Sex, lies and audiotape: This plumed penman reckons that could've been the subhead for Paul Rubin's New Times cover story last week on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 2004 primary foe Dan Saban and Saban's lawsuit seeking a million smackers over the smear tactics of Arpaio's underlings, including Joe's chief deputy David Hendershott ("Boob's Tube," January 25, 2007).
Back in '04, the Jabba the Hutt-size Hendershott spearheaded a sleazy attempt to dredge up a 30-year-old rape allegation against Saban by his estranged adoptive mom Ruby Norman. Though the statute of limitations had expired, and though the sheriff's office had a conflict of interest bigger than Squaw Peak, Hendershott questioned Norman by phone in a taped confab. Later she was officially interviewed at her Apache Junction abode by members of Sheriff Arpaio's Threat Assessment Squad (now called the Selective Enforcement Unit).
The goal? Turning this info over to pro-Arpaio Channel 15 reporter Rob Koebel, so he'd do a hit piece on Saban. This Koebel did. But after it was revealed that Koebel'd made a $100 contribution to Arpaio's reelection coffers, Channel 15 canned his brown-nosin' ass. The damage, however, was done. Arpaio overcame his strongest political challenge since first being elected, beating former Mesa police commander Saban by the slimmest margin of his career, though it would've been a landslide for any other pol.
The so-called rape case was eventually kicked over to Pima County, much in the same way Arpaio's attempt to indict New Times for revealing the lawman's home address on the Internet in an investigation of his real-estate transactions two years ago has been turned over to Pinal County ("Joe Strikes Back," December 21, 2006). Not surprisingly, Pima refused to indict Saban on his adoptive ma's three-decade-old allegations. As for Pinal County Attorney Robert Carter Olsen, he's yet to decide whether to participate in Arpaio's vendetta against New Times and prosecute us.
It never ceases to amaze this outraged owl how Arpaio's able to rope in other AZ jurisdictions to pursue his enemies, even as Arpaio and his underlings remain free from prosecutorial scrutiny. Rubin reported that Hendershott admitted he'd taped over his initial interview with Saban's mother, but not before playing that tape for Koebel to hear. How convenient! In The Bird's estimation, Hendershott destroyed freakin' evidence, after pressuring Koebel with a phone call to do a televised Saban smear.
Isn't destruction of evidence by an Arpaio henchman worthy of an inquiry? Are Arpaio and his underlings above the law? They shouldn't be, but as PHX legal beagle Mike Manning opined to this avian, they are effectively beyond the reach of Arizona justice.
"Should they be investigated and tried? Of course," stated Manning of Hendershott, et al., in the Saban case. "They have a pattern of doing this. But it's been virtually impossible to get other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute them for their crimes."
Manning's an expert on Arpaio skullduggery, having successfully sued the county and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for multimillion dollar settlements and awards in the deaths of Scott Norberg and Charles Agster. Later this year, Manning'll be going for the trifecta in a lawsuit over the Tent City beating death of Phillip Wilson, one of the MCSO's own informants.
"Because of the political relationship between Arpaio and the County Attorney's office, you will not get any effective, independent investigation done of crimes or potential crimes by the MCSO," Manning maintains. "They just won't do it."
Indeed, Arpaio's lawyer is Dennis Wilenchik, a crony of County Attorney Candy Thomas. Candy once worked for Wilenchik & Bartness, and has steered lots of work for the county toward the bilious barrister ("Bully Pulpit," June 29, 2006). Given such lucrative and incestuous political ties, Candy's more likely to shave that dirty Sanchez mustache of his than investigate Arpaio or hatchet man Hendershott.
But this snarky seagull's a punishment glutton, so it rang up Candy's chief flack Barnett Lotstein to ask him whether or not Candy's inclined to indict Hendershott for destroying evidence. While at it, why not investigate Arpaio spokeswoman Lisa Allen MacPherson and sheriff's Sergeant Steve Bailey for possible perjury in their Saban depos? MacPherson claimed she was "kept in the dark big-time." However, Koebel stated MacPherson and pals phoned him about the case, and that MacPherson was present when Hendershott turned over the Saban police report to him. Bailey asserts he didn't discuss the case with Koebel before interviewing Saban's momma. Phone records suggest otherwise. These stark contradictions should at least be looked into.
Lotstein pleaded ignorance on the matter, telling this talon-bearer, "I don't even know what you're talking about." He went on to say that the county attorney's office was refusing to put The Bird on its mailing list to be notified when press conferences by County Attorney Thomas are scheduled.
"I'm not going to answer any more questions other than to tell you we've chosen not to put you on our mailing list," squawked Lotstein. Who knows? Maybe it has to do with New Times reporter Sarah Fenske's story about how Thomas tried to railroad a 16-year-old kid on child-porn charges, which could've put the kid away for 90 years ("Doubting Thomas," January 25, 2007). Thomas' actions in this case are truly chilling and demonstrate just how unscrupulous the pious top law-enforcement officer in this county really is.
Yet, just because a public official despises the press they're getting doesn't mean they have the right to violate the First Amendment, denying info to reporters they don't like. Lotstein's actions mirror the activities of Candy confederate Arpaio, whose office routinely tramples the First Amendment rights of this paper and its readers because New Times has the gall to run hard-hitting, critical articles about the MCSO. In the Saban case, for example, Arpaio lieutenants MacPherson and Hendershott made sure Channel 15's Koebel received their Saban report tout de suite. New Times had to wait 144 days and file a lawsuit to obtain the report after being lied to concerning its whereabouts. (The MCSO told us they'd forwarded it to Pima County, when in fact, they'd faxed it to Pima and were in possession of the report.)
Arpaio's office scoffs at public records laws by refusing New Times' records requests, and it denies New Times reporters access to the Sheriff's press conferences. Furthermore, Arpaio's flacks won't take (much less return) New Times' calls. This, despite the MCSO Web site's misleading statement that it has "a very open policy when it comes to the media."
Closer to the truth is Arpaio's assertion in his Saban depo: "I have no rules. I have nothing down in black and white that I know of that's going to force me to make a decision based on any rule (or) regulation." Arpaio's a law unto himself in Maricopa County, with nothing but a free press standing in his way. No wonder he wants to see the New Times indicted. With a free press muzzled, Arpaio and his front-office stooges will be able to defy the law with impunity. Oh, wait a minute, whether New Times is indicted or not, they're already doing that.
Hold onto your binoculars, bird lovers. This so-called "9/11 Accountability Conference" to be held February 23-25 at Chandler's Crown Plaza San Marcos is being organized by get this a gen-u-wine Holocaust denier.
You heard this cuckoo correctly. The crackpot parade descending on Chandler to discuss why the attacks on 9/11 were an inside job by George W. Bush & Co. are to be led by Eric D. Williams, author of the self-published tome The Puzzle of Auschwitz, which claims there were no gas chambers at the infamous Nazi concentration camp, that Jews were not systematically murdered there, and that, furthermore, Hitler's Final Solution's a prevarication propagated by an international Zionist conspiracy.
Wow! This cockamamie cock-of-the-rock thinks the wacky 9/11 "truth" crowd has finally jumped the proverbial shark!
The Bird was tipped off to Williams' involvement in the conference by blogger Pat Curley of Screwloosechange.blogspot.com, a site devoted to debunking the outrageous lies of the 9/11 "truthers," who're better referred to as "9/11 deniers." Williams' book can be downloaded from online publisher Lulu.com for $4.98, and boy, is it a humdinger. The Ohio-based Williams, who has no degree in history and does not speak German, contemptuously dismisses the mountains of photographic and documentary evidence of the Final Solution and the killings at Auschwitz, a place he refers to as a "reconstructed theme park."
(Please note: Since conversing with this cantankerous condor, Williams has posted a free PDF of his book on his site, www.whatreallyisthematrix.com, along with a "disclaimer" stating he's not a Holocaust denier, despite evidence in his text to the contrary.)
Williams supports his Shoah-shirking claims by attacking and twisting accounts of survivors and legitimate historians, and by citing such discredited sources as the Institute for Historical Review and Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., a hero to neo-Nazis worldwide. Leuchter's shoddily produced "Leuchter Report" rejecting the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz is thoroughly trashed in Errol Morris' acclaimed documentary Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. Interestingly, when this tweeter caught up with Williams via phone, he said he was unaware of both the well-known Morris doc and subsequent scientific tests refuting Leuchter's findings about the use of the poison Zyklon-B at the camp. He also seemed strangely confused when confronted with the fact that he was essentially parroting what many neo-Nazis hold to be self-evident.
"I'd think the neo-Nazis would want more people to be killed in the Holocaust than for people to say those people weren't killed in the Holocaust," chirped Williams.
Is Williams some sort of revisionist retard? He must've missed ex-Klan leader and white supremacist David Duke's appearance at the recent Holocaust-denier's conference in Tehran, organized by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who's referred to the Holocaust as a "myth." There, Duke was reported as saying, "The Holocaust is the device used as the pillar of Zionist imperialism, Zionist aggression, Zionist terror and Zionist murder."
Williams expresses similar sentiments in his Auschwitz book's penultimate chapter, titled "The Zionist Agenda," wherein he states that the Israeli state came about through "the exaggeration (of) the suffering of the Jews during WWII." He further insists there's a plot to "enslave the peoples of the planet" by "Neo-Conservatives, the Catholic Church, various secret societies including the Free Masons, and the Zionists."
Pardon this parakeet, but is there a freakin' head-shrinker in the house?!
Williams himself makes the connection between Holocaust-denial fruitcakery and the wacktivism of 9/11 refuseniks in his intro to The Puzzle of the Holocaust by referring to his previous tome The Puzzle of 9/11, asking, "If we are being lied to about the events of September 11, and its pursuing 'War on Terror,' then what else have we been lied to [sic]?"
Williams, er, denied he's an anti-Semite or a member of any white-power or neo-Nazi org. Still, his book and his role in the powwow call into question the legitimacy of a conference that, even without him, would be a few clowns short of a circus.
For instance, local 9/11 denier Kent Knudson's helping to put together the three-day event. You may recall Knudson from this woodpecker's column "Loose Screws" (September 7, 2006), wherein Knudson asserted that al-Qaeda doesn't exist. Knudson's weirdo Web site, www.cowcrap.org, kvetches about his felony conviction for shooting someone else's cattle on his Snowflake property. Read the site and you'll observe that Knudson suffers from a definite marble deficiency.
Also on the list of speakers are a former follower of Lyndon LaRouche; a publisher of an Idaho-based survivalist newsletter; Dylan Avery, the filmmaker behind the pseudo-documentary Loose Change; perennial PHX Libertarian candidate Ernie Hancock; radio talk show host Charles Goyette of 1100 KFNX AM; and Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of AZ's ACLU, whose presence at this Mad Hatter's convention sticks out like a zit on a Playboy Playmate's airbrushed caboose.
"This is the first I've heard of it," Meetze confessed to this clucker when told of Williams' Holocaust-denying. But she disagreed with the argument that her presence at the conference might give oddballs like Williams legitimacy.
"If those are his views, they're certainly atrocious," she said. "Because I personally condemn these views doesn't mean the ACLU should shy away from getting its message across."
Getting its message across to a conference organized by a Holocaust denier, and made up of people who think 9/11 was government-staged? Hey, it's one thing to defend the right of kooks like these to speak, Alessandra. It's another to appear at their meetings.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.