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June 30, 2007

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Is it just me, or is this whole set of cases confounding? w and crew seem to have tried to quiet the whole thing by getting rid of Lam, but there seems to be a momentum that won't stop in spite of roadblocks. This may lead to a good ending.

As an aside. I think that Abu gonzo should be have impeachment proceeding begun against him. Once he goes through the wringer, no matter how the House decides, the evidence brought out would begin the unraveling of the whole w/cheney house of illegality.

OT, sorry, but does anyone know where I can pick up a bunch of copies of AoD in DeeCee for a party tonight?

This is a fascinating case. Kontogiannis has proven a slippery fish so far . . . he did no time for a $4.8MM school swindle in Queens a few years back.

The CIA's money laundering, covert ops, etc. create too much moral hazard. We need to shut down all the black bag, criminal enterprise dealings for good. And eliminate the State Secrets Doctrine while we're at it.

Ok, this is bizarre stuff here. What was the mechanism by which they suddenly appeared in the 9th Circuit as opposed to District Court? I see no mention of the process where Judge Burns turned down the government's application for further or continued seal, but I don't see how you get to the 9th Circuit without it. It appears from this info that Burns has testified or given an affidavit in the 9th Circuit; that is highly unusual. Also appears that the line level prosecutors were blindsided by this as they were not originally hot on the subject; clearly the move was ordered by DOJ Main. By who and why? I smell Cheney. I would hazard a guess that this is far bigger than just this case. This whole Cunningham, Wilkes, Michael, Foggo, Kontogiannis, Lewis, Copeland Lowery mess is ultimately tied together, with some other actors as well, and leads to Cheney and his "special projects operations". DOJ Main is getting so hollowed out, and Gonzales is so freaking incompetent on his own, that the wheels are coming off of both the effort and the ability to conceal it. the rats are scurrying in desperation.

I have always suspected the Cunningham, Wilkes, Foggo, et al cases were linked together with CIA/Pentagon black ops as a vehicle for defrauding taxpayers and running shadow government activities. What we know is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many powerful people and organizations that are doing their best to try and prevent it all from coming out.

I think these are cases that warrant serious investigation. Laura Rozen tantalizes with some interesting earlier reporting.

http://www.madcowprod.com/05072007.html

Marcy:
This link is from Daniel Hopsicker's site. He has written quite a bit about the CIA and money laundering. I looked at the list of companies on War & Peace- didn't find a match. A while ago, I had written you about Hopsicker - you may find something there.

bmaz,
I strongly suspect that the path to the White House can be found through Titan Corp, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was Cunningham's single largest contributor. Lam was looking at Titan Corp with respect to a foreign bribery scandal. What else she may have been looking at we have no way of knowing.

And no, I'm not divulging my reason for saying so, except to say that it is an educated guess.

sounds like we need to depose Carol Lam

not as a criminal suspect

more as a direct fact witness to a HUGE criminal conspiricy to coverup the abramoff scandal and a lot of other stuff, including the dukstir

bmaz

This seems to be the chronology:

5/29

ORDER denying request for continued sealing as to Thomas Kontogiannis; the court will order the record of dft's guilty plea proceeding unsealed on 6/4/07; Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 5/25/07 (cc: Judge Burns, USATTY)(kaj) Additional attachment(s) added on 6/25/2007 (kaj, ). (Entered: 05/30/2007)

6/11
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Larry Alan Burns : Court orders the case unsealed. Transcripts shall be redacted and court will sign an order by the end of the week. Telephonic Status Conference set for 6/13/2007 12:15 PM in Courtroom 9 before Judge Larry Alan Burns. (Court Reporter Eva Oemick).(Plaintiff Attorney Jason Forge).(Defendant Attorney Charmaine Buehner, Gregory O'Connell). (vet, ) (Entered: 06/12/2007)

6/11
ORDER, granting in part denying in part the Government's ex parte motion for continued sealing of transcripts as to Thomas Kontogiannis. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 06/22/07. (joeh) (Entered: 06/22/2007)

6/22
ORDER, granting in part denying in part the Government's ex parte motion for continued sealing of transcripts as to Thomas Kontogiannis. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 06/22/07. (joeh) (Entered: 06/22/2007)

6/27
CORRECTED NOTICE OF HEARING as to Defendant Thomas Kontogiannis. Motion Hearing re: Government's Motion Opposing Unsealing Transcripts of Judicial Proceedings set for 6/29/2007 10:00 AM in Courtroom 9 before Judge Larry Alan Burns. (bjb) (Entered: 06/27/2007)

6/28
MINUTE ORDER: The 6/22/07 Order Granting in Part/Denying in Part Government's Ex Parte Motion for Continued Sealing of Transcripts 15 is stayed pending the 6/29/07 hearing on Government's Motion Opposing Unsealing of Transcripts of Judicial Proceedings. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 6/28/07.(rls) (Entered: 06/28/2007)

6/28
NOTICE OF INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL re 15 order filed by USA (Filing Fee: No Fee required)(mkz) (Entered: 06/28/2007)

6/29
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Larry Alan Burns: Status hrg re unsealing of sealed transcript; USCA singed order dated 06/29/07 to stay Judge Burns order dated 06/22/07 as to Thomas Kontogiannis ; Ct makes oral findings about his ruling to 06/22/07 Order. Transcript to Judge oral finding is forwarded to the 9th Circuit. (Court Reporter Eva Oemick).(Attorney Jason Forge, AUSA; Philllip LB Halper, AUSA; Valerie Chu, AUSA).(Defendant Attorney S/A Joseph R Dunn, RET; Gregory J O'Connell, RET (telephonically); Lovett, RET (telephonically)). (gac) (Entered: 06/29/2007)

An outline for how this kind of money-laundering/covert operation works is http://www.amazon.com/Manhunt-Incredible-Pursuit-Turned-Terrorist/dp/0743452682/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/105-9158026-2998008?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183241880&sr=8-3
It's narrow thinking to think of this type of case as a CIA issue, as Laura Rozen seems to be suggesting. It's far more likely related to a secret intelligence group not related or only tangentially related to the Agency...you know, the sort of thing set up in the OVP where nobody gets to peek, ever.

Link didn't work...it's Manhunt: The Incredible Story of a CIA Agent Turned Terrorist by Peter Maas.

Your basic blueprint for how this works.

Ok, that makes much more sense. Judge Burns sure has a big fat bee in his bonnet though; he is absolutely pounding the government in his record that is to be certified to the 9th Circuit. The judges, both District and Circuit, that we have out here are far different than most people are used to in DC and the east in general; but, this is still extreme even for out here. Even when the court disagrees, more deference to the government is usually given, especially on the record. Burns appears to be seething and I guarantee you it is over more than just the sealing issue. This is noteworthy because Burns is a former local county attorney and former AUSA before being appointed to the District bench by Bush43. I'll bet he was not a happy camper over the treatment of Carol Lam. This is going to be interesting.

Posaune @ 15:37 - "OT, sorry, but does anyone know where I can pick up a bunch of copies of AoD in DeeCee for a party tonight?"

You could try calling Politics & Prose -- don't know if they're still open -- on Connecticut Ave NW or a place called "Busboys & Poets" that's on 14th & V. Sorry to come in so late -- don't know if this will help.

"This whole Cunningham, Wilkes, Michael, Foggo, Kontogiannis, Lewis, Copeland Lowery mess is ultimately tied together, with some other actors as well, and leads to Cheney and his "special projects operations"."

Could these "special projects" also be tied to Cheney's thirst for free-lance spying and his fierce response to anyone who wants to know what information he's gathering and how it's being used?

Discussions of Cheney's spying in fora like this always lead to speculation that the spying is being done against political opponents, journalists, perhaps even political friends, to gather information to be used strategically or for blackmail. I'd like to suggest a further step in this line of thought: What if Cheney's special projects include generating the blackmail-worthy information by way of stings similar to what the FBI did with the Abscam sting? This came to me as I thought of Sibel Edmond's story of Denny Hastert receiving a suitcase full of cash from shadowy figures, a transaction caught by the FBI in its surveillance but not followed up in any way by DOJ as far as we know.

If you have the motive to put large numbers of Congress people in your back pocket, and you have access to the information gathering that can produce the goods should you choose to use them in a court of law (and you already have DOJ in your back pocket), all you need is some nice clean money to complete the scheme. Wasn't Wilkes' first federal contract with OVP for purposes that remain murky to this day?

One of the most puzzling aspects of our current political life is the frequency with which people who have every reason to act in decisive opposition to Cheney fail to do so, behaving instead as if they are afraid of him. Many Democrats who surely by now should see that a strong stance against the Iraq occupation would be politically popular but nevertheless fail to stand up; Repubs like Specter make unequivocal public statements in opposition, then inevitably cave when it comes time to actually vote. What are they afraid of? Knowing what we know about Cheney is there any reason to believe he wouldn't send some of his shadowy operatives out to a Congressperson with a suitcase of money and arrange to have NSA or the FBI pick up the damning information?

bmaz, it does smell of Cheney, because it has virtually nothing to do with amassing majority power (which would be run out of the White House) and everything to do with supporting iffy military initiatives.

Per Sy Hersh in March '07 via TPM:

Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. [Elliott] Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.

. . .

“This goes back to Iran-Contra,” a former National Security Council aide told me. “And much of what they’re doing is to keep the agency out of it.” He said that Congress was not being briefed on the full extent of the U.S.-Saudi operations. And, he said, “The C.I.A. is asking, ‘What’s going on?’ They’re concerned, because they think it’s amateur hour.”

The issue of oversight is beginning to get more attention from Congress. Last November, the Congressional Research Service issued a report for Congress on what it depicted as the Administration’s blurring of the line between C.I.A. activities and strictly military ones, which do not have the same reporting requirements.

CIA is only involved where they have to be, and in this case, because they are the provider of the end service (rendition and "enhanced terrogation"); Kontogiannis is likely not a "friend" but a paid contractor per se. Note that the formal military isn't handling any part of this chain, even though the results of any rendition/"enhanced terrogation" are being used for military purposes. I wonder who the plant was in DOJ main that they used, other than AG-AG.

(For some reason every time I see Kontogiannis' name I think of the Sun Cruz mess in Florida, and Bernard Kerik...)

Nuts. My blockquote bad. Should be an end-blockquote after "same reporting requirements".

Rayne - That is as good a general explanation as I know. It was pretty clear back when they put Porter Goss in charge of the CIA, and the "cleansing" he attempted immediately upon assuming control that something was up in relation to neutering the CIA. Then when the Foggo, Wilkes et al mess came to light, as well as the bizarrely shifting/amorphous MZM contract that went directly to Cheney's office, that something major was up. And you have hit the general highlights on the head. I certainly don't know any more than you do, but what you said sounds about right generally. And some of Mamayaga's stuff is in the same vein as well. It has always been my personal belief, whether well articulated or not, that there was something huge and damning behind this scenario and that Lam was getting to close, whether she realized it fully or not.

How would Darth ever be held to account when apparently Pelosi will not even consider impeachment?

What is the difference of this , then all the other actions and policies by Bush/Cheney's military-industrial complex .

Americans no longer have a constitution , democracy , bill of rights , laws , news media or a free voting system. There is only one way to take our government back and it sure isn't through our senate and house..

Bush makes the laws that he wishes, deletes the laws which he dislikes and retires personal he doesn't care for replacing them with his clones.

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