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2/20/10: Department Of Justice Finds That Its Torture Lawyers Engaged In Professional Misconduct And Exercised Poor Judgment For Advocating Torture During The Bush Administration: DisbarTortureLawyers Campaign To File OPR Report To Supplement Fifteen Disbarment Complaints

Late Friday, the Department of Justice issued it’s long awaited report on the actions of its lawyers who authored the infamous legal memos authorizing torture.  The report consisted of two parts: the first is a 300 page report from the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility finding that the attorneys, specifically John Yoo and Jay Bybee, engaged in “professional misconduct.” The second is a 96 page cover letter from career DOJ staffer David Margolis finding that the lawyers exercised “poor judgment.” The OPR finding would require automatic disbarment while the Margolis finding would not.  Without the approval of Margolis, the DOJ cannot, by itself, even submit its findings to the state bar disciplinary committees demanding disbarment.

Our Disbar Torture Lawyers campaign www.disbartorturelawyers.com was launched last year to ensure accountability for the torture lawyers. Last summer, lawyers for the campaign filed complaints to disbar 15 of the most culpable torture lawyers. On Monday, we are submitting the DOJ/OPR findings to the various state disciplinary committees that are reviewing those complaints and asking that they quickly follow through on their disbarment proceedings.

“The Department of Justice, through the actions of a single attorney named David Margolis, has tried to keep the OPR report from reaching the various disciplinary committees that have active disbarment complaints pending,” said attorney and campaign spokesperson Kevin Zeese.   “Fortunately, we are not bound by the DOJ’s obstructions, and will therefore be filing the OPR report with the disciplinary boards today.  And of course, those boards are required to make an independent determination of the information and evidence in the report.  Moreover, even if the boards only considered Margolis’ finding of “poor judgment,” they can still order disbarment.  But in combination with the OPR report and all the other overwhelming information we have already provided, we believe that the boards will find that the torture attorneys, such as John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, William Haynes, Alberto Gonzales and Stephen Bradbury, must be disbarred.”

Our campaign will also be taking the following actions in the coming weeks:

  • work with the House and Senate to hold hearings on torture and whether political pressure entered into the Margolis decision
  • launch a campaign for lawyers in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Jay Bybee is a judge, to boycott any cases to which he is assigned
  • work with foreign jurisdictions to indict the torture lawyers and others like Dick Cheney for violating the UN Convention Against Torture
  • post multiple press releases in the mainstream media to increase pressure for torture accountability
  • work with US lawyers to file a Writ of Mandamus to compel prosecution of torturers as required by the UN Convention Against Torture
  • run ads to generate support for torture accountability
  • collaborate with other organizations to help multiply the effect of the DisbarTortureLawyers campaign

Please sign on or donate to the campaign at www.disbartorturelawyers.com.





2/16/10: VR Demands Retraction And Explanation From New York Times For Multiple Inaccurate O'Keefe/Acorn/ 'Pimp' Reports

VR today called on the the New York Times to immediately issue a retraction and correction of its repeated, inaccurate reporting that James O'Keefe entered offices of The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) dressed as a "pimp." This information is false.

"Not since the Times' flagrant and inexcusable front-page 'reporting' by Judith Miller on Saddam Hussein's non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction has the paper so irresponsibly, and repeatedly, in saturation coverage, helped to mislead the American people in a way that has caused so much harm," says Brad Friedman, Velvet Revolution co-founder and publisher of The BRAD BLOG.

In several stories over the past six months, the Times falsely reported that O'Keefe

However, the visual evidence from video tapes and direct interviews with ACORN employees who actually witnessed O'Keefe in their offices provide direct proof that O’Keefe did not dress as a pimp when he entered the ACORN offices. In fact, the official December 7, 2009 report of an investigation by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, states: "Although Mr. O'Keefe appeared in all videos dressed as a pimp, in fact, when he appeared at each and every office, he was dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt.

That finding, and the report itself, were never reported by the New York Times.  Instead, the Times relied on O'Keefe and his Rightwing employer propagandist Andrew Breitbart for the false "dressed as a pimp at ACORN" claims at least eight times on their pages since the report was released. Through these articles, the Times has consistently ill-served both the public and the truth, and caused irreparable harm to a legitimate organization that does serve the needs of the public.

Incredibly, Times' Senior Editor of Standards, Greg Brock, in charge of corrections at the paper, attempted to justify the paper's multiple misreports by referencing a live appearance on Fox News by O'Keefe dressed in his pimp outfit, as evidence to back up their reporting. "We believe him," Brock stated. "Therefore there is nothing for us to correct.... We stand by our reporting"

The Times' repeated false and unsupported reporting encouraged Congress to pass legislation, signed by the President and later found unconstitutional, to defund ACORN at a time when the low and middle-income citizens it serves are in the greatest need in decades. Moreover, this false, garish and politically charged "reporting" introduced many Americans to ACORN,  a community organization that works for better schools, wages, loans, voting rights and neighborhoods, by painting it as an incompetent, corrupt, and criminal enterprise.  ACORN lost critical funding, suffered widespread opprobrium, and its employees received waves of violent threats as a result of these false and inaccurate portrayals.  

A report by the Congressional Research Service commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee, also concluded, as did Harshbarger, that ACORN did not violate any laws vis a vis the O’Keefe affair, although a number of state laws against secret wiretapping were likely violated by O’Keefe..  And yet, the New York Times has failed and even refused to to find the truth and the facts "fit to print".

VR calls on the "paper of record" to issue a retraction and apologize to the American public, ACORN and the U.S. Congress. Moreover, VR calls on the Times to launch a full investigation and provide readers with an explanation of how its own editorial failures allowed such a serious and damaging error to be repeatedly reported in the face of conclusive evidence to the contrary.





1/20/10: Mainstream Media Finally Covers The Connell Story And Death

It has been years that we have been trying to convince the MSM that yes there is a real story underlying the supposed Bush win of Ohio in 2004. Now more than five years later, and only after the strange death of Bush IT guru Michael Connell, has the MSM finally had the courage to allow this story to be published. But no, it wasn’t the New York Times, Washington Post or 60 Minutes but rather, Maxim, a widely read magazine targeting men. We urge everyone to pick up a copy of the February issue of Maxim to read the full 3500 word expose’.

But this story will inevitably lead to greater coverage of the facts outlined by author/journalist Simon Worrall. There are new twists to the story that have previously gone unreported including the fact that Connell’s Blackberry with lots of Bush/Rove info on it disappeared at the crash site; that the site was cleaned up under the cover of night after a lockdown on information about the crash; that the “after action report” detailing the sabotage of Connell’s plane has been received by the NTSB and reviewed by intelligence officials who have indicated that it is genuine; that Connell’s last words were captured on tape and showed extreme surprise at something that happened in the cockpit; that a contract between Connell and the OH SOS shows that they had a subcontract with Smartech to reroute the 2004 election results through GOP servers with remote access, mirroring capabilities, and a Virtual Private Network accessible by anyone with a password; and that Robert Kennedy Jr. calls this case bigger than Watergate. More details can be found at The BradBlog. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7652





1/14/10: VR Warns Candidates Against Accepting Support From The Chamber Of Commerce For Midterm Elections

Our StopTheChamber.com campaign today issued the following warning to any 2010 candidate who accepts any direct or indirect money, advertising support, or lip service from the United States Chamber of Commerce or any of its astroturf front operations: The Chamber and its CEO Tom Donohue are toxic assets plagued by scandal, criminal investigations, shareholder lawsuits, NGO criminal complaints, the National Scrooge Award, control by big business insiders, defections by responsible companies, and the antipathy of the general public.  Any Chamber-supported candidate will be tied to these scandals during the midterm elections. VR will be launching an ad campaign next week to spread this message to all candidates running in the 2010 midterm elections.

Tom Donohue, president and chief executive of the Chamber, promised the “largest, most aggressive voter education and issue advocacy effort in our nearly hundred-year history.” In fact, Chamber is poised to spend upwards of $50 million to manipulate the 2010 mid-term elections. That money will go toward electing candidates who support polluters, robber barons, deniers of health care, warmongers, and those who ravage the environment. This money is in addition to the billion or more dollars the Chamber has spent during the last decade gutting the economy by helping companies ship American jobs overseas and raising CEO pay at the expense of workers. America is much worse off because of the Chamber's anti-American policies. Job losses are staggering, while businesses supporting the Chamber, its CEO, and an army of lobbyists pocket obscene profits and bonuses with no regard whatsoever for the American worker.

"The Chamber wants to buy Congress at a time when people are hurting, dying, losing their homes and jobs, and seeing their children unable to attend college," said StopTheChamber.com spokesperson and lawyer Kevin Zeese. "However, Americans have had enough of robber barons, and they are not going to take it anymore. If a candidate gets support from the Chamber, we are going to call him or her out for accepting tainted money — money from big business that is not going into creating jobs, providing health care, and cleaning up Wall Street.  We will demand that candidates renounce the Chamber's support, return any funding, and condemn the Chamber’s advertisements and policies. If they do not, we will expose them as a friend of Tom Donohue, the man who repeatedly met with the leaders of Communist China to outsource good American jobs, the man who is under investigation by the SEC for insider trading and false reporting, the man who has lied to Congress about the Chamber's membership and small business support, the man who has created patriotic sounding front groups to mislead trusting Americans, the man who schemed with the likes of Jack Abramoff and Ken Lay to betray the public trust, and the man who has justified crime after crime committed by dues-paying members of the Chamber."

StopTheChamber urges all 2010 candidates to run clean election campaigns untainted by money laundered through the Chamber of Commerce. Neither the Chamber membership nor its board votes on how the Chamber spends money on elections. Instead, the decisions are made by a tightly knit group of big business insider tycoons led by Tom Donohue. But those businesses — multinational corporate banks, Wall Street, insurance companies, big energy, and big pharma — top the list of the most hated companies in America. They pay billions upon billions in bonuses to multi-millionaire executives who squeeze the lifeblood out of hardworking Americans. Candidates who ignore this reality and sell their vote for greed over the common good will find that the antipathy of American voters presently directed toward Wall Street and the Chamber will be directed at them.





1/12/10: VR Calls For DOJ Investigation Into Criminal Allegations Against Alabama Governor Bob Riley

An attempt to silence Alabama gubernatorial candidate Bill Johnson has been launched by his own county's GOP.  Johnson, a 2010 Republican candidate for governor, is banned from speaking at GOP events in Alabama for blowing the whistle on current Republican Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Johnson is a former Riley cabinet member; he was director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), a large state agency managing over $240 million per year in federal and state grants.  Johnson led Riley's grassroots efforts for his successful bids for Congress in 1996 and Governor in both 2002 and 2006. Johnson has worked closely with the Governor for over a decade.

Last year, Johnson became aware of possible conflicts of interest on the part of the Governor involving the giving of favorable contracts to close relatives and accepting money from Indian tribes involved with gambling while opposing gambling efforts by other parties. As a cabinet member, Johnson was required under Alabama law to report any perceived or actual conflicts of interest. Having both a legal and moral obligation, he made the difficult decision to put aside all party affiliations and friendships and report these conflicts to the U.S. Attorney's office of the Northern District, Alabama, as well as the FBI. He also left the Governor's office.

Upon announcing his candidacy for governor last June, Johnson immediately began receiving a series of threatening letters -- culminating in a death threat -- that he believes were related to his knowledge and reporting of Riley's wrongdoing. In order to stop the increasingly serious threats that had become a growing concern to his wife and children, Johnson went public with the facts and called for an investigation by the Alabama Attorney General and local district attorney's office.  A link to Johnson's request for an investigation, a summary of the charges, and copies of the threatening letters can be found at http://billjohnson.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-Va-YPiKxBE%3d&tabid=116

Among the conflicts raised by Johnson are concerns that the millions of dollars received by the 2002 Riley Campaign for Governor from Mississippi Indian casino owners are shaping the Governor's position on gaming in Alabama and are the catalyst for Riley's 2008 launch of an anti-gambling taskforce. These types of "contributions" precipitated the Jack Abramoff scandal and are still under investigation by the Department of Justice and United States Congress.

In addition to the threatening letters to Johnson's home, a new threat against Johnson has emerged from the Alabama GOP itself in the form of a formal resolution banning him from speaking as a GOP gubernatorial candidate. The GOP resolution, which can be found at http://billjohnson.org/gop_resolution.asp, states that because Johnson raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest by a "hard-working and popular" Governor, Johnson should be banned from speaking as a GOP candidate. The resolution, sent to executive committees in all 67 Alabama counties, originated in Johnson's home county which is led by a hand-picked Riley supporter.

VR calls for full Department of Justice and Congressional investigations into the conflicts of interest raised by Bill Johnson.





12/21/09: U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Winner of National “Scrooge Of The Year” Award While Its CEO Tom Donohue Meets With President Of China To Outsource American Jobs

Each year, the national organization Jobs with Justice gives an ‘award’ to the greediest, most cold-hearted company or person to be its “Scrooge of the Year.”  This year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found itself in the final five for the National Scrooge Award, and, after thousands of voters were counted, the Chamber won by a large margin.

As Jobs with Justice says, "This Scrooge likes you to think it is the voice of American business.  But in reality, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- and its CEO Tom Donohue -- are pushing a narrow, radical agenda.  It's becoming increasingly clear that the Chamber has become a front group for a few narrow interests, not a membership association that represents the voice of mainstream American businesses.  And it is increasingly at odds with both small and green businesses.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce often says it speaks for 3 million members, businesses both large and small.  What it doesn't promote as readily is that 19 supporters last year provided a third of the trade group's total revenue. The bottom line?  The Chamber is the ultimate Scrooge. Not only will Tom Donohue fight hard to put a lump of coal in your stocking at taxpayer expense, but it will claim that the lump of coal represents the voice of American business and is good for you.”

"There was plenty of competition for the award this year," said Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta, "but the similarities between Scrooge and the Chamber of Commerce were hard to beat. The ghost of years past would show that the policies they've promoted including deregulation and maximizing profits at the expense of workers are directly connected to the destruction of America's middle class.”

Tom Donohue has been palling around with the president of China in order to promote the outsourcing of American jobs. As Mr. Donohue told the publication Venture Outsource, outsourcing is good for business and the Chamber is “fighting to preserve their right to [outsource].”

Our Stop The Chamber campaign, www.stopthechamber.com, is working to expose the extremist agenda of the Chamber and its CEO. “Congress should investigate their claim that the Chamber represents the views of American business owners,” said Stop The Chamber spokesperson Kevin Zeese. “The vast majority of small and large businesses do not support the Chamber’s radical polices against health care for all, environmental protection, and financial regulation. In fact, Chamber polices are determined by a select few big business insiders without any board or membership approval.  And we know that those insiders are controlled a mere handful for the worst polluters, robber barons, and failures in modern history.  With millions of Americans out of work, it is outrageous that the Chamber is going to Communist China to outsource jobs and spending $100 million to oppose initiatives that will help every American citizen.”

Stop The Chamber urges every concerned American to join our call for a federal criminal investigation into the actions of the Chamber and the Chamber CEO, Tom Donohue.  Please sign on at www.stopthechamber.com to also ask member companies to quit the Chamber and Congress to hold hearings on the Chamber’s misrepresentations, controlling donors, and unethical conduct.  





12/11/09: A Big Win For Our Restore Justice At Justice Campaign—Paul Minor Bribery Conviction Overturned By The Court Of Appeals

Check out our Restore Justice at Justice Campaign, http://www.velvetrevolution.us/restore_justice/, and you will see three photos at the top — Eric Holder in the middle and Don Siegelman and Paul Minor on either side. When we launched this campaign, we demanded that Mr. Holder release all those politically prosecuted under the Bush administration, starting with Don Siegelman and Paul Minor. In our April 13th letter to Mr. Holder, we stated the following:

“And then there is Paul Minor, an attorney now in federal prison for a “crime” related to the funding of Democratic candidates and causes. Minor’s wife is dying of cancer in a hospital in Baton Rouge.  Last month, he was given a three-hour pass to spend a moment with her (under supervision), but she had no chance to talk to him because she had been given her pain medication and lay fast asleep throughout his visit. Why should this man have to spend another hour away from his wife’s bedside, awaiting the decision of a court, when the flagrant partisan intent behind his prosecution should move the DOJ to withdraw charges, just as you did in Sen. Stevens' case? **”

Paul Minor’s wife died, he was not allowed to attend her funeral, and he has suffered grievously due to the unethical conduct of the Justice Department. But now, there is light and hope at the end of his very dark nightmare. Yesterday, in a unanimous decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals completely overturned his three bribery convictions and sent his case back for resentencing.

And guess who was a major force behind the prosecution of Paul Minor and his co-defendant, Judge Diaz? None other than the Chamber of Commerce, which spent millions of dollars to defeat Judge Diaz and worked with the White House and Karl Rove to target Paul Minor because he was a trial lawyer who went after corrupt businesses and he supported Democratic candidates. So with this decision, we have a one two punch against the bad guys.





12/10/09: Supporters Of The Chamber Of Commerce Make Violent Threats Against Us For Our Stop The Chamber Campaign

Two months ago, we launched www.StopTheChamber.com to expose the U.S. Chamber’s deception, astroturfing, lobbying excesses and election manipulation. We called for the firing of Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, criminal and congressional investigations of Donohue and the Chamber, and companies to quit the Chamber in protest of its extremist policies. The Chamber has a budget over $100 million to defeat health care for all, environmental protection, and banking regulation. In the past month, major companies have quit the Chamber because of their conduct and even the White House condemned the Chamber’s extremist positions.

We recently increased to $200,000 our reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue for engaging in criminal conduct. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh picked up on that story last week (here and here) and, guess what-- we were flooded with hundreds of profanity laced threats of violence! Characteristics of the treat we have received show clear signs of a coordinated attack. See Brad Friedman’s article here about the wave of threats. The Chamber itself has attempted to intimidate us by saying that it is considering legal action against us and peddling defamatory information about VR associates.

And how did we respond? We filed a formal complaint with the FBI with copies of all the threats and asked that it conduct a swift investigation to hold those responsible accountable. Now, it is crucial that we respond to this attempted intimidation by strengthening our efforts. Will you help us show the 'right' that its behavior will not be tolerated?

In order to increase the pressure on Donohue and the Chamber, we need your help. We want to place more ads and send more press releases exposing the corrupt practices of the Chamber and its CEO. Please help us with a donation.





12/4/09: Reward Increased To $200,000 For Information Leading To The Arrest And Conviction Of Chamber CEO Tom Donohue

Today, the Stop The Chamber campaign, www.stopthechamber.com, increased its reward from $100,000 to $200,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue. This reward will provide a greater incentive for people to come forward.

The reward poster, available here , is being run this week in the Washington DC City Paper as a full page color ad and on the City Paper website. The campaign urges insiders to contact tips@velvetrevolution.us to report information about Mr. Donohue.





11/30/09: Disbar Torture Lawyers File New Complaints Against Three Bush Administration Torture Lawyers

On Friday, November 27, 2009, our Disbar Torture Lawyers campaign, www.disbartorturelawyers.com, filed complaints with the Washington D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility requesting disbarment of Bush Administration attorneys John Yoo, William Haynes, and Alberto Gonzales.  The detailed complaints and supporting documents set forth the illegal and unethical conduct of the attorneys with regard to the issue of torture against detainees held by the United States.  All of the legal advice and written opinions of the three attorneys have been rejected and rescinded by the Department of Justice.

The three complaints were filed in the District of Columbia because the attorneys were practicing in Washington at the time of their illegal conduct.  Jurisdiction for the filings is based on the McDade Amendment, 28 U.S.C. § 530B, which states in relevant part,  “(a) An attorney for the Government shall be subject to State laws and rules, and local Federal court rules, governing attorneys in each State where such attorney engages in that attorney’s duties, to the same extent and in the same manner as other attorneys in that State.”

“The evidence is overwhelming that Yoo, Haynes, and Gonzales violated their oath by advocating and allowing torture against U.S. detainees,” said attorney and group spokesman Kevin Zeese.   “Just as a lawyer cannot ethically advise a police officer to torture a criminal defendant, a government lawyer cannot ethically advise a government employee to torture a detainee. In both cases, the lawyers would be in violation of the law, and would be subject to disbarment. We strongly urge the Department of Justice to release its own OPR investigation into the conduct of these and other attorneys who provided cover for the wholesale use of torture by our government. We are hopeful that the investigation supports our call for disbarment.”

Disbar Torture Lawyers has filed bar complaints against 15 lawyers involved in the Bush torture program.  These complaints and the three new complaints and supporting documents are posted at www.disbartorturelawyers.com.





11/9/09: Connell’s Family Speaks Out, Warns Of Wrongful Death Suit Against Rove, Assassination Jackal Tipster Talks Of Sabotage

Eleven months ago, Bush IT guru Mike Connell was killed in a single engine plane crash shortly after being forced to testify in a civil deposition alleging fraud in the 2004 election. According to legal filings prior to the crash, Mr. Connell had received threats from Karl Rove and warnings not to talk. We have been covering this case in great detail at www.RoveCyberGate.com.

Now in a new development, Mr. Connell’s wife and sister have spoken out together about their serious doubts that the crash was simply an accident. They disclosed that the FBI recently received a document from a black ops “assassination jackal” tipster who alleges that Mr. Connell’s plane was sabotaged while sitting at the airport prior to his last flight. Former ABC News reporter Rebecca Abrahams broke these developments Monday on The BRAD BLOG.

Today, we are renewing our call for a full federal investigation into the allegations of election fraud made against Mr. Connell, Karl Rove, Jeff Averbeck and other GOP conspirators, and expanding that call to include a criminal investigation into Connell's death. According to Mr. Connell’s his family, Mike’s best friend and confidant was none other than Barry Jackson, Karl Rove’s deputy and George Bush’s head of political strategies who was implicated in the White House email scandal. Stephen Spoonamore, a top expert in the field of cyber security, said last year that Mr. Connell had asked him how to permanently destroy White House emails.

There are many questions that need to be answered in this matter that can only be discovered by a criminal investigation with people called before a grand jury. You can help us notify the public of this under-reported story via ads in the broadcast media and press announcements with press releases and ads by donating here.





11/7/09: VR Offers $100,000 Reward For Information Leading To The Arrest And Conviction Of Chamber Of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue

Tom Donohue, Chamber of Commerce CEO, has been publicly accused of criminal activity In complaints filed attorneys and Attorneys General in different states, and also by non-profits such Citizens for Reform and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Public Citizen. We now seek hard evidence that will stand up in a court of law: i.e., documents, affidavits and testimony implicating Donohue in crimes, including fraud, tax violations, campaign finance violations, money laundering, insider trading, and pension fund and stockholder manipulations. We want to hear from insiders and whistleblowers possessing information not already in the public domain.

Specifically, we seek evidence pertaining to the period of Donohue's tenure at the Chamber and on the boards of Sunrise Senior Living, Union Pacific, Qwest Communications (until 2005) and XM Satellite Radio (until 2008). The information provided must lead to or result in the arrest and conviction of Tom Donohue. The identity of those who contact us will be kept strictly confidential. 1-888-4U-CHAMBR (1-888-482-4627) or tips@velvetrevolution.us

Click here for copy of our $100,000 reward poster.





10/29/09: The Yes Men Join Our StopTheChamber Campaign

Two weeks ago, we launched www.StopTheChamber.com to expose the Chamber’s deception, astroturfing, lobbying excesses and election manipulation. We called for the firing of Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, criminal and congressional investigations of Donohue and the Chamber, and companies to quit the Chamber in protest of its extremist policies.

UPDATE: Since we launched, the Chamber has been exposed!

  • The Yes Men joined our campaign, parodied the Chamber at a press conference and got sued for doing so
  • The Chamber admitted that it has been inflating its membership by almost 2.8 million
  • The White House has publicly called out the Chamber for opposing progressive initiatives
  • We protested at the Chamber’s annual conference and were thrown out
  • Many more companies and even local Chambers dropped their Chamber membership
  • The mainstream press began writing about the unethical and illegal conduct of the Chamber

But we cannot stop now.  We need to ramp up the pressure and we need your help. Join our campaign by signing on here. When you sign on, your name will be added to thousands of others who have let the Chamber and its board members know that its conduct will no longer be tolerated. You can also send a letter to your Congress members asking them to launch an investigation of the Chamber.

Please ask your friends to sign on. We need everyone to speak up in order to stop the Chamber’s pay to play lobbying, to clean up the environment, to provide health care for all, and to have honest and transparent elections.





10/10/09: VR Launches New Campaign To Stop The Chamber Of Commerce From Undermining The Interests Of Americans

The Chamber of Commerce has declared war on the Obama Administration’s initiatives to reform the banking and health care industries, and it has opposed legislation to curb global warming. In fact, it announced recently that it is spending over $100 million to defeat these initiatives. Just yesterday, President Obama slammed the Chamber for its positions on these issues, and five major companies, Nike, Apple, Exelon Energy, PG&E and Public Service Co. of NM all quit the Chamber because of its position on the environment.

VR has been opposing the Chamber for years because of its involvement in the manipulation of elections and was planning a big campaign to expose the Chamber’s unethical and illegal conduct.  However, in light of the the Chamber’s recent conduct, we have launched an aggressive new campaign to StopTheChamber in its tracks. Here are our demands:

  • Fire Tom Donohue. Mr. Donohue, as CEO, is the Chamber's corrupter in chief who single handedly turned the Chamber "into a pay-to-play vehicle for right-wing causes and corporate dishonesty. As Eliot Spitzer said, "Tom Donohue has never once found a crime that he couldn't justify, as long as it was committed by one of his dues-paying members."
  • Drop Corporate Support for the Chamber.  Over the past month, several large companies have abandoned the Chamber because of its anti-science stance on global warming. As Nike put it, "We fundamentally disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change, and their recent action challenging the E.P.A. is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action." We will target companies with exposure and boycotts if they remain with the Chamber.
  • Launch A Criminal Investigation Against The Chamber For Fraud, False Tax Filings And Campaign Finance Violations. The Chamber was found to have committed fraud and campaign finance violations in Ohio by creating a front group called Citizens for a Strong Ohio and funneling millions of dollars through it to defeat Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick because she could not be bought. This Chamber practice is widespread and was also used against Karl Rove-targeted Mississippi Justice Oliver Diaz, and in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Arkansas. We are asking the Department of Justice to investigate these illegal practices under RICO and to review whether the Chamber is actually a political action committee rather than a trade association. See our letter to DOJ here.
  • Ask Congress To Investigate The Chamber.  In addition to a criminal investigation, we want Congress to investigate the activities of the Chamber to include astroturfing and election manipulation.  Send a letter to Congress here.
  • Reorganize The Chamber.  The Board of the Chamber should shut down the Chamber's lobbying arm and legal reform arm, and return to being a respected trade organization rather than a partisan PAC.  
  • Speak Out Against The Chamber.  We ask companies, politicians and others that do not agree with the flat earth, anti science, partisan, anti people approach of the Chamber to speak out publicly against the Chamber.




  • 10/2/09: Join In The Fight Against Global Warming

    The clock is ticking. In December of this year, the United Nations will meet to decide on the replacement of the Kyoto protocol, a defining agreement that will determine the future of our planet in the face of the climate crisis. People around the world are dying today as a result of climate change and without our collective action, this will continue. We have a collective opportunity to stop the clock.

    Our friends at www.timeforclimatejustice.org have started a campaign called “tck tck tck”to focus attention on the threat of global warming.  They have created a terrific music video based on Midnight Oil’s tune “Beds are Burning” featuring over 50 famous musicians. See it here.






    9/28/09: New VR Campaign To Stop The Incitement Of Domestic Terror By Extremist Media, Politicians And Religious Leaders: Attorney General Urged To Enforce Laws Stop Domestic Terror

    Today a coalition of non-profit organizations led by VR launched an aggressive campaign to address the recent surge in threats and acts of terrorism against Americans.  The majority of these acts can be traced to groups and individuals who do not accept the results of our recent election or the laws enacted or proposed by those who have been elected. They seek to undermine the democratic process through threats, intimidation, and even outright murder. They can't accept the legitimacy of the President, or a woman's legal right to make choices about her own medical care, or an immigrant's right to be treated humanely under the law, so they carry out acts that are antithetical to American democracy, values, and both civil and human rights.

    Those who commit these acts of terror are frequently exploited by a continuous wave of rightwing media advocating violence, either directly or indirectly, and by commentators amplifying the talking points of extremist religious leaders and extremist political leaders. This fringe is incited on our public airwaves, and urged to take matters into their own hands, with the underlying belief that the Bible and/or U.S. Constitution justify using ‘whatever means’ are necessary to oppose what they believe to be immoral laws.

    “We are taking a stand against this dangerous trend towards the incitement of lawlessness and violence,” said attorney and spokesman Kevin Zeese, who directs VotersForPeace.US  “We strongly believe in the First Amendment right of free expression and discourse, even when it is abhorrent or contrary to our beliefs.  However, the First Amendment does not protect debate where one side includes the threat or act of violence.  We urge the Attorney General to quickly address this wave of domestic terrorism by enforcing laws on the books, conducting a review of the relationship between extremist media and the acts of terrorism, and enforcing anti-trust laws against right wing media.”

    The campaign urges respect and civility by the media, an advertising boycott against media and commentators that incite or advocate violence, condemnation of violence by media CEOs and religious leaders, federal legislation to require more diversity in the media, and congressional hearings on media monopolies and the responsibilities of media to act in the public interest.





    9/27/09: New VR Campaign Demands That Diebold Refund Over $100 Million To California For Faulty Voting Machines

    Today VR launched a campaign called “Diebold: Return Our Money,” demanding that the Diebold/Premier Corporation return more than $100 million to the State of California because it sold the state faulty voting machines which deleted ballots without notice and allowed deletion of required "permanent" audit records.

    “Diebold cannot be allowed to get away with cheating California out of our democracy and our money,” said campaign spokesperson Emily Levy.  “For more than five years, Diebold has been deceiving public officials and the public about the reliability of their voting machines while charging millions of dollars for a product that undermined the reliability of the elections they were hired to count,” she said.  

    In addition to demanding the return of the money, the campaign urges California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to permanently decertify Diebold voting systems and California Attorney General Jerry Brown to bring criminal and civil charges against Diebold for fraud should the state not receive its money back within 90 days. Californians can send emails in support of the campaign from www.DieboldReturnOurMoney.com.

    "The recently reported sale of Diebold's Premier Election Solutions to competitor ES&S raises serious antitrust issues which need to be addressed," said Levy, "but does not get the company off the hook for committing fraud with our tax dollars.”





    9/18/09: Indiana Court Of Appeals Finds Voter ID Law Unconstitutional

    Yesterday, a unanimous Indiana Court of Appeals threw out the state’s draconian Voter ID law because it violated the state constitution, which is stricter on equality than the US Constitution. See decision pdf here. Last November, thousands of people were denied their right to vote, including nuns, because they did not have the state issued photo ID required by the law.  It is time to have common sense laws that protect the right to vote rather than laws passed by political hacks who want to restrict the right to vote.  






    9/16/09: Massive Protests Planned Against Iran’s Ahmadenijad Visit To The UN Next Week

    VR will be right in the middle of massive rallies scheduled for September 23 and 24 at the United Nations Building in NY. See flyer pdf here.  Iran’s brutal dictator Mahmoud  Ahmadeniad will be speaking at the UN after presiding over this summer’s murder, rape, torture and show trials of Iranians who dared to protest his election and policies.  He will make a fool of himself when he speaks and will galvanize even more public scorn for him and his outlaw regime.  We are part of a diverse coalition of groups that usually do not agree on things — but we agree that Ahmadenijad and his criminal cronies must go.  http://www.standforfreedominiran.org/  Watch for our YouTube videos of this rally.






    9/14/09: 91 State Attorneys General File Brief In Support Of Don Siegelman

    While the DOJ has dismissed criminal charges against a wave of Republicans the past few months, Don Siegelman, Paul Minor and many others political prisoners languish and suffer while their cases wind their way through a justice system corrupted by Karl Rove’s political influence.  But there has been some good news this week for Don Siegelman -- 91 State Attorneys General filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court urging that the Justices reverse his conviction for various reasons, including that he did not commit a crime.





    9/12/09: Bill Of Rights Defense Committee Asks Lawyers To Sign Statements Supporting Our DisbarTortureLawyers Campaign

    We have filed 15 disbarment complaints against lawyers who advocated the use of torture on detainees. Thousands of people have joined our campaign and now the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has created a formal action page for lawyers who want to sign statements in support of disbarment. These statements will be sent to the various state bar committees to underscore the concern of the legal community for this important issue.  





    9/2/09: VR Sends Letter To Holder And He Orders Limited Investigation Of Torture



    9/1/09: Torture Doctors Need To Be Held Accountable-Say No To Dr. Mengeles

    Yesterday, Physicians For Human Rights released a new report, “Aiding Torture: Health Professionals' Ethics and Human Rights Violations Demonstrated in the May 2004 Inspector General's Report,” which details how the CIA relied on medical expertise to rationalize and carry out abusive and unlawful interrogations. "Medical doctors and psychologists colluded with the CIA to keep observational records about waterboarding, which approaches unethical and unlawful human experimentation," says PHR Medical Advisor and lead report author Scott Allen, MD. A doctor would stand by to monitor and calibrate this physically and psychologically harmful act, which amounts to torture. It is profoundly unsettling to learn of the central role of health professionals in laying a foundation for US government lawyers to rationalize the CIA's illegal torture program. These unlawful, unethical, and ineffective interrogation tactics cause significant bodily and mental harm.”

    "The required presence of health professionals did not make interrogation methods safer, but sanitized their use, escalated abuse, and placed doctors and psychologists in the untenable position of calibrating harm rather than serving as protectors and healers. The fact that psychologists went beyond monitoring, and actually designed and implemented these abuses – while simultaneously serving as 'safety monitors' – reveals the ethical bankruptcy of the entire program.”

    "That health professionals who swear to oaths of healing so abused the sacred trust society places in us by instigating, legitimizing and participating in torture, is an abomination," states co-author Allen Keller, MD, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. "Health professionals who aided torture must be held accountable by professional associations, by state licensing boards, and by society. Accountability is essential to maintain trust in our professions and to end torture, which scars bodies and minds, leaving survivors to endure debilitating injuries, humiliating memories and haunting nightmares."

    VR is presently conducting research for a campaign to target those doctors who were involved with torture, including those who secretly worked under contract with the CIA to develop the torture program.  We hope to shame them, have their professional licenses revoked, and have them prosecuted.  We don’t want more Dr. Mengele’s using their medical training to experiment on prisoners.  





    8/26/09: Randall Terry Removed By Police From Howard Dean Health Care Town Hall Meeting--Anti-Abortion Extremist Ejected After “Murder”Incitement

    Last night in northern Virginia, Representative James Moran and Governor Howard Dean held a town hall meeting on health care that was attended by thousands of people.    Anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry, the head of Operation Rescue, had announced prior to the event that he would be there to disrupt it by accusing President Obama of “killing Granny and babies.” VR was there with cameras.

    After a spirited defense of health care reform, which at least 75% of the crowd supported, Congressman Moran introduced Howard Dean.  Immediately, Mr. Terry and a handful of his followers began screaming from the middle of the room, “We won’t pay for murder” and “Howard Dean murders babies.”   The Congressman demanded civility but was ignored. He then told the crowd that Mr. Terry was there to disrupt the event and offered to allow him to ask a question, but Mr. Terry kept screaming. Finally, thousands of people surrounded the disrupters and began chanting, “Kick him out, kick him out.”. The police then escorted Mr. Terry and his band of disrupters out of the meeting and off the property.

    Velvet Revolution captured the entire event on video and posted it on YouTube. It shows that Mr. Terry was not interested in a democratic debate of the issues but instead wanted to shut down debate and incite people to violence.





    8/20/09: GOP Joins Iran's Ayatollah Opposing Torture Probe

    Hardline Republican senators here and hardline theocrats in Iran are apparently sharing talking points with regard to their opposition to probes of torture inflicted on detainees by their parties. The Iranians say that prosecuting torturers within the Iranian government would endanger Iran:

    "Parliament speaker Ali Larijani called last Wednesday for an investigation but a day later said Karroubi's allegations were unfounded and could be used by Iran's enemies. On Friday, prayer leaders nationwide -- all appointed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- denounced Karroubi, saying his accusations had undermined respect for the country's leaders. 'This was a letter with which America celebrated. It was a letter that was Israel's celebration,' said Ahmadi Khatami, a leader of Friday prayers in Tehran. 'The honorable judiciary said unequivocally that sexual assault, which this gentleman has alleged, is a lie.'"

    Absurd, right? Just protecting themselves and their brutal dictatorship, right. Well, check out this from the GOP:

    Kit Bond (R-MO), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Kyl (R-AZ), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder explaining that prosecuting torturers within the U.S. government would endanger the United States:

    [The appointment of a special prosecutor could] "have serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans."

    "We will not know the lost opportunities to prevent attacks, the policies to protect the nation left on the table, due to fear of future policy disagreement being expressed through an indictment. It is hard to imagine how the Justice Department could take that risk after September 11, given that the foremost duty of the Department is to protect Americans."

    "The intelligence community would be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift. It is well past time for the Obama Administration to lift the cloud that has been placed over those in the intelligence community and let them return to the job of saving American lives."

    So the GOP and the Ayatollahs agree that torturers deserve immunity--this is after they authorized the torture in the first place. Good company, Mr. GOP. How little time it took for you to show your real colors.





    8/11/09: VR’s Disbar Torture Lawyers Coalition Calls On AG Holder To Fully Investigate Torture

    In response to recent press reports that Attorney General Eric Holder intends to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct a narrow investigation of torture by a few individuals, Kevin Zeese, the attorney representing our Disbar Torture Lawyers coalition yesterday sent a letter to Mr. Holder insisting that he follow the law and allow for a full investigation without restriction.  The letter carefully analyzed the Convention Against Torture, which is written in mandatory language, and argued that it left Mr. Holder with no discretion. A copy of the complete letter is here.





    8/9/09: FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Finally Testifies Under Oath

    Yesterday, Sibel Edmonds, the FBI whistleblower gagged and threatened under the Bush Administration, finally testified under oath in Washington, DC.  VR was there with video and live blogging, and she implicated many high government officials and others in criminal activity, inlcuding treason, bribery, blackmail, and coverups. It is clear that the previous administration used the State Secrets Act to cover up crimes rather than to protect classified information.  This story will only get bigger and we hope to have a copy of the videotaped deposition very soon.  






    8/5/09: VR Forces Correction From The White House On Iran Misstatement

    Yesterday, White House Press Spokesman Robert Gibbs stated that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the “elected president of Iran.” VR immediately issued a press release calling for a correction and, eight hours later, Mr. Gibbs issued a correction.

    W.House reverses statement on Iran election
    5 Aug 2009 15:32:15 GMT

    ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Aug 5 (Reuters) - White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Wednesday said he had misspoken in calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran's elected leader and that Washington will let the Iranian people decide whether Iran's election was fair. "Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say that's not for me to pass judgment on," Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One. He's been inaugurated. That's a fact. Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we'll let them decide about that."

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in as Iran's president on Wednesday in a ceremony boycotted by reformist leaders and parliamentarians and marred by street protests over his victory. The 53-year-old hardliner took his oath of office nearly eight weeks after a disputed election that unleashed Iran's worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution and divided the political and clerical elite. Obama and the leaders of France, Britain, Italy and Germany have all decided not to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election. Gibbs had called Ahmadinejad Iran's "elected leader" on Tuesday during a briefing.



    NGOs Call On The White House To Correct Statement That Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the “Elected” President Of Iran
    Washington DC, 05 Aug 2009, 8:00 EDT

    Three Washington, DC based NGOs, the Iranian-American Youth, Velvet Revolution and Justice Through Music call on White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to correct a grave misstatement he made Tuesday when he called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  ''the elected leader'' of Iran.

    The “election” of Mr. Ahmadinejad has been universally condemned across the globe by President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The G8, The European Union, and leaders of most democratic nations.  Moreover, it has been condemned by millions of people in hundreds of cities throughout the world who have expressed their outrage at the lack of transparency and accountability in the Iranian election process, the heavy handed censorship of the people and the press, and the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters.

    The Iranian “election” has also been condemned by the opposition candidates in Iran, by many officials and even by many in the religious establishment.  In fact,  Mr. Ahmadinejad’s swearing in ceremony was boycotted by two former presidents — Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani andMohammad Khatami — as well as defeated pro-reform candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, because they did not want to be seen as legitimizing an illegitimate election.

    Most important, however, the “election” has been condemned by vast numbers of Iranian citizens who took to the streets to peacefully demand a clean election.  Those Iranian citizens were beaten, shot, killed, imprisoned and tortured for exercising their rights to free expression as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a party.  The Iranian authorities, led by Mr. Ahmadinejad, are now conducting a “show trial” like those seen in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany, complete with coerced confessions based on torture and intimidation.  

    Mr. Gibbs’ unfortunate statement is a direct insult to the people of Iran, the people imprisoned by the Ahmadinejad government, and those who have sacrificed and died in their struggle for freedom and democracy in Iran. The statement gives legitimacy to a regime that has violated international law and all norms of human decency.

    We call on Mr. Gibbs to issue a correction to reflect the reality of the situation in Iran.  We also issue an urgent Call for Action asking American citizens to contact the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and express their disappointment in Mr. Gibbs' choice of words — that Mr. Ahmadinejad is “the elected leader” of Iran.





    7/30/09: Iranians Are Outraged And The Dictators Are Afraid

    After the Iranian protesters took to the streets over election irregularities, the authorities responded with extreme violence and imprisonment.  Slowly, word leaked out of the prisons that prisoners were being raped, beaten and killed by militia. This outraged the people even more and has caused recriminations, firings and discord within the government.

    We have been giving voice to Iranians living here with our continuous video coverage of the Iran protests in the United States. This coverage has been very important to the people of Iran because it lets them know that people here support them and are also outraged.

    VR’s co-founder, Justice Through Music, www.jtmp.org, just launched a new campaign called “Protest Music From Iran” to give voice to Iranian artists who are braving assaults and censorship for speaking truth to power. We are spreading the word through Iranian underground sites and other media seeking new songs and music videos.  Here is one song, savaar-khahd-aamad, dedicated to the protesters from the Iranian activist musician, Dariush.





    7/23/09: Restore Justice At Justice Coalition Calls On Attorney General Eric Holder To Dismiss Charges Against Don Siegelman

    VR’s Restore Justice At Justice campaign, www.restorejusticeatjustice.com, representing hundreds of organizations with over one million members, calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately dismiss criminal charges against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman in light of the latest astounding evidence filed in his case attesting to gross violations of the rule of law by federal prosecutors. Specifically, the government’s chief witness in the case, Nick Bailey, has sworn in an affidavit that prosecutors told him what to say, made him repeat it until he got it right, threatened him if he did not say it, and lied to the federal judge presiding over the case about his testimony. Moreover, Mr. Bailey attested that government prosecutors intentionally withheld evidence and told him to hide a three ring binder with all of his copious notes of meetings with government agents and officials.

    Mr. Baliey has provided that binder to his attorney who has shared much of it with Mr. Siegelman’s attorneys to support the affidavit. Mr. Bailey’s associate and a professional legal investigator also provided affidavits supporting these assertions.

    Restore Justice At Justice spokesman Brad Friedman states:  “There is now so much evidence of clear conflicts of interest, overt partisan political prosecutorial targeting, failures to recuse by at least one conflicted prosecutor as well as the judge in the [Siegelman] case, evidence withheld from the defense team, and now evidence of the coaching and strong-arming of witnesses in exchange for a lighter prison sentence and a promise to conceal embarrassing personal information, it all makes the prosecutorial misconduct in the case of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens --- a Republican whose case was dropped by Obama's Justice Dept. shortly after they came to power --- look like jaywalking.”

    Prosecutorial misconduct has completely tainted Mr. Siegelman’s case. His conviction must therefore be dismissed with prejudice by the Attorney General himself in order to correct a manifest injustice, restore integrity to the Department of Justice, and send a clear message that such reprehensible conduct will not be tolerated.  Restore Justice At Justice calls on Eric Holder to act with dispatch to remove the stain and burden of an improper conviction from the shoulders of Mr. Siegelman.





    7/10/09: VR Covers Iran Protests In Freedom Plaza

    We have been making lots of noise in support of the people of Iran who have been protesting a rigged election there last month.  Well, last night, a new organization called Iranian American Youth invited us to a rally in DC’s Freedom Plaza where they expressed their outrage at the mistreatment of Iranians by the authorities in their native country. VR interviewed many of the participants and captured their passion in this YouTube video. We want to give them a wide voice on the internet and so will be posting more footage over the next few days.






    6/30/09: Al Franken Finally Certified Minnesota’s Junior Senator

    It took almost eight months, but the Minnesota Supreme Court finally said what we all knew in November — Al Franken won the Senate race against Norm Coleman. The point we want to make here has been overlooked by the mainstream press: The reason that the election contest in Minnesota was unassailable and upheld 5-0 by the Supreme Court is that Minnesota uses paper ballots and every vote is counted by hand in a recount.  This should be a nationwide standard so that elections cannot be manipulated and confidence can me maintained in our election system.  Kudos to Minnesota and its elections chief, Mark Ritchie.





    6/29/09: VR Holds Press Conference To Announce Bar Complaints Against Three CIA Lawyers Who Advocated Torture

    This morning, we held a press conference at the National Press Club to announce the filing of three new disciplinary complaints against three lawyers from the intelligence community who advocated the use of torture on detainees in violation of the law.  Two of these lawyers, John Rizzo and Jonathan Fredman, still work for the United States Government.  The third, Scott Muller, has left to work for corporate America.

    VR board attorney Kevin Zeese called on President Obama to fire Rizzo and Fredman: "These lawyers have no business practicing law, especially under salary in the federal government, given their involvement in furthering the torture of detainees." He noted that the normal checks and balances written into the Constitution have not applied to hold those involved in torture accountable and therefore, the VR campaign, Disbar Torture Lawyers, has stepped in by filing the now 15 torture complaints.

    Bruce Fein, a former senior Justice Department official in the Reagan administration, called on whistleblowers to come forward with what they know. "In Watergate, John Dean was a lawyer. He said 'there's a cancer on the presidency.' he finally decided 'I'm not going to participate in the cover-up, in the obstruction of justice.' John Dean was why the rule of law ultimately prevailed, and led to the discovery of the White House tapes. Where is the John Dean in the White House or in the Justice Department now? Where's the Elliott Richardson? Where is anybody who will stand up and say 'I'm not doing this, Mr. President.'"

    "If [government photos showing abuse of detainees] are not disclosed, how do we know exactly what abuses we may or may not be prosecuting for?" civil rights attorney Shahid Buttar asked. "And without knowing that, how can the debate around the prosecution have any legitimacy? How do we take comfort, for instance, in the reluctance to prosecute when the extent and scope and scale of the prosecutable behavior remains unknown?"

    Fein invoked the memory of another dark episode in American military history. "Can you imagine President Nixon saying, 'We have to cover up the My Lai Massacre because we shot all those women and children in the ditch, and we can't disclose it because it'll make people angry.' You prosecute Lieutenant Calley for that, you don't cover it up," he said.

    "This is President Obama saying 'Well, we have to cover this up, because there's such terrible torture things we did, people will get angry about it.'

    That's why we prosecute it, you don't conceal that. That's what the Soviet Union would do, that's what China would do, not the United States of America," Fein said.





    6/26/09: VR Holds Press Conference To Restore Justice At The DOJ

    Today, we sponsored a press conference at the National Press Club to bring more attention to our Restore Justice At Justice campaign. It was a big success with coverage by the mainstream press and live coverage by C-span.

    Elliot Mincberg, chief counsel for oversight investigations of the House Judiciary Committee, insisted that all the investigations are continuing into the politicization of the justice system by the Bush White House and Department of Justice.

    Retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Birmingham, the first African-American federal judge in Alabama and one of the first in the South, said that nothing can compare to the abuses of people’s rights that occurred during the Bush years. He indicated that his home town newspaper, The Birmingham News, has always been on the wrong side of history in the fights for justice. “I believe with every fiber in my body that when the awesome power of the greatest nation on god’s green earth is brought to bear against an individual or a group of citizens, there ought to be ample grounds for their prosecution.” But that was not the case in U.S. Attorney Alice Martin’s attempt at the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, which he called “a glaring exception to the general rule.”

    Clemon accused Martin of going on a “shopping spree” for a Republican judge to oversee the case against Siegelman but it was finally assigned to him.

    After reviewing the charges against Siegelman, which alleged a conspiracy, Clemon held a hearing and heard testimony from a number of witnesses who said there was no conspiracy. He ruled the government failed to provide substantial proof of a conspiracy, of a quid pro quo, and the case was dismissed “with prejudice.” But that did not stop the Bush Justice Department from bringing another case in Montgomery.

    Clemon said he recently talked to President Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder after writing a letter to him asking for an investigation into Siegelman’s prosecution, and he said Holder assured him there would be a “full investigation” by the Obama Justice Department.

    Other speakers at the conference included Harper’s magazine contributor Scott Horton; Charles “Champ” Walker, son of Georgia Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker; former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, twice acquitted in prosecutions that imprisoned trial lawyer Paul Minor; Puerto Rico State Senate Minority Whip Eduardo Bhatia (D), representing acquitted former Gov. Anibal Acevedo; Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron; Project Save Justice Executive Director Gail Sistrunk, discussing the group’s video, “The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove”; Investigative reporter Andrew Kreig; Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck, and McClendon Group President John Hurley.





    6/20/09: VR Urges Iranian Citizens To Continue Peaceful Assemblage To Contest An Opaque Election And Iranian Security Forces To Reject Orders To Attack And Arrest Citizens

    Yesterday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, without any recount of the results, stated that the Iran election was not rigged, and that any more protests would trigger violent crackdowns by security forces, including the thuggish Basij militia which has reportedly already killed a number of demonstrators. Today, tens of thousands of riot police and militia are in the streets attacking citizens with tear gas, water cannon and batons.

    We condemn these threats and acts of violence against Iranian citizens who peacefully seek redress of grievances. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a party specifically permits peaceful assembly and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention. It is the authorities who need to be warned against violence rather than the citizens. A proper resolution of the election contest would be to allow independent elections experts to conduct a recount of the vote and to recommend a solution based on that analysis.

    We support free and fair elections everywhere as well as the fundamental right of citizens to speak and protest. The actions of the authorities in Iran are the antithesis of this — opacity regarding all phases of the election, arbitrary arrests of opposition figures, shutting down of various forms of mass communication, blocking satellite transmissions of TV and radio, and gratuitous attacks by government sponsored militia.

    We urge Iranian citizens to continue their peaceful protests and calls on all security forces in Iran to refuse orders to attack, arrest or intimidate them. Crackdowns cannot hold back the will of the Iranian people and any officials who harm those citizens must be held accountable.





    6/18/09: The Green Revolution In Iran Caused By Election Fraud

    The bad guys never learn — steal elections and sooner or later it comes backs to haunt them. It happened in Ukraine with the Orange Revolution and it happened in the United States with the Obama Revolution. And now it’s happening in Iran.

    There is a vast amount of information in the press about the Iran election, the protests and the fraud. Therefore, we will only point to a few things of interest that have not been widely reported.

    • The best coverage of the entire matter is on the alternative press, namely Huffington Post in a terrific blog by Nico Pitney.
    • Where Is My Vote is keeping track of all the Iran election protests around the world.
    • Mohammad Asgari, who was responsible for the security of the IT network in Iran's interior ministry, was killed yesterday in Tehran after he reportedly leaked results that showed the elections were rigged by government use of new software to alter the votes from the provinces. Asgari was said to have leaked information that showed Mousavi had won almost 19 million votes, and should therefore be president.
    • Authorities have tried to shut down the media from reporting the facts in Iran but citizens are using new technology to get around these restrictions. The most effective software is aptly named “Green Tsunami,” and circumvents political censorship on Internet by repressive regimes.

    We wish the citizens of Iran the best in their quest for a free and fair election. And alas, we wish that in 2004, John Kerry had taken the strong leadership stand taken by Iranian opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The people were ready, they just needed him to lead.





    6/14/09: Torture Lawyer John Yoo Can Be Sued For Authorizing Torture

    Earlier this week, Federal Judge Jeffrey White issued a 42-page decision holding that leading torture lawyer John Yoo can be sued for damages by torture victim Jose Padilla. In short, the judge held that Yoo’s advocation of torture in legal memos demonstrated that he understood that his analysis would lead to torture. The judge found that Padilla’s suit stated various claims that Yoo violated his constitutional rights, and that war does not suspend those rights. Our friend, Marcy Wheeler, has a terrific analysis of this opinion here.

    Our campaign to disbar 12 torture lawyers just got a lot stronger with this opinion, and we plan to formally notify each disciplinary committee to take this opinion seriously.






    6/9/09: Patriot Act Prohibits Conspiracy To Torture

    Ironies of ironies, while reviewing the Patriot Act to see if it could apply to the terrorists attacking reproductive providers and clinics, we came across section 811 of the Act which amends the Federal Criminal Statute prohibiting torture, 18 USC 2340, to prohibit conspiracy to commit torture, and the same penalties apply as if the person actually committed torture.

    Section 811(g) TORTURE- Section 2340A of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
    `(c) CONSPIRACY- A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.'.

    So the same Bush lawyers who drafted the Patriot Act included a provision that can be used to imprison everyone from George Bush and Dick Cheney down to the DOJ and DOD lawyers  -- for conspiracy to commit torture.





    6/9/09: VR Files Supplements To 12 Torture Complaints

    On June 9, 2009, we filed supplements to all of the initial 12 bar complaints adding important new information including:


    • General David Petreaus’ May 29, 2009 statement that the United States “violated the Geneva Conventions.”
    • General Ricardo Sanchez’s May 31, 2009 statement that the United States committed “war crimes” by torturing detainees.
    • DOJ emails from Deputy AG James Comey stating that Alberto Gonzalez was “weak” by succumbing to White House political pressure.  
    • American Bar Association resolution condemning torture and “any endorsement of such measures by government lawyers, officials and agents.”
    • Re Alberto Gonzales, the May 30, 2009 NPR report stating that he authorized torture as WH Counsel even before the DOJ memos.

    A copy of the Gonzales Supplement is here. All the supplements are posted at www.disbartorturelawyers.com.





    5/23/09: Chief Judge Of Alabama Asks For Investigation Of “Unfounded” Siegelman Prosecution

    In a stunning development in the Don Siegelman case, retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Birmingham wrote to AG Eric Holder seeking a probe of misconduct by federal prosecutors including their alleged "judge-shopping," jury-pool "poisoning" and "unfounded" criminal charges in an effort to imprison Siegelman. Judge Clemon, a highly respected jurist and one of the first African American judges in the South, took this unusual step because he felt duty bound to report corruption that occurred on his watch.

    This development comes days after new evidence revealed that Siegelman’s trial judge, Mark Fuller, was chosen to preside over the trial because he had a “grudge” against Siegelman which bordered on hatred because Siegelman appointed an investigator to look into Fuller’s shady activities. Moreover, the new evidence makes a strong case that Judge Fuller labors under conflicts of interest because he owns a majority share in Doss Aviation, which receives hundreds of millions in contracts from the military and has ties to CIA activities.

    Last week, VR called for the removal of Siegelman’s prosecutor, Laura Canary, and for an investigation into the activities of Judge Fuller, both which now have been echoed by Chief Judge Clemon in his letter to Eric Holder. What more does it take, Mr. Holder, to clear the stench of corruption from this case? Step in and enforce the rule of law, now.





    5/18/09: VR Launches New Campaign To Disbar The Torture Lawyers

    Today, a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to accountable government, and representing over one million members, filed disciplinary complaints with state bar licensing boards against twelve attorneys who advocated the torture of detainees during the Bush Administration.  These detailed complaints with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits have been filed against John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington. The complaints, filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, seek disciplinary action and disbarment.  Copies of the complaints and exhibits are available at www.disbartorturelawyers.com.

    The individually tailored complaints allege that the named attorneys violated the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture, which is illegal under both United States and international law.  Specifically, the Geneva Convention, UN Convention Against Torture, the Eighth Amendment, the Army Field Manual and the United States Criminal Code against torture and war crimes all prohibit torture of detainees.   The memos written and supported by these attorneys advocating torture have now been repudiated by the Department of Justice, the White House, the Department of Defense and other experts in the field.  The recently released Senate and Red Cross reports on detainee treatment provide uncontroverted evidence that the torture techniques advocated by the attorneys were used on human beings over an extended period of time.

    In testimony at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Former State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told a committee panel that Bush administration officials engaged in a ‘collective failure’ on detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists.   He called the torture memos “unsound” because “the lawyers involved ... did not welcome peer review and indeed would shut down challenges even inside the government.” Another witness testified that the legal policy constituted “an ethical train wreck” because it violated constitutional, statutory and international law.

    Kevin Zeese, the attorney for the coalition who signed the complaints, said, "It is time to hold these lawyers accountable for violating their legal oath. Just as the bar would suspend an attorney who advised a police officer to torture and brutalize a detained immigrant or criminal defendant, the bar must suspend these attorneys for advocating and causing the torture of war detainees. The disciplinary boards that hear these complaints must act or they will be seen as complicit in the use of torture. This is an important step toward the ultimate accountability of criminal prosecution."

    The coalition expects these twelve complaints to be followed with others after the involvement of additional attorneys is confirmed.  We urge organizations and individuals to sign on the this new campaign at www.disbartorturelawyers.com.





    5/5/09: Vindictive Prosecutors Want Siegelman To Die In Prison: VR Calls For The Removal Of Siegelman Prosecutors And Investigation Of His Judge

    We have been very vocal in trying to bring justice to ex-Alabama Governor Don Siegelman who was targeted for political prosecution by Karl Rove and his cronies for being a popular Democrat.  See our Restore Justice Campaign. A few months ago, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out several of his convictions and ordered that he be resentenced from his original seven year sentence.

    Well, incredibly, the same vindictive prosecutors who railroaded Siegelman in the first place have now asked that his sentence be increased to 20 years, which amounts to a death sentence for the 63 year old Democrat. And now, new evidence has been reported in the past few days pointing to even more disturbing information about the corrupt federal judge who sentenced Siegelman. According to this report, Judge Fuller had a personal grudge against Siegelman that bordered on hatred.

    Enough is enough. President Obama, you promised to clean up the DOJ. VR calls on you to act now. You must remove all the bad Bush United States Attorneys like Laura Canary, who is Rove’s best friend in Alabama. You must also order a major investigation into the workings and history of Judge Fuller who has been surrounded by allegations of corruption and criminal activity going back decades. If Judge Fuller is dirty, he needs to be removed from the bench and prosecuted. If he is clean, then an independent prosecutor, after conducting a comprehensive investigation, should say so. Confidence in the judiciary is the foundation of our democracy, and clearly Judge Fuller lacks that confidence.





    5/1/09: Connell’s Sisters Question His Death

    In an interesting twist to the Michael Connell investigation, two of his sisters have told a Michigan newspaper that they have doubts about his cause of death. Both Mary Jo Walker and Shannon Connell do not believe that his death was an accident. "At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead," says Shannon, a buyer for a local children's resale shop. But as time goes on, it's hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it." Mary Jo agrees: "It doesn't seem right to me at all."

    Shannon and Mary Jo both say their brother, a devout Catholic, seemed upset in the weeks before his death. Mary Jo feels he was "stressed out and depressed" on his birthday last November; Shannon says he atypically did not respond to an email she'd sent. She calls the crash that killed him "very suspicious." Michael was an experienced pilot, and his plane had recently been serviced. Plus there's the timing — "after the deposition and before the trial. It just seems very convenient."

    We too find Connell’s death suspicious and convenient and we will continue to investigate Connell’s ties to election manipulation and Karl Rove. See www.RoveCyberGate.com.





    4/28/09: Remembering Our Colleague And Friend John Gideon

    We sadly report that our friend and colleague John Gideon passed away suddenly yesterday after contracting viral menengitis and collapsing at his home in the Seattle area.  John has been a big part of the foundation of our election integrity movement for the past five years and the unwavering author of the Daily Voting News that everyone who cared about this issue read with interest.

    We first met John five years ago in Washington DC when he attended an election reform conference.  He was an impressive and committed activist who wanted to “get it right.”  He sought out Michelle Mulder at the conference because she was working for Congressman Rush Holt on election issues and  passionately urged her to ensure that Congress enacted “real election reform.”  While he had her ear, someone snatched Mulder’s purse and took off down the hallway.  That, of course, did not go over well with John, a veritable giant of a man, who quickly put together a posse of of election activists to scour the hallways looking for the thief.  John was not able to finish his conversation with Mulder, but his actions earned him her respect and ours too.

    Since then, John has been involved with most of our key election integrity campaigns, many of them originating with his ideas.  He has pulled weight where it counted, largely in the background, and his wisdom and advice have been invaluable.  John will be sorely missed and his passing shrinks the pool of leaders in this election integrity field.  It will be impossible to fill his shoes, but we now pledge to continue his work and his vision.

    For more information and to leave comments, please click this link to The Brad Blog.





    4/22/09: Seventy Five State Attorneys General Call For Investigation Into Siegelman Conviction

    Just one week after we launched our new RestoreJusticeAtJustice campaign, demanding that Attorney General Holder vacate the convictions of politically prosecuted defendants, seventy-five state attorney generals have signed on to a letter Holder asking for a broad investigation of prosecutorial misconduct in the Don Siegelman prosecution. In the letter, the attorneys general said Mr. Siegelman's defense lawyers had raised "gravely troublesome facts" about his prosecution that raise questions about the fairness and due process of the trial. "We believe that if prosecutorial misconduct is found, as in the case of Senator Ted Stevens, then dismissal should follow in this case as well," the group said in the letter, which was organized by Robert Abrams, a former attorney general of New York.

    Our campaign has now been signed on by organizations representing over a million members and by almost 800 individuals.  Clearly, this issue is not going to go away and the sooner the Attorney General addresses it, the better.  





    4/15/09: VR Launches “Restore Justice At Justice” Campaign Demanding Redress For Those Politically Prosecuted By The Bush Administration, Beginning With Governor Don Siegelman And Paul Minor

    Today a broad coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to an honest and accountable government led by VR launched “Restore Justice At Justice,” www.RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com, a campaign to clean up the Department of Justice’s sad record of political prosecutions under the Bush Administration.  These organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of members, have a strong track record of spurring action on crucial issues.  The coalition has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, available on the Restore Justice At Justice website, requesting that he quickly investigate and identify those targeted, and vacate their convictions, beginning with Alabama ex-Governor Don Siegelman and Attorney Paul Minor.

    Under the Bush administration, the Department of Justice was driven by ideology, and prosecutions were often used to settle scores and intimidate the opposition.  The GOP, under the direction of Karl Rove, used the DOJ to target political enemies including Democratic contributors and those who were a threat to GOP electoral gains and big business interests.  The Department was used as an arm of the White House to destroy these Democrats.  This political profiling resulted in the criminal prosecution of many on the GOP list, including Don Siegelman and Paul Minor.  

    “Last week, Attorney General Holder ordered the dismissal of charges against Senator Ted Stevens because of prosecutorial misconduct,” said coalition spokesperson Brad Friedman.  “Because targeted political prosecutions also constitute prosecutorial misconduct, AG Holder should apply the same standard to Siegelman, Minor, and all the others identified as targeted by the Bush DOJ,” said Friedman. "Siegelman and Minor were targets of political profiling, which is as unjust as racial profiling. President Obama and Attorney General Holder promised to return justice to the Justice Department and free the Department from politics. We demand that they do so."

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the signers at RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com, has stated publicly that “Paul Minor is an innocent man” who was targeted by Karl Rove, prosecuted by “crooked Justice Department prosecutors,” and sentenced to “a breathtaking 11-year sentence for non-violent, white collar crimes he did not commit," while Minor’s wife of 41 years lies in a hospital dying from cancer, unable “to utter the word l-o-v-e to her husband.” Kennedy summarizes the case this way:  “Karl Rove's crooked henchmen at the U.S. Justice Department have turned this dignified gentleman's life into a horrible ordeal that is a disgrace to American democracy.”

    ** Paul Minor’s wife died late Monday without him by her side after the DOJ opposed his bail pending appeal and a compassionate bedside furlough.





    4/11/09: VR Files Records Requests In Connell Death

    VR has filed Freedom of Information record requests for all information related to the death of Michael Connell as well as his contracts with the State of Ohio and United States congressional committees.  These were filed with the following agencies:  CIA, FBI, FAA, NTSB, Congressional Administration, Ohio Secretary of State and Ohio State Police.

    We have already received hundreds of pictures and documents.  An irony is that Connell appeared to have regained control of his aircraft a few feet above the ground when a wing hit an American flag pole causing the plane to flip over, smash into a playground and catch fire. That was the Left Wing that hit the flag pole.






    3/31/09: Franken Coleman Decision Likely To Favor Franken

    Late today, a three judge panel issued a comprehensive decision in the election contest of the recount in the Franken/Coleman Senate race from Minnesota.  In short, the court ordered the canvassing board to review an additional 400 ballots for possible counting.  This, according to experts, will favor Franken. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7033 The count will occur on April 7, 2009. Coleman has promised to appeal and the GOP has threatened WWIII if Franken is seated.






    3/27/09: CIA Agent Admits  E-Voting Election Rigging

    In explosive testimony last month before the Election Assistance Commission, CIA Agent Steven Stigall confirmed that the CIA has been gathering intel about election rigging through the use of computers for the past five years.  He used examples from Venezuela, Ukraine, Georgia and Macedonia to show the different methods that have been used.  As Greg Gordon first reported for McClatchy, "Stigall said that voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly.” http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/64711.html Agent Stigall made official what Mr. Spoonamore had been asserting for years about the unreliability of e-voting and about the ease of rigging elections when a candidate controls the election levers.

    Brad Blog has a comprehensive analysis of Agent Stigall’s presentation and how it ties in with all the red flags we have been waving for five years about the threat of evoting.  http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7021 A full copy of the testimony can be found here.

    But our question is, why now?  Clearly the CIA has had this information for years yet waited until just days after George Bush left office to disclose it.  Was Stigall given the nod by Leon Panetta to come forward as a hint to look deeper into this matter?   Was the CIA pre-empting something that will be exposed soon about election rigging?  

    We found Stigall’s statements about the 2004 rigged election in Ukraine especially enlightening.  He said that pro-Russian candidate Victor Yanukovich stole that October 2004 election by secretly placing a (man in the middle) computer in the central tabulation facility and flipping the results (by 14% according to other sources).  This rigging was suspected because the exit polls favored Victor Yushchenko by 11%.  However, it was only proven by taped phone calls between Yanukovich’s campaign managers discussing the rigging and the attempted coverup.  This led the Orange Revolution (and the naming of VR).

    What interested us is that Yanukovich’s campaign team (managers) at the time (and still) were Rick Davis and Paul Manafort, the owners of a lobbying/PR firm called 3eDC. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/20/new-questions-over-mccain_n_108204.html John McCain used 3eDC to oversee its campaign's Web site and online fund raising. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118515181783374359.html Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff has revealed that John McCain’s presidential campaign paid nearly a million dollars for web services to 3eDC. http://www.newsweek.com/id/161218 3EDC’s bragged that it had five “strategic partners” going into the 2008 election campaign. http://web.archive.org/web/20070304101901/www.3edc.net/partners/

        * Campaign Solutions, run by Mike Connell’s partner, Becki Donatelli
        * Integrated Web Strategy, another Connell affiliated company that works with Chamber of Commerce Institute of Legal Reform, which has been found by courts to have engaged in illegal election manipulations
        * New Media Communications, Chief Political Strategist and CEO Mike Connell, co-founder of Connell Donatelli Inc., with Campaign Solutions Chairman R. Rebecca Becki Donatelli
        * Airnet , owned by Jeff Averbeck, which is the parent company of Smartech, which was used to route the 2004 Ohio election results through, and
        * Dynology Corp which has a heavily military client list in three parts; “a majority of our staff hold security clearances that allow access to Secret and Top Secret classified government information.” Their “Corp HQ and Dev Lab” at 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Ste 1350, Vienna, VA, seems to be a maildrop, judging by the dozens of other tenants in the “suite”.

    So, Rick Davis was involved with the Ukraine election rigging and he still works for Yanukovich.  McCain knew about this relationship and about the vote rigging when he hired Davis to be his campaign manager.  In short, McCain’s campaign was run by a man directly involved with the theft of the Ukraine election, and that man was partners with both Mike Connell and Jeff Averbeck (who owns Airnet as well as Smartech), both of whom have been tied to rigging Bush’s elections. And according to evidence from the King Lincoln case in Ohio last fall, McCain planned to rig the vote in ten states with the help of Connell and Averbeck.  Wow, this is really amazing.  





    3/20/09: Diebold Lies, Gets Caught With Delete Button, Cancels License, And CFO Resigns

    Four years ago, VR launched its Divestiture for Democracy Campaign, taking on the major vote machine companies for fraudulent, opaque and undemocratic policies. Over the years, our campaign has helped (1) expose just how bad the Diebold vote machines are, (2) to cause the ouster of Diebold CEO Wally O’Dell, (3) persuade elections officials to investigate the vote machines, and (4) convince investors to dump Diebold stock.

    Well, even more vindication has come to light recently with truly explosive revelations about Diebold.  Early this week, Diebold admitted to California officials that its machines dropped votes and its audit logs did not, in fact, audit important aspects of an election.  Moreover, a delete button allowed for the erasing of audit logs altogether. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6995 These problems have been known by Diebold for at least four years but were not disclosed to elections officials in the 34 states where the Diebold machines are used.

    After Humbolt County blamed the deletion of 197 votes from the November election on this Diebold flaw, Diebold retaliated by cancelling their license to use the machines even in an upcoming may 19th election. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7016

    And then to top off a very bad month for Diebold, its Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Krakora, resigned after being targeted by the SEC for insider trading. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7018

    Fortunately, this is what happens when a company is rotten to the core.





    3/11/09: More Than Five Million Citizens Deprived Of Right To Vote In 2008

    In a new study, researchers at MIT found that as many as five million people did not cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election because they encountered registration problems or failed to receive absentee ballots, which is roughly the same number of voters who encountered such problems in the 2000 election, according to an academic study to be presented to the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday. Another two million citizens were “discouraged” from voting due to long lines and photo ID requirements. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/massachusetts_institute_of_technology/index.html?inline=nyt-org

    According to Professor Mark Crispin Miller, however, “it is therefore very likely that the number of those disenfranchised in this last election, by whatever means, was actually far higher than the 4/5 million here reported. We may conservatively estimate that it was more like 7 to 8 million US citizens who couldn't vote; and we may add with confidence that most of those blocked voters would have voted for Obama, and also would have voted Democratic in their local House and Senate races.

    And then there were those citizens whose votes were not suppressed, but electronically erased or altered: a type of disenfranchisement not noted by the researchers at MIT, who looked exclusively at vote suppression, not election fraud. But, just as in 2004 and 2006, so in 2008 there were numerous firsthand reports of voters seeing their votes "flipped" right before their eyes--a problem that afflicted many Democrats and just a handful of Republicans. And those reports point only to a fraction of the ballots altered electronically, since it's quite easy to flip votes without its being perceptible.”

    VR has been working on a white paper of legislation that will correct many of the problems seen in the 2008 election.  We will keep you informed.





    3/4/09: President Al-Bashir Arrest Warrant Issued

    The International Criminal Court at THE HAGUE issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He is the first sitting head of state the court has ordered arrested. The three-judge panel said there was insufficient evidence to support charges of genocide in a war in which up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes. "He is suspected of being criminally responsible ... for intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property," court spokeswoman Laurence Blairon said. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29492637






    3/3/09: Are The Missing Rove Emails Being Hidden By SmartTech?

    Late last week, an investigative reporter, Glynn Wilson, working with VR, visited the GOP dominated SmartTech Corporation in Chattanooga to look into allegations that the secrets of the Bush Administration are hidden and backed up on the SmartTech computers.  It was SmartTech where Mike Connell set up off grid RNC email systems that were used by Karl Rove and others to get around the official White House email system.  It was SmartTech where Connell sent the 2004 Ohio election results on election night giving an unexpected win to George Bush.  www.rovecybergate.com.   It is SmartTech that has been identified by cyber expert Stephen Spoonamore as ground zero for GOP dirty tricks.

    Reporter Wilson wrote his first article on his SmartTech visit along with long and a short video.  http://blog.locustfork.net/2009/03/01/white-house-rnc-email-backed-up-in-chattanooga/  He will be filing more reports and we will pass them along and hope that John Conyers is watching.





    3/3/09: Holder DOJ Setting Priorities-Stop Causing Suffering

    Attorney General Eric Holder has been setting some new priorities that we fully support.  Here are two in the past few days:  first, he ordered the Drug Enforcement Administration to stop raiding medical marijuana dispensaries that are allowed under state law. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/26/holder-vows-to-end-raids_n_170119.html This will do much to help alleviate the suffering of those who use marijuana for medical purposes.

    Second, he stated emphatically that the United States will not engage in torture, and specifically will not allow the use of “waterboarding,” which he calls a form of torture.   http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Holder_US_wont_justify_rationalize_condone_0302.html We have been calling waterboarding torture for years, so hats off to the new AG.






    3/1/09: VR Part Of PowerShift09

    A new movement has really made its mark this week in Washington, DC. PowerShift09 is a grassroots campaign to push a shift from fossil fuels to clean technology fuels. http://powershift09.org And the Obama Administration is listening.  Speakers included Nancy Pelosi, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and Interior Director Ken Salazar. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php  For four days this weekend, over twelve thousand mostly young people came to DC for training, lobbying, and activism.  VR was there filming the speakers and the bands and interviewing the youth.

    The message loud and clear is that the future of civilization depends on this generation getting it right by stopping pollution and global warming.  VR is part of this revolution and we urge everyone to get involved.






    2/27/09: Success: Mark Gitenstein Out Of Consideration

    Two weeks ago, we made a major push to oppose Mark Gitenstein to head the DOJ's Office of Legal Policy.  We did a post on VR, sent out a press release to the national wires, personally contacted Gitenstein to ask him to withdraw his name, created and placed a web ad on BradBlog, and coordinated with Public Citizen, another org opposed to Gitenstein.  Our opposition was based on Gitenstein's lobbying and legal work for the Chamber of Commerce which was one of Karl Rove's main tools for corrupting elections nationwide.   Well, we succeeded. Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it was withdrawing Gitenstein from the job.  According to the Washington Post this morning, this was a big win since Gitenstein looked like a shoe-in because of his previous work for Joe Biden.

    "The widely expected nomination of Mark Gitenstein, a longtime aide to Vice President Biden, for the job of assistant attorney general for legal policy, the point office for judicial selections, is not happening. The choice of Gitenstein, a highly regarded Washington lawyer and longtime chief Democratic counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Biden formerly chaired, had been considered a done deal, what with his Biden connection and many friends in the legal community. But liberal opposition, including a campaign against him by Public Citizen, was sharply critical of his legal work for a number of business clients and most especially for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That forced the White House to reconsider the nomination, Roll Call reported Wednesday. That opposition overcame strong support for Gitenstein from other liberals and also from influential Obama campaign insiders, a source told us yesterday. There are other lawyers who might like the job, including George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton, a leading Democrat and big-time bundler of contributions for the Obama campaign." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/26/AR2009022603391.html

    This turn of events now has Spencer Overton as the top contender for the job.  Mr. Overton has been a friend of the election integrity movement for years after he, as a member of the Baker-Carter Commission on election reform, led the opposition to that report and actually wrote a dissenting report.  Mr. Overton is another terrific, black, Harvard grad law professor at George Washington University. He has been a vociferous opponent of voter photo ID laws and voter suppression.





    2/17/09: Bush Attorneys In Trouble Over Legal Opinions

    According to a new soon be released report by the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility, ex-Bush administration lawyers who crafted the legal framework for waterboarding and other interrogation tactics – and assert that they do not constitute torture – may be on the verge of a bit of legal trouble themselves. http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Justice_Department_probe_blasts_Bush_lawyers_0215.html

    At least three former top Bush lawyers face possible disciplinary action from state bar associations for what a former Justice Department official has called "deeply flawed" and "sloppily reasoned" legal analysis.

    Jay Bybee and John Yoo – who wrote last month that Bush's torture programs were initially designed to outwit crafty defense attorneys – have been "sharply criticized" in an internal Justice Department report, according to Newsweek. A draft of the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility, the department's watchdog unit, was submitted during the waning days of the Bush administration, but former Attorney General Michael Mukasey objected to it, because it did not include a response from the targeted attorneys.  

    We strongly support prompt action by the state bars that granted those lawyers their licenses.  The lawyers should have their licenses suspended in order to hold them accountable, to act as a deterrent, and to prevent them from causing further harm to our democratic processes.





    2/16/09: Sudan President Indictment For Genocide

    We have long been urging a get tough policy against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his participation in the genocide in Darfur.  Well, finally, the International Criminal Court appears to be ready to indict him for war crimes and crimes against humanity. That is, if the autocrats of the world don’t get in the way.   http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/16/sudan-war-crimes-split-international-community

    Russia, China, Islamists and a host of repressive African regimes are trying to block the prosecution of al-Bashir. Of course, these countries have never stood up for human rights and using their rationale, the ICC should never be able to prosecute because that would destabilize something, somewhere. But it is Mr. Bashir who has destabilized the region by killing and displacing over two million people. Where were these countries when Mr. Bashir was engaging in genocide? No, it’s time, way past time for Mr. Bashir to be held accountable for his final solution.





    2/14/09: Senator Leahy Proposes Truth Commission-Sign The Petition

    Senator Patrick Leahy recently proposed a Truth Commission to look into the abuses of the Bush Administration.  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18603.html  Although some have said that this will allow a whitewash like the 9/11 Commission did, we believe that this is a good step.  As we recall, it was the Watergate investigations that led to criminal charges of the Nixon Administration.  It was the Church Commission that led to exposing other abuses during that Administration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

    We do not believe that immunity should be granted for wrongdoing unless it leads to the conviction of a higher-up.  We do believe that accountability should apply to anyone regardless of position. We do believe that the evidence should be followed to where ever it leads. We agree with Don Siegelman that we have to look back so we can proceed forward. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-news/reporting/sam-stein

    Senator Leahy has asked people to support his call for a Commission. http://ga3.org/campaign/btcpetition?rk=Z1rFTgnagXL6W We need to keep the focus on the crimes of Bush Administration and this is a good start. At the same time, we are pursuing our investigation of Karl Rove and his manipulation of elections at the behest of corrupt politicians and big business.  More on that very soon.





    2/10/09: VR Opposes Any Nomination Of Mark Gitenstein To the DOJ Office of Legal Policy

    Obama’s potential nominee to head The Department of]Justice’s Office of Legal Policy, Mark Gitenstein, worked as a lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce between 2000 and 2008, helping his law firm earn more than $6 million in fees, according to federal lobbying records. Obama has set forth strict rules against lobbyists working for him and so Mr. Gitenstein will have to get a waiver.  VR Is vehemently opposed to this appointment because of the obvious conflict of interest under which Mr. Gitenstein will labor and because of his work for the Chamber, an organization has been engaged in pervasive illegal and corrupt activity regarding elections nationwide at the behest of big business and Karl Rove.  

    Gitenstein, a partner at the Mayer Brown law firm in Washington, was a longtime senior aide to Vice President Joe Biden. And he has a good civil rights record. In recent years, however, he also has served as counsel to the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, which pushed for changes in federal litigation rules and adding business-friendly judges to state courts. http://www.tortdeform.com/archives/2009/02 is_obamas_office_of_legal_poli.html#trackbacks Many of the same front groups which joined the Chamber ILR legal reform 'coalition' were involved in the organization's turn to full-blown rightwing partisanship and were responsible for putting George Bush into office and keeping him there.

    The litigation by Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck regarding the manipulation of the 2004 election in Ohio uncovered evidence that long time Bush IT expert  Mike Connell created front groups for the Chamber (on behalf of Karl Rove?) in an ongoing pattern of corrupt activity to defraud elections. http://thejournal.epluribusmedia.net/index.php/state-news/ohio-news/121-ohio-attorneys-to-assert-rico-claim-against-karl-rove-for-orchestrating-theft-of-2004-election?q=connell. Mr. Arnebeck was able to tie the Chamber to Connell’s activities because Arnebeck had sued the Chamber earlier for creating front groups that illegally funneled and laundered money to attack Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick. http://www.rcfp.org/newsitems/index.php?i=3781

    Mississippi Judge Oliver Diaz wrote to us recently to complain about being targeted by the Bush DOJ in a political prosecution directed by Karl Rove.  He wrote, “election fraud is a major concern to me.... In my last election, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce funneled about $1 million to defeat me.  This is part of a strategy to stack out courts with conservative shills for big business. They have refused to disclose their donor list.”  

    So now, Obama wants to have Mark Gitenstein, who lobbied for the one of the most partisan, corrupt and opaque organizations in the country, decide what judges are to be put on the federal bench.  The same Chamber that coordinated attacks on Democrats nationwide for suing Big Tobacco, such as Don Siegelman. What kind of ethics and integrity can Mr. Gitenstein have lobbying for such an organization?  We urge everyone to contact their Senators to express disapproval for this possible nomination.  

    Note: Mr. Gitenstein also lobbied for AT&T, collaborator of FISA.  http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/02/tell-me-about-that-pledge-again-mr-president-former-chamber-of-commerce-lobbyist-to-head-dojs-opd/





    2/9/09: Obama Needs To Stop The State Secrets Defense To Lawsuits

    OK, we have been hearing all the gush out of Washington about how the new Administration will make a clean break from the barbaric practices of the Bush Administration vis a vis the rule of law.  And it is true that Obama has been saying the right things and issuing orders that we support regarding torture, rendition and Gitmo.  However, earlier this week, his representative for the Department of Justice argued in a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the Obama DOJ was maintaining the position espoused by the Bush DOJ on state secrets—i.e., that the case alleging torture had to be dismissed because allowing it to proceed would disclose state secrets.  The case, Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen, was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were tortured.

    Last week, Britain's High Court of Justice ruled evidence in the U.K. civil case of Binyam Mohamed, one of the plaintiffs in the Jeppesen case, must remain secret because of U.S. threats to cut off intelligence sharing. On Saturday Britain's Telegraph reported that "Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, 'is very far down the list of things they did'." On Sunday Britain's Daily Mail reported that Mohamed "was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a 'joke' website on how to build a nuclear weapon. ... [He] admitted to having read the 'instructions' after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail."

    So what we have here is either Obama just giving us all lip service or Bush DOJ holdovers trying to sabotage the new Administration.  Whatever it is, let’s get it straight—torture is criminal and covering up for torture is criminal.  Please phone and Email Attorney General Eric Holder right now to ask him not to coverup torture: 202-514-2001 AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

    Last year, Senators Edward Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, and Arlen Specter, and Representative Jerrold Nadler, introduced the State Secrets Protection Act, which would severely limit the use of the "state secrets" claim. Please call and ask them to reintroduce this bill right away: Kennedy, 202-224-4543; Leahy, 202-224-4242; Specter, 202-224-4254; Nadler, 202-225-5635.





    1/27/09: Karl Rove Subpoenaed

    Yesterday,
    House Judiciary Chair John Conyers issued a subpoena to Karl Rove
    requiring his testimony about the US Attorney firings, the Don Siegelman case, and other politicizing of the Justice Department. Today, Rove's attorney indicated that Rove would still assert executive privilege.

    We believe that President Obama should reject any attempt by Rove to avoid testifying under oath about his conduct in manipulating the rule of law. As Don Siegelman pointed out, "those who abused their power must be held accountable otherwise their misuse of power will be more likely to happen again."






    1/25/09: Whistleblower Russ Tice Says NSA Spied On Journalists And Congress Members-What About Mike Connell?

    NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, unafraid after the inauguration of Barack Obama, gave a shocking interview last week where he disclosed that the NSA spying under the Bush Administration was even much broader than previously reported--even journalists and Congress Members had their communications tapped.

    We have also been asking questions about the possible spying on Congress Members by Bush loyalist, Michael Connell, who suddenly received the first private contract to place his computer servers behind the congressional firewall shortly after George Bush took office.

    Soon Connell was handling all of the IT/email systems for the powerful House Intelligence, Judiciary, Ways and Mean, and Rules and Ethics Committees which, according to cyber expert Stephen Spoonamore, gave Connell full access to all encrypted data and allowed him to use a Virtual Private Network to remotely access those Committee computer servers. Spoonamore told congressional staffers last year that Connell's access raised the specter for mischief because the system could have been used by partisans to spy on the very committees charged with oversight of the Bush Administration.  Spoonamore said that this could be done in real time or as a "data dump."

    VR will soon be asking Congress and the DOJ to conduct an investigation into how the top Bush IT expert was able to get the Congressional contract and whether Connell spied on Congress and if so on whose orders.





    1/20/09: A New Day Of Hope Is Here

    Today the American ship of state, crippled and battered with all engines out after a double Bush strike, is having its controls turned over to a calm, cool, professional who has the support of the citizens of our great country and the whole of the world.  This ship is going down but instead of crashing in a ball of flame, it will recover and land and be saved.  People everywhere will come out to help and the passengers will work together to ensure that things turn out ok.

    Of course, we have to make sure that the new President keeps his focus on what is good for America rather than what is good for the rich, the corporations and the military industrial complex.  That is our duty here at VR and we take it seriously.  Today we recommit to all of you that we will remain vigilant watchdogs and that we will insist on real change — we will work to turn our hopes and dreams into reality for a better, more progressive and sustainable world.






    1/18/09: Happy Springtime, Bush Is Over On Video

    Our friends at Justice Through Music, www.jtmp.org, have re-mastered and re-released their widely popular “Happy Springtime , Bush is Over” video.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quf-jyDsXbM This version is now in a High Definition and Wide Screen format and includes a few new nods to Barack Obama and the hope of a new day.  It also has a photo of John Lennon holding a Bush is Over poster near the end.   So get it out and let it go viral now that Bush is really over.  Feel free to post and spread far and wide.  The original version released two years ago got almost 100,000 plays on YouTube.






    1/7/09: Connell Investigation Intensifies

    Michael Connell’s death has opened up several new lines of investigation that may finally spark an in-depth scrutiny of his relationship with Karl Rove and the Bush family.  VR has been contacted in recent days by several mainstream media outlets regarding the Connell case and we expect a big expose’ very soon that will touch on many aspects of this case that have only heretofore been reported by the independent online media and even things that have not yet been reported.

    In addition, attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who leads the Ohio litigation looking into Rove’s criminal pattern of election manipulation, is planning to ask the United States Department of Justice to expand its investigation into the firing of US Attorneys to include that entire pattern of election manipulation. He believes that the US Attorney matter is but one part of the larger picture.

    The NTSB issued a preliminary report about the Connell crash that could not determine the cause except to say that weather, icing and known mechanical problems were not in evidence. http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20081223X12815&key=1  There have been many articles and videos published about the Connell crash over the past three weeks and they are being archived in the news section of www.RoveCyberGate.com.





    1/5/09: Al Franken Senate Wins Proves Importance Of Paper Ballots

    Today, more than two months after the election, the long recount in the Minnesota Coleman/Franken Senate race has ended with a win for Al Franken by just 225 votes.   On election night, Norm Coleman was ahead, but MN law requires a hand count of all paper ballots, including absentee and machine rejected ballots when the race is so close.  

    MN Secretary of State Mark Richie made sure that the recount was done transparently, openly, publicly and with the participation of both sides.  The process was televised, streamed on the Internet and the press kept an updated tally as the results of each ballot was recorded.

    This race clearly demonstrates the importance of paper ballots and hand recounts.   On election night, Coleman insisted that he won and demanded that Franken concede.   At every step of the recount, Coleman’s attorneys employed tactics designed to make sure that every vote was not counted.  Franken, on the other hand, pushed for the counting of every vote possible.

    In the end, it was the people of Minnesota who won.  Their choice for Senator was upheld and their paper ballot requirement and hand recount statue provided a model for the rest of the country.













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