Feb. 10 Radio Probes Wild Bill Donovan, OSS Spymaster

The author of the new book Wild Bill Donovan will discuss one of the nation’s most exciting and secretive generals Feb. 10 on the Washington Update radio show that I co-host with Scott Draughon on the My Technology Lawyer radio network. Click to listen Live! worldwide at 

noon (EST) or by archive. In one of his first interviews following book release Feb. 8, Douglas Waller, at left, will describe what’s new and important about his research on Donovan —the man Franklin Roosevelt made his top spy in World War II. Waller’s book describes Donovan as “a mythic figure whose legacy is still intensely debated.” Donovan directed the Office of Strategic Services (the country’s first national intelligence agency and predecessor of today’s CIA.  In announcing the book, the Free Press also said:

Donovan introduced the nation to the dark arts of covert warfare on a scale it had never seen before.  Now, veteran journalist Douglas Waller has mined government and private archives throughout the United States and England, drawn on thousands of pages of recently declassified documents, and interviewed scores of Donovan’s relatives, friends, and associates to produce a riveting biography of one of the most powerful men in modern espionage.

Wild Bill Donovan reads like an action-packed spy thriller, with stories of daring young men and women in his OSS sneaking behind enemy lines for sabotage, breaking into Washington embassies to steal secrets, plotting to topple Adolf Hitler, and suffering brutal torture or death when they were captured by the Gestapo. It is also a tale of political intrigue, of infighting at the highest levels of government, of powerful men pitted against one another. Donovan fought enemies at home as often as the Axis abroad. Generals in the Pentagon plotted against him….Separating fact from fiction, Waller investigates the successes and the occasional spectacular failures of Donovan’s intelligence career.

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Jersey Legislator Questions Christie Role In Prosecutions

By Andrew Kreig / Director's Blog

A New Jersey state senator wants to learn whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hired an admitted documented fabricator for a plush political job as a reward for court testimony helping Christie, below left, win his state’s governorship in 2009.

I’ll be a guest on Bob Carson’s “Carson’s Corner” radio show Monday on WRRC 107.7 FM in New Jersey discussing the importance of the demand Friday by Democratic State Sen. Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck, N.J. She wants the Christie administration documents that show why his team appointed John W. Crosbie to a $110,000-per-year state job even though Crosbie had admitted fabricating documents earlier in his career. Crosbie’s admission of fraud while working at a New Jersey university helped him win immunity in a deal enabling his testimony against a former Democratic state senator. That conviction bolstered Christie’s reputation as a crime-fighting U.S. attorney worthy of the governorship.

“Nobody got hired for a $110,000 a year job in this administration who wasn’t vetted,” Newark’s Star-Ledger quoted Weinberg as saying of Crosbie. “This guy did not parachute from the land of Oz into a job.” The governor's team hired Crosbie to be executive director of three state commissions as executive director for three commissions on autism, spinal cord research and brain injury.

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Revealing the Secrets of Egyptian, U.S. Leaders

By Andrew Kreig / Director's Blog

Television functions at its best in showing us so vividly the street demonstrations and counter-rampages that likely mark the end of the three-decade rule of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak. But written work, often published in obscure locales at least slightly protected from political pressures, better helps us understand the all-important question: “Why?”

To explore motivations by Egyptian and United States leaders that are not readily captured on our nation's TV cameras, we excerpt below recent comments by experts in security and human rights. Some are mainstream. On Feb. 4, the Washington Post published, “The Right Message for Mubarak” by a Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian-born scholar at Drew University in New Jersey who was tried and convicted in absentia on charges of "defaming Egypt's reputation" for writing a Post column in 2007 in support of democratic change. By then in exile, he wrote, “Though Mubarak vowed this week to finally step down in September, few believe him, and with good reason: He has reneged on every election promise for political reform made since coming to power in 1981. Only hours after offering this 'concession,' Mubarak unleashed thugs and provocateurs on unarmed protesters amassed in Tahrir Square. At least five demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured.”

TV vividly portrays such riots. But why doesn’t Mubarak simply retire with his family's ill-gotten, U.S. taxpayer-provided billions to live his last years in peace at a secure locale? Lawyer and commentator Scott Horton, right, provides clues in his column “Gimme Shelter,” recently published in Foreign Policy. “It may be because exile isn't what it used to be; over the last 30 years, things have gotten increasingly difficult for dictators in flight,” Horton writes, adding:

Successor regimes launch criminal probes; major efforts are mounted to identify assets that may have been stripped or looted by the autocrat, or more commonly, members of his immediate family. I witnessed this process myself, twice being asked by newly installed governments in Central Eurasia to advise them on asset recovery measures focusing on the deposed former leader and his family. More menacingly, human rights lawyers and international prosecutors may take a close look at the tools the deposed dictator used to stay in power: Did he torture? Did he authorize the shooting of adversaries? Did he cause his enemies to "disappear"? Was there a mass crackdown that resulted in dozens or hundreds of deaths? A trip to The Hague or another tribunal might be in his future.

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Radio: Common Cause Probes Justice Thomas $$$s

By Andrew Kreig / Director's Blog

Should the Justice Department investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for failing to disclose his wife’s income, as required of all judges? That’s a question for Common Cause Vice President Mary Boyle, below at right, today on my Washington Update radio show. She will describe during the noon (EST) show her watchdog group’s revelation that Thomas has never complied with legal requirements to reveal his wife’s income. Beyond that, Common Cause seeks a formal investigation of both Thomas and fellow Justice Antonin Scalia for their featured speeches at policy retreats funded by special interests.

Co-host Scott Draughon, founder of the My Technology Lawyer Radio network that distributes the show nationwide, helps lead the discussion. You may hear it nationwide by clicking here and via archive later at the same site. Call in questions via 866-685-7469 or by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In late January, Common Cause announced its findings that Thomas failed to report his wife's income from a conservative think tank on financial disclosure forms for at least five years. Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation's IRS records first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Thomas failed to note the income in his financial disclosure forms for those years, instead checking a box labeled "none" where "spousal noninvestment income" would be disclosed.

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JIP Protests Florida Plan To Cut Blog Court Coverage

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director

The Justice Integrity Project Feb. 1 filed a “strong objection” to the Florida Bar Association Feb. 1 on its proposed rule to curtail the nation’s historic freedom of the press by inventing a false constitutional distinction between corporate-controlled media and other journalists. Much of proposed rule 2.451 is to enable judges to prevent jurors from using recording devices during trials, which is doubtless a legitimate procedure. But part of the proposal would extend the rule also to others in the courtroom unless they were journalists, according to definitions created by the government.

Our protest said there is no basis in the Constitution for such a distinction, especially since newspaper reporters at the time of the Bill of Rights were far more akin to today’s individual bloggers than the corporate-owned media. Furthermore, we noted that bloggers and other citizen journalists are fulfilling vital civic watchdog functions that the corporate-owned media are abandoning for a variety of reasons, including their dwindling finances, conflict of interest with their corporate affiliates and inexperience by staff. “Citizen journalists, many of whom must work individually, are required to fill the gap,” we wrote in noting our experience at the Project, as well as previous experience of mine own. It includes 14 years working at the Hartford Courant and authoring a 1987 book, “Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America’s Oldest Newspaper about the trend whereby corporate-owned news organizations succumb to conflicts in reporting fairly on major articles involving the public interest.

“Even more important," we said, "the Florida bar’s effort to curtail citizen oversight clearly violates our nation’s constitutional free press protections -- and reeks of improper and illegal self-interest in preventing public scrutiny of the legal process, including incompetent, conflicted or otherwise deficient attorneys.” The deadline for comments in Florida’s fast-track proceeding was yesterday, but it can’t hurt if others fight the proposal as well with late submissions. Further background on this is provided by the article below, published Jan. 31. It prompted me to write a letter and encourage others to do so.

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U.S. Media Shortcomings Enhance Injustice

By Andrew Kreig / Director's Blog

Traditional newspapers and broadcasters are failing to report news of injustice competently or fairly, thereby greatly enhancing the problems for all of us. That‘s a common theme of news developments we have been observing during recent days regarding our project's core mission of legal reform.

Fortunately, two of our favorite legal commentators, Roger Shuler and Scott Horton, have recently connected the dots between festering  problems of gross injustice and the failed journalism that;s helped enable the scandals. Their particular focus is, respectively, several Deep South states and in our nation’s Mideast misadventures. Other writers excerpted below point similarly to problems in election fraud and elsewhere that the traditional media simply do not want to examine.

In response, our project is greatly upgrading our capability to help empower our readers via social media to take direct action.  This has helped prompt a massive response to our recent column on the scandals afflicting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, with readership more than 50x the normal rate.

Better reach is especially welcome right now because the Florida State Bar has proposed an atrocious new rule forbidding anyone but conventional journalists from being able to use electronic equipment to chronicle activities in Florida courts. The deadline, conveniently for the bar association, is close of business today, Feb. 1. Anyone who reflects upon the meaning of press freedom, particularly its historical roots in the 1700s largely with one-person publications created far more like today's bloggers than corporate media, needs to help thwart this vicious assault on press freedom, as described below. Lawyer journalist Mark Adams describes the situation in his Daily Censored column Jan. 31 and urges comment to these two email addresses by close of business today. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Florida Bar Association, with a copy to the Florida Bar's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with a subject stating, “Objection to Proposed Rule 2.451″ and with the body stating, “I oppose the provisions of proposed Fla. R. Jud. Admin 2.451 which limit the rights of citizen journalists to record court proceedings.”

Also from the Deep South, the Alabama legal commentator Shuler, right, published a column describing the latest marketing plan by the Birmingham News, his state’s largest newspaper and his former employer. Shuler has a better idea than marketing hokum and razzle-dazzle. It’s what he calls “real, bold, in-depth journalism.” Consider, he says, “some of the numerous stories the News has largely ignored."

• The abusive practices of federal prosecutors in Birmingham (Alice Martin) and Montgomery (Leura Canary);
• The apparent railroad job and wrongful conviction of former Governor Don Siegelman;
• The connections between the Siegelman case and a similar case in neighboring Mississippi involving attorney Paul Minor;
• The dirty-money trail that helped funnel $13 million from Jack Abramoff to Governor Bob Riley's campaign;
• The stain Mississippi gambling interests have placed on the Republican Party in Alabama and throughout the Deep South.

Horton provides a similar view, but one focused on the Mideast. “I spent the last week watching the developments in Egypt from London, where U.S., European, and Arab media are equally accessible,” he writes. ”Watching them side-by-side, sometimes over many hours a day, I was struck by the weakness of the American coverage. Almost every broadcast news source has its high and low points, but the American cable news coverage, which used to command a global audience, were languishing behind its competitors.”

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