As reported previously, investigative journalist Greg Palast was scheduled to meet with John Conyers this evening for an on-camera interview for the BBC. His team, just out from the interview, sends this dispatch to The BRAD BLOG...
Rove Pick for US Attorney Resigns After Conyers Seeks Evidence from BBC
Tim Griffin, formerly right hand man to Karl Rove, resigned Thursday as US Attorney for Arkansas hours after BBC Television 'Newsnight' reported that Congressman John Conyers requested the network's evidence on Griffin's involvement in 'caging voters.' Greg Palast, reporting for both BBC Newsnight and Democracy Now, obtained a series of confidential emails dating from the 2004 presidential election in which the GOP operative transmitted so-called 'caging lists' of voters to state party leaders.
Experts have concluded the caging lists were designed for a mass challenge voters right to cast ballots. The caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters including African-American homeless men, students and soldiers sent overseas.
Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee investigating the firing of US Attorneys, met Thursday evening in New York with Palast. After reviewing key documents, Conyers stated that, despite Griffin's resignation, "we're not through with him by any means."
Conyers indicated that he thought it unlikely that Griffin could carry out this massive 'caging' operation without the knowledge of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rove.
Griffin, who was chosen as US Attorney at Rove's request, has not responded to requests by BBC to explain the 'caging' memos.
UPDATE: Late breaking news on Griffin's resignation from a Palast interview with Conyers Thursday night, now posted here...
As Tim Griffin, the former Karl Rove aide and "interim"-installed Arkansas U.S. Attorney replacement for Bud Cummins became the latest Loyal Bushie to take an indignant fall in announcing his resignation yesterday, the mainstream media --- well, Slate anyway --- finally stopped to take at look at what all this "vote caging" stuff is all about. You know, the stuff that we've been running around with our hair on fire about at least since Monica Goodling dropped her bomb in last week's House Judiciary testimony.
Slate's Dahlia Lithwick asks this afternoon, "What the heck is vote caging, and why should we care?" Actually, though that's the story's headline, the title bar in our browser when viewing the article indicates the original headline was likely the more apropos, "What the heck is vote caging, and why does nobody care?"
Following up on Greg Palast's Exclusive at BRAD BLOG, on the heels of Monica's otherwise-unreported bombshell, and the noise that Palast has otherwise been trying to make about Griffin's vote caging emails for at least three years, Lithwick's candid self and media appraisal is refreshing and appreciated.
Goodling was questioned about this almost not at all, nor did the media do much more than report the words of the former liaison between the White House and Alberto Gonzales...Meanwhile, liberal talk radio, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and the blogosphere went nuts. So, which is it: Is vote caging the most underreported part of this U.S. attorneys scandal or the most over-hyped?
One of the reasons the mainstream news reports (including mine) barely touched the vote-caging story was that nobody had any idea what Goodling was talking about. "Vote caging, what's that?" we e-mailed each other at Slate.
Sigh..."Nobody" may be an overstatement, as The BRAD BLOG scrambled to report the stunning revelation moments after Goodling's utterance. But perhaps we're still a "nobody" to Slate, even if we've been mentioned by name of late on their pages. And credit where it's due, that report was the first by an MSM-ish outlet to give the GOP's snake-oil front-group, the American Center for Voting Rights, its two-a-half-years-overdue due.
Still, given the rest of Lithwick's coverage today, we're happy to let bygones be bygones as slowly, but surely, the media begins to understand the import of so much that we've been reporting here --- with as much siren-worthy urgency as we could muster --- over these past many years...
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Paul Wolfowitz lists three reasons why he thinks much of Africa is on track and moving forward. First is the recognition of the importance of sound economic policy. Jobs created by the private sector are also helping the continent. And the third and most important reason why parts of Africa are finally moving forward according to Wolfowitz --- Peace!
Wolfowitz: "Peace is the most important blessing. It is so much better than oil. Oil is more often a curse. Peace is unmitigated good."
Rove took the time to pose for a picture with Kimberlin and his daughter, after which he sent us both the photos and the following, rather amusing description of the encounter...
Brad, I sent you pics from my cell phone today of Karl Rove’s car and him in the Safeway Supermarket line. He saw me taking pictures of him, and said that I could take a picture with him, but his wife had to clear the writing on my T-Shirt first, which said, Nils Lofgren, Break Away Angel. Rove said, Nils is good, and that I must be good too so he took a picture with me and my daughter Kelsie.
He then asked what we were going to do today [Memorial Day], and I said we are going to remember all the troops that Bush sent to be killed in this godforsaken war in Iraq. He then asked where I was from and I said, "VelvetRevolution, we support regime change here at home." He looked sick.
I then looked at what he bought and it was an entire shopping cart of toilet paper, Barq's root beer, and Land o' Lakes butter. That's it. No food whatsoever.
The photos of Kimberlin and Rove, and his swell butter-transporting Jaguar, follow below...
A letter sent today by the Department of Justice Inspector General's office to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) informs the chair and ranking member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that they are expanding their current probe into DoJ practices to including the politicization of hiring practices, as discussed during Monica Goodling's recent testimony before the committee.
The DoJ IG letter is posted in full at the end of this article.
Here's the statement in response to the letter today as sent to The BRAD BLOG earlier this afternoon:
"The Inspector General's decision to further expand its investigation into the politicization of the Justice Department demonstrates the clear need for oversight. Ms. Goodling's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee indicated that political litmus tests were administered to applicants for some career, nonpolitical positions within the Department. This gives me great concern and reinforces the need to continue with our investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings and related matters."
And they say there's not a vast rightwing conspiracy?
Glen Greenwald at Salon details dozens of no-uncertain-terms statements from Fox "News" and the near entirety of the wingnut blogosphere asserting that Valerie Plame was "not covert" in her role as a CIA agent. Despite myriad evidence for years, Plame's own sworn testimony to Congress, the admission by CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, and a court-filing last Friday which included an employment record from the CIA stating that she was, in fact, covert at the time she was outed by members of the Bush Administration, the sorry bunch of operatives who control the mainstream media, and a huge chunk of the blogosphere, refuse to admit they were simply wrong from the get-go. Period.
Says Greenwald today:
Many people who listen to right-wing commentators such as these get their "news" about the world primarily, even exclusively, from these sources. And these sources, knowing that, routinely create their own self-affirming though wildly warped realities, in the process denying the most established facts or asserting propositions for which there is no factual basis.
They had no basis at the time for making such statements. But, as they so often do, they made them anyway, because those statements helped to defend the Leader and bolster their political agenda. Most of all, they know that their readers will trust what they say even when those statements are demonstrably false.
These falsehoods are never acknowledged, let alone retracted, because they are a critical part of the role they play.
Just a few of the dozens of examples (most linked to the original sourcing over there) supplied by Greenwald...
Fred Barnes, Fox News Special Report: "She wasn't even a covert agent or anything."
Mark Levin, National Review: "Despite all the hype, it appears that Plame works a desk job at the CIA...it didn't make her a covert operative when Bob Novak mentioned her in his July 14, 2003, column."
Washington Times Editorial: "[W]hen columnist Robert Novak first mentioned in passing that Mrs. Plame worked for the CIA, she was not functioning as a covert agent."
Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds: "[I]t seems as clear as anything in this affair that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent the day before Novak's column."
Rich Galen, Republican strategist, CNN's Situation Room: "She was not a covert --- and we call them officers, not agents. . . We're arguing whether or not she was a covert agent at the time and I'm saying she was not."
Alexander Haig, CNN: "[Plame] was really a bureaucrat and not a covert operator."
John Hinderaker, Powerline Blog: "Scooter Libby mentioned the name of a non-covert CIA employee, Valerie Plame."
Barbara Lerner, National Review: "[S]he was not a classified agent because she was not covert."
Robert Novak, CNN's Crossfire: "Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative"
Fox "moderate" Mort Kondracke, Special Report with Brit Hume: "[S]he was not a covert officer, she was not a covert agent"
Laura Ingraham, Hannity & Colmes: "[T]hey knew that this was not a situation where Valerie Plame, at this point in time, at least, was a covert agent."
William Bennett, The O'Reilly Factor: "When this information was supposedly leaked about Valerie Plame, everybody went nuts. Turns out she wasn't covert."
It goes on and on, but you get the idea. Do the retractions and corrections similarly go on and on? Hardly. We've yet to see a single one. It's appalling. Imagine the circumstances had John Edwards or John Kerry or Hillary Clinton exposed the name of a covert CIA operative to the media. Would there be calls for treason trials from the same wingnut apologist-sphere? You bet.
We'll also await the many trolling dopes who have posted comments on these pages over the years, claiming that Plame was "not covert," to post their retractions here. We'll not hold our breath.
None of this is really news, of course. At least to those smart enough to seek out real news here. But to the rest of the world, carrying on blithely ignorant of the historic treason that has been and is being carried out by our own Government, this all would likely come as a shock. Fortunately for the wingnuts, none of this will even be a story for our corporate MSM.
RELATED: Be sure to read Greenwald's weekend story about a more recent similar embarrassment for the armchair Sam Spades of the wingnut blogosphere, and the lack of apologies and retractions thereof when they were revealed to be wrong. Again. As well, please see Eric Boehlert's February article detailing how the Washington Post aids and abets the fact-challenged rightwing blogosphere truth-haters, like Michelle Malkin and friends, while almost completely ignoring those of us who actually bother to diligently take the time to base our reporting on independently verifiable reality.
What follows is a short compilation of video footage I took when visiting New Orleans earlier this month. While some parts of the city have made significant progress, the poorer and lower situated areas like the Lower 9th Ward remain devastated. Yet, the most difficult part for me was not viewing the destruction but witnessing the lack of activity, building, people, hope. All were conspicuously absent. Hence the final clip taken from the Convention Center just after Katrina of the stranded masses chanting for help. Although 20 months have passed since those desperate cries, it seems we are still waiting for someone to hear them.
The music is "Monday Night In New Orleans" by Kermit Ruffins (and The Barbeque Swingers) who, for my money, is the best living musician in the city.
Special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald has made it clearer than ever that he was hot on the trail of a coordinated campaign to out CIA agent Valerie Plame until that line of investigation was cut off by the repeated lies from Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
[W]hen his motives have been attacked during court proceedings, Fitzgerald has occasionally shown flashes of anger --- and has hinted that he and his investigative team suspected more malfeasance at higher levels of government than they were able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
In Friday's eminently readable court filing, Fitzgerald quotes the Libby defense calling his prosecution "unwarranted, unjust, and motivated by politics." In responding to that charge, the special counsel evidently felt obliged to put Libby's crime in context. And that context is Dick Cheney.
Froomkin's eminently readable report goes on to cover admissions (yet again) from Fitzgerald which demonstrate that Plame was indeed covert when she was outed --- for the first time in the history of the country --- by our own Government, much less members of the Executive Branch possibly as high as the Vice-President or even higher.
MSNBC reports on the new covert status confirmation (yet again) for Plame, describing a newly declassified employment record released by the CIA, which (yet again) underscores the point:
The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD [Counterproliferation Division], Plame, "engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business." The report says, "she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times." When overseas Plame traveled undercover, "sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias --- but always using cover --- whether official or non-official (NOC) --- with no ostensible relationship to the CIA."
We look forward to the outpouring of corrections and retractions from disgraced GOP attorney/disinfo expert, Victoria Toensing, and her many ass clown supporters in the rightwing blogosphere who reported otherwise --- in no uncertain terms --- for years on end. Those apologies will be coming in any second, no doubt, since the wingnuts are always so very good when it comes to their appreciation of journalistic ethics and the like.
Froomkin's WaPo report focuses on Cheney's involvement in leaking the name of the covert CIA asset, quoting from Fitzgerald's recent court filing: "The evidence at trial further established that when the investigation began, Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson's CIA employment."
And this: "[T]here was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President."
He quotes much more on what Fitz had to say in his filing which drew a bead most directly, for the first time, onto the man who still calls himself Vice President of the United States and concludes the point with this:
I suspect that people looking back on this story will see it with greater clarity: As a blatant --- and thus far successful --- cover-up for the vice president.
Give it a read for all of that, as well as the amusing argument the defense is now making about why the letters of support for Libby that they've had sent to the Judge, requesting leniency, should not be released to the public (Hint: It's those nasty bloggers again!)
UPDATE: Plame's former CIA classmate Larry Johnson, an ex-spook himself, takes a well-deserved victory lap which begins: "Victoria Toensing, Cliff May, Byron York and the other rightwing apologists who have long insisted that Valerie Plame Wilson was not undercover have some 'splaining' to do." Uh, yeah. But don't hold your breath, Larry.
As 10 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq on Memorial Day alone, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, is oblivious to how many actually been killed in this absurd farce total so far...
"When you take a look at the life of a nation and all that's required to keep us free, we had more than 3,000 Americans murdered on 11 September, 2001. The number who have died, sacrificed themselves since that time is approaching that number," General Pace told CBS Early Show's Harry Smith. "And we should pay great respect and thanks to them for allowing us to live free."
As RAW STORY, who pointed out Pace's grotesque and embarrassing error reported, 3,455 troops had been killed in Iraq at the time of Pace's statement. That number long ago eclipsed the 2,996 (as opposed to the "more than 3,000 Americans") killed on 9/11.
As of this morning, the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq is up to 3,466. But hey, it's just a few more dead people, so why quibble?
As well, 209 of those killed on 9/11 were not Americans, but rather foreign nationals. Which doesn't make a difference, other than Pace failed to include the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans which have been killed in his war.
"At least 146 contract workers were killed in Iraq in the first three months of the year," the NY Times recently reported, "That brings the total number of contractors killed in Iraq to at least 917, along with more than 12,000 wounded in battle or injured on the job, according to government figures and dozens of interviews."
And yes, Pace also failed to account for the 309 dead U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
All of which brings the most conservative grand total of dead U.S. citizens up to 4,675. All in brilliant retaliation for the 2,787 killed on 9/11. Heckuva job, Bushies.
One might think a 4-star Marine General serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would feel a responsibility to have an accurate understanding of such statistics and be able to report them a bit more accurately --- on Memorial Day of all days --- even as they change by the hour. One, apparently, would be wrong to make such an assumption.
CORRECTION: We originally reported that Pace was an Army General. He is actually a Marine. We regret the error, are happy to clarify it, and look forward to Pace's correcting his own error.
*** Investigative Journalist Greg Palast replies to Internet commentary following his Exclusive Report filed here at The BRAD BLOG on Monica Goodling's testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week, including her admissions concerning "Vote Caging" by former Karl Rove aide, now Arkansas U.S. Attorney, Tim Griffin.
Saturday morning, when most sensible folks were unfurling flags or taking their setters and children for a Memorial Day frisbee toss on the beach, someone using the nom d’puter of “DRATIONAL” was in his big sister’s bedroom furiously typing, “Greg Palast is Dangerous!” on her iMac.
Drat is quite right: I am dangerous, though not for the reasons in Drat’s screed.
So while the twins are off with the dog, let me respond between bites of this bagel, beginning with this immutable distinction:
There’s two kinds of illiterates in this world: those who can’t read, for whom I’m entirely sympathetic — and those who CAN read but WON’T, for whom I have no sympathy whatsoever.
Drat is of the latter. He (she/them/it?) has mounted a full-scale assault on the seven-year-long effort of my BBC and Guardian team investigating systematic suppression of the minority vote by the Republican Party and our latest revelation: ‘caging voters.’ His “evidence” is 100% limited to snippets of my conversations on talk radio or phone interviews, second-hand reports on websites and some musings of one of my good researchers, Zach Roberts, posted to this site.
Nowhere does he suggest he’s bothered reading the one hundred-page description of the attack on voters, including caging, in the new edition of Armed Madhouse. Shame that. Law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., using the book as a source, verified by his own corroborative work, found the matter therein convincing enough to call for putting Rove’s right hand man, Tim Griffin, “in prison, not in office.”
Picking up a book won’t hurt you, Mr. Drat, at least until Patriot Act IV goes into effect...
Veteran's Day is intended to honor and remember the sacrifices of those who came home from our nation's wars and military actions around the world, and celebrate their ongoing contribution to society. Memorial Day is reserved for remembrance of those we have lost.
This day does not occur in a vacuum --- aside from the opportunity to gather with family and friends, it is one of those days that reminds us we are all Americans, all joined together in a shared journey through history.
Please take a moment today to remember those souls who have served and passed from us. Take a moment to thank their family members, who have also sacrificed, who have borne the loss of their loved ones in the service of our country. Take a moment to reach out to a veteran who has surely lost friends in the battlefield, and let them know you have not forgotten. Take a moment to reach out to a current service member and their family, and let them know they are not forgotten or invisible.
Take a moment to visit your local military cemetery, to teach the young ones among you why we do this every year on the last Monday in May --- show them who has gone before them, teach them that there is a special place reserved in our hearts for those who have served our country, in war and peace, and why.
Regardless of whether you agree with the policies that have placed our service members in harm's way, these individual men and women in our military family are each unique American individuals, with mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children, extended family, friends, co-workers... each has a constellation of hearts bound to them. (Oddly, there is no special day for the families of those who have served.)
It is not humanly possible to fully comprehend the loss of each and every one of these souls, or to adequately sum up each of their lives, but we can strive to remember them, honor them, and honor the sacrifice of those they have left behind.
Wherever an American service member remains in harm's way, we will strive to bring them home safely, so that we may honor and celebrate them, in person, on Veteran's Day. And we will continue to work and pray for a time to come when we will have no new losses to grieve on Memorial Day.
Following, some food for thought in contemplation on this Day of Memory...
[UPDATE: The audio from the conference call is now available in full here, along with a two-minute preview. The folks at the Backbone Campaign tell me it was a great turnout, rivaled only by Noam Chomsky's conference call with the group. Not bad considering it was Memorial Day at that. Other conference calls from their Progressive Shadow Cabinet series are available here. Thanks to all who showed up, as well as the good folks at the Backbone Campaign!]
I'm the featured guest for a BackboneCampaign.org conference call on Monday night. Please join us if you can. You can email questions and RSVP in advance, or otherwise wait until the call to give me all the hell you like, if you prefer
RSVP for Monday's Conversation with Brad Friedman On the Front Lines for Voting Rights & Election Integrity
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As we mentioned yesterday, when we posted the Maher interview with Ron Paul, the final Real Time of the season kicked ass, and Maher killed (sorry, Dredd) from top to bottom. Here's his closing "New Rules" of the season so you can decide for yourselves. Enjoy...