Presidential Puppetry

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OpEdNews broke the story this afternoon on my new book, "Presidential Puppetry." The theme is that news coverage of the candidates misses vital but sensitive points, such as the deep influence of the Mormon Church on Gov. Romney's prospective governance. Another largely hidden story is President Obama's national intelligence background, which is obscured by knowingly false claims about his birth, etc. put into motion by GOP operatives and those like Trump who know he cannot reveal his true background, including a first job working for a CIA front company. This research grows out of my work seeking to understand why Don Siegelman and those like him were framed, and why just results for Rove/Bush victims has been so hard to achieve. There is hope, however, if secrets and secret deals are revealed. Then at least part of the Puppet Master power is broken. The first book review is here: Book is 500 pages (print), 900 footnotes (most with hotlinks for digital version), 3 years of research.

 

 

 

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment
 

 

Related News Coverage

 

OpEdNews, Book Review: "Presidential Puppetry," Rob Kall, Nov. 2, 2012. The theme is that news coverage of the candidates misses vital but sensitive points, such as the deep influence of the Mormon Church on Gov. Romney's prospective governance. Another largely hidden story is President Obama's national intelligence background, which is obscured by knowingly false claims about his birth, etc. put into motion by GOP operatives and those like Trump who know he cannot reveal his true background, including a first job working for a CIA front company. This research grows out of my work seeking to understand why Don Siegelman and those like him were framed, and why just results for Rove/Bush victims has been so hard to achieve. There is hope, however, if secrets and secret deals are revealed. Then at least part of the Puppet Master power is broken. The first book review is here:  Book is 500 pages (print), 900 footnotes (most with hotlinks for dibital version), 3 years of research.

For Siegelman supporters who don't have a chance to read the book, I think it's important to underscore that it makes a strong argument that the country's best hope of justice, economic and otherwise, is revealing President Obama's secrets, re-electing him, and holding him more accountable. There is scant leverage on real justice on the Romney-Ryan ticket, with its deep contempt for the "47 %" and other norms. So, I urge everyone to sign the petitions but understand also what helps motivate the recipients at the White House.Thanks, Sharron, your dedication to justice is always inspiring. As suspected, there are many layers to the appalling frame-up of Don Siegelman. To be fair, some of the spear-carriers doubtless don't even know the reason for their instructions -- and may even still think they were serving the country. Bush is the power of group-think and propaganda. But now others can decide, and this list helped show the way.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

WWL-TV and Radio (New Orleans), Heebe claims another top prosecutor was blogging about cases, Dave Cohen, Nov. 2, 2012. A man under investigation by the federal government claims another top prosecutor in U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office was blogging about cases under an assumed name. Fred Heebe has filed a lawsuit alleging that evidence points "unmistakably in the direction" of the First Assistant United States Attorney Jan Maselli Mann. The suit claims that Mann, the Chief of the Criminal Division, used the name "eweman" to post comments on nola.com. The same allegations led to veteran prosecutor Sal Perricone resigning from the office.

New Orleans Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, In second pre-emptive strike, Fred Heebe, River Birch landfill owner, again targets U.S. attorney's office, Richard Rainey, Nov. 2, 2012. Unsatisfied with knocking one federal prosecutor from office for making anonymous, disparaging comments online, River Birch landfill owner and federal target Fred Heebe has set his sights on another. But this time he's aiming a little closer to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office door.

A New Orleans policeman seeking a new trial on charges of covering up post-Hurricane Katrina police killings confronts tough legal obstacles. That was my response May 21 to New Orleans radio host Tommy Tucker on my return to his show as a commentator on the federal prosecutions now prominent there in news coverage.

Former New Orleans Sgt. Arthur Kaufman faces a six-year term imposed for minimizing guilt of fellow officers in deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina. On Friday, May 18, he filed papers seeking a new trial or investigative hearing because authorities illegally leaked news in 2010 that his boss was expected to plead guilty to cover-up-charges. Kaufman claims the leak foreclosed an unbiased jury on his later trial on cover-up charges. Juries ruled he was involved in a police conspiracy to plant a gun, fabricate witnesses and file false reports to make the shootings appear justified. 
Jim LettenTucker is host of the morning show on the 50,000-watt WWL broadcast to five Gulf states. He started his show today by saying that Kaufman's protest was "big news" in the region. He has focused recently on defendants’ claims of over-zealous federal prosecutors under U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, left. My role has been to comment as a legal reform advocate.

Regrettably, many unfair or even illegal tactics such as leaks don't have a realistic remedy, I responded. In this case, the public wanted to know what federal authorities were going to do about police shootings of Katrina refugees seeking to flee via
the city’s Danziger Bridge. This was during the life-threatening chaos following the 2005 hurricane and levee collapse.

Trying to limit news leaks in that situation, I said, is like “trying to command rising waters on the river to stop.” Also, if the trial judge thought the news leaks foreclosed a fair trial he could have taken more preventive measures, including transferring the case to a different region. The interview is
here.


As further context, I noted that the U.S. Justice Department issued a 158-page investigative report in March 2011 finding massive, long-standing civil rights abuses in the police department.  “Basic elements of effective policing – clear policies, training, accountability and confidence of the citizen – have been absent for years,” concluded the report, which the city’s mayor and other regional authorities invited.

Tommy TuckerThe DOJ’s civil rights report deliberately excluded the Danziger Bridge and other specific criminal proceedings, and instead focusing on long-term problems and recommended solutions. The specifics portray appalling situations. Among them were arrest rates for blacks sixteen times higher than for whites. Among the vast number of other statistics, trends and incidents was a situation whereby police ignored a woman’s repeated pleas for help from assault because the department had no one available who could understand Spanish. The DOJ  report, available here, documented also oppressive conditions for police officers, including lack of training and clear guidelines on promotion opportunities.

Details on the relevant cases are listed below. For those interested in the specific problem of police cover-ups, there’s no better introduction than the 1973 true-life movie Serpico. It is based on based on the non-fiction book by Peter Maas chronicling the heroic story of New York City policeman Frank Serpico. He went undercover at the risk of his life to expose the corruption of fellow officers after they intimidated him because he would not participate.

In the New Orleans police shootings on Danziger Bridge, U.S. District Judge Kurt Englhardt has imposed sentences that include terms of between 38 and 65 years for four former police officers implicated in the shootings of six fleeing victims, two of whom died. While imposing such long terms, the 2001 nominee of President Bush spent much of his sentencing hearing for the four describing his discomfort with the prosecution's case.

Albeit successful in winning the convictions, the prosecution heavily relied on the usual practice nationally of plea deals. Those testifying for the prosecution after such deals included Kaufman's boss, Lt. Michael Lohman, who received a four-year term despite being, in the judge's view, the architect of the cover-up.

"The buck started and stopped with him," the judge said of Lohman.  "Using liars to convict liars," the judge continued, "is no way to pursue justice."

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment
 

 

Related News Coverage

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Newhouse Newspapers In Alabama Cut Publication To Three Days A Week, May 24, 2012. Three major Alabama daily newspapers will switch to publishing three days a week as part of a new focus on online news, in line with their new Orleans sister publication, The Times-Picayune. The three papers in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville and The Times-Picayune announced the new strategy Thursday. All four are owned by the Newhouse family group. Both announcements said there will be unspecified staff reductions. The changes will take place in the fall. The Alabama papers said the changes will allow them to expand news-gathering efforts in an increasingly digital age. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

WDSU (New Orleans), Danziger cop Kaufman cites media leaks in bid for new trial, Staff report, May 19, 2012.  A former New Orleans police officer convicted of orchestrating a cover-up of deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina claims federal authorities waged a "secret public relations campaign" that deprived him of a fair trial. In a court filing Friday, lawyers for retired Sgt. Arthur Kaufman asked U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to order a new trial or hold a hearing "to determine the extent of the government's misconduct."  Engelhardt didn't immediately rule. A Justice Department spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Kaufman's allegations.

NOLA.com / New Orleans Times-Picayune, 4 former officers convicted in Danziger case ask for new trial, saying prosecutors hid evidence, Brendan McCarthy, May 14, 2012.  Attorneys for four former New Orleans police officers convicted recently in the Danziger Bridge shootings and cover-up are asking for a new trial, alleging that federal prosecutors hid evidence and relied on false testimony in the high-stakes case. The motion makes two main claims: that federal prosecutors only recently turned over key videotaped evidence, and that the government knowingly used witness testimony that the video proved was false. The motion, filed Friday by the attorney for convicted Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, was later adopted by attorneys for Anthony Villavaso, Robert Faulcon and Robert Gisevius. The court filing states that a video shot by a CBS News affiliate in Miami on the Danziger Bridge walkway shows no bullet casings. The video was shot on the day of the shooting, some time before James Brissette's body was removed from the scene. Former officer Jeffrey Lehrmann testified at trial that Bowen kicked casings off the walkway weeks after the shooting as part of an effort to cover up what happened on the bridge. But Bowen couldn't have kicked the casings if they weren't there, according to Bowen's attorney, Robin Schulberg, a federal public defender.

ProPublica / Public Broadcasting System Frontline, Stiff Sentences for NOPD Officers Convicted in Post-Katrina Shootings, Sarah Moughty, April 4, 2012. Four former New Orleans police officers were sentenced to more than 30 years in prison today for their role in the post-Katrina police shootings on the Danziger Bridge that killed two and injured four unarmed civilians. Robert Faulcon, Jr., Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Jr., and Anthony Villavaso — each convicted of charges related to the shootings and the ensuing five-year cover-up — received prison terms of between 38 and 65 years.

NOLA.com / New Orleans Times-Picayune, 'Mencken1951' unmasked: It is federal prosecutor Sal Perricone, Staff report, March 15, 2012. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten confirmed this afternoon that Sal Perricone, one of his top prosecutors, has been using the handle "Henry L. Mencken1951" to bash landfill owner Fred Heebe and a raft of other local and national figures, including federal judges, in the comments section on NOLA.com. Perricone "'readily admitted" using the pseudonym, and the matter has been referred to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, Letten said.

ProPublica / Public Broadcasting System Frontline, DOJ finds "Systemic Violations of Civil Rights" by New Orleans Police,  A.C. Thompson, March 17, 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice released a 158-page report today on the New Orleans Police Department, identifying a host of deep systemic problems, including a pattern of discriminatory policing, the routine use of "unnecessary and unreasonable" force, and a chronic failure to discipline officers involved in misconduct. The NOPD "has been largely indifferent to widespread violations of law and policy by its officers," states the report, which was compiled by the Justice Department's Civil Rights section. The report also suggests that NOPD officials may have sought to cover up evidence in incidents in which police shot civilians. "NOPD's mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects," the report says.  As ProPublica and Frontline's documentary reported federal prosecutors have built a string of criminal cases against 20 current or former officers over the last three years. In December, one former cop and two members of the force were convicted in connection with the murder of a man and incineration of his body in the days after Hurricane Katrina.