Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's a sad and beautiful world: GOP's longest serving senator, Ted Stevens, indicted on 7 counts of making false statements to feds


Washington D.C.--One has to wonder why this took so long. Federal investigators searched Stevens' home exactly one year ago. Perhaps there were factors preventing the investigations to proceed?

Preserving their ability to filibuster--as opposed to past threats of ending the procedure--in the Senate was one obvious motive for a GOP that still controls the Justice Department via the Bush administration, but then there's protecting the president and his administration, that paramount goal.

But doing so is really about protecting the GOP from the fallout of another Watergate. Well, actually an ocean of them.

The GOP has a lot of practice protecting such formerly upstanding lawbreakers and perjurers such as Sen. David Vitter (La.), Randy "Top Gun" Cunningham, and even Mark Foley (the former GOP representative from Florida). The actual list is much longer, resembling a Republican cha-cha line, thankfully out of the halls of the Capitol building, forever. That they had never been there would be preferable, but we'll take them leaving. Stevens is just one in a long line of abjectly corrupt Republican politicians, and we can be assured there will be more, many more, in the future.

The key is taking them down earlier, catching them when they begin in their extralegal activities like cruising congressional pages, taking gifts, soliciting prostitutes for coveted government contracts through earmarks, and all the sundry forms of the kickback, the bribe, and the honey deal. And the feds have promised that Ted can come in on his own, they won't make him do the frog march.

What are friends for? This:

Prosecutors said Stevens received more than $250,000 in gifts and services from VECO Corp., a powerful oil services contractor, and its executives. From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said, the 84-year-old senator concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."

The indictment unsealed Tuesday says the items included home improvements to his vacation home in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing and electrical wiring, as well as a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools. He also was accused of failing to report swapping an old Ford for a new Land Rover to be driven by one of his children. ("Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP senator," AP, 06.29.2008)

Yet we've known this for about one year. But there might be more to the puzzle in other corrupt firms and contractors besides VECO Corp. who are close to the Republican senator and his son Ben.

During my general research for the defense of Deborah Jeane Palfrey (aka "The DC Madam"), an interesting name turned-up in the subpoenaed Verizon phones records we were working on way back in January. I'm certain others working on the "defense team" (as Palfrey referred to us) have copies of these records, and may have findings of their own.

Granted, the information was provided without any real context from Palfrey's then attorney, the inimitable Montgomery Blair Sibley. It's hard to comment on their veracity. I question Palfrey's own credibility and mental state at the time, though it might not affect the information in them--she and Sibley rarely seemed to know what she had on her hands. By all appearances, her final lawyer Preston Burton had no interest in such leads and went for a purely technical defense.

Again, in January of this year, I received a template file that had the information of who held a number found in the phone records, and when, while another was created by myself to hold the findings. We were given no real coherent instructions in our research except to confirm if the calls might be clients. Initially, we were told to "find big names" by Palfrey, and directly.

As in the case of a CD-ROM I had been sent by Sibley, the information provided to me was contradictory and confused. There was very little context given at all. Some names on the list were tantalizing, but many were false positives...or were they? It was never even conveyed to myself how the information had been organized, or what its original form was. One name was even a phony identity, taken from a Nigerian 419 scam. They didn't appear to have their shit together at all.

Currently, attorney Sibley has been claiming that he has somewhere between 815-855 names of more clients. This is factually untrue based on the false positives, but I understand from my own and the experiences of others that keeping track of paperwork and the details isn't exactly his forte. The names we found? There are a few of interest.

Of course, many of the names are dead-ends, escorts, "testers" who screened prospective escorts as to how "game" they were for sex, and the rest is a mystery that would require further investigation. Could be, maybe. But there are a lot of entities and personalities in there that do fit Sibley's description that clients are in there, it's just not anywhere near the number 800. I'm assuming the advocate knows full well that I and other possess these records. We'll leave it at that.

"What the hell does this have to do with Ted Stevens?" you ask? On line-11 of these apparently deeper Verizon records is ASRC Constructors Inc., also connected to Sen. Stevens and his lobbyist son Ben. The call is from February 5, 1999, at 5:46 PM EST, just a few months before the acts of accepting bribes Stevens is alleged to commit occurred. But the Verizon record claims the account was activated on October of 2007. Others might be able to verify this number, but perhaps we don't want to know. Welcome to the world of corporate disclosure.

The call itself might not have anything to do with Stevens, so why not rule it out? Our Republic doesn't want to have to keep relying on the likes of a Larry Flynt, a Wayne Madsen, or a Montgomery Blair Sibley.

All that aside: isn't Stevens more important than some little bribes-investigation? He's in a peculiar context with the high price of oil right now. For as long as anyone can remember, the Republicans have been crowing to get the oil-rigs into the Alaskan tundra. He's important, especially when considering the GOP's and the White House's recent Leninist chanting, over-and over again of: America needs to be drilling in Alaska's ANWAR for more oil because it's going to bring the price of gasoline down. Economists unconnected to Big oil and the GOP tend to suggest otherwise.

Stevens, the GOP, their masters the oil conglomerates, and the Native American-owned ASRC have been working hard over the years to use the minority company's federal status to nudge their way into ANWAR, as recently as 2005:

Barrow-based ASRC received exclusive subsurface rights in the Arctic refuge's coastal plain under a 1983 land trade. The deal relieved the company from the usual revenue-sharing rules that govern Native corporation resources.

The dispute threatened to erupt last month at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Fairbanks. Many delegates said they were surprised to learn that ASRC was the only corporation likely to earn big money from oil and gas development in the refuge. ...


The 7(i) settlement rules assumed land exchanges of equal value, Sealaska said. In the ANWR exchange, ASRC gave up land worth about $6 million and receiving subsurface rights at that time worth more than $395 million, according to a 1989 review by the Government Accounting Office.

The land deal was made in secret, without public review, and deliberately undercut one of the basic tenets of the land claims act, Sealaska said in response to ASRC. ("Disputes rise over sharing ANWAR's wealth," Anchorage Daily News, 11.28.2005)

Was Ted a senator from Alaska in 1983? Yes. Was a Republican in the White House at the time? Yes. Will Democratic leaders take this as far as it should go? Probably not, and pardons of Stevens and his son from the Bush White House in its last days won't surprise anyone.

Maybe there's something to the ASRC phone record, and maybe not. Numerous defense contractors are represented in the subpoenaed Verizon records, and many of them could be false positives. It could be one too. The calls--and other substances--were flying from 1993-2006 for Palfrey, and one could safely assume that there were a lot of wrong numbers and every other permutation of legitimate phone call in the phone records of Palfrey's Pamela Martin & Associates. But what is this list from Verizon? So far, nobody can (or will) tell me for reasons one can only describe as self-serving, forget the historical record.

Even Palfrey's former condo manager was making-the-rounds of the media on talk radio and television news magazine shortly after her self-inflicted demise.

Perhaps Sibley is going to come clean on the context of what was forwarded to myself and a co-researcher, and maybe not. Lately--when he's wearing pants--he's talking about a 150-page manuscript that Palfrey left behind, though it's likely to be a lot of self-serving crap by the deceased. I myself possess around 29-pages of an early-draft of it, and that's exactly what it is.

Others close to the case have confided to me that the 2,700 emails between Sibley and Palfrey (which would likely include myself in some of them) are likely to illustrate a sad and simple truth: that Palfrey was not in her right mind, and that she separated with Sibley believing she had received poor counsel. Sibley had to be officially removed from her case by court action. In missives sent directly to this writer, Palfrey herself referred to advocate Sibley as "crazy" and that he'd wasted a great deal of precious time with his legal tactic of multiple-filings and arcane legal points. That was Jeane's opinion, the defendant.

It's possible that Sibley is working on a book and film deal with the Marianne Strong agency, as it's known that they also have a manuscript by Palfrey in their possession. Or is it the same one? One would assume so, yet one could imagine another example of dueling lawsuits. Right now, Sibley's representing a party trying to lay claim to the Goldeneye diamond, making Sibley the Peter Lorre to his client's Fat Man. He's made some rather bald claims lately regarding the legacy of the late DC Madam:

“She left me 150 pages,” said former Palfrey attorney Blair Montgomery Sibley. “I am pulling that together with 2,700 e-mails that I have between Jeane and I to attempt a cogent narrative of the events that led up to her unfortunate demise.

“She also left me a substantial amount of recorded material that will supplement the written information,” Sibley told Yeas & Nays. “We are still in the process of transcribing all of that.

“Like any book, there is a story to tell that people are interested in,” Sibley said. “I am the sole processor of her story at this time, now that Jeane is dead. The story is going to be about her ordeal from October of 2006 until her death in May of 2008.” ("Yeas & Nays-Attorney: Palfrey Left Me 150 Pages of Book," The Examiner.com, 07.28.2008)

Poorly-put, that. What to expect from this? A garbled collection of tantalizing possibilities that aren't going to make anymore sense of what was a mess his client was. Palfrey was off-the-hook, and it was generally her way or the highway.

That's understandable for a defendant facing as much as six years (not the 55 reported, sentencing isn't literal, like contracts) in prison and the loss of all of her assets, and issues that are even more complicated than that. Jeane had been given some very good plea offers--one she conveyed in a June 2007 phone interview with myself. Some of us tried to save her, but she was doomed from-the-start.

It's possible that Palfrey made some very loud pronouncements to her counsel prior even to Sibley's representation that began around March of last year, and ended as early as middle-December. Sibley was gone after late-January of this year from her case. Yeah kids, it's a sad and a beautiful world, but that married couple with their cute kids at the supermarket and that attractive waitress make it bearable.

It's a sad and beautiful world. That it is. If only people could control themselves more often, it might be happier. Yes, there should be a law for that...oh wait, there is? If only Ted had behaved. If only Jeane had behaved. If only Blair could, but he needs the dough, and kilts fit him better in the crotch. Don't we all need to behave better? An indicted Republican senator, a dead hooker, and a fallen aristocrat lawyer--what's the common denominator? The sad truth is, greed, that mockery of life.

"Yeas & Nays-Attorney: Palfrey Left Me 150 Pages of Book," The Examiner.com, 07.28.2008: http://www.examiner.com/blogs-73-Yeas_and_Nays~y2008m7d28-Attorney-Palfrey-left-me-150-pages-of-book

"Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP senator," AP, 06.29.2008: http://enews.earthlink.net/article/top?guid=20080729/488e95c0_3ca6_1552620080729744234029

"Disputes rise over sharing ANWAR's wealth," Anchorage Daily News, 11.28.2005: http://dwb.adn.com/news/alaska/story/7242777p-7154791c.html