; Hello (Again), Florida Vote Suppression: 'BradCast' 9/25/15
And many other breaking world affairs at the end of an insanely busy news week...
Sanders' Three-Phase 'Political Revolution'
Ernest Canning on Bernie's battle for the 2016 Dem nomination, what happens if he receives it, and how he'd be able to govern as President of the United States...
The Pope & the Dopes - Francis Goes to Congress: 'BradCast' 9/24/15
Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
'Green News Report' 9/24/15
Pope delivers climate change message in D.C.; 11 House GOPers call for climate action; Big biz pledges to go renewable; PLUS: Hillary finally announces KXL position...
Pope Francis and the GOP! VW and the Voting Scam!: 'BradCast' 9/23/15
Plus a bunch of callers on all of the above (some quite amusing) and much more!...
Walker's Failed Campaign; Fuller's Serial Spousal Abuse: 'BradCast' 9/22/15
Guest: WI native John Nichols of The Nation. PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position Keystone XL!...
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...
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...

Rep. Nadler on Fox, Sen. Whitehouse on MSNBC agree, no legal choice but to investigate torture allegations, wherever they may lead...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island Attorney General Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) recently wrote in National Law Journal:

The judicial branch...has determined that waterboarding is torture...The Bush administration has admitted to waterboarding captives. The corpus delicti of that crime exists. For there to be investigation now is unexceptional.

The only exceptional thing is the parties involved: the former vice president of the United States, his counsel David Addington, Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) lawyer John Yoo and their private contractors Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, psychologists who designed the torture program.

During a Sept. 2, 2009 segment of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann interviewed Whitehouse about his National Law Journal piece (video below) and quoted former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who praised Attorney General Eric Holder's appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate CIA employees who exceeded the guidelines contained in the infamous Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) torture memos.

Olbermann's interview included a Fox "News" segment in which Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was cut-off by a Fox anchor while making the following crucial point...

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

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Breaking down the formerly-gagged FBI whistleblower's sworn testimony...
By Brad Friedman on 9/2/2009 1:24pm PT  

It has now been over a week since the video tape and transcript from the remarkable 8/8/09 deposition of former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was publicly released. Previously, the Bush Administration invoked the so-called "state secrets privilege" in order to gag Edmonds, in attempting to keep such information from becoming public.

The under-oath, detailed allegations include bribery, blackmail, espionage and infiltration of the U.S. government of, and by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials and agents of the government of Turkey. The broad criminal conspiracy is said to have resulted in, among other things, the sale of nuclear weapons technology to black market interests including Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Libya and others.

Even as many of these allegations had been previously corroborated to varying extents, by a number of official government reports, documents and independent media outlets (largely overseas), not a single major mainstream media outlet in the U.S. has picked up on Edmonds' startling claims since her deposition has been made fully available.

Granted, last week was a busy news week, with the death of Ted Kennedy, the release of the CIA Inspector General's report on torture, and the announcement that Michael Jackson's death was ruled a homicide. And, it's true, a 4-hour deposition and/or 241-page transcript [PDF] is a lot of material to review, particularly given the wide scope of the charges being made here. Still, given the serious national security issues at stake, said to have the been among the most important matters of the past 8 years, one would think someone in the corporate MSM might have taken the time to go through the material, and report on it. Particularly as Edmonds' claims have previously been found "credible" "serious" and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review," by the DoJ Inspector General, and confirmed as such, on several occasions, by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and many many others.

So for the benefit of the U.S. media, and other readers, who may find it helpful for this large body of newly-available information to be culled down into more digestible pieces, I will attempt to break down the deposition, a bit, into some of its subject matter-based component parts. I will try to go through the major disclosures from the deposition, one-by-one, in a series of pieces which might help others to further report and/or investigate these breathtaking disclosures from a former FBI official who, following 9/11, listened to and translated wiretap recordings made from 1996 through 2002, in the FBI's counterintelligence and counterterrorism departments, under top-secret clearance.

In this first break-down article, we'll look at the answers given by Edmonds during her deposition in regard to bribery and blackmail of current and former members of the U.S. Congress, including Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased) and an unnamed, currently-serving, married Democratic Congresswoman said to have been video-taped in a Lesbian affair by Turkish agents for blackmail purposes.

In further breakdown articles, we'll look at her disclosures concerning top State and Defense Department officials including Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and, perhaps most notably, the former Deputy Undersecretary of State, Marc Grossman, the third-highest ranking official in the State Department. Also, details on the theft of nuclear weapons technology; disclosures on Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA front company Brewster-Jennings; items related to U.S. knowledge of 9/11 and al-Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001; infiltration of the FBI translation department and more...

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Review of 'Daybreak - Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union' by David Swanson
[FLASH! 'Daybreak' #1 at Amazon! Displaces Beck! See update...]
By Peter Weiss on 9/1/2009 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Peter Weiss, Vice President, Center for Constitutional Rights

David Swanson, a tireless analyst and organizer, has taken a leaf from Emile Zola's playbook and written an American "J'accuse". And what an indictment it is. In over 300 pages crammed full of facts, figures, incriminating and self-incriminating quotes, Swanson's Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union makes the following case: Bush-Cheney and their cohorts are guilty of a power grab which has inflicted near mortal wounds on the Constitution; Obama has not done nearly enough to repair the damage; Congress has collapsed, and even the Supreme Court could use some fixing up.

The saving grace of this mauling is that, unlike most other critics who are satisfied to accuse and condemn, Swanson devotes a good part of his book to suggestions for how to set things right...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2009 4:21pm PT  

From RAW's coverage of Cheney's upcoming "interview" on Fox in which the war criminal continues his public defense/deception on his use of illegal torture against detainees [emphasis ours]:

"The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, 'How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?'" Cheney stated. "Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions."

Just prior to that moment, according to the transcript, Cheney also says: "The fact of the matter is the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us those opinions had every right to give us the opinions they did. Now you get a new administration and they say, well, we didn't like those opinions, we're going to go investigate those lawyers and perhaps have them disbarred."

I don't believe I've seen any noteworthy discussion about disbarring any torture lawyers in the public domain other other than from' campaign [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is co-founder of VR], and certainly not from the Obama Administration, with which we have no relation...not by a long shot.

So, unless I'm wrong, it seems we (VR) have succeeded in getting Cheney's attention, at least.

Good. Let's hope they're all disbarred for the shameful example they've proven to be to both their country and their profession.

But disbarring Cheney's torture attorney stooges is hardly enough, of course. And no doubt, that's why he's kicking back into full save-his-ass mode this weekend, in light of Holder's announced torture probe following the release of the CIA Inspector General's devasting torture report [PDF] and more CIA docs said coming on Monday. Yes, it's another full media blitz from the Cheneys, as both he and Mary Liz will be making appearances on the Sunday Shows this weekend where Republican Insiders are allowed full, unfettered access to our public airwaves, allowed to lie with impunity, with the assurance that nobody will counter or fact-check them, and where they will even be able to refer to stories they've previously planted in major papers via "anonymous sources" as proof of the case they will make. (See both Greenwald and Wheeler today on how WaPo has now completely discredited itself, Judith Miller-style, once and for all).

So with Cheney defending his stooge lawyers, and on full-throated Orwellian attack yet again against Team Obama's so-far pathetic baby step towards accountability, I'm reminded, for some reason, of the scene from Rambo in which he's been captured, detained, tortured, and shackled, before being allowed by his captors to radio back to his base to prove he's being held by the enemy, but is still alive. With everything absolutely stacked against him, he asks to speak to the man on his own team who, as it turns out, turned traitor to allow him to be captured in the first place, leading to one of the great twists in 80's action film history.

The quick scene follows. Replace "Murdock" with "Cheney," and Rambo with me, and that's a little bit of how I'm feeling this afternoon...

{The video from Rambo has been removed following a copyright complaint from Studio Canal and Lionsgate}

[Message to Secret Service: No, that is not a threat of violence. Thank you.]

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...If reports of his attempting to block a lawful DoJ investigation of CIA-related crimes are true...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2009 2:55pm PT  

I have come to see very little difference between CIA chief Leon Panetta's reported attempts to intercede in a Dept. of Justice investigation into Bush/Cheney Era war crimes and illegal torture by members of the CIA, and the reported attempts of folks like former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and former Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM) to similarly inject themselves into a DoJ investigation (in their case, to force one over phony "voter fraud" allegations and other politically-based investigations of Democrats) leading up to the U.S. Attorney Purge under George W. Bush.

Why should the Director of Intelligence have any say within the DoJ and/or White House administration, over what and who is investigated when crimes have allegedly been carried out?

The fact that he has been attempting to do so --- as reported recently, including as late as today by the New York Times --- seems clearly inappropriate, and should lead to his immediate dismissal or resignation as far as I'm concerned...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2009 9:43am PT  

Collect and trade 'em all!

[Hat-tip Jeremy Scahill]

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By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2009 1:43pm PT  

In an update to his story detailing some of the most disturbing revelations about illegal and unconstitutional methods of torture used by our own government, in our own name, as revealed in the less-redacted 2004 CIA Inspector General's report [PDF] released on Monday, Glenn Greenwald replies to those who'd written in support of such illegal behavior as follows [emphasis his]...

To those blithely dismissing all of this as things that don't seem particularly bothersome, I'd say two things:

(1) The fact that we are not really bothered any more by taking helpless detainees in our custody and (a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle --- all things that we have always condemend as "torture" and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies ("torture means. . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering . . .") --- reveals better than all the words in the world could how degraded, barbaric and depraved a society becomes when it lifts the taboo on torturing captives.

(2) As I wrote rather clearly, numerous detainees died in U.S. custody, often as a direct result of our "interrogation methods."  Those who doubt that can read the details here and here.  Those claiming there was no physical harm are simply lying --- death qualifies as "physical harm" --- and those who oppose prosecutions are advocating that the people responsible literally be allowed to get away with murder.

Moreover, yesterday Greenwald took on Rep. Peter King (R-NY)'s outrageous and ignorant defense of torture and of breaking the law and disregarding the U.S. Constitution, along with the other pretend Thomas Paines out there (such as Glenn Beck), who appear to have absolutely no understanding or interest in the either the Rule of Law, the Constitution, or just how far afield they are from the actual words of Paine himself.

It's a must-read, though mostly for folks like Beck and King who likely won't be bothered by information that specifically undermines their own warped, twisted, sick, anti-American worldview.

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Long-gagged FBI whistleblower's full under-oath testimony from Ohio election case, details Congressional blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, more...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2009 4:52am PT  

Just over two weeks ago, FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was finally allowed to speak about much of what the Bush Administration spent years trying to keep her from discussing publicly on the record. Twice gagged by the Bush Dept. of Justice's invocation of the so-called "State Secrets Privilege," Edmonds has been attempting to tell her story, about the crimes she became aware of while working for the FBI, for years.

Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio's 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition. Both the complete video tape and transcript of the deposition follow below.

Though there was much concern, prior to her testimony, that the Obama Dept. of Justice might re-invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" to keep her from speaking, they did not do so. Nor did they choose to be present at the Washington D.C. deposition.

The BRAD BLOG covered details of some of Edmonds' startling disclosures made during the deposition, as it happened, in our live blog coverage from August 8th. The deposition included criminal allegations against specifically named members of Congress. Among those named by Edmonds as part of a broad criminal conspiracy: Reps. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA), as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman (D) said to have been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during a lesbian affair.

High-ranking officials from the Bush Administration named in her testimony, as part of the criminal conspiracy on behalf of agents of the Government of Turkey, include Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, and others.

During the deposition --- which we are still going through ourselves --- Edmonds discusses covert "activities" by Turkish entities "that would involve trying to obtain very sensitive, classified, highly classified U.S. intelligence information, weapons technology information, classified Congressional records...recruiting key U.S. individuals with access to highly sensitive information, blackmailing, bribery."

Speaking about current members of Congress during a break in the testimony, Krikorian told The BRAD BLOG that "for people in power situations in the United States, who know about this information, if they don't take action against it, in my opinion, it's negligence." (More video statements from Krikorian, Edmonds and attorneys from all parties, taped before, during, and after the 8/8/09 testimony, are available here.)

Edmonds' on-the-record disclosures also include bombshell details concerning outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's front company, Brewster Jennings. Edmonds alleges the front company had actually been shut down in August of 2001 --- three years prior to Bob Novak's public disclosure of the covert operative's identity --- following a tip-off to a wire-tap target about the true nature of the CIA front company. The cover was blown, Edmonds alleges, by Marc Grossman, who was, at the time, the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, Grossman served as ambassador to Turkey. He now works "for a Turkish company called Ihals Holding," according to Edmonds' testimony.

An unclassified FBI Inspector General's report, released on her case in 2005, declared Edmonds' classified allegations to be "credible," "serious," and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI." In 2002, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), then the senior members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote letters on Edmonds' behalf to Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and DoJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, calling on all of them to take action in respect to her allegations. And in a 2002 60 Minutes report on Edmonds' case, Grassley noted: "Absolutely, she's credible...And the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story."

The 8/8/09 deposition was brought by Krikorian as part of his defense in a case filed against him before the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH). The 2nd district Congresswoman has accused Krikorian, an Armenian-American who ran against her as an independent in 2008, of "false statements" during the campaign last year alleging that she had accepted "blood money" from Turkish interests. Krikorian says that Schmidt, co-chair of the Congressional Turkish Committee, accepted more money from Turkish interests during last year's campaign than any other member of Congress, despite few, if any, ethnic Turks among her local constituency. He has suggested she may have been instrumental in helping to hold off a Congressional vote on a long-proposed, much-disputed resolution declaring the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during WWI as a "genocide" by the Turks.

Edmonds herself happens to be a Turkish-American, though she was recently attacked by the Turkish Lobby, following her long-sought, long-blocked testimony.

The complete transcript of Sibel Edmonds' under-oath testimony, may now be downloaded here [PDF]. The complete video-taped testimony follows, in five parts, below...

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Call for 'broad mandate to investigate abuses...policymakers and lawyers...without predetermination of where it may lead'
Update: Holder announcement said little more than a 'review' based on the shameful 'Abu Ghraib' model...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2009 2:07pm PT  

[8/26/09: Updated at bottom of article.]

After many weeks of speculation, and embarrasingly bad media coverage, Attorney General Eric Holder has finally named a Special Prosecutor to probe the use of torture by the Bush/Cheney Administration. The announcement comes on the same day that a redacted version of a 2004 Inspector General's report [PDF] on the CIA's use of torture was also released. RAW STORY has a good backgrounder on the announcement.

The prosecutor, John Durham, a career DoJ attorney from Connecticut, has already been investigating the CIA's destruction of torture video tapes, and has been described by AP as "one of the nation’s most relentless prosecutors."

The IG's 122-page report details the beating and death of detainees, threats of violence, death and sexual assault to their family members, and other techniques used by U.S. government interrogators that were "inconsistent with the public policy positions that the U.S. has taken regarding human rights."

Shortly after the announcement today, U.S. House Judiciary chair John Conyers (D-MI) and subcommittee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released a statement applauding the appointment of the Special Prosecutor and calling for a 'broad mandate' to prosecute not just 'frontline personnel,' but also the 'policymakers and lawyers' who created the "conditions where such absues were all but inevitable to occur."

"Seeking out only the low-level actors in a conspiracy to torture detainees will bring neither justice nor restored standing to our nation," says Nadler in the statement (posted in full below)...

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

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The extent to which 21st Century American culture is imbued by anti-Arab racism
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/21/2009 4:02am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Shortly after my original piece, “Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization,” I received a form of constructive criticism. A friend suggested that while I provided a coherent explanation of Prof. Zimbardo’s basic concepts regarding the process of dehumanization as it relates Nazi atrocities and the Jim Crow South, my application of Zimbardo to the more contemporary question of Muslims and Arabs failed to do justice to Prof. Shaheen’s academic study of American films.

While the criticism is valid, that certainly had not been my intent.

The problem entails issues of length in the blog format --- the risk that length will reduce the size of the audience one hopes to educate.

For those who feel they’ve read enough, please stop here.

For everyone else, there is Prof. Shaheen’s Oct. 19, 2007 appearance on Democracy Now, and the following….

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Still fail to discuss Scahill bombshell
Official source idiocy reigns...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/20/2009 11:23am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Aug. 20, 2009 The New York Times published a front-page article:

[Emphasis added]The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

A substantially similar article appeared in the Washington Post and in the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times article provided limited background information on Blackwater aka Xe, referencing what amounted to a massacre of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians gunned down by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisoor Square as simply an instance in which Blackwater had been "accused of using excessive force."

In "Blackwater = Murder, Inc." I covered the explosive allegations made in sworn statements by two former Blackwater employees --- murder, weapons smuggling, corruption, and the use of child prostitutes. I argued:

The failure of the bulk of the corporate press to responsibly cover this explosive story is manifestly irresponsible. The ramifications of permitting a President to create a private, unaccountable army of mercenaries --- one which was permitted to have a heavily armed presence inside a U.S. city, a presence that took precedence over saving the lives of Katrina victims --- are truly frightening.

Now, that same corporate press learned from "official sources" that Blackwater is linked to former Vice President Richard B Cheney's "assassination wing." It repeats, without challenge, the official source contention that the only ones targeted by the "assassination wing" were senior al Qaeda officials --- this despite Jeremy Scahill's and Keith Olbermann's revelation that John Doe 2, reportedly a former member of Blackwater's management, alleged:

Mr. Prince views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.

These articles reveal as much about the sorry state of mainstream media journalism as they do about Blackwater...

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Sticks & stones break bones but names can kill indiscriminately
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/19/2009 10:13am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In "Radio Speech is not Free Speech," Sue Wilson touches upon the trend toward an increasingly strident, right-wing talk radio.

Setting aside First Amendment issues, one has to understand the true danger posed by "hate speech," which is both product and cause of the process of dehumanization --- a process defined by Professor Phillip Zimbardo in The Lucifer Effect as a means "by which certain other people or collectives of them are depicted as less than human….”

Zimbardo regards this as “one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil….a ‘cortical cataract’ that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human…to see…others as enemies deserving of torment, torture, and even annihilation.”...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/14/2009 10:09am PT  

"The nightmare that is our health care system." - Jan. '08 for CNN
"The best health care system in the world." - Aug. '09 for Fox "News"

Why The Daily Show must be the one to reveal this stuff on broadcast television remains far beyond our pay grade. We're just glad that someone does....

But what's becoming more and more clear is that Beck seems to be taking a page from the Ann Coulter playbook: Say something outrageous, no matter how factually deficient, whether you believe it or not, in order to help rile the easily riled Republicanist/Fox "News" base, piss off everyone else, garner media attention to yourself, make millions of dollars in the bargain, largely off the losers you're exploiting and lying to in the first place.

Worked well for Coulter, still is, seems to be working very well for Beck now too. (Also for Sarah Palin, though there's some question whether she's smart enough to realize that's what she's doing. Beck, however, knows damn well what he's doing, and knows damn well that he's an unapologetic liar and opportunist, playing the Fox "News" base for the gullible suckers and chumps that they are. Doesn't care.)

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Death by Torture, Ghost Detainees and the Disappeared
The global assault on decency & the rule of law
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2009 8:34am PT  

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

"This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors...

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the...administration...committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account." Retired Maj. Gen. Anthony Tuguba, "Preface" to Report by Physicians for Human Rights.

In Part I of this five-part series, I took care to distinguish the post-9/11 application of torture techniques by the U.S. military from the role played by the CIA and demonstrated how the Bush/Cheney decision to torture predated the quasi-legal Justice Department memos. In Part II, I covered the CIA's dark beginnings, including links not only to former Nazi war criminals but to those Americans who provided financial support to Hitler's Germany, including the late Senator Prescott Bush, George W's paternal grandfather. I also demonstrated how academic studies, performed as part of the CIA's maniacal quest to crack the code of human consciousness, culminated in KUBARK, the CIA's 1963 torture manual. In Part III, I showed how the KUBARK torture techniques, applied by US-trained foreign surrogates, became an essential component of the covert dimension of a US-led corporate Empire --- a means for exerting control over populations resistant to the injustice of a system that values the obscene wealth of a few over the needs of the many. Part IV covered “extraordinary rendition.”

Here we will deal with the direct application of KUBARK techniques at CIA “black sites,” why we cannot rely on the government as a source of truth, death by torture and the disturbing yet unresolved question as to how many have joined the ranks of the “disappeared”...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2009 11:43pm PT  

From the sub-title used with the LATimes story over the weekend about AG Eric Holder's long-rumored, now reportedly "all but certain" plan to appoint a special prosecutor to examine torture during the Bush Adminstration:

Insiders say Atty. Gen. Eric Holder is close to naming a prosecutor to look into reports of excessive waterboarding and other unauthorized methods.

So non-"excessive waterboarding" is now legal?

From the article itself...

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

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