Residents of the village of Gurnee, Ill., simply wanted to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving behind wives, children and extended family and friends — and then they ran into Mayor Kristy Kovarik.
PFC Geoffrey Morris, USMC
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, people in and around the Chicagoland town of 32,000 have buried seven of their beloved men who died while wearing the uniforms of their country on faraway battlefields: Sgt. Edward G. Davis III, 31, Marine Corps; Sgt. Jason C. Denfrund, 24, Army; Spc. Joseph W. Dimock II, 21, Army; Capt. Shane R. Mahaffee, 36, Army; LCpl. Sean P. Maher, 19, Marine Corps; PFC Geoffrey S. Morris, 19, Marine Corps; and Army Spc. Wesley Wells, 21.
For nearly three years, Gold Star Dad Kirk Morris has been engaged in a legal fight, the goal of which is to construct a public memorial that will be known as the Heroes of Freedom Memorial and serve to honor men like those listed above, including his son Geoffrey, who died in combat in Iraq on Palm Sunday, April 4, 2004.
Mayor Kristina Kovarik
Sadly, Morris finds himself up against Mayor Kovarik in a battle that makes little sense.
On Jan. 4, 2010, soon after Kovarik took office as the new mayor, she vetoed a development agreement between the village and the PFC Geoffrey Morris Memorial Foundation, founded by Kirk Morris, that had been approved by a 5-0 vote of Gurnee’s board. In response, officials with the foundation filed suit, seeking monetary damages from the city. The foundation had, after all, spent a sizable amount of money to develop the site in preparation for construction.
When the case finally appeared on the verge of going to trial July 13, attorneys representing Gurnee raised two settlement options with their counterparts representing the foundation. Important to note, neither option presented was conditional or subject to further approval by the board or the mayor.
In court the morning of July 16, Gurnee’s lead attorney informed Judge Jorge L. Ortiz that the village had made offers to settle the matter and that it need not go to trial.
According to the foundation’s Response to Motion to Vacate filed Aug. 22, the case was resolved on terms proposed by Gurnee officials after some minor revisions by lead foundation attorney Robert T. O’Donnell. As a result, the village was able to avoid a trial in which the mayor would have been called as an adverse witness.
In the same document, O’Donnell offered his description of what happened next:
…almost immediately upon leaving the courthouse and achieving its goal of avoiding trial that day, the Village and, specifically, the Mayor, attempted to backtrack from the very agreement it reached hours earlier. Over the next two weeks, the Village engaged in a series of acts that misrepresented the events of July 16 and undermined the settlement process supervised by Judge Dunn.
The foundation’s basic argument, according to the same filing in the Circuit Court of the 19th Judicial Circuit in Lake County, Ill., is as follows:
On July 14, the Village, through its attorneys, made an unconditional settlement offer. On the morning of July 16, Village attorneys represented to Judge Ortiz that the case could not proceed to trial because the offer provided the Foundation with all the relief to which it was entitled. Later that morning, Village attorneys represented to the Foundation and Judge Dunn that they were in contact with the Mayor and that all negotiations that morning were fully authorized by the Village. Based upon those unequivocal statements, the Foundation agreed to discuss the settlement with the Village. With the Court’s knowledge and supervision, the final settlement, based upon a proposal made by the Village, was reached on July 16.
The Court should reject the Village’s renunciation and enforce the terms of the Agree Order.
After using a half-dozen points to rehash the key points of his argument, foundation attorney McDonnell offered this conclusion:
The Village cannot be allowed to say and do whatever is necessary to avoid a trial, and then after succeeding to do so, avoid the consequences of its decision by hiding behind the fact (misrepresented as it was) that the Villages’s Board did not approve the actions of its attorneys and Mayor. Carried to its logical extreme, no Court or opposing party could ever be assured of a settlement with a municipality absent a resolution or ordinance of that municipality. Yet, that is not done, because the parties and the Court are permitted to, and do, rely upon the representations of counsel that they are acting with authority. For all of the above reasons, the Village’s motion should be denied.
The case is set for another court hearing before Judge Margaret Mullen Oct. 9 in Gurnee. For more nitty-gritty details, read this document.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please accept my apology and let me know if I’ve missed recognizing any Gurnee natives whose names should also appear on the list of heroes above. I will gladly add their names to the list. Thanks!
UPDATE 1/19/2013 at 7:36 p.m. Central: I received word today from a reliable source that Kirk Morris is now running for mayor of Gurnee, Ill. — against Kristy Kovarik. This should be interesting.
This morning, I reported that 79 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives cast votesThursday against an amendment to H.R 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012 that would have blocked the government from paying out $1.25 billion to a suspect class of people, many of whom have been outed as con artists backed by hungry class-action lawyers. Today, I’m wondering (albeit with my tongue firmly in cheek), “Where is the mainstream media coverage of this story?”
Four months ago, the Washington Times used its editorial page to lambaste Pigford as “Race hustlers are shaking down taxpayers for payoffs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is falling for the scam.” On yesterday’s vote, however, the newspaper was silent. And they’re not alone.
While Lee Stranahan’s article at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com and my piece that followed cast some light on the matter, none of the alphabet networks or dinosaur newspapers appear to have reported on the vote. In fact, a Google News Search this morning of the word “Pigford” — the shortened version of the name of the class-action lawsuit, Pigford v. Glickman, against the USDA — turned up only eight results.
I suspect news anchors and editorial writers are avoiding the subject, since it could come back to bite the rear ends of the candidates for whom they will be “carrying water” in the 2012 elections. For that reason alone, members of the new media and the Tea Party Movement alike should make it a hot-button campaign issue.
The seriousness of Pigford is, perhaps, best explained by the statement issued by U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) about the amendment he filed that would have prevented any funds appropriated under the act from being used to settle claims associated with the controversial and fraud-plagued Pigford II program:
“In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress limited taxpayers’ exposure to the Pigford II settlement program at $100 million, a figure that was deemed sufficient to resolve the racial discrimination claims leveled against the United States Department of Agriculture by black farmers,” said King. “Since that time, a lame-duck Democratic Congress agreed to President Obama’s request to pump an additional $1.15 billion into the Pigford II settlement program, doing so even though the program is rife with credible allegations of massive fraud that have not been fully investigated. This was an irresponsible act, and it violated Congress’s responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money.”
“The new majority in the House of Representatives should not ratify the lame-duck Congress’s decision to increase American taxpayers’ exposure to Pigford II fraud. I believe that an investigation into the program will reveal that the majority of the claims that have been filed are fraudulent, and Congress should not turn a blind eye to the real possibility that the money is being used primarily to build political goodwill for the President instead of being used to properly redress the much smaller universe of people who have actually suffered harm. If passed, my amendment would put the brakes on Pigford II funding, and it would prevent the Secretary of Agriculture from paying fraudulent claims one $50,000 check at a time.”
*Pigford II is the second such “settlement program,” established when some folks in Washington decided some “black farmers” had been overlooked during the first round which began in 1999 under the so-called “first black president,” Bill Clinton.
Questions must be asked of candidates — especially Republicans and so-called conservatives — who voted to advance the fraud that has already been thoroughly exposed via the painstaking investigative efforts of the folks at BigGovernment.com, BigPeace.com and, of course, BigJournalism.com.
UPDATE 6/17/11 at 2:13 p.m. Central: I came across a video that features U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.) providing a good rundown of the issues involved.
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One man’s battle with corrupt city officials in Scottsdale, Ariz., who, he says, are controlled by executives at one of the nation’s largest red-light camera companies, is highlighted in a new video.
On Tuesday, Neville Cramer, a veteran of almost 30 years in local and federal law enforcement, told an Arizona television talk show host about how he was charged and convicted of a serious crime despite being able to produce evidence proving he was innocent of the charge against him.
Cramer’s story casts a pall on a slew of misleading television spots (below) that, along with a saturation campaign of radio advertisements, are promoting photo-enforcement systems as a means of increasing safety at intersections in Missouri.
Locally, Matt Hay doesn’t buy into the ATS message and is actively campaigning against it in Missouri. Success for his effort is defined on his group’s Wrong On Red Facebook Page as being realized only when the Missouri General Assembly passes legislation that results in a “complete prohibition on all photo-enforcement systems installed or operated by any political subdivision on ANY roadway within the Great State of Missouri.”
For more information about the issue and Hay’s efforts, visit WrongOnRed.com.
FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!
Two months after 85-year-old Dolores Sherman announced her name would appear on the ballot April 5 as a candidate for a seat on the St. Peters (Mo.) Board of Aldermen, the first-time office seeker posted a video on YouTube containing some stinging accusations and calling for an external investigation of an incident that involved a state trooper visiting her home.
Before viewing that video, however, it would probably be instructive to view the video below that appeared in a Jan. 11 post on this blog. It offers an overview of Sherman’s candidacy announcement Jan. 11.
Now, fast-forward to the video Sherman released March 9, a five-and-a-half-minute effort that highlights her appearance at the Board of Alderman meeting April 22, 2010.
At the popular video-sharing site, the video is accompanied by a lengthy description, an excerpt of which appears below:
This video clip shows that some members of the St. Peters (Mo.) Board of Aldermen didn’t take Dolores Sherman seriously when she spoke during the “Citizen’s Petitions and Comments” of their meeting April 22, 2010. Almost a year later, they might be having second thoughts.
On Jan. 11, 2011, Sherman announced she is running for one of two Ward One seats on the board in the City of St. Peters (Mo.), the city in which she says she was prosecuted more than five years earlier for a crime she didn’t commit.
Not only was Sherman sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay more than $125 in fines and other costs, but she was ordered to take “Anger Management” classes and dubbed “The Potato Lady” by a local newspaper reporter.
Almost two months later, Sherman released this video of the meeting during which she spoke for almost eight minutes and highlighted allegations that she was the victim of serious wrongdoing involving an officer of the Missouri State Gaming Commission, the wife of one city employee and the wife of at least one sitting member of the board.
After Sherman left the podium and exited the chamber, several members of the board can be heard laughing and at least one could be heard saying, “Hard act to follow.”
After the laughter died down, Alderman Reitmeyer took the microphone and read a flyer about the city’s then-upcoming festival, the Old Town Picnic, which took place June 18-19.
After receiving a copy of Sherman’s news release about the video, I contacted her by phone and asked if she had evidence to support her claim that a trooper from the Missouri Gaming Commission had visited her home Feb. 15, 2006. In response, the small business owner said she had in her possession a business card she had received from the trooper that night and an audiotape of a large portion of her conversation with the trooper. More on that later.
Next, I asked Sherman to describe her experience with the trooper in her home:
She said the trooper arrived in a marked, white patrol car. It was a warm day for February. She saw him walking up the driveway through her glass front door and feared the worst — that one of her adult sons had died in a car accident or something like that — and went out on the front porch to meet him.
The trooper, she recalled, said he was doing an investigation regarding her driving record and began probing her for details behind the investigation. Having just had major surgery that caused her to be laid up for several weeks and unable to drive or leave her home, she found his questioning odd to say the least. Moreover, she said her driving record was clean.
She continued, saying the trooper asked if they could go inside her home. In pain from the stitches holding her together after surgery, she wanted badly to sit down and agreed to let the trooper come inside.
Once inside, she said the trooper began giving her the “third degree” and asking for her driver’s license, proof of insurance and the names of her private physicians — and she had had several, including a surgeon and a cardiologist. She showed him her driver’s license and insurance, but not the names of her physicians. Why? She suspected the trooper was somehow involved in an unscrupulous effort to have her deemed incompetent to manage her affairs.
Angered but in pain, she said, she demanded the trooper provide her some form of identification, and he handed her a business card. She described the card as having a Missouri State Highway Patrol seal in the upper left corner and, in the upper right portion of the card, the address of the MSHP’s Troop C Headquarters on South Mason Road in St. Louis. The trooper’s name and badge number appeared in the lower left third of the card.
Though there was no mention of the Missouri Gaming Commission on the card, Sherman said the trooper told her that he worked evenings, 4 to 8 p.m., at the gaming commission’s office at a casino in the St. Louis area [Note: Though Sherman gave me the name and exact location of the casino, I'm opting to withhold it so as not to besmirch the reputations of any troopers not involved in this scandal].
Soon after she told him she was going to record their conversation, she explained, he asked to go into her attached garage to look at her car — and to be out of range of her not-very-portable cassette recorder.
They went out to the garage, she said, and the trooper asked where all the scratches on her car came from. She responded by telling him the car was sent to her by her son who wanted her to have a car with airbags — something her old car did not have.
Next, she said, he told her he was going next door to speak to her neighbors who, as she mentioned in her video, were involved in a card game with friends.
When the trooper came back, she said, she asked him for a copy of whatever document it was that prompted his visit. In response, he told her to have her attorney subpoena the record. And then he left.
Immediately following my conversation with Sherman, I looked up the phone number for the gaming commission office at the location she specified and placed a call. When my call was answered, I asked for the trooper by name as it appears on the card (a copy of which Sherman faxed to me), the person who answered — a receptionist, I suspect — told me he was “in” and transferred my call to his extension.
When the trooper didn’t answer his phone, my call went to his voice mailbox. After listening to his recorded message and paying particular attention to his voice, I opted not to leave a message of my own. Instead, I contacted the gaming commission’s headquarters in Jefferson City, Mo., with several questions:
1. Is it normal for an MGC officer, in uniform, to visit the residence of an 80-year-old citizen at 8:15 p.m. to ask questions about her driving record, about her medical condition and for the name of her personal physician(s)?
2. Under what circumstances might an MGC officer’s visit to a citizen’s private residence be warranted?
3. Must MGC provide a citizen any form of notice in advance of such a visit? If so, please describe.
4. Does your agency have any record, report or other file related to any visit by an MGC officer to Mrs. Sherman’s home Feb. 15, 2006? If “yes,” are you willing to produce such a file or, at a minimum, disclose (a) the name of the officer who visited Mrs. Sherman’s home and (b) the circumstances that warranted that officer paying a visit to Mrs. Sherman’s home?
Upon receiving my questions via e-mail, gaming commission spokesperson LeAnn McCarthy referred me to Missouri State Highway Patrol General Counsel, Andrew Briscoe. The agency’s “official” response, however, was provided by Lt. John Hotz, a spokesperson for MSHP’s Public Information and Education Division (MSHP PIED):
I believe these questions have previously been addressed via Ms. Sherman’s contact with law enforcement personnel. If you are making a sunshine request as a member of the media, you will need to make a formal request through our custodian of records. Her name is Lieutenant Keverne McCullom and her number is….
At this point, I had two options: I could submit a Sunshine Law request to MSHP in an effort to obtain any reports, records or files they have on Sherman; or I could contact Sherman and request copies of her Sunshine Law-related correspondence with MSHP. I chose the second option, suspecting I could get the information from Sherman more quickly and at a lower cost than that the state might charge.
At approximately 7 p.m., March 10, 2011, I visited Sherman’s home and she gave me copies of her correspondence with MSHP — evidence of more than a dozen unsuccessful attempts she had made via e-mail and stamped mail to obtain any record, report or file that might offer justification for a highway patrol or gaming commission trooper visiting her home hours after 8 o’clock in the evening Feb. 15, 2006.
The fact that her attempts were unsuccessful leads me to conclude that either the trooper’s visit was indeed part of some state government-level conspiracy to impugn the reputation of Sherman or the trooper was acting in a rogue manner by doing a favor for someone on the local scene who wanted Sherman to keep quiet about what had happened to her with their approval, tacit or otherwise. For several reasons, I suspect — and hope — it was the latter, but would welcome reader input.
In addition to copies of her correspondence with MSHP, Sherman provided me other information:
First, Sherman gave me a copy of the audiotape recording of her face-to-face conversation with the trooper — the same one who left the aforementioned and previously-described business card — insider her home that night just over five years ago. When I listened to the recording (on a cassette tape), I found it substantiated nearly everything she described about the trooper’s visit to her home. Only the events that took place before the trooper entered the house and while the trooper was in the garage were not recorded.
Second, Sherman shared a stack of information about her contentious relationship with City of St. Peters officials which, she said, stemmed from similarly difficult relations with her neighbors — both in and out of court — that, by themselves, would make for a lengthy series of posts. But I digress.
Third, Sherman allowed me to photograph the actual business card — a four-color card, no less — which she said the trooper had given her.
Fourth, Sherman showed me a copy of her driving record, a copy of which she obtained from the License Bureau at 2495 Raymond Drive in St. Charles, Mo., Sept. 1, 2010.
Is there more to the story? Sherman thinks there is, and I agree. Because she covered much of it in her April 22, 2010, appearance before the Board of Aldermen, I won’t rehash it in this space. There’s simply not enough time in the day. Instead, I’ll close by focusing on several aspects of this case that seem indisputable, but about which the world may never know the complete truth:
(1) A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper, who works at least part-time for the Missouri Gaming Commission at a St. Louis-area casino, visited Sherman’s home the night of Feb. 15, 2006, on the premise that he was investigating her driving record, and he left his business card;
(2) The Missouri State Highway Patrol denies having any record, report or file related to a trooper visiting Sherman’s home Feb. 15, 2006, or any reason why it would be appropriate or necessary for a trooper to make such a visit;
(3) Sherman’s relationship with officials at the City of St. Peters was, and remains today, extremely contentious;
(4) Someone — perhaps, several someones — is not telling the whole truth about the case, and I don’t get the feeling Sherman is lying; and
(5) Sherman, a widow, mother of two and grandmother of two, seems to believe winning a seat on the St. Peters Board of Aldermen will put her one step closer to finding answers.
Municipal elections in St. Peters take place April 5.
But there’s another great performance in the film, a cameo appearance that bears close attention. In segments never shown to the public, Alexis Mera, Ecuador’s Secretary of Judicial Affairs and a legal advisor to President Rafael Correa, strategizes with the plaintiffs’ legal team about how best to apply political pressure to a public prosecutor and even revoke an Ecuadorian law so the lawsuit gains a modicum of legitimacy.
Mera’s comments — and other revelations from the outtakes — demonstrate that the government of Ecuador has been actively aiding the U.S. trial lawyers’ plans to extort billions out of a U.S.-based company. The scheming by top government officials, as well as comments by Correa himself, reinforce the Ecuadorian government’s anti-American policies and contempt for international law.
On March 29, 2007, Mera met in his offices with the legal team of the so-called Lago Agrio plaintiffs, including Pablo Fajardo, Alejandro Ponce Villacis, and Julio Prietro, as well as the activist and public face of the anti-Chevron lawsuit, Luis Yanza. In one outtake, Mera says, “The problem, I see, is what to do and how we can help each other.”
The video (below) continues with Mera and the team discussing the Public Prosecutor’s office, which the plaintiffs’ lawyers are demanding should bring criminal charges against two Chevron attorneys in Ecuador. The plaintiffs want the charges brought to introduce personal risk into the portfolio of pressure tactics; Chevron might be more inclined to settle if its employees could be sent to jail.
The top justice official advises, “You have to take the people from the Orient [province] there, hold a demonstration. The people — that’s how this country works. Close Republica Street.”
Then there’s this, Mera’s clear recognition that his discussions with the plaintiffs are improper.
Mera and the plaintiffs’ team are talking about a “nullity suit” to revoke the Ecuadorian government’s previous sign-off on Texaco’s clean-up of its Ecuadorian oil operations. (Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001.) As they’re discussing these legal issues, Mera seems to realize the camera is on.
MERA: Why are they filming? Why are they filming? That seems to me to be completely improper. Forgive me for the way I’m saying it.
When you’re a government official scheming with a private party in a lawsuit, you tend not to want to be caught on camera.
We’ve struggled for a U.S. analogy. Perhaps: It’s as if lawyers claiming to represent Iranian citizens came to meet with the White House Counsel — Robert Barr or Harriet Meiers, for example — to plot a strategy for pressuring an Iraqi company into settling a lawsuit. Wouldn’t that be a scandal?
Ecuador’s interest in the suit is two-fold. First, the government hopes to obtain the major portion of any settlement. Richard Cabrera, the supposedly independent expert that recommended a $27 billion damage award, included billions of dollars to pay for government projects and services, including infrastructure and even a half-billion dollars for an animal farm to support local native people.
Indeed, this video (below) shows Ana Alban, then Ecuador’s minister of the environment, telling Donziger and the activist Trudie Styler, Sting’s wife, about the government’s plans to create a corporation to use the funds from the lawsuit.
Second, Ecuador wants to escape its own liability. Texaco operated in the Amazon through a consortium with Petroecuador, the government-owned oil company. Petroecuador’s environmental record is horrible. Texaco departed Ecuador in 1992; when environmental activists denounce oil spills and unremediated waste pits, it’s Petroecuador they should be denouncing.
Then there’s this outtake, in which Donziger talks to his legal team after a Correa toured an oil site, held a news conference and denounced as criminal any Ecuadorian who might take the side of Chevron.
DONZIGER to camera (in English): Fantastic. Fantastic. Ninety-percent successful for us. They’re so excited, you know. It’s awesome. It’s awesome. [Cameraman: What happened?] He said the right things, the entire Ecuadoran press corps was there. He’s basically calling for the head of government officials who are signing off on the remediation and he’s totally with us.
We’ve recounted only a portion of the evidence of the Ecuadorian government’s support for this extortionate lawsuit, and the twists and turns are many. It’s no surprise that lawyers for Ecuador, citing their “common interest,” last year joined the plaintiffs in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Chevron from subpoening Donziger.
Judge Lewis Kaplanrejected their claims, citing the personal risk faced by the two Ecuadorian attorneys for Chevron facing criminal charges and making the plaintiff-government connection explicit: “The criminal charges at least in part are a result of an alliance between the Lago Agrio plaintiffs and the Ecuadorian government, which has both financial and political interests in the success of the lawsuit.” [Our emphasis.]
The Obama Administration has acknowledged a serious problem with Ecuador. The State Department 2010 Investment Climate Statement on Ecuador notes the uncertain legal environment in the country and the government’s attempt to pull out of Bilateral Investment Treaties, or BIT. (Chevron has filed for BIT arbitration.) under existing Trade preferences for Ecuador under the Andean Trade Preferences Act have been extended only for six months in light of the country’s various offenses against investment and the rule of law. (Bolivia’s preferences were canceled.)
Still, the activities of Ecuador to promote this lawsuit against a U.S. corporation warrants far more attention than they have received. The government of Rafael Correa is working with U.S. trial lawyers to shake billions of dollars out of a company because its deep pockets and American roots make it a convenient target: The company is rich, and anti-American, anti-corporate sentiments can be flamed in the United States and Ecuador to force the company into a settlement.
It really should be a foreign policy scandal.
We have posted many outtakes from “Crude” at YouTube/NAMvideo, the Ecuador playlist here.
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In December 2008, I published a post about so-called “red-light cameras” soon after they were installed in the St. Louis area and, less than a month later, after they were given the old “heave-ho” in Pinal County, Ariz. Today, I share news from Los Angeles’ KCET about the business of red-light camera tickets. It will, no doubt, open your eyes and make you wonder if those flashy cameras really make anyone safer as they strive to make everyone poorer.
If you live in Missouri, check out Wrong On Red, a group self-described as a “non-partisan, grass roots coalition of neighbors, veterans, and elected officials from all over the State of Missouri who are concerned about corruption and have come to the realization that Traffic Photo-Enforcement, commonly referred to as Red Light and Speed Cameras, are a snake oil scam.”
FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!
On Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, the Obama Administration announced that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four co-conspirators would be brought from Guantanamo Bay to New York to be tried for their crimes… the trial to be held just blocks from where ten Muslim jihadists murdered some 3,000 innocent people on Sept. 11, 2001.
Five days later, in an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder conceded that Mohammed and the other terrorists could have been taken before a military tribunal. However, he argued that the Obama Administration favored criminal trials because to do so would “restore the integrity of our judicial system.” He went on to assure the Committee that the trials would be quick, that the safety of New Yorkers would be a top priority, that no classified information would be revealed, and that the defendants would be found guilty.
Then, in a Jan. 31 appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Obama’s sock puppet, Robert Gibbs said… with full awareness that KSM was to be tried in criminal court… “Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker… He will be brought to justice and he is likely to be executed for the heinous crimes that he committed in killing – in masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of.”
It boggles the mind. What they are telling us is that: a) they have made the decision to try Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed in criminal court where there is a presumption of innocence, b) that he will receive a quick and fair trial, c) that the evidence in the case is overwhelming, d) that the U.S. Attorney will refuse to allow full discovery by the defense, e) that Mohammed is certain to be found guilty, f) that if by some quirk of the justice system he is found not guilty he will not be released, and g) no matter what the jury’s verdict… they plan to kill him anyway.
These statements come, not from the most ignorant laymen on the street, but from a man who claims to have been a Harvard-educated “constitutional law professor” and the Attorney General of the United States, the two highest law enforcement officials in the land. These men cannot be nearly as stupid as they would appear. The American people were outraged.
Then, on Christmas Day, a young Nigerian jihadist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted to detonate a chemical bomb aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, bound for Detroit. Although seriously burned, the bomber was restrained by other passengers and turned over to the FBI. However, after only 50 minutes of interrogation, during which time FBI interrogators claim to have obtained all the information they could get from him, the terrorist was “Mirandized.” He requested a lawyer and he stopped talking.
Once again, the American people were outraged. Columnist Byron York asked, “… Who made the decision to charge Abdulmutallab… as an everyday criminal, as opposed to an enemy combatant? After all, he was trained by al Qaeda, equipped with an al-Qaeda bomb, and dispatched by al-Qaeda to bring down the airliner and its 278 passengers… So who decided to treat Abdulmutallab as a civilian, read him the Miranda warning, and provide him with a government-paid lawyer – giving him the right to remain silent and (losing) the potentially valuable intelligence that might have been gained by a military-style interrogation?”
After just 12 months of the Obama Administration, the American people demand to know who it is that makes such outrageous decisions. If Obama denies having made these decisions and his Attorney General refuses to answer question from Republicans and the media, where does that leave us? A May 2007 article for the New Media Journal by Managing Editor Frank Salvato provides a brief introduction to some of the major players in the Department of Justice.
To understand who these people are and the role they play in the “administration of justice,” it might be instructive to look at some of the key players in the case of Sandy Berger, former National Security Advisor in the Clinton Administration.
In October 2003, Berger was preparing for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. During four separate visits to the National Archives, Berger removed and then destroyed unique and classified documents pertaining to the Clinton Administration’s knowledge of terrorist threats to the United States. Berger not only removed unique top secret documents in his briefcase and in his socks, he secreted additional documents at a nearby construction site for later retrieval.
But Berger was not worried about being prosecuted for his crimes. As Salvato tells us, he had friends in high places in the Justice Department, men such as Bruce Swartz, John Dion, Howard Sklamberg, and Glenn Fine, to name just a few. So who are these men?
Bruce Swartz is a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the Criminal Division. His primary claim to fame is that he was the most senior Justice Department lawyer named in the decision to keep the 9/11 Commission in the dark regarding Sandy Berger’s theft of classified documents from the National Archives. Throughout the time that Berger sat before the Commission, Swartz continued to block any DOJ report on his criminal activity. He currently serves as Deputy Assistant Attorney General under Eric Holder.
John Dion currently serves in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and is a former Chief of the Counterespionage Section. It was Dion who initiated the investigation into the Valerie Plame affair, resulting in the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Libby’s crime was that he could not remember with absolute certainty every word of every conversation he’d had with a journalist years earlier. Dion also collaborated with Bruce Swartz on efforts to keep word of Sandy Berger’s theft of classified National Archives documents from the 9/11 Commission.
Howard Sklamberg currently serves as Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Fraud and Public Corruption Section in the D.C. Circuit. He formerly served as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section. It was Sklamberg who was assigned to inform the Inspector General of the National Archives, Paul Brachfeld, that the DOJ would not inform the 9/11 Commission that Sandy Berger had stolen classified documents from the National Archives.
Glenn A. Fine serves as Inspector General of the Department of Justice, charged with finding and prosecuting wrongdoing in the DOJ. However, on April 9, 2004, in Fine’s presence, Bruce Swartz insisted to Paul Brachfeld, the National Archives Inspector General, that Berger had been supervised “at all times” while reviewing Clinton Administration documents at the Archives… a statement proven to be an outright lie by the senior National Archives official charged with Berger’s supervision.
So what is it that all of these men have in common… other than their participation in the Berger coverup? These men are all holdovers from the Bush Administration, but it wasn’t George W. Bush who brought them into the Justice Department. They were all appointed during the Clinton Administration and held over through eight years of Bush’s presidency.
Like his father, “W” was so inept, politically, that he had eight years to purge the Justice Department of hundreds of such left wing cockroaches, or make them wish they were working elsewhere, but he simply wasn’t tough enough, or partisan enough, to get the job done. It was no secret that all of these men were maximum contributors to the Democratic National Committee, and, as such, they could not be trusted with the administration of justice.
As Salvato warns, “The implications of a political and partisan USDJ are disturbing and lay the groundwork for the demise of our Constitutional government, a government of laws such as it is. That American justice would be administered politically on such a transparently partisan scale lends itself to an image of a nation where political corruption is accepted and political persecution is tolerated, which side benefiting from both being decided by the spoils of a successful political campaign and the patronage that includes.”
Adolph Hitler understood the value of a politicized justice system. To increase the “political reliability” of the courts, Hitler established the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court) to try a wide variety of politically sensitive cases. It was not unlike the justice system that Democrats have worked so hard to establish in the United States… a justice system featuring one set of standards for Republicans and an entirely different set of standards for Democrats. Remember, Bill Clinton fired 93 U.S. Attorneys when he came into office. Perhaps we can now understand why Democrats were so incensed when George W. Bush fired only eight.
As Salvato concludes, “It is apparent to anyone taking an honest look at the current situation of the (Department of Justice) that during the eight years of the Clinton Administration, the Clinton White House loaded the United States Justice Department with enough upper and mid-level political appointments and promotions to circumvent any investigation and/or prosecution of crimes originating and perpetrated at the hands of (Democrats and Democratic appointees.)
“It is equally apparent that the Clinton White House intentionally placed these people in positions where they could inflict the most political damage on the opposition party by simply investigating until either a crime was discovered or created, or there was enough dirt run through the Clinton-friendly mainstream media to destroy the subject’s credibility and ability to be effective.”
Under Barack Obama, the corruption in the Department of Justice has been exacerbated by injecting it with a strong dose of Chicago-style Democrat thuggery. What appears normal and acceptable to the likes of Barack Obama, David Axelrod, and Rahm Emanuel, looks like the worst sort of political corruption to the vast majority of Americans. The voters will make them pay a heavy price in the coming elections. To quote Robert Gibbs, “That you can be sure of.”