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Sue Ralston with Dubya

Don't forget that Jack Abramoff's own secretary, Susan Ralston, became Karl Rove's Personal Assistant, and that Abramoff said he contacted Rove personally on relieving his client Tyco from having to pay some taxes and still be able to get federal contracts.  Abramoff said "he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" on Tyco.

But that's not the half of it! It was only revealed this August that in 2002 Bush himself fired a prosecutor, Frederick Black, investigating Abramoff over a scandal in Guam. Rove recommended the replacement and the inquiry of Abramoff ended! ""The demotion of ... Black looks political and should be investigated," Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said in a press release." It would be Obstruction of Justice by Bush if true.

PLUS Bush never repaid Abramoff's firm, Greenberg, $314,000 in bills for the 2000 Recount, making it in effect a HUGE in-kind contribution to Bush! SO BUSH OWES ABRAMOFF BIG-TIME. And Abramoff himself was a "Pioneer", raising over $100,000 for Bush in 2004.

My investigation on the flip, Jack!

Rove now says he has "no recollection" of Flippin Jack calling him about breaks for Tyco.  Hmmmm...

Seems I have a recollection of hearing that somewhere before.  Maybe Scotty could beam up another conversation with Karl swearing he had no recollection.

And now with investigators HOT on the trail of aides getting juicy jobs in return for favors, the prosecutors MUST be looking into the whole Abramoff-Rove-Ralston deal.  My number 1 diary on the Rec list covers today's story in the NYT: Abramoff About to Flip on Delay and GOP? Dems to take Congress?

In addition, Rove's credibility from the CIA Leak case is now zero, so I believe prosecutors may be about to press him on his "no recollection" claim.

But here's the BIG NEWS just dredged up from the bottom of the Abramoff Slime-Pit:

Update [2005-12-2 11:41:16 by Sherlock Google]: BUSH SILENCED PREVIOUS ABRAMOFF INVESTIGATION IN 2002. KARL HELPED TO GET BUSH REMOVE FREDERICK BLACK FROM ABRAMOFF CASE AND CLOSE INVESTIGATION OF GUAM SCANDAL!

An early administration attempt to cover for Abramoff?

This from today's LA Times ...

A U.S. grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor and the inquiry ended soon after.

Aug 07, 2005 -- 12:24:03 PM EST

The article goes on to explain that the Superior Court in Guam hired Abramoff to lobby against a bill under consideration in Congress which would have placed the Superior Court under the authority of the island's Supreme Court -- which certainly sounds like a sensible approach (the bill later passed). Perhaps because of the oddity -- to say the least -- of an inferior court hiring lobbyists to secure its independence from a superior (or in this case, Supreme) court, the Superior Court arranged for a cut-out from Laguna Beach, California, an attorney named Howard Hills.

More details from the Times ...

The transactions were the target of a grand jury subpoena issued Nov. 18, 2002, according to a copy obtained by The Times. The subpoena demanded that Anthony Sanchez, administrative director of the Guam Superior Court, release records involving the lobbying contract, including bills and payments.

A day later, the chief prosecutor, U.S. Atty. Frederick A. Black, who had launched the investigation, was demoted. A White House news release announced that Bush was replacing Black.

Black was also apparently less than popular with the island's immigrant-labor-driven textile businesses because he had started a post September 11th investigation into whether the island's loose immigration policies represented a security risk ...

The acting U.S. attorney was a controversial official in Guam. At the time he was removed, Black was directing a long-term investigation into allegations of public corruption in the administration of then-Gov. Carl Gutierrez. The inquiry produced numerous indictments, including some of the governor's political associates and top aides.

Black also arranged for a security review in the aftermath of Sept. 11 that was seen as a potential threat to loose immigration rules favored by local business leaders. In fact, the study ordered by Black eventually cited substantial security risks in Guam and the Northern Marianas.

Abramoff, who then represented the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, alerted his clients in a memo about the expected report and warned: "It will require some major action from the Hill and a press attack to get this back in the bottle."

It is of course important to remember that all of this happened before the scandals began to erupt around Abramoff. Thus it would have been before he became so radioactive that the White House began to wash its collective hands of him. Note that the article suggests Karl Rove's direct involvement in the choice of Black's replacement.

TPM Cafe

LA Times article

FROM CREW: "The fact that Mr. Black's demotion apparently resulted in the termination of a serious public corruption investigation into a friend of the White House, makes the situation all the more egregious," according to Sloan. "This administration needs to be held accountable for its actions. An investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General would be a good first step."

Black was demoted a day after a Nov. 18, 2002 federal grand jury subpoena directed at Anthony Sanchez, administrative director of the local court at the time the payments to Abramoff were made through a California attorney, according to the watchdog's letter to the Justice Department inspector general.

From Bloomberg, Oct 30, 2005: Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine is looking into the reasons behind Black's removal as acting U.S. attorney, spokesman Paul Martin said. The Los Angeles Times reported in August that Black's demotion came after he began exploring Abramoff's lobbying efforts on behalf of court officials in Guam, another U.S. territory.

Here is a summary of the case from Political Amazon on the Rhodes blog:

1) In May Abramoff was retained BY A SECRET ARRANGEMENT with the Guam Superior Court, paid with a series of $9000 checks (laundered through his agent in California) to disguise the arrangement between Abramaoff and the Guam Superior Court. No separate contract was authorized for Abramoff's lobbying on the behalf of the Superior Court. No explanation has been given by the court regarding Abramoff's retention and his work.

2) Abramoff was retained to "...lobby against a court revision bill then pending in the U.S. Congress. The legislation, since approved, gave the Guam Supreme Court authority over the Superior Court."

3) U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Black--who had held the acting U.S. Attorney assignment for over a decade--issued a grand jury subpoena on 11/18/2002; the subpoena demanded that the administrative director of the Guam Superior Court release records regarding the contract with Abrahmoff, including bills and payments.

4) A day later, a White House news release indicated that Bush Jr was replacing Atty. Gen. Black.

5) Atty. Gen. Black was also, when dismissed, conducing a long-term investigation in corruption into reported corruption in the administration of then-Gov. Carl Gutierrez. Black's inquiry had resulted in numerous indictments (which included some of the governor's political pals and aides).

6) Atty. Gen. Black had also, after 9/11, started a major security review of Guam and the Northern Marianas. At the time, Abramoff represented the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. The business community liked the loose immigration rules because it provided a labor source. Atty. Gen. Black's study ended with outlining major security risks in Guam and the Northern Marianas.

7) Abramoff, after the findings of the secruity risks was published, "...alerted his clients in a memo about the expected report and warned: 'It will require some major action from the Hill and a press attack to get this back in the bottle.'....he and his aides expected to meet in the near future with Justice Department officials, according to Abramoff billing documents released this year by the Marianas government."

8) After the subpoenas were released for information from the Superior Court, Guam's federal grand jury took no further action. However, 3 weeks later 100 pages of documents had been provided, which were turned over to the FBI investigating the case.

9) Black's replacement was Leonardo Rapadas, at the recommendation of the Guam Republican Party. He was confirmed--without debate-- in May 2003. "Fred Radewagen, a lobbyist who had been under contract to the Gutierrez administration, said he carried that recommendation to top Bush aide Karl Rove in early 2003."

10) Upon assuming his position, Rapadas immediately recused himself from the ongoing public corruption investigation of ex-gov. Gutierrez because Rapadas was "...a cousin of 'one of the main targets," according to a confidential memo to Justice Department officials."

Here is the involvement of Abramoff, Rove and Ralston on the Tyco favor as well as an admitted quid pro quo on money for the Choctaw Indian Tribe, one of Flippin Jack's clients:

Tyco Exec: Abramoff Claimed Ties to Administration

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 23, 2005; Page A06

Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general.

Timothy E. Flanigan, general counsel for conglomerate Tyco International Ltd., said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Abramoff's lobbying firm initially boasted that Abramoff could help Tyco fend off a special liability tax because he "had good relationships with members of Congress," including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

Abramoff later said "he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" about the issue, according to the statement by Flanigan, who oversaw Tyco's dealings with Abramoff and his firm and received reports from Abramoff about progress in the lobbying campaign. Flanigan's statement is the latest indication that Abramoff promoted himself as having ready access to senior officials in the Bush administration.

A White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, said Rove "has no recollection" of being contacted by Abramoff about Tyco's concerns.

...

Rove's personal assistant at the time, Susan Ralston, formerly worked as Abramoff's secretary. It could not be learned yesterday whether she was among those contacted by any of the 14-person Greenberg team recorded as working on the Tyco account.

The Bush administration was never enthusiastic about the tax penalty, but both the House and Senate approved language in 2002 denying federal contracts to companies largely based in the United States but incorporated in tax havens.

Tyco was among a raft of companies, including Ingersoll-Rand and Noble Corp., that hired an army of lobbyists to stall the legislation and ultimately kill most of it. House Republican leaders argued that corporate flight was merely a symptom of a much broader problem with the U.S. tax code that should be treated in a larger tax reform package.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...


Ralston previously worked as a personal secretary to Jack Abramoff, the Republican power lobbyist being investigated for allegations of defrauding Indian tribes who was recently indicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges. While working with Abramoff, Ralston arranged fundraisers and events at Washington MCI Center skyboxes for members of Congress. Ralston communicated with Rove on Abramoff's behalf on tribal affairs, though she is not accused of wrongdoing.

http://rawstory.com/...

On December 05, 2001, Abramoff is concerned with the possible appointment of Angie Williams to head the Interior Department's Office of Insular Affairs. The office, and who runs it, is important to Abramoff, because it oversees relations with one of his most important clients, the Northern Mariana Islands. (He has arranged many junkets there for members of Congress and their staffs. On one of them, in 1997, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had publicly declared Abramoff to be "one of my closest and dearest friends.") Angie Williams, who has applied for the job and been interviewed by the Office of Presidential Personnel, worries Abramoff, because she is the wife of Orson Swindle, a close friend of Senator John McCain, who has tangled with Abramoff in the past. He finds sympathy in Reed, who has also been at odds with McCain. The two even refer to Williams--incorrectly, but tellingly--as "McCain's wife:"

Subject: RE: were you able to whack McCain's wife yet?

From Abramoff to Reed, Tuesday, December 4, 2001, 6:26 p.m.:

Angie Williams is her name.

From Reed to Abramoff, Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 11:53 a.m.:

weighed in heavily. [But the White House] OPP [Office of Presidential Personnel] did not commit to final decision.

From Abramoff to Reed, Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 1:24 p.m.:

Any ideas on how we can make sure she does not get it? Can you ping Karl on this? I can't believe they just don't get this done.

From Reed to Abramoff, Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 2:25 p.m.:

i am seeing him tomorrow at the WH and plan to discuss it with him as well.

On February 06, 2003, Abramoff is frustrated. He has tried to get Rove's attention through Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former assistant, who now works in the same doorkeeping capacity for Rove. The issue at hand is a move by the Interior Department to allow a casino to be built by a tribe that is a rival of Abramoff's client, the Louisiana Coushattas. Ralston rebuffs him, so he turns to Reed:

Subject: Louisiana

From Abramoff to Ralston, Thursday, February 06, 2003, 4:24 p.m:

I don't want to bother you guys with a meeting request, so I was hoping you could pass on to Karl that Interior is about to approve a gaming compact and land in trust for a tribe which is an anathema to all our supporters down there. It's called the Jena tribe, and the politicos (!) at Interior (low-mid level) are agreeing to this. It will cause a major backlash from our coalition and is something which they should not do on the merits. I believe that [Deputy Secretary of the Interior] Steve Griles over there would be opposed, but it's important, if possible, to get some quiet message from the WH that this is absurd. Thanks Susan.

From Ralston to Abramoff, Tuesday, February 11, 2003, 3:04 p.m.:

Karl and others are aware, but the WH is not going to get involved.

(Abramoff then encloses this exchange in an e-mail to Reed.)

From Abramoff to Reed, February 11, 2003, 4:48 p.m.:

Don't pass on, but thought you would be interested in this. Don't share with anyone. Thanks.

From Reed to Abramoff, February 11, 2003, 4:52 p.m.:

this is nuts. want any help on this one?

From Abramoff to Reed:

Yes, if possible. I think Haley [Barbour, the Mississippi Governor] got to them. they are making a huge mistake to just let this pass, when a quiet phone call can end this idiocy. If you can weigh in, it would help. Thanks Ralph.

Late that year, the Department of the Interior came down against the interests of Abramoff's client, but Abramoff and his allies still managed to block the rival tribe at the state level.

In another exchange, Ralph Reed was in Austin, Texas listening to Karl Rove deliver a speech to the Republican National Committee. Rove set forth GOP themes for the upcoming mid-term elections, and first suggested deploying President Bush's war on terrorism for electoral advantage. As Rove put it: "We can go to the country on this issue, because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." As Reed listened, he reached for his Blackberry and e-mailed Abramoff:

From Reed to Amramoff, January 18, 2002 2:15 p.m.:

Am at a lunch with Rove at the RNC meeting and just talked to the AG [then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, now a U.S. senator]. Will report the substance shortly."

Abramoff asks Reed to raise an "urgent" matter with Rove--getting $16 million released by the Justice Department to fund a Mississippi Choctaw jail. In a return e-mail, Reed agrees to do that, saying "ok". Congress had earmarked some $16.3 million for a jail long sought by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, a key Abramoff client. But the Justice Department resisted turning over the big grant to the already wealthy Mississippi Choctaws, noting that other Indian jails needed it more.

From Abramoff to Reed, January 18, 2002 2:28 p.m.:

I have an urgent matter for him. The Choctaws [the Mississippi Choctaws were an Abramoff client] -- who have given literally hundreds of thousands to our candidates and groups - are getting screwed at DoJ [The Department of Justice] on a jail funding . . . We really need some serious swat from Karl. I have asked Susan [Ralston] to get me in to see him on this, but if you could mention it, perhaps I could get him the materials and save the need to meet? Thanks Ralph.

Reed to Ambramoff, January 20, 2002 10:57 p.m.:

ok

In addition to broaching the matter with the White House, Abramoff also lobbied Republicans and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, who wrote letters to Attorney General John Ashcroft supporting the jail's funding. Later in 2002, the Department of Justice released the money to the Mississippi Choctaws--another victory for Abramoff and Reed.

http://www.time.com/...

My hunch is that Rove got approval from Bush for all of Abramoff's and Reed's qui pro quo requests.  And here Rove let Ralston be White House gatekeeper, Flippin Jack's lobbyist mole and inside facilitator!  On top of the favors for jobs investigation story in the NY Times today, this Ralston-Rove-Abramoff connection really deserves a deeper look by the blogosphere.

This Choctaw jail funding is CLEARLY a confessed quid pro quo and Rove, Ralston and the White House are all involved:

The Choctaws [the Mississippi Choctaws were an Abramoff client] -- who have given literally hundreds of thousands to our candidates and groups - are getting screwed at DoJ [The Department of Justice] on a jail funding . . . We really need some serious swat from Karl. I have asked Susan [Ralston] to get me in to see him on this, but if you could mention it, perhaps I could get him the materials and save the need to meet?

The e-mails really illustrate The Culture of Corruption quite nicely.  The e-mail replaces the tape recordings of the Watergate Scandal!

Because of the senior approvals needed for so many of Abramoff's schemes, Bush must be involved.  Keeping Karl on now is a double whammy.

Originally posted to Sherlock Google on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:31 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Detectiving is "HARD WORK" (4.00)
    Tip Jar and RECOMMEND so Chris and Keith start asking questions!!
    •  PLEASE RECOMMEND FOR THE (4.00)
      VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE ON BUSH ENDING THE ABRAMOFF INVESTIGATION IN 2002!!
    •  Oh my word - - - (none)
      It is unbelievable -- when you think that nothing else could shock you --

      The GOP is rotten to the core.

      Sherlock Google -- I am in awe of your work on this

      Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

      by sara seattle on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:38:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This has been covered before here ... (none)
      as others have mentioned ... But, this is material that merits reinforcing to highlight that the Climate of Corruption surrounding BushCo is nothing new but it is more like it finally catching up with BushCo with the MSM finally reporting on it (somewhat) honestly.  Would have, considering this is not 'new', appreciated more closely linking this 'old' information to the more recent actions in this huge scandal.

      By the way, continuing hated 'diary policing' ... perhaps you extend past legiitimate 'fair use' with the extensive extracts from the articles ...

      9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

      by besieged by bush on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 09:05:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republican corruption (4.00)
          The gift that keeps on giving. Ho, Ho, fucking Ho.

    "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others." Groucho Marx

    by irate on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:29:57 AM PST

    •  I knew it (4.00)

      Mark my word, sooner or later, the Abramoff investigation WILL converge to Rovegate/Iraq lies.

      Somebody is making profit out of the Iraq war.

      •  It's like cancer (4.00)
        All the evil little cells will one day link together and we'll have to imprison the lot of them.  

        Or.. we'll just find the answer was 42 all along.

      •  Have you noticed (4.00)
        the recurring theme of "whacking" their opponents' (perceived) wives?

        Sometimes you cover your ass with the lame excuses you have, instead of the lame excuses you wish you had. (-3.00, -5.49)

        by litigatormom on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 01:08:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Profits from the war! (none)
        Ha!  Somebody?  Remember when they kept pushing the need to move QUICKLY toward the war?  When everyone wanted to leave the inspectors in there to keep looking, etc.?  Anyhoo... I couldn't figure out why they were in such a hurry.  Was there ever an answer to that?  

        I finally began to believe that they had to do it because they had to win corporate favor and do something about the economy before the 2004 elections.  Right?  I wonder if anyone has ever done a year-by-year impact study of the war on Iraq on the US economy.  Where would something like that be found?

        In fact, by the time 2004 rolled around, the economy did look better.  

        Any response?

    •  Ho is just about the right word (none)
      They're all ho's. Every stinking corrupt one. Selling their influence (and our country) to the highest bidder.
  •  Geez Sherlock... (4.00)
    what do you want, the top TWO recommended diaries?

    Recommended.

  •  dont' see anything here (none)
    about Bush.

    Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

    by AnnArborBlue on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:49:58 AM PST

    •  Abramoff complaining to Reed (4.00)
      That Rove needs to get DoJ to release the funding for the Choctaws because campaign dollars were given to Bush and the GOP.

      That's an admitted and DOCUMENTED quid pro quo in Abramoff's mind and Reed does not dispute it!  

      I'm asking "Will a Flipped Jack Abramoff Implicate Rove And Bush on the Choctaw Quid Pro Quo?  It's a question, not a statement, designed to get the media over their lazy ass and do some real reporting.  Either Ashcroft and Rove are implicated--and Rove already says he has "no recollection" about Abramoff's personal contact on the Tyco likely quid pro quo.

      Jack knows where the quid pro quo bodies are buried, because he, Karl, Ashcroft and Bush buried them.

      The question is will he flip on Rove and Bush?

      I don't know--but here's hoping!

      •  not quite (4.00)
        it's an admitted attempt at quid pro quo on the part of Abramoff.

           The Choctaws [the Mississippi Choctaws were an Abramoff client] -- who have given literally hundreds of thousands to our candidates and groups - are getting screwed at DoJ [The Department of Justice] on a jail funding . . . We really need some serious swat from Karl. I have asked Susan [Ralston] to get me in to see him on this, but if you could mention it, perhaps I could get him the materials and save the need to meet?

        That's not a mention that the meeting actually happened. Now it obviously might have, but this diary seems a little to sure of itself for my comfort.

        Maybe it's just me.

        Daily Kos: turning unanimity into discord since...well...I frickin got here

        by AnnArborBlue on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 08:07:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Flippin Jack was actually trying to avoid a meetin (4.00)
          Just a phone call from Reed would be enough to show QPQ intent with an e-mail like this.

          Here's more:

          As it happened, Abramoff had caught Reed at a ripe moment. "Am at a lunch with Rove at the [Republican National Committee] meeting and just talked to the AG [John Ashcroft]," he e-mailed Abramoff on his BlackBerry. "Will report the substance shortly." Reed agreed to give Rove materials arguing the Choctaws' case.

          Did he? Or was Reed humoring his old friend? "Ralph receives unsolicited requests all the time for assistance on such matters," says his spokeswoman Lisa Baron, "but he does not recall following up on these matters." The cruise-ship scheme never came to fruition. The Choctaws* got their jail, but so far, there's no evidence that the White House lifted a finger to make it happen. Abramoff declined to comment.

          http://highvizpr.blogspot.com/...

          So maybe the Choctaws got their funding through the altruism of John Ashcroft.  Reed cannot "recollect".  Abramoff declines to comment.  But investigators will have to look into Rove and Reed's involvement further, given the QPQ e-mail--and it happened in the office next to Bush.

          So Bush is involved because Rove is involved.  The Tyco tax case clearly had to come before the President for his approval, if not this Choctaw case directly.

          What would a Flipped Jack say?

        •  I'm with you, AnnArborBlue. (none)
          Ever since the diaries insisting that Gen. Schoomacher was a traitor, I find SG's stuff mostly hysterical and overwrought.  I hope this one's all true--but the "original" stuff just never quite turns out to be.  And SG, if you attack, please don't expect a response....I've got some work to do.  Good luck.
    •  Look at the photo on top (none)
      I've seen hundreds of "grip and grin" photos of presidents, but never have I seen someone so strangely close to the president.

      Try to imagine you're doing one of these things -- would you be feeling up the president's abs?

      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:45:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Try this from the LATimes cited (none)
      A U.S. grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor and the inquiry ended soon after.
  •  please (4.00)
    Please let that idiot Reed go down along with the rest.Someone should tell him that bilking others inst Christian!!!!!

    Bush=determined to vacation through the apocalypse

    by kerry on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:55:26 AM PST

    •  Of course it is (none)
      Haven't you heard of "tithing"?

      Oh wait...

      Is tithing compulsary for the New Testament Christians?

      Malachi Chapter 3 verses 10 to 12 have been used to instill fear by churches on their congregations. Let me remind you that these verses are part of the consequences of not obeying the Mosaic Law and are therefore not valid in New Testament Churches.

      Our Lord Jesus has fulfilled all the requirements of the Law and has therefore taken the curse of not fulfilling it from us!

      and further down

      I repeat there is no curse for "NOT TITHING" in the New Testament church (as is often implied on sermons from Malachi 3:10-12).We should not go back to Melchizedek (where tithing was an example and may be taken as a guide-line) or the Mosaic law (where tithing was by compulsion.) Our Lord has fulfilled all the requirements of the Mosaic Law and taken the curse of (not obeying) the Law away from us (Galatians 3:13). The New Testament Christian should abide by the teachings of the Apostle Paul (which has superseded Moses' Law.)

      Christians who insist on keeping the Law of Moses or part of it are under a curse!

      Gal 3:10

      10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."

      (NIV)

      Churches advocating tithing as compulsory are putting a curse on their congregations!

      Bolded sections are to note the original articles' emphasized sentences.

      Bribing/bilking/tithing - Just more broken laws for these "Christian" folks.

      Bush - the ultimate example of the Peter Principle.

      by PatsBard on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 01:56:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ralph Reed... (none)
      ...had sent my gaydar into over-drive for years.
  •  Hmmmm... (4.00)
    Did Dubya throw the Democratic Governor of LA under the bus because of she possibly didn't play ball for some of the casinos?  I know there is no way to prove it, but it is interesting speculation.  I know that BushCo needs no reason to make a Democratic Governor look bad, but this may be extra insensitive.  Notice how Haley is mentioned in these memos as well.  Katrina may just be another disaster that BushCo has turned into political vengeance.

    "[A] 'Sharecropper's Society' [is] precisely where our trade policies, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, are taking us." - Warren Buffet

    by RichM on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 08:01:35 AM PST

  •  Choctaw bingo! (none)
    Somehow, the title just reminds me of the lyrics to a James McMurtry song, "Choctaw Bingo"...

    "You know he had to leave Texas but he won't say why"

    "we have to work... the dark side, if you will"
    -Vice President Cheney, as quoted in Newsweek

    by Leggy Starlitz on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 08:23:28 AM PST

  •  wonder if Luskin (4.00)
    is claiming that Rove was too busy Jack-scammin to pay attention to Plamegate?  

    Treason's Greetings from Karl Rove and Scooter Libby: Merry Fitzmas and Happy New Smear

    by seesdifferent on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 10:00:19 AM PST

  •  Orson Swindle??? (4.00)

    What a great moniker!

    "In this world limits are not only inescapable but indispensable." (Wendell Berry).

    by proudtinfoilhat on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 10:16:17 AM PST

  •  great post (none)
    but your heading seems misleading - where is the content relating to bush's squelching of the investigation in 2002???
  •  There needs to be more than this (4.00)
    This is definitely not a Tenet-style "slam dunk case."

    From my own experience in lobbying, I can't even count on two hands the number of times that I had our office secretary who used to work in the Governor's office call her close friend who still worked there to arrange meetings, to get a message to certain officials, to personally deliver a fax for us, etc.

    This is not illegal!  It's called "using your government connections on behalf of a client."  As a lobbyist, that's your job.

    Sherlock, you niclely lay out the evidence that Abramoff had someone close to him working for Karl Rove, and that he used her to pass on messages to Rove.  But, then, you jump the shark:

    "My hunch is that Rove got approval from Bush for all of Abramoff's and Reed's qui pro quo requests.
     And here Rove let Ralston be White House gatekeeper, Flippin Jack's lobbyist mole and inside facilitator!"

    Whaaaaa....?!??!?!  I hate to be a realist here, but, this sort of shit happens every day in D.C., at the state level, and in towns and cities accross our great nation!  It's called lobbying.  Republican-supporting firms and groups do it.  Democrat-supporting groups and firms do it, too: identify what politicians are in the best position to achieve the legislative goals of your clients, send them campaign donations on behalf oyour clients, and get access.

    What you are describing is not illegal!  Look, I'm not an Abramoff fan (I think he and his buddy Adam Kidan had a big hand in killing Max Boulis), but the money Abramoff is describing is not checks sent to Karl Rove.  Instead, through Ralston, Abramoff is trying to get Rove to back his clients and reminding him that his clients, and his firm, have been big financial supporters of the GOP.

    There is no evidence in this diary of the illegal type of quid pro quo: a discussion/meeting between a pol/official in which it is agreed that money will be sent in return for specific action.

    This is a case of classic lobbying: "we have a client, they have certain goals, we have been big supporters in the past, will you help us out?"

    Here's another one: "KARL HELPED TO GET BUSH REMOVE FREDERICK BLACK FROM ABRAMOFF CASE AND CLOSE INVESTIGATION OF GUAM SCANDAL!"

    Where is the proof for this?

    I hate to be so critical of a diary, but its on the recommended list.

    •  Had trouble posting this but here is more on Rove (4.00)
      The career prosecutor, who had held a senior position as first assistant before accepting the acting U.S. attorney job, was demoted to a staff post. Black's demotion came after an intensive lobbying effort by supporters of Gov. Gutierrez, who had been publicly critical of Black and his investigative efforts.

      Black declined to comment for this article.

      Black's successor, Leonardo Rapadas, was confirmed in May 2003 without any debate. Rapadas had been recommended by the Guam Republican Party for the job. Fred Radewagen, a lobbyist who had been under contract to the Gutierrez administration, said he carried that recommendation to top Bush aide Karl Rove in early 2003.

      After taking office, Rapadas recused himself from the ongoing public corruption case involving Gutierrez. The new U.S. attorney was a cousin of "one of the main targets," according to a confidential memo to Justice Department officials.

      Rapadas declined to comment and referred questions about his recusal to Justice Department officials, who did not respond to requests for comment.

      (From the LA Times article above)

      Abramoff was under the gun, Bush kowtowed and demoted a US Attorney to a staff position the day after subpeonas were issued.  Then the Rove-recommended replacement recused himself from the case on the Governor AND THE ABRAMOFF INQUIRY ENDED.

      There is now a document, an e-mail in which Abramoff mentions campaign contributions and the specific Choctaw request.  There is now Bush ending the Abramoff investigation in 2002, which was hushed up.  There is now Rove involved with Abramoff in several ways including making Abramoff's secretary his personal assistant.

      And everybody declines to comment?

      All of it MIGHT be legal.  But if Scanlon and then Abramoff and Reed flip--and tell the truth--it could all end up quid pro quo and Conspiracy to Defraud the Gummint.

      And what part of Bush shutting down an Abramoff Scandal Investigation don't you understand?  Surely that bears the media looking into it again.  Just trying to get Mr. Olbermann or Mr. Matthews interested in this!

      Thanks for the comments!

    •  You've stated a great case.... (none)
      for making lobbying no more legal than bribery!
      •  Yep! (none)
        Why do you think I got out of the business? ;))))  I got sick of working hard to make rich people richer.

        I wish the Democratic Party would make lobbying reform a major part of their platform.  Problem is, I don't think this will ever happen since both parties feed at the trough.

  •  Terri Gross had a piece that talked about (none)
    Abramoff's work as a lobbyist for companies based in Guam or the Marianna's (?), since despite their status as US protectorates, these islands do not have to abid by US OSHA, environamental regs, etc. This is one of the reasons why DeLay and others were flown there on junkets.

    Listen here.

    •  The Guam/Marianas racket, (none)
      basically setting up sweatshops that were, thanks to bribes to DeLay and other Republicans, exempt from US labor standards, deserves to be a RICO investigation.

      Since that won't happen under the Bushite regime, we need to win back at least one House of Congress so there can at least be embarrassing hearings in 2007.

      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:52:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  hmmm (none)
      "...these islands do not have to abid by US OSHA, environamental regs, etc. This is one of the reasons why DeLay and others were flown there on junkets."

      So DeLay is so toxic that he now violates OSHA and environmental regs just being someplace? And given how much the bush administration has loosened these regulations, that is really saying something!

      Fox News: Always right, often wrong.

      by jneufnyc on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:21:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guam scandal? Ties to 1st Air America Radio CEO? (none)
    Hold on. Are you saying that there are ties between Abramoff, and the mess in Guam that Evan Cohen, the 1st "CEO" of Air America? The guy that nearly sank Air America Radio with promises of capital to support the start-up costs of Air America Radio that either never appeared or vaporized? The guy that famously disappeared and then Air America Radio almost did not make payroll the following Friday (famous sceen in the HBO dicumentary)?

    I'm not making any claims here. I'm asking for further information.

    •  (Typo) (none)
      ...(famous scene in the HBO documentary)?...
      •  Read It Twice (none)
        This diary does not seem to mention either Cohen or Air America Radio.

        "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

        by bink on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:22:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  please point out how... (none)
      ...you got this from the diary:

      "Are you saying that there are ties between Abramoff, and the mess in Guam that Evan Cohen, the 1st "CEO" of Air America?"

      I don't see anything mentioning either Cohen or Air America.  Please clue us in?

      •  Evan Cohen connects to corruption in GOP in Guam (none)
        I'm not sure if Cohen is from Guam, but he's got a lot of long term ties in Guam. He was evidentally involved in some questionable GOP-related activitied there in Guam. That's where my info runs out.

        The question is... how many rich corrupt caucasian Republicans are there in freakin' Guam? One would be making a wild guess, but guessing the rich, white, corrupt Republicans in Guam have connections isn't a ridiculous stretch.

  •  metatastisized sleaze (none)
    wow...good work!!

    "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

    by mayan on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:11:47 AM PST

  •  Oh this is a big story (w/ lots of speculation)... (none)
    ...and I think just the tip of the iceberg.  Don't also forget that there was a reported "spy" in OVP who was from the nearby Phillipines (and Ralston herself is Filipino).  There's also some tin-foil-hat-like stuff that documents massive money laundering through Guam and the Phillipines that Cheney may have been party to.

    Not that I necessarily believe any of that stuff.  But Guam and the Marianas are also well-known off-shore havens for gambling interests too (due to proximity to Asian continent), and we know Abramoff's specialty seems to be lobbying for gaming interests.

    One other thing, the reason textile interests want to protect the Marianas is not just because of the poor labor practices and environmental lapses, but legally such manufacturers are allowed to apply the MADE IN THE USA label to clothes made there.   This was a big bone of contention in one of the Congressional bills that Abramoff helped kill.

    Disclaimer:  Most of the above are random bits of info I've pulled from various sites (probably including Rawstory and other less-than-verifiable sources).   I'm not suggesting that these are necessarily true, but represent interesting starting points for further investigation.  Sherlock might want to follow up on them.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    by viget on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:24:28 AM PST

  •  Here is some more tin-foil hat stuff (none)
    Don't know the legitimacy of the source, but it is an interesting read that may connect some dots.

    Boulis...Abramhoff....Atta

  •  How often does a president involve himself (none)
    in DOJ staffing as low as the tasking of an Assistant U.S. Attorney?
    •  Especially after that President received (none)
      $314,000 in an in-kind contribution from Abramoff's law firm in the 2000 Recount Battle in the form of a huge unpaid bill.

      http://rawstory.com/...

      Hmmmm...


      Greenberg Traurig has yet to receive more than $314,000 in legal fees charged to a Bush committee during the 2000 Florida recount, RAW STORY can confirm.

      As a corporation, Greenberg's unpaid tab represents a massive in-kind campaign contribution, far larger than anything that went unreported by DeLay. But it appears to be legal: corporations are allowed to donate any amount to the nebulous type of committee employed during the recount. It would, however, violate the committee's self-imposed $5,000 contribution limit from individual donors.

      Bush's recount committee doled out some $8 million, much of it to Hill staffers who made the jaunt to the Florida battlefield. But they couldn't find the money for their telegenic counsel.

      Greenberg's leadership has apparently declined to press the issue. Jill Perry, Greenberg's director of marketing and public affairs, declined to comment.

      A White House official, who declined to be named, referred questions to the Republican National Committee.

      "These are campaign issues," the official said. "We work on doing the people's business. The RNC handles all campaign-related [expenses]."

      "We are funded through taxpayer funds, so we don't deal with any campaign related issues," the official added.

      The RNC did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

      Greenberg had 39 lawyers and 13 paralegals on the ground. Tallahassee partner Barry Richard, a Democrat, was their leading man--a snow-haired, tireless attorney who impaled Gore witnesses. After Newsweek ran a piece in 2001 detailing the $800,000 unpaid tab, the Bush team ponied up another $374,000.

      A Newsweek piece in 2001 quipped: "Whether Richard and company collect or not, that $800,000 could end up being a smart investment."

      Newsweek said Richard was not among the lawyers at the firm griping over not being paid. He did not return a call for comment placed Thursday.

      Steven Weiss, communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics, said the unpaid tab raises questions, though it isn't surprising.

      "To me it sounds emblematic of the way Washington works," Weiss said. "If you're trying to buy influence, you're probably not going to raise a stink about an outstanding bill."

      "It certainly creates an appearance problem," he added. "One would have to ask: Is the Bush Administration going to be more lenient on a firm that appears to have forgiven a $300,000 bill? The same question can be raised with regard to any company that's responsible for any kind of campaign contributions."

      "I wouldn't be surprised if [Greenberg] said, don't worry about it, and in return hope for an even better relationship with the Administration than it already has," he remarked.


  •  Something about the pic intrigues me... (none)
    its seems to be some kind of Monica moment, except that the Preznit is to self-absorbed to notice that other hand pressing against his chest. Or maybe the WH Doc just upped his dosage of Prozac?

    Shift through the ashes. You might learn something.

    by Ralfast on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:46:32 AM PST

  •  what about Cornyn? (none)
    pull on that thread and see if the suits fall apart.  he's in the middle of some of this.

    golly.  he's an embarassment.  i'd like to see him get gone

  •  Also see: (none)
    Abramoff, lobbyists linked to troubled multibillion-dollar Homeland Security contract
    The Transportation Security Administration awarded a $1 billion contract to Unisys to devise a cutting-edge computer network linking hundreds of airports to the TSA's state-of-the-art security centers. The contract was ideal, they argued, because if the company failed to meet its goals, Unisys would pay money back to the agency.

    It didn't turn out that way. In October, the Washington Post revealed the Pennsylvania-based information services company had overcharged the government for a whopping 117,000 hours -- billing $131 an hour for employees who were paid less than half that amount. Officials now see the project costing taxpayers as much as $3 billion.

    and

    The Abramoff Effect

    and

    The Abramoff affair could have much wider implications. A reporter for BusinessWeek, on a television interview program, said that his Justice Department sources had told him that as many as 60 congressmen could be implicated in the bribery scandal-far more than enough to threaten control over the House of Representatives, where the Republican majority is 231-202, with one independent.

    Still untouched by the US Mainstream Media is Mohammed Atta's visits to Abramoff's casino ship in the months leading up to 9-11.

     Why is his association with Mohammed Atta not seen as a link from Abramoff to 9-11?    

  •  Please tell me (none)
    Abramoff does NOT hang out with a guy named Orson Swindle!

    Next you'll be telling me he's buddies with Mortimer Pickpocket and Ricky Ripoff.

    •  And the famous accounting firm of... (none)
      ...Dewey Cheatum & Howe.
    •  Orson Swindle was a marine aviator (none)
      who was shot down and released from Hanoi in 1973. From 1981 to 1989 he worked in the Reagan Administration in 1992 he was connected to United We Stand America and in 1993 Empower America. In 1997 he was appointed to the FTC.  Think he's also associated with the Cyber Security Industry Alliance.  As the fellow on the News Hour said tonight, in the post-modern world communications is more important than the traditional battlefield.

      I was looking to make a connection with William E. Franke, the founder of Gannon International and the organizer of the Swifties.  Didn't make it.

      Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

      by hannah on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 03:49:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My home... (4.00)
    I actually lived on Guam during this debacle and know some of the players mentioned above. In fact, I was the speechwriter for the Governor during the 2002 election and I distinctly recall Abramoff being on the phone to one of the parties mentioned above. That's Abramoff's obvious MO: Take advantage of minority American voices, milk them like hell, and call them morons behind closed doors. For many, many years, 'white America' has done this to Native Americans, Chamorros on Guam, Palauans, Micronesians and more. By the way, the LA story is wrong on one point: There is not a textile industry on the island; that is Saipan, Guam's neighbor to the north, another location where Abramoff has schemed and pillaged. Perhaps they meant Guam's construction industry, which hires workers from China, the Philippines and beyond and which has been fueled of late by the military's renewed interest in the island as their strategic base of operations in the western Pacific.
  •  Abramoff - Atta connection (none)
    Abramoff - Atta connection The 'secret world' of Jack Abramoff being probed by investigators today has definite connections and unmistakable links to the one inhabited during their final year in the U.S by Mohamed Atta and the other hijackers.
  •  Guam (4.00)
    It was late at night and the recipient of the call(s) bragged about this connection with Abramoff before he placed the calls, and then proceeded to update Abramoff on the campaign. The rest I would really have to confirm with the only other person who was in the room and car at the times the calls were placed. It was a very tight relationship, and Abramoff was also giving advice about the campaign, from what I remember. Another individual, a former senator on the island, was flying back and forth to the States and working with Abramoff on a number of issues that I was briefed about, including open air legislation and the Jones Act, which prohibits shipping or flying goods directly from Asia to the territories. It must travel via the mainland, which tacks on serious expenses. There is a strong tie to the island and some of the people who are still in charge, make no mistake about it. It must simply the Superior Court vs. the Supreme Court; it was much more. And make no mistake that there is a lot of money flowing through Guam because of the military and more than 1 million Japanese tourists arriving on the island each year. I know you may want more, but that's really all I'm comfortable giving. This is just the beginning with Abramoff, and I know you know that.
    •  Thanks! Everyone give this person a 4! (none)
    •  Wow. This comment is a break in the scandal (none)
      I have been following Abramoff for a long time, since 1999. I started tracking him because of his work to promote sweatshops on CNMI. One thing that I always had trouble understanding was his interest in shipping and maritime issues.

      Bluecollarelist, your comment makes it clear. I would like to know more about the maritime issue that you were briefed on, especially specific efforts in 2001 to 2002. What changes to the the Jones Act was Jack working on? Who was he working with in Congress on this issue? What, if anything, was passed?

      I would also like to know if you know anything about the Tan Family. They own the majority of sweatshops on Saipan (and most everything else). But an important part of their business is their shipping/cargo business via land and sea. One of their companies is CTSI Logistics. Do you know anything about Willie Tan and his family.

      I wonder if the $75,000 the Tan Family gave to the NRSC  and NRCC in October 2002 had something to do with this?

      Thanks for the insight. This is an entirely new cargo load of Abramoff scandal shoes to drop. And it will help clarify some odd reported details, such as those Congressional junkets to Russia with Jack.

      says it all. Preston Gates was the key Marintime lobbying shop when Jack joined their team in 1994.

    •  Were the discussions about (none)
      The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002? It passed in Nov. 2002.

      Was something slipped into this for Jack and/or his clients?

  •  Edit (none)
    Sorry...supposed to read 'wasn't simply Superior Court vs. Supreme Court'.
  •  I know of printing companies that do (none)
    legal copying for firms like Abramoff's.  Can you imagine some of the juicy information that go across those copying machines every second of the day.  Outside of emails, if I was an investigator, I would target those companies as another avenue to gain information.  

    Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge

    by Cat4everrr on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 01:39:15 PM PST

  •  Bush didn't do it - the butler did it (none)
    You know they'll get him off this one too, by saying the President was removed from it, he really doesn't get involved with such detail - he doesn't read anything, or do anything, or write his own 16 words or anything, come on guys you can't indict a Prezdint who's really a big picture guy.
    But I hope this is the smoking gun! I hope his paw print hasn't been wiped off the Frederick Black case!
  •  Has this thread been highjacked? (none)
    Read this and think about it:

    An excellent and insightful analytical piece.

    'Netwar'[flooding the channel] (pdf).

    The modern incarnation of CoIntelPro activities within the perfect anonymity of Blogs ? 'Net CoIntelPro, where agents would be assigned multiple topics/blogs to track and monitor and 'engage/influence/disrupt/misinform' with a series of defined almost schizophrenic, yet relatively consistent, individual 'persona's', no small task though ... shades of 'Rendon'.  ? ...

  •  Great work as usual Sherlock (none)
    Where is the national media on this?
    I think part of the problem is it is so complicated that it can't be fit into a soundbite, and the level of discoursse in this nation has pretty much been reduced to soundbites. But, "The President was guilty of obstruction of justice" has a nice ring to it, no? Come on NPR, MSNBC, Fox (yeah right). Pick up this story.
  •  Oustanding-Important-thank you-highly recommended (none)
  •  Great work Sherlock Google. Here's a data point... (none)
    I came across an odd story in the 2-15-03 edition of the Saipan Tribune. It was a report on CNMI Governor Babauta's planned meeting with George W. Bush at the Presidential Dinner for the Governors on 2-23-03 (emphasis added):

    'Bush knows much about The CNMI'
    By Liberty Dones

    U.S. president George W. Bush knows about Saipan for some reasons-reasons that cannot be disclosed, according to Governor Juan N. Babauta.

    "President Bush is very much aware of where Saipan is for a number of reasons.reasons which I can't disclose," told reporters yesterday when asked about his upcoming meeting with the President at the White House.

    " I just need to mention the word Saipan and that's where I'm from, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. He will know what I'm talking about," Babauta said.

    I wonder why George was so aware of Saipan. Could it be Jack? Perhaps you're right and Bush was signing off on the Abramoff pay-for-play deals.

    And I wonder if Jack was at the dinner? Has anyone sent a FOIA request out for all Abramoff visits to the WH or Executive branch offices? It would be worth a look.

    Keep up the great work. We need to keep this story above the fold everyday.

    •  Did you hear Fresh Air with Terri Gross (none)
      the other day? She had a reporter from the NY Times on and I believe that they talked about the Marianas and Abramoff. I need to relisten to the archived program. The Dems should create a website called www.cultureofcorruption.com to make it easy for everyone to keep up with and understand these complicated scandals.
      •  Just saw where others (none)
        have mentioned Terri Gross. Apparently workers were brought in from the Phillipines and they would not have to be paid the minimum wage and the conditions were deplorable. But Abramoff made sure the companies could continue to put their Made in America labels on the clothing. He flew in DeLay and friends and wined and dined them at the top resort.
      •  No, it was an article in the Saipan Tribune (none)
        It is the paper on Saipan owned by the Tan Family. They also owned the sweatshops on the Islands (and most everything else).

        It was Willie Tan who through a party for DeLay when he visited in 1997. it was at that dinner that DeLay call Abramoff "one of my closest and dearest friends".

  •  Excellent Detective Work Again Sherlock Google (none)
    Excellent detective work one again Sherlock Google.  I still appreciate the work you did to bring the work of Henry Waxman and Maurice Hinchey to our attention.  This is another feather in you cap.

    Keep up the good work.

    Lolli

  •  Guam (none)
    Let me say that I still keep in touch with Evan, from Air America fame, and he was just back on Guam for a week or so to see family. As far as I know, there is not link to Abramoff or many of these issues. He is a hustler, pure and simple, and pulled off a huge deal, but couldn't back it all up. He's been involved in many political campaigns on the island, and he and I went head to head in the last one.
    As for the Jones Act and the open skies, Guam's position was very clear and still is. Direct shipments from Asia and more competition in the air and lower costs for flights from the mainland and elsewhere. I'm saying that I know Abramoff was working on these issues. I don't have paperwork, but the former senator I'm referring to and others were very clear in the fact that he was working on these issues. I know the Tan family as well, and everyone on both islands understands their involvement with sweatshops on Saipan. They have holdings on Guam, but sweatshops are a no go on the island because it is a territory with tighter labor restrictions.
    Fred Black was a ballbuster. Many people I know fed him information, and he was shut down. I was there from '94-'01 and then again from '02-'03. I keep in touch with dozens of folks in the know and can dig more up, but never have tried. At the time, I didn't know who Abramoff was, but was warned by the senator not to fuck with him, a la the casino story, I guess. This might not help, but again I can say he was working on numerous issues that affected the islands and like many before him he was attempting to milk people he thought to be inferior. I'm certain of this.
  •  One more thing (none)
    As for the comment about Governor of Saipan, this is no surprise. The Northern Marianas islands are growing in strategic importance as the region becomes a hot zone. Our government even has options to tear Micronesia, which includes Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk, as well as Palau, where I have family. Remember, too, that even during the Clinton administration, there was a tight relationship and money flowing back and forth, including former Gov. Carl Gutierrez sending hundreds of thousands of dollars from the island's Democratic Party to his war chest. Also, on an interesting note, the former communications director for Gutierrez, Ginger Cruz, is now one of the investigators in the government's Iraq auditing office or whatever it is called. Google her name. Guam isn't as far away as everyone thinks...
  •  Russia (none)
    Last comment, I promise. Russia was mentioned. Connect the dots here. Saipan, because of looser immigration policies, etc., was working on opening up Russian tourism to the island with a visa waiver that would have to have been approved by the feds. This was done primarily because Asia was in an economic crisis and all of the islands were hurting in their number one industry, tourism This is not a stretch to say that Abramoff was probably involved in this as well. By the way, both islands are still attempting to get a waiver for China, though I doubt they will be successful.
  •  Those $9k checks: fyi (none)
     If this has been addressed upthread, then sorry.

     Note that banks are required to submit CTR's (Currency Transaction Reports) to the IRS for transactions exceeding 10,000.00.

     A "series of checks" for $9,000.00 each would not be reported, but, it a Federal Prosecutor got elbow-deep into a case and saw such a "series of checks" for $9,000.00 (supposedly, the payOR would have to withdraw those funds from a bank account to pay the PayEE with; thus a cagey payOR and PayEE would arrange for the checks to be in $9k increments in order to "not arouse suscipicion" from the Feds).

     Indeed.

    BenGoshi
    _________________

    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 02:48:34 PM PST

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