NOTE: That's also a rare picture of the ingenious and mysterious Freeway Blogger himself, otherwise known as "Scarlet P." --- and more good news, he is currently scheduled to be a guest of ours on this weekend's BRAD SHOW!
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
NOTE: That's also a rare picture of the ingenious and mysterious Freeway Blogger himself, otherwise known as "Scarlet P." --- and more good news, he is currently scheduled to be a guest of ours on this weekend's BRAD SHOW!
Robert Koehler of Tribune Media Services, one of just a handful of MSM'ers willing to continue the fight for democracy in America, gets it right all over again in tomorrow's column when he refers to November 2nd, as a "shiv to the gut of democracy."
Koehler had previously made quite a bit of noise with his now-classic initial column on the matter --- the first that we know of in the Mainstream Media, to charge that Election 2004 was "stolen" --- and his subsequent columns here, here and here. That last one was spiked by the higher ups at TMS, as we reported some weeks ago, and was never syndicated to TMS member newspapers. (Our radio interview with Koehler on The BRAD SHOW is archived as an MP3 here.)
In his latest column, Koehler recounts the story of a man from Franklin County, Ohio, who had voted at the same precint for 50 years, only to show up last November to find that he was no longer on the voter rolls. "I guess my vote don't matter anymore," he was quoted as saying at a hearing before the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Koehler also vows to continue his still-too-lonely fight to correct the greatest domestic threat to democracy this country has seen in...well, perhaps ever.
Here's an advance look at a couple of key grafs from tomorrow's piece, penned after returning from the recent Election Reform Conference in Cleveland, most of which will be picked up by very few newspapers most likely, as none of them contain the words "Michael Jackson":
And this won't happen until the country's small-d democrats, who constitute, I am positive, a large if disorganized and overly trusting majority, demand it. Right now they're in a fog that's one part denial and 99 parts ignorance.
As Jonathon Alter posits in his must-read NEWSWEEK column this week (really, go read it!) about what would have happened had Watergate occured in today's Media/Political climate, the current strategy for the apologists on the Right --- and a very successful one so far, we might add --- is to make enough noise with unsupported claims that eventually "the American people figure both sides [are] just spinning, and a tie always goes to the incumbent."
If you have any doubt about that strategy, just ask yourself who eventually won the PR battle last year between Bush and Kerry concerning their respective military service during Vietnam.
Echoing that sentiment, Koehler recounts his personal investigation of one such attempt by an emailer from the Right to neutralize the issue of Election Fraud with bogus claims to a level playing field:
This is a comforting stopgap assertion that may preserve complacency, but not only does it fall apart upon examination, it actually reveals what might be the underlying hysteria - Republican fear of riffraff, you might say - that made vote suppression not only widely tolerated but a participatory sport in 2004.
We'll leave the results of his investigation for him to tell when his column publishes shortly. The entire column will soon be available here.
Thanks for your continued work on behalf of this country, Bob. Glad to see that you've vowed to remain on the job! We'll be right there with you keeping up a fight that is more than worth continuing, no matter how many charlatans are on the beat trying cynically to suppress it.
As Rush spent a full two hours on this morning's show trying to tear Howard Dean apart, while not once mentioning the new WaPo-ABC poll just out today outlining the real trouble that Bush and his Congressional Supporters are now in, we figure he must be pretty worried about what's happening.
We also figure the poll will go less reported than it ought to, so we'll try to help. It's the least we can do.
In addition to the headline figure that shows, for the first time since Bush's War on Iraq began, more than half of Americans now understand that the war has not made America any safer, it's a few of the nothing-but-bad-news-for-Bush internals that caught our eye.
Even without the proper investigation and reportage by the MSM on the unprecedented corruption of this administration, the American people seem to be getting the picture. Take a look...
While the debate amongst the Left rages on (even here at BRAD BLOG on occasion) about which way Democrats should move --- to fight for their core values or move towards the Right --- the poll numbers are noteworthy, particularly in the current atmosphere where so little honest coverage is given to this Administration's failures by the Mainstream Corporate Media.
Those "Independents", as the poll demonstrates, are getting the picture. Without the Democratic party attempting to remake itself as Republican Lite.
And while the phony Red State/Blue State battle continues (phony, because most of the country lives smack dab in the Purple area, even while being largely underinformed and/or grossly misinformed, and the premise, put forward by Neo-Cons and Bush Supporters, but fallen for by too many on the Left, is simply meant as an attempt to shame the majority of Americans who live in the middle into choosing sides) the truth continues to make its way into the American conciousness.
Truth has a way of doing that. Sometimes, it just takes a while.
That said, perhaps now is a good time to remind Democrats once again that none of those numbers much matter. Not as long as the Republicans own the ballot box machinery. Pay attention. Or continue your "losing" streak.
UPDATE: On that point, it's also worth pointing out, as Stephanie Miller did on her excellent radio show this morning, that the "approval rating" numbers in this poll, just a few months after the November Election, are eerily similar to those "discredited" Exit Poll numbers you may have heard about. We just thought we'd mention that.
We were pulling for Eric Brewer, our man in D.C. (well, BTCNews.com's man in D.C., but as he's a blogger and was a featured guest on last weekend's BRAD SHOW, we consider him one of our own), to win the $1000 offered to anyone who would publicly ask Bush about the Downing Street Minutes/Memo. It's only been over a month or so since it was revealed, according to the minutes, that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Brewer was there today, but Steve Holland of Reuters beat him to the punch. We'll let Eric give you the first-hand skinny...
It should also be noted that Mr. Bonifaz was a guest on last Saturday's BRAD SHOW as well, during which time he informed us that he was also a supporter of the Impeachment of Bill Clinton. Just so's ya know.
Something stinks to high heaven about these people and their new report. And not simply because they're based in Houston, TX, (though it certainly doesn't help their case) but the fact that they are directly funded by Voting Machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia immediately destroys any credibility they might have otherwise had when it comes to making decisions about our Electoral System in desperate need of reform.
ElectionCenter.org claims to be a non-profit, non-partisan, professional organization of Elections Workers. Today, they have released a new report [large PDF] with recommendations on how to improve America's Electoral System.
The AP covered the new report in a story yesterday which shines a fairly positive light on it yet manages to include a couple of paragraphs which jump out as huge red flags. Here's a couple of them from the AP story [emphasis added]...
So here we have yet another "nonprofit, nonpartisan" organization dedicated to Election issues, who have a clear conflict of interest due to their financial alliance with the Voting Machine Companies instead of the American Citizens whose interests they claim to represent.
Unlike the now-discredited "American Center for Voting Rights", a phony front group founded by GOP operatives as a smokescreen for real Election Reform issues, Election Center has been around for a number of years. But their claims that their mission is to "improve service to voters, the public, the taxpayers and to government" is completely belied by the companies they keep...or that keep them...
Here's a screenshot of the agenda from their upcoming August "National Conference" in Beverly Hills/Hollywood. It will likely tell you all you need to know about this group:
A few Googles of the various election officials associated with this organization and their new report should answer any other questions you may have. These people (folks like Palm Beach's Theresa LePore and Los Angeles' Conny McCormack to name just a few) are certainly not in the business of fighting for the voters' best interests.
Suffice to say, if Election Center expects any recognition for their recommendations for Electoral Reform from the Election Reform community, perhaps they should have thought of that before selling that option off to Diebold and friends.
We congratulate the Republicans in Washington State for fighting so hard to ensure the accuracy of the election for Governor there. We're glad to see a political party willing to fight for the validity of every vote.
If they had an actual case, however, as the Democrats do in numerous other states where they've failed to fight the way Republicans do for every vote, John Kerry would likely be the President by now.
Nonetheless, here's the key information on the GOP's resounding defeat as reported by today's Seattle Times...
"They chose the county, they chose the court, they chose the method of proof," meaning the proportional deduction analysis.
"There is no corner for them to run to in that decision."
On the Republicans' fraud charge, the judge repeated the fact that there was no official fraud claim in the case, but then said that in any case, he saw no evidence of fraud.
Bridges did not apportion the vast majority of illegal votes to any candidate. The only votes he did subtract from any candidate were five that had been proven by Democrats, through depositions taken from the voters themselves. Of those five, four had voted for Rossi and one for Libertarian Ruth Bennett.
There is no evidence that the problems in King County had anything to do with "intentional misconduct or someone's desire to manipulate the election" or "partisan bias," the phrase Republicans used to allege wrongdoing.
"There is no evidence before the court to question ballot security as to those ballots actually counted," Bridges said, knocking down another Republican claim about King County.
Secretary of State Sam Reed, who had been critical of some of the claims of vote fraud made by his fellow Republicans, said he hopes Bridge's ruling, which he called "forthright, practical and clear," will help rebuild voter confidence.
Reed criticized the Republican efforts to claim vote fraud without producing convincing evidence.
"I think if they were going to allege fraud, they should have done it in the initial filings of the case and I think they should have had proof of fraud, and obviously they didn't do that."
So. No fraud found in Washington State. For the Governor's race anyway. We suppose the only thing that Wingnut Tinfoil Hat Wearers will now be able to use in order to counter the calls for a similar investigation of the Presidential Election in states where the votes were never actually counted (like J. Kenneth Blackwell's Ohio for example) will be those slashed tires in Wisconsin.
Beyond that, we're certain those GOP'ers who were outraged by what they thought they saw in WA will be calling for the same strict standards to be applied to the rest of the country any moment now. Right?
Calame's first column two weeks ago criticized the paper's tardiness in covering the issue of the Downing Street Minutes, and his latest column, published yesterday, sets a few of his goals in the new job.
Among those goals, Calame claims, will be more responsiveness to reader Email when they feel that stories are being given less than the coverage they deserve by "the paper of record".
The Okrent chapter now closed (and we had found his eagnerness and interest in responding to reader concerns to be less than up to snuff), we'd like to give Mr. Calame a fresh opportunity to get the job done right.
To that end, our hopes are that "6 or 7" of you might drop Mr. Calame some email concerning the dreadful coverage that the NY Times has given to issues of Election 2004 and Election Reform. Nothing else matters much as long as those issues are not resolved. And the clock is ticking towards '06. And the matter, thanks to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), is just getting worse every day around the country.
The case that we have a completely corrupt, hackable, non-transparent, non-auditable, un-democratic, un-American, privatized, GOP-owned Electoral System in this country, and the unaudited and likely wholly incorrect results that it produced last November has been well documented for at least seven months in hundreds of articles on The BRAD BLOG pages, but covered in perhaps 3 or 4 articles (at most!) by the NY Times.
And, of course, names like Vote-Rigging Software Whistleblower, Clint Curtis and the myriad of well-documented investigative articles on the matter which we have published over those months, have never been mentioned even once in their pages.
Neither have they mentioned the phony GOP front group calling themselves "The American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) or the affront to real Election Reform in the body of the illegitimate "Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission" headed by --- of all offensive ironies --- longtime Bush Family crony and the architect of the Bush/Cheney 2000 strategy to ensure that Americans' votes would never be counted, James A. Baker III. (That body, by the way, is meeting again on June 30th in Houston on Baker's home turf...shouldn't the fact that he's heading such a commission along with Voting Machine Company officials actually sitting on the same commission, with advisors from the ACVR be an issue worth reporting on by The New York Times?)
As to the still-unexplained disparities between the Final Results of the Election and the now-infamous Mitofsky/Edison Exit Polls that day (the same polls, by the same company that were good enough to make the prima facie case for Electoral Fraud in Ukraine by no one less than George W. Bush himself, but completely ignored in America for reasons still unkown), the NY Times continues to be desperately delinquent in their job of investigating and reporting on the issue to the American People. Should Mr. Calame be unaware of the controversy, feel free to point him here [PDF] and here [PDF].
And then there is the matter of millions of American tax-payer dollars flowing right now to Voting Machine Companies under HAVA for new voting hardware and software which is unauditable, lacking any real standards and allowed to remain wholly proprietary and unverified by all independent bodies.
As Mr. Calame is freshly on board at "the paper of record", and as we frequently point out, "it's only democracy at stake", we feel it's time for a fresh round of polite email to the Times demanding once again that they fulfill their vital fourth estate duties as watchdogs on behalf of this country. It is time to demand again that they finally investigate the enormous and still-growing body of evidence out there that indicates Election 2004 was gamed at best, stolen at worst. Furthermore, they must offer informed, honest, investigative reporting about the most important issue that our democracy --- theoretically the world's most important --- faces today: clean, fair, open, transparent, verifiable and trustworthy elections which can only be achieved through real Election Reform requiring nothing less than a voter-verified paper ballot created for every vote cast.
If we don't get that right and we continue to have Elections in this country which the citizenry continue to have zero confidence in, then nothing...and we mean nothing...else matters.
Send Mr. Calame your email and spread the link to this article high and low --- use the "Email it to someone" link below as much as you wish --- so that others might do the same!
It's your democracy and we believe it's well worth fighting for! We won't give up on it yet, if you don't! Make some noise! It matters!
Byron Calame, NYTimes Public Editor: Public@NYTimes.com
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Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva has seemingly gotten an earful (or an eyeful as the case with Email may be) for helping out Bush this week, by changing his use of the word "disassembling" when in actuality he meant "dissembling", in Silva's coverage of Bush's Rose-Garden Presser last Tuesday. (Here's our previous quick story, showing how Silva and many other members of the so-called "Liberal" Media did the same favor for Bush.)
In response yesterday, Silva attempted to shrug it all off in a piece headlined "Catalog of 'Bushisms' continue to expand".
As Silva seemingly winks and nods about his poor judgement by covering a few more of Bush's "dyslexicon" moments, he mentions the "disassembling" matter specifically...
"If it were more of a truly `honest' mistake, i.e., someone misspeaking when you know they really know the difference, I would have agreed with your choice," Murphy wrote. "But of course, that isn't the case with the master dissembler, who really knows how to disassemble working public policy or institutions, other countries, governments, etc."
Oddly enough, however, in the very next graf, Silva goes on to give one of the most mystifying apologies for his own behavior that we could imagine:
Huh? Are we reading that correctly?
Silva seems to be saying there, that because "even Bush's closest supporters" attempt to play down his inability to articulate an idea without sounding like an idiot, that others (including the media, we guess) should somehow excuse the fact that the American "President" appears to be a complete moron.
What the hell is Silva smoking? And can we get some of it?
The point of all of this, by the way, is not to pick on Bush, or on the couple of (well, scores of ) media folks for covering up this mostly-unimportant (and we're being generous ourselves here) slip of the tongue. The point is to demonstrate how even in the most seemingly insignificant ways, the American Corporate Mainstream Media is in the business of shining a positive light on Bush in any way that they can. We won't bother to make a case of the possible reasons for it today. But either way, it's a fine demonstration of everything that is wrong with today's media.
Such apologies --- by knee-jerk habit or premeditated agenda --- would seem to fly in the face of what one would think ought to be the media's primary mission: To keep America and the world informed about what this Administration is actually doing and actually saying. We believe it's then up to America and the world, to decide what to make of it all. All by themselves! It's not up to the press corps to hold our hands by letting us know what to think!
Keep up the bad work, Silva! The White House check is in the mail!
Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune
And one last take (hopefully) on the matter from the refreshingly un-apologetic Tom Toles --- (an editorial cartoonist, whose job is to help us know what to think! Understand the difference, Mr. Silva?) ...
Plus Much Much More! Probably! ... Listen up LIVE Saturday 7p-11p ET (4p-8p PT) via www.BradShow.com and participate in our LIVE Open Thread right here! Hosted this week by KIRA (cuz that slacker, Winter Patriot is just too damn busy!)
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Apparently the American People are rallying behind John Conyers' bold leadership in Congress. He has updated the progress on his request, posted late last week, for 100,000 signatures on his letter to Bush demanding answers concerning the Downing Street Minutes. When he receives the requested number of signatures --- upped in his latest item to a "quarter of a million" --- he has promised to hand-deliver them to the White House.
The official British document, now known as the "Downing Street Minutes", originally uncovered by Rupert Murdoch's own Times of London, describes that Bush Administration as having determined to topple Saddam through military means months before receiving approval from Congress. And worse, that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Says Conyers today...
I do have some preliminary results, however. As of Wednesday, in five days, we had at least 86,000 signatures on the letter. This would not have happened without your help and hard work. This is so important that I have concluded that it is time to do more. My new goal is a quarter of a million signatures and I once again must ask for your help.
If you haven't already ask your friends to sign on at www.johnconyers.com (Use that link instead of the interior link - because of another web glitch, it is rotated while data is compiled), post this on any websites you visit, and if you have your own blog, please post this link conspicuously.
Consider it conspicuously done, Congressman.
He also updates on the original letter signed by 89 members of Congress and sent to Bush --- which has so far failed to receive even the courtesy of a reply. There are now a total of 94 members signed on to that letter, and Conyers is recirculating it at the request of still more who have expressed an interest in signing on.
He reiterated today why this matter is so important:
The BRAD BLOG is one of a growing number of citizens' groups that have organized the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition to demand a formal "Resolution of Inquiry" from Congress into the matter. We urge you to do your part by signing their petition in addition to Conyers' letter to help ensure accountability for the wholly unnecessary death, dismemberment, and other permanent physical and psychological damage to scores of thousands of American troops by this administration and their dangerously deceitful policies.
UPDATE 6/3/05: According to RAW STORY, the number of signatories on the Conyers letter is now at an "estimated110,000 and growing". As well, in the wake of "Deep Throat Fever", the House Judiciary Minority has set up a page for informants to provide tips related to information in the Downing Street Minutes.
Working overtime on behalf of George W. Bush this week, "reporters" (or, "copy-editors" as they are likely better described) from the "Liberal" Media around the country were busy attempting to make their "President" look just a little bit better.
As tipped-off by several BRAD BLOG commenters, we've found scores of "news" outlets which found it appropriate to clean up after Bush's Tuesday Rose Garden Press Conference for him.
In response to a question about the recent Amnesty International report alleging human rights violations by the Bush Administration in their mistreatment of prisoners in Gitmo --- which they described as "the gulag of our times" --- here's how Bush actually responded, according to the White House's own website (and a couple of still-honest papers), on Tuesday [emphasis added]...
President's Press Conference
The Rose Garden
10:43 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is --- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.
In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of --- and the allegations --- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble --- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is.
The Leader of the Free World apparently meant "dissemble" (which means to not tell the truth, as he helped us to understand in his charming 4th-Grader-Defines-Newly-Learned-Word sorta way) as opposed to "disassemble" which, we are fairly certain, means something entirely different.
But never misunderestimate the American Media's "Liberal Bias" in working overtime to keep their "President" from looking too terribly stupid! Here's just a few examples (and there are many more) of how they covered for him...
UPDATE 6/3/05: Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva digs himself still deeper into the hole of "Bush disassemblage".
And here's a short MP3 of Bush's latest failure to use the English language correctly.
We've been reminded, in the hours since the revelation of the identity of "Deep Throat" of the importance of patriotic Americans speaking out, wherever the case may be, in favor of truth over lies, honesty over corruption.
We've also noted, with particular respect to both Woodward and Bernstein, their promise well-kept over 30 years to keep their source confidential. That is a promise that we regularly extend --- and indeed to keep --- to confidential sources who share sensitive information with The BRAD BLOG. We have always honored that promise throughout our brief history, and we take this occasion to assure such sources, both current and future, that we intend to guard such confidentiality with the same sort of integrity that W&B guarded the identity of W. Mark "Deep Throat" Felt.
There are other timely matters --- many of them --- that the revelation of "Deep Throat's" identity brings to mind right about now as we find ourselves with another American "President" who seems to disregard the American People and their Constitution with even more cavalier disrespect (if one can imagine it) than Richard Nixon did some thirty years ago. And while Nixon's disregard for the truth and the Constitution ultimately hurt mostly himself and his cronies, Bush's offenses have led quite directly to the untimely deaths, dismemberments and life-long nightmares of thousands of Americans and World Citizens. But more on that at later date...
For now, we'll share a letter written today to Mssrs. Russert and Brokaw by our friend and patriot, Bernie Ellis. Bernie is the organizer of the historic "Gathering To Save Our Democracy - a National Conference on the 2004 Election and the Need for Election Reform" held recently in Nashville.
In his letter today, he manages to hit quite a few timely nails square on the head as to the matter of the gross delinquency of the American Mainstream Corporate Media today...And he manages to do it with more than a bit colorful Southern flair to boot!...
This morning, I turned on TV briefly (to catch the weather report, since we really need rain here in Tennessee) and I heard the two of you discussing the self-outing of "Deep Throat" yesterday. At the end of your on-air discussion, you said, "If there's another Deep Throat out there, give us a call, won't you. We're waiting for your call."
Yeah, bullshit. For the past eight months, thousands of people have been sending you information on the 2004 stolen election and you've been ignoring it like a burning herpes sore on your anus when your wife asks you why you just can't sit still. So here's one more attempt to call your bluff. How about contacting Clint Curtis and Sherole Eaton, both of whom have very important stories to tell about the 2004 election theft, and neither of whom is hiding anything (including their identities).
Clint Curtis has testified under oath numerous times and has taken a polygraph test (which he passed) saying that he was hired by Tom Feeney (now a Republican Congressman from Florida and the chief beneficiary of Tom DeLay's largess) to create a software program to hack electronic voting machines (and throw the elections) in south Florida. Sherole Eaton has been fired as an elections official in Ohio after going public with an affidavit saying that a Triad employee (another electronic voting equipment vendor) had illegally tampered with the vote tabulating equipment in her county (including replacing the hard drive) just before the sham recount occurred there. Once again, neither of these brave Americans have hidden their identities or their stories. But they may as well have, for all the attention that you and the rest of the corporate media has given their stories since they went public.
So don't fool yourselves, because you certainly are not fooling us. There are no more Woodwards and Bernsteins left in the corporate media, only patriotism-deficient reporters competing to out-trivialize "Access Hollywood" on the evening (non) news. If you had an ounce of journalistic curiosity or patriotic relevance left, you would write Clint Curtis immediately (his email is above) and arrange an on-camera interview tomorrow. Or you would contact Bob Fitrakis with the Columbus Free Press or Brad Friedman with BradBlog (whose email addresses are also listed above) to conduct an interview with Ms. Eaton --- I am sure they would be happy to arrange it right away. If you don't do those things, stop kidding yourself that you are American journalists in the Woodward/Bernstein tradition any more than the "hot military stud" whose presence in OUR White House press corps was another quickly forgotten and barely covered story. Your self-imposed journalistic castration says more about your fear of, or fawning flirtatiousness with, this illegitimate regime which has captured our country than anything that you and your bloated cohorts have revealed in quite some time.
"Deep Throat, call us --- we're waiting." Waiting for what --- to put Clint and Sherole on indefinite hold, where they can listen to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" played ad nauseum until the shuttle service to Gitmo comes to pick them up. Shame on you folks --- your on-camera hubris is only matched by your irrelevance these days.
So get in touch with Clint and Sherole or stop pretending you do anything of value for this country. Hurry along now, there must be another celebrity somewhere doing something else nauseating enough to keep us distracted while our votes are stolen and our democracy is smothered under a Paris Hilton-stained pillow.
If you're what passes for journalists these days, we don't need no steenkin' journalists. At least not ones who cash GE checks.
Bernie Ellis, Organizer
Gathering To Save Our Democracy
In a related note, we hope to have whistleblower Sherole Eaton as a guest on this Saturday's BRAD SHOW (we are currently attempting to work out some time conflicts) and have Bob Fritakis of Columbus Free Press tentatively scheduled to appear the following week. We'll let you know when both of those appearances have been finalized.
We've already had Clint Curtis on the show and you are welcome to listen to the MP3 archive of that interview here. For more information on Clint Curtis, please see below the following...
In regards to what John Conyers over the weekend reportedly described as "the smoking bullet in the smoking gun", a letter has just been sent to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, asking questions about the recent reports that the U.S. and U.K. stepped up their air attacks in the Iraqi "No-Fly-Zone" prior to the war in "an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war." A draft version of Conyers' letter was published over the holiday weekend by RAW STORY.
This latest information on the covert way in which the Bush Administration may have pushed the world towards war is based on a new report from Rupert Murdoch's London Times which reported over the weekend that "despite the lack of an Iraqi reaction, the air war began anyway in September [of 2002] with a 100-plane raid."
In fact, the original Downing Street Memo/Minutes mention that "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime."
Concerning the latest report, Conyers writes in his letter to Rumsfeld today:
Thus, while there is considerable doubt as to whether the U.S. had authority to invade Iraq, given, among other things, the failure of the U.N. to issue a follow-up resolution to the November 8, 2002, Resolution 1441, it would seem that the act of engaging in military action via stepped up bombing raids that were not in response to an actual or imminent threat before our government asked for military authority would be even more problematic from a legal as well as a moral perspective.
...He then goes on to ask Rumsfeld for a response to the following questions, along with a request for "any memorandum, notes, minutes, documents, phone and other records, e-mails, computer files (including back-up records) or other material of any kind or nature concerning or relating thereto which are in the possession of or accessible by the Department of Defense."
What was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this time? Was this justification reviewed by legal authorities in the U.S.?
To the best of your knowledge, was there any agreement with any representative of the British government to engage in military action in Iraq before authority was sought from the Congress or the U.N.? If so, what was the nature of the agreement?
Conyers, along with 88 members of Congress recently sent a letter to George W. Bush asking for information concerning the now-infamous Downing Street Memo (actually Minutes, not a Memo) which was also first reported by Murdoch's paper. That document --- written a full eight months prior to the war --- revealed, amongst other things, that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
It also goes on to say that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
The members of Congress have yet to receive a response from the White House, though neither the Bush nor Blair Administrations have disputed the authenticity of the information contained within the minutes.
An alliance of citizens groups has recently been formed at AfterDowningStreet.org to petition congress to launch a "Resolution of Inquiry" into the matter. A congressional "Resolution of Inquiry" is considered the first step towards Presidential Impeachment. (Both The BRAD BLOG and Velvet Revolution, which we helped to co-found, are members of that alliance.)
Conyers also has asked citizens to sign the same letter they sent to Bush, and has promised to hand-deliver it to the White House once he receives at least 100,000 signature.
The complete text of Conyers' finalized letter to Rumsfeld is below...
Never mind the allegations that he abused his wife by forcing her to participate in group sex. Never mind the allegations that he abused his position to spy on other government officials who opposed him at various times. One might also feel inclined to ignore the 43 former U.S. ambassadors who have added their names to a letter signed earlier by 59 ex-ambassadors opposing Bolton's nomination (most of whom served in Republican administrations, according to AP.)
Never mind all of that (since the Corporate Media has been largely doing so anyway, as per their custom). If you go back to the initial criticisms of John Bolton --- that his past statements about the U.N. make him amongst the least appropriate human beings on this planet to be our U.N. Ambassador at a time when the U.S. so desperately needs cooperation from that world body --- you will likely understand immediately what a boondoggle this man's nomination is. And why it's taken so long to get him through what should have been a very friendly Congress.
As much as the actual words by which Bolton condemns the U.N. itself, it's the way in which he did so that has set off our personal alarm bells about this guy. (Though we admit that, on its own, the statement that losing ten stories today from the U.N. Building "wouldn't make a bit of difference" is troubling, to say the least, for a guy who would be our lead "diplomat" in that body!)
Let us know if you agree that this revealing video --- all by itself --- would seem to indicate that John Bolton is, indeed, a crazy man.
More info, a TV ad, and phone numbers by which you can call your Senators are available via StopBolton.org.
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