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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 27, 2016
Utility Shill Admits to Shady Anti-Solar Measure in FL: 'BradCast' 10/26/16
Guest: David Pomerantz of Energy and Policy Institute | Plus: Widespread suppression reported in TX; Trump takes lead in FL...
Fraud Squad!
'In the U.S. Government, there's only one team equipped to take on the scourge of voter fraud' Watch 'em in action!...
About That Voting Company 'Tied' to George Soros: 'BradCast' 10/25/16
Here we go again. From Smartmatic to Diebold. Responding (yet again) to partisan worries of vote flips and voting machine ownership...
'Green News Report' 10/25/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Pipeline protest arrests in North Dakota, Ottawa; Pipeline rupture kills 1 in NE; China restricts new coal-fired plants; PLUS: EPA waited seven months to warn Flint...
Previous GNRs: 10/18/16 - 10/13/16 - Archives...
False Equivalency on SCOTUS Nominees in Presidential 'Debate Scorecard'
L.A. Times pundits ill-serve electorate by declaring a 'draw' on key issue in final Presidential debate...
Fight for Control of the U.S. Senate: 'BradCast' 10/24/16
David Jarman, Editor of Daily Kos Elections, on the states that Dems need to win in order to retake the Senate (and what about the U.S. House and the gubernatorial races?)
Sunday Toons of the Moment: Bad Hombres, Nasty Women
America finally finds something to unite about! But 'PDiddie' sees much more bad and nasty days ahead still in his latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'Too Big to Rig?':
'BradCast' 10/21/16
The no-spin truth about our vulnerable U.S. election systems, as a major DDoS attack cripples huge Internet sites from Twitter to Amazon today; Plus: MUCH MORE!...
Election Rigging, Integrity, Amnesia - The Final Debate: 'BradCast' 10/20/16
Bad hombres! Nasty women! And SUSPENSE! Special coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon and David Dayen of Fiscal Times...
Everything is 'Peachy Dory': 'BradCast' 10/19/16
Trump still plummeting; Wingnuts still falling for phony 'voter fraud' (MSM helping them); Good news for KS, FL (and maybe) GA voters; Huge early turnout; Clinton WikiLeaks; #FreeDesi!...
Will It Be 'Rigged'? 'Hacked'?: 'BradCast' 10/18/16
Dems and DHS warned of election system hacking a few weeks ago. Now, not so much. Fact-based discussion about our vulnerable US elections w/ Verified Voting's Pam Smith...
Neocon: 'Nazi Echoes in Trump's Tweets'
Former adviser to John McCain, Jeb Bush sees shadow of Third Reich in Trump response to NC GOP campaign office firebombing...
'Green News Report' 10/18/16
Major new int'l agreement phases out HFCs; US emissions lowest since 1991; Sept. 2016 hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Wikileaks reveals Clinton dinging climate activists...
NH GOPer Decries Trump 'Rigging', But Denies Party Claimed 'Voter Fraud'(?!?): 'BradCast' 10/17/16
Guest: Former state GOP Chair Fergus Cullen. Also: Good news for FL voters, bad for OH...
Federal Judge Blocks FL's 'Illogical', 'Obscene' Absentee Ballot Rejection Scheme
Thousands of Vote-by-Mail ballots likely saved as court blocks GOP suppression scam at last minute...
Sunday Toons of the Unshackled Moment
Please do not touch, grab, or grope -- as the shackles come off in this week's collection of the week's best toon via 'PDiddie'...
'Dark' Presidential 'Debate' a Product of Strangled Democratic Discourse
Presidential Debate Commission joins corporate media in failing to help fully educate the electorate...
The Meltdown Began Long Before Trump:
'BradCast' 10/14/16
Through the darkness and towards the light...
FL Preps for Election 'Storm'; Michelle: 'Enough is Enough': 'BradCast' 10/13/16
Guest: Palm Beach, FL election chief on extended registration, e-tabulator failure, hack worries...
'Green News Report' 10/13/16
Gore, Clinton rally Millennials to #VoteClimate; Court allows Dakota Access construction; Matthew's toxic aftermath in NC; PLUS: OK Gov. calls for oil prayer...
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...

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...

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

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!... ---

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.]

...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...

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

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

Collect and trade 'em all!

[Hat-tip Jeremy Scahill]

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.

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!... ---

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….

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

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...

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

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!... ---

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!... ---

Almost all of nation's leading newspapers fail to cover explosive new allegations from two company employees...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/10/2009 11:25pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

The Nation magazine headline was sensational: Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder. The article, written by Jeremy Scahill, an investigative journalist and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, exploded on screen during a must see Aug. 4, 2009 segment of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann (video posted below). It was summarized by Amy Goodman on Aug. 5 when Scahill appeared on Democracy Now!:

Murder, destruction of evidence, weapons smuggling, corruption --- those are just some of the explosive allegations made by two former employees of the private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater. The claims were made in sworn statements filed on August 3rd in federal court in Virginia.

The two men claim Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince,* may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. One also alleges that Prince, quote, “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies, “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

The significance was underscored in Scahill's Aug. 4 remarks on MSNBC's Countdown:

[W]hat we had here was...a force that acted as an armed wing of the [Bush] administration, not subject to the military command, not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice...and the allegation that they were running around, shooting Iraqis as part of a war to eliminate Islam globally…is extremely disturbing to anyone who believes in any semblance of constitutional law or human rights.

While the allegations are extremely disturbing, they are apparently not disturbing enough to warrant coverage in almost all of the nation's leading newspapers. That, even though, as reported in Scahill's book, amongst the first to arrive in the aftermath of Katrina --- before the U.S. government and most aid organizations --- were a contingent of 150 Blackwater mercenaries, "some with M-4 automatic weapons, capable of firing nine hundred rounds per minute"....

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

'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!

You can donate to The BRAD BLOG here...

Former agency translator called to testify in Ohio election case this Saturday on Turkish infiltration of U.S. government...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2009 8:56pm PT  

[Update 8/7/09: FBI has now attempted to block Edmonds' testimony. Exclusive details now here...]

Unless the Dept. of Justice re-invokes their twice-invoked "state secrets privilege" claim in order to once again gag former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, her attorneys have notified the department by hand-delivered, sworn letter of declaration [PDF] this week, that she intends to give a deposition, open to the media [Updated: see bottom of article for details], in response to a subpoena this Saturday in Washington D.C..

Edmonds has confirmed her intentions to answer any questions asked of her during the sworn proceedings, fully and publicly, during conversations with The BRAD BLOG this week. She notes that her agreement with her former employer, the FBI --- who fired her illegally after she filed whistleblower allegations about corruption and foreign infiltration in the linguistics department --- includes certain non-disclosure requirements. However, those requirements do not preclude her answering to a legally issued court subpoena.

The subpoena and request for sworn deposition is part of a case now pending before the Ohio Elections Commission in which Ohio's Republican U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-2nd District) has filed a complaint against her 2008 independent challenger, David Krikorian who Schmidt has charged distributed false statements about her during last year's campaign.

The resulting testimony, if it indeed occurs this weekend, could be far more explosive than either Schmidt or Krikorian might have ever guessed...

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

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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