Melanie Sloan’s Curious And Epic Failure To Fight Corporate Corruption
I have reported on Melanie Sloan’s CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government. I had thought there was not much left to say about CREW, other than they were mere bunglers. I was so wrong!
When CREW’s list of "Most Corrupt Members Of Congress" was recently posted, I thought it was curious four of the eight "corrupt" Democrats were African Americans. But Laura Richardson is also, so five African Americans of eight D’s were targeted by CREW as corrupt. But I will not accuse CREW of overt racism. The more closely the records of the "Corrupt" Democrats are examined, the more neo-conservative Melanie’s judgement seems. Excepting John Murtha, the Democrats listed, who were in office in 2002 all voted against the Iraq War Resolution. Murtha came out strongly against the war in 2006 and strongly opposes the Afghan "surge". Murtha also is a co-sponsor of HR 676, "Single Payer", universal health care. Most of these Democrats supported a "Single Payer" national health care system although several have backtracked to the "Public Option".
A closer examination of the "corrupt" D’s shows Melanie is being quite deceptive. Melanie’s charges are largely based on how successful they have been getting Federal funds to their constituents, or incomplete financial reporting, or minor complaints. CREW will not produce its own financial reports either. The most substantial of the charges seems to be against Rep. Pete Visclosky who received donations from the PMA GROUP lobbyists and the firm’s clients, for a total of $1.3M. Compare this to the donations from the "Medical Industrial Complex", given to Orrin Hatch $2.9M, Max Baucus $2.8M, Charles Grassley $2.7M, Joe Lieberman $2.6M, Richard Burr $2.4M, John Ensign $2.4M, John Cornyn $2.2M, Jon Kyl $2.1M, Kent Conrad $2.1M. John Ensign is on the Republican Corrupt list, although his contributions from privatized health care companies, are not included. Of course, these folks received much more money from their other Corporate clients. We should not forget Sen. David Vitter or Sen. Larry Craig who are also not on the R corrupt list, but should be.
Citizens should be free to "lobby" and "petition the Government for a redress of grievances". But the Pay For Play hired guns of corporations work only for who pays them the most money. They have always fought against human rights, a clean environment, labor unions and anything else conservatives hate. Some might think that CREW’s work would include exposing the criminality of multinational corporations. Melanie seems to be more interested in protecting the power and influence of America’s smallest oppressed minority, Corporate Lobbyists. But the Law says corporations are people, except they have super powers and can live forever. Melanie is eloquent as she praises the virtues of influence peddlers, with her allies at the AMERICAN LEAGUE OF LOBBYISTS and the PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL. These groups are lobbyists for lobbyists and they are protected by the Constitution. Can you feel the love from K-Street?
"Lobbying is a constitutionally protected activity. The right to petition the government equally is one of the main tenets of our country’s founding principles. To state that one class of individuals may not participate in the same manner as all others is clearly a violation and discriminates against an entire group."
"Part of what we haven’t appreciated is that by all of our lobbyist-bashing, people now don’t want to identify themselves as lobbyists," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, whose organization has raised questions about elected officials and other government employees with ties to lobbyists. "People used to register out of an abundance of caution, and now the opposite is happening. They aren’t registering because they are embarrassed or worried about their job prospects."
Oh, the horror! Bashing lobbyists and discriminating against them! What is next? Human animal hybrids? Dogs sleeping with cats? Or even lobbyists sleeping with dogs and cats and human animal hybrids? They are embarrassed and worried about their jobs. Actually, that might be one way to diminish their influence. Make them feel ashamed for starting wars for fossil fuels, and poisoning the air, water and land, and denying health care and a decent standard of living for the people of this country. We can dream.
It is claimed CREW is heavily financed by "liberal interest " groups, and should have a IRS Form 990 avaiable, listing financial donors. This form does not seem to be on their website. CREW will not reveal its donors, which is curious and not too accountable. CREW’s most famous "founder" is the Poster Boy For Rotten To The Core, DeeCee Lobbyists, Mark"Anal Leakage" Penn. Can you say "Olestra"? Many of CREW’s supporters and employees do seem sincere and dedicated to reform. But living in Washington DC with 35,000 parasite lobbyists can induce "Potomac Fever", the insane obsession to become a well paid Bipartisan Village Idiot.
Melanie’s niche is lawsuits or threatening lawsuits. CREW was successful with one threat of a lawsuit against President Obama. The new administration originally had a policy of "no lobbyists". CREW objected because this violated the freedom of influence peddlers. The Administration gave in to them. "Waviers" are now given to lobbyists and they can lobby the government from the inside. Norman Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform approves the "waviers". Eisen is a co-founder of CREW.
What CREW has NOT done is CURIOUS. Were there lawsuits or threats of lawsuits when EPA’s Christine Whitman said the toxic air produced by the vaporized WTC Towers on 9-11, was safe to breathe? How about the dangers of BisPhenol-A and the $5 Million bribe given to the FDA chemical industry "scientist" to prove BPA’s were "perfectly safe?" Or the ten thousand people who die every year due to exposure from asbestos? Or the sex and cocaine parties that Shell Oil and Chevron provided to employees of Gale Norton’s Interior Dept? And so on… The Bushie crimes have not produced much outrage from CREW, although CREW has plenty of outrage against anti-war Democrats.
CREW’s most famous lawsuit was representing Ambassador Joe Wilson and CIA "spook" Valerie Plame versus Scooter Libby. That case was thrown out. Of course, Libby and Richard Armitage were leaking Plame’s secret identity to every reporter in DC. Libby was convicted of felonies but his prison term was commuted by the Bushies. Armitage history of dirty deeds goes back to Iran-Contra when he helped trade military weapons, paid for by tax payers, for money and hostages held in Iran. They were just pawns thrown away by their neo-con masters, Bush, Cheney and Rove. Melanie, at first did not include Armitage in the lawsuit.
Melanie Sloan, the executive director of CREW, is now the lead attorney for the Wilsons. In an interview with National Review Online, she said that if the account of Armitage’s outing of Plame in Hubris is correct, then“Armitage was just basically gossiping with [columnist Robert] Novak and just mentioned that Valerie worked for the CIA. His mentioning that to Novak is really not the same as the concerted effort that Cheney,Rove, and Libby made to get Valerie’s undercover identity out to the newspaper. The underlying heart of the suit is about the conspiracy of these individuals to out Valerie Wilson in order to retaliate against Joseph Wilson,” Sloan continued, “and it doesn’t look at this point that Armitage was party to that plan…He didn’t even know that she was covert,” Sloan said of Armitage.
Bob Woodward testified similarly, the Armitage leaks were casual and offhand, just "gossip".
Woodward testified the information was given to him in a “casual” and “offhand” manner, and said that he does not believe it was part of any coordinated effort to “out” Plame as a CIA employee. Later, Woodward’s source identified himself. It was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell’s deputy and an internal critic of the Iraq War and the White House inner circle. Woodward said the revelation came at the end of a long, confidential background interview for his 2004 book Plan of Attack. He did not reveal the official’s disclosure at the time because it did not strike him as important.
Woodward told Larry King that it was not part of a conspiracy.
"First of all this began not as somebody launching a smear campaign that it actually — when the story comes out I’m quite confident we’re going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter"
But Melanie changed her mind that Armitage was part of the plan. Armitage was later added to the lawsuit. But CREW undermined their own case by first saying Armitage’s leak was gossip, not important and was not part of the Libby leak conspiracy.
Why did Melanie ignore Marc Grossman? Libby did not remember the four times during the summer of 2003, when he learned about Valerie Plame. One of Libby’s sources was notorious neo-con Marc Grossman. Grossman is also important to the case because Sibel Edmonds claimed he exposed ValeriePlame in 2001.
Edmonds’ on-the-record disclosures also include bombshell details concerning outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s front company, Brewster Jennings. Edmonds alleges the front company had actually been shut down in August of 2001 — three years prior to Bob Novak’s public disclosure of the covert operative’s identity — following a tip-off to a wire-tap target about the true nature of the CIA front company.
The cover was blown, Edmonds alleges, by Marc Grossman, who was, at the time, the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, Grossman served as ambassador to Turkey. Grossman is now a lobbyist and works for a Turkish company called IHLAS HOLDING. According to Edmonds’ testimony, Grossman "participated, along with a network of moles at sensitive nuclear installations and military bases, in the sale of nuclear secrets to American allies and enemies alike."
Melanie’s husband was part "Operation Iraqi Freedom", the secret part. He now works for the company SAIC, which has 45,000 employees including 16,000 in the Washington DC. SAIC is an organization that carries out neo-conservative policies. Its operations are immense and quite criminal, but they use science.
The bridegroom, 45, is the deputy director of an Asian policy consulting group of Science Applications International Corporation, a military contractor in San Diego. He is a major in the Air Force Reserve. In 2005, he worked in Baghdad as the senior intelligence analyst for the multinational forces in Iraq.
Melanie’s spouse wrote an article,"IN PRAISE OF ASSASSINATION". Not too ethical or accountable either. Or assassinations could be a tempest in a teapot. He could be a teabagger who uses the internet. It is up to lawyers to decide.
Congressional outrage over not being told the Central Intelligence Agency had a secret program to kill a select list of al-Qaeda leaders is a needless tempest in a teapot. Anyone with access to the Internet and a penchant for archival reading could have told you the CIA was tasked with eliminating certain threats to our national security…Quite frankly, this country needs a well-run assassination program. Yes, I realize Executive Order 12333 explicitly prohibits assassination by any "person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government." I also realize Executive Order 12333 explicitly states "no element of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this order." Seems clear enough. But, the lawyers have yet to weigh in.
Bob Woodward shows up again. Woodward explains that a successful secret program in Iraq is assassinations of Al Qaeda leaders and "other insurgents".
The dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill terrorists, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward. The program– which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb — must remain secret for now or it would "get people killed," Woodward said Monday on CNN’s Larry King Live. "It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have," Woodward said. In "The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008," Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders.
The New York Times says that assassinations are now privatized and outsourced to BLACKWATER/XE.
The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials. Executives from Blackwater, which has generated controversy because of its aggressive tactics in Iraq, helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The C.I.A.spent several million dollars on the program.
To justify government sponsored murder, it is necessary to have a global war against Al Qaeda. But the weak link in the neo-con and Melanie’s husband’s and Woodward’s narrative is Al Qaeda itself. There is plenty of evidence that the 9-11 attacks and Al Qaeda were financed by the secret services of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Prince Bandar, head of Saudi espionage, is also financing the Taliban. CREW is not helping the families of 9-11 victims with their lawsuit. Woodward is not covering this either.
Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles…Adding to the intrigue, classified American intelligence documents related to Saudi finances were leaked anonymously to lawyers for the families. The Justice Department had the lawyers’ copies destroyed and now wants to prevent a judge from even looking at the material…Another witness in Afghanistan said in a sworn statement that in 1998 he had witnessed an emissary for a leading Saudi prince, Turki al-Faisal, hand a check for one billion Saudi riyals (now worth about $267 million) to a top Taliban leader.
The dubious yet profitable activities of SAIC can only be briefly touched on here, but "responsible and ethical" is not part of their business model. One of the more disturbing issues is that SAIC spread false propaganda to get the United States to go to war in Iraq and SAIC is trying to keep the war and the war profiteering, indefinitely.
SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the life cycle of the war in Iraq. SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the first place, and that war was the only way to get rid of them. Then, as war became inevitable, SAIC secured contracts for a broad range of operations in soon-to-be-occupied Iraq. When no weapons of mass destruction were found, SAIC personnel staffed the commission that was set up to investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong…One week before the invasion, SAIC was awarded yet another no-bid contract, this one for $15 million, which within a year would balloon to $82 million. The contract gave SAIC the responsibility for establishing a "free and independent indigenous media network" in Iraq
SAIC is in the electronic voting machine business, and is privatizing vote counting and election fraud. That should be of interest to CREW. They are partners with SEQUOIA VOTING SYSTEMS and DIVERSIFIED DYNAMICS. For some reason, SAIC was given a contract by the state of Maryland to examine the crooked Diebold voting machines. The report by SAIC did document some, but not all of the "computer backdoors" that can steal your vote.SAIC did determine that the machines could be hacked anytime, anywhere anyway.
Diebold Touch Screen machines do not work, are not secure, and can easily be hacked…Diebold knew their machines were flawed and Diebold tried to cover up these flaws.
SAIC also tried to cover up the flaws or should we say cover up the election frauds. A Diebold machine and probably most others, can be injected with malicious software within one minute. The SAIC 200 page report was censored to 38 pages for the public. But the taxpayer funded report was not even available to the Governor.
The original, never-before-released SAIC report was nearly 200 pages in all, and details a number of extraordinary security vulnerabilities found in Diebold’s AccuVote-TS (touch-screen) voting systems as deployed by the state of Maryland initially in 2002. The version of the SAIC report that was eventually released to the public, after extreme redaction, was a mere 38 pages long. It was reported by Abrahams that neither the full MD State Board of Elections, nor even the Governor himself, was ever allowed to see the full report.
As of Sept. 3, DIEBOLD/PREMIER ELECTION SOLUTIONS is now owned by by ELECTION SYSTEMS & SOFTWARE. Who owns ES&S? Perhaps CREW might know. ES&S does have much experience in flipping votes electronically, that is stealing elections.
What exactly does Melanie’s spouse do? And does Melanie get Health Insurance coverage from SAIC? On my list of "Biggest Trolls For Corrupt Corporations", Melanie Sloan is #1.