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

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

[Updates at bottom...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my opinion, if I'm some of the current members of Congress, I'd be very very worried about the information that's going to come out of this. There are current members of Congress that she has implicated in bribery, espionage. It's not good. It's crazy, it's absolutely crazy. For people in power situations in the United States, who know about this information, if they don't take action against it, in my opinion, it's negligence.

[Which current members have been implicated?]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Q: Which ones?]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problem with Democrats...?

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

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

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

[Q: Did she implicate any sitting Democrats?]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here comes a bombshell or two...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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'Fair or unfair...You gotta plow through that. You have to know what you're gettin' into'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/10/2009 10:23am PT  


We hate to pile on, but we've been on the roll much of this week, and haven't had time to post this until today. But it's worth noting it here, if only for the historical record.

The soon-to-be Community Organizer, then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, in March 2008, was critical of then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's complaints about perceived unfair media bias against her. Here's what she had to say about it back then (video above right):

PALIN: Fair or unfair, I think she does herself a disservice to even mention it, really. I mean you gotta plow through that. You have to know what you're gettin' into, which --- I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton, and to her experience and to her passion for changing the status quo also --- but when I hear a statement like that, coming from a woman candidate, with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think 'Man, that doesn't do us any good'. Women in politics, women in general, wanting to progress this country, I don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that.

Because, again, fair or unfair, it is there. I think that's reality. And I think it's a given. I think people can just accept that she is going to be under that sharper microscope. So be it. I mean, work harder. Prove yourself to an even greater degree that you're capable, that you're going to be the best candidate and that, of course, is what she wants us to believe at this point.

So, it bothers me a little bit hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level.

Palin seems to have had a change of heart since her video-taped apperance early last year criticizing Clinton for not sucking it up in the face of "fair or unfair" media scrutiny, since she is now "bring[ing] that attention to herself on that level" by "whin[ing] about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her" by media, and even local bloggers, who she has now threatened with defamation lawsuits in a statement issued by her private attorney on the Fourth of July.

We don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that, or for her passion for changing the status quo also.

[Hat-tip Paul Rosenberg at Open Left via BRAD BLOG commenter "Another Joe"]




For that matter, why didn't Condoleezza Rice?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2009 4:56pm PT  

The former State Department adviser to Condoleezza Rice and executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, disclosed at Foreign Policy's Shadow Government yesterday that he offered a dissenting view to the torture memos and policies of the Bush Administration. (Ernie Canning discussed those memos and policies in detail here this morning.)

Zelikow not only dissented from the party line, admirably, but he also learned at one point that while the administration disagreed with his opinion, they were taking it a step further by actually going out of their way to destroy all copies of his memo. As he explained at FP yesterday:

At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn't entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department's archives.

While it's admirable, I suppose, that he's finally speaking up to reveal that at least someone in the Bush Administration dissented from their tortured legal justifications for war crimes, the question must be raised as to why Zelikow didn't simply resign when it became clear that the administration was going far beyond simply disagreeing with him. They were stepping over what would seem to clearly be the line of legality, by actually destroying (or attempting to), all copies of his opinion.

Surely that was a red flag that something was gravely amiss there, no?

Zelikow was on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night (complete video and transcript below), and she asked directly if he'd considered resigning at that point. But I find his answer rather unsatisfying, in my opinion...

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




Time of Speeches Moved Up; Hillary 'Releases' Delegates, Does Not Direct Them to Vote for Obama
UPDATED: Hillary Stops Roll Call Vote With Call for Obama Nomination 'By Acclamation'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2008 1:45pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Denver...

[Updated at end of article...Including details on Hillary Clinton dramatically saving the day...]

Allow me to stress the unconfirmed nature of this report before I even tell you what I'm hearing. It's difficult to get information and/or confirm out here on such things, so take it with the grain of salt that it's currently intended to be served with.

That said, a reliable source on one of the state delegations tells me that today's nominating speeches have been moved up from 4:30pm to 3:45pm MT. (That much, we've now been able to confirm from a couple of different sources.) The reason for the move, so the speculation has it, is that there may be concerns of a floor fight on the way in regard to the roll-call nominations of Clinton and Obama.

I don't have much more than that, and Clinton's hopes for her supporters to move their support to Obama during last night's speech seemed pretty damned clear. So, for now, let's consider this report a rumor only for the moment (which I don't usually like reporting without confirm). But if the source is correct, it's certainly something noteworthy enough to watch out for, along with all of those caveats.

Todd Beeton at MyDD reports on Hillary's comments, within the last hour or so, at a meeting of her delegates. Some of her noteworthy comments to her delegates, as reported by Beeton, follow...

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




A Bird's Eye View and Open Thread...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2008 8:37pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Denver...

I'm up in the press skyboxes at the Pepsi Center tonight where Hillary Clinton just finished her speech. The place was absolutely jammed, literally, to the rafters, as the "UNITY" "HILLARY" "OBAMA" signs flowed on schedule through the throngs.

How she did will be up to you to decide. Or rather, for ABCNBCCBSCNNMSNBCFOX to tell you how to decide. May have more later tonight, though it's been a very long day here. So let's consider this an open thread for your thoughts on tonight's pageantry, until I'm able to check back in again...




New Job Seen as Payoff for 'Services Rendered'...
By Luke Ryland on 6/2/2008 11:45am PT  

Guest Blogged by Luke Ryland of Let Sibel Edmonds Speak...

So, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds is again proven right. For more than a year Sibel has been predicting that Dennis Hastert will join a lobbying firm involved with Turkey, and now we learn that Hastert is joining Dickstein Shapiro.

In the "Representative Engagements" section of Dickstein's website, we learn that they represented "the government of Turkey in connection with the development and financing by private sponsors of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and TransCaspian gas pipeline spanning from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean."


Dennis Hastert, who is listed in Sibel's "Rogues Gallery," was referred to in FBI wiretaps as apparently accepting bribes from Turkish criminal elements associated with the Turkish government, as documented in Vanity Fair in 2005 and elsewhere.

The short clip at left is from Kill The Messenger, a documentary about Sibel's case, where they discuss some of Hastert's involvement as mentioned in Vanity Fair.

In researching the Vanity Fair article, as mentioned in the clip, journalist David Rose interviewed various congressional staffers and counter-intelligence officials who are familiar with the case. He reported that there were three separate types of bribes allegedly paid to Hastert:

  1. "(T)ens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks."
  2. "(T)ens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information."
  3. "(A)t least $500,000"

Hastert was lucky that there was literally zero follow-up in the mainstream media to these most serious charges. Hastert did not sue Vanity Fair for libel; instead, Hastert got his spokesman to send Vanity Fair a bizarre Letter to the Editor in response, 6 months later. The BRAD BLOG has the letter here, along with Sibel's effective debunking of Hastert's response.

The only action taken in response to the startling revelations in Vanity Fair was by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) which filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking them to investigate the "(T)ens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks"...

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




PLUS: Wexler for Veep!
By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2008 3:19pm PT  

I should say first off I don't have a dog in the hunt. I support neither Obama nor Clinton in this nomination race and couldn't tell you now whether I'd vote for either of them next November. I've stated long ago that both of those candidates have plenty of supporters, so I'll be supporting the voters this year, since they don't have nearly enough support.

With that said, this morning's meeting in the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee (RBC) has been an interesting one to watch. All sides in the unfortunate matters of fighting over how to seat (or not) the delegations from Florida and Michigan at this year's national convention have argued smartly for their various cases.

But where the DNC's RBC is concerned --- no matter which candidate the various members of the committee may already be on record as supporting in general --- there should be only one consideration in their ultimate decision: what will be best for the party itself and whichever candidate ends up being their nominee.

Everyone at today's meeting spoke in general consensus that party unity is key. If that's truly their belief, then every side in the dispute needs to place unification first as the top priority for any final rulings on whether and how to seat the MI and FL delegations at the Democratic Convention.

To that end, the version for those with short attention spans: The party must agree to the Florida compromise which nets a 19 delegate advantage for Clinton while giving delegates at the convention a 50% vote. They must also agree to the Michigan state party's compromise of awarding the Michigan delegates 69/59 in Clinton's favor with a 50% vote at the convention.

And while it's not necessarily germane to the decisions being made by the DNC RBC today, Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida should be made Barack Obama's Vice Presidential nominee.

For the longer explanation of the above, please read on...

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2008 4:24pm PT  

Now that they've made it as difficult as possible for those pesky 90-year-old nuns to cast votes, it's time to make sure that vets injured and disabled in Iraq and Afghanistan have as difficult a time voting as possible.

The Republican War on Voting, as directed by Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush out of the White House, continues to continue.

The new front: Disallowing registration drives, by non-partisan organizations at Veterans Administration facilities. That, despite an order issued in late April by the Department of Veterans Affairs that they would allow such activity, in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Apparently someone high up (we don't yet know who) found out about that, and ordered an about-face on the previous directive, leading the Veterans Health Administration's Under Secretary for Health, Michael J. Kussman, to announce this week that "Voter registration drives are not permitted" at their facilities, "due to Hatch Act requirements and to avoid disruptions to facility operations."

"The Department of Veterans Affairs has retreated on a recently announced policy to allow voter registration drives at its facilities where veterans' groups and others would assist wounded former soldiers to participate in the 2008 presidential election," writes Steven Rosenfeld over at AlterNet, where he points out that "the Hatch Act restricts political activities by federal employees."

Non-partisan voter registration drives by groups such as the League of Woman Voters, however, can hardly be considered "political activities by federal employees."

Senators such as Feinstein and Kerry, and disabled veterans groups, as you may imagine, are none too happy...

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




(Please Direct Complaints to: hotpotatomash @ gmail.com)
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2008 9:45pm PT  

Alan Breslauer says, "This may be the funniest thing ever!" So we'll refer our many friends who are likely to be furious with us for even running it, over to him. I grant it's wholly inappropriate and unfair. But still...it is pretty funny...


UPDATE: For those who've asked, or wondered, the back story on the above video/satire is here. Hat-tip Agent 99!




Beats me.
By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2008 9:17pm PT  

Polls have been closed in Lake County for some 6 hours, but no results in Indiana's corner county, closely bordering Obama's homestate stronghold of Chicago and home to Gary. Tiny Union County has also failed to come up with any numbers just yet.

As of now, Indiana remains "too close to call" according to all the cable nets, with 92% of precincts (not necessarily votes, since Lake County is the second-most populous in the state) reporting. There are currently just under 20k votes reportedly between Clinton, who is currently leading, and Obama, out of more than 1.1 million "counted" so far.

For the record, Lake County uses a combination of the failed, unverifiable MicroVote Infinity DREs and paper-based MV-464's voting machines, according to Verified Voting's database of voting systems.

Union County, on the other hand, you needn't worry about, since our old friend Diebold runs the place with a combination of their hackable paper-ballot systems, and their unverifiable and hackable DRE (touch-screen) systems. But Union also has a tiny population of just more than 7k, whereas Lake has a population of just less than half a million.

Unfortunately, I don't know that I'll be able to follow this one through the night, so if I can't (or even if I can), I welcome you folks to tell the story in comments below as you are best able to figure out what seems to be going on there. Tonight, I'm guessing you can tell the story as well as (or better than) I can...

UPDATE 12:47pm ET: Results now coming in. The state could be a squeaker by a few thousand votes or less.

Let's see, with Indiana's own estimates of 43,000 voters who could be disenfranchised by their new Photo ID/voter suppression law, and less-conservative estimates suggesting several hundred thousand voters who could be robbed of their right to vote...Gosh, hope the final results in the Hoosier State don't come down to the question of a dozen or so 80 & 90 year-old disenfranchised nuns from South Bend...




Oddity, Which Applied Only to Obama, Never Occurred Before, Remains Unexplained, But 'Didn't Make a Difference' in Final Results, According to State Official Who Confirmed the Anomaly...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2008 4:19pm PT  

Early on election night last Tuesday, with just 18.07% of the unofficial returns from the Pennsylvania Primary in, astute BRAD BLOG reader Matt Sircely (who was aware enough to save off the HTML page locally!) noticed the following oddity on the official Dept. of State website results page...

Note the three different sets of bars and percentages representing Obama's tally. The problem did not occur for any other candidate [Update: looks like it did, see updates at bottom of article for more info], as seen on the full web page, which was noticed early in the evening, and saved locally by the alert reader. Whatever the problem, it was eventually corrected by officials.

Today, Sircely called the PA Dept. of State to try and get an explanation of what caused the problem seen above (audio from call is posted at the end of this article)...

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




By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2008 5:02pm PT  

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the luckiest woman in the world. Just when it looks like she'll have no chance to become the party's nominee, extraordinary good news comes her way, just at the last minute. Again.

Take, for example, yesterday's Pennsylvania Primary. For weeks we heard endlessly how she would need a double-digit victory margin in the Keystone State to offer a legitimate reason for her to stay in the race. And, as the gods would have it, she achieved the ability to trumpet that double-digit margin by a single tenth of a percent.

With 99.51% of the vote reportedly counted as of this moment, according to the PA Dept. of State's own numbers, it's Clinton's 54.6% to Obama's 45.4%.

So, in truth, that's actually just a 9.2-point difference, but, as luck would have it for the New York Senator, rounding each of those numbers to their nearest percent, as the bulk of the media were happy to do today, allows for a nice, easily-trumpeted, double-digit, 55% to 45% number that can be reported far and wide!

The stunning turn of good fortune comes on the heels of Clinton's last make-or-break moment back in New Hampshire, when conventional wisdom had all but counted her out after her loss to Obama in the Iowa Caucus. But, there again, Clinton came through, despite both pre-election and exit poll numbers which all, almost uniformly, predicted she'd face a thumpin'.

Of course, you conspiracy theorists out there are likely to spin this tale of remarkable providence, into a shadowy tale of skulduggery by supporters of a Clinton nomination, be they Democrats or Republicans, who'd rather see her, instead of Obama, go up against John McCain in the fall.

But you'd have not an iota of actual proof to support your paranoid suspicions...

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




Tuesday's Election Will be 'Unrecountable, Unverifiable, and Unauditable'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2008 8:05am PT  

On Tuesday night, you will be told who the winner of the Pennsylvania Primary is. You will accept it. You will have no choice. No matter who the winner really is. Or isn't.

This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

Most of the votes, more than 85%, will be cast on such DRE systems which do not provide so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs), as their use has been found unconstitutional in the state, since its been determined, accurately, that ballot secrecy cannot be guaranteed when using such paper trail systems. Not that it matters.

With or without a so-called "paper trail" printer, all touch-screen/push-button/DRE voting machines are equally unverifiable and antithetical to American democracy. Period.

So, as with South Carolina's primary, so so long ago, and other states since, whatever the officials tell you at the end of the election is what you, and we, will have to accept. Whether votes are counted accurately is completely out of anyone's hands at this point. It's strictly Democracy of the Gods...

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




By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2008 11:35am PT  

No, we haven't forgotten. We never do...


For more on all of the above, see the many stories at: https://bradblog.com/SibelEdmonds.




'Investigative' Reporter Brian Ross Defines Shameful New Low...On the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War, No Less...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2008 5:54pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from San Francisco...

If you had any doubt, this seals it.

A more shameful display of "journalism" we don't believe we've ever seen. As our friend Susie Madrack of Suburban Guerrilla just wrote in an email, about the new low for corporate mainstream media, appallingly displayed at the link above...

I am so angry right now, I'm shaking.

THIS was why they wanted Clinton's White House schedule? This is what passes for investigative journalism at ABC News?

I don't care who you're supporting in this primary election - if we let them do this now to Hillary Clinton, it will only embolden them to do worse later. What a piece of trashy, superfluous, truly MEAN excuse for journalism.

I was an investigative journalist for 15 years, and I've NEVER been so ashamed of my former profession.

Should you wish to organize a reader action, this is the phone number for Brian Ross, head of ABC News Investigative Division. I've already left my own message - feel free to share: 212-456-7612 [ed note: Previous number was incorrect, ABC's main switchboard is: 212-456-7777.]

What she said. And then some.

Meanwhile, today marks the 5th Anniversary of the War on Iraq. How many lie dead? And for what?

Heckuva job, Mr. Ross. You, and "the ABC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE UNIT" --- as our friend the Freeway Blogger might say --- are all wearing the blue dress now.

UPDATE 3/20/08: Glenn Greenwald, as usual, has more cogent thoughts on this, as AP joins Ross and "the ABC Investigative Unit" in covering this "story". Greenwald writes aptly: "It just isn't possible for this country to have a more depraved and wretched press corps."

He goes on to write of previous Ross failures as a "reporter", as does our own Alan Breslauer in this video. And as long as we're piling on, I'll point out that while ABC was more than happy to find the journalistic value in this "story", the same unit took a pass on an exclusive interview with Sibel Edmonds for reasons that we'll let them justify. Elsewhere, the ABC News division had previously spiked a number of important stories on Election Integrity.

Wonder why this country is in the mess that we're in? Look no further than our Corporate Mainstream Media. The links and stories above tell you all you need to know. It all begins and ends with them. Period. They have abused both the public trust and their First Amendment obligations to this country.




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