Sunday, March 18, 2012

Brick TeeVee and the Lies on Wall Street!

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Lies on Wall St. Over at we now have what everyone's been waiting for! Robosigned | Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Documents Released, Read Them Here! See Mike Papantonio with attorney Peter Mougey about what this settlement actually means in plain English at our Ring of Fire section below. Yves Smith at NakedCapitalism digs into the details with The Legal Lie at the Heart of the $8.5 Billion Bank of America and Federal/State Mortgage Settlements .... Bear in mind that investors, analysts, and commentators have objected to the very premise of this arrangement. A settlement involves a release of liability, and in anything other than the through-the-looking-glass world of rule by banks, the party that did the bad stuff is the one that pays for the settlement. This deal is like stealing your neighbor’s gold watch and using it to resolve charges of embezzlement. But what about this investor approval that Donovan says he has? He has told both journalists and mortgage investors directly that the bulk of the mods will come from Countrywide deals and he has consent via the $8.5 billion Bank of America/Bank of New York settlement. Huh? First, it seems more that a bit cheeky to rely on a major piece of a program via a deal that has not yet gone through (the Bank of America settlement was removed to Federal court and has now been sent back to state court, and there will be discovery in the state court process, so approval is not imminent). But second and more important, investors approved nothing. Bank of New York is trying to act well outside its authority as trustee for the 530 Countrywide trusts in the settlement. It’s tantamount to having a friend that you gave a medical power of attorney claim that it gave him the authority to sell your car and write checks on your account. ..... It is hard to conclude anything other than that Gibbs & Bruns, the firm representing Bank of New York, lied to the court about what the settlement constitutes and what the PSAs permit. The PSAs have very clear terms on modifications and changing them should require an amendment. But lying to the court seems to be standard operating procedure for Kathy Patrick, the partner leading the settlement deal. Alison Frankel of Reuters described how Gibbs & Bruns lied about why they were leading this action: [....] You need to read the Alison Frankel article in full to have some appreciation as to what happened. .... It’s not hard to guesstimate that this settlement is worth easily ten times the $8.5 billion Bank of America plans to pony up. And Mr. Market agrees. BofA’s stock was trading below $6 when both settlements were in doubt; it’s now up more than 33%, closing last Friday at $8.05. So why would Pimco and Blackrock abandon a strategy that would seem likely to bear more fruit? Recall that Blackrock signed on to the Gibbs & Bruns negotiated settlement while it was still 49% owned by Merrill, um, Bank of America. So its motives seem straightforward, even if they also happen to be a breach of its fiduciary duty to its investors. .... Now let’s go back to the Donovan lie, which depends on the Gibbs & Bruns lie not being challenged by the court, or the $8.5 billion settlement not coming unglued for some other reason. .... Now the railroading of investors may not seem all that important to many of you. But you are in fact all exposed. Yes its LIES LIES LIES all over the place in this alleged "deal" so read all the details at NakedCapitalism! Next Tyler Durden reports The Greek PSI Lawsuits Begin You didn't think investors would voluntarily give up on the potential to generate returns between 50% and 333% now did you following the 'coercively voluntary' (aka Schrodinger Spanish Inquisition) Greek debt exchange? Because here they come. Reuters reports that a Hamburg law firm representing 110 Greek bond holders have formed a class action group and intend to sue banks and the Greek state following the Greek swap. It is unclear yet if there are any hedge funds participating in the group, or if these are the entities represented by Bingham. Most likely not: those will almost certainly seek non-class action status so as not to dilute the legal effort, if not fees. However, now that the precedent is set, look for the onslaught of lawsuits to start in earnest. What is probably quite important is that European taxpayers will now be delighted to know they are paying the Troika lawyers' $1000/hour legal fees (and uncapped expenses). .... Zerohedge also has Zeus Yiamouyiannis, from Of Two Minds with this Guest Post: Money from Nothing - A Primer On Fake Wealth Creation And Its Implications (Part 1) This primer will detail the major components and basic evolution of fake wealth creation, accelerating debt expansion, hollowing out of the economy, and inevitable financial implosion. Stage one—Fiat money origination, multiplication, and distribution. Do read this great primer on "How we got here". Then WATCH this ten-minute VIDEO "How Goldman Sachs masked Greece's debt"! Nomi Prins also has a Guest Post: The Audacity of Bonuses At MF Global In the spirit of George Orwell’s Animal Farm commandment: “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal then others” comes the galling news that bankruptcy trustee, Louis Freeh, could approve the defunct, MF Global to pay bonuses to certain senior executives. This, despite the fact that nearly $1.6 billion of customer funds remains “missing” or otherwise partially accounted for, yet beyond the reach of those customers, perhaps forever, since before the firm declared bankruptcy on October 31, 2011. .... Three wrinkles of audacity underscore the potential MF Global bonus approvals. First, there is the moral responsibility layer. MF Global, classified as a broker-dealer wasn’t specifically subject to the investment-advisor fiduciary rule that requires ‘systemic safety and soundness’’ with respect to retail customers. But, comingling customers’ funds inappropriately with the firm’s, as former chief, Jon Corzine’s European bets were blowing up, was an abject misinterpretation of the rule's intent. Aside from that, MF Global lied about funds segregation to its customers, which constitutes fraud. The final page of the firm’s brochure touts “the strict physical separation of clients’ assets from MF Global accounts.” ..... The reason for possibly allowing bonuses for MF Global chief operating officer, Bradley I. Abelow, finance chief, Henri J. Steenkamp, and general counsel, Laurie R. Ferber follows the same twisted logic pervading Wall Street: no one else can do the job as well. These people are apparently so special that despite incompetence, negligence or potential malfeasance in diverting customers’ funds away from their rightful spots, their expertise is critical to the bankruptcy proceeding. In that realm, their ‘job performance’ will help Freeh "maximize value for creditors of the company”. Translation: it will ensure banks like JPM Chase keep their cut, since customers are not creditors. Again, plain wrong. But forget simple matters of right and wrong for a moment. After all, this is Big Finance: what's most important is what’s not necessarily what’s legal or illegal, but more practically, what you can get away with and what you can’t. In that regard, the sheer impotence of regulators, the Department of Justice, and the FBI are enabling factors in perpetuating financial crimes. ..... Meanwhile, two senators have taken on the bonus-pay fight. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee investigating MF Global, wrote to Freeh that the plan is "unacceptable." Senator Jon Tester (D., Mont.), whose constituency includes a number of farmers with funds in the ‘missing’ category, called it "outrageous.” Next Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone comments On Goldman Executive Greg Smith's Brave Departure Wall Street is buzzing this morning about a resignation – a historic one. Greg Smith, the executive director and head of Goldman Sachs’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, not only decided to quit Goldman, he decided to do it in the New York Times, eloquently deconstructing the firm’s moral slide in a lengthy op-ed piece. The essence of Smith’s piece is devastating. He points to one simple, specific problem in the company: the fact that Goldman routinely screws its own clients. .... The resignation will have an effect on Goldman’s business. The firm’s share price opened this morning at 124.52; it’s down to 120.72 as of this writing (it dropped two percent while I was writing this blog), and it will probably dive further. Why? Because you can stack all the exposés on Goldman you want by degenerates like me and the McClatchy group, and you can even have a Senate subcommittee call for your executives to be tried for perjury, but that doesn’t necessarily move the Street. But when one of the firm’s own partners is saying out loud that his company liked to "rip the eyeballs out" of "muppets" like you, then you start to wonder if maybe this firm is the best choice for managing your money. Hence we see headlines this morning like this item from "Greg Smith Quits, Should Clients Fire Goldman Sachs?" This always had to be the endgame for reforming Wall Street. It was never going to happen by having the government sweep through and impose a wave of draconian new regulations, although a more vigorous enforcement of existing laws might have helped. Nor could the Occupy protests or even a monster wave of civil lawsuits hope to really change the screw-your-clients, screw-everybody, grab-what-you-can culture of the modern financial services industry. ...... The game now is about getting paid as much as possible and as quickly as possible, and if your client doesn’t like the way you managed his money, well, fuck him – let him try to find someone else on the market to deal him straight. These guys have lost the fear of going out of business, because they can’t go out of business. After all, our government won’t let them. Beyond the bailouts, they’re all subsisting daily on massive loads of free cash from the Fed. No one can touch them, and sadly, most of the biggest institutional clients see getting clipped for a few points by Goldman or Chase as the cost of doing business. The only way to break this cycle, since our government doesn't seem to want to end its habit of financially supporting fraud-committing, repeat-offending, client-fleecing banks, is for these big "muppet" clients to start taking their business elsewhere. ...... Update: Well, the blowback is already here. The Wall Street Journal this morning has stooped already to helping Goldman smear Smith. Here's their take: [.....] You just knew that sooner or later, the bank was going to come out and say that Smith was actually a janitor in Goldman's Mozambique office or something. It's just surprising they did it so quickly. Anyone who reads these critiques and even thinks about believing them should go back and look at Senator Levin's report on Goldman..... Wait! There's more! ZeroHedge reveals Terminated CBO Whistleblower Shares Her Full Story With Zero Hedge, Exposes Deep Conflicts At "Impartial" Budget Office ....What we are 100% certain of, however, is that yet another whistleblower has stepped up, this time one already known to the general public, and one that Zero Hedge covered just over a month ago: we refer to the case of former CBO worker, Lan T. Pham, who, as the WSJ described in early February, "alleges she was terminated [by the CBO] after 2½ months for sharing pessimistic outlooks for the banking and housing sectors in 2010" and who "alleges supervisors stifled opinions that contradicted economic fixes endorsed by some on Wall Street, including research from a Morgan Stanley economist who served as a CBO adviser. As part of the review, Sen. Grassley's staff is examining whether Wall Street firms or others exert influence that compromises the office's independence." As we observed in February, "what is most troubling is if indeed the CBO is nothing but merely another front for Wall Street to work its propaganda magic on the administration. Because at the core of every policy are numbers, usually with dollar signs in front of them, numbers which have to make sense and have to be projected into the future, no matter how grossly laughable the resultant hockeystick." As it turns out, somewhat expectedly, the WSJ version of events was incomplete. There is much more to this very important story, one which has major implications over "impartial" policy decisionmaking, and as a result, Ms. Pham has approached Zero Hedge to share her full story with the public. As we stated earlier, we will present any and every whistleblower's statement in its entirety, and without editing, and so we will, however we want to bring our readers' attention to several key aspects of Ms. Pham's termination from the CBO, because it may have substantial implications over the enacted $25 billion robosigning settlement. The reason for this is that Ms. Pham was fired because of her work voicing skepticism over precisely the same 'chain of title' validity issues that snarled foreclosure to a halt for much of 2011, which as Adam Levitin has said present a "potential systemic risk to the US economy" and which have necessitated the recently enacted Robosettlement to avoid massive losses for the banks (and in the process yet another shadow taxpayer bailout for the Too Big To Fail banks). The bottom line is that the CBO was warned at least by Ms. Pham (and possibly others) over the dangers of precisely the issue that Attorneys General are scrambling to shove under the rug in exchange for a wristslap to all mortgage originators (i.e., the same banks that somehow are now getting bailed out by taxpayers and the GSEs on an annual basis). And just like every other issue that merely gets a cosmetic and very transitory liquidity facelift, nothing ever is actually fixed. .... Here are some key remarks:
  • ...excerpts from my letter to Senator Grassley: …Issues at the heart of the foreclosure problems pertain to securitization….and the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), which purports to have legal standing on electronic records of ownership on about 65 million…mortgages… MERS…facilitated Wall Street’s ability to expedite the pooling of subprime mortgages into MBSs by bypassing standard ownership transfer procedures as the housing bubble escalated .... risks put into question the ability of investors or bondholders to make claims on the collateral (the homes) that underlies trillions of dollars in MBSs, the bulk of which are now guaranteed by …Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This affects $10 trillion in residential mortgage debt outstanding, of which $7 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBSs)…
  • “The chain of title problems are highly technical issues, but they pose a potential systemic risk to the US economy. If mortgages were not properly transferred in the securitization process, then mortgage-backed securities would in fact not be backed by any mortgages whatsoever…"
  • Essentially, the chain of title on securitized mortgages appears broken, whether or not there is a foreclosure. ... Recall that these same entities founded MERS, which expedited securitization and purported to have foreclosure authority from its electronic records of ownership on about 65 million mortgages. “Robo-signing” emerged as fraudulent or defective documents were used or created to establish the legal authority to foreclose as MERS faced legal challenges; as of July 22, 2011, foreclosures could no longer be initiated in MERS’ name. At last year’s pace, some figures suggest it could take lenders in New York 62 years to clear their foreclosure inventory, 49 years in New Jersey and a decade in Florida, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
  • ....if the entity that has been taking the homeowners’ mortgage payments is not the real owner, what happens when the true owner(s) of the mortgage shows up? Are homeowners on the hook again for those ‘missed’ mortgage payments?
Scott Shane at NYT reports U.S. Supporters of Iranian Group Face Scrutiny For more than a year, prominent former American officials have been giving well-paid speeches in support of an Iranian opposition group that is fighting to reverse its 15-year-old designation by the State Department as a terrorist organization. Now the Treasury Department appears to have begun an inquiry to see whether the speaking fees were being paid by the group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen, known as the M.E.K. Americans are prohibited by law from doing business with designated terrorist groups. Edward G. Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and an outspoken supporter of the M.E.K., said on Monday that William Morris Endeavor, which handles his speaking engagements, received a subpoena last week seeking information on fees he had received for M.E.K.-related speeches. The Treasury Department declined to comment on whether it is conducting an investigation. But the subpoena to Mr. Rendell, earlier reported by The Washington Times, raises the possibility that a long list of former officials who have accepted fees to speak on behalf of the M.E.K., including former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, could come under scrutiny for any payments traced to the group. .... The M.E.K., which supported Saddam Hussein and is described by critics as a cult, has faced open hostility from the current Iraqi government, which has close relations to Iran. Iraqi security forces clashed last year with M.E.K. supporters at Camp Ashraf, resulting in the death of at least 36 of the camp residents. Mr. Rendell said he thought it was a “disgrace” that M.E.K. supporters had been killed with weapons supplied by the United States and despite promises of security for the camp from the Bush administration. He said he agreed to speak up for the group in part because he was dismayed by the violence and never would have spoken for the money alone. “I made a lot of money last year,” Mr. Rendell said. “I don’t need the money. I would never sacrifice my reputation for any amount of money.” .... Among former officials who have spoken for the M.E.K. at conferences are two former C.I.A. directors, R. James Woolsey and Porter J. Goss; a former F.B.I. director, Louis J. Freeh; a former attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey; President George W. Bush’s first homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge; President Obama’s first national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones; as well as prominent Republicans, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, and Democrats like Howard Dean, a former governor of Vermont. What are the chances any of these gentlemen will be charged with treason under the Espionage Act of 1917? For more info read Phillip Geraldi's The MEK’s Useful Idiots at and Scott Horton's interview with Reza Marashi below in our AntiWar Radio section. In a related matter The Nation's Jeremy Scahill appears on RT Jeremy Scahill: Obama After Whistleblowers Worldwide Common Dreams has the VIDEO! Scahill discusses his new piece at The Nation Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen? On February 2, 2011, President Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two discussed counterterrorism cooperation and the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At the end of the call, according to a White House read-out, Obama “expressed concern” over the release of a man named Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom Obama said “had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP.” It turned out that Shaye had not yet been released at the time of the call, but Saleh did have a pardon for him prepared and was ready to sign it. It would not have been unusual for the White House to express concern about Yemen’s allowing AQAP suspects to go free. Suspicious prison breaks of Islamist militants in Yemen had been a regular occurrence over the past decade, and Saleh has been known to exploit the threat of terrorism to leverage counterterrorism dollars from the United States. But this case was different. Abdulelah Haider Shaye is not an Islamist militant or an Al Qaeda operative. He is a journalist. Unlike most journalists covering Al Qaeda, Shaye risked his life to travel to areas controlled by Al Qaeda and to interview its leaders. He also conducted several interviews with the radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki. Shaye did the last known interview with Awlaki just before it was revealed that Awlaki, a US citizen, was on a CIA/JSOC hit list. ...... There is no doubt that Shaye was reporting facts that both the Yemeni and US government wanted to suppress. He was also interviewing people Washington was hunting. While the US and Yemeni governments alleged that he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda propaganda, close observers of Yemen disagree. “It is difficult to overestimate the importance of his work,” says Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University who had communicated regularly with Shaye since 2008. “Without Shaye’s reports and interviews we would know much less about Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula than we do, and if one believes, as I do, that knowledge of the enemy is important to constructing a strategy to defeat them, then his arrest and continued detention has left a hole in our knowledge that has yet to be filled.” .... “Certainly Shaye’s reports were an embarrassment for the US and Yemeni government, because at a time when both governments were seeking and failing to kill key leaders within AQAP, this single journalist with his camera and computer was able to locate these same leaders and interview them,” says Johnsen. “There is no publicly available evidence to suggest that Abdulelah was anything other than a journalist attempting to do his job, and it remains unclear why the US or Yemeni government refuse to present the evidence they claim to possess.” .... Much more to read! Also see Jeremy Scahill on DN! below. Carl Herman writes at Washington's Blog War Criminal Obama again threatens unlawful war with Iran: who will arrest him? President Obama criminally threatened to murder Iranians today (Wednesday) with fellow War Criminal British PM Cameron. The language in their press conference included multiple lies and insults. Let’s consider the history of the US with Iran before we consider what Obama said: ..... Read on for all the embedded links! Anybody remember when Dennis Kucinich read his Articles of Impeachment of the Bu$h regime on the U.S. House floor? The Dems will have NONE of that anymore! See Glenn Greenwald's Dennis Kucinich and “wackiness” Kucinich’s fate was basically sealed when the new district contained far more of Kaptur’s district than his. His 18-year stint in the House will come to an end when the next Congress is installed at the beginning of 2013. Establishment Democrats have long viewed Dennis Kucinich with a mixture of scorn, mockery and condescension. .... So let’s recap the state of mental health in establishment Democratic circles: the President who claims (and exercises) the power to target American citizens for execution-by-CIA in total secrecy and with no charges — as well as those who dutifully follow him — are sane, sober and Serious, meriting great respect. By contrast, one of the very few members of Congress who stands up and vehemently objects to this most radical power — “The idea that the United States has the ability to summarily execute a US citizen ought to send chills racing up and down the spines of every person of conscience” — is a total wackjob, meriting patronizing mockery... We're betting the Impeachment of The Great O!rator is "off the table" as the Administration is leaning toward yet another illegal war. We would be remiss in our weekly missive if we didn't mention the senseless killing in Afghanistan last week. Said The Great O!rator "The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous, and it's unacceptable. It's not who we are as a country, and it does not represent our military." (link) Let's parse this a bit: "It's not who we are as a country." No. It isn't. It's just you and your psychopath friends in the "MILITARY Industrial Media" complex. " does not represent our military." But isn't that the definition of Military? Military people launching cruz missiles from ships, dropping cluster and DU bombs from the sky, firing chemical weapons and generally shooting at will, from checkpoints to mosques, ALL AT civilian areas!! How are the drone operators any different from the "troop" who went off on this village when it comes to murder? They just call it "collateral damage" now, don't they? Well posse comitatus is legal again. At the same time habeas corpus is suspended. Fourth Amendment? Nah. FIRST AMENDMENT? Not so much. Words vs. actions. How stupid does he think the 99% of the world is? See BBC 13 Mar 2012 THAT SAME DAY Pakistan: US drones 'kill 15' in South Waziristan The US does not normally comment on drone operations, which have killed hundreds of people in recent years, but in January President Barack Obama confirmed for the first time that the covert programme targets militants on Pakistani soil. .... and from ONE YEAR AGO in Salon U.S. doesn’t count civilians killed by drones The big focus of the Obama administration in the last week has been, in President Obama’s words, “to stop the violence against civilians.” That’s in Libya, of course, where Moammar Gadhafi was threatening to quell a rebellion based in Benghazi. In this context, it’s particularly striking to read the news from the ACLU — which has been waging a legal battle to wring information from the government about American drone strikes — that the military doesn’t even keep a tally of civilian deaths caused by drones: [...] While the Pentagon does apparently have “individual assessment” reports on each drone strike, the government has said those are classified, ACLU attorney Jonathan Manes tells me. Moreover, these attacks typically are in areas — like Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan — where it’s extremely difficult for reporters to operate safely and on their own. Thanks to the work of independent researchers, we do have some information on civilians killed by drones. The administration, of course, says that all possible steps are taken to limit civilian casualties. But it’s impossible to scrutinize that claim when the government is keeping all the data secret. Grrrr. To illustrate this point we return to Glenn Greenwald NPR and NYT on Americans v. Afghans: So as we can see, while Afghans don’t seem to mind civilian slaughter — as evidenced by the less-than-robust street protests in Kabul — Americans actually cherish human life and thus will simply not tolerate it. Do read all of this, Greenwald's most tongue-in-cheek account yet. And catch Glenn on Ring of Fire Radio below! MEANWHILE Gareth Porter describes how Alleged Photos of "Clean-up" at Iran's Parchin Site Lack Credibility at News stories about satellite photographs suggesting efforts by Iran to "sanitize" a military site that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said may have been used to test nuclear weapons have added yet another layer to widely held suspicion that Iran must indeed be hiding a covert nuclear weapons program. But the story is suspect, in part because it is based on evidence that could only be ambiguous, at best. The claim does not reflect U.S. intelligence, and a prominent think tank that has published satellite photography related to past controversies surrounding Iran's nuclear program has not found any photographs supporting it. ..... The satellite photographs described to Jahn did not come from U.S. intelligence. Former CIA counter-terrorism official Phil Giraldi told IPS that a U.S. intelligence official had confirmed to him that the officials in question were not talking about intelligence provided by U.S. intelligence. U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland refused to answer specific questions at a Mar. 8 briefing about whether U.S. intelligence had such satellite photos or whether the U.S. believes that such intelligence exists. She referred to such intelligence only in the conditional tense. "Any evidence that Iran is seeking to cover its tracks would raise only further concern about the true nature of the program," she said. That means that the officials were either from Israel or one of its three European allies -- the British, French and Germans -- who have been working closely with Israel to undermine and finally force a revision of the U.S. intelligence community's 2007 conclusion that Iran has not worked on developing a nuclear weapon since 2003. Israel provided a series of documents to the IAEA after that intelligence estimate -- as recounted by former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in his 2011 memoir -- aimed at proving that Iran had secretly tested a detonator for an implosion device and had worked on a neutron initiator as recently as 2007. The timing of the story -- just after the possibility of an IAEA inspection visit to the site had been suggested by Iran -- is also suspect. ... Further casting doubt on the motive behind the story, the same allegation was made to the same AP reporter more than three and a half months earlier. On Nov. 22, Jahn reported that a single official of an unidentified state had "cited intelligence from his home country, saying it appears that Tehran is trying cover its tracks by sanitizing the site and removing any evidence of nuclear research and development." That assertion came in the wake of the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in November, as the IAEA Safeguards Department was planning to request a visit to the site at Parchin, where the agency had just reported nuclear weapons-related testing had been carried out in a large explosive containment chamber, according to unnamed "Member States." The claim of satellite intelligence showing Iranian efforts to clean up a site at Parchin has not been supported by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), the Washington, D.C. think tank that had defended allegations in last November's IAEA report about foreign expertise having assisted in the alleged construction of a containment vessel at Parchin in 2000. .... Speaking of Philip Giraldi, this former CIA officer outlines who is Lobbying for War: That the United States is in such a parlous condition is directly due to the effective work of Israel’s principal lobby in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has just completed its annual convention. Consider what AIPAC and its friends in Congress and the media have accomplished: Understanding that the truth about Iran would not support their case, they have completely skewed the narrative about the threat posed by that country. Iran has no nuclear weapon, has not made a decision to acquire one, and may not even have the technical ability or financial resources to do so even if its government decides to move in that direction. Yet, AIPAC has succeeded in convincing the American public that Iran is already a nuclear power and is somehow a threat to the United States, all despite the fact that Iran, far from being an aggressor, has been on the receiving end of covert operations run by Washington and Tel Aviv that have killed scores of Iranians. President Barack Obama has unhesitatingly endorsed the AIPAC line, emphasizing in his speech to that organization on March 4 that Iran is a security problem for the United States and the entire world, an elaboration straight out of Israel’s playbook that was noted approvingly by no less than Tom Friedman of The New York Times. Friedman asks “whether he [Obama] is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the most.” AIPAC has also been effective in lining up Capitol Hill in its support. ..... Why pick on Iran? Because that is what Israel wants (Israel, one might add, has, unlike Iran, attacked a number of its neighbors in recent years). Israel also possesses its own secret nuclear arsenal, giving it a combination of political recklessness and potentially cataclysmic military power that apparently causes no heartburn in Congress. ..... On March 9, 86 Republican members of Congress demonstrated how it will work, sending a letter to Obama pledging “unwavering support” for Israel and concluding that the White House must “make our offer of support and assistance to Israel crystal clear if Israel finds it necessary to take action against Iran.” So Israel is empowered to make the decision whether America goes to war or not, at least for those 86 Republicans, who would almost certainly be joined by numerous Democrats. Given that reality, if someone can come up with an alternative scenario in which automatic American involvement does not take place, it has yet to be explained plausibly. Will Obama simply refuse to play? In an election year? Not likely. Many are convinced the war is coming, including White House senior staff. So what can the rest of us do when the war comes? Very little. ..... Hmmmmmm. March 12, 2012 was "WORLD DAY AGAINST CYBER CENSORSHIP". Reporters Without Borders (RSF - Reporters sans frontieres) just released their new report "The 2012 list of the Enemies of the Internet" at Beset by online surveillance and content filtering, netizens fight on This report, which presents the 2012 list of countries that are “Enemies of the Internet” and “under surveillance,” updates the report published on 12 March 2011. ...In 2011, netizens were at the heart of the political changes in the Arab world and elsewhere. They tried to resist the imposition of a news and information blackout but paid a high price. At the same time, supposedly democratic countries continued to set a bad example by yielding to the temptation to prioritize security over other concerns and by adopting disproportionate measures to protect copyright. Internet users in “free” countries have learned to react in order to protect what they have won. Some governments stepped up pressure on technical service providers to act as Internet cops. Companies specializing in online surveillance are becoming the new mercenaries in an online arms race. Hacktivists are providing technical expertise to netizens trapped by a repressive regime’s apparatus. Diplomats are getting involved. More than ever before, online freedom of expression is now a major foreign and domestic policy issue. ...... Internet content filtering is growing but Internet surveillance is growing even more. Censors prefer to monitor dissidents’ online activities and contacts rather than try to prevent them from going online. The police chief in the United Arab Emirates, for example, has acknowledged that the police monitor social networks. The security services no longer interrogate and torture a prisoner for the names of his accomplices. Now they want his Facebook, Skype and Vkontakte passwords. It is the same in Bahrain, Turkmenistan or Syria. .... To enhance their surveillance abilities, repressive regimes turn to specialized companies for ever more effective equipment and software for filtering, monitoring and Deep Packet Inspection. The SpyFiles which WikiLeaks has published are a mine of information on the subject. The companies they use are very often western ones that have been lured by a very lucrative market. They include the US company BlueCoat, criticized for its activities in Syria, the French company Amesys, which supplied Col. Gaddafi, and Vodafone, the target of an ANHRI suit in Egypt. The Italian company AreaSpa finally pulled out of Syria after an international campaign criticizing its cooperation with the Assad regime. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution supporting tougher regulation of exports to repressive countries. A bill with similar aims is currently before the US congress. In her book Consent of the Networked, journalist and Internet specialist Rebecca MacKinnon has rightly stressed the need for Internet users the world over to raise questions about the way technology is used in order to ensure that their rights and freedoms are protected. ...... Speeches by U.S. officials on the importance of the fight against online censorship and their financial support for anti-censorship tools is belied by the treatment of WikiLeaks (see the Reporters Without Borders report on the United States and the Internet). Using Visa and MasterCard to cut off its access to funds has hampered the site’s operations. Bradley Manning, suspected of being one of WikiLeaks’ informers, has been detained for several months in dreadful conditions. The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is the subject of a “secret indictment” which Reporters Without Borders urges the U.S. authorities to clarify. Response of Internet users and netizens of the “free world” Internet users in Western countries cut their teeth with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Many of them took to the streets to protest against the repressive U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), which sacrificed Internet freedom for the sake of copyright protection. The operation Stop SOPA and the 24-hour blackout observed by many websites, including Wikipedia, mobilised Web users throughout the world who were potentially affected by these bills to an unprecedented extent. The campaign took off again with a new wave of protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which up till then had left most people indifferent despite campaigns by the NGOs La Quadrature du Net and Reporters Without Borders. Netizens from all sides understood that these bills could affect on their day-to-day activities. Eastern Europe spearheaded the campaign. Several governments held off ratification. Resistance to ACTA is stronger than ever and the treaty may not see the light of day. Vigilance must be maintained. The next target for Internet activists could be the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), proposed by the European Union to clamp down on infringements of intellectual property law, which could potentially lead to large-scale filtering of the Internet. Another blow for Web neutrality. ... So much more to read so click over there! Also see their Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 The Nation's Ari Berman explains The GOP War on Voting at Rolling Stone As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. "What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century," says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. "I don't want everybody to vote," the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. "As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP's effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process. All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans. Taken together, such measures could significantly dampen the Democratic turnout next year – perhaps enough to shift the outcome in favor of the GOP. .....A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. "Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere," joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. "It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning," the report calculated, "than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls." ..... Read the rest at RS and see Ari Berman's inverview on DN! below. In related voting matters BradBlog reports DOJ REJECTS TEXAS GOP'S POLLING PLACE PHOTO ID RESTRICTION LAW ....[Monday], the DoJ objected to the new law after determining that the state had not met it's "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect"... The finding was based on an analysis of two different sets of data submitted by TX to the DoJ for review in their Section 5 examination of the new law. Both sets were sent following a series of questions for TX by the DoJ last September when the federal agency also rejected the state's new Congressional redistricting plan, as similarly passed by Republicans and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry (R). At the time, the DoJ had determined that TX had created the new voting districts "at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to Congress." The redistricting was found to be purposely discriminatory and was rejected by the DoJ under Section 5 of the VRA.... and more good news from BradBlog Second Injunction, This One Permanent, Issued Against WI GOP's Photo ID Restriction Law In an unambiguous finding stating that "the legislature and governor have exceeded their constitutional authority" and that "voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression," a second Dane County Circuit court in less than a week, has determined that the Wisconsin GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction on voters is in strict violation of the state Constitution. [Monday], in his 12-page ruling on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess found that "Act 23," the new law which strips voters of their right to vote unless they are able to produce a state-issued Photo ID at the polling place violates the WI Constitution's Article III which guarantees the right to vote to all state residents who are 18 and over (Section 1) other than in cases where the legislature may place restrictions on convicted felons and those adjudicated to be incompetent (Section 2). Niess has issued a permanent injunction on the law today, in a complaint filed last October by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin arguing that legally registered voters would be unconstitutionally barred from exercising their guaranteed right to vote under the Republican's new restrictive law. ..... And THIS JUST IN from BradBlog: WI GOP Loses State Senate Majority as Republican Senator Resigns Before Recall State Sen. Pam Galloway --- one of four Wisconsin Senate Republicans scheduled to face upcoming recall elections in the still-redounding blowback from the state GOP's assault on collective bargaining rights last year --- has announced her resignation today. The result is that GOP's 17-16 majority over Democrats in the chamber prior to today (it had been a 19-14 majority until the first round of recall elections last year) is now gone. For the moment, the chamber is now evenly split at 16-16. The GOP has lost sole control of the chamber. Galloway is citing family health issues as the reason for her surprise resignation today. .... As per WI recall rules, the contest for her seat, the three other Senators and the offices of Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, will move forward as planned. The GOP will be allowed to replace Galloway on the ballot. The dates for those elections are now set for May 8th and June 5th. ... See our BradBlog section below for more info including Brad on RT shooting down another RW Loon spewing LIES about imaginary "voter fraud". Excellent! THEN Check out this film Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections an explosive new documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof. ... UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. Beyond increasing the public’s awareness, the film inspires greater citizen involvement in fixing a broken electoral system. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America. We leave our LAST WORD to MICHAEL MOORE who celebrates the 6-month anniversary of OWS at The Nation The Purpose of Occupy Wall Street Is to Occupy Wall Street Occupy Wall Street. What other political movement in modern times has won the sympathy and/or support of the majority of the American public—in less than two months? How did this happen? I think it was a revolt that has been percolating across the country since Reagan fired the first air traffic controller. Then, on September 17, 2011, a group of (mostly) young adults decided to take direct action. And this action struck a raw nerve, sending a shock wave throughout the United States, because what these kids were doing was what tens of millions of people wished they could do. The people who have lost their jobs, their homes, their “American dream”—they cathartically cheered on this ragtag bunch who got right in the face of Wall Street and said, “We’re not leaving until you give us our country back!” By purposely not creating a formal, hierarchical organization with rules and dues and structure and charismatic leaders and spokespeople—all the things their parents told them they would need in order to get anything done—this new way allowed people from all over the country to feel like they were part of the rebellion by simply deciding that they were part of the rebellion. You want to occupy your local bank—do it! You want to occupy your college board of trustees—done! You want to occupy Oakland or Cincinnati or Grass Valley—be our guest! This is your movement, and you can make it what you want it to be. .... But with Occupy Wall Street, you don’t have to convince the majority of Americans that greed rules Wall Street, that the banks have no one’s interests but their own at heart or that corporate America is out to squeeze every last bit of labor and wages out of everyone’s pocket. Everybody gets it. Even those who oppose it. The hardest part of this or any movement—building a majority—has already happened. The people are with us. So now what do we do? Here’s what we don’t do: don’t turn Occupy Wall Street into another bureaucratic, top-down organization. That will certainly kill it. Baby boomers who grew up working within traditional organizations need to calm down and not shoehorn this movement into the old paradigm of “Let’s elect people to office and then lobby them to pass good laws!” Let Occupy take its natural course. The candidates for office that we need are in this movement. (Are you one of them? Why not? Someone has to do it, and it would be better if it was you!) .... And in town after town across America, people need to do similar things, but on a local level. Evictions of people who have been foreclosed upon must be met by citizens occupying the front door of the repossessed home and nonviolently blocking the bank from tossing the family out to the curb. When a neighbor can’t get the medical procedure she needs, people in town must occupy the hospital or the lobby of the insurance company. When a university raises students’ tuition for the umpteenth time, those students must occupy the administration’s office until the board of trustees relents. It’s important to remember, though, that Occupy Wall Street is about occupying Wall Street. The other Occupies that have sprung up around the country are in solidarity, and while they attack the tentacles and the symptoms of the beast that exist locally everywhere, the head can be chopped off only in one place—and that place is in downtown Manhattan, where this movement started and must continue..... they are taking a different path from ours. Let them. The kids are all right. Do they know where their path will lead? Not necessarily—but that’s the beauty of Occupy Wall Street. The mystery of what’s ahead is the lure. Millions want in on that adventure because, deep down, they know they have no choice. And they know that there’s more of them than the men on Wall Street who currently occupy America. They have no choice but to win. Well said Michael! Thanks! Of course the Sunday Beltway Bubalas won't go near most of this! First off FAKE SNOOZE gets GEORGE CLOONEY with the co-founder of the Enough Project JOHN PRENDERGAST! Can you believe it? This might be the ONE TIME ALL YEAR the propaganda outlet lets real news out but we're hedging our bets they use the interview to push for MORE WAR, this time with Hollywood heartthrob Clooney's recent experience in Sudan as their premise. How easy! Throw bibles at SICK SANITARIUM and Mississippistan Guv HALEY BARBOUR on This Snufagopolis and bricks at REINCE PRIEBUS on Face the Bob. CLOONEY will also be on Meet the David after JOHN "Bomb bomb bomb Iran" MCCAIN. Save a few Brick Bibles for Sanitarium on State of the Candy and GOPher hack ED GILLESSPIE also on Face the Bob. Stick with our regulars including Majority Report with RT's ALYONA host of The Alyona Show and RICHARD WOLFF plus Ring of Fire with ERIC BOEHLERT and GLENN GREENWALD, Max with CHRIS MARTENSON and the rest of the BTV Alerts and UPDATES on Bradley Manning! Good stuff the corporomedia won't mention! The Brick TeeVee Crew is watching the NCAA Bracketology games cheering on the #13 Ohio University's HUGE UPSET of #4 Michigan and the nail-biting #2 OSU Buckeye's win over #7 Gonzaga. And we're counting down the 24 Days until MLB Opening Day! We think the 70+ degree March weather is highly irregular despite what anti-science troglodyte James Inhofe (R-12th century) thinks! See Green News Report for details! Have a great week and as Mike says "The kids are alright!" Occupy somewhere!
Democracy NOW!
»»» Kabul-based peace activist "Hakim." @ Democracy NOW! Afghan Massacre: Peace Groups Call for U.S. Withdrawal After Army Sergeant Kills 16 Afghan Civilians March 12, 2012 & RELATED Afghan Massacre: After Losing Homes in NATO Attacks, Victims Moved Near U.S. Base Hoping for Safety with Graham Bowley of the New York Times March 14, 2012
»»» Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence @ Democracy NOW! Kathy Kelly on Afghan Humanitarian Crisis, Civilian Casualties and Drone Warfare March 12, 2012
»»» Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of the Kyoto-based group Green Action @ Democracy NOW! Contamination Fears Linger for Japanese Children, Workers One Year After Fukushima Meltdown March 12, 2012
»»» Arne Gundersen @ Democracy NOW! Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen: Fukushima Meltdown Could Result in 1 Million Cases of Cancer March 12, 2012 »»» Ali Abunimah, co-founder of “The Electronic Intifada.” @ Democracy NOW! Ceasefire Reached After Israeli Air Strikes Killed 26 Palestinians in Gaza March 13, 2012
»»» Benjamin Jealous @ Democracy NOW! NAACP Head Benjamin Jealous in Geneva Seeking United Nations Help to Protect Voting Rights in U.S. RELATED: NAACP Slams Fox News Attack on Obama for Praising, Hugging Pioneering Black Prof. Derrick Bell March 13, 2012
»»» The Nation's Ari Berman @ Democracy NOW! Ari Berman: "GOP War on Voting" Targets Swing States with New Voter ID and Registration Laws March 13, 2012 »»» ProPublica’s Joaquin Sapien @ Democracy NOW! Behind the Afghan Massacre: Accused Soldier Suffered Brain Injury After Multiple Deployments in Iraq & Brain Wars: How the Military Is Failing Its Wounded–ProPublica’s Joaquin Sapien March 14, 2012
»»» Jeremy Scahill @ Democracy NOW! Jeremy Scahill: Why is President Obama Keeping Yemeni Journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye in Prison? March 15, 2012 »»» Journalist Neil Shea @ Democracy NOW! Afghan Massacre Sheds Light on Culture of Mania and Aggression in U.S. Troops in Afghanistan March 16, 2012
»»» Afghan businesswoman Rangina Hamidi @ Democracy NOW! Afghan Women’s Activist Rangina Hamidi: Worsening Conditions Should Hasten U.S. Withdrawal March 16, 2012
»»» Peter Van Buren @ Democracy NOW! State Dept. Seeks Firing of Peter Van Buren, Whistleblower Who Exposed Wasteful Iraq Projects March 16, 2012
»»» GRITtv @ with Laura Flanders
»»» FEATURED SHOW The Laura Flanders Show...coming soon! After three years in daily production, GRITtv is transforming into the Laura Flanders Show, for distribution online and on public TV later this year. BRICK TEEVEE SPORT!©
»»» NASCAR on FOX BRISTOL! Coverage begins 12:30 pm et
»»» NCAA Basketball Tournament on CBS, TNT More coverage of this year's college tourney! Check yer local listings! 7:10 ET Sun.: No. 13 Ohio-No. 12 South Florida! Go OU Bobcats! Then 9:40 ET Sun.: No. 6 Cincinnati-No. 3 Florida State. The Sweet Sixteen begins Thursday!
»»» NBA on ESPN ESPN Sunday double-headers Magic @ Heat 7 pm et then Blazers @ Thunder! And more doubleheaders on Wed & Fri! Check yer local listings!
The 1st Amendment is Our Permit Our permit to occupy is The First Amendment. Quickly sign the following statement which will be delivered to mayors, police chiefs and major media across the country:
    Our permit to occupy public squares and parks is in The First Amendment, which affirms “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” When people across the Middle East occupied public squares, leaders in Washington mostly cheered those protesters and warned Middle Eastern governments not to use force to clear them. Those other societies don’t have a First Amendment. Yet Washington affirmed the universal right to assembly and protest. We do have a First Amendment. The force being used to clear nonviolent protesters from public squares in our country is unacceptable. It must stop. Sign the Petition to Get the 99% Deficit Proposal Heard in Congress
    Please SIGN THE PETITION in support of the "99%'s Deficit Proposal" and plan direct actions to tell the Super Committee that the 99% have better solutions to our nation's crises. You can plan your own action at your Congressmember's office or join us in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC for marches to Capitol Hill. Check our calendar for announcements.

NET NEUTRALITY! A Push for Privacy in the Wake of the Carrier IQ Controversy Remember Carrier IQ, the company that makes the secret spying software that’s installed on more than 140 million phones? You know, the software that can record our most sensitive personal data? ... Thanks in part to the 22,000 people who joined Free Press’ call for a congressional investigation, some of those questions are closer to being answered and mobile users are closer to being protected. The protection comes in the form of a bill from Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey. Markey released a draft of a bill called the “Mobile Device Privacy Act” that would require phone companies to disclose to users just what is being done with all of their data. If the bill passes, an opt-out provision would go into effect a year later and would require companies to allow users to opt out of data-collection schemes like the one developed by Carrier IQ........
CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE American Majority Rejects Washington Austerity Consensus – And We Demand Media Coverage by Roger Hickey, President, Campaign for America's Future: No more silent majority. The Campaign for America’s Future is joining with the Center for Economic and Policy Research (whose Co-Director, Dean Baker blogs regularly about economic bias in the media) and with FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) to monitor the media’s coverage and representation of the American Majority views as they go into covering the big deficit fight. But we want to enlist YOU too. Send us accounts of unbalanced coverage in the national media and in your local newspapers and television. Call up reporters, editors, assignment people and tell them when they are under-representing the views of the American Majority. We should have at least half the experts, pundits, quotes and real people represented in their coverage. In a debate as important as the one we are going into, we can’t allow the media to ignore the American Majority. Much more at
MOVE TO AMEND! SIGN HERE NOW! Also visit Rep Alan Grayson's site And Alan Grayson is running again in FL-8! Help out at
SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT See and Bradley Manning Support Network UPDATE! Ed Pikington of the Guardian UK reports Bradley Manning's treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules The UN special rapporteur on torture has formally accused the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards Bradley Manning, the US soldier who was held in solitary confinement for almost a year on suspicion of being the WikiLeaks source. Juan Mendez has completed a 14-month investigation into the treatment of Manning since the soldier's arrest at a US military base in May 2010. He concludes that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture. "The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence," Mendez writes. .... Mendez, who runs the UN office that investigates incidents of alleged torture around the world, told the Guardian: "I conclude that the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement (regardless of the name given to his regime by the prison authorities) constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture. If the effects in regards to pain and suffering inflicted on Manning were more severe, they could constitute torture." ..... But the Pentagon's arguments did not impress the special rapporteur. He stressed in his final conclusions that "solitary confinement is a harsh measure which may cause serious psychological and physiological adverse effects on individuals regardless of their specific conditions." Moreover, "[d]epending on the specific reason for its application, conditions, length, effects and other circumstances, solitary confinement can amount to a breach of article seven of the international covenant on civil and political rights, and to an act defined in article one or article 16 of the convention against torture." He also said that the US government had tried to justify Manning's solitary confinement by calling it "prevention of harm watch". Yet the military had offered no details as to what actual harm was being prevented. ... Much more at link! UPDATE II ! Jesselyn Radack on March 16, 2012 at The Whistleblogger Bradley Manning Hearing: Government Foiled By Its Own Policies Bradley Manning's attorney (David Coombs) requested that charges against Manning be dismissed because the prosecution had so badly bungled discovery obligations. Josh Gerstein of Politico reported in detail: At a hearing last month, prosecutors in the case against Pfc. Bradley Manning noted that they didn't receive the messages but could not explain why. Chief prosecutor Capt. Ashden Fein said at a hearing Thursday that the messages had been "blocked by a spam filter for security." However, it fell to defense attorney David Coombs to explain precisely why the e-mails about evidence issues in the Manning case never made it. "Apparently, they were blocked because the word 'WikiLeaks' was somewhere in the e-mail," Coombs said. The government's own WikiLeaks policies are now hampering the prosecution's work in the case against Manning. Yesterday's Manning hearing also revealed that the U.S. claims that Manning aided al-Qaeda by allegedly giving documents to WikiLeaks. What about the New York Times, which also posted the WikiLeaks documents? Much more at link plus video of whistleblower and author Peter Van Buren on Channel 9 WUSA news.
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The essential guide for watching government propaganda

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The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises Considering Democracy: 8 Things to ask your Representative

  • This Week (ABC) anchor George Stephanopoulos
    Fact Checking ABC's "This Week" at NPR "On the Media" - Jake Tapper, interim host of ABC's "This Week," liked the idea of fact-checking his guests' comments, so he set up a partnership with Politifact, a non-partisan fact-checking organization. See Politifact Statements ABC News 'This Week'
    • GOP Candidate Rick Santorum
    • ROUNDTABLE: George Will, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Priorities USA co-founder Bill Burton, Washington Post national political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, and Washington Post columnist and associate editor David Ignatius

  • Face The Nation (CBS) Host Bob Schiefer
    • chief Obama strategist David Axelrod
    • Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus
    • ROUNDTABLE: former RNC Chairman and Mitt Romney supporter Ed Gillespie, the editor of National Review and TIME Magazine contributor Rich Lowry, and CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell

  • 60 Minutes (CBS)
    • SpaceX - Elon Musk was the first private citizen to launch a space vehicle into orbit and bring it back to Earth. Now, the founder of SpaceX is competing against larger, more entrenched aeronautical companies to become the first private venture to put a man into orbit. Scott Pelley reports. Harry Radliffe is the producer.

  • Meet the Press (NBC) Host David Gregory
    Meet the Facts at NPR "On the Media" - Last December, NYU professor Jay Rosen proposed something simple yet revolutionary: why don't the Sunday morning chat shows fact check their guests? After "Meet the Press" host David Gregory declined, two college students launched a website to do it for him. One of them, Chas Danner, explains what they're trying to accomplish. See their website updating soon!
    • John McCain (R-AZ)
    • Just back from a dangerous trip to Sudan, actor George Clooney
    • ROUNDTABLE: Author and Afghanistan War veteran Wes Moore; author of the bestselling book “Where Men Win Glory” about the death of Pat Tillman, Jon Krakauer; Founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff; the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward; and the New York Times’ Helene Cooper

  • State of the Union With Candy Crowley (CNN) At 9 AM ET, Candy talks to the power players: politicians, business leaders and international newsmakers who will make Monday morning's headlines. At NOON ET, Candy wraps it all up with fresh interviews and the best of the earlier hours.
    • Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Eklil Hakimi
    • Rick Santorum
    • ROUNDTABLE: former Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie

  • HEAD ON RADIO with Bob Kincaid
    Headon Radio with Bob Kincaid 6 PM Eastern, 3 PM Pacific, 2300 GMT. Duration: 3 hrs. To be part of the conversation on Head-on Radio, call toll-free (877) 443-2366, or use our Liberal community line at 304-658-3333. Email: bob [at] headonradio [dot] com.
    • THORN IN THE SIDE THURSDAY!!!!! Bob tells about his adventures in D.C. "lobbying" congresscritters on the damage the coal industry is doing to his state of West Virginia! Plus all the regulars chime in! Listen HERE (mp3) NOW! Amen to the White Rose Society! Donate to Head On HERE! And join Coal River Mountain Watch at!

    The Green News Report with Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen: 6 minutes of green news, politics, analysis & snarky comment! BOOKMARK NOW!
    'Green News Report' - March 15, 2012 IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: War with China? Trade war, that is; March heatwave kills spring, brings early summer for US; Keystone XL pipeline more bad than good for the economy and the environment; PLUS: TV weatherman singlehandedly overturns the laws of physics ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
    • IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see link): Planet-saving, Nobel-winning ozone scientist passes; US, UK set to agree to emergency oil stocks release; Gulf Coast to get 80% of BP fines; Refiners Push EPA to scrap gas rule wanted by automakers; US solar grows to new record; 'Dark days' for coal; GOP 'playing politics' with wind credits; Water pollution from farming worsening ... PLUS: Will your city see record flooding in 2020? There's a map for that ... and much, MUCH more! ....
    • BRADCAST! Guest Hosting 'Malloy Show' Thursday! TONIGHT: GOP's War on EVERYTHING!; GUEST: U.S. Marine vet turned away from TN poll after refusing to give Photo ID...
    • BRAD on RT! VIDEO: Brad v. Wingnut Loon Seton Motley on GOP Photo ID Voter Suppression on Russian TV
    • BRADBLOG UPDATE: WI Appellate Court Rejects Walker Admin Attempt to Overturn Photo ID InjunctionThe GOP is furiously racking up court losses in the Badger State. This one, late on Friday, is likely to hurt come recall election time...
    Visit to see who counts yer votes! Reference yer background/research at Who's Counting? too.

  • The Peter B. Collins Show PODCAST!
    pbc show
    Listen at!
    The Peter B. Collins Show covers American news and politics from the Left Coast. Veteran talk radio personality Peter B. Collins, based in San Francisco, delivers fresh interviews, commentary and analysis on a range of important topics, with views and voices you don’t often find in the corporate media.
    Holiday Break and Website Changes
      To my valued listeners: We are making some changes to the website and our terms, effective in January. We will continue to offer free podcasts–my new daily news and commentary. Our in-depth interviews will be available for $1 per episode, or to subscribers who pay $5 per month or more. Loyal listeners who simply can’t afford it should send an email to, as we will be offering a limited number of scholarships to our friends who are hurting during these tough times. More information will be posted as we complete the revisions. I’m grateful to each of you for listening and supporting this work, and hope that the new model will enable us to keep it going well into the future. All the best, -pbc
    • PBC Podcast 408 Jennifer Lowenstein on Recent Israeli Strikes on Gaza and More; Trita Parsi Comments on Obama-Netanyahu Summit and the Threat of War on Iran Two strong views on the Middle East: Jennifer Lowenstein teaches Middle East studies at U of Wisconsin; Trita Parsi is president of the National Iranian American Council.
    • PBC Standard Podcast Sue Wilson of “Broadcast Blues” Talks About Boycotts of Limbaugh Sponsors; Will Durst Says We’re All Muppets Media activist Sue Wilson joins us to talk about the sponsor boycotts of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show; Will Durst reacts to the Goldman Sachs guy who bailed: “We’re all Muppets”.
    • PBC Standard Podcast Boiling Frogs: Attorney Jon Eisenberg’s Kafka-esque Fight vs. Illegal Wiretapping Media activist Sue Wilson joins us to talk about the sponsor boycotts of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show; Will Durst reacts to the Goldman Sachs guy who bailed: “We’re all Muppets”.

  • Ring of Fire Radio
    Find us at and hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Sam Seder
    Ring of Fire Radio - GoLeft TV - Robert F. Kennedy, Mike Papantonio, Sam Seder - Politics, Commentary, and News.
    This Week on Ring of Fire! March 16, 2012
    • Media Matters’ Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert will join us to discuss the many ways in which corporate America has turned its back on Rush Limbaugh.
    •’s Glenn Greenwald will tell us why Eric Holder is defending the government’s policy of targeting and executing U.S. citizens without actually charging them with a crime.
    • Brian Beutler from Talking Points Memo will tell us how Republicans are trying to sabotage the economic recovery.
    • Documentary filmmakers Barker White and Harper Robinson will be here to talk about their new film on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster called “Beyond Pollution”.
    • And A.F.S.C.M.E. Secretary Treasurer Lee Saunders will be joining us to talk about the continued assault on organized labor coming from Republican politicians.
    • VIDEO! Papantonio: Why The Occupy Movement Is Still Necessary It’s been six months since protestors began the Occupy Wall Street movement that made headlines across the world, but the actual movement was in the works for almost an entire year before it caught on. Several attempts to create a mass movement had already taken place in Zucotti Park, but never reached the fevered pitch that we saw last September. Mike Papantonio talks about this with author David DeGraw, one of the men who helped bring the plight of the 99% to the public’s attention, and his calls to action were the backbone of the Occupy Movement.
    • VIDEO! Papantonio: The Truth About the Mortgage Fraud Settlement Recently, the federal government announced that they had reached a $25 billion dollar settlement with the nation’s biggest banks to repay the victims of the mortgage industry’s greed and corruption. These banks have swindled millions of Americans out of their homes, and until recently, had received little more than a slap on the wrist from federal regulators and investigators. But this new settlement isn’t the cure-all for mortgage fraud, and Mike Papantonio spoke with attorney Peter Mougey recently about what this settlement actually means for the homeowners who were taken advantage of by our country’s biggest banks.
    Support Those Who Support Progressive Media! 2011 has certainly been a great year for Ring of Fire, and we’ve had some great sponsors that have helped support the show throughout the year. We wanted to take the time to personally thank each and every one of them, and we encourage all of our listeners to take the time to support those who have support us.
    • Join our blog at You can now SUBSCRIBE TO OUR PODCAST by clicking on the “Podcast” tab at the top of the Ring of Fire blog. Please help support progressive radio by signing up!
    Ring of Fire Radio Ring of Fire, hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Sam Seder: Saturdays at 3 o’clock Eastern, rebroadcasts 8-11 et Sunday evenings on Chicago's Progressive Talk WCPT AM & FM and 4 pm et on Sirius/XM 167 featuring The PAP Attack! "We’ll bring you the stories that the mainstream media didn’t feel like reporting this week."

  • Majority Report with Sam Seder Streaming LIVE weekdays 11:30 am et @!

    Karl Grossman on the Fallout from Fukushima [03•13•12]
    Professor Richard Wolff on the Failure of Capitalism [03•14•12].
    Abigail C. Field on the Dirty Details of Mortgage Settlement [03•15•12]
    Alyona Minkovski and Sam Seder Talk Disappointment of Obama Administration [03•16•12]
    MORE Podcast Interviews at!

  • On the Edge with Max Keiser Podcasts and more @!
    "HI Y'ALL! Tell the people! Tell the people!"
    WHO IS MAX KEISER? Max Keiser is a financial expert, Prediction Markets analyst, inventor and filmmaker. He is the creator of the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX) the first Prediction Market. Max Keiser co-hosts “The Truth About Markets” on ResonanceFM 104.4 in London. He also produces and presents documentary films covering markets and finance for Al Jazeera’s “People & Power” series. Max Keiser started his career on Wall Street in 1983. He is the creator of KarmaBanque a site that enables activists to challenge corporate power.
    • VISIT!!! Crowd Funding for Pirates!
    • NEW! MaxKeiserTV on YouTube! MaxKeiserTV PLUS here is Max Keiser’s official Facebook page And here is the official Keiser Report page
    EThey have become abattoirs where the real wealth of the nation is taken and slaughtered by maxkeiser - READ When the Abuse of Insider Information and Control Grows So Large as to Become the Market BTV jessescrossroadscafe
    • VIDEO! How America Avoided Fascism in 1933 by maxkeiser WATCH How America Avoided Fascism in 1933 jessescrossroadscafe
    Once the SWIFT codes for Iranian banks are deleted, Iranian banks will no longer be able to transfer funds to and from other worldwide banks by maxkeiser READ Iran Deleted From the World’s Banking Computers slashdot
    • KEISER REPORT [KR260] Keiser Report: Hackers & Pirates – true GDP boosters We discuss hackers and pirates as true GDP boosters and independent artists being censored by the financial industry. In the second half of the show, Max talks to independent journalist Teri Buhl about a crowd-funded investigation, “Swinging in New Canaan” …
    • KEISER REPORT [KR262] Keiser Report: White Man’s Debt Burden KR 261? We discuss how a video not featuring Justin Bieber went viral and how Max Keiser started a gold stampede. They also talk about “the white man’s debt burden” of Uganda’s resources and Afghanistan’s “crony capitalism”. In the second half of the show, Max talks to David Morgan about silver circles, ounces and manipulation.
    • KEISER REPORT [KR262] Keiser Report – Yoghurt Kamikazes! We discuss yoghurt kamikazes, David Cam-Moron and oozing debt wounds. In the second half of the show, Max talks to Goldcore’s Mark O’Byrne about Germany’s gold, Ireland’s austerity and a trial for Bertie Ahern.
    • KEISER REPORT [KR263] Keiser Report: Rip out eyes, tear off head We discuss ripping out client eyeballs and losing millions for a free breakfast; maggots of risk and plastic financial apartheid. In the second half of the show Max talks to filmmakers William Gagan and Geoff Shively about their crowd funded journey to Syria and ‘fake’ activists and, with the introduction of anti-free speech laws in Chicago, the filmmakers discuss the small drone helicopters they have acquired for reporting on the NATO summit.
    • ON THE EDGE [On the Edge with Chris Martenson Posted on March 17, 2012 by stacyherbert | Stacy Summary: This is a definite must watch. Great interview with Chris Martenson....
    • THE TRUTH ABOUT MARKETS [TaM-356] The Truth About Markets – 10 March 2012 Download show HERE (mp3)
    • Donate to ResonanceFM here!

  • ANTIWAR RADIO with Scott Horton
    antiwarradio.jpg LIVE (9-11am Pacific, 12pm - 2pm Eastern) Plenty of archives too!
    Listen at
    Jasmin Ramsey February 28, 2012: Jasmin Ramsey, an Iranian-born journalist and editor of Lobe Log, discusses her article “10 Myths About Iran — And Why They’re Dead Wrong ;” making it clear that Iran is a nation of 70 million individuals, not some great amorphous threat signified by lines drawn on a map; US hypocrisy on international monitoring – demanding that Iran comply with intrusive IAEA inspections while refusing the UN torture chief’s request to interview Bradley Manning privately; why Iran is not a military threat to Israel or the US, so long as its leaders are “rational actors;” the PR machine selling the MEK as a legitimate opposition group, even though it still has no support in Iran; and why Iranians, though displeased with their government, prefer reform to another revolution.
    John Feffer March 15, 2012: John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, discusses his new book Crusade 2.0: The West’s Resurgent War on Islam ; how the Obama administration is “bribing Israel ” with offers of bunker buster bombs and long range aircraft if Israel will wait until after the election to attack Iran; looking at the pros and cons – for Iran – in pursuing a nuclear weapon; and the lack of resolve in US policy on Syria.
    Jason Leopold March 15, 2012: Jason Leopold, lead investigative reporter of Truthout and author of News Junkie, discusses his article “US Subjected Manning to Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment, UN Torture Chief Concludes;” how Manning’s treatment highlights the State Department’s stunning hypocrisy when they finger-wag at other countries for human rights violations; why most Americans think Manning is a traitor and deserves whatever punishment he got in custody, even though he hasn’t been convicted of anything; and UN torture investigator Juan Méndez’s inability to talk with Manning without a government minder (like in some totalitarian state).
    Reza Marashi March 17, 2012: Reza Marashi, Research Director for the National Iranian American Council, discusses his article “Money vs. Facts: The Mujahedin-e Khalq Is a Terrorist Organization ;” the chorus of voices turning the tables on the MEK’s latest PR campaign; the Treasury Department investigation of Ed Rendell (and other prominent ex-politicians who are paid to speak on MEK’s behalf – a.k.a. providing “material support” to terrorists); and why Israel is the most likely source of MEK funding – meaning the “only democracy in the Middle East” is really a state sponsor of terrorism.
    • Many more interviews at Antiwar Radio!

  • fauxnews
    • Exclusive interview with presidential candidate Mitt Romney
    • George Clooney with the co-founder of the Enough Project John Prendergast

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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