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Monday, August 29, 2005

Mr. Fitzgerald and the NeoCons

I went to an independent book publishing panel last night with TBogg and afterwards in between virgin jello shots with Jay Brida I was moaning about the slow news cycle. TBogg just sort of shrugged and said that as someone whose stock in trade is making fun of dumb things said by people on the right, he never suffers from a dearth of inspiration.

It was then that I realized the ailment I am suffering from. That the Americablog bunch are suffering from. That Mark Kleiman is suffering from.

We're all waiting with bated breath for Patrick J. Fitzgerald's next move.

I know it's the dog days of summer. And as Mark notes, Fitzgerald doesn't have a "stable of tame reporters" to leak to in order to keep the Plame story in the headlines like Ken Starr did, nor would we want him to. And while I can't speak for Mark or John, there's just so long you can sit around in your bra and track shorts, feeding baby peeled organic carrots to the poodles before you start to get antsy, know what I mean?

I know you do. You're right there with me in all my Hanro of Switzerland pain.

Well I have learned to content myself with knowing that no matter how anxious I become, it is nothing compared to the slow, turning spit that Richard Perle roasts on. And why Perle, you ask? Why not Rove or Libby or Miller or Bolton or any of the other in the cast of morally bankrupt characters in and around the 1600 crew?

Because as far as we know, if Patrick Fitzgerald indicts him, Perle is the only one who will have to ask: in what case?

It's well known that Perle could be one of the faces that turns up in the Axis of Arrogance deck of L'Affair Plame. As a key neocon Iraq war architect, Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, PNAC stooge and cheerleader for Ahmed Chalabi, Perle's name has never been far from the list of suspects. As Alexander Cockburn noted:
We could conjecture that when Fitzgerald interviewed White House political adviser Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, one or the other, or both, had said that they learned Plame was married to Wilson and in the CIA from Miller, who -- again this is surmised -- might well have learned this from one of her other sources, whether Richard Perle or Ahmed Chalabi or someone else in the intelligence world.
But in his day job as US Attorney in Chicago, Fitzgerald has also recently indicted key employees of world-class neocon chiseler and media baron Conrad Black, former owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and employer of Robert Novak, for the alleged looting of Hollinger International, the Chicago-based media company Black once owned:
An internal investigation by the company, led by former U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden, found that Mr. Black and his top lieutenants directed more than $400 million out of the company through self-dealing and excessive compensation that Mr. Breeden termed a “corporate kleptocracy.”

Many of those transactions were approved by the company’s board, a star-studded group that included luminaries such as former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson and former Defense Policy chairman Richard Perle.
Part of the money diverted from Hollinger included a $2.5 million investment in Perle's Trireme Partners, which was attempting to do technology-related homeland security and defense business while Perle was on the Defense Policy Board (can you say "conflict of interest?")

The SEC has already let Perle know they're after him for his role in the Hollinger affair, having served him with a Wells notice, "a formal warning that the agency's enforcement staff has determined that evidence of wrongdoing is sufficient to bring a civil lawsuit."

He he he. Perle must be shitting sandpaper-coated bricks. Bush might wave a flag around feebly, call him a patriot and pardon him for criminal charges in the Plame case, but let's see him pardon Perle for ripping off stockholders to the tune $400 large. If he does that, he might as well pardon Ken Lay and throw a wake for the Republicans in 2008.

It's illustrative to watch how Fitzgerald is operating in the Hollinger case. As former prosecutor Reddhead already pointed out, Fitzgerald's first move in Plame will probably be to start issuing small, peripheral indictments to induce people to talk or flip as he makes his way up to the top of the pyramid, where by all accounts he likes to aim. Although Conrad Black has yet to be indicted, Fitzgerald's indictments against former Chicago Sun-Times publisher David Radler have softened him up quite a bit and he is now cooperating. Most expect Black to be on the top of the hit list.

But the good news for me in all of this is Fitzgerald gets it. He sees into the ugly, greedy, oozing heart of the neocon kleptocracy, its mafia-like structure and the all-too-cozy overlap between the war party and the profiteers, and it pisses him off. "Shareholders in public companies have a right to expect that their monies will be managed properly by officers and directors and that the officers and directors won't steal it," he said.

Fitzgerald has also been busy indicting henchmen of the cravenly corrupt Daley administration, proving along the way that a) he is non-partisan in his pursuit and just as willing to throw a beating to crooked Democrats, and b) he is, as he was once described, Elliot Ness with a sense of humor.

When former Chicago city employee John "Quarters" Boyle was sentenced recently for extorting bribes in the city's Hired Truck Program, he bragged about refusing to cooperate with prosecutors against others.

"He's obviously proud that he's not cooperating, and he can be proud in prison," said Fitzgerald, who then went on to subpoena Boyle to testify before a grand jury, and let the judge know he was granting Boyle immunity from further prosecution -- which prevents him from invoking the 5th.

Bottom line, this guy Does Not Fuck Around. Despite the fact the New York Times manages to dredge up some marginal Europeans who are paying about half-attention to come to Judith Miller's defense, she shouldn't be getting visions of ankle bracelets any time soon.

Like any good man, Patrick Fitzgerald knows how to take his time. And us breathless girls will just have to wait.