May 28 2010

Guantanamo Review Task Force Report is out.

Guantanamo Review Task Force – Download Report

Guantanamo detainee report is out. It states that 126 detainees should be sent back home or handed over to a third party country. The report states that 36 should be prosecuted and that 48 be detained further under “laws of war”. The 30 Yemenis are left in limbo until the U.S. Government decides further.

This basically means that 156 people have been cleared for release. Will the U.S. government release these detainees or come up with more ways than Dick Cheney to hold innocent people?

Peter Finn of Washington Post has an article on the creation of the report at WaPo.

May 22 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010 show

Listen Now

Listen Now

Segment One – Jason Leopold discusses BP catastrophe – Atlantis rig safety – Bush DOJ ignored whistleblower
Segment 1 –
Segment Two-Rep. Luis Gutierrez sends letter to Ken Salazar as part of Ban Permanently campaign
Segment 2 –
Segment Three-A look at the story of Abu Zubaydah, John Kiriakou and the War on Terror with Jason Leopold of
Segment 3 –
Segment Four-Our weekly logical fallacy segment and a listen to Ali Soufan testimony regarding Abu Zubaydah
Segment 4 –

This week we talk about BP’s Disaster in the Gulf. Is this to become Obama’s Katrina? We’ll listen to a few of the stories from this week’s events. Then Jason Leopold and I talk about BP’s dodge of criminal indictments under the Bush DOJ and the story of Scott West. Then we’ll hear from the Press Secretary for Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Illinois 4th) on the “Banned Permanently” campaign and other congressional options to handle the BP/Halliburton Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Then tonight’s featured segment is a further examination of the John Kiriakou – Abu Zubaydah stories. We’ll speak with Jason Leopold about his interview with Kiriakou and reevaluate the past comments and the account given by Ali Soufan, the FBI interrogator who was pulled by Mueller after reports were coming in that Zubaydah was being tortured.

And, we will try to have an open phone segment later if possible, tune in to see.

Documents mentioned in show
BP Texas City Report –
Chemical Safety Board Investigation Final Report
Report of the BP Independent Refineries Safety Review Panel (Baker Panel Report) -�Baker Report

Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah testimony

Testimony of Ali Soufan – Judiciary Link

Tonight we take a look at BP�s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, with Jason Leopold from We talked the 60 minutes segment, the Alantis Rig, and the Bush Administration�s willful failure to take action on BP�s criminal violations.

I also spoke with Doug Rivlin press secretary for Representative Luis Gutierrez�s office regarding the Campaign to Ban Permanently the drilling leases for BP.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez and the letter he sent to Ken Salazar.

Tonight�s feature is with Jason Leopold regarding the comments and claims made by John Kiriakou in his recent interview for TruthOut. Kiriakou was famously known as the agent who was involved in the capture of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, the man commonly known as Abu Zubaydah.

On September 6, 2006, George Bush proclaimed that Zubaydah was a key figure in al qaida and the subsequent years he, Dick Cheney, Marc Theissen, and others have used Zubaydah�s alleged role as an excuse to torture suspected combatants against the United States. As you will hear, Zubaydah�s role is not as portrayed and the veracity of Kiriakou�s claims haven�t stood the test of time. In fact, much of Kiriakou�s account in December 2007 was second hand, presented almost as first hand, and certainly relied upon as an authority on whether it was appropriate to torture a man for intelligence. We�ll hear audio from Kiriakou, Leopold�s interview, and the testimony of Ali Soufan.

Thanks for tuning in, we�d love your feedback.

First up, BP�s catastrophe in the Gulf.

May 16 2010

60 Minutes profiles Deepwater Horizon catastrophe-while lifting some of the work from Jason Leopold

This weekend, 60 minutes ran a powerful segment on the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. At the heart of the segment was the testimony of Mike Williams, one of the survivors of the rig. What you might not have noticed is the second segment had already been reported by Jason Leopold in April, even relinked here at in early May. 60 minutes should note where it sourced its research on the second segment and the Atlantis rig. None the less, here’s a must see segment. Thanks 60 minutes and Thanks Jason.

Thank you Mike for coming forward.

May 15 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010 show – 9pm EST

ANSWER coaliton SeizeBP campaign – Media Matters on BP/Halliburton spill and Andy Worthington
Segment 1 –

Matthew Alexander – How To Break A Terrorist
Segment 2 – (note: there are portions of the audio which dropped out and were boosted from remaining low volume. They were included to retain as much of what Mr. Alexander shared as possible.)

Hour Three included audio from Jason Leopold’s interview with John Kiriakou at

and from CSPAN archives – John Kiriakou and Col. Steve Kleinmann

Our listening link will be available before airtime. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN Tonight’s show features Matthew Alexander, Author of How To Break A Terrorist, Andy Worthington on British Elections and Guantanamo Bay detainees, Media Matters discussion on Elena Kagan and BP, and a visit with ANSWER coalition about their Seize BP campaign.

May 11 2010

Video of Matthew Alexander from Daily Show Dec 2008

In preparation for our interview with Matthew Alexander, we’ll be posting videos and articles to understand the context of his book, “How to break a terrorist”.

This is Matthew Alexander from Daily Show in December 2008.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Matthew Alexander
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

May 10 2010

BP Flouted US Safety Rules

By Jason Leopold
May 5, 2010

Editor’s Note: A common thread through recent disasters – the Wall Street financial collapse, the fatal West Virginia coal mine explosion and the huge oil spill from one of BP’s offshore rigs – has been a lack of effective government oversight.

Indeed, over the past three decades as Republicans and the Right expanded their power (often allied with pro-corporation Democrats), big companies have acted with growing confidence in putting profits before safety, as Jason Leopold notes in this guest article about other BP violations:

The troubles of oil giant BP are not limited to its Gulf of Mexico operations, where a deadly blast aboard a drilling rig two weeks ago ruptured an oil well 5,000 feet below the sea’s surface and triggered a massive oil leak that is now the size of a small country.

The oil conglomerate is also facing serious charges from the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that it “willfully” failed to implement safety measures at its Texas City refinery, the third largest in the country, following an explosion that killed 15 employees and injured 170 others five years ago.

OSHA found BP to be in violation of more than 300 health and safety regulations and, in 2005, fined the company $21.4 million, at the time the largest in OSHA’s history. In 2007, BP paid a $50 million fine and pleaded guilty to a felony for not having written guidelines in place at the refinery and for exposing employees to toxic emissions.

BP was placed on three years’ probation and the Justice Department agreed not to pursue additional criminal charges against the company as long as BP agreed to undertake a series of OSHA-ordered corrective safety measures at the refinery. BP also settled with the victims’ families for $1.6 billion.

Several investigations launched in the aftermath of the refinery explosion concluded that BP’s aggressive cost-cutting efforts in the area of safety, the use of outdated refinery equipment and overworked employees contributed to the blast.
John Bresland, chairman of the independent U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), said the blast occurred “when a distillation tower flooded with hydrocarbons and was over-pressurized, causing a geyser-like release from the vent stack. The hydrocarbons found an ignition source [a truck that backfired] and exploded.”

Bresland, whose organization spent two years probing the circumstances behind the explosion, said CSB’s investigation “found organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation.”

“Our investigation team turned up extensive evidence showing a catastrophe waiting to happen,” Bresland said on March 24, the fifth anniversary of the refinery explosion. “Cost-cutting had affected safety programs and critical maintenance; production pressures resulted in costly mistakes made by workers likely fatigued by working long hours; internal audits and safety studies brought problems to the attention of BP’s board in London, but they were not sufficiently acted upon. ”

Failure to Comply
Since the settlement, according to OSHA, BP has not only failed to comply with its terms but has knowingly committed hundreds of new violations that continue to endanger its refinery workers.

“When BP signed the OSHA settlement from the March 2005 explosion, it agreed to take comprehensive action to protect employees,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a statement last October. “Instead of living up to that commitment, BP has allowed hundreds of potential hazards to continue unabated.”

“The fact that there are so many still outstanding life-threatening problems at this plant indicates that they still have a systemic safety problem in this refinery,” added acting Assistant Labor Secretary for OSHA Jordan Barab.

OSHA then imposed a record $87 million fine against the company, surpassing the previous record – also against BP – in 2005.
A Justice Department spokesperson did not respond to questions as to whether BP’s alleged failure to comply with its settlement agreement would expose the company to further criminal charges. However, last October, Angela Dodge, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston, said the Justice Department “will take all appropriate actions to ensure the plea agreement is not violated.”

Some of BP’s new violations have already resulted in additional fatalities at the refinery, according to OSHA.

On July 22, 2006, OSHA said a contractor was crushed between a “scissor lift and a pipe rack.” On June 5, 2007, another contractor was electrocuted “on a light circuit in the [refinery’s] process area.” On Jan. 14, 2008, an employee was killed when the top head of a pressure vessel blew off. On Oct. 9, 2008, a contractor was hit by a front-end loader and died from his injuries.

BP has vehemently denied OSHA’s charges and has formally contested the proposed penalties.

“We continue to believe we are in full compliance with the Settlement Agreement … we strongly disagree with OSHA’s conclusions,” said Texas City Refinery Manager Keith Casey. “We believe our efforts at the Texas City refinery to improve process safety performance have been among the most strenuous and comprehensive that the refining industry has ever seen.”

BP says it invested $1 billion on safety and operational improvements at the refinery and believed it had more time to fulfill its commitments under the settlement agreement, according to a letter that BP attorney Thomas Wilson sent to OSHA. BP may end up fighting the charges in federal court.

Still, as highlighted in a January 2007 report issued by a panel chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker III, systemic issues related to BP’s process safety were not limited to its Texas City refinery, but rather were widespread.

In 2007, BP had entered into a settlement with OSHA over safety issues at the Husky refinery in Toledo, Ohio, a 50-50 joint venture between BP and Canadian-based Husky Energy, Inc.
During an inspection last September, OSHA found that BP was in compliance with the earlier agreement but discovered “numerous violations at the plant not previously covered” by the settlement.

In March, OSHA issued a new set of charges against BP in March for “willful” violations at Husky, “including 39 on a per-instance basis, and 20 alleged serious violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards including failure to provide adequate pressure relief for process units,” issues that appear to be identical to those that led to the Texas City explosion in 2005.

“OSHA has found that BP often ignored or severely delayed fixing known hazards in its refineries,” Solis said. “There is no excuse for taking chances with people’s lives. BP must fix the hazards now.”

Also notable about the nearly two dozen alleged violations at Husky was that one matches allegations leveled against BP a year ago by a whistleblower who said the company had been operating its Gulf Coast drilling platform Atlantis without a majority of the necessary engineering and design documents, a violation of federal law.

Atlantis is the world’s largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans. The whistleblower said BP was risking a catastrophic oil spill even worse than the disaster now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded and sank two weeks ago.

May 8 2010

Saturday Night show, May 8, 2010 – 9pmEST 6pmPST

Segment 1 – Media Matters
Segment 2 – Barking from the Floor – Audio from Wall Street
Segment 3 – Audio from CSPAN-Debate on Prosecuting Detainees
Segment 4 – Interview with Col. Morris Davis
Segment 5 – Interview with Jason Leopold on BP/Halliburton catastrophe

Listen Now

Listen NowWe hope you’ll join us on our debut show here at Our listening link will be available before airtime. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN I think we have a stellar lineup for you: 1. ) Media Matters For America’s Brian Frederick on Michael Scheuer’s apocalyptic obsessions 2.) Jason Leopold on BP’s devastation to the Gulf and related threads 3.) Ret. Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor Col. Morris Davis 4.) Andy Worthington discusses the latest information on Gitmo detainees It has been a busy news week and we hope to go over some of those stories tonight. Stay tuned for call-in opportunities as we work out our phone wiring.

May 5 2010

Col. Morris Davis-Perfecting a More Perfect Union

(editors note: I want to thank Col. Morris Davis for letting us reprint his words here for you to share.)

My father was a 100 percent disabled veteran of World War II. He left home a healthy man in the prime of life and returned seriously disabled by a broken back during a training accident. My earliest memories are of him going to the Bowman-Gray Hospital at Wake Forest University for multiple surgeries, spending weeks at home in bed in a full-body plaster cast, his back and leg braces and crutches, and the hand-controls that let him drive without using the gas or brake pedals. Like many of his generation – and like many of the men and women I see now at Walter Reed Army Medical Center – there was never a word of bitterness over what he lost, only pride in his country and a bond with others who served in defense of democracy.

Robert Hutchins, former Dean of the Yale Law School and Chancellor of the University of Chicago, said “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.”

I believe that living in a democracy is a privilege, not a right, and each citizen has a duty to do his or her part to ensure the privilege isn’t lost to future generations. That was a lesson I learned from my father at an early age. I joined the Air Force a few months after he died and served for 25 years, in part because of his example.

Volunteers for military service aren’t apathetic or indifferent about democracy. They pledge to support and defend the Constitution, and many make the ultimate sacrifice; I saw proof every morning when I drove by the white stone markers aligned in rows at Arlington National Cemetery on my way to work. We owe them a duty to do more than just passively surrender to the challenges we face; we have an obligation to participate in working towards solutions.

It says something when we cast nearly as many votes to select the next American Idol as we do to select the next American president, when more can name the “Plus Eight” that belong to Jon and Kate than the eight members of the Supreme Court remaining when Justice John Paul Stevens (Navy veteran) retires, and when Tiger Woods wrecking his marriage and his SUV is the lead story on the national news. Too many of us are too absorbed with the superficial world of celebrities and the schadenfreude of their calamitous lives.

The most basic duty of citizenship is participation, something Americans do less than citizens of most other countries. Almost all eligible voters in Australia – about 95 percent – cast ballots in national elections; typically a little more than half of eligible voters in the U.S. do the same. That’s a sad fact. There is no excuse for being uninformed on issues and there is no excuse for not voting. In my view, you forfeit the right to pontificate if you’re too lazy to participate.

I’m involved in the Coffee Party, a group that promotes civil discussion about issues and greater public participation in the political process. I don’t believe any political party or any group along the ideological spectrum has a monopoly on good ideas, and I believe we should be able to discuss issues and ideas without hurling insults and threats. We seem to lose sight of the fact that we’re all in this together.

We have the power and the ability to prove Hutchins wrong and to advance the ideal the Founding Fathers envisioned – continuing to perfect the union, doing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and passing these privileges along to those that follow – if we just have the will.

May 5 2010

All About The Staffers

Voting isn’t the end of a process, but a sort of beginning. So why do so many voters treat it as a finishline instead of a hiring date? Imagine if employers in other fields did this. You start your job after a rigorous process with interviewers, fill out elaborate forms, turn in your resume, buy a new wardrobe and then…everyone leaves and expects you to handle everything.

When an election is finished and the oaths of office are taken, do you know which staffers are hired to do the work of writing the bills, handling constituent issues, and competing for vocal space for your pet issues?

I am by no means the perfect citizen. I do however have a facility for working with my representative’s staff and would like to invite you to considering getting to know yours. In my case, I have a representative who easy to get along with but doesn’t always vote my way on everything. But that isn’t my largest concern. I am more concerned with not knowing what to ask, how to ask it, or having a scope of what Congress can achieve when it comes to matters close to heart.

The staff at my reps office respond to me with quality information and leads. They are quick to point out when they really have no ability to help and direct me to better resources. I’ve had to consult with them about pending legislation, existing legislation, understanding the different portions of our government and how best to relate to them. In my business field, I have interests vital to growth and regulations. I know precisely which staffer to call if I want a response that helps. My Rep doesn’t necessarily know all these answers.

When we had an issue with immigration last year for a family member, the staff went into overtime to explain to us the options in this ever growing morass of immigration law. When I needed to get up to the minute information on pending legislation regarding FISA, the staff was quick to let me know what changes were happening.

I’m probably in a unique district where my representative will call me from time to time. If yours does not, then I’d hold them to that. My representative seems to have at least a sense of the employee/employer relationship bestowed by the constituents. But it is sad to say that I doubt many of my district neighbors know the hard work his staff does for us each and every day without much of a thanks.

Even if you need to hold your representative accountable for some bad deed or decision, you might also need to see what staff that person hired. Are they hiring quality staff or just ideologue buddies from their latest winger thinktank, either right or left?

Either way, if you know the staff under your representative, you’ll have a fairly complete view of Your business; the districts business as well.

Thank you!

Congress isn’t made up of just 435 in one chamber and 98- in the other. Those staffers matter. If you can learn to talk with them, your participation in this ‘democracy’ might be more effective
Share your stories of working with staffers at our site,