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April 21, 2007

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Comments

At this point I am convinced that the USAs were fired to obstruct investigations and prosecution of Repubs engaged in criminal activities - Renzi, Lewis, etc. I am also convinced that Rove & Miers were directly in charge of the Republican partisan makeover of the DoJ and that AbuG was just a water carrier.

Will Congress be able to uncover illegal acts and will anyone be held to account? Here I have doubts. This Administration and its minions have been able to skate similar to the Iran-Contra criminals and during every succeeding cycle they get more brazen and devious. Now with all the "sleeper cells" installed in the career ranks of the DoJ and SCOTUS under conservative Repub control the legal system of the US has been effectively taken over. As Bill Maher pointed out on his show a few weeks ago - post-9/11 - Bush asked Americans to only sacrifice their civil liberties. We did not have to sign up to go to Iraq or pay for the war with increased taxes - all we had to do was give up habeas corpus, unreasonable seizure, cruel and unusual punishment and provide the President the right to detain and torture any citizen on labeling them an "enemy combatant". We have gladly done that to "fight" the GWOT but that was after all only a charade - the reality was for a reactionary Repub takeover of the executive branch which has happened. Now we will deal with the consequences over the next decades!

Operationally, what are the implications of the Renzi and Doolittle investigations heating up?

Does this mean that the FBI has slipped the leash from Gonzales control and is figuring that it can take on high profile investigations without him being in a position to tell them not to?

Are any local USAs involved in either case?

I have trouble accepting that the timing of these cases and Gonzales' disintegration are coincidental.

Albert Fall

I'm not sure we know that.

Albert Fall: I had the same thought when I read about the FBI raids, and wondered if the FBI had suddenly decided to take matters into its own hands.

Another, more devious thought occurred, as well: could there be a cadre of FBI and DoJ people who are so disgusted with the current administration that they have had their own 'underground' organization going? I know that really sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it works... If you consider the career people who believed in what they are doing (and abiding by the rules), but they were surrounded by hacks and trolls concerned with ensuring the continuity of the Republican regime, they would tend to hunker down until an opportunity presents itself to reassert the rule of real law.

I think we are seeing the same thing happening in other areas, with the anonymous letters from DoJ employees, and tidbits of information being passed along. Soon, maybe the true believers in the founding principles of our country will begin to get out of their foxholes and shed light on what they know. If that is the case, I am thankful for their integrity and bravery in clinging to what they believe in!

Far-fetched maybe, and we can only hope...

Assuming a Democrat takes the Whitehouse in 2008 (knock on wood), many of these crimes will still be prosecutable. So to the extent Bush's obfuscations and obstructions work, and these crimes are not widely or specifically defined, it will be difficult for Bush to issue pardons for them on his way out the door. He would have to issue blanket pardons to many many people who have not yet been indicted.

How a Democratic president might handle investigating and prosecuting these crimes will be a delicate political dance. The president will need to avoid looking petty and out for payback. You can be certain the R noise machine will be cranked to full volume whining about vindictive politically-motivated prosecutions (R's have no sense of irony) and the courtier media will cooperate fully in accusing the Democrats of instigating precisely what they railed against Gonzales and Rove for doing.

At the same time, just to get politics healthy again (or to slow our long slide toward authoritarian oligarchy), it's critical that the Rovian criminal enterprise be exposed and excised, that laws be passed to prevent it from ever happening again. One solution could be appointment of a special prosecutor, perhaps a former Republican US Attorney from, say, Chicago.

The other route would be the appointment of a commission along the lines of what Argentina did after the junta fell -- the commission that produced the monumental Nunca Mas. A public accounting of what happened and who did it, with recommendations for how to make sure it never happens again.

When we evaluate who we are going to support in the upcoming Democratic primaries, we should keep this in mind: which of the candidates is likely to actually have the determination, integrity and skill to pull something like this off. Our democracy may depend on it.

Albert Fall:

The alternative is, of course, that the FBI is still loyal to the Junta, and the raids are hoovering up incriminating documents that might implicate high-level White House involvment in these scandals as well. Think "pre-emptive strike." Don't wait for Waxman to subpoena emails, just go and get them now. When you ask Doolittle for his copies of all the RNCHQ.com or GWB43.com emails, he can honestly say, "I don't know what you're talking about, the FBI took all of my files weeks ago."

I think we'll have to wait and see.

Rove et al may have conspiracies in mind.

Whenever I think of conspiracy theories, I take great (but not complete) comfort in this administration's history of incompetence.

The Renzi investigation did start before Charlton was fired. That was before the elections and the info started coming out was only a little bit and that was not enough to prevent his re-election unfortunately.

There are loads of scandals bred into BLM & other government land swap deals in the West/Southwest. Western Lands Project is actively fighting some of the more dubious exchanges and they were a big help when we were fighting the Eagle Mountain megadump project proposed for right next to Joshua Tree National Park in an old Kaiser Mine. Of course, Republicans in the county favored the project. Hello Mary Bono! Hello Jerry Lewis!

http://www.westlx.org/

Charlton was being pressed on a death penalty case where there was no body or murder weapon. The case was built on witness statements who were members of gangs & druggies.

Another little point in the WSJ article is this:

"Congressman Renzi told me that the purchase of the Sandlin parcel was a matter of national security"

WTF?

Katymine - I had posted this at FDL for you

It has to do with Ft. Huachuca. It is in the San Pedro River Basin. The facility used alot of groundwater. There had been attempts to limit the withdrawl of groundwater there to preserve the river. Non-military towns there must limit withdrawl. Renzi’s dad's company has a business contract there and felt if the Fort had to limit its use of groundwater it might close and they would lose their contract. Renzi got a bill through congress that exempted the Fort from groundwater pumping limitations. That is the national security reason for Renzi’s statement. Had to help daddy make money.

Though Robert Mueller never makes headlines (except for the FBI's computer problems), he seems to be honest, dedicated, serious, experienced, competent and intelligent, and perhaps to have insulated the Bureau from Rove, Gonzales, Meiers, and Cheney (does anyone think, for example, that Patrick Fitzgerald would have survived if Mueller himself had opposed him?)

Delusional as it sounds, this hypothesis might explain a few strange things. And putting it to the test would be simple--a matter of learning how many, if any, of those twenty-year-old right-wing wrecking machines have landed inside the Bureau.

Will we also soon learn more about Kolbe's camping trip with lads? Is the Renzi raid (c'mon, on the same DAY Abu testifies?) not a sign of a newly awakened and unleashed local FBI office? And won't that mean they'll want to continue their investigation of Kolbe, despite his retirement -- without main DoJ waving them off?

Teddy

I'm not sure what the motive for prosecutions are. Perhaps it's DOJ making a short term effort to appear diligent, to get the Pulic off poor Gonzales' back. Perhaps the interim USA wants to make sure prosecutions go forward before the designated political lackey comes in to take over. Or perhaps Rove has decided shill prosectutions will go forward only to have something throw the case.

For now, I think we simply take note and watch the actual prosecution to make sure it seems to hold up.

turns out that kkkarl couldn't kill these prosecutions after all

democracy is tougher than the bushistas

and given the bushista propensity for fucking up everything they do, why should we be surprised ???

karma is a bitch, and she ain't nearly done with kkkarl

as yea sow, shall you reap

kkkarl has a bunch of bad reaping on the horizon

alabama,

I took notice when recently Mueller testified to the effect that to his knowledge there are no investigations into political corruption "being held up." I took that as a tacit signal that the FBI is continuing to do its job.

It is worth noting that the FBI is much harder to corrupt than the DOJ since one really does have to work one's way up the professional ladder to get into leadership positions. There are far fewer opportunities to stack the upper echelons with political appointees; much like the military in that sense. The culture that has been built within the agency since the days of Hoover have been designed to create a firewall between law enforcement and politics. Not always perfect, but better than it was in the 60s, for instance.

Hopefully the mess with Gonzales will embolden honest FBI agents and offices.

EW,

Charlton had started the investigation. I assume the AUSA's in the office are taking their jobs seriously unlike the leadership in DC.

I think the "conspiracy theory" is plausible, and the timing of the Renzi raid during the USAgate hearings is consistent with this, because right now anyone with some seniority in the DOJ has de facto immunity by virtue of the attention on the DOJ now---that is, unless the person is one of the crooks.

Someone is surprised when some real estate hoob gets caught out? Especially some Republican rel estate boob from Arizona???? These guys are too dumb to know to cover their tracks, let alone to actually try and do it.

INterestingly. Robert Mueller was the US Attorney in San Francisco before he went to the FBI. As I recall, he was generally well thought of, which is why he was tapped for the FBI, which he took over a few days before 9/11. Kevin Ryan may have succeeded him as USA in SF, but I think there was someone else who served in between. Remember Deep Throat was FBI, someone who was horrified at some of the things going on at the FBI as well as elsewhere in the Nixon Admin. There are plently of career people who would be willing to talk to Congressmembers and staff (and have), so disgusted are they at the politicization of their agencies.

EW - They were not able to get a good ringer in to fill the USA-AZ spot in time before the purge excrement starting hitting the fan because Josh Marshall and TPM were pushing it to quickly. The USA office here is still being driven largely by the team Paul Charlton had. They were pretty timid at first (can't blame them for that); but seem to be gaining strength as the DOJ Main is being handcuffed. The info that AZ Matt related above is extremely critical to the equation, in spite of the fact that it is not what the superficial media are focusing on. If you are not already aware of this aspect of the gig, you need to be. Here are a couple of important additions to Az Matt's information. Ft. Huachuca is not just a town, it is an important, if not critical, military intelligence facility. Renzi's father is much more than a pass through for the money. Renzi's father is Gene Renzi, who own a not so nice, and not so little, company by the name of ManTech International. www.mantech.com If you are not aware of ManTech, take a look at them. If you ever wondered what in the world was the template for Blackwater Inc; here is your answer and more; and what is in the public domain is a mere fraction of what they really have going on. There has been a long running controversy over the groundwater/environmental contamination issue, with much of the effort being led by a firebrand environmentalist by the name of Dr. Robin Silver and his group, the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity. He is tenacious and knows all kinds of things about Renzi. It has long been rumored that - ahem-eh - there is much more than the groundwater/environmental bit going on here and that giant digital fiber optic trunk lines carrying all types of information, you know, the kind that all the illegal warrantless Total Information Awareness program might would want, are involved. All of this is just a rumor, of course. There is far more here than can be imagined.

OT - Committee to Consider Subpoena for RNC Documents Related to White House E-mails

Chairman Waxman informs the RNC that the Oversight Committee will meet on April 25 [Thu] to consider a subpoena for documents relating to possible violation of the Presidential Records Act and the Hatch Act by White House officials.

Posted on: Fri, Apr 20 2007 2:00 AM

EW - For a little light reading on the environmental aspect of the Renzi/ManTech issue check out this article "River Gamble" by John Dougherty of the Phoenix New Times from Sept. 18, 2003. http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2003-09-18/news/river-gamble/1

Also check out Julie Cart's "Threat ot a Lifeline in Arizona" in the LA Times dated Sept. 25, 2003.

It is really a fascinating story, with a lot of different levels. You will find precious little out there on the really spooky aspects I touched on above. At one point, some information started to trickle out a few years ago, I think in late 2004, but not sure. Suddenly everything went dark on it. No more mention, no more info, and I cannot find anything on it anymore through Google (shocking eh?). There have been rumors of sealed files and vacuuming by NSA types etc., but I have never seen any substantive confirmation, nor any hard evidence at all. Of course that is what you would expect if it is just a loony conspiracy theory; it is also what you would expect if the rumors were true. This much is known: Eugene Renzi is a very, very major, under the radar, VERY connected player in the absolute highest levels of intelligence gathering, data mining and analysis. With and through John Poindexter (Renzi and Poindexter have a long, tight decades long history together in Naval Intel and Renzi being tasked to Poindexter on spook type NSA stuff during REagan/Bush41 years), he is said to be directly connected to Cheney/Rumsfeld.

mimikatz, I have my own (rather paranoid?) hypothesis about the care and feeding of the action against the outing of Valerie Plame.

The CIA, the DoJ, the FBI, State, and some of the uniformed military, frightened and furious at the abuse they'd been taking for a good two years at the hands of Cheney and his gang, all wanted to act in some way, but (since none could act alone) had to coordinate their efforts, and to do so they needed (1.) a complaint of sufficient gravity for all of them to go forward, and (2.) a patron of standing, well-connected with all parties, who could channel their pressure in timely ways. The outing of Plame was their opportunity, and their patron, to my thinking, was Colin Powell.

I have the idea, then, that Powell, in concert with Tenet, Mueller and some his old military colleagues, made it impossible for Ashcroft (or Rove, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld) to interfere with Fitzgerald's (eventual) appointment and proceedings. This would have been known to Powell's enemies, who took him out in short order.

Of course I have nothing to base this on.

What struck me about that story was that an international copper mining company thought the deal was too smelly to get involved in. Copper mining companies are not known for being shy about "playing by local rules", and for one to back off on a land swap with a Republican congressman means it must have been blatently bad.

Cranky

bmaz

Is that what happened? They're stuck with Knauss and he's going to play it straight? That's what I keep hoping--all the sunshine will mean they're stuck with non-political appoints. Ha!

The jury is still out so to speak, but that appears to be the case so far. There were rumors early on of a replacement, but haven't heard anything recently. I should be over at our shiny new Sandra Day O'Connor Courthouse next week, I'll see if I can root out any info.

I appreciated the forest exchange link left by a commenter, above. I am busy elsewhere now, so can offer only approving remarks quickly concerning the parent's part of the state, instead of the alfalfa matter. I worked with some of the people developing the ag science that enabled expansion of vineyards on the Sonoita side of the hill more west than the fort; my involvement was bookish fundamentally, though I met a few folks with ranches. It is a difficult terrain in the elevated Sonora desert landform where valley floors are near a mile above sealevel and mountains snow-capped protrude yet more lofty; not what your typical Alsatian would select for terracing gewirztraminer vines, rather more like an unforgiving moonscape with cattle meandering in the shadows of tall bushes in thorned succulent corridored trails seeking forage and the rare clump of desert herb. One of Associate Justice O'Connor's most charming attributes, to me, was the demographic statistic that included a childhood in a town called Hereford, which, as far as I could discern on a few tourist visits there over a year, actually consisted more of cattle holdings, not what you would name justifiably even a hamlet. Such is the remote quality of human dwellings places to eek out a living in that desert fastness. Hereford is quite a few miles over the hill from the Renzi holdings in Sonoita. In fact Hereford is pretty distant from the fort, and is more close to the San Pedro drainage. This past year was the first time in the history of the remarkably scenic San Pedro river valley that the aquifer water extraction from the fort caused the entire flow of the river to disappear. A dilettantish drive along the river valley reveals parched and dying trees, but extraordinary variety of wildlife. The politics of maintaining the fort is age-old, and many well intentioned people are trying to devise a way to protect both river and fort. The 'fort' is quite different from what one might imagine; no fence of tall stakes surrounding it. And the civilian and millitary support population which resides in normal suburbia outside the fort comprises something very different from a shriveled and desiccated hamlet with one convenience store which a first time visitor might anticipate finding. Rather, the civilian village is more of a city; when I last visited the city was 30,000 population; and the fort housed an equal number of dwellers. A drive in the city is extraordinary; one of the first things I noticed was most of the cars were new and typically it was difficult to find a place in traffic with any two neighboring cars having the same state licenseplate. The city is a melting pot of intellectuals on brief tours of duty on the base. One can hear excellent Russian spoken in the local store by US anglos in civies, and a vibrant young man who might be a university professor is avidly expostulating in an educated voice in a nondescript bar holding forth on the verses he is reading from an Arabic copy of the Koran, discussing middle east spirituality with any and all who will participate in the conversation.
All this is far from corporate Poway, but the same IT companies all have presence there.

I always liked the old parade ground section inside the fort, and the natural creek which wells from the adjoining mountain is a reminder that the original fort in the era pre-annexation into the US was built next to a precious water source. I guess I ain't very political, and I enjoy the grapevine business. I lived around there one year perforce, yet, it was a remarkably salubrious environ, even though the politics of groundwater and the intelligence community are very divisive. I think, though, the alfalfa business must be somewhere else. Well, maybe Sonoita is a place I should visit; I spent my time on the Hereford side of the hill, near the San Pedro River. I agree with the commenter above who voiced support for one of the river's prime protectors, CBD; their crew of scientists and biologists are providing leadership in many western civic organizations and courts in favor of environment protections.
There is one other feature of the region that relates to the security matters that the US has on its collective mind these days, namely, the zone's proximity to the border. In fact, there is a MX smelter whose plumes of bluegreen smoke often drift up the San Pedro valley on oft prevailing winds blowing into the US, a contentious and difficult issue between the two nations; and foot crossings are rumored to be in the zone, though the mountainous trails popular to sports enthusiasts ice over for weeks at a time. I hope these vignettes help actualize some of the ideas in the thread and provide context, though admittedly I am pretty much a visitor to both the geography, and the issues.

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