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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:48 AM
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TIMELINE: Abramoff/GOP Marianas Forced Abortion, etc. - Now w/More Bush!
Marianas-Abramoff-Bush-Sweeney-Pombo-Delay Timeline

* = UPDATE, NOTE: Much of this text was written by Dengre of DailyKOS on diaries there or in DKOSpedia. Many kudos to Dengre!!

"Any important Republican who comes out and says they didn't know me is almost certainly lying. This is not an age when you can run away from facts. I had to deal with my records, and others will have to deal with theirs." -Jack Abramoff

Background - The super-rich Tan Family from China acquired sweatshops, hotels, bars and golf courses in the Marianas, a US Territory in the South Pacific. Local officials looked the other way at labor violations and far worse. Workers are lured from foreign lands and then forced to work at menial labor for low wages with expenses taken outand they are not allowed to leave. There are 42,000 foreign workers in the Marianas out of a population of 53,000.

Workers inside the RIFU garment factory, in Saipan.

Young women are forced into prostitution, really sex slavery, for the local sex tour industry for Asian businessmen. These women are called Party Girls and can be had for $70. When they inevitably become pregnant, they are forced to have abortions by their employers, often the Tan Family.

If Party Girls or Garment Workers Become Pregnant, They Are Forced TO Have Abortions

Because abortion on Saipan is illegal, most of the Chinese women have abortions at one of the Saipan clinics, which are disguised as acupuncture clinics, and clinics that offer massage and Chinese medicine. Two have been positively identified as abortion clinics (Wendy L. Doromal before the Senate's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 31, 1998, Laura Myers, "Sen. Panel Hears of Marianas Abuses," Associated Press Online, 31 March 1998)

Charging the workers $7,000 to $10,000 for employment fees, they are forced into overtime and basically indentured servitude. Island sweatshops produce clothing and other goods worth $2 billion annually. Each item can be labeled Made In The USA, even though there are no minimum wage laws and workers cannot become US citizens. The Tan Family businesses together have more labor abuse violations that any other company in history. The Gap was the largest retailer making clothes in the Marianas, followed by Dayton-Hudson, May Department Stores, Wal-Mart and Jones Apparel, along with 13 other chains such as Nordstroms, J. Crew and The Limited.

Over the last decade, the Tan family and their companies have spent at least $200,000 on lobbying and contributions to Washington political campaigns. The Gap and Wal-Mart, for example, give campaign contributions to Congresspeople who protect their Marianas sweatshops, such as Rep. John Sweeney of New York. The Wal-Mart PAC alone gave Sweeney $13,500. More significantly, the commonwealth government and Saipan business associations invested more than US$11.5 million between 1995 and 2002 to lobby in Washington against changes to the islands' status.

Following numerous smaller cases brought by the Labor Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against other plants, officials in Clinton's administration proposed curtailing Saipan's legal exemptions. The drive foundered on opposition by congressional Republicans, who were extensively wined and dined by the Tans. The Tans also gave A picture of family members with President George W Bush hangs above Tan's desk in Hong Kong.

John Sweeney was hired right out of law school to be Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the New York State Republican Party. From there he was appointed by Gov. Pataki to be the New York State Commissioner of Labor from 1995 to 1997. He ran the next year for Congress. He currently receives contributions from more PACs than all of NYs 29 other Representatives.

1994 - Between 1994 and 2001, the Northern Mariana Islands paid $6.7 million to Jack Abramoffs law firm, Preston Gates, for lobbying services.

1997 - Jack Abramoff arranges for lawmakers and aides to take trips to the Marianas and meet the local business leaders and be wined and dined by the Tans.

* 1997 Abramoff charged the Marianas for getting then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush to write a letter expressing support for the Pacific territory's school choice proposal, his billing records show.

"I hope you will keep my office informed on the progress of this initiative," Bush wrote in a July 18, 1997, letter praising the islands' school plan and copying in an Abramoff deputy.

1998 - According to a 1998 investigation by the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs, a number of Chinese garment workers reported that if they became pregnant, they were "forced to return to China to have an abortion, or forced to have an illegal abortion" in the Marianas. These days, many pregnant workers still feel they have little choice but to visit one of Saipan's underground abortion clinics -- or else lose their jobs. ( /)

March 26, 1998 - "Beneath the American Flag: Labor and Human Rights Abuses in the CNMI," report by Congressman George Miller and Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Resources. Clinton Administration considers federal takeover of island labor and immigration.

1998-2004 The FBI is now investigating what they call The Wives Club, in which corrupt GOP politicians let their wives and girlfriends with no previous experience take 10% to 15% of contributions off the top for fund-raising. Christine Delay, the wife of Tom Delay, received $115,000 in consulting fees from Ed Buckhams Alexander Strategy Group for small task. Ed and Wendy Buckham pocketed over $1 million in fees from US Family Network charity, while Robert Abramoff, Jacks brother, set up 100 phony companies and charities to launder money to make the Abramoffs rich, including Aenas Enterprises in CA. Abramoff meanwhile hired Julie Doolittle, with no previous experience, and gives her small tasks paid off with big money. Julie Doolitle also got 15% of any contributions to her husbands Leadership Fund. Lisa Rudy, the wife of Delay aide Tom Rudy, was paid $50,000 for consulting in acknowledged corrupt scheme to influence votes of Delay. Rep. John Sweeney paid his fianc and future wife Gayle, $42,570 to do fund-raising, at which she had no previous experience, like Julie Doolittle. Mrs. Sweeney got 10% of campaign contributions. Personal skimming off the top is apparently all part of the Republican Pay To Play Culture of Corruption over the last 12 years.

December 31, 1998 In late 1998, Marianas Islands' visitors included DeLay, his wife and daughter, and six of his aides. * During his 1998 New Years holiday trip, he told Saipan officials, as was later reported in The Dallas Observer, "When one of my closest and dearest friends, Jack Abramoff, your most able representative in Washington, D.C., invited me to the islands, I wanted to see firsthand the free-market success and the progress and reform you have made.

At a New Year's Eve dinner on Saipan in 1998, Delay lavishly praised the CNMI governor -- a moment caught on camera by ABC's 20/20: "You are a shining light for what is happening in the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we're trying to do in America in leading the world in the free-market system." Tom Delay then reportedly went off with a local official to attend a cockfight. /

1998 - In 1998, there was a change in the local CNMI Government and Abramoff had lost his lobbying contract with CNMI. The money still flowed as the Tan Family kept paying through the Saipan Garment Manufacture Association, and a money-laundering front they called the Western Pacific Economic Council. It was getting harder and harder to for Abramoff to deal with the locals on CNMI, so he decided it was time to change the Government.

September, October 1998 In making his first run for Congress, John Sweeney receives contributions from The Gap PAC as well as the Wal-Mart PAC, companies who are in the top 5 running sweatshops in the Marianas, totaling $2,000. Sweeney also received $1,000 in October 1998 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas, as well as $5,000 from Tom Delay and his ARMPAC fund.

January 1999 John Sweeney sworn in as US Representative.

* August 1999 Ralph Reeds firm sends out a mailer to Republican Evangelical Christians on the Marianas to block legislative reform, showing how the Religious Right uses terms like radical left and promises of Christian conversion to support outright sex slavery and forced abortion: "The radical left, the Big Labor Union Bosses, and Bill Clinton want to pass a law preventing Chinese from coming to work on the Marianas Islands," the mailer from said. The Chinese workers, it added, "are exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ" while on the islands, and many "are converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand."

October 3, 1999 On Oct. 3, 1999, Rep. John Doolittle received a $1,000 contribution from Abramoff, the first from the star lobbyist. Three weeks later, Doolittle wrote a letter to Fitial praising his entry into the commonwealth's legislature race and endorsing his election. "I know that you are a legislator and businessman who cares deeply about the people of your community," Doolittle wrote. "Your hard work in previous legislatures has succeeded in improved relations with the U.S. government, and we need you in the House again to ensure continued success." Doolittle's letter, complete with the disclaimer that it was paid for by the John T. Doolittle for Congress committee in Roseville, Calif., was published in the Saipan Tribune on Nov. 2, four days before Fitial was elected.

1999 - Edwin Buckham, evangelical minister, former chief of staff and an old family friend of House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, gets involved, along with former DeLay aide Mike Scanlon, in a 1999 effort by Abramoff to allegedly dangle U.S. tax dollars to influence a election for the speaker of the legislature in the Northern Mariana Islands. * Buckham was now a lobbyist who represented Enron, which wanted to build a power plant for the sweatshops (they lost the bid in 1999). They wanted Ben Fitial, Vice President of a Tan Family company and local garment association director, elected as Speaker of the CNMI House. So Ed Buckham and Mike Scanlon went to CNMI and promised two Representatives, (one from the island of Rota and the other from the island of Tinian) Federal projects if they switched their votes. Once in office, the new speaker pressed the island's governor to reinstate a lobbying pact with Jack Abramoff, and forced the legislature to award Enron the power contract for Buckham.

January 2000 Abramoff and Scanlon and others pay for an illegal Congressional junket to the Marianas. This trip was allegedly to check on the situation there but in reality it was to play golf, relax and be treated luxuriously by Abramoff, the Tans and others.

2000 Abramoff and his wife each contribute $1,000 to the 2000 Bush campaign fund.

2000 - The deal was struck and DeLay's Congress showered CNMI with millions of dollars. Most of it went through the Transportation Committee, especially the Aviation Subcommittee, which John Sweeney sits on. In 2000, there was $1.25 million for resurfacing the runways for the airport on Rota. Jack's Congressional partners also changed the way that Airport Improvement Project money was appropriated to insure that CNMI got a little bit out of every dollar spent.

DeLay also tried to muscle the local government power company to turn over the operation of the power company to Enron as part of their reward for helping the CNMI keep it immigration laws local.

When the Marianas put out a call for bids for a new $120 million power plant, a Japanese company was awarded the contract. Enron, attracted by the island's lack of environmental rules, wanted in and complained to DeLay that they had not been given a fair shot at the contract for the power plant.

DeLay responded by calling in some chits from his friends in the Mariana administration - in particular Ben Fital, a conservative politician whom DeLay's former aides, Ed Buckham and Mike Scanlon, helped get elected as the island's representative in Congress.(The Washington Post reported that Buckham's lobbying firm, Alexander Strategies Group's representation of Enron's interests in the Marianas won him $50,000 in fees.)
Delay demanded that the power plant bidding be re-opened and that Enron's bid be given new consideration.

And so it came to pass. The bidding was re-opened and Enron was declared the winner. Apparently, free-market mechanisms like open bidding are only good when they favor the right player. Islanders say the bidding was rigged in Enron's favor.

"There were all kinds of political pushes from the top and the side and every way," Vincent Mesa, the island's former manger of the its power utilities, recalled later. "There were all kinds of political interference. They (government officials) didn't want to understand it. They said, 'Just do it! Give Enron the contract."

But, now with Enron in bankruptcy the power project has been left to rust in the Pacific sun and the islands are stuck with spotty electric power and lots of debt. /

2000 A comprehensive study of Marianas sweatshops and violation lawsuits by unions is released. A copy of study can be found at . The Gap was the largest retailer making clothes in the Marianas, followed by Dayton-Hudson, May Department Stores, Wal-Mart and Jones Apparel, along with 13 other chains such as Nordstroms, J. Crew and The Limited.

On the sex slavery, the report says, Sex club owners, whose business mostly caters to Japanese tourists, maintain tight control over their employees through intimidation, physical and verbal abuse, confiscation of their passports, and strict monitoring of their movement. Without their passports, these indentured women cannot leave the island, and their fear of money lenders' and/or traffickers' retribution on them and their families as well as their shame stop them from reporting their plight. Fear and intimidation are common tactics used among CNMI employers. For example, it is not unusual for them to threaten to deport and harm or kill foreign workers and their families if they voice factories' abuses to the media, CNMI and federal government agents, and other foreigners.

2000 - Abramoff funnels a lucrative $1.2 million no-bid Northern Marianas Islands government contract to Los Angeles businessman Rabbi David Lapin, to conduct ethics-in-government programs there. But near as anyone in the Marianas can determine today, David Lapin failed to provide any services.

2000 Michael Scanlon and Abramoff partner together in getting money for and starting up several non-profit and for-profit entities. The non-profits did not spend money on their alleged missions but served as Abramoffs personal bank for himself and to make hidden payments for the purpose of corrupting Republican members of Congress and their staff. * Their career partners in crime are Tom Delay and his aides, dozens of GOP congressmen and the right-wing political mavens Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist.

May 29, 2000 Abramoff sends $1,000 contribution to John Doolittle.

October 30, 2000 Abramoff sends $10,000 contribution to John Doolittles Superior California State Leadership Fund, through which Doolittles wife is able to skim personal cash at the rate of 15% off the top.

November, December 2000 Abramoff and his wife each personally contribute $5,000 to 2000 recount fund. Greenberg Traurig runs up $314,000 bill for the RNC effort in Bush vs. Gore, which the RNC never repays, making it an undeclared contribution in-kind to the Bush election effort. Rep. John Sweeney leads GOP Brooks Brothers Riot in Miami Courthouse and succeeds in stopping third recount of Miami vote. President Bush nicknames Sweeney Congressmen Kick-Ass.

* January, 2001 Jack Abramoff (the fox) is named by Bush to the Interior Department transition team (the henhouse), as Insular Affairs within Interior regulates the Marianas. He is able to name key appointments to the Marianas as well as place his own personal secretary Susan Ralston right into the White House as Karl Roves Assistant. Salon later reported that Ralston would call up Right-Wing String-Puller Grover Norquist to see if callers should be placed through to Rove or not. Abramoff now had a direct pipeline to the Oval Office.

Bush with Abramoff/Rove Assistant Susan Ralston in the Oval Office

January, 2001 Jack Abramoff switches law firms, from Preston Gates to Greenberg Traurig. He tries to bring his best clients with him, including those from the Marianas.

January 4, 2001 Jack Abramoff sends a a pitch letter to the Governor of CNMI, Pedro P. Tenorio, making the case why CNMI should rehire him as their lobbyist for the coming Bush era. "Our standing with the new administration promises to be solid as several friends of the CNMI (islands) will soon be taking high-ranking positions in the Administration, including within the Interior Department," There was some hesitation on CNMI to spend more money on a Washington Lobbyist now that their GOP allies controlled everything. Abramoff needed somebody to travel to CNMI to make his case, to seal the deal. Since Doolittle and Delay had already done their part earlier to pitch Abramoff, John Sweeney, Congressman Kick-Ass, was chosen by Abramoff to be the salesman to the Marianas. Sweeneys campaign later received $3,000 in contributions from Greenberg Traurig itself.

January 8 , 2001 Rep. John Sweeney arrives in the Marianas to urge business and the government to continue to lobby Washington, even though the GOP now rules the entire government. Despite the many confirmed reports of abuse, sex slavery and forced abortions, he defends the Marianas violations, rejecting the idea of federal enforcement. Sweeney addresses the Saipan Chamber of Commerce (Saipan Times Jan 15, 2001):
While there have been criticisms about alleged poor working conditions of garment workers in the Northern Marianas, Mr. Sweeney said the situation in the U.S. mainland is far worse as he joined enforcement agents in banging down doors of sweatshop establishments in New York.
"I think, we as members of the U.S. Congress need to build some flexibility in our understanding of the situation." In recognizing the contribution of the garment manufacturers on the island's economy, Mr. Sweeney said Washington should be made to understand that the departure of the industry will devastate the Northern Marianas. Meanwhile, Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio said he agrees with Mr. Sweeney that CNMI must continue to lobby in Washington to protect the interests of the people of the Commonwealth. )

* February, 2001 Ted Kennedy introduces bill that raises the Marianas minimum wage. Harry Reid is a co-sponsor.

* February 22, 2001 - "Jack has a relationship with the President," Tom DeLay's former spokesman and Abramoff's business partner Michael Scanlon once said. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one." New Times Broward-Palm Beach, 2/22/01

February November 2001 A new contract was signed with the Marianas and the New Team Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig goes to work blocking any efforts to end the system of abuse. Abramoff also effortlessly organizes to have his clients on CNMI showered with tens of millions of dollars from US taxpayers. Records show at least 195 contacts between Abramoff's Marianas lobbying team and the Bush administration from February through November 2001.

* USA TODAY: The documents show his team also had extensive access to Bush administration officials, meeting with Cheney policy advisers Ron Christie and Stephen Ruhlen, Ashcroft at the Justice Department, White House intergovernmental affairs chief Ruben Barrales, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles and others.

Most of the contacts were handled by Abramoff's subordinates, who then reported back to him on the meetings. Abramoff met several times personally with top Interior officials, whose Office of Insular Affairs oversees the Mariana Islands and other U.S. territories.

April 6, 2001 Just 3 days before meeting with Ben Fitial from CNMI, John Sweeney receives a $1,000 campaign contribution from Jack Abramoffs law firm, Greenberg Traurig. This money has never been returned.

April 9, 2001 Speaker Ben Fitial of the Marianas House meets with Doolittle and Sweeney of the House Appropriations Committee. Mr. Fitial: "I am very glad that the CNMI has friends in such powerful positions. Whether the issue is construction funding or Compact impact assistance, the Appropriations Committee will make the important decisions, and I am confident we will receive a fair hearing because of our friends that serve on that committee."

* April, 2001 Patrick Pizzella, part of Abramoffs team on the Marianas, is appointed Deputy Undersecretary of Labor, ensuring no change on the Marianas $3.05 minimum wage.

* May 9, 2001 Ben Fitial meets with Bush at White House event.

May 23, 2001 Senator Conrad Burns, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the chair of an appropriations subcommittee that controls spending for the Interior Department, meets Abramoff's lobbying team at least eight times in early 2001 and collects $12,000 in donations. Burns votes against a bill that would have ended a "guest worker" program in the Northern Mariana Islands' garment industry; in 1999, he had voted in favor of an identical bill. (DKospedia)

2001 Rep. John Doolittle wants more appropriations for Fitial. Sweeney, being on Appropriations and Aviation, must have helped. Around $28 Million in grants and earmarks flowed to CNMI from Congress and the Bush Administration in 2001. That is in addition to the usual $40 some million paid each year to support the US Territory. One of the reasons that so much money flowed to CNMI in 2001 was that it was an election year on CNMI and Fitial was running for Governor. The GOP in Washington was trying to buy him the election with pork for the Marianas.

April 26, 2001 - Indicted Delay aide Tony C. Rudy meets with appropriations staff of Rep. Sweeney's office.

May 4, 2001 - Indicted Delay aide Tony C. Rudy meets with Rep. Sweeney to discuss Appropriations request.

May 25, 2001 - Jack Abramoff Teamate Kevin A. Ring has phone conversation and correspondence with K. Kaloi (House Resources) regarding CNMI appropriations; sends talking points to same; phone conversation with Labor Department official regarding minimum wage; correspondence with staff of Rep. Sweeney regarding appropriations. All in all, with the help of Sweeney and Doolittle, $28 million in additional earmark funds were secured by Abramoff for the Marianas in 2001.

June 20, 2001 - Indicted Delay aide Tony C. Rudy meets with Rep. Sweeney regarding Marianas issues; discussions with L. Lamora (Watts) regarding upcoming minimum wage effort.

June 2001 - Sen. Conrad Burns supports a bill that urged the Interior Department to rescind a requirement that the Marianas provide the usual matching funds for a federal program subsidizing local construction projects, giving them the Aviation and other funds for free.

September 11, 2001 Terror attack on World Trade Center. Tourism and manufacturing suffer greatly in the Marianas. Abramoff clients there can no longer afford him and tell him so.

October 2001 Kevin Ring sends an e-mail to the Marianas and cc to Abramoff, noting the huge amount of federal money won for them in 2001: "We believe that this additional funding along with other funds we expect to secure by the end of the year will make clear to even our biggest critics that we pay for ourselves.

Fall 2001 LAT Aug 07, 2005: Black was also apparently less than popular with the island's immigrant-labor-driven textile businesses because he had started a post September 11th investigation into whether the island's loose immigration policies represented a security risk.

The acting U.S. attorney was a controversial official in Guam. At the time he was removed, Black was directing a long-term investigation into allegations of public corruption in the administration of then-Gov. Carl Gutierrez. The inquiry produced numerous indictments, including some of the governor's political associates and top aides.

Black also arranged for a security review in the aftermath of Sept. 11 that was seen as a potential threat to loose immigration rules favored by local business leaders. In fact, the study ordered by Black eventually cited substantial security risks in Guam and the Northern Marianas.

October 1, 2001 Abramoff warns his Marianas clients in an e-mail: The other immediate (next two weeks) challenge is the Justice Department.

Last week the bad guys who still work there (the ones who got that bad letter on Murkowski issued) started a drum beat that the CNMI had to be taken over, because it was a loophole in the federal immigration network, and that, as such, was a threat on terrorism. They have been spending a week or so telling everyone who will listen that the CNMI, if it is not taken over, will be a major entry point for terrorists. This, of course, is patently ridiculous, actually just the opposite, and we have been working to counter this, but they are not backing down.

We had the COS of the Justice Department in our box at today's Redskins game and it seems that there might be a classified document floating in the department which deals with this matter. Making it classified, if that is indeed the case, was a good idea by our opponents, since that means we cannot get it. Hopefully Babauta has some connections there and can get a copy (perhaps at least on a redacted version), which he can pass on to you to draft a response. If this is at a stage where it is gaining momentum, he will need to leak into the press that they are considering this and how it is exactly the opposite of what should be happening. This is a real potential threat. It will require some major action from the Hill and a press attack to get this back in the bottle. He should just follow the example we have used in the past, where we get the press out front carefully and push the Administration back.

I am supposed to see the Attorney General next week (the Thursday after Simchas Torah) and Kevin was slated to play basketball with him before then. We will both mention this to him. The AG will be fine, but the underlings are a worrisome matter.

* October 1, 2001 We have worked with WH Office of Presidential Personnel to ensure that CNMI-relevant positions at various agencies are not awarded to enemies of CNMI," Abramoff's team wrote the Marianas in an October 2001 report on its work for the year (same email as above).

October, December 2001 John Sweeney receives $5,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.

February 2002 Abramoff meets with then-Gov. Guttierez of the Marianas to win a new $1.3 million contract and conspires with him to get US Atttorney Black replaced. LA Times, July 1, 2006: Abramoff, the report said, told investigators that the two came up with a plan to smear Black by releasing copies of a letter Gutierrez had written in 1995 to President Clinton. The letter referred to Black as "a good Democrat" and recommended he be reappointed as U.S. attorney. Black was originally appointed as acting U.S. attorney by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Saying he is a good Democrat will get him demoted is the theory. In one e-mail to Abramoff referred to Black as "a total commie. We need to get this guy sniped out of there." In another e-mail, Abramoff wrote: "We are opposed to Black. He has been screwing us for years. So this is good payback. I don't care if they appoint Bozo the clown, we need to get rid of Fred Black."

2002 LAT Aug 7 05: In 2002, Abramoff was retained by the Superior Court in what was an unusual arrangement for a public agency. The Times reported in May that Abramoff was paid with a series of $9,000 checks funneled through a Laguna Beach lawyer to disguise the lobbyist's role working for the Guam court. No separate contract was authorized for Abramoff's work.

The auditor's office is reviewing Abramoff's payments totaling $324,000 in 36 separate checks for $9,000 paid through lawyer Howard Hills of Laguna Beach. Hills said he was a middleman.

US Attorney Black starts a Grand Jury investigation of Abramoff for potential money laundering.

May 2002 Classified Marianas Security Report is completed with US Attorney Blacks input: If the present high risk environment is allowed to stand, it will continue to threaten Federal and public interests and seriously jeopardize the national security of the United States.

The lack of Federal jurisdiction over immigration, customs and financial matters coupled with a long history of deliberate territorial indifference to corrective action, creates an atmosphere which fosters criminal activity and public corruption, prevents Federal authorities from achieving optimum effectiveness in their enforcement of U.S. law, and produces critical security obstacles for Federal agencies.

The report also describes the problem of corruption and money laundering. Every time Abramoff went to the Marianas, he went to Tinian, where the Tans have a casino-hotel. Money laundering investigations and prosecutions are significantly handicapped by the political empowerment of both Guam and the C.N.M.I. as specified by the Covenants currently in place. Unfettered access into the C.N.M.L and the presence of an unregulated international gambling casino on Tinian, allow for the perfect venue to launder illegal funds, regardless of their source. This situation is further compounded by the lack of any civil or criminal revenue enforcement by the territorial government or sufficient Federal assets to continually scrutinize banking and money handling businesses.

The P.R.C. has built and currently operates a 600-room hotel and international gambling resort on the island of Tinian in the C.N.M.I. This facility has been in operation for approximately three years. Federal officials indicate that it has-never enjoyed more than a 20 percent occupancy rate and is believed to be a "marker" for mainland China with involvements in international money laundering operations. In March of 2002, this casino became the subject of investigation by Federal authorities because it received $3.5 million in fraudulent loans in connection with the Bank of Saipan fraud scheme cited earlier.

This critical report is then covered up by the Bush Administration and the DoJ for 2 election cycles--to protect the CNMI/GOP connection and also to help the Tans with their labor abuse issues and possible regulation of their casino and other practices. In addition, new casinos are planned at this time--and Delay and Abramoff might have even been negotiating a piece of the action.

Late June 2002 Abramoffs e-mails show he illegally was given a copy of the classified Marianas Security Report. LA Times July 1, 2006: Abramoff, according to e-mails cited by the inspector general, worried the FBI report would prompt Congress to restrict immigration in the Northern Marianas cutting off a supply of low-wage labor for garment manufacturers who had hired Abramoff to protect their interests.

After seeing the FBI report, the lobbyist suggested an attack on Black. "We have to make sure that Black guy is smeared into the ground," Abramoff wrote in an e-mail to his clients.

October 29, 2002 John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

* 2002 Two Tan Family companies contribute $25,000 each to Republican Senatorial Committee.

Late 2002 Abramoff learns from his pipeline to the White Housewhich includes Susan Ralston, who used to be his personal secretary and was now working directly with Karl Rove--of the impending nomination of Leonardo Rapadas to replace Frederick Black as US Attorney of the Marianas. Abramoff instructs his team to send out e-mails claiming credit for getting rid of Black who--as he said in an earlier e-mail--has been screwing us for years.

November 18, 2002 Following the request of U.S. Attorney Black, a federal grand jury in Guam subpoenas the Guam Superior Court for records involving a lobbying contract with Jack Abramoff.

November 19, 2002 The very next day, President George W. Bush demotes U.S. Attorney Black from the post of US Attorney. Black later accuses Bush of removing him to stop the investigation of Abramoff, which would be Obstruction of Justice. A DoJ Inspector General investigation of Blacks claim is started in 2005. Rep. John Conyers and CREW in Washington DC years later both say there should be a Special Prosecutor, not just an Inspector General investigation of the Black removal.

* Early 2003 Marianas Republicans, through Fred Radewagen, a lobbyist, make their choice for Blacks replacement known to Karl Rove in person in Washington.

April 11, 2003 John Sweeney begins paying a company called Creative Consulting for fund-raising. The company had been founded a day earlier by Gayle Ford. Between April 2003 and January 2004, Sweeney's campaign paid $42,570 to the firm. Sweeney proposed to Ford in September 2003 and married her in 2004, making her an official member of The Wives Club.

Sweeney spokeswoman Melissa Carlson said the congressman considers his wife "his best representative in the district when he's fund-raising." She said Ford, who had no previous fund-raising experience, receives a 10 percent commission on whatever she raises. Ford also works for Powers & Company, the lobbying firm of former state GOP Chairman William Powers, Sweeney's longtime political ally and onetime boss. (Source: Wikipedia)

* May, 2003 Leonardo Rapadas appointed by Bush to US Attorney of Marianas. The prosecution of Abramoff and certain other Marianas scandals involving local high officials and the Tan family go by the wayside under the Rapadas term.

June 17, 2003 John Sweeney receives $5,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.

* July 2003 Abramoff raises at least $120,000 for Bush re-election, becoming a Pioneer. To this day, the Bush campaign refuses to return Abramoffs bundled money.

July 7, 2003 The Marianas aid package - H.J. Res. 63 with Richard Pombo as one of several co-sponsors is introduced. It promptly sailed through 3 House committees (Resources, Judiciary, and International Relations) by September 15, 2003, and the full House on a voice vote shortly thereafter. The bill also breezed through the Senate, whereupon it was signed into law by President Bush on December 17, 2003.

This Compact-Impact payments law committed US taxpayers to pay $600 million: $30 million per year for the next 20 years, with the Marianas allocated $5 million per year from the total.

* 2003 Unite Here union is one of three parties in a phony lawsuit against the Marianas sweatshops. A $20 million settlement to reform the Marianas working conditions is accepted but to date little money has gone to workers and the main change has just been a few words in the Made in USA label. UNITE HERE helped continue the converup of the Marianas scandal with this settlement.

MS MAGAZINE: Although it wasnt part of the settlement agreement, the pressure generated by the lawsuits and legislative reform efforts led most of the companies that once labeled their garments Made in USA to change their labels to read Made in Saipan (USA) or Made in Northern Mariana Islands (USA).

The monitoring program, while an important effort, has had mixed results, according to a U.S. government source in the Marianas speaking on background. Inspections only take place twice a year and the results are kept confidentialeven the retailers who pay for the program dont see them. The monitoring board has discretion to put factories on probation, but that has occurred only once. Moreover, the program will sunset in July 2007, and there are no other proposals on the table to replace it.

* September 29, 2003 Jack Abramoff personally contributes $5,000 to Rep. Pombos RICH PAC.

* September 30, 2003 UNITE HERE gives $5,000 to Richard Pombo RICH PAC.

November 4, 2003 John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

* 2003-2004 Donors from the Marianas donate $36,000 to the Bush re-election campaign, including Tan family members.

December 2003 Roger Stillwell, from the Interior Departments Insular Affairs, in charge of the island protectorate, received four tickets from Jack Abramoff to a Washington Redskins game valued at $316 with an actual cost of $2,147 He also accepted two tickets to a 2003 Simon and Garfunkel concert worth $166. (AP)

* January 2004 - Pombo and US Interior Secretary Gale Norton traveled to the CNMI and presented the first of twenty annual $5.1 million checks to come. Secretary Norton pointed out, Without the support of the Congress, especially the House Resources Committee under Chairman Richard Pombo's leadership, none of this would have been possible.

February 2004 The Washington Post breaks the Abramoff Scandal, with $45 million paid by Indian tribes being funneled through phony charities and third parties for political bribery on casino matters.

March 1, 2004 John Sweeney receives $5,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

March 2, 2004 - Abramoff leaves Greenberg Traurig. In a statement, the firm says Abramoff "disclosed to the firm for the first time personal transactions and related conduct which are unacceptable to the firm."

* April 21, 2004 Richard Pombo receives $2,500 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

August 24, 2004 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Greenberg Traurig, Abramoffs former law firm.

* May 18, 2004 - Richard Pombo's leadership PAC, RICHPAC, receives over $10,000 from Abramoff's Marianas' clients - at a fund raiser hosted by DeLay's former Chief of Staff, Susan Hirschmann.

* September 22, 2004 Richard Pombo receives $2,500 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

September 30, 2004 John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

October 20, 2004 John Sweeney receives $1,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

March 28, 2005 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Greenberg Traurig, Abramoffs former law firm.

May, 2005 Tom Delay interview to Galveston Daily News on charges of sweatshops in the Marianas: in interviewing these employees one-on-one, there was no evidence of any of that going on. No evidence of sweatshops as portrayed by the national media. It's a beautiful island with beautiful people who are happy about what's happening."

June to October, 2005 - Between June and October of 2005, Justice Department staffers pull financial disclosure reports on at least nine members of Congress and at least seven former congressional staffers, including Rep. John Sweeney.

September 23, 2005 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.

September 29-30, 2005 John Sweeney receives $700 from Ed Buckham, of the corrupt Alexander Strategy Group, now closed due to the Abramoff Scandals.

October 5, 2005 - John Sweeney receives $497 in-kind contribution from Greenberg Traurig, Abramoffs former law firm.

Oct. 6, 2005 - Rep. John Conyers, Jr. and Rep. George Miller called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the removal of Frederick Black as US Attorney for the Marianas by President Bush.

November 11, 2005 John Sweeney receives $3,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

March 24, 2006 - John Sweeney receives $1,000 from Wal-Mart PAC.

May 2, 2006 John Sweeney receives $3,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

* May 8, 2006 Richard Pombo receives $5,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

* June 26, 2006 Richard Pombo receives $5,000 from UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers union with members in the Marianas.

June 30, 2006 Dept of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine releases whitewash report on the Black Removal from the Abramoff case and clears the Bush White House of Obstruction of Justice. Fines report says because Abramoffs exact recommendation of a person to replace Black was not taken, even though the Abramoff case was not followed up by Rapadas; and because the decision to replace Black was made before Abramoff requested it--there was no Obstruction on November 19, 2002.

Yet this report ignores the very early Abramoff e-mail of Oct. 1, 2001, published in the press in 2005, in which he boasts that he and Kevin Ring will be meeting with John Ashcroft to talk about the Marianas Security Report and will bring up the problem of underlings trying to get the report out. It also ignores Abramoffs e-mail of early 2002, in which he exclaimed: I don't care if they appoint Bozo the Clown, we need to get rid of Fred Black. Rep. John Conyers and Miller continue to demand a Special Prosecutor to look into possible Obstruction of Justice by Bush in the Black Removal.

June 2006 - Democrats propose H.R. 5550, the Human Dignity Act, to reform the Marianas. Despite the proof of forced labor, forced prostitution and forced abortion, the Republicans refuse to support the Human Dignity Act.

Please remember to recommend to get out the update to everyone! Thanks! - DWW
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. Burns (R-MT) got $$ and changed his vote
May 23, 2001 Senator Conrad Burns, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the chair of an appropriations subcommittee that controls spending for the Interior Department, meets Abramoff's lobbying team at least eight times in early 2001 and collects $12,000 in donations. Burns votes against a bill that would have ended a "guest worker" program in the Northern Mariana Islands' garment industry; in 1999, he had voted in favor of an identical bill. (DKospedia)

Burns has to go. Jon Tester is a very good DEM candidate for senate. A seat is a seat, whether it is MT or CT. Burns has to go.

Please read my sig line and meet a DEM who understands and communicates the populist ideas of fairness, good hard work, and finding solutions for the problems of Americans, not how to pander to exploitive Fat Cats like Burns has been doing.

Oh, and when Burns tried to donate that Abramoff $$ to charity, he picked one that had a former aide of his as their one registered lobbyist. The tribal elders declined Burns' donation. But how many other GOP puppet-legislators who 'returned the money - to charity' gave to charities they had connections to? How much of the money might have been funneled back to GOP candidates after going through a bit of laundering?

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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Go Tester!
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
:kick: for all the good info you provided. There is fodder for hundreds of different LTTE in there!
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. When will people realize
People who seek power or unlimited wealth are PSYCHOPATHS? Abuse degenerate scumbag con men?When will people STOP trusting leaders the minute there is a whiff of corruption?
When will corporations LOSE their"person-hood" status AND their"privacy" and the ability to schmooze in the backroom unmonitored?Those who seek power MUST be controlled investigated shamed exposed and so transparent they can do no abuses of power. Some people because they are psychopaths CANNOT and should not be trusted,That goes triple time for psychopaths with insatiable ambitions,the so called "alphas"who are drawn to wealth ,sexual exploitation,and religion,politics,fantasies of engineering society or of world domination and the corporation game they seek it like an addict and the world suffers because of these 'families'..

Machiavelli was right to destroy an evil abusive exploitative network like the "Tan Family" one has to eliminate all of the "family"members first than all their loyalists.I wish there was a way to get rid of the top 1% ers and their cohorts,subsidiaries and "associates" and confiscate all they have stolen,give it away to the poor and rebuild the world,clean it up,make it fair and equal and ethical,put the Tan thugs and the top 1 to 3 percent thug pig assholes to justice like the treasonous pieces of shit unworthy to breathe air,that they are, and let all the slaves and debt slaves these pigs have exploited go free,and the traumatized get healing and the military industrial slave religion business for profit game complex be shut down forever and DIE..I HATE the wealthy psychopaths and their buddies.I hate all psychopaths but the ones with power are the worst.I wish they were never allowed to exist or be born.I wish people knew what psychopath personalities are and the damage they do so they NEVER are trusted with power in a community,instead psychopaths should be restricted,shamed and kept in a state of perpetual powerless poverty because of what they do with wealth and because of their sick ambitions and bullying ways. IF everyone knew what a psychopath was refused to be conned or charisma-ed into obedience against their own better judgments and conscience to them and their empty authority admitted to themselves they are unethical scumbags not to be trusted with privacy money sex or anything else things might be better for us all.All psychopaths wealthy or not,all"alphas" must be watched by the public and supervised closely with every'project'because Ceo's are like two year olds running with nuclear bombs and chemical plants playing who gets the most money wins. This mindset is incompatible with running a sustainable just fair equal healthy society and Earth..Because2 year olds in adult bodies with a sick ambition is what"leaders" are when they seek domination over anyone or anything or want to control a"market".
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IthinkThereforeIAM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. Bookmarked under "GOP Corruption"...

... :kick:
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. This is an excellent encapsulation of the culture of corruption
that Bush loves so much, honor and integrity my ass. Thanks for posting Dems Will Win.

Kicked and recommended

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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Second this, K & R nt
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oasis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for putting this together. k&r
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
9. In my Mariana folder
I still don't understand why we aren't using this particular scandal.
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. We have to blast this out to one and all.
We should really make this an e-mail chain letter!

Send it to everyone on your list so the country starts to talk about it. That's how the Draft issue got started in the 2004 election.

This will win us the Congress for sure if we manage to get it out there. The media is ignoring it!
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Bush Supports Forced Abortions On the Marianas
Nearly all Republican Congressmen and women have not supported the Human Dignity Act to address these problems.

FORCED ABORTION ads against Republicans will keep the religious right home and swing the Independent and moderate vote AND it's corruption.

Pombo--Doolittle--Burns --Sweeney--Delay's district--anyone who does not support the Human Dignity Act immediately, we need ads on FORCED ABORTION IN THE MARIANAS!
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
12. Kick for a very important and helpful thread

Lots of good stuff here, people. Get some LTTE out and get links to this info spread... because THIS is the shit Mehlman sent out:

Dear #####,

Yesterday, a Democrat-appointed judge in Detroit sided with the ACLU and ordered an immediate halt to the terrorist surveillance program. This decision is a reminder of what is at stake in 2006. Will we use every tool in our arsenal to respond to emerging threats, or embrace the Democrat-ACLU position that just made it harder for our intelligence agencies to detect terrorist plots inside the United States?

Watch our new Web video, which exposes the Democrats' weak record on national security.

And if you are outraged by this latest development, will you sign the petition against this decision weakening the tools we need to fight the War on Terror?

Democrats like to talk tough, but when it comes to fighting the War on Terror, the record speaks for itself:

* Republicans passed and have consistently supported the Patriot Act to disrupt terrorist plots. Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid bragged about "killing" the Patriot Act.
* Republicans strengthened and reformed America's intelligence agencies. Democrats want to surrender the tools needed to track and monitor suspected terrorists.
* Republicans have increased homeland security funding by 300% over the Clinton Administration, and increased funding for border control and border security by 66% over the Clinton Administration.
* And finally, Republicans are committed to confirming fair-minded judges who won't re-write the Constitution. Democrat-appointed judges are the driving force behind decisions that would weaken efforts to track down terrorists.

See the record for yourself and take action by signing the petition against this outrageous decision.


Ken Mehlman
Chairman, Republican National Committee

Seems for all their spying on Americans, the RNC don't keep up on personnel changes. :rofl: One never knows what might happen to land in their new institutional in-box. I considered clicking on the link to un-subscribe, but thought 'what the hell, if ol Ken wants to send me info on his talking point plans, I'm game' I'll expose their silly, evil plans. Forewarned is forearmed, and I am a DEM who believes in a strong DEFENSE. :evilgrin:
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. We need to make a flyer that we hang all over the country
on this Marianas thing. It worked for the draft issue. Then we steer them to a Website with the timeline and photos...
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Marianas = what the GOP & Corporations want IN America
It is the future they are REALLY working for ... for the children
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