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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DC Libel Hearing Explores Political Free Press Issues

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

Attorneys for three major book distributors asked a federal judge Feb. 28 to remove them from a libel lawsuit that they described as threatening public affairs book publishing in the United States if allowed to proceed. Despite those threatened stakes, there’s been virtually no news coverage of the case. This is doubtless because the book at issue ─ Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, and Lies & Murder? ─ is self-published by author Larry Sinclair and highly controversial. Just three writers at most, all for web-based media, were among the seven spectators including this editor for the hearing in Washington, DC’s federal courthouse.

The hearing helped illustrate why the Justice Integrity Project was founded last year for non-partisan legal research and reform advocacy. Our courts continually resolve important and politically-charged issues, often with scant or biased coverage by the traditional media. No matter what one thinks of Sinclair or his allegations, a near-complete news blackout of a significant court case should not be the remedy.

Let’s examine the arguments: No court has ever held a book distributor liable for merely selling a book, Amazon.com attorney Matthew Segal and Barnes & Noble counsel Linda Steinman told U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in arguments echoed by Books-a-Million. Steinman said her client couldn’t continue to do business as presently if it had to research the factual basis of the 30 million titles it sells, including such controversial authors as Michael Moore, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck. “We rely on the publisher to stand behind the book,” she continued. “That’s where the redress is.” She and others argued also that the Communications Decency Act provides extra protections for Internet distributors of public affairs commentary.

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Inside Story: $35 Billion Boeing Air Force Tanker Deal

 

The Department of Defense Thursday announced its choice of Boeing for a $35 billion contract to build the Air Force’s next generation of mid-air refueling tankers. Boeing’s selection, subject to any challenge by the losing bidder EADS, could end a decade-long, scandal-ridden process that became one of the controversial and important in modern U.S. procurement history.

Boeing’s victory over the consortium lead by EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.) surprised many industry experts. They believed EADS held the edge over Boeing.

Alabama's powerful Republican Senate delegation fought so hard for EADS that Sen. Dick Shelby, left, put a hold last February on every Obama nomination in the federal government unless the White House promised to give EADS what he called fair consideration. Later in the spring, President Obama promised to provide such fairness also in response to a specific request by European leaders, whose subsidies of EADS have sparked criticism at the World Trade Organization and elsewhere as a violation of fair trade.

In the end, DoD officials under Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, cited Boeing’s smaller planes among other factors in making this week's award. "What that means is that, in the end, Boeing won on price," Loren B. Thompson, a defense policy analyst for the Arlington-based Lexington Institute, told the Washington Post. "Price consists of the cost of producing the plane, plus the cost of operating it over 30 years,” he continued. “The Airbus plane is so much bigger and burned over a ton more fuel per flight hour."

The Justice Integrity Project has tracked the proceeding closely for a year and a half after learning from reliable sources details about industrial espionage and skullduggery in the contract battle. This went far beyond even the scandals showcased in Senate oversight hearings led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Those scandals sent a Boeing executive and former Air Force procurement officer to prison on bribery charges and led to DoD revocation in 2005 of the initial award to Boeing.

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CT Watchdog Probes DC 'Spy vs. Spy' Dirty Tricks

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director

Connecticut Watchdog's On the Horn Radio/TV News Hour available globally via Internet interviewed me Feb.22 about the consumer implications of my recent column "Spy vs. Spy As Hackers Square Off Over DC Dirty Tricks." The story describes how hackers associated with WikiLeaks exposed a plot by private security contractors to disrupt the computers and social networks of political targets around the United States. Watchdog Publisher George Gombossy, at left below, and contributor Denis Horgan led the questioning. On the Horn Producer Brian Parker provides

Tune in by clicking here for the show, which is available by archive, maintained by network founder Brian Parker, right.  On the show, I disclosed a major new story not yet published anywhere in North America regarding a group effort by major Swedish newspapers to censor reader comments critical of that nation's prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The story is significant because the average reader typically has scant resources to determine why a comment is not posted on a specific website. In Sweden this week, however, Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli undertook an investigation and just published his results.

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