Sunday, June 29, 2008

Paper refuses to report on Suddaby's Political prosecution

Further proof that US Attorney Glen Suddaby played politics with his prosecutions came forward over the Bruno Investigation as reported by Newsday and others. It was reported that after three years Suddaby has failed to prosecute Bruno because he did not want to upset his nomination to be Federal Judge by angering republicans.
The following was sent to and follow-up calls were made to the city desk and chief editor Mike Grogan of the Syracuse Post Standard. NOthing was reported a further sign of the news desks extreme prejudice.

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Report: Bruno asked about probe
Two stories worth reading today about the federal investigation of Joe Bruno, and his decision to leave the Senate:
The Daily News reports that a source says Bruno's lawyer reached out to inquire whether his departure would have any impact on the long-running investigation, but no deal was cut.
The Times-Union updates the probe itself, which is focused on whether Bruno's private business pursuits -- in horseracing, business consulting, and investing labor-union money -- have intersected with his lawmaking in a way that deprives constituents of his "honest services."
Apparently, 30 boxes of records were just turned over by the Senate to the FBI. Compliance had been delayed, and there are indications of possible tension among the feds. The Northern District of NY has been running the FBI probe, but now Southern District of NY (Manhattan) prosecutors are getting involved amid signs the FBI may think it's going too slow.
Northern District US Atty. Glenn Suddaby is awaiting Senate confirmation as a federal judge by the Senate, which hypothetically creates a situation where he may not want to alienate Republicans..
Bruno, at his press conference yesterday, denied his resignation had anything to do with the probe: "I've never been accused of anything, and I don't expect to be accused of anything because I haven't done anything wrong."
Posted by John Riley on June 25, 2008 8:38 AM Permalink

Retirement won't end FBI probe
Senate has turned over boxes of records sought in Bruno inquiry

By BRENDAN J. LYONS, Senior writer First published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008
ALBANY -- An FBI investigation of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno is moving forward and will not be derailed by his abrupt decision to leave elected office at the end of the year, people familiar with the case said.
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Bruno's announcement that he would not seek re-election comes as federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York have visited Albany in connection with the nearly three-year-old criminal probe of Bruno's public and private business dealings, according to sources who spoke to the Times Union on condition they not be identified.
Several months ago, FBI agents from Albany met with prosecutors from the Southern District regarding the Bruno investigation, a person with knowledge of the meeting said.
The agents made an informal overture to the Manhattan-based federal prosecutors at a time when the FBI and prosecutors in New York's Northern District, under U.S. Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby, have been at odds about the handling of the Bruno investigation, which sources believe has been dogged by unnecessary delay.
Suddaby is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate to a position as a federal judge in upstate New York. He has declined to comment on the Bruno investigation.
In recent days, Boyd M. Johnson III, who leads the public corruption unit of the United States attorney's office for the Southern District, visited Albany around the time that boxes of records from the state Senate were turned over to federal authorities.
Sources close to the case said that the files had been requested by federal authorities months ago, but that the Senate delayed responding to the request.
It's unclear whether Johnson was in Albany specifically because of the Bruno records provided to the government.
The federal investigation is centered around Bruno's private consulting business, his horse breeding interests and the state's horse racing industry. Federal grand jury subpoenas also were issued regarding Bruno's work for a Connecticut company that received tens of millions of dollars in investment dollars from New York labor unions.
Bruno, 79, abruptly resigned from that investment company in December.
The senator's Brunswick consulting company, Capital Business Consultants, also has been a focus of the probe. Bruno has declined to identify his private consulting clients, or to disclose whether any of them have an interest in state government contracts or public funding. Like many other legislators, the senator has, when asked, also declined to disclose publicly the amounts of his personal income, net worth or debt.
Paul Holstein, chief division counsel for the Albany FBI field office, declined to comment on why agents had met with the Southern District prosecutors.
He said the office is "fully committed to the public corruption program, which is a high priority for the FBI, and are committing necessary resources to address ongoing investigations."
The investigation of Bruno is being headed by two agents with extensive experience in white-collar and public corruption cases, Michael Bassett and Charles Dougherty
Bassett has been with the agency 25 years and worked at field offices in Tampa, Fla., and Chicago, where he worked undercover posing as a commodities futures trader on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. That investigation -- Operation Sourmash -- led to dozens of convictions and legislative reforms.
In Albany, Bassett has been the case agent on several high-profile public corruption investigations, including the insurance fraud case involving Albert Lawrence and the state bribery case of Albany engineer Ronald Laberge.
Dougherty came to Albany from the Newark field office, where he worked white-collar crime and public corruption investigations for more than 20 years, including 12 years as a supervisor. Dougherty's work in the Newark office included investigations that brought convictions against multiple elected officials, including state senators, assemblymen and the former mayor of Newark, Sharpe James.
Early in the investigation, Bruno met with Bassett and another FBI official in Albany to discuss their probe, according to a person briefed on the meeting. Bruno responded to their questions about his business dealings, and his answers were documented in FBI files. It was a risky act for Bruno because citizens can be prosecuted for making false statements to federal agents involved in an official probe.
If a federal grand jury decides there are no criminal violations on Bruno's part, prosecutors have the option of providing Bruno or others with a letter indicating the panel took no action, a step that is akin to being exonerated.
Much of the investigation has focused on horse racing, an industry Bruno has staunchly supported and in which he has a deep personal interest.
The FBI probe outlasted a tumultuous period in New York's state-operated racing industry as it struggled to recover from allegations of mismanagement by its longtime operator, the New York Racing Association.
NYRA's contract to run the state's three thoroughbred tracks was renewed, but not before being imperiled by a heated takeover bid from several competing racing consortiums, including some whose investors have strong ties to Bruno and other elected officials.
More recently, the federal investigation has plied opinions Bruno received from the Legislative Ethics Commission that relate to his personal business ventures, including real estate development and horse breeding.
A person close to the investigation said federal authorities are examining the process by which Bruno received authorization from the ethics panel.
Bruno's attorney in Albany, William Dreyer, is a former federal prosecutor. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Dreyer's law firm has been paid more than $203,000 over the past two years from campaign funds connected to Bruno, records show.
A source briefed on the investigation said the FBI has built its investigation around the "honest-services" provision of federal statutes, a one-sentence amendment Congress inserted into federal law 20 years ago to close a loophole in its laws defining mail fraud and wire fraud.
The broadly written law prohibits anyone from depriving the public of an inherent "right to honest services."
Brendan J. Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at

Sunday, April 01, 2007

PS Ignores Prosecution lets Witness lie

From: madis senner [] Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:42 PMTo: Post Standard, John Obrien Subject: Prosecutors let a Witness Lie


In Devereaux’s closing arguments he noted that the prosecutor’s “knowingly and willingly let a witness (Mohamed Ibrahim) lie”. The paper never made a big deal out this. Why? I think it is a big deal and I am going to trumpet it at our next witness at the Federal Bldg Tuesday afternoon.

I would appreciate any input. Maybe I am missing something, but I believe Devereaux also said that they broke the law in doing so. I want to make sure I am getting the facts right.

Madis Senner

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Post Standard Refuses to consider prosecutor's misdeeds

From: madis senner [] Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:42 PMTo: Post Standard--Cc: Post Standard; Post Standard EditorSubject: Dhafir's Treatment & US Attorney's Scandal

Dear Marnie,

I was disappointed and shocked to hear from John Obrien that you found no merit in my claim that the local US Attorney’s office was a pawn for the Bush administration, driven to do whatever it took to win trophies in the war on terror and intimidate dissent. Let me ask you why was the St. Pats 4 chosen to be an example to criminalize dissent and charged with Federal conspiracy charges when catholic workers routinely pour blood during actions? Was it because Ithaca is under the Northern NY US Attorney’s jurisdiction? Is it coincidence that intimidation was similarly at work when Dr. Dhafir’s legal counsel was denied access to see Dr. Dhafir the day after his picture appeared in your paper? No pattern? No foul play?

I guess this all brings up old wounds. How am I supposed to react to this when just last year you wrote about the Dhafir El Hindi connection and then refused to do a follow-up on how the whole thing was a sham?

Just recently the Post Standard was given information on the secret and illegal prison program in Terre Haute that Dr. Dhafir was part of and the paper did nothing. A great scoop with a national and local angle; instead the Washington Post wrote the article.

Sadly, someone else will write the article on the Suddaby-Rove-Gonzales triad. And when they do it will reaffirm where many of us believe your interests lie.

God Bless,

Madis Senner

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Post Standard's News Quiz---Speaks Volumes

To: John O Brien
Subject: Your paper reached a new low today.

Your paper reached a new low in the quiz today, perhaps you could send thisto who is responsible.

It's obvious, from the coverage of Dr. Dhafir's trial, that Post-Standard employees need urgently to read this book: "The War Against CivilLiberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismanted the Bill of Rights", by Elaine Cassel's. Pub: Lawrence Hill 2004. The book is dedicated: 'To the lawyers who fight on the front lines in the war against civil liberties andthe judges who have the courage to defend the Constitution.

'Cassel, a practicing attorney and a professor of law and psychology,describes exactly what has happened to the justice system since the war onterror and the Patriot Act-a very scary book. Made even more scary byknowing how your newspaper has been a willing accomplice in peddling the governments accusations, without any consideration to evidence or truth.

In the book there is a short piece on Help The Needy and the people who have been charged in relation to the case. Now that the author realizes Dr.Dhafir is the person who founded Help the Needy in Syracuse, she will updateher civil liberties watch website with information from the trial.

What your paper has done to Dr. Dhafir during this trial is unconscionable.You should be trying to make amends instead of taking your insensitivity tonew lows. Please put my website address: on the frontpage of your paper each day this week. It is the least you can do.

Katherine Hughes.

Katherine was responding to Saturday's quiz in the editorial page and question number 6. Every Saturday the paper prints a news quiz about events of the past week to test the readership's retention:

6. Rarely heard phrases: Match the quotation with the speaker:
a) "It's good to get back the wampum."
b) "The students are bereft."
c) "He is a crafty and calculating person."
d) "I want to dance, but I can't. I shy."
1) Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, the Hamilton College professor who invited Ward Churchill to speak.
2) Kafi Ahmed of Syracuse, after casting her vote in Detroit for the Iraqi election.
3) Tadadaho Sid Hill, spiritual leader at the Onondaga Nation.
4) U.S. Attorney Michael Olmstead, prosecuting in summation of the government's fraud and tax-evasion case against Rafil Dhafir.
Answers: 1) b. 2) c and d. 3) a. 4) b. 5) All of them. 6) a-3, b-1, c-4, d-2. 7) Photo caption: False

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pandering to Islamophobia

The following letter has been submitted to the Post Standard for publication:

Dear Editor,

You should be commended for your emphasis on a recent Cornell Study that found endemic Islamophobia in our country--44% of Americans favor restricting the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Bravo!

Conversely, another element of the Post Standard has consistently pandered to the most prejudiced members of our community by feeding them a diet of misrepresentations that demean Muslims should be chided. Shame on you.

The Dhafir trial is the case in point. When the Tsunami hit in the Far East there were innumerable articles on the suffering of the victims and the generosity of local donors. Compare this to the coverage of the Iranian earthquake a year earlier. When one of the members of Dr. Dhafir's charity appealed to you for help you chose to emphasize his connection to Help the Needy and raise the specter of terrorism.

Coverage of the trial, as numerous unpublished letters to you have pointed out, has been pro- prosecution. NY Post- like tabloid headlines often emphasized a miniscule pro-prosecution point that made Dr. Dhafir look bad.
In January when the bulk of the court time was taken by the defense's cross-examination, you choose to report only sporadically. Prior to that you reported mostly the prosecution's allegations on a daily basis.

It is clear that one of the objectives of your coverage of the Dhafir trial has been to pander to Islamophobia.

"First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7 :5

God Bless,
Madis Senner

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Post Standard's Blind man's defense

Although, Richard Lindsay of North Syracuse NY has never attended Dr. Dhafir's trial he has read enough of the Post Standard's coverage to know that their reporting has been "fair and balanced". Mr. Lindsay reminds me of the blind man that said, when his wife put on a new dress, that he had never seen a prettier dress.

I still can't figure out whether the Post Standard is being cynical and humorous--or is it just showing its own ignorance in printing Mr. Lindsay's letter as a confirmation of the public's perception that their coverage of the Dahfir trial has been "fair and balanced".

Dhafir trial coverage fair and balanced

To the Editor:

The Jan. 9 letter by Katherine Hughes, "Dhafir trial coverage has prosecutorial tune," could not be more in error.
She says this newspaper's reporting of Dr. Dhafir's trial heavily favors the prosecution's side of the case. She also feels this paper is denying the right to be held innocent until proven guilty. She bases her assertions on her two-day-a-week attendance at the trial since it started in October.

Although not attending the trial, I have read all the reports on the proceedings since October, and disagree completely with Ms. Hughes, finding the reporting fair and balanced.

Finally, Dr. Dhafir's lengthy trial flies in the face of Ms. Hughes' question, "Doesn't he (Dr. Dhafir) deserve the right to be held innocent until proven guilty?"

Richard Lindsay
North Syracuse

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Post Standard Finally Prints "1 " Letter Criticizing it

Letters to the Editor

Post-Standard Letter

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Dhafir trial coverage has prosecutorial tone

To the Editor:

I have been attending the trial of Dr. Rafil Dhafir two days a week since it started in October. My experience of the paper's reporting on this trial suggests prosecution could not do a better job of presenting its side of the case if it were writing the articles.

Significant evidence for the defense is often ignored. If mentioned at all, it is buried under big, damning headlines. What happens in the courtroom and what is reported in the newspaper often have only a passing resemblance.

More than half-a-million Iraqi children under the age of five died as a direct result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq. Dr. Dhafir's actions may have helped save lives. Doesn't he deserve the right to be held innocent until proven guilty? Shouldn't we as citizens in a democracy help ensure this right, even if the newspaper denies it?

Katherine Hughes