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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, November 21, 2019
'Was There a Quid Pro Quo? The Answer is Yes':
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Special impeachment hearing coverage with guest Heather Digby Parton...
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Special impeachment hearing coverage with guest Heather Digby Parton...
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Previous GNRs: 11/14/19 - 11/12/19 - Archives...
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'PDiddie' testifies with his latest unimpeachable weekly toon collection!...
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Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Also: Stone guilty on all counts; Giuliani facing criminal probe...
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New EPA Rule Guts Science, Public Health for Corporate Polluters: 'BradCast' 11/12/19
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'Green News Report' 11/12/19
OUR 1000th EPISODE! Looking back and forward at a thousand 'GNRs' with a few messages from some friends and the funniest snarky comment of all time!...
EVERYTHING Is Now Political (Even CA Wildfires!): 'BradCast' 11/11/19
Callers ring in on impeachment, the climate change 'hoax', the new touchscreen vote system disasters last week in GA and PA, and in L.A. before next year's 2020 election...
Sunday 'Leaves of Crass' Toons
All the fall colors are on display in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Religious Freedom in Opposite World: 'BradCast' 11/8/19
Guest Host Nicole Sandler w/ Frederick Clarkson on Christian Right's 'Project Blitz'...
'Green News Report' 11/7/19
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BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
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Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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
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The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose false tortured confession was used as basis for Bush's war, has reportedly committed suicide...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2009 8:18pm PT  

British journalist and historian Andy Worthington, an expert and author on Guantanamo, reports that the man who had supplied a key false tie between Iraq and al-Qaeda --- after being tortured in Egypt, where he had been rendered by the U.S. --- has died in a Libyan prison. "Dead of suicide in his cell," according to a Libyan newspaper.

Worthington has excellent coverage of the story tonight, which, he says, is "ablaze" in the Arabic media, but so far unreported in all but one English language outlet.

"This news resolves, in the grimmest way possible," Worthington writes, "questions that have long been asked about the whereabouts of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, perhaps the most famous of 'America's Disappeared' - prisoners seized in the 'War on Terror,' who were rendered not to Guantánamo but to secret prisons run by the CIA or to the custody of governments in third countries - often their own - where, it was presumed, they would never be seen or heard from again."

The "emir" of a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, al-Libi "was one of hundreds of prisoners seized by Pakistani forces in December 2001, crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Most of these men ended up in Guantánamo after being handed over (or sold) to US forces by their Pakistani allies, but al-Libi was, notoriously, rendered to Egypt by the CIA to be tortured on behalf of the US government."

Worthington reports:

In Egypt, he came up with the false allegation about connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by President Bush in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, just days before Congress voted on a resolution authorizing the President to go to war against Iraq, in which, referring to the supposed threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime, Bush said, "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases."

Four months later, on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell made the same claim in his notorious speech to the UN Security Council, in an attempt to drum up support for the invasion. "I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda," Powell said, adding, "Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story." As a Newsweek report in 2007 explained, Powell did not identify al-Libi by name, but CIA officials - and a Senate Intelligence Committee report - later confirmed that he was referring to al-Libi.

Al-Libi recanted his story in February 2004, when he was returned to the CIA's custody, and explained, as Newsweek described it, that he told his debriefers that "he initially told his interrogators that he 'knew nothing' about ties between Baghdad and Osama bin Laden and he 'had difficulty even coming up with a story' about a relationship between the two." The Newsweek report explained that "his answers displeased his interrogators - who then apparently subjected him to the mock burial. As al-Libi recounted, he was stuffed into a box less than 20 inches high. When the box was opened 17 hours later, al-Libi said he was given one final opportunity to 'tell the truth.' He was knocked to the floor and 'punched for 15 minutes.' It was only then that, al-Libi said, he made up the story about Iraqi weapons training."

Worthington concludes: "The most important question that needs asking just now, of course, is whether it was possible for al-Libi to commit suicide in a Libyan jail, or whether he was murdered. I doubt that we will ever find out the truth...Whatever al-Libi’s actual crimes, his use as a tool in a program of 'extraordinary rendition' and torture, exploited shamelessly not to foil future terrorist plots but to yield false information about al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, remains a low point in a 'War on Terror' that has few redeeming features."

UPDATE: 16 hours later, and virtually zero coverage of this story in the U.S. corporate mainstream MSM. Amazing. Details now here... [That report has now also been updated to include a few U.S. outlets finally jumping in to the story, 24 hours later.]




By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2009 12:22pm PT  

A few quick-hit gems worth noting from Josh Marshall and David Kurtz at TPM over the last day or two...

SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER

Anticipate Karl Rove's long-awaited testimony before Congress about the US Attorney firings sometime in early June, Rove's lawyer tells TPMmuckraker.
...

FIRST THEY CAME FOR ARLEN, NOW JOE

Not to be outdone in an effort to eke out a few more minutes in the spotlight, Joe The Plumber announces he too has had enough and is leaving the Republican party.

Of course, in Joe's case, it does raise the question of what party or militia he's leaving the GOP to join. Any ideas?
...

NOT AS BRAVE AS WE USED TO BE

Number of Gitmo detainees that the GOP hopes to keep off mainland U.S. soil with its "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act": roughly 250.

Number of Axis POWs detained in camps on the U.S. mainland at the end of WWII: roughly 425,000.
...

SOME THINGS NEVER FAIL TO SURPRISE

Can it really be true that the list of Americans who will appear on the Sunday shows this weekend is David Petraeus, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and John McCain?

I guess it really is a center-right nation.

Our observation on the final item above: Looks like those old "Liberal Media" are still partying like it's 1999 2007. Color us shocked. Shocked!




Military Torture, Legal Fig Leaves & Premature Exculpation...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/6/2009 12:07pm PT  

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

"When any modern state tortures even a few victims, the stigma compromises its majesty and corrupts its integrity. Its officials must spin an ever more complex web of lies that, in the end, weakens the bonds of trust and the rule of law that are the sine qua non of a democracy. And, beyond its borders, allies and enemies turn away in collective revulsion." - Prof. Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture (2006).

Truth and justice are essential components of democracy and the rule of law. We cannot move forward unless we honestly examine our past. Accuracy is vital to every decision we make, be it impeachment, prosecution or a restoration of our nation’s honor and integrity.

This is the first in a five-part series of articles which will strive to correct misperceptions arising from the erroneous blending of military and CIA torture. This task has become especially relevant now that the Justice Department's the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), the very section which had issued the torture memos, tasked by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey with investigating itself, has now released a recommendation that none of the authors of the torture memos be prosecuted. This recommendation stands in stark contrast to our nation's post-World War II decision to prosecute German judges for war crimes at Nuremberg.

Part I addresses the relatively public involvement of the U.S. military and private contractors at Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It will dispel the notion that the Bush White House sought out independent legal opinions from the OLC before deciding to torture.

Part II will discuss the CIA's dark beginnings, including its recruitment of former Nazis, its devotion to covert "psychological operations" as a founding principle, the experiments on unwitting subjects that were part of a maniacal quest to crack the code of human consciousness, and the scientific studies that led to KUBARK, the CIA's torture manual.

Part III provides a vital historical account of CIA torture applied by surrogates in developing nations as a component of empire, an account that belies the suggestion made by the The New York Times that CIA torture first arose as an aftermath of 9/11.

Part's IV and V will address the CIA's involvement in extraordinary rendition and an ultra-secret system of “black-sites” into which “ghost detainees” would disappear. It will show how the techniques used on "ghost detainees" are the culmination of a half-century of CIA research and practices...

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




Why the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal...
[UPDATED: Spanish prosecutors file complaint calling for arrest of Bush 'torture attorneys']
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2009 5:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"It will remain one of democracy's best jokes that it provided its deadly enemies with the means by which it was destroyed." - Joseph Goebbels

* * *

Gradually, as the veil of secrecy lifts, a growing number of Americans are beginning to comprehend the lawlessness of the cabal which seized control of the White House in 2000 in what amounted to a judicially-aided coup d'etat.[i] This lawlessness extended across the board. It included the packing of federal agencies with lobbyists from industries they were designed to regulate, deception to take this nation into a war of choice, fraudulent no-bid contracts, torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless NSA eavesdropping on the entire stream of domestic electronic communications, and, if Seymour Hersh's recent allegations are accurate, the creation of a highly secretive "executive assassination ring" which reported only to Dick Cheney's office and which had "been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people and executing them and leaving."[ii]

The reaction of leading Democratic politicians to these unprecedented high crimes has been ambivalent, at best. Even before she assumed the role of Speaker, Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment was "off-the-table," thereby enabling two more years of executive lawlessness, not to mention the nation's economic demise. Pelosi evaded so much as mentioning their high crimes until February 2009. President Obama acknowledged that "no one is above the law," but added that the focus of his administration is to look forward, not back.

There are fundamental deficiencies in the President's formulation. First, it is impossible to observe the rule of law without looking back. It would make no sense, for example, for a man charged with armed robbery to come before a judge and say, "Well, the robbery was in the past. You've got to look forward. I have every intention of abiding by the law in the future. So why prosecute me?" Second, looking forward does not mean handling current events at the expense of the rule of law. The point is to look far enough into the future to appreciate that the same people who brought us the last eight years of executive lawlessness could one day return to power...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2009 12:24pm PT  

The photo above was taken on Jan 20th, 2009. President Obama has since signed an Executive Order calling for the closure of Gitmo within a year.




By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2008 2:11pm PT  

Is this your America?

The long saught DoJ "Torture Memo" written by John Yoo, offering a defense to George W. Bush and his sadistic friends to order the torture, and even killing, of detainees, has finally been made available. Not by the DoJ to Congress as they'd long sought, but to the ACLU via a FOIA request. (Thank you, ACLU!)

Yoo's document is some 80 pages long, offering what he feels --- or what the Administration wanted him to feel --- is a reasonable legal defense for the use of torture, even where it is explicitly disallowed by international treaties to which the U.S. has signed on.

Paul Kiel at TPMMuckraker, who offers his own summary on all of this, has posted one of the more remarkable sections here.

In short, that 7-page section amounts to:

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




CIA Destruction of Torture Tapes Raises Questions about Spoliation of Further Evidence, Attorneys Say
DOJ Says the Destroyed Videotapes Have No Connection to Gitmo, Where the Tortured Detainees Were Transferred
By Margie Burns on 12/21/2007 6:49pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent, Margie Burns

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy held a hearing this morning on a motion filed by attorneys representing detainees being held in Guantanamo. Following reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post that CIA videotapes of ‘harsh interrogations’ of detainees had been destroyed, apparently by the CIA, possibly under administration approval, attorneys David Remes and Marc Falkoff filed an Emergency Motion [PDF] for inquiry into the preservation of documents relating to prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Before Judge Kennedy and a courtroom packed with journalists,

• Lawyers for the detainees are asking the court to schedule a hearing for inquiry into whether the government is preserving evidence relating to detainees. Attorney David Remes expressed concern that the destruction of the two videotapes, as reported, may not be the full extent of the evidence destroyed...

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




But What Else is New?
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2007 12:10pm PT  

By law, the U.S. government is barred from propagandizing within the country. While that hasn't necessarily stopped them before, the Bush Administration has raised the art to a science. As well, they've reportedly been doing so out of Gitmo, perhaps a tacit acknowledgment that the practice is illegal under U.S. law, but hey, they're not in the U.S. when they do it from there, right? At least, that's what their legal department has long maintained in support of suspension of habeas corpus, human rights and long-held treaty agreements in relation to the detention of whoever they damn-well wish to hold without charges down there.

So they've been "vandalizing Wikipedia" and news sites across the web, according to a recent report at Wikileaks, which also offers the evidence...

WASHINGTON--The US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been caught conducting covert propaganda attacks on the internet. The attacks, exposed this week in a report by the government transparency group Wikileaks, include deleting detainee ID numbers from Wikipedia last month, the systematic posting of unattributed "self praise" comments on news organization web sites in response to negative press, boosting pro-Guantanamo stories on the internet news site Digg and even modifying Fidel Castro's encyclopedia article to describe the Cuban president as "an admitted transexual" [sic].

Anybody doubt these same guys are working to post their propaganda in comments at websites like...oh, The BRAD BLOG for example? We're sure the Bush DoJ will get right on it.

Never been prouder of our country.

(Hat-tip RAW STORY)




By Alan Breslauer on 5/9/2007 10:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

The PBS Frontline special,When Teens Get Life, investigates the archaic and cruel dimmension of the American justice system that allows children to be sent to prison for life. Additionally, the documentary provides some insight into how we house the nation's "worst" criminal offenders.

Unfortunately, the limited information provided about the Super Max Colorado State Prison featured in this edited video (8:21) is not reassuring. In fact, there appears to be some startling similarities between the treatment of inmates in the Colorado Super Max and the US prison at Guantánamo Bay. For example, Frontline was not permitted to film inside or outside of the prison or interview any inmates. Video footage of the teen inmate featured in the segment was obtained in 2004 by Human Rights Watch. Inmates are also denied counsel and the right to review testimony used against them in prison proceedings. Evidentiary testimony is considered confidential and is never made available to prisoners. Without counsel, the ability to cross examine witnesses or even see the evidence used against them, it can hardly be said that prisoners have any due process rights. Finally, prisoners at the Colorado Super Max are not assigned release dates.

Why do we have a Constitution?




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