23May/131

Hey Chicago Tribune: What’s on the secret Blagojevich tapes?

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Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief

A reliable source informs IP2P that Tribune Company spokesman Gary Weitman has stated, for-the-record, that the decision to publish or not publish the Blagojevich wiretap transcripts – given to the Chicago Tribune, and only to the Tribune, by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and never made public – is a decision that rests in the hands of Tribune editor Gerould Kern.

Weitman knows that the tapes and transcripts were under court seal, and have not been made available to the public. Upon further inquiry, Weitman repeated that the decision to publish, or not publish, is one that would have to be taken-up with Gerould Kern.

To date, Kern has refused to respond to multiple request seeking an explanation for his decision not to publish the Blago tapes.

We call on Gerould Kern to rethink his decision, and publish the transcripts. And, if Kern does not reconsider, and continues to keep secrets, rather than act as a responsible newspaper editor, then we call on the Tribune Co. to replace him with someone who understands the importance of an honest "Fourth Estate".

What is on the Blago tapes that the Feds and Trib editor Gerould Kern do not want the public to know?

Next

What the Blago camp is saying....

 

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29Nov/120

The Sun Tribune, Chicago’s Newspaper Combine

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Annabel Kent, Chicago Media Critic Chicago Tribune columnist and political satirist John Kass coined the term “combine” to refer to the combination of Illinois pols from both the Democrat and Republican parties who combine their efforts to fleece the Illinois public.

It fits nicely with political reality.

It also fits when applied to the two, big, daily newspapers that represent Chicago’s dead tree media: the Tribune and the Sun Times.

Each has their benefactors and constituency, like the two political parties, but, like the two political parties in Illinois, they really don’t compete against each other.  They combine their efforts to share the market that is Chicagoland’s designated “big” stories.

Take, for example, the David Koschman Case.  The Sun Times resurrected the story about the same time it, coincidentally, became the media shill for the new Rahm Emanuel regime in City Hall.  Their motive?  Discredit the former long-standing Daley regime machine, and, thereby, build up the new, more honest, City Hall bunch in-charge.

In the meantime, Koschman Case Special Prosecutor Dan Webb has, to date, billed $585,000 while conducting an alleged investigation into the incident that happened over 8 years ago. It’s just another charade for the benefit of the Cubs, Bears and Sox fans.  (A better use of that money, and much more, would have been to give it to Mrs. Koschman for the wrongful death of her son.)

Then there’s thalleged Frawley-McMaholawsuit that the Times reported – only to have it vanish from view in a couple of days, like a mole that sticks its head up from its hole, and then ducks back down. Just another effort to smear a former Daley crony. It went nowhere – just where it was intended to go.

On the other side, there’s the Trib’s involvement in the Blago Saga when one of its reporters tips off Blago that his phone is bugged by the feds. Then, behold, out comes a book by two Trib reporters that reveals the paper received special, privileged information from the US Attorney’s Office.  (Even going back to the original tip-off to Blago, you suppose?)  

So did you hear the Sun Times cry “Foul,” and “Hey, how’d the Trib get special treatment?”Where’s ours?” No you didn’t – and you won’t.

Why not? Because the two papers are not competitors. It’s a combine arrangement.

They each get their share, play their designated role, and maintain the pretense of an independent, competitive newspaper environment where the truth comes out as eager reporters hustle to scoop each other on the next big story. The stuff of Hollywood movies.

In true life, the newspaper combine matches the political combine that Kass has long highlighted.

And it works, both for the pols and for the newspaper editors and reporters.

Why: Because the suckers keep reading the dead trees thinking they’re getting “the news,when what they’re really getting is the news the combine wants them to get.

Get it?

[hat tip: John “Combine” Kass]

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30Apr/120

The Frawley-Cooley emails, more to come

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Ernie Souchak, Editor-in-Chief, Illinois PayToPlay

 

Since last February 27, Illinois PayToPlay (IP2P) has posted five emails sent to Robert “Bob” Cooley by Daniel T. Frawley. Here are links to the five articles that highlighted those emails:  February 27March 1; April 8; April 17; and April 19.

There are more to come in the days ahead.

IP2P readers know that Cooley was the star witness in a series of Chicago trials in federal court in the early 1990’s that, as part of Operation Gambat,resulted in over a score of convictions involving a sitting Federal Judge, prominent Illinois politicians, and the Chicago City Council’s 1st Ward Alderman, a member of the Chicago “outfit”.

IP2P readers also know that Daniel T. Frawley was once a Chicago cop, then a business partner of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, and is now a sentenced felon who pled guilty to bank fraud. They also know that Frawley cooperated, for years, with the U.S. Attorney’s office in the investigation of Rezko and, although not called to testify against Rezko, helped put Tony behind bars.

Frawley was recently sentenced for one year and one day, after multiple sentencing delays. The judge tainted his sentence by questioning Frawley’s mental stability.  At IP2P we believe his sentence was as much, perhaps more, about what he knows than what he did.  And, that the timing of the jail time is aimed to keep him quiet until after the November election.

We suspect that the reference to Frawley’s potential mental instability by the sentencing judge was aimed at impugning his credibility in these emails, even after the feds used Frawley to gather information on Rezko, and in “at least a half-dozen different criminal investigations”.  Although Frawley has committed to making restitution of over four million dollars, probation was never in the cards for him.  (or was it ?)

Meanwhile, the two big Chicago daily newspapers, the Tribune and the Sun Times, have displayed no interest in pursuing multiple story leads that have surfaced from Frawley’s emails to Cooley.

IP2P asks - Why is that?

We think Steve Bartin, writing for the website NewGeography.com, in an article entitled “Blago’s Historic Sentencing: Organized Crime in Illinois,” may have hit upon the Tribune-Times problem when he asked, “Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich?”

The answer to Bartin’s rhetorical question is – Yes, of course.

That endemic Chicago corruption continues to exist is due, in no small part, to the complicity of the city’s two major daily newspapers, be that complicity benign, malignant, or a blend.

Nationally, Chicago is recognized as synonymous with corruption.

IP2P asks - Where’s the shame at the Tribune and Times?

In the future, IP2P will release more Frawley-Cooley emails, providing the two papers more leads to ignore.  Until, perhaps, the citizens of Chicago begin to pressure their two major newspapers to take their jobs seriously.

A somnolent press cannot long remain free.

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19Apr/120

Another Mission Accomplished: Frawley joins Blago and Rezko in the Silence Chamber of Federal Prison

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 <<BREAKING NEWS>>

Thomas Barton, Illinois Pay-to-Play Political Commentator

 

 

On April 19, 2012, Federal Judge Ronald Guzman sentenced Daniel T. Frawley to one year and one day in federal prison.  So Frawley joins Rezko and Blago in the Silence Chamber of federal prison until well after the November election. He reports to jail next August 20.

What Frawley knows about Rezko’s dealings with former Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama will be unavailable…until it’s irrelevant.

Let’s review Frawley’s puppet dance with the feds:

He pleads guilty to a crime after the statute of limitations had expired, and agrees to pay 4.4 million dollars restitution to the bank he defrauded.

He becomes a confidential informant in the case the U.S. Attorney’s office builds against Antoin “Tony” Rezko, but doesn’t testify at Rezko’s trial.

He is identified as CI2 in the motion to arrest Rezko, after Nadhmi Auchi sent Rezko enough money to cover those who put up assets for Tony’s bond. This causes the feds to suspect that Tony is about to jump bail and head back to the Middle East. So they arrest Tony.

The feds withhold a check for over three hundred thousand dollars made out to Frawley from Rezko, money that Frawley claims Rezko owes him. (So, where did that money go?)

Frawley is dragged through multiple postponements in his sentencing for the better part of a year, until the November ’12 election is close enough for Frawley to receive enough jail time to keep him in the Silence Chamber until the man Patrick Fitzgerald has been protecting for years is re-elected President.

Implausible explanation?  Not when you step back and survey the pattern of the U.S. Attorney’s catch and release program with regard to those most closely associated with Rezko and Blago.

Frawley was guilty as charged for the crimes he committed years ago. He admitted that. But the way his case has been handled over those years calls into question the motives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Has it been about fighting crime?  Or, more about protecting corruption at the highest level of the land?

Frawley’s been a dutiful puppet on federal strings.  And here’s his pay-off:

 

 

 

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17Apr/120

Pat Quinn, destined to be third in the trifecta of jailed IL governors?

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Martin Rivers, Introducing Illinois PayToPlay’s Springfield Correspondent

Is a third Illinois governor in- a-row destined for a trip up-the-river to the Big House?  That’s Blago on the left, on a bad hair day.  Ryan is on the right. Is Pat Quinn, in the middle, the next Illinois governor to do the federal perp walk?

Pat sure looks like “Larry” of “Three Stooges” fame, if he’d let his hair grow out some.

Why could he be next in the conga line of incarcerated Land of Lincoln chief executives?

Well, first of all, here’s what Pat once had to say about “Moe,” AKA Blago:

"He's always been a person who's honest and one of integrity...I have confidence the governor does the right thing all the time."

That’s evidence of complicity, or stupidity.  And Pat’s not stupid.

Then there’s Quinn’s continuing attachment to Antoin Rezko through his current Chief-of-Staff, Jack Lavin.  Quoting the Chicago Tribune, here’s what that extreme-conservative, Republican web site, the Huffington Post, wrote about Lavin:

“Lavin served as Blagojevich's director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity after [convicted fundraiser Tony] Rezko recommended him for the post. Lavin once worked as the chief financial officer for Rezko's food-related business, and took more than $12,000 in donations from Rezko's firm while considering a run for elected office in 2001.”

Back on October 11, 2011, Illinois PayToPlay suggested that the professional journalists in the Chicago media pose these questions to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald:

“Is there any evidence to suggest that, while he was Rezko’s chief bean counter, Jack Lavin moved a $3,000,000 line item from the Panda Restaurant operated by Tony over into his Papa John’s Pizza books in order to help get a loan from GE Capital?

And then, as a follow-up:

Well, if you can’t answer that question, or won’t, then who kept Rezko’s second set of books for his Papa John’s Pizza store? And why have we never heard about that?”

Well, of course, that didn’t happen.

Illinois PayToPlay will soon be releasing information from a confidential informant, identified only as “CI2” (confidential informant #2) in the “Motion For Issuance Of An Arrest Warrant” for Rezko, filed on January 28, 2008 by Patrick Fitzgerald, that contains CI2’s allegation that Rezko’s CFO helped Tony R. cook the Papa John’s books in order to get that loan from G.E. Capital.

As the late Paul Harvey used to say – “Stand by…for more.”

Oh, and by the way, Fitz’s office has known of Lavin’s alleged involvement in the miracle bookkeeping incident for, at least, four years.  And what have the feds done with that information?

Blago’s gone, but has anything really changed in the way the governor’s office down here in Springfield operates?

 

 

 

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23Mar/120

WikiLeaks on the Auchi-Rezko-Blago Connection

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Thomas Barton, Illinois Pay-to-Play Political Commentator

The photo above originally appeared in a “Middle East website” and shows, left to right, Nadhmi Auchi, then Governor Rod Blagojevich, and a man who appears to be the then Iraq Minister of Electricity, Aiham Alsammarae, pictured alone below.

Alsammarae now lives in a northern suburb of Chicago.

Previously on Illinois PayToPlay, you were introduced to Andrew Walden’s 2008 piece, posted by Accuracy In Media, entitled “Iraqi Billionaire Threatens Reporters Investigating Rezko Affair.”

Bin 2008, Walden doggedly examined Nadhmi Auchi’s involvement in Illinois politics.  His piece below was posted by WikiLeaks.  It focuses on the extensive efforts taken by Auchi’s lawyers to suppress references to their client, worldwide.  Some of the links in the original may no longer work.

__________________________________________________________________________

Debunking the Carter Ruck defence of British-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi

May 30, 2008 By Andrew Walden (Hawai'i Free Press)

“Nadhmi Auchi, seen here with the Governor of Illinois, Rob Blagojevich (middle) at a 2004 Chicago dinner in Auchi's honor arranged by Antonin Rezko (potentially, right )[1] [It’s not Rezko in the photo.]  All three men have been convicted of corruption related charges (Auchi 2003, Rezko 2008, Blagojevich 2009).[2]

“A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser (dual US-Syrian citizen Tony Rezko) just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses. The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr. Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.” -- The Times of London February 26, 2008

The Auchi-Rezko-Obama connection came to public attention with federal marshals pounding on the door of Tony Rezko’s Wilmette Chicago mansion in the early morning of January 28, 2008. They hauled Rezko to jail after his bail was revoked for concealing a $3.5 million Auchi loan from the court. The Times outlines the story in two sentences. It should be of tremendous interest to the American public and the world.

But there is more to this story than run-of-the mill political corruption. Nadhmi Auchi is alleged to have a long affiliation with Iraqi Baathism and Saddam Hussein—which his attorneys deny. How close were they? According to a 1960 US Embassy report, Auchi was convicted along with Saddam by an Iraqi court for his part in a failed 1959 assassination attempt against then-Iraqi Prime Minister Qassim. For his crime, Auchi earned a sentence of “three years rigorous imprisonment.”

{snip}

Journalists digging into stories involving Auchi often find themselves peppered with threats of libel litigation from a London law firm known as Carter-Ruck. Auchi’s litigation threats have chased eight articles from the internet sites of the UK Guardian, Observer and New Statesman.

{snip}

WikiLeaks itself is now under legal attack by Auchi’s lawyers.

What is so stifling about English libel law? In the U.K., as Carter-Ruck explains and Slander Cases.html on its own website:  “A libel claimant does not have to prove that the words are false or to prove that he has in fact suffered any loss. Damage is presumed.”

In a December, 2003, obituary, former C-R partner David Hooper wrote:

“The libel lawyer Peter Carter-Ruck, who died on Friday, had a chilling effect on the media. He was a chancer, out for the maximum fee. And he did for freedom of speech what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen.”

Posted on the Carter-Ruck website, Injunctions.html an article by C-R partner Nigel Tait outlines the limited legal bases for “prior restraint” in England but then explains that some publishers can be convinced to censor themselves by “the first two (sic) weapons of the Spanish Inquisition. Fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency.”

Perhaps hoping to inspire “fear and surprise” with “ruthless efficiency” Carter-Ruck demand letters—laden with misspellings and what appear to be cut-and-paste formulations--have been going out not only to large British newspapers, but also to American newspapers and both well-known and obscure bloggers.

Posted on April 23, 2008—in the midst of the US Presidential race--an article on Auchi’s Middle East Online website boasted of knocking six articles off of the Guardian and Observer websites. Bloggers began receiving Carter-Ruck letters demanding that allegedly defamatory comments be removed from their comments section. MEO displayed a sphinx-like image of Auchi. The caption: "Tracking even the search engines."

It worked. When the November election came and went, the American public barely knew Rezko and knew Auchi even less. Obama won.”…

Read Walden’s thorough refutation of Carter-Ruck’s position here on WikiLeaks.

 

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17Mar/120

Mission Accomplished: Blago Joins Rezko in the Silence Chamber of Federal Prison

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Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter

The crime spree that plagued Illinois, and that was boldly brought to a stop by the sudden arrest of Governor Rod Blagojevich, is now officially over.

Blago is behind bars, and Patrick Fitzgerald’s mission is complete:  Blago joins Rezko in the silence chamber of federal prison where the treasure trove of what they know about Illinois corruption, past and present, has been muted.

Gee, for a war against statewide crime, there sure aren’t many official casualties, except, of course, Illinois’ citizens.

We’ll never know what Blago meant in these audio clips where he talks (in language unsuitable for children) in cryptic terms about the relationship between then U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Antoin “Tony Rezko.”

(Video: H/T Citizen Wells News)

We’ll never know the extent of influence that the international billionaire financier in the photograph wielded over Tony, Blago, and Barack.

And, as soon as the two remaining Rezko Watchers highlighted in a recent piece in the Chicago Daily Observer receive their sentences this spring – unless sentencing is postponed yet again for Daniel Frawley and Daniel Mahru – they, too, will fade into silence, joining Bernard Barton, AKA John Thomas.

In the immortal words of Sonny & Cher…the beat goes on.

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1Mar/120

U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald has known of Frawley’s Obama-bribe accusation

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Jontel Kassidy, Senior Capital Correspondent

Since at least last January 22nd, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has known of Daniel Frawley’s claim that he gave Tony Rezko $400,000 in cash that Rezko then passed on to U.S. Senator Barack Obama.  We believe, though, that that knowledge goes back much earlier.

In a December 11, 2011 Illinois Pay To Play (IP2P) article entitled “The Fitz Solution to Corruption: The Citizens Report It,” we noted that “While commenting on Blago’s prison sentence, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald repeated what has become for him a common theme: Illinois citizens are responsible for stopping corruption by reporting it to the authorities.”

Along with that article, IP2P posted a video clip wherein Fitzgerald stated that there needed to “be a change in the public’s attitude. People seem resigned to corruption at times and…they’re afraid to say ‘no’ when someone in power asks them for something they shouldn’t. The people in power should be afraid to ask.”

So it’s a fact that the U.S. Attorney has, on several occasions, encouraged average citizens to get involved in fighting corruption.

Well, we found one citizen who did just that, back on January 22nd – six weeks ago. Here’s the email thread the citizen sent.

From: Address Deleted
To: "Randall Samborn" <Address Deleted@usdoj.gov>, "Kimberly Nerheim" <Adress Deleted@usdoj.gov>
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:15:44 PM
Subject: Public outreach/safety.

Mr Randall Samborn and Ms. Kimberly Nerheim

I am more than a little concerned by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's complete lack of response to the serious matter that has been brought to his attention below. Mr. Fitzgerald made a very public outreach encouraging people to report corruption to his office. Hopefully he will not disappoint those he urged to risk so much ?

Concerned Citizen

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

_____________________________________________________________________________

From: Address Deleted
To: "Randall Samborn" <Address Deleted@usdoj.gov>
Cc: "Kimberly Nerheim" <Address Deleted@usdoj.gov>
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 4:11:12 PM
Subject: What happens when citizens step up?

Mr. Randall Samborn

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has repeatedly challenged the public to do something about corruption in Illinois by bringing information of illegal acts directly to him. Mr. Samborn, while I agree the premise of reporting crime to the U.S. Attorney is a logical step in fighting corruption, I do not underestimate the serious danger those who do are put in.

Need I remind you, it was also Patrick Fitzgerald who acknowledged that his office may be the source for information being leaked to the very criminals he urges the public to inform on. With this in mind, please personally hand a copy of this email to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and ask him to personally send me a response addressing concerns I have about his office and my personal safety. At the very least Mr Fitzgerald can acknowledge the risk I am taking exposing corruption at the highest levels.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Dan Frawley <Address Deleted@gmail.com>
> Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 08:08:15 -0500
> Subject: Frawely vs Weaver
> To: XXXXX XXXXX <XXXXXXXX@gmail.com>
>
> Hi XXXX
> I think the best way to bring this to the public and media is to fact
> plead
> the malpractice case against Weaver.
> I have discussed this with my attorney's and they are willing to do it at
> the right time and way.
> Instead of a news conference being called like the gay guy did with Obama.
> PUT AS THE GUTS OF THE SUIT THE MEETING AT THE FOUR SEASONS AND THE 4OO
> GRAND GOING TO YOU KNOW WHO AND THE USE OF THE MONEY.
> I would bring this out in the for of a legal action not a personal
> vendetta.
> The media with the right reporters would make sure that was national news.
> When the usual denials are made or the old I don't remember I hit him with
> the second naming names dates and places.
> Punches are always more effective when thrown in combination.
> know we figure out the best timing.
> DAN 

 

And in response, what did the citizen hear back from the U.S. Attorney’s office?

Absolute silence.

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11Dec/110

The Fitz Solution to Corruption: The Citizens Report It

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Jontel Kassidy, Senior Capital Correspondent

While commenting on Blago’s prison sentence, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald repeated what has become for him a common theme: Illinois citizens are responsible for stopping corruption by reporting it to the authorities.

In the longer video of his comments aired by NBC News Chicago, in response to a reporter’s question (1:16 into the clip), Fitz says (beginning at 1:34) that there needs to “…be a change in the public’s attitude. People seem resigned to corruption at times and…they’re afraid to say ‘no’ when someone in power asks them for something they shouldn’t. The people in power should be afraid to ask.”

So, Fitz’s solution is for citizens who are approached to give cash, benefits and favors in exchange for some consideration by corrupt officials, should run and tell the authorities – the federal, state, county and local police, and the various prosecutorial agencies.

That’s The Fitz’s Solution.  It has several weaknesses.

1.  To whom do citizens report corruption when their trust in the authorities is – to be kind – less than complete?

It’s an exaggerated comparison, but what were the consequences to citizens who reported corruption in East Germany to the Stasi? Only if the corruption wasn’t, in some way, sanctioned by the state, were the consequences anything but negative to the citizen.

2.  Much of the corruption in Illinois pay-to-play shakedowns happens at a small business level.  A three-trucks plumbing contractor submits a bid on a public housing project. The sub-contractor is told that a modest political donation to a particular politician would considerably enhance his chances of being awarded the contract. Suppose it’s a federally funded project.

Is the States’ Attorney’s office going to launch an investigation after the Plumbing contractor reports the shakedown? When billions are involved, what resources will be used to address, say, an alleged $3,000 bribe?  Garden variety graft, events that don’t reach the level of the $14 billion that Blago cost the taxpayers of Illinois, is so widespread that there just aren’t enough policing and prosecutorial resources to stem a crime wave like that underway in Illinois.

3. In a culture steeped in corruption like Crook County, kickbacks and greased palms have been going on for so long, so successfully, and with such impunity that Fitz’s suggestion that the authorizes are ready to aggressively prosecute the crooks that citizens report is flat goofy.

The “change of attitude” Fitz’s preaches has to start with the agencies tasked to enforce laws.

To blame the people is to blame the victims.

The Fitz Solution is like saying that the people of Russia are responsible for the corruption of the Putin regime. They voted him in, after all.

That the Jews in 1933 Germany were responsible for the horror the Nazis delivered on them. They should have reported the injustices to the German Courts.

That innocent Mexican civilians are responsible for the violence of the drug traffickers along the border.  After all, the violence couldn’t happen without the victims’ complicity (and, in some cases, that of the U.S. Department of Justice for selling guns to the cartels!).

It’s patently absurd when a high profile “crime fighter” – or the “Exterminator,” as John Kass calls him – blames the victims.

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8Dec/110

NewGeography.com Questions Chicago Press Complicity In Illinois Corruption

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Pay-to-Play Editorial Staff

Steve Bartin, writing for the website NewGeography.com, in an article entitled “Blago’s Historic Sentencing: Organized Crime in Illinois,” asks an important question. One that the Chicago media, particularly the Tribune and Sun Times, should be asking themselves today: “Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich?”

At Illinois Pay-to-Play, we’ve been wondering the same thing. Bartin mentions Robert Cooley in his piece. We at Illinois Pay-to-Play trust Cooley. He’s proved his veracity as few in Chicago have. His story, linked within the excerpt from Bartin’s article below, proves his reliability.

Also, we here are aware of the identities of several reporters, from both big Chicago tree-killing news outlets, who were given information by Cooley about Candidate Obama’s associations with…let’s say, persons-of-interest, before the ’08 election. In most cases, the information was ignored. It didn’t fit the papers’ template of support for their local Senator. Obama, they assumed, would help Chicago get the Olympics, guaranteed to help slow the city’s slide toward bankruptcy and grease the palms of some connected Southside land developers and contractors – not to mention politicians.  Good for business, and, therefore, circulation.

In one particular instance, a well-known reporter was so bold as to say to Cooley something to the effect that, “Our editors don’t want us reporting on that.”

We can report here that a staff member at Illinois Pay-to-Play had a similar response, nearly verbatim, with a reporter for one of the two major dailies concerning another corruption story.

Here’s part of what Bartin writes:

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today to 14 years in prison. Illinois will now have the dubious distinction of having two back-to-back Governors in jail at the same time. Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich? When you look into the background of the former Governor the tentacles of organized crime can’t be ignored.

Rod Blagojevich has been identified as a former associate of the Elmwood Park street crew of the Chicago Mob by Justice Department informant Robert Cooley. The allegations concern Blagojevich paying street tax to the Chicago Mob to operate a bookmaking operation. Former senior FBI agent James Wagner confirmed that Cooley told the FBI about Blagojevich in the 1980s. The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune still haven’t reported on the Cooley allegations concerning Blagojevich.

Visit here to read the rest of Bartin’s article.

As the nation becomes further aware of Illinois’, and especially Chicago’s, depth of corruption, its attention is likely to turn toward the Chicago newspapers and start asking questions. One of those questions will be this:

Could the depth of Illinois corruption exist without, if not the direct complicity, at least the negligence and incompetence of the two big dailies?

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