Thursday, November 30, 2006
SPECIAL EDITION: US V. Bush, The Indictment Has Been Written, Words of Power Interviews Elizabeth de la Vega
"If this particular grand jury is hypothetical and the agents fictional, the facts presented are neither. As any prosecutor would attest, an accusation of criminal wrongdoing -- official or unofficial -- should never be made lightly, nor should it be based on fiction or hypothesis. Therefore, the facts set out in this book have been carefully researched and are, quite tragically, all too real. The legal principles I have explained are similarly real, based on federal statutes and well-established case law.
Applying this long-settled law to these incontrovertible facts leads, unfortunately, to but a single conclusion: the President and his aides did, in fact, conspire to defraud the United States by deceiving the nation and Congress about the grounds for an invasion of Iraq."
Elizabeth de la Vega, US v. Bush, et al
SPECIAL EDITION 12-1-06: Words of Power Interviews Elizabeth de la Vega
By Richard Power
The USA is not Harken Energy or the Alabama National Guard or the Texas Rangers.
There must be accountability for the lies that led to the deaths of several thousand men and women of the US military, the deaths of several hundred thousands of Iraqis, the squandering of hundreds of billions of dollars, and the loss of strategic advantage and prestige in the world community.
In an interview with Robert Scheer, conducted just prior to the 2006 US mid-term election, Gore Vidal put it bluntly: “So this election, coming up, although it’s a mere off-year, this is the on-year election of all our lives. And if we don’t turn it around the right way, we’re not going to have representative government. We’re not going to have the people’s voice ever again expressed quadrennially in the presidential election, because they can falsify it each time now. So now’s the time to use a new Congress, hoping we get one, to tidy up.” (TruthDig, 11-21-06)
And Air America radio talk show host Randi Rhodes summed it up just as bluntly after both Houses of Congress had been wrested from the one party rule that has been strangling the US federal government for the last several years: "We, literally, just saved our country from fascism..."
But now what? How does this new Congress “tidy up” as Vidal suggests?
Elizabeth de la Vega, whose served for twenty-one years as a US federal prosecutor has given us all a powerful weapon –- US v. Bush, et al. Published by Seven Stories and Tom Dispatch,
US v. Bush, et al contains a bullet-proof indictment of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell, and is organized into fictional transcripts of a seven day Grand Jury presentation, complete with the testimony of investigators, court room banter and queries from Grand Jury members.
Whatever happens in Beltwayistan over the next two years, if you give a damn about the future, you should get at least two copies of this book, one for yourself and one for someone else who cares just as much as you do.
I have studied the nature of the political animal all my life, and despite all that has gone wrong in the psyche of the Democratic Party over the last few years, my feeling is that Nancy Pelosi has what it takes. She will prove to be the right person in the right place at the right time to put an end to this nightmare for the USA and its true friends in the world. If history confronts her with the grim task of removing these people from high office, if there is no viable alternative that would guarantee the health of the Republic, she will not flinch.
Bush will either be under what I call “White House arrest” (i.e., boxed in under the constraint of serious scrutiny) until the end of his term or he will face impeachment.
Cheney will resign and be replaced for whatever faux reasons they wish to fabricate, or he will face impeachment.
At this point in time, I have no problem with Pelosi and her lieutenants saying that impeachment is “not on the table.” What else could or should they say at this juncture? This Shakespearean tragedy will continue to unfold, with many more twists and turns, for the next six months or so…
All the matters between now and January 2007 is that those elected officials who constitute the new House and Senate majorities stay alive and get sworn in.
And once they have been sworn-in, and assessed their own security under the Capitol Dome, they must finish the job.
Do not let them off the mat. Do not let them catch their breath. Do not let them regroup. Never turn your back on a dangerous adversary until he is vanquished.
To some of you this statement may sound extremely partisan. But it is not. It is a sober assessment from a security and risk perspective. It has nothing to do with politics.
This is a question of national security, and national survival. These people constitute a threat to the Republic and to the US Constitution. They must be held accountable for the hurt they have inflicted on the USA. Or other men, just as crazy but much more competent, will rise to replace them. (US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia does “not want to deal with global warming,” because he is “not a scientist.” Newt Gingrich, who seems to be hell-bent on “losing an American city” in a nuclear terrorist attack, wants to “re-think” the First Amendment.)
It will become clear to you as you turn the pages of US v. Bush, et al that it is love of country and dedication to the highest human values which has motivated de la Vega. Just as I have been motivated by an understanding of security and risk, de la Vegas has been motivated to write this imaginative and captivating book from her perspective as a former officer of the federal court, someone sworn to uphold the US Constitution.
To read some excerpts from the indictment and the testimony of US v. Bush, et al, go to Tom Dispatch.
To purchase copies, go to Amazon or Seven Stories or better yet, to support a bastion of the Internet information rebellion, buy it from Buzzflash.
Here is the Words of Power interview with Elizabeth de la Vega:
Words of Power: In a recent post, The USA Needs A Scapegoat, I suggest the Bush-Cheney National Insecurity Team," I argue that from a geopolitical perspective, and a global perspective, the impeachment of Bush and Cheney (or at least a genuine effort to do so) is a strategic imperative. The USA needs to distance itself from the debacle of this regime. The USA needs to say decisively that the responsibility for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and for the violation of the Geneva Accords and the UN Charter, etc. fall on the shoulders of Bush and Cheney. There is no other way for us to recoup our position in the world. I know your work approaches this issue as a legal and constitutional challenge, but I would be curious if you had an opinion on this view?
de la Vega: You are correct that my book focuses on the Bush administration's fraud from a legal perspective, but, with that caveat, I think your argument is right on target. The president's deceit has diluted, if not eviscerated, the high level of respect the United States enjoyed in the world before he took office. We have no standing whatsoever to remedy, or even criticize, the human rights violations that occur in the so-called less enlightened countries, because we are engaged in the same conduct.
Words of Power: Just as we have a strategic geopolitical imperative to distance ourselves as a nation from what has been perpetrated under false pretenses and in our name, don't we also have a constitutional imperative, a constitutional responsibility to pursue impeachment and even war crimes prosecutions? What happens to the US Constitution if such heinous acts (the Iraq War, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, Katrina, etc.) are allowed to go down in history unchallenged and unpunished? Does the Constitution become a hollow document? What kind of precedent is set for future administrations?
de la Vega: Again, I completely, and quite vigorously, agree with your analysis. The system of government that has prevailed in this country since its inception is one of checks and balances. The role and obligations of Congress are set forth in Article 1, and chief among those obligations is its duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. Neither Republicans nor Democrats should be sanguine about the idea of an unfettered President. This is particularly true in times of war because, as the "founding fathers" specifically discussed, war is the perfect vehicle for a chief executive or dictator to amass power.
Words of Power: It occurs to me that senators and representatives are also subject to impeachment, and if you examine the process by which the USA was lied into the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it is arguable that the scheme could not have been pulled off, or perhaps more important, perpetuated and covered up without the complicity of the Congressional leadership of the Party in control, particularly the Intelligence Committee Chairmen, notably Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). Have you given any thought to whether or not such lines of investigation should be pursued, could be pursued, etc. Is there any precedent?
de la Vega: I have, frankly, not given that a lot of thought and I am not aware of any such precedent. At this point I believe our most important goal should be to educate and inform the public about the violations committed by the President, Vice President and their senior aides.
Words of Power: Likewise, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, etc. could not have been foisted on the US populace without the complicity of the US mainstream news media, in particular the major networks and the cable news networks, oh yes, and Clear Channel. (There is now a precedent of sorts in the international tribunal for the Rwandan genocide, i.e., radio personnel were convicted of crimes against humanity for their hate speech, which was carried out in synch with the slaughter.) Is there criminal or civil action (or both) that could be carried out against the US mainstream news media? How would conduct such investigations? What would they look like? Is it feasible legally? Don't such organizations have a responsibility in a democracy? Aren't they given special status to carry out this responsibility, i.e., to inform the public?
de la Vega: The media has unquestionably been entirely remiss in its obligation to inform the public. Unfortunately, we no longer have the Fairness Doctrine, which provided at least some protection against the one-sided and superficial presentation of "news" that we are now served on a daily basis. As long as the public continues to tune into news shows that are nothing more than drive-by shoutings of two to three word sound bites, I am afraid we are going to receive more of the same. I should add, however, that the Internet is rapidly increasing its influence and may result in pressure being put on the media.
Words of Power: How do presidential pardons and the impeachment process relate to each other? Does one cancel out the other? It occurs to me that since he can't simply write another signing statement on an impeachment, Bush could simply pardon himself and Cheney ahead of the curve on the relevant “high crimes and misdemeanors”? Is there precedent? Is this an issue? How would such a scenario unfold?
de la Vega: Impeachment is a political/legal process that begins in the House of Representatives, usually with hearings. If the House votes on Articles of Impeachment, the matter moves to the Senate where a trial would take place. Since the process is, by its very nature, premised on the separation of powers, it is one method of accountability that the President can not avoid through a pardon. Indeed, the Constitution specifically excludes impeachment from the President's pardon power.
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Elizabeth de la Vega, Bush, Cheney, Iraq, Impeachment, US Constitution, Gore Vidal, Randi Rhodes, Nancy Pelosi