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April 29, 2007

Comments

Fascinating. Better than a summer beach mystery...

So she was fired for being uppity?

This is fasinating. I can't wait for the 3rd post.

mswsm has an informative post on this topic at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/28/165814/698

enough

Yup, I saw it--he (she?) and I were working on these at the same time, I think.

well

the first things that comes to mind with "indians" is
abramoff, but he was in the pokey at that time.

the second is gambling.

and with gambling comes the thought of the gambling scandal in wisconsin - democrat side only, of course.

haven't i heard mercer's name echoed in a different room of the doj's great scandal mansion?

mswsm and ew:

From your blogs to Waxman's ears/godspeed . . .

orionATL--

The third thing that should come to mind after gambling, is money-laundering.

I'm beginning to see why McCain initially received so much support from members of Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaign staff.

McCain is dirty.

these folks talk and work within a system they know is not only broken, but they show they are a part of a conspiracy to use it for their gains.
let's get past the main issues

the money coming from indians. those poor redskins can't deal with all that money. it is partly ours if we can steal it.
and that persons employed by our government to protect and serve the native american people, were using them to make themselves and other people money, without any apparent concern for those that they are empowered to protect.

and they are so cavalier about it that they put it in emails. they put specifics of the conspiracy in email, but talk privately about other aspects of the deeper crimes. are they so insulated that they don't care about being a part of such a conspiracy? are these supposedly educated people so smart that they don't think that the little pieces of evidence add up to indictments and imprisonment for themselves?

this is not a republic or democracy. it has no resemblance. it does sound like the machinations of a crime family though. It seems that each of the fired USA's went along with the program to defeat their political enemy and put money in their pockets, or look the other way if someone was doing it. We look at the 8 as some kind of heroes for talking. they only did so when someone said something bad about them. they did nothing to protect the law and the people of this country.

sorry, more treason, more day to day operations that are criminal activity. US Attorneys. How could you trust a single one of them today? the ones that got to stay one haven't been brought in to testify about their involvement in cover ups and voter frauds and such yet. we are concentrating on the ones that spoke up only to protect their bruised egos.

what have we become?

As someone who lives on an Indian Reservation this is all very interesting to me. I not sure I understand why they did this apart from their desire to rid themselves of USA's they didn't like. Trust between the Tribes and Feds is usually hard to get and maintain. They prefer to work with people they know and it takes a long time to build trust. Now, they are trying with the administration to totally screw Cobell. The Abramoff e-mails about the Tiguas totally screwed the Republicans with the Tribes. Ya, there will still be some who give but not like before.

McCain puzzled me when he the Indian Affairs committee. He did not press as far as he should have on the Abramoff issue. The Mississippi Chactaw might have tempered his resolve on this due their big donation through Abramoff in the past. Most tribes respected McCain. IS he dirty? Don't know the answer to that but if he is... so long tribal donations.

On the tech: these are all forwards from a 'synchronised handheld', using Motorola's variation on the Blackberry theme. So I'm not sure if Mercer is bcc:ing in those emails, or just making sure stuff that's on his mobile email ends up... somewhere else.

In AZ, the recommended replacement was Diane J. Humetewa, a Hopi tribe member and a tribal liaison for the AZ US Attorney's office.

AZ Matt - Thats an interesting question about McCain, "Is he dirty?" My read on McCain has always been (and I've watched him since the jerk plopped his carpetbag down in our fair state) is that everything is always, with no exception, about himself. His own relentless self agrandizing is all that matters; the money is secondary, a means to an end. He married Cindy Hensley not for the money, but the power her father could bring to bear. Same with his affiliation with Charlie Keating. He is dirty, but it is a different shade of dirty. He will sell out his own family to advance his own power trip; ask his first wife.

ew,

Unfortunately, I believe you are completely wrong on this one. Bill Mercer has two DOJ email acccounts and he forwards stuff between the two. Take a look at ASG356. When he prints them, one says Bill Mercer (ODAG) and the other says Bill Mercer (USAMT).

pseudonymous in nc,

People here at Hopi were proud to see her recommended for the position by both Kyl and McCain. The DoJ I don't think was thrilled as they rejected her. I would be curious to know who they wanted in there to pull Renzi's balls out of the fire.


There are emails from Michael Elston (ODAG) to the William W. Mercer account.


See http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/OAG878-914-20070323.pdf

Greeting;

Do rules ,which governs use of e-mails for governmental work, address self-forwarding?

Let me explain this in more detail. Bill Mercer is the USA for Montana. Bill Mercer also works at Main Justice in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. The "Mercer, William H." account is his ODAG mailbox (Bill.Mercer2@usdoj.gov). The "Mercer, Bill" account is his USAMT account (BMercer@usdoj.gov). The reason he has two accounts is that whoever set up their Exchange Server assumed that each employee would have a single role within the organization. This is a very common mistake. So, when you have somebody with roles in two seperate parts of the organization, they end up with two mailboxes. Outlook will only let you connect to one Exchange mailbox at a time. The end result, Mercer has to forward his mail back and forth between these two accounts.

Below, I've included a copy of an email that shows both addresses resolved. What's not obvious is that there are different aliases for the ODAG Account. You need to compare ASG012 TO ASG198 to see that the proper alias for the ODAG account is "Mercer, William H." and the USAMT is "Mercer, Bill"

-----Original Message-----
From: Otis, Lee L
To: Mercer, Bill (ODAG) ; Mercer, Bill (USAMT)
CC: Elston, Michael (ODAG)
Sent: Tue Apr 04 18:27:33 2006
Subject: FW: TPs on Issa's Catch-and-Release question

Sherlock Wheeler

WO

Can you point to one besides this where he's forwarding the info? The one you point to is other people emailing to both accounts, which is something else entirely.

Furthermore, what explanation would there be for him to email teh same email from one to another email account twice?

friar will -

can't assess the technical give and take,

but i sure was interested to learn,

from these two e'wheel posts,

that five of the fired u.s. attny's were associated with indian affairs.

that's the striking new info for me.

and isn't the new u.s. attny for minnesota - rachel palouse - indian?

who knows what's up,

this could be about gambling,

money laundering,

oil

or industrial metals,

or it could be coincidence.

but these bastards love money and sub rosa deals,

so i'm betting on "no coincidence" at least.

I don't want to discount Ockham's [Razor], but I think I'd keep going if I were you, Marcy. Margaret Chiara is unexplained. Heffelfinger, himself, points to the N.A.I.S. [which by the way doesn't seem to be doing anything right now as someone posed in the last thread]. Something's rotten in the State of Indian Country, and your line of thinking seems to be the first that aims at what. So, keep going with the "wildarsed speculation." Being wrong, finding it out later, and admitting it is the highest virtue - one our Administration Band of Thieves never learned.

Well, I'm happy to concede I was wrong about this being an external email. And I think it possible that he's just trying to consolidate his emails in one place. But that still doesn't explain forwarding the same email twice in an hour. Further, I think it fair to say that Mercer was less than forthcoming on how he was treating Chiara.

EW,

I ran across a pdf of abramoff emails. Have you seen these yet?

http://www.newsfollowup.com/docs/abramoff_attach_1.pdf

lolo

ew,

Compare ASG408 and ASG409 to ASG 326. It is pretty clear that Sandra Sanchez sent Charlton's contact info to the USAMT account and Mercer then forwarded it to his ODAG account. One thing to notice is that he almost always does his forwarding from his mobile device. That makes a lot of sense because he can look at his USAMT account on the mobile while looking at his ODAG account on his PC. I know that if I were in his situation, that's what I would do.

This little investigation made me notice a couple of probably trivial things. The DOJ switched from BlackBerries to GoodLink devices sometime between June and October 2006. The other is that Sandra Sanchez got an email from Paul Charlton that was titled "Termination Public Financial Disclosure Report SF 278 for USA" and retitled it "Contact Information for Paul Charlton" before she forwarded it on. That's one of the gotchas of Outlook and Exchange that most folks don't know about.

The Cobell litigation is a royal mess. There are procedural disputes, and rulings, that will insure appeal grounds that will play out until the next of never (Notably the removal of Judge Landreth, who made several correct rulings but used such damning language in so doing he was forcefully removed) but it will never be over before the Bushies are out of office; so my first reaction is that they really don't care about Cobell in the least, and any Indian tie in to Purgegate must be on some gambling or land scam they see benefit in. That is a pretty superficial thought, so I may well be missing something.

Wow. I skimmed mbw's dkos post, mentioned in part one, and though I'm still confused on this (new to me) issue, it's really interesting. The tech stuff about the emails is over my head, but I never would have guessed the Indian trust accounting and litigation was going to end up being part of this whole thing.
The Bushies truly have their tentacles into everything, don't they? EW, you go! wherever you feel it necessary. I don't doubt that if it turns out you're on the wrong path, you'll recognize it and correct course. Whew. Just can't keep up...

Emptywheel: have you tried to talk to Chiara? If you haven't, maybe one of your many fans here or at FDL could introduce you? Surely Rayne at FDL knows someone who knows her, if you don't.

bmaz

If USA Purge has to do with Native Americans (and I'm sure it does, though only in part), I think it's a combination of things; first and foremost an effort to make it easier to get to NA resources (two of the replacement USAs--both of whom got put on NAIS--are members of tribal bars and appear to have a history of resource litigation). Brett TOlman also got added--gotta say, Mormons traditionally have had abysmal relations with tribes. Add in the willingness to piss off two GOP Senators rather than have a Hopi USA who would have to be put on NAIS. And it looks like, at the least, they're putting pro-extraction people on NAIS instead of at least two people, if not 5, who had genuinely workable relations with tribes.

Then add in the prevalence of gambling issues just at the edge of all this, not least in Mercer's MT, particularly with Conrad Burns.

In other words, you're right, this probably won't affect Cobell (though I believe Mercer--or Gonzales at least--has been working in bad faith in his effort to negotiate a $7 billion settlement). But I do think it significant that Chiara thought Mercer was operating in good faith with HER, when it seems he was going along with gutting NAIS. And keep in mind--as Associate AG, Mercer oversees everything going through DOJ touching on NA affairs: Civil (Cobell), Environment and Natural Resoureces (tribal claims), and Tribal Justice.

I certainly can't disagree with anything you have said. For the little its worth, a couple of random musings. I had a brief exposure to the Cobell litigation back somewhere around 2000 or 2001 when contacted by a direct relative of a named plaintiff to evaluate their rights. Believe it or not, as pitiful as it is, the 7 billion vicinity discussions (I thought it had been up to 10 billion, but haven't paid attention very well) are in better faith than previous positions taken by the Govt dating back to the Clinton Administration. Kind of shocking in light of the fact that you would think that Bruce Babbitt would be a lot more friendly than the Bushies. It wasn't the goodness of heart that precipitated the change however, it was the aforementioned Judge Landreth who absolutely excoriated the Govts conduct in shockingly brutal written decisions. He got booted for it, but left his mark. Landreth did not go quietly either; I would like the opportunity to buy the man a beer for his efforts. Secondly, I have got to think Chiara was not under to many illusions about Mercer operating in good faith, just thought he was the best shot out of the antagonistic bunch. Lastly, as to the NA issues only being a bit part; I agree. I have slowly come to the conclusion that they are all bit parts; there is no grand unifying theory. I hink its just all part of the Karl Rove "maximum everything" approach to probe the soft underbelly of government to find any and all soft spots; install theo-plants and reap the spoils available. As to the USAs, I think they just looked for the maximum effect with the minimum blowback. And they did pick pretty compliant victims with the exception of Iglesias and, to a lesser extent, Lam. The angst of Dominici and the California Goopers caused them to get greedy and can a couple of USAs that they should not have. They went a bridge to far.

But I do think it significant that Chiara thought Mercer was operating in good faith with HER, when it seems he was going along with gutting NAIS. And keep in mind--as Associate AG, Mercer oversees everything going through DOJ touching on NA affairs:

I'm fretting that Ockham's speculation about the benign explanation for Mercer's email forwarding has prematurely taken the wind from your sails. There's still a lot here: the number of fired USA's on NAIS, the "unfunding" of Leslie Hagen, the attempt to shut down the Eastern Cherokee meeting, the firing of Chiara [and its timing - why did Elston tell her early?], the high stakes [Ca$ino, Abramoff, Indian Tru$t], Mercer's centrality and his wolf-in-sheep's-clothing-ness, etc. And it does seem that the NAIS has been essentially gutted [search NAIS on DOJ].

This appears to be the other side of the coin - a charge of favoritism towards Leslie Hagen, her personal friend. It's true that Chiara was certainly going to bat for Hagen in the email to Mercer you cite. That said, it still feels like you were on to something...

can we tell what exactly the forwarded email address resolves to? I have a friend who is constantly sending email that gets to me -- but the addressee is herself. She has created a "group" that she addresses email to, that she named with her own name. Could that be what the William address means -- some kind of group list that is named as if it's a copy to himself at another email address, but actually is a group? (I am far far from an expert on email but since I've received emails like this, I would wonder... and maybe that's why the committees are requesting electronic versions of emails (where you can identify stuff like this) as opposed to printed versions (where it looks as if he's just copying himself on a different account.)

so, Sherlock Wheeler ...

what's in the pipe ???

don't you think you shoulda just paid Mickey the blackmail money ???

and while we're on the topic, anybody out there seen "Without A Clue" ???

his real name is Arty Mory

My, what a puzzler. This promises to be as good a puzzle as Plame, though let us hope no nukes are involved in this one (!).

Upon reading this post, I dimly recalled a video clip over at Crooks$Liars of some Senator talking about Internet Gambling, and I wondered whether there might be a link between that topic and this post -- because this post conjures up associations with 'casino' and 'gambling'. It's not a big stretch to bring Internet Gambling into this picture, particularly not in 2006.

I was not able to find the video clip at C&L, but finally bungled around and discovered the 'Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act' sponsored by Sen Kyl (AZ). This bill title brings up some interesting links, but I have no time to pursue. Sen Kyl's legislation passed in 2006 when Frist was Majority Leader. Frist was the WH pick for Majority Leader (so presumably the WH wanted that Internet Gambling bill, and no doubt they had plenty of company).

But IIRC, wasn't Kyl p*ssed about something relating to the DoJ firings? Would there be a link between Kyl's ire and his Internet Gambling bill...? (It's not a rhetorical question; I have no idea.)

If Internet Gambling plays into this (and the words 'Abramoff,' 'tribes', 'casinos' all suggest as much) then it's all the more interesting that Gonzo and Bush went after Mr. Let's Get Better Law Enforcement Databases, John McKay (Western Wa.). Because you'd want to cripple law enforcement if you sought Internet Gambling 'regulatations' designed to suit your interests.

A quick glance through the search engine results brought up rather dumbfounding numbers spent in the US on gambling each year -- billions. And it appears the Mob has started moving in.

I'd also be interested in how those two different emails (with separate accounts) were forwarded. Presumably, each took a different route; did either go through an RNC server? If they're going from a handheld device, then the protocol would be WAP, but whether that holds more potential for wayward transmissions will need to be answered by sharper minds than mine.

My hunch: Internet Gambling probably plays into this mess in some way, and the Tribes are once again being taken to the cleaners while Abramoff and his ilk move into online theft, just to expand on their K Street and Enron venalty. After all, those RNC servers co-hosting voter data and WH emails worked out nicely for them, so they may think that they've got a Green Light to expand their realm of thievery into the virtual world of online gambling.

Great work, Marcy. I'd planned on writing on this, but my laptop is in the shop, and I'm fighting my spouse for his (I've clearly won for tonight.)

A few things to add to this whole discussion, which may either make things more confusing or clear them up.

If Mercer is forwarding email, I would speculate that Sue Ellen Wooldridge was on the recipient list. She was the Assistant Attorney General for Natural Resources and Environment - the department which oversees Indian issues at DoJ. Prior to her move to DoJ, she was Solicitor General for the Interior (DoI) and before that, special counsel to the Secretary (Norton). More important, she was romantically involved with the former Deputy Secretary (Dep Sec) of the Interior, J. Steven Griles. Of course, Griles recently agreed to plead guilty to lying to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee regarding his relationship with Jack Abramoff (via his old flame, Italia Federici, ED of a very serious, but massively underestimated, right-wing front group, Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy.) It's also important to note that just after his plea agreement, which ONLY covered his lying to Congress, nothing else (and he has a lot for which to answer), he and Wooldridge tied the knot, adding spousal privilege to the mix.

Mercer would have been in direct contact with Wooldridge on most things Indian-related, especially regarding the Cobell litigation and info relating to tribal involvement in the Abramoff fiasco. Chiara might have more than a passing interest, as one of Abramoff's clients was the Sag-Chip of Michigan, and some seriously questionable dealings went down, including a number of Congresscritters, such as Dennis Hastern, Deborah Pryce, Tom Delay, and Mercer's old buddy, Conrad Burns. Griles was definitely in legal jeopardy, as this was one of the cases he appeared to have shown considerable interest, despite the fact that he almost never got involved in gaming issues (Griles' big Indian thing at Interior was Cobell.) If Chiara was getting too close for comfort to the Sag-Chip dealings, a whole lot of very important Republicans would be at risk.

I'm also curious as to the NAIS' stance on Section 1813, and how it could play out in Indian Country. Two of the former Assistant Attorney General at DoJ (Tom Sansonetti and Kelley Johnson) are now lobbyists for the front group, headed by a former McCain senior aide, which is pushing Congressional abrogation of tribal sovereignty, to benefit energy companies. Kelley Johnson has the dubious honor of being involved, along with our friend Kyle Sampson, in the 2002 firing of Special Trustee Tom Slonaker, after he didn't take their pre-hearing warnings seriously, and told the truth about the Indian trust situation to a Congressional committee. But getting back to Section 1813, ironically, another of the lobbyists for said front group was an aide to none other than Pete Domenici, and had additional reasons to dislike the local US Attorney, David Iglesias.

To add yet another twist and turn, the new head of the Public Integrity Section at DoJ, William M. Welch II, got his start in Nevada - handling Indian and land-trust cases for the Reno USA office under none other than Daniel Bogden back in the early 90s. Ironically, Bogden was added to the cut list soon after Welch arrived in Washington. Probably just a coincidence. BTW, Welch is probably one of the most underappreciated but important men at DoJ, as USAs cannot move past even an initial investigation of a government official or contractor without his office's approval (since the importance of that in the Renzi investigation.)

In my estimation, it's hard to look at what happened at DoJ without connecting it to DoI - particularly in light of the revolving door between the two agencies. And both are heavily invested in subverting the Cobell litigation, as well as the pending tribal (versus individual) accounts litigation, as well as the land and resource, versus trust, i.e., Cobell, mismanagement, which all told could total in the hundreds of billions.

Sorry to go on so long, but there's just so much backstory to all this, I thought it important to try and give a little more context, particularly in light of your excellent research and analysis skill, Marcy. Hope this helped even a little.

I'd like to add just a bit more context, this time on the significant of tribal gaming to all this. Of the 250+ (can't remember the latest exact count) of tribes which participate in some form of tribal gaming, only about 20-30 operations are more than marginally profitable. The reason that it seems such a big deal is that Abramoff had signed on, or was trying to sign on as clients, six to eight of those successful tribes. Tribal gaming money has traditionally gone to Democrats, but under Abramoff, things began to change, and frankly, Republicans liked the new shift and were willing to do much to exploit it. However, that said, while gaming is central to the Abramoff scandal, it would be a mistake to paint all scandals at DoJ and DoI with the gaming brush - It's just as likely, giving the obsession this Administration has with making as much money as possible for business, particularly energy and resource extraction industries, that any number of developing scandals involving tribes has a trust/lease/right-of-way component as a gaming one. I ran some numbers recently, and over 70% of tribal land held in trust and leased out by the feds is under the jurisdiction of one of the 8 fired US attorneys.

EW, this is a great start, keep it up please.
I'm reminded of McCain's Committee on Indian Affairs has 750,000 emails the committee is sitting on, according to dengre, posted at dkos.
Beginning to be obvious this the Big Coverup, and what you and the commentors have added here, whew! Iraq just looks like a diversion from the criminality.
Awesome comments, jeez! I'll be on my way...

mwb -- you are so right to call attention to the importance of back story here -- it is a mish mash without some knowledge of that.

I think it is important to understand just exactly what the Federal Law that permitted the rise of the Indian Casino Industry actually did. Among other things it required States to enter into Compacts with any resident Federally recognized Tribes -- meaning for our purposes here, the State Compacts are very different. Not all States have tribes, but those which do may have quite different arrangements, dependent on compacts and original treaties. Here in Minnesota we voted to amend the constitution so as to allow a compact, and it gave the then Governor Perpich complete control over the final form. Compacts could not be changed except by another constitutional amendment. Tribes are protected thusly, except if competition were to come from a border state -- and the Abramoff group tried to do precisely this with a land swap in Wisconsin that would have set huge competition to the existing Minnesota Industry. (Thankfully the St. Croix River locals did not want a neighborhood Casino, voted against the zoning change, thus Abramoff was kept out.)

What Abramoff did was to screw tribes that had far less protective compacts. Less protective means DOI or DOJ has more avenues of decision making that can help or hurt a Tribe's business interests. Crass Politicians can sell access to the decision makers in these cases -- and this is precisely the game that Abramoff played -- including getting a nice $25,000 pic with GWB. The lobby fees for access were the name of the game, the donations to congressional committee members another part of it, and paying for someone to go play Golf in Scotland -- yet another. Abramoff arranged it so Reed got his cut by turning on and off the Christian Coalition opposition to gambling -- and he marketed that asset to the tribes for a nifty price. But he couldn't do it everywhere, because State Compacts actually protect many tribes from this sort of fraud. Ironically, our Compact is as it is in Minnesota because just before it was negotiated some Mafia types made a play to build for this or that tribe, the papers caught wind, and did stories about it, so the Compact got drawn to "protect the tribes from the Mob." It also protected them from Abramoff. They don't need Washington Representation.

The Gambling industry can be very profitable, but that is really a matter of location. If a tribe had lands on or near an interstate exit, it had location. If the reservation is isolated in the woods away from major roads -- hard to make a profit or draw investors. Our Compact allowed for some land swaps, so for instance an isolated Tribe swapped what amounted to a city block bit of land in the woods for the parcel that contained the old Sears Building in downtown Duluth, Sears Art Deco style. A partnership for development and renovation was inked, the land the tribe had ceeded way back when went back to them -- and now they have a small mall, clubs, a large Casino, restaurants, on the lakefront -- and remember 8 months of the year, Duluth is an international Seaport. It isn't Las Vegas -- but the tribe has a significant business investment that is protected from either Federal or State infringement if they follow the Compact cleanly. Duluth eventually gets payment in leu of Taxes, and they have a lovely Art Deco building converted to new uses that fits the idea of lakefront entertainment district they planned. And because the emphasis was on Jobs for Indians -- there are now jobs and small business opportunities, and all the rest. Best of all, they don't need a lobbyist in DC -- they do need business services and management people. (lot cheaper)

But what applies here does not apply in other states -- because each Compact is state specific.

Now this isn't to say the Republicans are not up in arms about this lay of the land. They are. Every year they stick a bill in the hopper to allow video poker in any bar or other public accomodation. The DFL has responded with the offer of a small casino inside the passenger ticketed area at the St. Paul Mpls Airport run by the State Lottery Commission, with all profit to the General Fund. Republicans do not agree.

You see -- there is a huge philosophical difference at the root of all this. Do we admit that we took over a hunting and gathering culture, (Walleye and Wild Rice) and many of the members died or just got by in abject poverty, and that fairness demands a means to provide an avenue into a quasi business-Capitalist Society and all, or do we just bless a "leave them to rot" ethic? Up in Indian Country I see some nice but modest new houses replacing public housing or old trailers as housing, I see better cars, I see Tribal Nursing Homes and Health Centers, new schools, community centers, small towns with sewer and water -- nothing really fancy yet, but totally adequate. And they don't have to go begging to the BIA to get it built -- they have Tribal Capital.

Coball is a different matter. There are two essential defendents in this case -- the Government (DOI) which did not protect the interests of the Trust -- and those who benefited from the mismanagement. (mostly oil and Gas firms, and Livestock interests, but then there is the South Dakota Black Hills Case, not part of Coball, which is about Deadwood's Gold.) (Because Homestake is owned by Carlyle in which GHWBush has a stake, and by treaty it was Sioux Gold as the treaty gave them the Black Hills, they have taken the position that they don't want $$ compensation, they want the Hills as well as the Gold returned to them. I think Carlyle may have an exposed obligation here.)

If all these E-Mails and USA firings and all were about trying to deal cheaply for pennies on the dollar for these claims -- well that is the big time story, not the back story. It is not only about precisely what they did -- but why they did it.

mbw

Thanks for stopping in--your own work on this is immensely helpful, and I sort of regret you're in book slam while this hit, bc I know you'd have a lot to offer.

I'm wondering if the Chiara angle might, also, be the reverse, her wilingness to deal fairly with the Gun Lake Tribe, which will open a casino just off 94 in the next few years. The entire Grand Rapids businses establishment fought that tooth and nail, and now is doing a 180 in hopes of building a casino in GR. But there are some corrupt loaded people in that community, certainly the kind of people who could get Chiara fired.

i'm learning lots here.

anybody have the story of the dismissal of the judge - landreth, i read - handling corbell?

in particular, the names and titles of those directly involved in removing him?

it was, i assume, on the record, a court decision.

Who is the democrat who is running the Indian Affairs Committee who is now sitting on this?

Black Hills Gold, yes. But also the uranium mines in Arizona. Even oil executives calculating the energy resident in Montana shales realize that uranium mines offer concentrated resource value. Best of all, much of the uranium is on Indian land where they can pillage for pennies and without regard for future risk or cleanup or the health of the native workers and residents.

IIRC, the Orphan Lode uranium mine inside the Grand Canyon is currently closed, due to market conditions, but the Navaho and Havasupai are resisting the mining interests who want to drill dozens of additional mines in the area. Given that flash flooding has already washed uranium from the mines into the Colorado, and that flash floods are like hurricanes and earthquakes (there WILL be another), only the greediest of speculators can think that drilling on the rim of a canyon is a good idea. The financial backers of the Republican party are a hotbed of greedy interests, many of whom are ranchers and miners pressuring Interior for favors.

The funny* thing about the way resources are deposited geologically means that if you find one important mineral, you can usually find others nearby. Coal, potash, gold, silver, copper, uranium, tungsten. If you leave Moab (uranium mines) and raft down the San Juan, you pass by the fossil layers and down through the 320 million year old oil seeps. Canyons lay bare a lot of geology.

*Funny because it appears chaotic, like freeway traffic, yet is a result of order.

The Indian tribes were pushed from fertile hunting grounds out to the wasteland, and now the barrenness of the wasteland is a desirable factor in mineral extraction.

Given the huge sums of money at stake in tribal gaming and Abramoff's high profile as a lobbyist, it is easy to lose sight of the equally huge sums at stake with the various mining interests all over the West and the stolen Trust fund accounts where royalties from past exploitation were supposed to have been deposited.

And if there is continuous litigation, the snuggly closeness between Justice and Interior protecting each other's back fits as nicely as a matching puzzle piece in this picture of absolute corruption.

I don't think that Indian affairs is behind all of the firings, however, the concentration of lawyers shows that it is a major part of the picture.

Marcy, the more I think about it, the more I think the Chiara case may in fact be Abramoff (and hence Sag-Chip/Gun Lake) related. I need to go back over the few docs (900 out of the 750K) released during the "Gimme Five" hearings, as quite a few did focus on the Sag-Chip school and Gun Lake land-into-trust ruling. For those above who opined on whether McCain obstructed the Senate Indian Affairs hearings, I've written rather extensively on the subject, dating from early 2006, and believe that the evidence indicates that he did delay the hearings, and suppress evidence in 2004 which, if it had been released, may have changed the outcome of the November election that year. In exchange for the obstruction, McCain became Bush's heir apparent, which, at the time, looked like a pretty good thing. Now, not so much.

Another case to watch at the moment is the Schaghticoke, as a federal judge has just ruled that DoJ and DoI officials can be subpoenaed - it will be an amazing window into the corruption surrounding the federal recognition process, and I think will spill over to other BIA cases.

Orion- The removal of Judge Royce Lamberth from the Cobell litigation is a story of abuse of power at its height. Lamberth, a Bush I appointee, oversaw the litigation from the beginning in 1996, and became so disgusted by the incompetence, perfidy, and malfeasance of the government (not just this Administration, but the Clinton one as well, though not to the same extent) that he ordered a number of DoI and Treasury officials charged with contempt, the latest being Secretary Norton. Over the years, however, the strain of seeing up close the utter crap we Indians have been fed by our government took its toll, and Lamberth allowed his feelings to show through just a little too much. The Bush Administration pounced, and had Lamberth removed for purported bias. Since what the government really wants is more time to lie, steal and cheat trust tribes and individuals out of their holdings, as well as eventually terminate the tribal-government trust relationship altogether (as is made clear by the Kempthorne-Gonzales letter), getting rid of Lamberth, and installing a new justice who now has to get up to speed on ten years of litigation, is exactly what they wanted.

Hope that helps. The new judge has ordered the case to trial (or what he deems to be a 'public airing') but has also made some negative rulings against the plaintiffs regarding government protective orders. The trial date is set for October - I hope to be there.

New head of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is Dorgan - good guy, but I think he's got Abramoff skeletons in his closet which could hinder real action on his part. The fact that he allowed McCain to act as he did during the Gimme Five hearings is pretty damning.

We should also be very concerned that Bingaman is chairing Senate Energy and Natural Resources, as it too covers issues of import to Indian Country, in particular Section 1813 and rights-of-way on tribal lands. Bingaman is the largest Democratic recipient of oil, gas and coal money - just the groups which want tribal trust litigation to go away, and along with tribal sovereignty over Indian lands.

"Given the huge sums of money at stake in tribal gaming and Abramoff's high profile as a lobbyist, it is easy to lose sight of the equally huge sums at stake with the various mining interests all over the West and the stolen Trust fund accounts where royalties from past exploitation were supposed to have been deposited."

Bingo! And Cobell only deals with the money which was in fact purportedly collected, and for Individual Indian Monies (accounts). We have yet to see the litigation over tribal trust accounts, and even more potentially damaging, litigation over the management of trust lands, where even Gonzales admitted to Congress that the potential exposure of the government for royalties not collected could be in the hundreds of billions. Just look at the recent MMS (Minerals Management Service) scandal, where 10s of billions in royalties were lost in a relatively short time period (1-2 decades.) In regards to Indian trust royalties lost, we're talking over a century of mismanagement.

btw, in case anybody is wondering, I completely agree with ew that there is something important hiding in this stuff about Chiara and the NAIS. I'm a strong believer in the theory that we'll find out the most from the things that they didn't intend to disclose with these document dumps. One of those factoids is that when Sampson prepared (for Harriet Miers) his list of USAs to fire on Sept. 13, 2006, Chiara's NAIS replacement (Gretchen Shappert) was on the list and Monica Goodling removed her before the list went back to the WH. We only know this because somebody missed a redaction (they redacted the list, but not the text of the email). I think Kyle Sampson was working under orders to remove everyone from the NAIS who wasn't a "loyal Bushie". I would be very suspicious of the people who were on the NAIS and didn't get canned.

mbw (2:34) -- second the motion, thanks for stopping in. Feel validated now, after you saw what I saw in regards to energy and trust/lease/right-of-way. Have you looked at FERC's energy corridor maps? That cinched it for me, noted that of the Gonzales Eight, 7 were from states that were in the energy corridors as well as Heffelfinger in MN.

My gut tells me that LNG in particular is the issue, that the LNG market is becoming critical as petroleum begins its descent past peak. The pipeline in particular that may be driving all this manipulation of Native Americans (apart from gaming) is related to LNG moving from Alaska across the U.S. What concerns me more immediately is that the Energy Policy act of 08AUG05 requires consultation with tribes for identification of energy corridors within 2 years of the Act's passage (that's this August). Were the chances for Native American tribes with energy corridor exposures being kept from meeting to talk with "official" government representatives in DoJ prior to that time -- note in particular the response that Chiara received in emails that the replacements for Iglesias and Charlton were to go ahead and attend the NAIS-tribal law enforcement conference, but were not to be understood to be designated NAIS members, merely placeholders? Who exactly is conducting this consultation with the tribes before this August? FERC site only shows this activity as in progress, no other status provided.

Appreciate your feedback here, hope you'll stop back and offer more feedback on this line of inquiry.

Rayne, I ran across the "energy corridors" in my Section 1813 research (Section 1813 of the Policy Act being the requirement of the DoI and DoE to present a "study" of energy rights-of-ways on tribal land), but had my brain eaten by all the backstory I had to get caught up on before fully understanding the implications of Section 1813 on Indian Country and tribal sovereignty.

I'm actually on the Section 1813 mailing list from DoI and DoE, the two relevant committees, and the second "draft" on the study is due out any day. That the study, unlike the one for energy corridors, had a one-year requirement, which has already passed, namely because BigEnergy didn't like at all what came out in the first draft, and requested a second round of comments (which closed in January.) LNG lines are also important to the Section 1813 study, as the main proponent of the legislation was El Paso Gas, whose pipelines run through most of the West, and the Navajo and Hopi reservations in particular. The fact that the obscure little Fair Access to Energy Coalition is spending wicked large amounts in lobbying (nearly 1 mill each in 2005 and 2006) to get a mere "study" to include language which essentially tells tribes to f*ck off in regards to sovereignty over their own land and resources, is pretty tellings, in my estimation.

Now I'm off to have my brain swallowed by the "energy corridors" background. I'll come up for air sometime today ;-).

thanks mbw.

this issue of indian litigation and "use" of indian lands is getting a real airing here.

the story of landreth's removal suggests to me that that may be the headwaters of this current doj issue.


while the fact that five (or seven) of u.s. attny's removed were associated in some way with indian issues and rights may just be "collateral benefit" (the good twin of collateral damage) for the bush doj,

i would guess there is motive behind this.

LNG pipelines and two-year deadlines might supply just that motive.


i should add to my spur-of-the moment list at 17:21 above,

the least sexy but perhaps most important chemical of all
in some of the western states -

water.

mbw (12:04) -- in case you come back for a break from "energy corridors", one thing that came up in a document related to a meeting in 2005 with NAIS and tribal law enforcement included a mention of Patriot Act and some sort of clause that waived sovereignty of tribes in case of national emergency in relation to protection of national energy resources. I think that's a key intersection between DoJ and DoI/DoE, since DoJ might have to enforce demands that DoI/DoE made on tribes in regards to access for energy-related purposes.

Which means there were three compelling reasons why Native Americans were key to the removal and replacement of the USA's: 1) remove opportunities for tribal law enforcement to compare notes with DoJ support in an authorized setting; 2) remove friendlies who were sympathetic to Native Americans' rights; 3) keep tribes at arm's length during the negotiation/consulation period as their energy rights were divided.

That last point is not at all unlike what the Energy Task Force under Cheney did to Iraq; nobody outside the cone of silence was permitted in, nor were there any representatives to advocate for Iraq present. And it was conducted in such a way that the public was led to believe that the topic was energy policy, not strategizing the destruction of sovereignty and dividing the spoils of a nation.

Very, very informative discussion. I think it is the resource issues rather than the gambling that is primary. Energy resources and the Cobell issues. And if it is energy resources, where is CHENEY in all this? Maybe there was more ot the Energy task Force than divvying up Iraq.

What a bunch of thieves.

Rayne - Do you have a handy cite or link to the Patriot Act sovereignity buster you described? I had not heard of that one before. Was it the original iteration or the later modification where the USA apointment baloney was slipped in? Thanks.

bmaz -- funny you should ask, I'm digging for it now. Think I've reached a point where better organization of these kinds of resources is merited. [sigh]

I did run across another interesting tidbit I had squirreled away but had forgotten thinking at the time it wasn't of use...but that was before Chiara's departure was announced and was only looking at the Gonzales Seven in light of energy. Heffelfinger testified in front of Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2005 re: gambling; note this bit:

The FBI's Indian Country-Special Jurisdiction Unit has offered regional training conferences during FY 2004 and FY2005 on the topic of Indian Gaming in Groton, Connecticut; San Diego, California; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The purpose of such regional conferences is to encourage establishment of local working groups. Recent regional conferences, held earlier this year, have already resulted in the formation of local Indian working groups in Oklahoma, which has scheduled its first meeting in May, and in Arizona. A local Indian Gaming Working Group had previously been established in Minnesota.

We already know there's a Bush-friendly in CT, would suspect the same in OK. Wonder what was covered in this training conference? Native American and DOJ investigation and prosecution of organized crime and financial institution fraud attached to casino-based gambling?

Rayne -- from the beginning of the Indian Casino Industry there has been problems with exposure through business relationships of the Casino Tribes to mob influenced or controlled businesses. Afterall, they have to buy or lease slot machines, purchase programs for video poker and the like, and the big companies that offer such have at times been linked to mob interests. Thus Tribal interest in getting specialized training for their own employees, or security firms they control, from FBI, ATF, and all the rest. Casino owning Tribes also have interests in having strong state anti-fraud units, with access to the best training, as based on the Compacts, many need to depend on State authority to investigate and prosecute fraud. The question always is, will DOJ budget for such training adequately, and will they then establish proper liason on a permenant basis. Personally, what makes me suspicious is the DOJ attitude of not taking seriously Tribal interests in permenant and formal arrangements for fraud and corruption prevention. I think this is what you are seeing here.

WO

Hold on--can I get that cite for Shappert? Does that mean Sampson lied when he said it was Anna Mills Wagoner?

Note too, Shappert was on teh LInX letter, but sent a very grovelling letter to apologize.

bmaz -- still can't find that document; can recall that it was a PDF, that it was from a conference or event at which at least two members of the NAIS were in attendance with law enforcement of tribal governments, and that the document was dated between 2004-2005. It's driving me crazy; with all the discussion we've had over the last 10 weeks about USA's, the indexing on the document has shifted and is no longer emerging where I'd expect to find it. Will keep digging.

Sara -- there's a common thread in all this, and it's that Native Americans have been conveniently disenfranchised in such a way that their key assets can be used with impunity. They are suppressed as voters; they are discouraged from obtaining representation to which they are entitled as American citizens and end up using skanks connected to organized crime like Abramoff; they are possessed of valuable assets like energy-rich land and permeable borders and cash-intensive enterprises like casinos, that make them highly attractive targets for abuse. Need to move some cash? run it through a casino; think Abramoff was trying that with SunCruz, at least from a cursory glance at that scandal. Need to move some energy in such a way that it manipulates the market? coopt Indian lands. Really sucks; the RNC has become so aligned with criminal behavior that it naturally wouldn't want real law enforcement on tribal lands. They view them as their piggy bank.

EW (15:51) -- interesting; don't you think he'll try the weasel routine on that, "I misspoke" or "I don't recall"?

sure thing:
OAG 121 (p. 59 of DOJdocsPt3070313.pdf)

This is one of the files that doesn't support text searching, but Goodling responds to Sampson saying:

I recommend removing W.D.N.C from Section V.


----


WDNC would be Shappert. Section V. is the hit list. Sampson removes Shappert from the list before he sends it to Miers. It's stunning when you think about the haphazard nature of the whole thing. I think they're going to regret tacking Iglesias on to that list.

The US secretary of energy announced last week two electric grids that DOE plans to upgrade, one in the southwest, one in the northeast; see the description of the announcement about the national Gridweek conference last week there. I think Bodman's announcement podcast at the conference remains available at the gridweek website.

The native american aspect of elections, politics, and community funding is complicated in CA. One of the folks who ran for governor in the 2005 recall election took criticism for being receptive to an announced $2. million campaign donation from a local tribe; see allusion there, though that news source usually is conservative as was the antagonist who berated the hypothetical recipient of the donation; the candidate decided to refuse to accept the payment. In that recall election the departing governor's party was disorganized, so large donations were important to consolidate scattered campaigns. Also in CA, the initiative process is available for the purpose of redistricting; out of the turmoil in the flawed recall election a compromise process to redistrict commenced in the state legislature, and Real Soon Now a law will develop to implement some of the bartered deals to redistrict; the incoming replacement governor then conducted a scripted national campaign to gather money to redistrict as soon as he took office, by the initiative process, but voters rejected the ploy, which was right out of the national Republican party cookiecutter playbook for accessing states with robust initiative atmospheres for the purpose of gerrymanders. Issues are intertwined here. Also in the recall an electric energy outage was fresh in the mind of the populace, and although the fired governor could have acted with more celerity to patch the flawed dereg law the state legislature had passed, a strongly contributing reason for the success of the petition to recall the governor was the electric outage experience, which was statewide. It took a few years for the Enron and other company scandals to emerge, which helped CA win back in court several billion$.
OT here, but from recent thread, re bankruptcy court living see the International Herald Tribune article by NYT's excellent Morgenson, there, an issue covered in legislature hearings, as well, there.
I, too, thought the thread, above, wove some helpful ideas around the multifaceted plans that generated the politics of firing 1/10 of the US attorneys. There is an electoral law side of the winnowing of the candidates for firing, as well; maybe sometime I will complete a project I am studying regarding the shenanigans at EAC, but that is old news, though, maybe there is more in it to discover.

mimikatz raises a question about cheney:

where is he in all this?

normally, one might assume the division of (criminal) labor in the white house was cheney doing foreign affairs and bush/rove domestic.

but cheney is an energy man,

he is a westerner,

and

he has a lifetime's experience with washington bureaucracies.

in fact, i would guess that cheney is the most expert manipulator and corrupter of govt bureaucracies in the bush administration.

i wonder if there were parallel white house efforts to create "favorable" circumstances in the doj.

WO

I think that was the reference Sampson made to a "mistaked," meaning it was Anna Mills Wagoner (CD) not Shappert, who was on the list.

VERY INTERESTING

Murray Waas has the super secret agreement that allowed Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson to fire everyone who did not require Senate confirmation.

See: http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/070430nj1.htm

Orion,

Cheney has had his people all over Interior and DoJ, from William Myers, Tom Sansonetti, Steve Griles, Kathleen Clarke, Rejane "Johnnie" Burton, Jim Cason, Lynn Scarlett, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Most of these people were energy lobbyists before they joined the Administration, and most have moved right back, as they retire to "spend more time with their lobbying firms". Heck, when Griles resigned (under a massive cloud, of course) he went to partner with Andrew Lundquist - the head of Cheney's "Energy Taskforce". Sansonetti and Myers work for Holland and Hart, the biggest extraction industry lobbying firm in the West. Johnnie Burton, head of Minerals Management Services was the freakin' head of the tax collection department in Wyoming - a state that gets almost all of its revenue from oil, gas, mining and grazing royalties.

Cheney from the beginning had his hands so all over DoI, DoE and DoJ that he absolutely HAD to make sure the Energy Task Force records never saw the light of day. Call me a tin-foil hattie, but between the amount of money Cheney and Cronies stood to make from stealing and selling off our natural resources, a little war in the Middle East was a perfect distraction - add in a little war-profiteering, and you can almost see the wheels in their brains a-spinning as they planned and produced their own "On the Road to Baghdad".

Feels like an archaelogical dig to pull some of this stuff out, not always intact, not in cogent format. But here's a news article wherein Native Americans are quite upset about the original PatAct and inclusion of ANWR drilling.

...Drilling in the ANWR was high on the list of priorities set out by Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Policy Task Force. Bush and Cheney have invoked “executive privilege” to keep the proceedings of the Energy Task Force secret in the current Senate hearings on Enron...

So Native American lands were part of the Energy Task Force effort, although press coverage at the time will likely focus on ANWR. (Do bear in mind the source of the article, although the article's content and composition make it likely that the same story might be found in other outlets.)

Okay, found an important document although not exactly the one I was looking for; it's the document I found just before the ca. 2004-2005 document. It gives us an idea of Heffelfinger's stature and degree of investiture with the Native American tribes as of 2002; it also sets me back in the right direction, focusing on "homeland security" and not PatriotAct. PatriotAct is used as a legal justification, but it's homeland security that is used as the overall wedge against the Native American law enforcement community and the tribes as a whole to set aside some degree of their sovereignty, to allow the protection of key national infrastructure including energy resources by the U.S. federal government. Ahem.

Keep in mind, while this summit of National Native American Law Enforcement officials are meeting with so many representatives of the federal government, that Cheney Co. is fighting to keep the Energy Task Force documents under wraps (note that according to Wikipedia on the Energy Task Force, that the documents should have been made available and have not yet to date, if this entry is accurate and timely).

Have to hit the hay, but a question I need to ask at this point: whose team has Ben Nighthorse Campbell been batting for? Will have to check the donations records in the morning since I have some serious concerns. (mbw, you out there? what's your take on BNC?)

One more before I close up shop entirely. Peripheral documentation demonstrating how even methamphetamine abuse in tribal lands can be used as a homeland security issue, to persuade tribal advocates: Modern Realities of the “Jurisdictional Maze” in Indian Country: Case Studies on Methamphetamines Use and the Pressures to Ensure Homeland Security

mbw

in my mind, after two years of reading the weblogs,

there are no "tin-foil" hats anywhere in weblog land.

there are only people, like yourself, who care a great deal and work hard to make a difference.

caring and working hard at what you care about is not the substance of the child's tin-foil hat, though we often apologize for our caring by deflecting attention to that hat.

caring and working hard are the substance of adult behavior, of parenting, of husbandry -

something george bush, dick cheney, monica goodling, "brownie", rumsfeld, condi rice, et al, etc, and ad nauseum -

have not a clue about.

"Feels like an archaelogical dig..."

Rayne, at sometime or another on my blog I think I've mentioned my pre-blog/pre-parent profession... Yes, I was an archaeologist (published and all...)

A couple of thoughts on Ben Nighthorse Campbell. First, his claim to being an "authentic" Indian has always been a point of debate in Indian country; he was raised by his European immigrant mother, with little contact from his father, who he claimed was 1/8th BQ Cheyenne. His real connection to Indian Country came when he developed a true talent for working silver and turquoise into decent jewelry (if you're into that kinda stuff) and needed to be able to claim Indian-made status under federal law. Not long there-after, Campbell ran for Congress, as a Democrat. When the wind in Colorado turned conservative (actually Wise-User/Liberarian), Campbell turned in his D registration for an R one.


The most comical part (if you're a sick puppy like I am) of the Abramoff "Gimme Five" hearings has to do with the initial investigation. The original Abramoff story was first posted on the Washington Post in late February, 2004. McCain, a member (but not Chair) of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a press conference, and swore he would get to the bottom of the scheme and protect Indian Country from the likes of Abramoff (while filleting the guy who screwed him in South Carolina in 2000.) The actual chair of the committee at the time was Campbell. The day after McCain declared his intentions to investigate Abramoff, Campbell checked himself into a Washington hospital, suffering from "chest pains". Turns out he had indigestion. The following week, Campbell, who had recently kicked off his re-election campaign with much pomp and circumstance, announced that for "medical reasons", he was giving up his Senate seat. Of course, those same medical reasons didn't stop him from joining a high profile lobbying firm after his retirement (an important note - there is no one-year prohibition from lobbying on Indian issues as there is for every other governmental issue if you're a former government employee - thus, Campbell could start right away, which, frankly, he did.)

Campbell essentially handed over the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to McCain once he announce his retirement. I don't think many people realize that McCain wasn't the Chair at the start of the Abramoff hearings. Of course, McCain wanted it that way.

Thanks, mbw, on the feedback. In my opinion based on cursory review of documents that cite or address BNC, he is not a white hat; were he claiming Hawaiian status I know I'd be disregarding whatever he was trying to promote.

ew,

You are right about Shappert. Her term hasn't expired, so she can't be on the Sept. 13th list. I don't believe much of anything that Sampson says, but apparently that much was true. Btw, two weeks before his testimony he was still at DOJ printing out documents, so his claims of not seeing unredacted copies of his own email seem a little strained to me.

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