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Hullabaloo


Friday, October 28, 2005

 
The Big Picture

I wrote previously that I believed Fitzgerald was investigating a fairly narrow case and would not get into all the bigger issues of the lead up to the war. I also wrote that what is important is that the story of how we got bamboozled into the war by a corrupt, venal Republican political machine is finally told. This case is the hook that allows those stories to be told. It's all tied into the same thing --- dishonesty, secrecy, revenge and dirty politics at the highest levels in both large and small ways.

If the Republican leadership of congress weren't spineless Bush toadies and insane religious fanatics they would do their job and investigate this honestly for the good of the country. But they won't. They are nothing more than braindead fatcats gorging at the pork barrel with a fistfull of C-notes in one hand and a bible in the other. (If you want to read a purely political document, spend a little time with the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Iraq. Rush Limbaugh is more subtle.)

We are left with a timorous press and an honest prosecutor to get to the bottom of what these people have done to us.

If they care to do it, this case is a way for the media to save its soul after its outrageous conduct helping the administration make its case for war on lies. It is the responsibility of the NY Times and the Washington Post and NBC and all the rest to revisit what this administration has done ever since 1999 when the national press overlooked its sleazy and dangerous behavior. If they care to salvage their reputations they have the chance right here, right now.

And if nothing else, Fitzgerald is doing this country a huge, vastly important service simply by being honest and apolitical, proving that its still possible. Taking Libby to task (and possibly Rove) for being reprehensible pieces of shit and then lying about it is extremely meaningful after the way that Republicans have behaved for the last 15 years. Exposing the way they work to smear and destroy anyone who gets in their way, whether that's his purpose or not, is important work. This case is a window into a high level Republican smear job and cover up.

The Republicans will do anything to advance their agenda. They are fundamentally undemocratic --- they do not believe that the people have a right to vote, to see their elected politicians allowed to serve a full term, to know the reasons for their government's policies or even why they are going to war. They believe that they can do anything. That's what this case is about.


Update: I also wrote the other day that prosecutors hate perjury and obstruction because when someone covers up a crime they tend to make it more difficult to prosecute it. Fitz's "sand in the face" comments were saying exactly that.

There is no reason to think that anyone else is out of the woods, though. In the Governor Ryan case remember, Ryan was the 66th person indicted --- partially on the basis of testimony of his closest aide:

“I’m still not overly comfortable with participating,” Fawell told a federal judge last Oct. 28 during a teary testimonial to try to keep his mistress-turned-fiancee, Andrea Coutretsis, out of prison. “I don’t relish testifying against George Ryan.”

Fawell, 48, was once the heir to DuPage County political royalty. His mother is Beverly Fawell, a former state legislator. His father is Bruce Fawell, a former chief judge in the county. And his uncle, Harris Fawell, was a respected congressman from Naperville.

Scott Fawell rose through the GOP political ranks rapidly, serving as a driver for then-U.S. Sen. Charles Percy, lobbyist for the tollway authority and campaign operative for then-Gov. Jim Thompson. He ended up working for then-Lt. Gov. Ryan, and helped Ryan win a close race in 1990 for secretary of state.

Ryan rewarded him with the chief of staff job and then the nearly $200,000-a-year plum of running the agency that oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

So if Ryan indeed has figurative bodies buried somewhere, as prosecutors allege, Fawell is in position to know the location. He gave prosecutors a 45-page sworn statement.

[...]

A jury found Fawell guilty for his part in the corruption scandal. He’s serving a 6¨-year sentence at a federal work camp in Yankton, S.D.

Fawell, however, gave his testimony to prosecutors reluctantly, a fact that Ryan’s defense team undoubtedly will bring to jurors’ attention.

“I’m not going to sell myself out just to save myself,” Fawell said after his sentencing in late June 2003. “I’m not sitting on any bomb of George Ryan’s. I’m not going to go in there and make up stories about him just to save myself, which unfortunately that’s the game (prosecutors) like you to play.”

That, however, was before Fitzgerald’s office charged Coutretsis, formerly of Long Grove. Coutretsis, a mother of two and Fawell’s one-time assistant at McPier, faced a prison sentence for perjury before persuading Fawell to turn on Ryan. In return, she could get six months or probation. Fawell could get six months shaved off his sentence.


Stay tuned.



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