Patrick Fitzgerald and the NeoCons

As rumors swirl that key NeoCons are frantically speed-dialing their lawyers in PlameGate, it's important to remember that if and when Richard Perle gets handed an indictment from Patrick Fitzgerald he is the only one we know of who will have to ask -- in what case?

In his day job as US Attorney in Chicago, Fitzgerald is also looking into Perle's activities on the board of Hollinger International, one of the country's largest media empires. His investigation focuses on how exactly big NeoCon chiseler Lord Conrad Black allegedly looted the company of some $540 million.

According to shareholders who are desperately trying to get their money back, Perle both enabled Black's generosity to himself and was also one of the beneficiaries of Black's largesse.

As part of the SEC investigation Perle had received a Wells notice, "a formal warning that the agency's enforcement staff has determined that evidence of wrongdoing is sufficient to bring a civil lawsuit."

Then recently, in his dogged climb to the top of the crap heap upon which Black himself is perched, Fitzgerald managed to flip Chicago Sun-Times publisher David Radler, who has agreed to serve 29 months and turn state's evidence.

We'll pause here for a moment to enjoy a roundly amusing side note regarding Radler, which ought to entertain anyone who relishes the thought of these kleptocratic white collar creeps behind bars:

Radler... is a notorious germaphobe and hypochrondiac, according to an ex-colleague.

During his years traversing the country as an executive for Black's Hollinger International, he refused to stay in any hotel other than the Four Seasons. A source related the tale of when, years ago, company execs were on a road show meeting with prospective investors in a Four Seasons-less Cincinnati.

When meetings wrapped up, Radler insisted the group fly back to Chicago and then return to Cincinnati for more meetings the next day — rather than stay in a non-Four Seasons.

On the company's Challenger jet, Radler stocked pantries with antibiotics and cleaning supplies. And when he arrived in Toronto during the SARS scare, Radler de-planed wearing a surgical mask. "It was a flying pharmacy," said a source. "He'd better be working in the prison laundry."

Stateville Prison/Four Seasons. Been to both. Big difference.

Anyway, as part of Radler's deal, he'll be cooperating with the SEC's case that already has Perle in the crosshairs and which Fitzgerald asked to intervene in this last March.

And to make matters worse, Hollinger's board just censured Perle in an internal company report, and they are reportedly suing him. Fellow board member Henry Kissinger and others settled a $50 million lawsuit with Hollinger shareholders in May, which also delightfully teases that there may criminal charges waiting for that old warmonger, too. But it is Perle who really has his neck in the noose.

Fitzgerald's investigation has already inflicted a severe case of dyspepsia to the BushCo. aparatus who have definitely been off their game since Matt Cooper testified last summer, and it looks like he's also having an effect on the international front since many of the bad guys are running for cover.

In an article entitled Corridors of Power: Return of Diplomacy UPI reports that after the recent deal with North Korea went down, one diplomat quipped, "This would never have happened if Richard Perle were alive."

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

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

Let's hope Mr. Fitzgerald can put a few more NeoCons in the "posthumous" category before this is all over.