A Republican former congressman provided new momentum Nov. 26 for the current petition drive to free former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, from his unjust prison sentence.
Former Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith, right, described Siegelman's seven-year sentence as a "political assassination" in a remarkable interview by Lila Garrett on KPFK. Garrett hosts a Los Angeles-based radio show. The interview can be heard nationwide in the second of the show's three segments.
The Pacifica Network show featured also Siegelman's daughter, Dana, 27. The younger Siegelman is leading the petition drive with sign-ups here. The drive's goal is to persuade President Obama to pardon her father, 67, from convictions in 2006 on hoked-up corruption charges.
"There was not a finer man that wanted to do more for the state than Don Siegelman," said Griffith, 70, a physician. He said authorities unfairly convicted the former governor in what appeared to be a Karl Rove-orchestrated plot concocted with the help of the federal trial judge, Mark Fuller.
"This was a political assassination of one of the finest governors we've ever had in the South, Griffith continued. "He was shackled...he was put in solitary confinement...this judge was trying to prove to the Karl Rove faction that he could carry out an assignment." Update: Alabama legal commentator Roger Shuler, who has published hundreds of columns on the Siegelman case, published another Nov. 28 containing extended quotations of Griffith's powerful remarks, excerpted also below. See. Former Republican Congressman From Alabama Calls The Siegelman Case A "Political Assassination.".
Other Republicans have criticized Siegelman's corruption convictions as unjust. Among those critics are former 2008 McCain for President Co-chairman Grant Woods of Arizona and conservative columnist George Will. Especially outspoken in his criticism of the prosecution has been one of the founders of Alabama's Republican Party, Luther "Stan" Pate, a wealthy developer in Tuscaloosa.
But Griffith is the most prominent critic from Alabama of the prosecution to combine blunt language and strong, recent GOP credentials in office. Griffith joined the Republican Party in 2009 while representing Alabama's Fifth District in the state's northern-most district surrounding Huntsville. He served one term in Congress from 2009 to 2011 before losing in a 2010 Republican primary following his party switch. Most in public office and in the major media, in Alabama and around the nation, have lost interest in Siegelman's plight after years of court reversals for him.
Dana Siegelman is shown below with her father before he was ordered to report to prison on Sept. 11 for the last six years of his sentence. She is on leave from graduate school to fight for her father's freedom. In the interview, she explained how nothing could help her father once he was targeted for imprisonment by the Bush administration as it sought to remove him from the political scene as a leading Democrat in the Deep South.
Prosecutors claimed that Siegelman was guilty of bribery-related offenses because he reappointed wealthy businessman Richard Scrushy in 1999 to a state board after Scrushy made a large donation to a non-profit that Siegelman had helped found to advocate for a state lottery to fund better education. Siegelman received no money from the donation, and the donor was already on the state board after appointment by three previous governors, all Republicans.
In her segment of the KPFK interview, Dana Siegelman cited legal scholars who have argued that the trial judge in effect created new law to pave the way for conviction in this case by ruling that a jury need not find any explicit deal between Siegelman and the donor.
The donations went to the Alabama Education Foundation, which was campaigning for a state lottery to fund a better education system. The lottery was strongly opposed by gambling interests in nearby states protecting their revenues. They hired Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who estimates casinos spent $20 million fighting Siegelman. Abramoff, who served a prison sentence on corruption charges and now lectures on the pervasive ethics breakdowns afflicting government, says most of the casino funding was broken into small increments funnelled in secret to allies. Among those allies, he and others have shown, were moralists opposed to gambling and thus eager to fight Siegeman for advocating a lottery similar to those in nearby states.
The Justice Integrity Project is among those who have documented mind-boggling irregularities in the case. These include sworn testimony by GOP insider, Dana Jill Simpson, that prosecutors picked the judge because he "hated" the defendant and wanted to "hang" him. Also, Simpson produced unchallenged documentation suggesting that the judge was rewarded with more than $300 million in Bush administration defense contracts for Doss Aviation, a closely held company that the judge secretly controlled with 43.75 percent of outstandng shares.
Fuller's share of Doss, which trains Air Force pilots and refuels Air Force planes, eportedly was reduced into the 30th percentile over time. The judge and the closely held company have declined to provide details. Also, state court officials protected the judge's secrets by sealing his divorce records in 2012 over the objection of his wife following the judge's affair with a married court clerk under his supervision.
Fuller was chief U.S. district judge for Alabama's middle district from 2004 to 2011 following his appointment to the bench in 2002 by President Bush. He declined to recuse himself from the Siegelman case, saying he felt fair.
The Bush and Obama Justice Department and other federal judges have kept the prosecution and cover-up in place by arguing that a judge is allowed to make money and control a case in such circumstances. Their arguments seemingly defy a recent U.S. Supreme Court holding that requires a federal judge to disclose any potential financial conflict to litigants, and recuse if even one independent, reasonable observer might think the conflict could create bias.
Authorities insist that no such critic exists even though vast numbers of scholars, former prosecutors, and interested citizens have protested Siegelman's treatment. My estimate is that authorities used at least $50 million of taxpayer funds to investigate and prosecute Siegelman beginning with his assumption of office in 1999, and that well over 100,000 protests of his conviction have been received by authorities since his 2006 conviction. The case's importance is far beyond one man's freedom. The implications are dire for other defendants seeking justice if Siegelman, with all his evidence and support, remains oppressed by both Republican and Democratic office-holders to protect their shared secrets.
The case is filled with legal irregularities and evidence of corruption crossing party lines. As one core issue, 113 former former chief states attorneys unified in an unprecedented way to argue unsuccessfully to the U.S. Supreme Court that Siegelman's reappointment of the donor, Scrushy, was not a crime.
My forthcoming book, Presidential Puppetry, will describe the case in greater depth and explain why Fuller, appellate courts, and Justice Department have been so focused on framing Siegelman.
In the meantime, the grassroots petition drive to free Siegelman remains a powerful and controversial force more than a decade after Republicans in Alabama and Washington mounted their all-out efforts against him.
The Republican vs. Democrat rationale for the prosecution is widely suspected. This became especially clear after the Bush administration's notorious political purge in 2006 of the nation's U.S. attorneys left in place the most "loyal Bushies," such as Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary. Her husband, Business Council of Alabama CEO William Canary, was campaign manager for Siegelman's gubernatorial rival, Republican Bob Riley.
William Canary was also a close friend and ally of Rove in their longstanding efforts beginning in the 1990s to transform Alabama's state offices from Democrats to Republican. Part of the process in Alabama as elsewhere across the country, was to imprison Democratic office-holders and candidates on hoked up federal charges.
Yet a variety of subplots exist in the Siegelman prosecution. These factors include the swag that comes from controlling government in such lucrative sectors as gambling, major defense contracts, and legal fees.
Through it all, a legion of supporters have worked tirelessly on Siegelman's behalf for years via newsletters, petitions, and phone calls to both the Bush and Obama Executive Branch. Some estimate more than 100,000 such communications pleading on his behalf even before the current petition drive launched in September. Among those stalwart advocates have been Alabama bloggers Eddgra Fallin of the Redeye site and Roger Shuler of Legal Schnauzer. Others include Alabama list-serve manager Pam Miles, and Los Angeles civic activist Marilyn Noyes, who has contacted well over a hundred news reporters on Siegelman's behalf pleading for exposure of the facts in the case.
Simpson, a onetime Republican opposition researcher, made the prosecution nationally notorious in 2007 by revealing that she was part of a plot involving William Canary, his friend "Karl," and other Republicans to frame Siegelman. Part of this, she swore, was a plot to install Fuller as the presiding judge over the unwitting Siegelman, who did not realize the Bush administration had secretly indicted him in the spring of 2005 to bring the case before Fuller after a first indictment before another federal judge fell flat.
Fuller, Simpson said, hated Siegeleman for helping expose the judge's corruption in an attempted $330,000 pension scam against state taxpayers in 2002 while Siegelman was still governor. The rarely photographed Fuller is at right, in a portrait he invited from freelance photographer Phil Fleming to commemorate the occasion of the Siegelman verdict. The photo on June 15, 2006 was a few minutes after the jury broke a near-deadlock to convict Siegelman on fewer than a third of the charges that authorities threw at him. The photographer told me he urged Fuller to stop smiling so much so that the portraits could look dignified.
I've written previously many times about Simpson, Shuler, and Miles. Therefore, I focus in this column more on Fallin and Noyes, each of whom wrote eloquently in recent days about the injustice of the prosecution in comments excerpted below. All of those above tend to be Democrats, and have been puzzled, if not horrified, over the Obama administration's support for the obvious injustices visited upon Siegelman.
William Barnes, the Democratic nominee in the 2010 race against the powerful Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, told me then that he believed the administration, in effect, ceded much of the Deep South justice system to Republicans in deference to their power and the GOP's keen interest in pivotal issues. By exploiting Senate rules, Shelby, for example, held up every Senate nomination for the new Obama administration for nearly a month.
One of the ways Fuller showed his animosity to Siegelman while professing fairness was to have the defendant hauled from court in chains and immediately imprisoned in solitary confinement in 2007 without the bond normally allowed for white-collar defendants while filing their appeals. A national uproar in 2008 over the case led to Siegelman's release on appeal bond until Fuller ordered him in August to return to prison.
Too Little Clemency From Obama?
More generally, public concern over the Obama administration's commitment to justice became prominent at least briefly over the weekend when MSNBC weekend show host Melissa Harris-Perry urged President Obama to approve more clemency petitions. The president, doubtless worried about appearing "soft on crime," has so far approved just 22 petitions in his first four years. The total is vastly smaller than previous recent presidents. A report on the MSNBC commentary in the Huffington Post prompted many reactions from its primarily left and centrist readership. Readers wrote that convicts deserve their punishment, and should not distract the newly re-elected president.
That kind reflexive partisanship on the part of Democrats has concerned some Siegelman supporters, who saw up-close the consequences of his unjust imprisonment and an end of his policies. Some of his supporters themselves suffered reprisals for speaking up. Shuler, for example, has written that the University of Alabama at Birmingham fired him unjustly after 19 years of work because he blogged on his own time about irregularities in Siegelman's prosecution. This year, he wrote that he could not in good conscience vote for Obama because of such human rights abuses as the Siegelman case and similar Bush-Rove victims in the Deep South whose ordeals he has chronicled.
Rove and other Republicans have consistently denied wrongdoing, and been protected by the Bush and Obama administrations alike from any serious investigation. Shuler, the Justice Integrity Project, and others have written that the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee, for example, protected Rove with softball questioning in July 2009 regarding his role in political prosecutions. As an additional part of the whitewash, Rove and other Republicans have avoided responsibility for failure to produce millions of missing emails. By comparison, others have been prosecuted for obstruction of justice for missing emails sought by authorities.
The gist is that timid and turncoat Democrats, such as former Democratic congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, repeatedly sold out Siegelman, other victims, and the public interest. Davis, rejected by Alabama voters in 2010 in part because of his disgraceful behavior on the Siegelman case, became a Republican and featured speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention touting nominee Mitt Romney. Rove was a key planner for the 2012 election cycle who reputedly spent $390 million to achieve GOP victories. He attended the Democratic National Convention on a press pass.
When Dana Siegelman saw him at the Democratic convention in September, she asked him if there was any way he could help her father. In a scene captured on video, Rove denied wrongdoing, shook his finger in her face, and scooted away as if frightened.
That context made Parker Griffith's Nov. 26 radio interview remarks all the more memorable. The retired physician, born in 1942, delivered blunt criticism of the prosecution.
Radio host Lila Garrett, left, set the tone for the interview by announcing at the start of her show that it was her 87th birthday. She described her Jewish roots in Brooklyn, and her youthful pride at Israel's founding. But she added that justice must go beyond personal loaylties, and that she has become appalled over Israel's treatment of Palestinians in occupied lands.
In that spirit of blunt talk, she drew from Griffith his view of the Siegelman case and the role of Rove, a major consultant to the Republican party in Alabama before his White House years.
"You can see," the former congressman replied, "that Mr. Rove has been a deadly influence in Republican politics....This whole case just reeks of indecency and anti-American" conduct."
"Are you sure you're a Republican?" the radio host asked him.
"I'm an American, first."
Editor's Note: The Justice Integrity Project urges all readers to take a moment to sign the petition to President Obama on the Siegelman case, and to redistribute the petition link to friends and colleagues so that the drive can meet its goal of 100,000 signatures by year-end. Approximately 40,000 signatures are reported currently.
This the first such effort by the Project, which has extensively documented the irregularities in this case. My conclusion is his seven-year sentence is a human rights disgrace of historic proportions. Further, if he cannot obtain justice with as many courageous whistleblowers, solid evidence, and legal scholars speaking out as he has obtained scant hope exists for other defendants similarly abused..
Legal Schnauzer, Former Republican Congressman From Alabama Calls The Siegelman Case A "Political Assassination," Roger Shuler, Nov. 28, 2012. A former GOP Congressman called the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman a "political assassination," in an interview this week on a Los Angeles radio station.
GOP former Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith on Don Siegelman's strengths as a politician:
Don was an unbelievable man of the people. He could outwork any opponent and was seen as a threat to the Southern Strategy of Karl Rove. He probably was the last major populist governor. Bill Clinton is known as our first black president; Don Siegelman was the first black governor of a Southern state. He was a man of all the people.
Griffith on Alabama's dysfunctional political environment:
I see this as a state that has always had a poisoned atmosphere in its political system. . . . Karl Rove took the mantel of the hit man or goon squad for Bushes, and he had disciples who were dependent on a Republican administration for favors and largesse.
Related News Coverage
Editor's Note: Eddgra Fallin is a community activist with a deep background in the civil rights movement. Her parents were also civil rights activist in north Alabama. She integrated Austin High School in Decatur before attending Fisk University in Nashville, earning her degree in Public Administration and Political Science. She publishes a blog called, "Redeye: Keeping an Eye on Alabama, the Reddest State in the Union."
Redeye, FreeDON Siegleman Sunday, Eddgra Fallin, Nov. 25, 2012. Following up the call on MSNBC for more Presidential clemency this weekend, it's time for President Obama to pardon former Governor Don Siegelman (1999-2003) whose only crime was being being too liberal for Alabama. I urge all to click on this hyperlink below and listen to former Siegelman's 1999 inaugural speech, which was posted to Pam Miles list serve by Esther Davis. He discussed the importance of education in the future of Alabama. He proposed a program to provide four-year-olds with a pre-kindergarten education. He also announced the organization of an education lottery that will allow all high school graduates to go to college tuition free. Everyone knows the history, also summarized here.
Governor Siegelman's friend and proud supporter Al McCullough writes the following;
What a reminder of why we participate and work in this arena! Don is one of the great men of Alabama who dared to lead this state toward greatness. He shared so intimately in our hopes, dreams and disappointments and never took his eye off the prize -- a better life for every single one of us as a shared benefit of the bounty of our state and our society. And this better life was not something to be given us by some other or sold to us by some other but earned by each of us by equipping us with the necessary education and training to reach out and grasp that life, to participate as fully as we are each able, as we each add to our state's bounty. Don Siegelman's goal was to start this state on an upward trajectory with all sharing in a better life.
Don Siegelman is truly a man of the people. His heart was always with all of us and remains with all of us even in his persecution by little men with little minds who conspire endlessly to pervert our governments and our society with their lies and deceit. We must not allow this persecution to continue! We must stand for and demand Justice! Yes, that's Justice, with a capitol letter. That is the justice Don's persecutors fear most deeply in their gut. They know that only by perverting Justice can they succeed in their corrupt lives. Lives that demand outrageous levels and amounts of secrecy. Lives that require that anyone who knows the secret practices of their deceitful actions be defamed and more than marginalized.
We must pursue and demand Justice and, as a people, a society, a state and a nation, require that Justice be practiced by all in our representative government and all its agencies so that the Justice Department earns and lives up to that title. At present, after over thirty years of internal perversion that misnamed branch needs to have its title changed to the Legal Department. For legal has nothing to do with Justice in the present time. Our best lawyers and legal scholars are reduced to being legal technicians. We deserve more. We must require more. We must pursue and demand Justice and freedom for Don Siegelman!
-- Peace, Al
Los Angeles resident Marilyn Noyes published her reaction Nov. 26 to the Lila Garrett Show on daily email list-serve of Pam Miles, who publishes multiple items on a near-daily basis about the Siegelman case and similar political themes of special interest in Alabama. The materials reach audience of she estimates as tens of thousands around the nation (most via affiliated bloggers drawing on the material). Noyes wrote:
Lila Garrett's interview today with Dana Siegelman and Parker Griffith was absolutely spectacular!!! Hats off to Parker Griffith for stepping up and speaking the truth in regard to how Karl Rove orchestrated the derailing of Don Siegelman's political career. He gave a unique perspective and an inside look as a contemporary of Don's, as well as a fellow Alabaman and former Congressman. This complemented Dana's articulate depiction of what was done to her father and what his current circumstance is. Lila Garrett did a PERFECT interview. Hats off to her for her outrage at the injustice, and for providing an intelligent, thoughtful forum to enlighten others about this critical issue. Thanks to her for helping us fight for justice and freedom for Don Siegelman!!!
The story of what has happened to Don Siegelman and the need to make things right for him needs to go viral! Good Americans, no matter what their political affiliation, or if they haven't a political bone in their bodies, should be outraged at this corrupt, unconscionable taking down of a good, decent, honorable man of the people.
Dana Siegelman has put her life as a doctoral student on hold in order to fight for her father's freedom. She's doing a spectacular job speaking to groups, doing interviews, finding connections to those with the power to help. Any father would be blown away to have his daughter mount such a dedicated, effective effort on his behalf.
But Don is not just any father. He's a truly remarkable human being who dedicated his life to improving the quality of the lives of the people he was elected to serve. He is beloved by so many individuals throughout his state and beyond. So this fight to free Don Siegelman is really for all of us...for humanity...for democratic principles that are supposed to be more than mere lip service in this country. Our President has the power to correct the injustices that were done to this good man. President Obama has so many important issues and responsibilities to deal with at any given time. It's up to us to make sure that he knows that Don's freedom deserves a prominent place on his list of things that need fixing in this country. Freeing Don will be something President Obama will really be able to feel good about. Let's help that happen. Please listen to the interview. If you haven't signed the petition to free Don Siegelman, please do so at Free Don.org/.
-- Marilyn Noyes
Legal Times, In Law School Talk, Eric Holder Assesses His Future Plans, Mike Scarcella, Nov. 8, 2012. Two days after President Barack Obama won re-election, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in remarks today in Baltimore he will assess whether he wants to continue his service at the helm of the U.S. Justice Department. Holder spoke about his plans for a few minutes in a wide-ranging discussion today at the University of Baltimore School of Law. The dean, Ronald Weich,a former top DOJ official in Holder's administration, bluntly asked Holder during a question-and-answer session this afternoon: "What's your plan?" "That's something that I'm in the process now of trying to determine," Holder said. "I will have to think about—can I contribute in a second term?" He said he would talk with his family and the president. He did not outright say he wants to remain on board. Holder said he would "really ask myself the question about, 'Do I think that there are things that I still want to do. Do I have gas left in the tank?' It's been an interesting and tough four years. I just really don't know. I don’t know at this point."
Holder said he's proud of the work he's done at Main Justice, calling the revitalization of the Civil Rights Division one of the hallmarks of his administration. "I think in many ways the Civil Rights Division is the conscience of the Justice Department," he said. "You can really assess how good a Justice Department is by how effective its Civil Rights Division is."
Fox News, Former Gov. Don Siegelman: I’m Here Seeking My Freedom, Neil Cavuto, Sept. 4, 2012. Former Gov. Don Siegelman, (D-Ala.), on being sentenced to prison for bribery. Cavuto: "This judge had it in for you from the beginning."
Legal Schnauzer, Karl Rove Acts Like a Jackass to Don Siegelman's Daughter at Democratic National Convention, Roger Shuler,Sept. 5, 2012. Dana Siegelman, the daughter of Alabama's former governor, approached Karl Rove this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Showing Rove more politeness than he deserved, Ms. Siegelman introduced herself and tried to ask if there is anything Rove could do to help her father. After all, Don Siegelman is due to report to federal custody next Tuesday as the victim of perhaps the most notorious political prosecution in American history. Did Karl Rove care about the human costs of gross injustice? Not on your life. What did Dana Siegelman get for her trouble? An epic lesson in Republican rudeness. The TYT Network interviewed Dana Siegelman about her brief experience in Rove's orbit, and you can view the full video at the end of this post. If you ever have asked yourself, "Just how big a jackass is Karl Rove?" Dana Siegelman provides the answer with the following words: "I had no idea that Karl Rove would dare step in this building. And when I found out this morning that he was here, I sort of felt . . . I need to meet this person and let him know what he's done to my family."
Fox News, Former Gov. Don Siegelman Petitions President for Pardon, Neil Cavuto, Aug. 13, 2012. (Video). Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on the petition for the President to pardon him from his prison sentence for bribery. Host Neil Cavuto describes Siegelman treatment as unfair, and worrisome to business executives from either party making donations.
Legal Schnauzer,An Overpowering Stench of Corruption Emanates From U.S. Eleventh Circuit On Siegelman Appeal, Roger Shuler, Aug. 28, 2012. Reports on corruption in the handling of the Don Siegelman case have tended to focus on the trial court, especially Judge Mark Fuller and prosecutors in the Middle District of Alabama. But our review of one critical issue in the Siegelman case shows that the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta botched its ruling in such an outrageous fashion that it almost had to be intentional. The Eleventh Circuit includes 17 judges (seven on senior status) and covers three states -- Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The circuit's decision to uphold bribery convictions against Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy -- contrary to well-settled law -- hints at the kind of dark conspiracy that probably meets the definition of organized crime.
OpEd News, Dana Siegelman on Her Petition for Presidential Pardon for Dad, Joan Brunwasser, Aug. 22, 2012. My guest today is Dana Siegelman, daughter of former Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Dana. Would you mind talking about how this case has affected you and your brother? You were regular kids who happened to have a father in public office and wham! -- suddenly your lives were turned upside down.
Yes, it was really a blow. We love our dad and had a hard time wrapping our heads around the indictment. It wasn't until he was convicted that we learned the facts of the case and realized the great injustice that had been done. I regret not making my dad explain it all to me earlier. I just knew he maintained his innocence. I didn't know it was a witch-hunt. Joseph and I went through depression when dad was sentenced the first time and dragged away to prison. We lost our faith in government, particularly the Justice Department. We worried about our mom, and we felt ashamed to really show our faces in Alabama. It helped that I lived overseas and out of state for most of it....When something really horrible happens to you, you have two choices: hide or fight. I have chosen the latter and won't give up until my dad is free and people are educated. Please help me by sharing the petitionhere at Change.org for a presidential pardon or commutation.
Justice Integrity Project, Siegelman Sentence Cements Judicial Scandal In History, Andrew Kreig, Aug. 6, 2012. The country’s most notorious federal judge Aug. 3 sentenced former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to 78 months more in prison on trumped-up corruption convictions. The proceedings cement into history a national disgrace for the justice system. The infamy is parallel on the world stage to France's sentence of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus to Devil's Island on phony charges more than a century ago. U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery, a longtime Republican partisan, also imposed a $50,000 fine payable immediately by a man who has already spent vast amounts on legal bills to defend himself from a prosecution that cost United States taxpayers an estimated $100 million.
Justice Integrity Project, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company, Andrew Kreig, May 15, 2009, Huffington Post The Alabama federal judge who presided over the 2006 corruption trial of the state's former governor holds a grudge against the defendant for helping to expose the judge's own alleged corruption six years ago. Former Gov. Don Siegelman therefore deserves a new trial with an unbiased judge ─ not one whose privately owned company, Doss Aviation, has been enriched by the Bush administration's award of $300 million in contracts since 2006, making the judge millions in non-judicial income. These are the opinions of Missouri attorney Paul B. Weeks, who is speaking out publicly for the first time since his effort in 2003 to obtain the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery on Doss Aviation-related allegations.
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues
OpEd News, Anonymous had no impact on the presidential election, Gerry Bello, Nov. 26, 2012. On November 12th, the website VelvetRevolution.us, posted a letter, which they claimed to "accept at face value" from "The Protectors." This letter claimed that a shadowy hacker group had clandestinely defeated Karl Rove's latest vote rigging machinations. A few weeks earlier, some subset of the hacker group Anonymous posted a video to youtube promising intervention in any Rove directed electronic election fraud. Coupling these claims with Rove's Fox news election night meltdown, and you have just enough speculation to go to print. Somehow "The Protectors" became conflated with Anonymous and thus a myth was born: Anonymous saved American democracy. I was asked to examine this myth by my editor at the Columbus Free Press, Bob Fitrakis, and render an opinion. My opinion as a trained computer security person and as a journalist is that these claims have a number of huge cultural and technical flaws in them. These flaws and improbabilities cast grave doubt over the truthfulness of the claims. So much doubt in fact that I am willing to bet my mouse finger against them.
WhoWhatWhy / OpEd News, Dallas Diminishes JFK, His Legacy, And Those Who Care About Democracy, Russ Baker, Nov. 26, 2012. Welcome to the JFK Assassination Cover-up, Chapter 20. The Dallas Morning News, notoriously uninterested in real journalism about the most infamous event ever to take place in its city, recently ran a JFK-related piece in its entertainment section. One of a flood of stories purporting to provide insight into the event as we head toward the 50th anniversary, it was headlined: "Looking for fiction about the JFK assassination? Choose carefully." Now, why would we need fiction about the JFK assassination, when most of the purported "fact" put out by the establishment is, as any serious researcher will tell you, straight from someone's imagination? Nevertheless, here is this article on what to look for among offerings that openly proclaim themselves fanciful accounts. Many might find these opening paragraphs deeply offensive, with their snide, even vicious references to hallucinating losers seeing "Guatemalan midget shooters"; gullible fools feeding a "growth industry;" and Jackie, all alone, "concocting" a "whole-cloth fantasy" that John F. Kennedy was actually doing important things when he was cut down. Now, why would a "respectable" newspaper publish this kind of thing? And who would write it?
Atlantic, Mohammed Morsi: Abe Lincoln in Disguise or Another Mubarak? Steve Clemons, Nov. 25, 2012. At this point, we don't really know if Morsi is on a path to installing himself as a "new pharaoh" or whether he is genuinely trying to build a more inclusive Egypt. The fact is that while Morsi has declared himself, at least for the moment, the maker of law, the implementer of law, and the overseer of himself who makes the law, his rhetoric is highly inclusive. He has frustrated many in the Muslim Brotherhood by not moving to establish more of a theocratic state and not moving against other of the newly established political parties and movements in the country. At a public level, Morsi says he is acting on behalf of all Egyptians -- not just those who are tied to the Brothers.
Legal Schnauzer, Financial Review of Mike Hubbard's Tenure As Party Chairman Stirs Up Discord In The Alabama GOP, Roger Shuler, at left, Nov. 26, 2012. The Republican Party takeover of the Alabama Legislature in 2010 might have come with the aid of financial chicanery. A review of the party's finances during that time period has uncovered questionable transactions and led to discord in the state GOP hierarchy. Current chairman Bill Armistead ordered the review--he calls it an audit--focusing heavily on the actions of his predecessor, Mike Hubbard, now speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. The review unearthed at least one instance where Hubbard appears to have used GOP dollars for his personal gain, according to a report last week at al.com.
New York Times, Using War as Cover to Target Journalists, David Carr, Nov. 25, 2012. Journalists who dig into murky and dangerous corners of the world have become accustomed to being threatened and sometimes hunted by drug lords and gangsters, but now some governments have decided shooting the messenger is a viable option. The violence against journalists in Gaza points to a larger, deadly trend. On Wednesday, the International Press Institute issued a report saying that 119 journalists had been killed this year, the highest total since it started keeping track in 1997. The total included all journalists who died while doing their jobs, not just journalists who might have been targeted for their affiliation or reporting.