GUEST: Independent journalist, FOIA activist Brandon Smith...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2015, 4:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Desi Doyen and I are finally back from a week of maddening illness over the holiday! My enormous thanks to Nicole Sander of RadioOrNot.com for her generously quick-footed and quick-witted guest-hosting in our absence!

First up today is a quick review of what we can (or can't) look forward to over the next two weeks in Paris, where the largest gathering of world leaders in history is now underway in hopes of carving out a "final" agreement to curb the global emissions that cause deadly climate change. We will have much more on the COP21 conference as it unfolds over the next two weeks.

Then it's onto the rightwing extremism --- from the Black Lives Matter protesters shot in Minneapolis to the attack at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs --- that took place over the past week. As we note, it wasn't ISIS or Syrian refugees threatening our nation last week. Rather, as made clear once again, "the call is coming from inside the house."

Finally, we are joined for the interview by independent journalist Brandon Smith of the blog Muckrakery. It was Smith's persistent work and FOIA requests and lawsuit (along with the efforts of independent activists and attorneys) that eventually led to the release last week of the Chicago PD dash-cam video showing the outrageous killing of 17-year old Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke who has now been charged with first-degree murder.

"The Freedom of Information Act," Smith explains, "can be used by anyone. So, if you're reading a news story and something sounds fishy to you, you can ask for any document or piece of information. It's your government. It's your responsibility, and mine too, to hold them accountable for what they do with their positions of power."

We discuss why it took more than a year for the Chicago Police to release the tape during its cover up of an apparent murder, whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel has responded sufficiently, and what we still do not know about the killing. (For example: What happened to the audio on that video tape?; What about the surveillance video allegedly deleted by cops at the Burger King?; Why didn't the corporate media file suit to get at the video themselves?; And what of all of those other officers at the scene who failed to take action, or lied about it, after witnessing Van Dyke pump 16 bullets into McDonald --- the first two while he was walking away from them, the other 14 while he was shot, on the ground, and a threat to nobody?)

"I'm just trying to report the story of police brutality in Chicago," Smith tells me while describing how much remains unknown and what he plans to FOIA next. "We want to know who knew what about the case, and how long they kept it hidden, and kept that story out there that Laquan was acting erratically and threatening officers. Not only that, but keeping the video secret and fighting the release of the video which would tell people this was a murder, according to the prosecutors."

All of that and more today on what is clearly just the tip of the very bad and racially-based policing in the Windy City and beyond...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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