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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, November 25, 2014
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2005 11:17pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from Park City, UT)

Today's event with Clint Curtis and myself at the Freedom Cinema Festival in Park City (at the Sundance Festival) went very well. Were I not still as sick as I am, and exhausted to boot, I might have more details to share.

For now, suffice to say, the event was a blast and there were a few folks there who seemed to take great interest in the story, touched base with both myself and Clint after the event, and may help move things forward in various ways in the near future. The interview was covered with a three-camera video shoot. So if the FCF folks are able to get it edited and posted in the next week or so, I'll be sure to link to it, of course. More on all of that as things develop, and as I get both my brain and body back.

So the long (and hopefully slow) trek back to L.A. begins tomorrow. We hope it will take quite a while. We need it. For the duration then, Winter Patriot and Fin are still on active guest-blogger duties here at The BRAD BLOG. We continue to appreciate their efforts in my "absence" as I slowly amble back to Hollywood and stay away from the net as much as humanly possible.

Until then, for those who may be interested, here are my opening remarks from today's event/interview which helped tee up the festivities and which also serve nicely as a several-days-late milestone marker for The BRAD BLOG's First Anniversary year-in-review...

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

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By Fin on 1/29/2005 9:21pm PT  

Guest blogged by Fin

The first hour is officially over and I think I saw all of 3 people come into vote on the Fox News Baghdad feed. The talking heads are trying to cheerlead their asses off but it's looking pretty grim. Anybody still up and watching?

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The View From Inside
By Fin on 1/29/2005 2:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Fin

From Christopher Allbritton at his always insightful Back to Iraq

The security situation is unreal. No cars tomorrow—except those with special passes, which includes media, cops, political guys, etc. in short, if you're an insurgent and you hit a car tomorrow, you're bound to get someone vaguely important. Only five polling stations in Baghdad will allow cameras or other electronic gear, so bear that in mind when you look at photographs of the election.

I'll be out in the thick of it for a while at least... Out with my photographer and seeing what goes on. Not sure if I'll be driving or walking. That will depend on my security guys. This is a free election? Insurgent pamphlets are being distributed that anyone walking to a polling center is a target. Several centers have already been blown up. The fear is thick enough to cut with a knife. The Iraqi security forces—with their American patrons—have tanks at the end of my street. Old Soviet T-55s, but tanks, nonetheless.

He goes on to give a detailed prediction on how the vote percentages might play out and what might happen next. He finishes with this far from ringing endorsement of freedom's march:

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a big day. Lots of security issues, worries about the future and general anxiety. Will the elections be successful? What would constitute successful? To be honest, I don't know anymore. A high turnout would definitely help, but even that may not be enough if the Sunni don't come to the polls and can't be enticed into the constitutional process. One thing is certain though: The insurgency will continue unabated. Our sources in the insurgency—the Ba'athists and nationalists, not the jihadis—pledge that Sunday means nothing. As long as Iraq is occupied by Americans and their puppets, “brought in on the back of their tanks,” as the saying goes, the violence will continue. And since I don't see the government changing much, I don't see much changing in Iraq. The infrastructure will continue to limp along or deteriorate further, Americans and Iraqis will continue to die, in large numbers in the case of the latter. And Iraq will further disintegrate into a failed state.

Now, I may be surprised by the turns of events here. And Lord knows I've been wrong before. But from here in Baghdad, people are voting not because they want democracy, but because they're grasping onto anything they think will help. For Iraqis, hope is fleeting and life is short. This isn't optimism, it's desperation, and that's no basis for a democracy.

The whole post is worth a read.

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Tom is Having a Town Hall Meeting on Monday!
And a few other quick notes from the Freedom Cinema Festival at Sundance...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2005 1:28am PT  

(Blogged by Brad on the road from Park City, UT)

I've been largely off-line all week as promised, but have had the opportunity to check in hither and yon for a few minutes at a time to see that our friends Winter Patriot and Fin are doing a swell job of keeping things lively around the joint in my absense. Thank you, guys! The time-off is doing me wonders and has allowed me to instantly catch a headcold upon my first hour off and I haven't been able to shake it since.

Nonetheless...I had to jump in momentarily to pass on just a few quick notes (much more upon my return later next week)...

Of most notable note, I've just been informed via Email that our friend Congressman Tom Feeney, Republican of the 24th Florida Congressional district, will be dishing it out is having a Townhall Meeting in Apopka, FL this Monday night! Apopka is, I am told by sources, "basically on the western edge of his Jerrymandered voting district".

I presume he'll be taking questions, so this is an URGENT notice to all BRAD BLOG readers within walking, running, driving or flying distance of Apopka, FL to stop on by and ask Mr. Feeney any questions you may have for him!

If you're able to make it by, please report back to me via Email on the proceedings!

BRAD BLOG readers familiar with the Clint Curtis story should have no problem coming up with interesting questions to try and ask Jeb Bush's former running mate and the alleged Vote-Rigging Software Conspirator in public. Here's just one you might try:

Mr. Feeney, why did you ask your attorneys to threaten the weekly newspaper The Seminole Chronicle with a lawsuit after they reported on the affidavit and sworn testimony of Clint Curtis who alleged you conspired to create vote-rigging software at Yang Enterprises when you were their corporate counsel and registered lobbyist? Wouldn't it have been less disingenous to actually sue Clint Curtis if his claims were "false and defamatory" as you suggest, since he's the one who has actually made the charges against you, instead of a newspaper that was simply doing its job of reporting on public matters of record to its local readers?

You get the idea. Hopefully there will be press on hand to share the proceedings with everyone! Go see what you can do! It's your democracy, dammit! So if you're in Florida this week, go use it!

Other Quick Notes from the Freedom Cinema Festival here at Sundance...

  • My live interview with Clint Curtis is scheduled for 4:45pm tomorrow (Saturday) as mentioned. If you're in the area, come on up the mountain! The weather's fine and I'd love to say hello!
  • Curtis arrived in town today and we were able to meet face-to-face for the first time. We had an interesting dinner touching on quite a few details that our previous phone conversations had not allowed. As promised, there is still much more to come on the Clint Curtis affair in the not-too-distant future. Sorry for the tease, but it's just too late to go into details for the moment. But I did want to mention: More to come.
  • I tried to grab as many of the questions you guys posted here in comments that you wanted me to ask him. I will do so as time allows at tomorrow's event. I gave him no previews. I'll try to outline his answers to them as best as possible in an item upon returning next week.
  • The Freedom Cinema Festival folks are doing a tremendous job; jam-packing the festival wall-to-wall with all sorts of fascinating films and speakers...Kudos to FCF for a great job and tireless effort in only their second year up here. Hopefully there will be many more to come!
  • Amongst the notable events I've been able to catch...Greg Palast's film, Bush Family Fortunes, screened yesterday and I was able to chat briefly with him afterwards about a few things. A compelling documentary, though for my money, he seemed more interested in selling merchandise and talking to the cameras than fighting the bad guys. Perhaps that's just me. I'll just leave it at that for now.
  • Danny Schecter's Weapons of Mass Distraction doc on the corporate media's rollover for the Bush Administration and their culpability in helping them mount and wage an unnecessary and ill-concieved war is very well done. Schecter's efforts to fight the bad guys tirelessly over a 35+ year career is exceedingly admirable.
  • Angela Shelton's Searching for Angela Shelton was remarkable and extraordinarily courageous. She was molested by her father, along with her step-sister and step-brother, and went about making a film tracking other Angela Sheltons across America. Of the 40 woman who shared her name that she was able to track down and interview, 24 of them had been either raped, beaten or molested. The film's penultimate interview with her father in complete denial was stunning. I hope this film is able to get further exposure. Some incredible and gutsy filmmaking.
  • There's a quick update for you with enough juice to hopefully give both Fin and Winter Patriot a much deserved breather over the weekend.

    I look forward to being back on the job soon...Though not too soon.

    Thanks everyone for your notes of support and best wishes. I'll need them all to get over this headcold enough to have a voice for an hour or so at tomorrows event!

    As Winter Patriot says I say: Keep making noise out there!

    I shall return.

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    Well Guess What? It WAS!!!
    Even A Texas Republican Can See It!!
    By Winter Patriot on 1/28/2005 11:46pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    By Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
    Delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives
    Wednesday 26 January 2005

    America's policy of foreign intervention, while still debated in the early 20th century, is today accepted as conventional wisdom by both political parties. But what if the overall policy is a colossal mistake, a major error in judgment? Not just bad judgment regarding when and where to impose ourselves, but the entire premise that we have a moral right to meddle in the affairs of others? Think of the untold harm done by years of fighting - hundreds of thousands of American casualties, hundreds of thousands of foreign civilian casualties, and unbelievable human and economic costs. What if it was all needlessly borne by the American people? If we do conclude that grave foreign policy errors have been made, a very serious question must be asked: What would it take to change our policy to one more compatible with a true republic's goal of peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations? Is it not possible that Washington's admonition to avoid entangling alliances is sound advice even today?

    and so on...

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

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    Would you vote if you could?
    Suppose you were an Iraqi
    By Winter Patriot on 1/28/2005 9:43pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    My Mother (Winter Matriarch) always told me: "There are two sides to every story." I thought I understood that immediately. Right and Wrong. My Side and the Other Side. My side was Right and the other side was Wrong and those were the two sides to every story.

    It was much later that I learned she had meant "Always consider the other person's point of view." Ah... "Mom, That's good!"

    And so, as a tip of the cap to the Winter Matriarch, and as a toast to depth of understanding, no matter how delayed, I hereby open a thread with questions attached ...

    Suppose you lived in Baghdad ... or maybe Mosul ... certainly not Fallujah... anyway, suppose you lived in Iraq. Would you vote in this election? How would you feel about it? And why?

    (If you have any open-thread type comments that don't actually pertain to the election, please post them on yesterday's 'completely open' thread, ok? Thanks.)

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    Activist Festival Makes International Headlines!
    while CNN spills the beans about Michael Jackson!
    By Winter Patriot on 1/28/2005 9:21pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    CNN is 'featuring' Michael Jackson in the 'Entertainment' news tonight. You can read their story here but I'll give you a snippet...

    SANTA MARIA, California (AP) --- Dozens of adult-oriented books, magazines and DVDs seized at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch --- one with the fingerprints of Jackson and his accuser --- can be used as evidence in the singer's upcoming trial, the judge ruled Friday.

    Now That's ENTERTAINMENT!! Cultural Nothing Ness NEWS at its best, no? Who said that? Not me!!

    No, Really! It's Fabulous!! Really! Isn't it?? It's fabulous entertainment. Even the Bored and Boring Corporation often called the BBC is having some of it!

    Judge Allows Jackson Film Showing

    Martin Bashir's documentary Living With Michael Jackson will be shown to jurors at the singer's child abuse trial, the judge has ruled.

    The controversial programme contains footage of singer Jackson defending his practice of letting young boys sleep in the same room as him at his ranch.

    The defence opposed the move, saying the British journalist's show was heavily edited and unreliable evidence.

    Mr Jackson, 46, has denied 10 counts of child molestation and conspiracy.

    But if you go even farther afield, the perspective changes a bit, and here they are talking about something completely different!

    Sundance festival screens Enron film

    Tuesday 25 January 2005, 8:14 Makka Time, 5:14 GMT

    The new documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room has been screened for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival in the US.

    Touching on links between President George Bush and Enron Corp, the film closely explores the Houston-based company's massive financial collapse and the human toll on those involved in what was the largest US bankruptcy in history.

    Shown to packed houses over the weekend, the movie has left audiences shaking their heads and wondering how the Enron debacle could have happened.

    You probably won't see much about Sundance on CNN from the look of things, but on the other hand you can read more about it on Aljazeera!

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    Another Conservative Media Whore EXPOSED!! Prices Continue To Drop!!
    PLUS: Links to another great site (or two)
    By Winter Patriot on 1/28/2005 7:27am PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    Michael McManus, conservative author of the syndicated column "Ethics & Religion," received $10,000 to promote a marriage initiative.

    Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan inhis columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.

    Three weeks ago we found out that Armstrong Williams had sold his honor for $240,000. Wednesday it was revealed that Maggie Gallagher had sold hers for a mere $21,000. And now it's Mister Ethics & Religion himself, and the price was a measly ten grand. It's like an auction in reverse. How low will they stoop? Stay tuned.

    You can read the entire Salon piece here, although you have to register or watch a short ad in order to do so. You can also find a related blog item from Winter Patriot and that's here. Maybe it's not brilliant, but at least it's short, and no registration or ad-watching is required! [ahem]. And if you want to enjoy the fruits of your ten thousand tax dollars, you can start here.

    Also of note: I found out about the Salon piece through Russ Kick's fine blog, The Memory Blog, which serves as a companion to his fabulous site, The Memory Hole. Russ is a bit of a stickler about knowledge and information. He doesn't like to see it go missing. So whenever he gets his hands on a document, or a set of documents, that's being hidden [or in danger of being hidden], he posts it at The Memory Hole. And whenever he learns about these kinds of things, he posts blog items about them at The Memory Blog. I have both sites bookmarked [hint, hint!] and I visit them regularly [hint, hint!].

    The Memory Hole became something of a story when Russ obtained and posted a set of photos the Pentagon doesn't want us to see. But it's been good for a long time, and there is plenty of interesting reading to be found there. [hint, hint!]

    Have fun at The Memory Blog, but don't disappear down The Memory Hole!! And please don't swallow too much of that good old "Ethics & Religion".

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    seems appropriate to me
    how about you?
    By Winter Patriot on 1/28/2005 3:33am PT  

    This thread is completely open.

    There's not even a question this time.

    If you think we need a question, please consider this ...

    What's up? ;-)

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    Into History's Cauldron
    'Favorite Writers' Series Continues ... As Promised
    By Winter Patriot on 1/27/2005 11:26pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    In a previous post, I highlighted John Kaminski's list of his 25 favorite writers, mentioned that some of my favorites hadn't made Kaminski's list, and threatened to divulge a few names.

    OK then. Here's a name: Manuel Valenzuela. And here's a sample: Because There Is No Cause.

    If you haven't read this piece already, please do so. Cheryl mentioned it in a comment on another thread, and even said "WOW", so some of you may have read it already. But it's way too good to be buried in a stack of comments. Even with a "WOW". Isn't it, Cheryl?

    It's a long story composed of long sentences. No sound bites here. But enormous food for thought, and masterful use of the language. Perhaps I can entice you with a few paragraphs...

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

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    By Fin on 1/27/2005 10:08am PT  

    Guest blogged by Fin

    Brad just contacted me with this information from one of his sources inside the Judiciary Committee.

    Washington, D.C. - Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Senate Rules Committee, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr, (D-MI), Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, announced that they will be working together in seeking changes to our nation's elections system this Congress. Dodd introduced S. 17, the Voting Opportunity and Technology Enhancement Rights Act of 2005 (“VOTER Act”) Monday, and Conyers will introduce a House companion version based in significant part on the Senate bill shortly.

    Among other things, their legislation will provide for a nationwide federal write in/absentee ballot; require states to provide for a voter verified ballot; insure that provisional ballots cast anywhere in a state are counted; eliminate disparities in the allocation of voting machines and poll workers; mandate early voting and election day registration procedures; and protect against improper purging of registration lists in federal elections.

    “It is imperative that we have elections that count every vote of every eligible voter,” declared Dodd and Conyers. “A provisional ballot cast anywhere in the state of Ohio should count just as it does in the state of Iowa. There is no reason that voters in inner city areas should be forced to wait in lengthy lines, while their counterparts in the suburbs are able to vote immediately. If voters in Oregon can vote early, why can't voters in Michigan, and if citizens in Idaho enjoy same day registration, why can't voters in Florida?”

    “Our elections are the very foundation of our democracy. We've made great strides in repairing cracks in that foundation, but clearly we still need to do more to strengthen and reinforce each American's right to vote and have that vote counted,” said Dodd. “This measure can hopefully act as the democratic mortar to anchor one of our nation's most precious rights and ensure that all voters are treated equally on election day.”

    Conyers stated “Our nation has just endured the second consecutive presidential election which came down to a single state, and that state – Ohio – was riddled with irregularities and the appearance of partisan manipulation. If there is any issue that is central to our democracy, it is insuring that eligible voters are freely able to participate in our elections. I intend to do everything I can to insure that this issue does not go away until we have a set of uniform and non-discriminatory rules that respects all of our citizens' right to vote.”

    In 2001, in the wake of the myriad problems that surfaced in Florida and around the nation in the presidential election, Sen. Dodd and Rep. Conyers jointly introduced election reform legislation that ultimately passed into law as the Help America Vote Act.

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    By Fin on 1/27/2005 8:32am PT  

    Guest blogged by Fin

    Juan Cole puts it all in perspective:

    In his appearances on Wednesday, President Bush said that it was a positive that Iraqis are even having elections, since three years ago it would have seemed out of the question. You know, if all you have to boast about is that you are better than Saddam Hussein, it isn't actually a good sign. Can you imagine what would have happened to the Republican Party if its reply to Kerry's criticisms of last summer had been, "Well, the American Republican Party is a damn sight more progressive than Hitler was." Saddam was overthrown on April 9, 2003. It is 2005, and the US has been running Iraq for nearly two years. Now the question is, how does the situation in Iraq compare to the Philippines, or India, or Turkey. Answer: It sucks. There is little security, people are killed daily, there is a massive crime wave, and elections are being held in which most of the candidates cannot be identified for fear of their lives. So the conclusion is that the Bush administration has done a worse job in Iraq than the Congress Party does in India, or the AK Party does in Turkey. That's the standard of comparison once Saddam was gone. And, by the way, veteran NYT journalist John Burns, who is nobody's fool, told Tina Brown last Friday that he was taken aback when an Iraqi told him recently that he wished Saddam were back. This was an Iraqi who really had been delighted at the American invasion. So Bush should drop the cute sound bite about being better than Saddam.

    Then again, our Dear Leader has always been graded on a serious curve, hasn't he? From his humble upbringing as a poor little rich kid, to his drug filled days at Yale and beyond, to his 'aw shucks isn't it funny I can't speak English' act, Bush has always been cut a serious amount of slack for his actions and inactions. But it's not cute or uplifting, it's embarassing.

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    Serious New Allegations! Affidavits from Multiple Witnesses!
    Recount volunteers give details on very strange story
    By Winter Patriot on 1/26/2005 7:46pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    Check this out: I have a great new idea for scamming an election. What do you think of this?

    Suppose you took a filled-in ballot, used a blank sticker to cover the oval filled in by the voter, colored in a different oval, and then fed the ballot into an optical scanner. How do you think the machine would count that ballot? Pretty slick, no? I am so clever! Nobody else would ever think of doing something like this, would they?

    On second thought, maybe somebody else would think of it. And according to this article from RAW STORY, it's already been done. Quite recently, in fact. And you'll never guess where!

    Tough question, no? OK, here's a hint: What's round on both ends and high in the middle? Did you say "Ohio"? Well, maybe you will guess after all. But you'll never guess which ovals had stickers on them...

    Serious new election tampering allegations have emerged from an Ohio county, where witnesses allege that stickers were placed on presidential election ballots, RAW STORY has learned.

    Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law, and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermont's Board of Elections and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party Priscilla O'Donnell as complicit in these acts.

    These volunteers, observing the recount on behalf of the Greens, Libertarians and Democrats, assert that during the Dec. 14, 2004 hand recount they noticed stickers covering the Kerry/Edwards oval, whereas the Bush/Cheney oval seemed to be “colored in.”

    Some witnesses state that beneath the stickers, the Kerry/Edwards oval was selected. The opti-scan ballots were then fed into the machines after the hand recount.

    Well, what do you think about that? I thought I had a good original idea here. Apparently it is a pretty good idea, but it's not exactly original. Oh well...

    Read the entire story here. Then come back and scream and yell all you like. This really does call for a good rant.

    But don't just rant here. Spread the pressure around.

    Or as Brad would say: Go Make Some Noise!!

    ReddIt this story!



    Tortured POWs Win Judgement Against Iraq; Justice Department Seeks To Overturn It!
    By Winter Patriot on 1/25/2005 9:04pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

    If you needed any further proof that the American government doesn't give a damn about its soldiers, here's a story to make you cry ... again! It looks like our Justice Department has fallen so deeply in love with torture, that in their view, it's not only OK for our guys to torture their guys, but it's also OK for their guys to torture our guys!

    I quote the following passages from an article written by John Norton Moore, published by Slate, and headlined: Abuse of Trust: The POW scandal you haven't yet heard about.

    Moore writes:

    This nation has a special responsibility to prevent the torture of Americans held as prisoners of war. Our POWs have been brutally tortured at command direction in war after war, including the Korean, Vietnam, and most recently, the Gulf War; and it's clear that we need to do whatever we can to break this pattern. Yet when 17 of our tortured Gulf War POWs and 37 of their family members said "enough" and joined together to bring a historic civil action to hold their Iraqi torturers liable, they were shocked — having won their case in federal court — to find the Department of Justice seeking to erase their judgment and "absolve" their torturers.

    Moore details the horrific treatment suffered by Americans who were held prisoner in Iraq during George Herbert Walker Bush's 'excellent Iraqi adventure', and describes their efforts to hold the Iraqi government accountable. These efforts culminated in a lawsuit against the Iraqi government, which the POWs won. But then something very strange happened...

    Historically the United States has been a world leader in seeking to prevent torture. Today, along with most nations, it is bound by the Third Geneva Convention for the Protection of POWs. That convention bans all torture and inhumane treatment of POWs and, as a core enforcement mechanism, provides in Article 131 that no state may "absolve" a torturing state of "any liability" for their torture. This provision is particularly aimed at holding the state itself liable and banning any removal of that liability at the conclusion of a war.

    Sadly, along came the Abu Ghraib scandal, setting aside this historic tradition and the professional judgment of our military JAG officers and State Department experts. As is now well known, one effect of the abuse scandal was to undermine deterrence against the torture of American POWs in future wars (this, along with its catastrophic political cost to the Iraq war effort and, more broadly, to our nation's reputation). But, in a perfect storm of bad news for future American POWs, while the now infamous abuse decisions were still policy, the Justice Department went into court to erase the POWs' judgment and its message of liability for torture.

    This incredible situation may be reversed on appeal, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, and if it rules in favor of the POWs. But what is the likelihood of the Supreme Court ruling against the Justice Department? And...

    If the [...] decision stands [...], the consequences will be catastrophic. Future tyrants will hear the message, like a fire bell in the night, that the United States has little concern for its own POWs. Morale will decline in our armed forces as the reality sinks in that our government has sided with their torturers over them. A core enforcement mechanism of the POW convention, as well as our reliability as a treaty partner, will be undermined by our remarkable decision to "absolve" a torturing state in violation of the convention.

    So there you have it. Our Justice Department won't even let the Geneva Convention protect our own troops! But at least they can't be accused of using double-standards! They don't want the Geneva Convention to protect anybody!!

    Oh yeah! Freedom and Liberty are definitely On The March ... in the Land of the Formerly Free, and the Home of the Utterly Depraved!

    ReddIt this story!



    By Fin on 1/25/2005 8:23pm PT  

    Guest blogged by Fin

    What will be the tipping point of the Bush Presidency? Iraq? The Economy? Another terrorist attack in the U.S.? Another pretzel?

    Enlighten me.

    ReddIt this story!



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