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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”...

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

ReddIt this story!



David Krikorian campaign notes Google's removal of ads by Turkish lobby group denying Armenian genocide
Announces open-to-public preliminary hearing tomorrow in his Ohio Election Commission case against Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2009 12:07pm PT  

As we continue to wait for the release of the video/transcript of long-gagged FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' deposition last Saturday, the campaign of David Krikorian, Ohio's Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat in the 2nd Congressional district, has just issued a press release relating to it. (Complete release posted below.)

In the statement, they re-iterate some of the information which The BRAD BLOG covered during our live-blogging of the event over the weekend, including Edmonds' allegations under oath that "the Turkish Lobby in the United States was under the direction of the Turkish Government and engaged in operations including bribery, espionage and blackmail with certain members of the US House of Representatives to further its objectives in the United States including one of which is the denial of the Armenian Genocide."

Some of those current and former House reps, such as Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dan Burton (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dick Gephardt (D-MO), and Stephen Solarz (D-NY), were said to have been specifically named during the 5-hour-long deposition. One female Representative, said to be a Democrat and still serving in the House, was described, but not named, as having been "hooked" by Turkish agents into participating in a lesbian affair which is said to have been videotaped for potential blackmail use against the sitting Congresswoman....

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

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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!... ---

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2009 1:00pm PT  

Thanks to VelvetRevolution.us [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder], here are some of the greatly condensed highlights from outside the National Whistleblowers Center on Saturday in D.C., as FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds gave her long-awaited under-oath deposition.

Long gagged under the "state secrets" privilege by the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration's DoJ chose not to re-invoke privilege, paving the way for this information to finally make its way on to the unclassified public record.

Selected public commentary from the attorneys, candidate David Krikorian, and Edmonds, taken before, during breaks, and after the testimony follows. For many many more details, quotes and information about the information disclosed at the deposition, see our Live-Blog coverage from Saturday here...


(The video of the deposition itself is still forthcoming. Monday earliest, so we're told, but no way of knowing anything for sure until it's actually made available. There's some 5 or 6 hours of tape, as we understand it. We hope the text transcript of the entire deposition will also be made available to the public soon as well. Edmonds has stated that she too shares both of those hopes. Until then, however, please do review our coverage from yesterday, for the complete, stunning details of what went on yesterday.)

UPDATE 8/10/09, 3:45am PT: Erik Larson, who was also among the independent media outside the NWC on Saturday, has additional coverage and lengthier video clips here...

UPDATE 8/10/09, 2:11pm PT: Quick update on current release status of deposition video/transcript now here...

ReddIt this story!



UPDATES INCLUDE: CONGRESS MEMBERS NAMED IN ESPIONAGE, BRIBERY, SEXUAL BLACKMAIL SCHEMES; NEW BREWSTER JENNINGS / VALERIE PLAME DISCLOSURE...
'State Secrets' privilege NOT asserted by DoJ; FBI whistleblower answered ALL questions under oath on Turkish infiltration of U.S. Government...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2009 8:51am PT  

Live blogging coverage of the Sibel Edmonds deposition at the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington D.C. For background see previous coverage:

[Updates at bottom...]

8:00am PT (11:00am ET): The deposition has now begun inside the National Whisteblowers Center, and has not, apparently, been blocked by an assertion of the "state secrets" privilege by the DoJ.

The BRAD BLOG has some folks covering outside the testimony this morning, and I just spoke to some of the folks on the ground outside the NWC, just before the deposition was set to begin, including David Krikorian, who flew in last night from Ohio.

Krikorian said that he hadn't yet seen anybody from the DoJ there, and both he and Edmonds confirmed that there hadn't been any new action (that they knew about) since the late-night legal back and forth between the DoJ and OEC on Friday night. Though Krikorian added that he "wouldn't be surprised" if someone from DoJ showed up. We'll find out later today if they did.

He said his team intended to ask detailed questions on the three major points they'd described in their press release [PDF] issued earlier this week, focusing on whether and how "The Government of Turkey had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government institutions and officials, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and individual members of the United States Congress."

Krikorian did not seem dissuaded by the FBI's and then the DoJ's attempts to block Edmonds' testimony, and that they intended to be thorough in their deposition. "That's pretty much the whole point of this exercise," he told me.

Schmidt (R-OH)'s attorney is Bruce Fein, the one-time Assoc. Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan Administration who has, over the past several years, become a fierce critic of the George W. Bush Administration. He believed the deposition would not take long, though Krikorian's people may have a differing opinion there.

There are apparently a handful of mostly independent and foreign media outlets present outside the NWC. No corporate MSM, from the reports I've gotten. Independent TV/media, an Armenian English language weekly, and press attache representatives of some foreign governments are among those present.

8:40am PT (11:40am ET): During a break, Edmonds and the attorneys stepped outside.

DoJ still a no-show, so the questioning has proceeded, and Edmonds has been able to say "everything that she hasn't been able to say so far, implicating many members of Congress in a criminal conspiracy," according to interviews with Fein and others.

Edmonds' attorney, Michael Kohn said: "The Justice Department decided not to show. Therefore, the deposition has gone much more smoothly than we had anticipated."

Edmonds told me in a brief phone conversation during the break: "Bruce Fein is raising objections to everything," though that's to be expected. She said she's been asked, and has answered, questions on Dan Burton (R-IN), Dennis Hastert (R-IL) (who is now a lobbyist for Turkey), and Stephen Solarz (D-NY), as well as other questions on those high-ranking officials and lobbyists in her "State Secrets Gallery."

She added that "somebody said the FBI was given the wrong time, for 11:30 instead of 10:30," though she didn't see how that could be, given that the time for the start of the deposition has been well publicized. In any case, it's now 11:45am ET, so we'll see if they showed up during this break. They have now gone back into session...

9:41am PT (12:41pm ET): Another break...Edmonds still being questioned under direct. Fein believes his cross-examination will last two hours or so once he begins. They are now breaking for lunch. DoJ/FBI still have not shown up.

The deposition is being videotaped and Edmonds hopes that it can be released as soon as possible after the deposition, though there have been some objections about releasing the video tape...

10:09am PT (1:09pm ET): Wow... just had lengthy conversation with Krikorian about Edmonds' testimony. Just wow... coming momentarily...
...
Spoke to Edmonds, who says she's "tired, gotta put some sugar into her system," but that she's satisfied with what's being put on the record so far. "Things we have never discussed outside before."

A lengthy conversation then, with Krikorian, may give you some idea of what she's referring to.

Here's Krikorian, directly quoted. Hang on to your seats...

From my opinion, if I'm some of the current members of Congress, I'd be very very worried about the information that's going to come out of this. There are current members of Congress that she has implicated in bribery, espionage. It's not good. It's crazy, it's absolutely crazy. 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.

[Which current members have been implicated?]

[Dan] Burton (R-IN), described as basically accepting bribes and involved in espionage for the Turkish government...she could not discuss the extremely illegal activities that Mr. Burton committed against U.S. interests, as she put it.

Also, a current female Democratic [ed note: I misheard, he later said he didn't know if she was Dem or Rep] member of Congress who has been blackmailed by the Turkish Government...called a 'hooking exercise'...she's apparently bi-sexual and they bugged her apartment, she's married with children, and they set up a relationship with another female who went in and had sexual relationships with her. And they had all the episodes bugged within this current Representative's home and they blackmailed her. ... She wouldn't give her name, but her photograph [is the one with the question mark on it in the "Sibel Edmonds Rogue Gallery." ]

The context of the discussion was that this particular Representative was amenable to passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. And then based on this 'hooking' operation, changed her position. She was reluctant to put this person's name on record.

[CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION FROM EDMONDS, 4:26pm PT (7:26pm ET): After reviewing our coverage, Edmonds clarifies that she did not discuss the specific voting record of the Congresswoman in question discussed above, because she didn't, and still doesn't, know her record on that particular issue. As Krikorian's quote above may have been inadvertently misleading on that point, she wanted to correct that record. - BF]

[Other people implicated included] Livingston (R-TX LA), Hastert (R-IL), Dick Gephardt (D-MO), other non-Congressional members, people like Brent Scowcroft, other appointed members of the U.S. government.

One of the reasons we sought her testimony is especially for these reasons. I can tell you that counsel for Schmidt has been objecting to much of the testimony. I stopped counting the number of objections that were raised. But, she's an extremely credible witness, she knows a lot about what happened. She's implicated Turkish organizations operating in the U.S. with both overt and covert operations.

[Q: Which ones?]

ATC, ATAA, TACA...She talked about how she was recruited to join these operations, she talked about the fact that the Inspector General's report exonerated her, she talked about the circumstances around her dismissal, she talked about the fact that these Turkish American operations were, she said in her words, 'all receiving support from the Turkish government.'

She talks about one of the main lobby issues is suppressing U.S. media coverage of the Armenian Genocide and preventing the Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress from passing. She said very very strongly that is one of their major issues.

She also attested there is no credible opposition to the historical facts of the Armenian genocide, that it's only coming from Turkey.

[Ed note: Edmonds was raised in Turkey, though is a U.S. citizen. Krikorian is of Armenian descent. Schmidt is neither, but she is co-chair of the Congressional Turkish Caucus.]

Did not have very flattering things to say about former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. ... Actually, I stopped taking notes because I was o fascinated by what she was saying. ... She talked about the Rand Corp., Brewster-Jennings, nuclear secrets...

Frankly it's disappointing that things like this are happening in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Is it a huge surprise? No. Should it be tolerated? Absolutely not. I can't imagine George Washington and Thomas Jefferson allowing this sort of thing to go on in the Republic that they created. I cannot imagine it.

We're talking about High Crimes against the United States government. If the Government is aware of these High Crimes and doesn't prosecute them, I'm not sure what can be said about this.
...
[Q: Do you predict problems with Democrats whose support you will need when running against Schmidt as a Dem in 2010?]

Problem with Democrats...?

Well, Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Solarz are no longer Representatives of the U.S. House of Representatives. I think it would be extremely naive and the height of folly for the Democratic leadership to suggest for a moment that Democrats aren't also corrupt. I don't mean as an entirety, but that there aren't corrupt members of the Democrat caucus. I think there was a recent Democrat down south somewhere who was found with thirty thousand dollars cash in his freezer, or whatever.

If Democratic National Committee or the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Comm.] came out and said, 'hey, we're entirely clean and there's no fault on us,' I think the American public would laugh at them. So, this is not an indictment of one party or the other. This is about standing up for what's right for the country, and what is right for the citizens of our country.

Again, I ran as an independent last time [in 2008]. I'm running as a Democrat [in 2010] because I think right now they're probably the better of the two parties. But nevertheless, I don't necessarily buy into the fact that they're without blood on their hands...

[Q: Did she implicate any sitting Democrats?]

She did not indicate any names of any currently serving Democrats that I'm aware. [Though he wasn't certain if the unnamed female Representative was either Democratic or Republican.]

Krikorian went on to say that he expects to release the video of the deposition, which, along with the transcript, is the property of his legal team. says "There will be...This could be a 10 part YouTube video segment, that we'll put out there."

He doesn't yet know when a transcript will be available.

The cross-examination of Edmonds, by Schmidt's attorney Fein, is still in progress...

12:24pm PT (3:24pm ET) Apparently the proceedings are now wrapping up. It's believed that Edmonds and Krikorian and the attorneys will speak to whatever media are outside the NWC. Will cover...

12:56pm (3:56pm ET) Okay, I believe this will be the final update. But it will end with a BANG. Big time...Read to the end...really...

The attorneys and Krikorian and Edmonds all had a media avail after the deposition completed.

Bruce Fein, the attorney for Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) --- who began all of this with her complaint at the Ohio Election Commission against David Krikorian, claiming he made "false statements" by alleging she took "blood money" from Turkish interests to suppress a vote in the U.S. House on the Armenian Genocide resolution --- was confronted by a reporter with Armenian TV who asked if it wasn't the "cornerstone of free speech" for candidates to talk about freely about these matters.

Fein became very defensive, said that Krikorian "can say whatever he wants about the Armenian Genocide, but what he's not allowed to do is state lies. We don't want to close anybody's mouth when it comes to taking about the Armenian Genocide...What we're trying to do is promote freedom of speech. Some versions are trying to harass individuals who are trying to dispute history."

The reporter, Elizabeth Chouldjian, freelancing coverage today for Armenian Horizons TV, is also with Armenian National Committee of America, and she continue to press her points, and asked Fein if he didn't have a conflict of interest in this case. She had earlier told me that Fein was a Board member of the Turkish Coalition of America, Turkish American Legal Defense Fund and legal counsel for Assembly of Turkish American Associations. She wondered if it was appropriate for Fein to represent Schmidt, since he himself could be called to testify, as a witness on behalf of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations.

Chouldjian had told me that he's been flying around the country, essentially trying to deny that the genocide ever occurred, has sued the state of Massachusetts to put Armenian genocide "denialist" material in text books, is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for putting out an article last year called "State of Denial" which, she says, focused on Turkish interests trying to block Armenian Genocide resolution from being passed.

Fein left very quickly thereafter, so I didn't get a chance to ask him if he, himself, recognized what he called, several times, "the Armenian genocide."

Chouldjian later told Edmonds of Fein's connections to those organizations, several of whom came up in the deposition, apparently. Edmonds had no idea Fein was allied with those organizations.

Michael Kohn, Edmonds attorney, working on behalf of the National Whistleblower Center made his statement to say he's "glad her testimony has finally count out...It's been many years in the making. We're delighted that the Justice Department did not intervene and allowed the testimony to go forward." He said it was "a breath of fresh air from the previous administration." He didn't "think it would have happened with the previous administration."

He was not sure when the transcript of the session would be released. New information today, he said, including naming persons by name and with a great deal of specifics. NWC would review the testimony and disseminate it publicly as soon as possible.

Krikorian stated: "We came here to get the sworn testimony of a very very credible witness in defense against a current Congresswoman. And then, beyond that, doing what is right for the country, which is why I'm running. I plan to win this case, and I plan to win this election," he said.

He said there is an Ohio Election Commission preliminary meeting on Aug. 13th, and a hearing on Sept 3rd, and that he would look at releasing both video and transcript thereafter.

Edmonds, however, seemed to suggest that the video tape, at least, might be released in full sooner.

Here comes a bombshell or two...

At the venue, Edmonds said that she named names and details on all of the Congress members noted on her "State Secrets Gallery" page. And then some.

She said she told them about "Mr. [Marc] Grossman and Brewster Jennings...And the real story about them, not the crap they got from the media."

I was unable to follow up that statement with a question, before she got into a cab, but was able to track her down on her cell thereafter.

First, I asked if she specified whether the sitting bi-sexual, married Congresswoman who had been taped sleeping with a woman, without knowing, and then bribed by Turkish interests with the tape, to vote against the Armenian Genocide resolution had been a Democrat or a Republican. She said she is a Democrat, and that she testified to that during her deposition. (See Krikorian's long statement above for more details on that woman.)

Second, I asked about the "real" story on Brewster Jennings, as opposed to the "crap...from the media" as she mentioned at the venue.

"Basically," she said, "I told them how [third-ranking State Dept. official in the Bush Admin and former Ambassador to Turkey] Marc Grossman disclosed" that Brewster Jennings was a CIA front company to the target of an FBI investigation. "And it was under oath and that some lives may have been lost."

"Novak has nothing to do with it. Wilson has nothing to do with it. Valerie Plame has nothing to do with it. The whole operation has to do with something totally different and it had to do with the American Turkish Council and the Turkish clients who were about to hire Brewster Jennings as an analyst ... and Grossman found out about it, and tipped off his diplomatic contact who was a target of the FBI counter-intelligence, and that person notified the ISI [Pakistani intelligence agency], etc."

She says that Brewster Jenning was then "dismantled as soon as the FBI notified the CIA," after which "FBI requested CIA to do a damage assessment, to see if lives would be lost."

All of this, she re-iterated, was "long before, three years before," Novak outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in his newspaper column.

Brewster Jennings was "absolutely" dismantled in August of 2001.

"Grossman and [Richard] Armitage, they are the only two people involved. Later on Cheney and his people may have used it, but it had nothing to do with those other things, [Brewster Jennings] was completely destroyed and gone by the summer of 2001."

For those not fully up on Edmonds' story, her job at the FBI was to listen to wiretaps in the counter-intel department, to translate foreign targets caught on those taps. Presumably, that's where her details on the destruction of Brewster Jennings comes from. She was hired by the agency shortly after 9/11.

Bombshell enough for ya? Let's see if anyone in the corporate media bothers to agree, and/or pick up on this --- now that it's officially "on the record" and, as Edmonds took pains to point out: under oath!

Here endeth today's live-blogging session. We hope to be hitting the road this afternoon (we were supposed to go on "vacation" today, but have had to put things off for this), so if anyone feels like tipping us some gas money, to make up for three hours sleep and today's marathon coverage, we'd much appreciate it!

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Long-gagged FBI whistleblower re-iterates request for citizen media in D.C. to show up at Saturday morning deposition...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2009 8:06pm PT  

The DoJ is now jumping into action, at least on behalf of covering the FBI's rear, if not yet to issue any "states secrets" claims to stop the scheduled testimony of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in D.C. tomorrow morning in the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) case of Schmidt v. Krikorian.

For background, first see Wednesday night's report:
FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Subpoenaed, Set to 'Break' Gag Order Unless DoJ Intercedes
Former agency translator called to testify in Ohio election case this Saturday on Turkish infiltration of U.S. government...

...and then today's update:
EXCLUSIVE: FBI Attempts to Block Edmonds Testimony in OH Election Case; Attorneys Say Effort Insufficient to Stop Her
Whistleblower org says FBI/DoJ attempting 'censorship,' trying to 'silence whistleblower' answering 'lawful subpoena'

Tonight Arthur Goldberg of the DoJ's civil division sent a letter to the OEC's Executive Director Philip C. Richter, and Richter has replied. Both letters are downloadable below, and the text is posted there as well.

In short, the DoJ has informed the OEC that Edmonds has "not complied with the procedures for obtaining authorization from the FBI, her former employer, prior to making any disclosure relating to information that she acquired in the course of her work for the FBI. Therefore, she is not authorized to testify at the deposition."

Edmonds and her attorneys argued earlier today in their letter to the FBI (see today's earlier story and documents) that her employment agreements do not preclude her from answering a lawful subpoena, which they consider this to be, nor further do those agreements require approval from the FBI for oral, versus written, testimony. She was subpoenaed earlier this week on behalf of candidate David Krikorian, who is defending himself in an OEC "false statements" claim by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH-2nd).

The DoJ further claims in its letter that the OEC's subpoena is not enforceable, because the deposition is to take place outside of Ohio.

In response, the OEC has said it will not enforce the subpoena, but it has not withdrawn it, either. Thus, it seems, Krikorian is still within his rights to carry out the deposition at this time, and Edmonds tells The BRAD BLOG she plans on being there in the morning to answer it.

As we reported earlier today, the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund, representing Edmonds, issued a statement [PDF] today blasting the FBI and DoJ's attempts to block Edmonds' testimony as "censorship" and trying to "silence [a] whistleblower."
The Bush Administration's DoJ had twice invoked the "state secrets" privilege in order to gag Edmonds, to keep her from testifying on matters they argued were of national security. So far, however, the Obama Administration's DoJ has failed to re-invoke that privilege, though it's possible it still could do so prior to tomorrow's testimony.

In a brief conversation with Edmonds moments ago, she re-iterated her belief that the "MSM will be a no-show tomorrow," and therefore says "citizen journalists are needed" to cover what may happen at the deposition. Both she and Krikorian, as well as attorneys from all sides, will be available to answer questions from media --- both corporate and citizen --- before and after the scheduled deposition tomorrow. It is slated to begin at 10:30am Saturday morning (8/8/09) at the National Whistleblowers Center, 3238 P St. NW, in Washington D.C..

* * *

Tonight's letter from the DoJ's Arthur Goldberg to the OEC's Philip C. Richter may be downloaded here [PDF]. Richter's reply to Goldberg may be downloaded here [PDF].

The text of both letters now follow below in full...

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

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Whistleblower org says FBI/DoJ attempting 'censorship,' trying to 'silence whistleblower' answering 'lawful subpoena'
Letters from FBI, Edmonds attorney posted...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2009 2:26pm PT  

[Update 8:08pm PT: The DoJ has now attempted to intercede, on behalf of the FBI, with the Ohio Election Commission. Details, and letters between DoJ and OEC now posted here...]

The BRAD BLOG has obtained both the FBI's response to FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' notice of her intention to give a deposition this Saturday in response to a subpoena she received in a case before the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC). We've also been given exclusive access to her attorneys' response in turn, which is to be officially released later this afternoon.

The FBI stated its objection to Edmonds' plans to testify in a two-page letter [PDF] on Thursday, sent to Edmonds' attorney Stephen Kohn, at the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund. Edmonds and her attorneys, however, in their own two-page letter [PDF], say the objections raised so far by the agency are not sufficient to block Edmonds from "truthfully answer[ing] questions while under oath pursuant to a lawful subpoena" on Saturday morning in D.C. as scheduled.

Their press release [PDF], to be issued publicly later today, accuses the FBI and DoJ of attempting "censorship" and trying to "silence [a] whistleblower."

As we reported in detail on Wednesday, Edmonds' attorneys had notified the Department of Justice earlier this week, in a hand-delivered letter of declaration [PDF], that she intended to testify in the pending Schmidt v. Krikorian case about the information she has concerning infiltration of the U.S. Government by agents of Turkey. She informed the DoJ of her intentions to move forward, unless the DoJ re-invoked the "state secrets" claim that the Bush Administration had twice used to gag any public testimony, her own whistleblower suit, and all other disclosures in regard to information she was privy to during her employ as a linguistics specialist with the FBI following 9/11. So far, the DoJ has not done so.

As of this afternoon, Edmonds tells The BRAD BLOG she still "absolutely" plans to testify...

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

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DoJ said to have dropped two-year investigation into corrupt former Florida Rep's lobbyist-funded trip to Scotland...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2009 9:35am PT  

[Updated: Former Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) responds to this article. Ney, convicted for his dealings with Abramoff, including a trip to Scotland, suggests Feeney may have been helped off the hook by friends in high places. See details and Ney's comments in UPDATE at bottom of story.]

Late last week, alleged vote-rigging conspirator and former three-term Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) was informed that the Department of Justice was dropping their two year probe into his 2003 lobbyist-paid junket with Jack Abramoff to play golf in Scotland, according to his attorney Robert Luskin (who also happens to be Karl Rove's criminal attorney).

The DoJ's investigation was stymied earlier this year by an appellate court decision disallowing their subpoena of Feeney's statements to the U.S. House Ethics Commission on the basis of Constitutional separation of powers. As we noted last month, the friendly Feeney finding was likely to foul the fed's felony fact-finding against the failed former Florida Congressman.

The Ethics Commission had, themselves, let Feeney off the hook on the last day in which Republicans controlled the panel before Democrats took over in 2007. He would agree to pay just $5,643 for the private plane trip and swanky vacation with rightwing lobbyists, despite court papers declaring the trip to have been worth approximately $20,000...

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

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New email (released by Rove?) reveal 'greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors'
Continues the old 'voter fraud' canard...
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2009 2:23pm PT  

[Updated 8/3/09: Republican attorney and whistleblower Jill Simpson says Rove broke the law in given his interviews to to WaPo and NYTimes. See update at bottom of article for details.]

Well, this is interesting...Seems Rove has now met a second time behind closed doors with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today, according to this breaking report from Washington Post which also includes a review of newly disclosed email showing he "and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood" in the U.S. Attorney Purge.

WaPo reports "The e-mails emerged as Rove finished his second day of closed-door-testimony Thursday about the firings to the House Judiciary Committee." He had previously met with Judiciary Committee members in early July.

Keep in mind, as you read the article, that their piece feeds off of an "hour-long interview with The Post and the New York Times this month", so the piece is likely to offer a Rove-friendly framing to be taken with a grain of salt or three. Eg. "Rove described himself as merely passing along complaints by senators and state party officials to White House lawyers."

Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel concurs there is much "Rove spin" throughout the piece. She also asserts the newly revealed email may well have come from Rove and/or his attorney Robert Luskin who have a habit of leaking friendly documents to media whenever convenient, and in hopes of controlling the public reportage. Papers like WaPo and NYTimes have been historically all too happy to serve them to that end over the years.

The paper also reports the WaPo/NYTimes interview was "conducted on the condition that it not be released until Rove's House testimony concluded." So the release of the piece would seem to signal that the behind-closed-doors testimony --- about which our Judiciary sources have been incredibly tight-lipped --- has now ended. Rove, and Harriet Miers, however, could still be called for public testimony before the committee according to the agreement between Bush Administration attorneys and the Judiciary Committee, as (questionably) brokered by the Obama White House. It also means that Judiciary sources may well begin revealing details and/or transcripts of the interviews soon, now that they've concluded (as per the agreement). So, of course, Rove is trying to get out in front of that with his own spin.

Here's WaPo's lede...

Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe.

The e-mails and new interviews with key participants reflect contacts among Rove, aides in the Bush political affairs office and White House lawyers about the dismissal of three of the nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006: New Mexico's David C. Iglesias, the focus of ire from GOP lawmakers; Missouri's Todd Graves, who had clashed with one of Rove's former clients; and Arkansas's Bud Cummins, who was pushed out to make way for a Rove protege.

UPDATE: NYTimes' article confirms the emails came from Rove himself. Their lede is even more favorable to him, in his attempt to downplay his role in the firings of 9 Republican U.S. Attorneys who, among other things, were not pursuing phony "voter fraud" investigations enough for the GOP, or otherwise pursuing corruption charges against Republican officials.

As in WaPo's coverage, NYTimes offers Rove's spin that he "did not involve himself in the details of the dismissals" and merely "went along" with the firings (rather than helped orchestrate them).

Here's a particularly fresh spin on the entire affair from Rove, that I don't recall seeing before...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2009 10:45am PT  

In response to AP's Friday headline announcing "Conyers wants criminal probe of Bush 'abuses,'" David Swanson posts this "important breaking sarcasm"...

Holder Joins Conyers in Demanding Action

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.

Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.

Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.

In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This morning, the attorney general remarked at a televised press conference, "Chairman Conyers proposed five months ago to extend to 10 years the statutes of limitations on crimes allegedly committed under the previous administration. Introducing a bill might be a way to begin making that happen. Just an idea. I'm no expert."

Surprisingly, John Conyers removed a large Easter bonnet that had been disguising him, stood up in the back of the room and shouted...

See Swanson for the rest...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2009 2:54pm PT  

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (whom I interviewed last night on the Malloy Show on somewhat related topics, audio archive now here), covers this morning's latest "entirely unsurprising" news that Cheney tried to deploy the U.S. military on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens following 9/11. And unaccountable-DoJ-attorney-for-all-illegal-unConstitutional-seasons John Yoo was happy to supply a "legal" memo for him, describing how the U.S. Constitution could be entirely ignored by any President at any whim.

Greenwald begins this way [emphasis in original]...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2009 12:00pm PT  

And on a "lighter" note, Colbert takes a look at the report that AG Eric Holder is "on the verge of" appointing a prosecutor to look into Bush/Cheney torture, and the media's dismal coverage (hello NBC's Chuck Todd!), contending that carrying out the Rule of Law against politicians --- apparently only Republican ones --- should be avoided, because politicians would debate about it on television...

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Declarations filed in former AL Governor's request for new trial, describe government prosecutors manipulating key testimony, pressuring former aide in exchange for lighter sentence
Notes, communications and required FBI disclosures said illegally withheld from defense team...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2009 1:46pm PT  

[Update 7/24/09: I interviewed Seigelman on Thursday about these matters and the latest status of his case, while Guest Hosting The Mike Malloy Show. Listen to the interview right here. Select Hour 2 audio archive.]

How it's even possible that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's bribery case and conviction has not long ago been dropped by the Dept. of Justice is beyond us. There is now so much evidence of clear conflicts of interest, overt partisan political prosecutorial targeting, failures to recuse by at least one conflicted prosecutor as well as the judge in the case, evidence withheld from the defense team, and now evidence of the coaching and strong-arming of witnesses in exchange for a lighter prison sentence and a promise to conceal embarrassing personal information, it all makes the prosecutorial misconduct in the case of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens --- a Republican whose case was dropped by Obama's Justice Dept. shortly after they came to power --- look like jaywalking.

Official declarations filed along with a recent motion by Siegelman, requesting a new trial in light of the new evidence, reveal what seems just the tip of the iceberg of a flagrant and wholly inappropriate case of wide-spread prosecutorial misconduct. The allegations (with much evidence to back them up) paint a compelling picture of an illegally targeted political prosecution/witch-hunt carried out by Karl Rove and his Alabama-based Dept. of Justice cronies in an attempt to remove Alabama's most popular Democrat from the political grid all together.

The scheme worked, as Siegelman is currently fighting his conviction on appeal and --- now armed with new evidence gathered by the defense team of fellow defendant Richard Scrushy, the man alleged to have "bribed" Siegelman --- is calling for a completely new trial. The government is to answer Siegelman's motion next week, and the decision will be made by the same federal U.S. District Court judge, Mark E. Fuller, reported to have severe conflicts of interest in the entire case, including a specific "grudge" against Siegelman.

The new declarations, believed to be posted here publicly in full for the very first time ( PDF links follow below), reveal a startling case of inappropriate misconduct by federal investigators, as Siegelman's former aide Nick Bailey, the government's star witness against him, is revealed to have been "coached and cajoled and threatened," as Siegelman's late June motion for a new trial describes it, throughout some 70 interviews and phone calls. Bailey, the documents describe, was said to have been frightened for his life and facing a possible years-long sentence in federal prison, if he failed to testify precisely as investigators had required him to.

The investigators went so far as to require Bailey to write down his testimony after he had failed, time and again, to offer the same answers to prosecutors' questions during undisclosed interviews. Yet, evidence of that coaching was allegedly concealed from the defense, according to the new documents and testimony, in violation of federal law, and in what appears to directly parallel the precise reasons for the dismissal of the Stevens case in Alaska.

Siegelman tells The BRAD BLOG that after the years-long prosecution, this is the first time the information has come to light about coached witnesses, and undisclosed documentation of government interviews.

Star witness Bailey, who testified that he saw Siegelman in receipt of a $250,000 check alleged to have been a "bribe" from Scrushy --- a check that was actually dated several days later than the day Bailey testified he saw it in the hands of the Governor --- is said to have been so unable to remember the specific details prosecutors wanted him to testify to, that he was given written questions and instructions to write down his answers to practice for the actual trial. He was, according to the new documents, told quite specifically how to answer questions.

The hand-written notes from Bailey's attempts to memorize his testimony to the satisfaction of prosecutors is said, in the new affidavits, one from Baily himself, to have included a page in which he responded to the government's specific instructions by hand-writing "bullshit," in response, on one of the undisclosed pages.

A complete notebook of those hand-written documents and other records of interviews with Bailey was apparently never given to the defense teams in either the Siegelman case or in Scrushy's, who also filed a motion for a new trail in late June...

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

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Unsealed appellate court decision explains delay in corruption probe of Tom Feeney, but will indictments ever come?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2009 2:30pm PT  

So whatever happened to that expected indictment of former Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) and alleged vote-rigging conspirator for, among other things, his 2003 Abramoff-funded junket to play golf in St. Andrews, Scotland?

The other two Congressman who took the trips with the disgraced, imprisoned Republican uber-lobbyist have been held, at least, partially to account (Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) spent time in jail, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) is still facing related indictments in Texas). Feeney ran a sad "apology" commercial --- five years later --- during his unsuccessful re-election bid in 2008, but since then has so-far escaped real accountability for that, and the many other allegations of corruption that helped see him listed as among Congress' "Most Corrupt" for four years running.

So what happened to Feeney's indictment? A D.C. Court of Appeals decision from February (as we reported at the time, when we also noted Feeney is now being repped by Karl Rove's criminal attorney) was finally unsealed last week likely explaining the answer --- at least for the delay of such an indictment...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2009 1:54pm PT  

Earlier this week I wrote about the ABC "News" chuckleheads, and their laff riot over the floated idea of a torture probe, "on the verge of" being announced by AG Eric Holder. They laughed and pooh-poohed the high-larious suggestion on last Sunday's Stephanopoulous.

And now MSNBC offers another egregious example of corporate media failure --- in this case, again, "inside the beltway" corporate media failure --- in their "coverage" of such a possible investigation/prosecution. Glenn Greenwald is, as usual, a must read here beginning this way on Wednesday...

NBC's Chuck Todd --- who, remember, is billed as a reporter covering the White House, not a pundit expressing opinions --- was on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday discussing reports that Eric Holder is likely to appoint a prosecutor to investigate Bush torture crimes. Needless to say, everyone agreed without question that investigations were a ridiculous distraction from what really matters and would be terribly unfair.

As I say, Greenwald's analysis of how far off the rails such insider "journalism" has now gone; how far from what the nation's Founders intended; how completely and utterly out of touch these guys actually seem to be from the public, is a must-read. So please do.

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