Conyers Calls for Liberal Agenda, Skirts Justice Issues

Longtime Michigan congressman John Conyers, Jr. held a press conference March 14 in the nation's capital seeking a more progressive congressional agenda. But he opened himself to criticism that he didn’t do enough to fight injustice during his just-ended four-year term as House Judiciary Committee chairman.

The Democrat from Detroit called at the National Press Club for increased gun control, more spending on jobs creation as well as evolution of the Obama health care program into a “single-payer” health care law providing universal coverage. In doing so, he made clear that he hoped to nudge President Obama to the left on such policies.

On behalf of the Justice Integrity Project, I asked Conyers why he didn’t push the Obama administration harder on civil liberties issues, such as the lack of redress for victims of political prosecutions around the nation and for whistleblowers who are being prosecuted far more under Obama than Bush. Conyers, portrayed above by photographer Rodrigo Valderrama, asked for amplification of what I meant.

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Did Witness/Police Friendship Taint Assange Probe?


Swedish authorities face yet another irregularity in their sex probe of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

On March 10, the Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that Assange complainant Anna A. (“Witness A”) age 31, was a longstanding friend of Irmeli Krans, the politically active Stockholm policewoman who wrote up a complaint Aug. 20 after Witness A brought her friend Sofia W. in for testimony. The complaint alleged sex misconduct by Assange, 39, during his speaking trip that month.

Swedish authorities have denied that the police-witness relationship compromises their sex misconduct investigation. Defense attorneys reacted by saying the friendship creates a conflict of interest, particularly in such an unprecedented case. Sweden issued an Interpol alert to capture Assange even though he has never been formally accused of a crime. Also, Sweden claims the right to extradite Assange and have him held without bond for a secret trial. Meanwhile, United States authorities are working feverishly to help build a parallel spy case, in part by holding alleged accomplice, Pfc. Bradley Manning, pretrial in virtual solitary confinement, with enforced nakedness. We provide details below.

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WikiLeaks, Prison Labor Data Show U.S. Job Realities

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

A new WikiLeaks-enabled story about the European-defense contractor EADS underscores why authorities get furious when their secrets are revealed. Reuters reported March 8, “A litany of back-stabbing at Europe's top aerospace group is exposed in leaked U.S. cables, which show American diplomats avidly collecting details on the cracks in U.S. plane-maker Boeing's main rival.” Our Justice Integrity Project has long taken a keen interest in Europe-controlled EADS after learning that the decade-long dispute over a $35 billion Air Force Tanker contract was one of the reasons that the Bush Justice Department framed former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges, as we recounted Feb. 25 here at Connecticut Watchdog. The Reuters story, even if has no mention of Alabama, does nothing to undermine the notion of corporate/political skullduggery at the highest levels. In a sense, it's generally congruent with several pointed opinion columns by scholars of solid conservative and national security credentials claiming the nation's problems have an important moral dimension. Listed below is a sample from just one day. Two of the authors – one a scholar and former Reagan official, and the other a longtime CIA analyst turned best-selling author – say our country is on unsustainable course.

To be sure, many Americans are now focusing primarily on economic survival because of the drastic cutbacks of well-paid jobs in our economy. Occasional modest increases in overall job growth cannot hide the economic debacle, especially when the job growth is primarily low-paid jobs and doesn't even count the vast numbers who have given up looking for work. Therefore, the most compelling news of the day may involve how U.S. taxpayer dollars are creating high-tech jobs. The Air Tanker contract, referenced above. is clearly the biggest prize.  But the biggest surprise, at least to me, is the revelation that our nation is steering so much high-tech work to prisoners in the for-profit prison industry. Here’s the story and a few excerpts from a Wired Magazine article, “Prisoners Help Build Patriot Missiles.”

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March 10 Radio: Author Probes Hollywood Scandals

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

This week’s guest on the March 10 edition of my radio show  MTL Washington Update will be Henry Scott, author of the new book Shocking True Story: The Rise and Fall of Confidential. An accomplished journalist and media entrepreneur, Scott will describe what prompted him to undertake a decade-long effort to document for the first time the inside story of the pioneering 1950s magazine, Confidential. The magazine boasted that it, “Tells the Facts and Names the Names” about such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Rock Hudson and Kim Novak. In doing so, it reported scandals involving such figures as “tawny temptresses,” “pinko partisans,” “lisping lads” and many more. Pioneering status and success came at great cost to its founders, but it changed the face of American journalism forever in a fascinating story that deserves to be remembered.

Join the author and my Update co-host Scott Draughon, founder of the show and network, Live! worldwide at noon (EST) on the My Technology Lawyer (MTL) Radio Network, or by archive later. We begin the show with a round-up of insider views on major Washington news events. Listener questions are welcome via 866-685-7469 or by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Rights Activist Attacks Ethics of Swedish Courts, Media

Andrew Kreig / Project Director’s Blog

As Swedish authorities push for a secret trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a noted human rights activist has repeatedly challenged the oft-praised fairness of his nation’s legal system and its media coverage. Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli built an illustrious career as a medical school professor after enduring torture in his native Chile. But he has worked almost tirelessly in his spare time for the past two months to expose what he regards as complacency among his fellow Swedes regarding the human rights abuses in his nation’s all-out effort to capture Assange, ostensibly because of sex allegations filed by a politically connected lawyer.

The professor says he has documented that investigative reports by the Justice Integrity Project and the prominent author Naomi Wolf about Assange are among those prevented from display in reader comments at major Swedish newspapers. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has imposed new and barbarous pre-trial punishment on Assange’s alleged accomplice, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning. This fuels suspicions that the Sweden and the United States are secretly collaborating to frame the two suspects as part of a pan-national crackdown on government whistleblowers – even as Western powers boast of their “Internet Freedom.” Secretary of State Clinton boasted of the importance of freedom at a recent university speech even as security personnel arrested, bruised and bloodied a silent, motionless peace protester in the audience, retired CIA officer Ray McGovern.

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March 3 Radio: Feldstein Probes Nixon-Anderson Battles

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

Washington Update this week probed the decades-long battle between Richard Nixon and Jack Anderson that helped shape the nation’s history during the Nixon Presidency. At noon (EST) March 3, Update hosts my co-host Scott Draughon and I examined new revelations about those battles with Dr. Mark Feldstein, a professor and renowned investigative reporter who authored Poisoning The Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture. The show on the My Technology Lawyer Radio Network is now available worldwide by archive. Click here. We began the show with a Washington news round-up, including fall-out from several recent probes by our Project. Also, we described a sneak preview March 2 of Robert Redford’s latest film, a gripping real-life drama about the Lincoln assassination plot that holds fascinating parallels to the Vietnam-era tensions.

Among Feldstein’s book’s endorsers are Brit Hume, senior political analyst at FOX News and a former Anderson correspondent who took the lead one of Anderson’s biggest scoops, a political payoff that helped send Attorney General John Mitchell to prison. “I lived through a lot of this while working for Jack Anderson,” Hume says, “and found it a fascinating and evenhanded account.”

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