"Somehow this madness must cease."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967.
On Jan. 18, 2010 our nation will observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, commemorating the extraordinary life of an intellectual and moral giant. The corporate media will fill the airwaves with excerpts of his uplifting August 28, 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech in which Dr. King called upon us to judge one another by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin. And, during that same holiday, the corporate media can be counted upon to ignore his April 4, 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech just as they have every year since the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1986.
Why? Because the egalitarian principles enunciated in "I Have a Dream" challenged only the now (largely) defunct Jim Crow regime.
While de facto, race-based economic inequality stubbornly remains as a vestige of slavery and Jim Crow, the elimination of de jure segregation posed no threat to the stark economic inequality created by an increasingly brutal form of U.S. capitalism and imperialism. It was the brutal reality of corporate Empire which led Dr. King, in "Beyond Vietnam," to describe his own government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" --- a point which exposes the hypocrisy in that same government's celebration of the life of a man singularly devoted to non-violence.
If you have not read "Beyond Vietnam" in its entirety, you should. If you have, you should read it again, for Dr. King's message is as applicable today as it was then.
Particularly, as we deconstruct the empty words used by our Harvard-educated President to justify an escalation of what Robert Scheer aptly describes as a "War of Absurdity," and as we look "Beyond Afghanistan"...
[12/7/09: Updated again at bottom of article. Petruna standing by story. Sort of... & Now again on 12/8/09 as other passengers on flight say Petruna "living in a fantasy world".]
More evidence --- rather hilarious, or sad, depending on how you choose to look at it --- that rightwing Muslim-fearing Fox "News"-addled cowards live in an alternate-reality fantasy world entirely of their own making. In this case, quite literally.
Then read the airline's detailed account of what really happened, wholly debunking the email of Tedd Petruna, the "heroic" passenger from Texas, and his account of single-handedly saving a plane full of good Americans from 11 Muslim terrorists on an Airtran flight in Atlanta as it prepared for takeoff to the Houston-Hobby airport.
Your appetizer: Mr. Petruna, the courageous Texan who authored the email describing his own heroics, wasn't even on the plane that he claims to have personally saved from the evil Muslim terrorist hijackers, and the plane was never canceled at all, having continued to the Houston-Hobby airport as scheduled.
As we've been highlighting for some time now here at The BRAD BLOG --- our Rise of the Tea Bags video paints such a picture, and Frank Schaeffer has done a fine job illustrating it as well, most recently here and here) --- we really do now, officially, live in two different Americas. One actual America, with all its flaws, failures, and frustrations, and another world completely existing only in the minds and self-produced group hallucinations of wingnut media-addled fantasists, fear-mongers, and phonies. How that changes at any time in the near future is a question to be answered by someone well above our pay grade.
If the Islamic world has a fantasy "narrative" about America and our intentions, don't we ourselves --- those within the American religious right --- have a similarly misinformed "narrative"?
Here's my thought experiment: Read Friedman's original, posted below for your convenience, then read my Americanized version which follows. All I've done is change a few names and issues and you'll get the point.
We have our own religious/political myths and they are no less dangerous...
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the corporate "mainstream" media make quite a pair. We're hearing a very "balanced" debate over whether KSM should be tried in New York City, and whether the most insane objections to that proposal are really insane or not. But what are we not hearing?
We're not hearing that trying criminals for the crime of 9/11 ought to have been what we did years ago, rather than waging wars in response to a crime. We're not discussing the possibility that had alleged 9/11 criminals been tried years ago rather than being imprisoned and tortured together with hundreds of innocents depicted as subhuman monsters, the "war on terror" might have been replaced with simply the wars on Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis. What effect might that have had on Americans' willingness to surrender their Bill of Rights? We aren't hearing about that.
And that's only the tip of the iceberg about what we're not hearing...
[Now updated with audio archives at bottom of article.]
I end this week of guest hosting The Mike Malloy Show LIVE from Los Angeles on the eighth anniversary of 9/11.
As ever, I'll be 'Bradcasting' from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 from 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) and hope you'll join me. Also, please join the conversation during the show in our new, handy-dandy chat room facility below.
My thanks to many this week, but especially to Mike and Kathy Malloy for allowing me the honor of borrowing their microphone to speak with you across your public airwaves all week. The audio archives from all of our shows this week are now online and recommended (particularly last night's show!) here: MON • TUE • WED • THU
POST-SHOW UPDATE AND AUDIO ARCHIVES: Thanks for a great week, rock stars! It was my honor to sit in with you all week!
Commercial-free archives from tonight's show are posted below (each "Hour" is about 38 mins.). My thanks to the very busy Ben Burch from WhiteRose Society! The archive of tonight's Chat Room discussion from during the show, is also posted below. Enjoy 'em all and pass 'em on!...
U.S. Troops Killed in
Iraq & Afghanistan
in response (to date): 5167
The numbers above do not reflect those injured in the events mentioned, nor the uncountable lives lost of those who responded following the 9/11 disaster, private contractors killed abroad in our multiple wars, journalists who covered them, or the hundreds of thousands of non-U.S. citizens in foreign countries who similarly became victims in the horrific events of the months and years which followed that fateful day.
The BRAD BLOG offers our remembrance to them all.
Today, and every day.
Separate articles appeared in Monday's New York Times and in the Washington Post. Both suggest that the resignation submitted by Van Jones, a special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council for Environmental Quality, were the result of inadequate White House "vetting." Neither newspaper examined the question as to whether the true problem was the inability to withstand a smear campaign led by extreme right-wing whack jobs like Glenn Beck; an inability reflected by the Times' description of a "terse" acceptance of the resignation, with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs taking pains to stress that President Barack Obama "did not endorse" Jones' views.
The three Jones sins were his having uttered an expletive in referring to Republicans, his having "signed a petition in 2004 questioning whether the Bush administration had allowed the terrorist attacks of September 2001 to provide a pretext for war in the Middle East," and his support for Mumia Abu-Jamal ("Mumia")...
I will have more to say --- much more, I suspect --- tomorrow night (Monday) on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show, where I'll be guest hosting again all this week from 6p-9p PT (9-Midnight ET).
For now then, just the basic report that the Fox "News" Thought Police, now under the ironic leadership of Glenn Beck, have won a victory in securing their first pound of flesh --- dare I say, first pound of black flesh? --- by forcing the resignation of a great public servant and a hero to many, as well as one of the very few actual progressives in the Obama Administration, his green jobs adviser Van Jones:
The announcement that Jones was stepping down came minutes after midnight Sunday morning. "On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," Jones said. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."
He continued: "I have been inundated with calls --- from across the political spectrum --- urging me to 'stay and fight.' But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future."
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck launched the drive against Jones and all but declared war on him after a group Jones founded in 2005, ColorofChange.org, led an advertising boycott against Beck's show to protest his claim that Obama is a racist.
As mentioned, much more on this tomorrow night. Suffice to say, today I'm just trying to contain my anger...at a lot of folks here. More tomorrow night. Please tune in.
It has now been over a week since the video tape and transcript from the remarkable 8/8/09 deposition of former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was publicly released. Previously, the Bush Administration invoked the so-called "state secrets privilege" in order to gag Edmonds, in attempting to keep such information from becoming public.
The under-oath, detailed allegations include bribery, blackmail, espionage and infiltration of the U.S. government of, and by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials and agents of the government of Turkey. The broad criminal conspiracy is said to have resulted in, among other things, the sale of nuclear weapons technology to black market interests including Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Libya and others.
Even as many of these allegations had been previously corroborated to varying extents, by a number of official government reports, documents and independent media outlets (largely overseas), not a single major mainstream media outlet in the U.S. has picked up on Edmonds' startling claims since her deposition has been made fully available.
Granted, last week was a busy news week, with the death of Ted Kennedy, the release of the CIA Inspector General's report on torture, and the announcement that Michael Jackson's death was ruled a homicide. And, it's true, a 4-hour deposition and/or 241-page transcript [PDF] is a lot of material to review, particularly given the wide scope of the charges being made here. Still, given the serious national security issues at stake, said to have the been among the most important matters of the past 8 years, one would think someone in the corporate MSM might have taken the time to go through the material, and report on it. Particularly as Edmonds' claims have previously been found "credible" "serious" and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review," by the DoJ Inspector General, and confirmed as such, on several occasions, by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and many many others.
So for the benefit of the U.S. media, and other readers, who may find it helpful for this large body of newly-available information to be culled down into more digestible pieces, I will attempt to break down the deposition, a bit, into some of its subject matter-based component parts. I will try to go through the major disclosures from the deposition, one-by-one, in a series of pieces which might help others to further report and/or investigate these breathtaking disclosures from a former FBI official who, following 9/11, listened to and translated wiretap recordings made from 1996 through 2002, in the FBI's counterintelligence and counterterrorism departments, under top-secret clearance.
In this first break-down article, we'll look at the answers given by Edmonds during her deposition in regard to bribery and blackmail of current and former members of the U.S. Congress, including Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased) and an unnamed, currently-serving, married Democratic Congresswoman said to have been video-taped in a Lesbian affair by Turkish agents for blackmail purposes.
In further breakdown articles, we'll look at her disclosures concerning top State and Defense Department officials including Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and, perhaps most notably, the former Deputy Undersecretary of State, Marc Grossman, the third-highest ranking official in the State Department. Also, details on the theft of nuclear weapons technology; disclosures on Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA front company Brewster-Jennings; items related to U.S. knowledge of 9/11 and al-Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001; infiltration of the FBI translation department and more...
Just over two weeks ago, FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was finally allowed to speak about much of what the Bush Administration spent years trying to keep her from discussing publicly on the record. Twice gagged by the Bush Dept. of Justice's invocation of the so-called "State Secrets Privilege," Edmonds has been attempting to tell her story, about the crimes she became aware of while working for the FBI, for years.
Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio's 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition. Both the complete video tape and transcript of the deposition follow below.
Though there was much concern, prior to her testimony, that the Obama Dept. of Justice might re-invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" to keep her from speaking, they did not do so. Nor did they choose to be present at the Washington D.C. deposition.
The BRAD BLOG covered details of some of Edmonds' startling disclosures made during the deposition, as it happened, in our live blog coverage from August 8th. The deposition included criminal allegations against specifically named members of Congress. Among those named by Edmonds as part of a broad criminal conspiracy: Reps. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA), as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman (D) said to have been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during a lesbian affair.
High-ranking officials from the Bush Administration named in her testimony, as part of the criminal conspiracy on behalf of agents of the Government of Turkey, include Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, and others.
During the deposition --- which we are still going through ourselves --- Edmonds discusses covert "activities" by Turkish entities "that would involve trying to obtain very sensitive, classified, highly classified U.S. intelligence information, weapons technology information, classified Congressional records...recruiting key U.S. individuals with access to highly sensitive information, blackmailing, bribery."
Speaking about current members of Congress during a break in the testimony, Krikorian told The BRAD BLOG that "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." (More video statements from Krikorian, Edmonds and attorneys from all parties, taped before, during, and after the 8/8/09 testimony, are available here.)
Edmonds' on-the-record disclosures also include bombshell details concerning outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's front company, Brewster Jennings. Edmonds alleges the front company had actually been shut down in August of 2001 --- three years prior to Bob Novak's public disclosure of the covert operative's identity --- following a tip-off to a wire-tap target about the true nature of the CIA front company. The cover was blown, Edmonds alleges, by Marc Grossman, who was, at the time, the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, Grossman served as ambassador to Turkey. He now works "for a Turkish company called Ihals Holding," according to Edmonds' testimony.
An unclassified FBI Inspector General's report, released on her case in 2005, declared Edmonds' classified allegations to be "credible," "serious," and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI." In 2002, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), then the senior members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote letters on Edmonds' behalf to Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and DoJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, calling on all of them to take action in respect to her allegations. And in a 2002 60 Minutes report on Edmonds' case, Grassley noted: "Absolutely, she's credible...And the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story."
The 8/8/09 deposition was brought by Krikorian as part of his defense in a case filed against him before the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH). The 2nd district Congresswoman has accused Krikorian, an Armenian-American who ran against her as an independent in 2008, of "false statements" during the campaign last year alleging that she had accepted "blood money" from Turkish interests. Krikorian says that Schmidt, co-chair of the Congressional Turkish Committee, accepted more money from Turkish interests during last year's campaign than any other member of Congress, despite few, if any, ethnic Turks among her local constituency. He has suggested she may have been instrumental in helping to hold off a Congressional vote on a long-proposed, much-disputed resolution declaring the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during WWI as a "genocide" by the Turks.
Edmonds herself happens to be a Turkish-American, though she was recently attacked by the Turkish Lobby, following her long-sought, long-blocked testimony.
The complete transcript of Sibel Edmonds' under-oath testimony, may now be downloaded here [PDF]. The complete video-taped testimony follows, in five parts, below...
"We killed the President that day. You could have been a part of it --- you know, part of history. You should have stayed. It was safe. Everything was covered in advance. No arrests, no real newspaper investigation. It was all covered, very professional." - Sworn deposition testimony provided in Hunt vs. Liberty Lobby, Inc. by Marita Lorenz, Fidel Castro's former girlfriend and CIA asset, recounting what her CIA recruiter, convicted Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis, told her after the assassination of JFK.
Sibel Edmonds' recent on-air revelation that, prior to 9/11, Osama bin Laden was relied upon by the Bush administration as a Central Asian asset, added one more disturbing piece to an incomplete puzzle, which, as could be expected, lent itself to a number of comments asking whether 9/11 was "an inside job." These, in turn, were summarily dismissed in another comment as "conspiracy theory."
Where does this concept of dismissing inquiry into momentous events as "conspiracy theory" come from?...
During my recent interview with FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds on the Mike Malloy Show, a caller had asked her opinion on whether she believed 9/11 to have been "an inside job."
Edmonds replied by first specifying "As I have done for the past 7 or 8 years, I have basically stuck with what I know, first-hand, directly, my own knowledge, based on my own experience, based on what I obtained, which is not a lot, but it is extremely important."
After explaining the difference between what she does and doesn't know first hand, she went on to explain: "I have information about things that our government has lied to us about. I know. For example, to say that since the fall of the Soviet Union we ceased all of our intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban - those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11." ...
Salon's Glenn Greenwald (whom I interviewed last night on the Malloy Show on somewhat related topics, audio archive now here), covers this morning's latest "entirely unsurprising" news that Cheney tried to deploy the U.S. military on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens following 9/11. And unaccountable-DoJ-attorney-for-all-illegal-unConstitutional-seasons John Yoo was happy to supply a "legal" memo for him, describing how the U.S. Constitution could be entirely ignored by any President at any whim.
Greenwald begins this way [emphasis in original]...
By late January/early February, 2003, I and other Americans were witnessing the Bush Administration's final and intense push to launch their pre-emptive war on Iraq, based largely on (what are now well known as) two completely false pretexts: Iraq's possession of WMD and its connections to Al Qaeda terrorists. My knowledge that Iraq's WMD was being exaggerated was merely what anyone could gain from close reading of public sources: the McClatchy news articles by Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel (who later won Pulitzers for their reporting) as well as a few buried articles in the Washington Post and Newsweek debunking the "evidence" being educed by Bush-Cheney-Powell-Rice-Rumsfeld et al.
Due to the Minneapolis FBI's pre-9/11 investigation of an Al Qaeda operative, however, I was in a better position to know more than J.Q. Average Citizen in regard to the non-existence of ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
I felt it my responsibility to speak out, and so I did --- or tried to --- to my bosses at the FBI, and to the media, including CBS' 60 Minutes...
Today, we remember, the 2,979 killed in both the terror attacks of 9/11 and in the oft-overlooked anthrax bio-terror attacks on American soil which occurred in the following weeks, along with all of those who have given their lives in defense of this nation and its Constitution, including the 5,679 U.S. troops who have been sacrificed so far in George W. Bush's (and now Barack Obama's) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan --- a number which does not include the countless U.S. contractors who have also perished in those conflicts.
As a veteran of Vietnam, my friend and colleague John Gideon, whom we tragically lost late last month, was a champion not just of voters' rights, but of all the causes of his fellow veterans and active-duty brothers and sisters.
Today, The BRAD BLOG's first Memorial Day without his valued presence, we dedicate this day to his memory, his undying fight, and his soaring spirit.
I thought it would be appropriate today, then, to offer the recent Part 2 of Talk Nation Radio's moving audio tribute to the legacy of our friend John. As in Part 1 of Dori Smith's radio special, I appear once again, along with VotersUnite.org's Ellen Theisen and John himself, in both voice and memory. Also, good friend and longtime election integrity advocate Pokey Anderson, of Houston Pacifica's KPFT, speaks about John and his legacy in this part as well. All four of us are seen in the photo below, taken by Desi Doyen, last summer during a few hours of wonderful retreat up in Washington state. It would be the last time all five of us would be together in person.
Post-Script: I just noticed that this article's permalink happens to be BRAD BLOG item number '7176' --- an oddly appropriate 'anagramatical' coincidence for you numerologists out there. Make of that as you will...