Archive for the ‘impeachment’ tag
Pigs must be flying, as I have substantive agreement with reliably tone-deaf conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin, specifically about the Emoluments Clause as it applies to the short-fingered vulgarian.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
(click here to continue reading Title of Nobility Clause – Wikipedia.)
As things stand now, President-elect Donald Trump has suggested he will not divest himself of a myriad of businesses around the globe that pose serious conflicts of interest, nor will he liquidate even foreign holdings, the proceeds of which would put him in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
In an academically sound and federal court brief quality paper, Norman Eisen, Richard Painter and Laurence Tribe conclude:
Careful review of the Emoluments Clause shows that the Clause unquestionably applies to the President of the United States; that it covers an exceptionally broad and diverse range of remunerative relationships (including fair market value transactions that confer profit on a federal officeholder); and that it reaches payments and emoluments from foreign states (including state-owned and state-controlled corporations).
In the context of Trump, they cite multiple sources of foreign revenue that on their face would, the moment Trump is inaugurated, put him in violation of the Constitution. They enumerate multiple instances in which he already improperly blurred private and public conduct. (For example: “Most troubling, Ivanka has participated in several meetings between Mr. Trump and foreign heads of state, including those from Turkey, Argentina, and Japan. Ivanka’s presence at Mr. Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is especially striking, since Ivanka is currently in talks with Sanei International (whose largest shareholder is wholly owned by the Japanese government) to close a major and highly lucrative licensing deal.”) They then list multiple holdings that would provide prohibited revenue. (For example: “Trump International Hotel, a major new project in Washington, D.C. and a new hot spot for foreign diplomats”; “the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China—owned by the People’s Republic of China—is the single largest tenant in Trump Tower”; “even as debates rage over American/Russian relations and Russian cyberattacks on U.S. interests and even on the recent presidential election, it has been reported that Russian financiers play a significant (albeit concealed) role in Mr. Trump’s organization.”)
These examples are but the tip of an iceberg of unknowable dimension. They suggest the remarkably wide range of situations in which a foreign power could seek to confer a benefit on Mr. Trump through his private interests. Wholly apart from any actual quid pro quo arrangements or demonstrable bribes or payoffs, the Emoluments Clause will be violated whenever a foreign diplomat stays in a Trump hotel or hosts a reception in one; whenever foreign-owned banks offer loans to Mr. Trump’s businesses or pay rent for office space in his buildings; whenever projects are jump-started or expedited or licensed or otherwise advantaged because Mr. Trump is associated with them; whenever foreign prosecutors and regulators treat a Trump entity favorably; and whenever the Trump Organization makes a profit on a business transaction with any foreign state or foreign owned entity.
(click here to continue reading Trump is on target to violate the Constitution the moment he takes the oath of office – The Washington Post.)
Lawrence Tribe writes about the walking unconstitutionality of Trump’s pending regime in the Guardian U.K.
Known as the emoluments clause, this provision was designed on the theory that a federal officeholder who receives something of value from a foreign power can be tempted to compromise what the constitution insists be his exclusive loyalty: the best interest of the United States. The clause applies to the president and covers even ordinary, fair market value transactions with foreign states and their agents that result in any profit or benefit. That a hostile government has gotten its money’s worth from our president is obviously no defense to a charge that he has abused his office.
Trump’s continued interest in the Trump Organization and his steady stream of monetary and other benefits from foreign powers put him on a collision course with the emoluments clause. Disentangling every improper influence resulting from special treatment of Trump’s business holdings by foreign states would be impossible. The American people would be condemned to uncertainty, leaving our political discourse rife with accusations of corruption. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that Trump has regularly declined to make his business dealings or tax returns transparent.
Thus a specter of skewed incentives will haunt a Donald Trump presidency.
While much has changed since the constitution was written, certain premises of politics and human nature have held steady. Among them is that private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 22: “One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.” The framers sought to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings, writing a broad ban on potentially corrupting foreign influence into article I of our nation’s charter.
By imposing clear limitations, the clause avoids situations in which the American people must search for hints of improperly motivated presidential favoritism toward selected foreign powers, or of foreign attempts to seduce the American president into compromising our national interest for his private profit.
With Trump, this search has already begun. His global business empire creates ideal conditions for ongoing violations of the emoluments clause. Mere weeks before Trump spoke by phone with the president of Taiwan – a dramatic departure from America’s “one China” policy – a businesswoman associated with his conglomerate reportedly arrived in Taiwan to inquire about major new investments in luxury hotels. Trump’s businesses owe hundreds of millions to Deutsche Bank, which is currently negotiating a multibillion-dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice – a settlement that will now be overseen by an attorney general selected by and serving at the pleasure of Trump.
(click here to continue reading Donald Trump will violate the US constitution on inauguration day | Laurence H Tribe | Opinion | The Guardian.)
more on this topic from John F. Kowal:
On Friday, the Brookings Institution issued an analysis of an obscure constitutional provision that should concern every American. The paper, by Norman Eisen, Richard Painter and Laurence Tribe, demonstrates persuasively that when the 538 presidential electors meet on Monday to cast their votes for president, electing Donald Trump as almost everyone expects, they will be electing a president whose tangled and mysterious web of business dealings “violate both the spirit and the letter of [a] critical piece of the U.S. Constitution.”
The concern, specifically, arises out of Trump’s many entanglements with foreign governments and leaders. While we don’t know the full extent of these ties, thanks to Trump’s refusal to make his business records (including tax returns) public, what we do know raises grave concerns. As the clock ticks down to Monday’s Electoral College vote, which will actually be 51 separate votes in each state capital plus the District of Columbia, it is still not too late for electors to hold the President-Elect accountable.
The constitutional provision in question is the Emoluments Clause, found in Article I, Section 9. Before its current moment in the spotlight, even most lawyers would be hard pressed to explain its purpose in our constitutional framework. Simply put, the clause prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” under the United States government from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state.” Only explicit consent from Congress can make such actions legal.
The word “emolument” is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “profit or gain from station, office, or employment; reward, remuneration, salary.” As the Brookings paper notes, the framers of our Constitution used the term as “a catch-all for many species of improper remuneration.”
The framers worried a great deal about foreign interference in the American political system. They saw first hand how the great European powers tried to manipulate American officials by giving them gifts and money. Indeed, as Professor Zephyr Teachout explains: “Several provisions of the Constitution were designed assuming that foreign powers would actively try to gain influence.” By strictly insulating our government officials from financial ties to foreign states and leaders, they sought to avoid insidious foreign influence and dual loyalties.
As the Brookings’ authors note: “The Emoluments Clause was forged of their hard-won wisdom. It is no relic of a bygone era, but rather an expression of insight into the nature of the human condition and the preconditions of self-governance.”
The concerns over foreign meddling, viewed through the prism of 1789, don’t seem so far fetched in 2016, despite our evolution from fledgling republic to pre-eminent global power. Indeed, as we continue to collectively process an election in which a rival nation, Russia, flagrantly meddled with the goal of affecting the result, the framers’ concern over foreign entanglements seems more vital than ever.
and more from Norman Eisen and Richard Painter of The Atlantic:
The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution stemmed from one of the Founders’ core concerns: foreign influence over our nation’s affairs. They worried that their new republic would, like the colonial governments the Americans had overthrown, once again come under the thumb of foreign rulers—if not by force of arms, by artifices of corruption. The term “emolument” comes from the Latin emolumentum, meaning profit or advantage, and emoliri, meaning to bring out by effort.
By 1789, the founders had seen enough of the way foreign rulers corrupted their own officials and those abroad. The British Crown plied elected members of Parliament with stipends and other emoluments intended to induce them to do the King’s bidding rather than serve the people who elected them, while the French King sent expensive gifts—including portraits framed with diamonds—to American officials to curry favor.
Hence the Emoluments Clause, which provides “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” It is the original financial conflict of interest law of the United States, and the only one embodied in the Constitution.
The Emoluments Clause applies to all persons holding an office of trust or profit with the United States government—no exceptions. It applies to the president, the vice president, and the members of Congress. No one is above the law. The founders could have exempted these elected officials in the plain language of the Emoluments Clause, but they did not, and for good reason. It makes little sense to prohibit foreign gifts from going to ambassadors and other officials if their elected bosses could simply accept the same gifts in their stead.
The Framers’ contemporary views illustrate that they clearly intended the clause to have the broadest possible scope. As Virginia debated the adoption of the Constitution, Governor Edmund Randolph made clear that the Emoluments Clause applied to the president when he said (in response to questions about whether term limits were needed for the president):
There is another provision against the danger mentioned by the honorable member, of the president receiving emoluments from foreign powers. If discovered he may be impeached. If he be not impeached he may be displaced at the end of the four years. … He is restrained from receiving any present or emoluments whatever. It is impossible to guard better against corruption.
The Emoluments Clause prohibits the president from accepting anything of value from a foreign government. The clause expressly prohibits both “presents [and] emoluments…of any kind whatever.”
(click here to continue reading Trump Could Be in Violation of the Constitution His First Day in Office – The Atlantic.)
There is more discussion of this topic, of course. But will a toothless, feckless Congress, and a complacent media insist that the Constitution be followed? Or is this the beginning of the end of our republic?
This was a parenthetical statement in a troll-baiting OpEd from Peter Schuck
Impeachment proceedings against Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton involved criminal conduct more egregious than Mr. Obama’s policy unilateralism.
(click here to continue reading The Impeachment of Obama on Immigration May Be Legal — But It’s Wrong – NYTimes.com.)
Really? Really? I was never a supporter of Mr. DLC Triangulation, a/k/a Bill Clinton, even going so far as voting for the Green Party candidate1 in 1996, but the whole impeachment travesty over testifying about receiving oral sex from Monica Lewinsky was not equal to Richard Nixon’s criminal conduct. Was there some other criminal conduct besides that perjury? Or just a man trying to keep his blowjobs out of the news media?
As to the more immediate question, will Congress actually impeach Obama? Can they? and should they? Is Obama guilty of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors? What exactly does misdemeanor mean in this context? I guess we’ll see soon enough, as the Republican Party is gearing up to lead the US down the banana republic road…
House Republicans filed a long-threatened lawsuit Friday against the Obama administration over unilateral actions on the health care law that they say are abuses of the president’s executive authority.
The lawsuit — filed against the secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury — focuses on two crucial aspects of the way the administration has put the Affordable Care Act into effect.
The suit accuses the Obama administration of unlawfully postponing a requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.)
House Republicans struggled to find a law firm willing to take their case. Two withdrew, but on Tuesday, Mr. Boehner hired Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University.
(click here to continue reading House G.O.P. Files Lawsuit in Battling Health Law – NYTimes.com.)Footnotes:
- Ralph Nader [↩]
Interesting discussion from Professor Robert Thurman, attempting to start a meme, questioning why signing Grover Norquist’s pledge to destroy the government is not a subversive, impeachable act. The professor has a point: signing an oath to an unelected organization whose sole purpose is to starve the “beast” of government is akin to signing an oath to violently overthrow the US Constitution. Unpatriotic at the very least, and maybe an impeachable offense. Why should we hire (i.e., elect) people who hate the country so much?
Give a listen to his ten minute speech, what do you think?
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Americans For Tax Reforms oath against the interest of the United States Government reads:
I, ________________________, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of _______________________, and to the American people that I will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses;
and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
- full name is United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office [↩]
My photo was used to illustrate this post
As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air. The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week, and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world, as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people. From there, MSNBC proceeded to support the war with mild critiques around the edges, and to white-out the idea of impeachment or accountability.
But now MSNBC has seen its way clear to airing a documentary about the fraudulent case it assisted in, a documentary titled Hubris. This short film (which aired between 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, but with roughly half of those minutes occupied by commercials) pointed out the role of the New York Times in defrauding the public, but not MSNBC’s role.
click here to view: Hubris Isn’t the Half of It
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I picked up a copy of this book, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I should start soon. Funny how the book has been basically ignored by the media, and yet still appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list, even without bulk orders1…
Vincent Bugliosi wants George W. Bush prosecuted for murder. There are others who are complicit in the crime, namely the Vice President and Condoleezza Rice, but Bush is the target of this famed former Los Angeles prosecutor (the Charles Manson case) and best selling author (Helter Skelter and The Betrayal of America as two examples). He is undeterred by the virtual major media blackout on interviews and advertising. He’s taking his case directly to the people through alternate media and the internet.
Bugliosi constructs a devastating case in The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. As I write this review, it is still difficult to grasp my sense of shock at this title with this author’s name below it. A legendary prosecutor with a near perfect record in big cases, Bugliosi articulates one of the most revolutionary ideas imaginable in a mix of today’s otherwise vapid and obtuse political thinking. But first, the book and how the prosecutor makes his case.
He wastes no time in following up on the shock generated by the title. In the first sentence, we’re told:
The book you are about to read deals with what I believe to be the most serious crime ever committed in American history – – the president of the nation, George W. Bush, knowingly and deliberately taking this country to war in Iraq under false presences, a war that condemned over 100,000 human beings, including 4,000 American soldiers, to horrific, violent deaths.” (V. Bugliosi, p. 3)
The president “knowingly and deliberately” caused the deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians and that’s called murder, plain and simple. This is not a hypothetical case that could happen under special legal interpretations. When the president leaves office, he is subject to the same law as the rest of us. Bugliosi explains the ability to prosecute the case against George W. Bush by a district attorney or states attorney in any local jurisdiction where a life was lost in the Iraq war. Federal prosecutors also have that option. Bugliosi’s detailed analysis of this phenomenon offers some of the best analysis in the book and the detailed end notes.
George Bush better get his world traveling finished before he leaves office; once 2009 arrives, there might be a few impediments to visiting certain enlightened countries.
Oh, Mr. Bugliosi has a website too, check it out.Footnotes:
- certain right wing organizations bulk purchase, and give away, books they want publicity for. Many bookstores will prominently display a book if it is on the NYT best-seller list. If I was wealthy enough, I’d bulk purchase selected liberal-leaning books [↩]
Despite what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi might think1 misleading Congress is an impeachable offense.
Ron Suskind is really good at burying a lede.
Diligent, linear-minded readers will have to ford through 370 pages of his alternately incisive and gauzy book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” to reach the accusation that has set the nation’s blogs abuzz. In September 2003, according to Suskind, CIA officials — at the direct command of then-CIA director George Tenet and at the behest of the White House — deliberately forged a backdated letter from Iraqi security chief Tahir Jalil Habbush to Saddam Hussein. The phony letter claimed that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had trained for his mission in Iraq and that al-Qaida had facilitated mysterious shipments from Niger to Iraq. The letter was the “slam dunk” the Bush administration had been seeking so desperately: evidence of a direct operational link between al-Qaida and Saddam’s regime.
Leaked to conservative British journalist Con Coughlin, the letter was made public just as Saddam was captured in his spider hole near Tikrit. In the course of a single news cycle, the war against Saddam had been “vindicated,” Saddam himself had been flushed from hiding, and the Bush administration’s war had seemingly reached its triumphal and foregone conclusion. Or had it?
To further refine the question: Did nobody think it remarkable that an intelligence chief would commit such damning information to paper and then sign it in his own hand?
Since then, that narrative has unraveled thread by thread — as has the Habbush letter. That it was a forgery can no longer be doubted; that it originated with the White House may be harder to prove. Two former CIA officials — Rob Richer and John Maguire — have gone on record as saying they were personally charged with carrying out the forgery, but their marching orders, if they existed, came directly from Tenet (who has fiercely denied the story). The closest thing Suskind has to a smoking gun is Richer’s memory, five years later, of “looking down at the creamy White House stationery on which the assignment was written.” But here, too, a skeptic’s antennae begin to quiver: Why would an operation so patently illegal be printed on official stationery? It’s worth placing Richer’s and Maguire’s charges, too, in the context of the often-rancorous relations between White House officials and CIA veterans, who have seen their sphere of influence severely curtailed in post-9/11
Impeach the bastards, haul them in criminal court for the murder of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis!Footnotes:
- she famously stated “Impeachment is off the table”, and allows no real discussion of the topic [↩]
There has been some calls for impeachment proceedings to remove Governor Blah-blah1 – we hadn’t decided if we supported that or not, even though we think Gov Blah Blah is doing a horrible job. However, the contrast between two news stories published today:
The confusing controversy over Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s decision to give $1 million in state assistance following the Pilgrim Baptist Church fire has a new twist—the founder of the private Chicago school that got the money is contradicting the governor’s statement about what happened.
Blagojevich has maintained that he wanted the money to help the historic church but bureaucratic mistakes sent it to the school.
In her first interview since the controversy over the money erupted this spring, Elmira Mayes, the founder of the family-run Loop Lab School, said Blagojevich personally promised her the money.
Mayes said the governor visited the fire site and talked with her as she was sifting through debris from her burned-out school, which had rented space from the church. She did not recall the governor’s exact words but “he told me he would help build the school and give $1 million.”
Mayes’ account raises fresh questions about the Blagojevich administration’s efforts to clean up their boss’ campaign promise gone awry. Blagojevich has since pledged a second million dollars to the church and ordered a review of whether the state should recover the money given to the school.
The stumbling U.S. economy is forcing states to slash spending and cut jobs in order to close a projected $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year.
That gap — identified Wednesday in a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures — is more than triple the size of the previous year’s. It is the result of broad economic weakness at the state and local levels that could cause pain throughout this year and into 2010. Sales-tax collections, for example, have been hurt by the housing slump and high gasoline prices, which are prompting cutbacks in consumer spending. Personal income-tax collections have been hit by rising unemployment, while corporate income-tax collections have been eroded by falling profits.
“We expect it to get worse before it gets better,” said Corina Eckl, fiscal-program director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The conference’s new report describes the shortfalls states face in their budgeting process for the current fiscal year, which began in July.
is just too great. Gov Blah Blah squanders cash, can’t explain how or why, and yet Illinois is deeply in the red, cutting various social programs, considering tax increases. I don’t think Gov Blah Blah is even having any fun being governor, he should just resign, move back to Lincoln Park, and become a lobbyist.Footnotes:
Frank Rich has been reading Jane Mayer’s new page-turner, The Dark Side, and connects it to both Nixon’s final days, and the futile War in Iraq.
“The Final Days” was published in 1976, two years after Nixon abdicated in disgrace. With the Bush presidency, no journalist (or turncoat White House memoirist) is waiting for the corpse to be carted away. The latest and perhaps most chilling example arrives this week from Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, long a relentless journalist on the war-on-terror torture beat. Her book “The Dark Side” connects the dots of her own past reporting and that of her top-tier colleagues (including James Risen and Scott Shane of The New York Times) to portray a White House that, like its prototype, savaged its enemies within almost as ferociously as it did the Constitution.
But are we safe? As Al Qaeda and the Taliban surge this summer, that single question is even more urgent than the moral and legal issues attending torture.
On those larger issues, the evidence is in, merely awaiting adjudication. Mr. Bush’s 2005 proclamation that “we do not torture” was long ago revealed as a lie. Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated detainee abuse for the Army, concluded that “there is no longer any doubt” that “war crimes were committed.” Ms. Mayer uncovered another damning verdict: Red Cross investigators flatly told the C.I.A. last year that America was practicing torture and vulnerable to war-crimes charges.
Top Bush hands are starting to get sweaty about where they left their fingerprints. Scapegoating the rotten apples at the bottom of the military’s barrel may not be a slam-dunk escape route from accountability anymore.
No wonder the former Rumsfeld capo, Douglas Feith, is trying to discredit a damaging interview he gave to the British lawyer Philippe Sands for another recent and essential book on what happened, “Torture Team.” After Mr. Sands previewed his findings in the May issue of Vanity Fair, Mr. Feith protested he had been misquoted — apparently forgetting that Mr. Sands had taped the interview. Mr. Feith and Mr. Sands are scheduled to square off in a House hearing this Tuesday.
So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, haspublicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer’s book helps cement the case that America’s use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.
In her telling, a major incentive for Mr. Cheney’s descent into the dark side was to cover up for the Bush White House’s failure to heed the Qaeda threat in 2001. Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.’s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was “all preventable.” By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.’s inspector general, “50 or 60 individuals” in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director that summer, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!”
After 9/11, our government emphasized “interrogation over due process,” Ms. Mayer writes, “to pre-empt future attacks before they materialized.” But in reality torture may well be enabling future attacks. This is not just because Abu Ghraib snapshots have been used as recruitment tools by jihadists. No less destructive are the false confessions inevitably elicited from tortured detainees. The avalanche of misinformation since 9/11 has compromised prosecutions, allowed other culprits to escape and sent the American military on wild-goose chases. The coerced “confession” to the murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to take one horrific example, may have been invented to protect the real murderer.
The biggest torture-fueled wild-goose chase, of course, is the war in Iraq. Exhibit A, revisited in “The Dark Side,” is Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an accused Qaeda commander whose torture was outsourced by the C.I.A. to Egypt. His fabricated tales of Saddam’s biological and chemical W.M.D. — and of nonexistent links between Iraq and Al Qaeda — were cited by President Bush in his fateful Oct. 7, 2002, Cincinnati speech ginning up the war and by Mr. Powell in his subsequent United Nations presentation on Iraqi weaponry. Two F.B.I. officials told Ms. Mayer that Mr. al-Libi later explained his lies by saying: “They were killing me. I had to tell them something.”
That “something” was crucial in sending us into the quagmire that, five years later, has empowered Iran and compromised our ability to counter the very terrorists that torture was supposed to thwart. As The Times reported two weeks ago, Iraq has monopolized our military and intelligence resources to the point where we don’t have enough predator drones or expert C.I.A. field agents to survey the tribal areas where terrorists are amassing in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the threat to America from Al Qaeda is “comparable to what it faced on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Seth Jones, a RAND Corporation terrorism expert and Pentagon consultant. The difference between now and then is simply that the base of operations has moved, “roughly the difference from New York to Philadelphia.”
Way to restore dignity to the White House, Generalissimo Bush. And misleading Congress is an impeachable offense, lest we forget in our haste to string up the Bush Administration officials.
War criminals: no better than any despot we’ve fulminated against over the years.
Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001.
The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were “categorically” torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.
The book says Abu Zubaydah was confined in a box “so small he said he had to double up his limbs in the fetal position” and was one of several prisoners to be “slammed against the walls,” according to the Red Cross report. The C.I.A. has admitted that Abu Zubaydah and two other prisoners were waterboarded, a practice in which water is poured on the nose and mouth to create the sensation of suffocation and drowning.
The book, “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” by Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, offers new details of the agency’s secret detention program, as well as the bitter debates in the administration over interrogation methods and other tactics in the campaign against Al Qaeda.
Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the report,” Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.” Red Cross representatives were not permitted access to the secret prisons where the C.I.A. conducted interrogations, but were permitted to interview Abu Zubaydah and other high-level detainees in late 2006, after they were moved to the military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Impeachment is too lenient of a punishment: George Bush and his handlers should stand trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity. 2009 cannot come too quickly.
The big question is – do the Bushites successfully escalate the simmering war with Iran to invasion levels before leaving office? Let us all pray to whatever deities are appropriate that the warning signs Seymour Hersh discusses in his latest New Yorker article are not as dire as they appear.
ate last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.
Military and civilian leaders in the Pentagon share the White House’s concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but there is disagreement about whether a military strike is the right solution. Some Pentagon officials believe, as they have let Congress and the media know, that bombing Iran is not a viable response to the nuclear-proliferation issue, and that more diplomacy is necessary.
A Democratic senator told me that, late last year, in an off-the-record lunch meeting, Secretary of Defense Gates met with the Democratic caucus in the Senate. (Such meetings are held regularly.) Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.” Gates’s comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Gates’s answer, the senator told me, was “Let’s just say that I’m here speaking for myself.” (A spokesman for Gates confirmed that he discussed the consequences of a strike at the meeting, but would not address what he said, other than to dispute the senator’s characterization.)
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran, the person familiar with the Finding told me. Similarly, a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror said that “at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders”—the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world—“have weighed in on that issue.”
The most outspoken of those officers is Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure, after giving a series of interviews stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran. For example, late last year he told the Financial Times that the “real objective” of U.S. policy was to change the Iranians’ behavior, and that “attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice.”
Otherwise, we’re all fracked. Read the entire scary article here. Maybe impeachment proceedings would derail the nutjobs in the White House? Something, anything to distract them from starting yet another war of aggression.
Of course, nothing has happened with Dennis Kucinich’s 35 Articles of Impeachment, other than a lot of yammering. Vincent Bugliosi (author of The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President) thinks a different tactic could be used – prosecuting Bush for “malice aforethought“.
Famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, foreshadowing the Senate committee report with much of the same damning evidence, argues in a new book that Bush “deserves much more than impeachment”–a penalty he considers incommensurate with the crimes committed. In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, the New York Times bestselling author and prosecutor lays out the legal case for prosecuting President Bush in a US courtroom after he leaves office.
Bugliosi writes, “4000 young Americans decomposing in their grave today died for George Bush and Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.” His book is not only a scathing indictment of the President and his Administration but also a blueprint for holding him criminally accountable. Bugliosi accuses Bush of taking the nation to war in Iraq under deliberately false pretenses and thus holds him culpable for thousands of subsequent deaths, detailing in The Prosecution the legal basis for such a case and laying out what he argues is the requisite evidence for a murder conviction.
While at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Bugliosi successfully prosecuted twenty-one murder convictions without a single loss, most famously that of serial murderer Charles Manson. He also penned a number of best-selling true-crime books, including Helter Skelter and Outrage.
[From Bugliosi v. Bush]
Bretty Story conducts a telephone interview with Mr. Bugliosi, click here to read it in full.
From the book jacket:
In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.
As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.
A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.
Vincent Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.
You’d be hard pressed to find much mention of Representative Dennis J. Kucinich’s admittedly quixotic campaign to impeach the Liar in Chief (and his enabler, Dick Cheney, last year) in the media. The New York Times, for instance, ran a tiny AP story, that made sure to insist nothing was going to happen:
Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, defied his party leadership on Monday by calling for the impeachment of President Bush for starting the war in Iraq — but his move was not expected to go anywhere. Mr. Kucinich, a former presidential candidate, outlined his intention to propose more than two dozen charges against Mr. Bush on the floor of the House. He accused Mr. Bush of executing a “calculated and wide-ranging strategy” to deceive citizens and Congress into believing that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she opposes trying to remove Mr. Bush
If you have a few moments, the full text is currently available at Kucinich.house.gov, and begins:
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:
Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.
These are the 35 charges:
- CREATING A SECRET PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN TO MANUFACTURE A FALSE CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ
- FALSELY, SYSTEMATICALLY, AND WITH CRIMINAL INTENT CONFLATING THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 WITH MISREPRESENTATION OF IRAQ AS AN IMMINENT SECURITY THREAT AS PART OF A FRAUDULENT JUSTIFICATION FOR A WAR OF AGGRESSION.
- MISLEADING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO BELIEVE IRAQ POSSESSED WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, SO AS TO MANUFACTURE A FALSE CASE FOR WAR
- ILLEGALLY MISSPENDING FUNDS TO SECRETLY BEGIN A WAR OF AGGRESSION
- INVADING IRAQ IN VIOLATION OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF HJRes114.
- INVADING IRAQ ABSENT A DECLARATION OF WAR
- INVADING IRAQ, A SOVEREIGN NATION, IN VIOLATION OF THE UN CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW
- FAILING TO PROVIDE TROOPS WITH BODY ARMOR AND VEHICLE ARMOR
- FALSIFYING ACCOUNTS OF U.S. TROOP DEATHS AND INJURIES FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES
- ESTABLISHMENT OF PERMANENT U.S. MILITARY BASES IN IRAQ
- INITIATING A WAR AGAINST IRAQ FOR CONTROL OF THAT NATION’S NATURAL RESOURCES
- INITIATING A WAR AGAINST IRAQ FOR CONTROL OF THAT NATION’S NATURAL RESOURCES
- CREATING A SECRET TASK FORCE TO DEVELOP ENERGY AND MILITARY POLICIES WITH RESPECT TO IRAQ AND OTHER COUNTRIES
- MISPRISION OF A FELONY, MISUSE AND EXPOSURE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN THE MATTER OF VALERIE PLAME WILSON, CLANDESTINE AGENT OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
- PROVIDING IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION FOR CRIMINAL CONTRACTORS IN IRAQ
- RECKLESS MISSPENDING AND WASTE OF US TAX DOLLARS IN CONNECTION WITH IRAQ CONTRACTORS
- ILLEGAL DETENTION: DETAINING INDEFINITELY AND WITHOUT CHARGE PERSONS BOTH U.S. CITIZENS AND FOREIGN CAPTIVES
- TORTURE: SECRETLY AUTHORIZING, AND ENCOURAGING THE USE OF TORTURE AGAINST CAPTIVES IN AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, AND OTHER PLACES, AS A MATTER OF OFFICIAL POLICY
- RENDITION: KIDNAPPING PEOPLE AND TAKING THEM AGAINST THEIR WILL TO “BLACK SITES” LOCATED IN OTHER NATIONS, INCLUDING NATIONS KNOWN TO PRACTICE TORTURE
- IMPRISONING CHILDREN
- MISLEADING CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ABOUT THREATS FROM IRAN, AND SUPPORTING TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN IRAN, WITH THE GOAL OF OVERTHROWING THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT
- CREATING SECRET LAWS
- VIOLATION OF THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT
- SPYING ON AMERICAN CITIZENS, WITHOUT A COURT-ORDERED WARRANT, IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW AND THE FOURTH AMENDMENT
- DIRECTING TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES TO CREATE AN ILLEGAL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL DATABASE OF THE PRIVATE TELEPHONE NUMBERS AND EMAILS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS
- ANNOUNCING THE INTENT TO VIOLATE LAWS WITH SIGNING STATEMENTS, AND VIOLATING THOSE LAWS
- FAILING TO COMPLY WITH CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENAS AND INSTRUCTING FORMER EMPLOYEES NOT TO COMPLY
- TAMPERING WITH FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS, CORRUPTION OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
- CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965
- MISLEADING CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN AN ATTEMPT TO DESTROY MEDICARE
- KATRINA: FAILURE TO PLAN FOR THE PREDICTED DISASTER OF HURRICANE KATRINA, FAILURE TO RESPOND TO A CIVIL EMERGENCY
- MISLEADING CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, SYTEMATICALLY UNDERMINING EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.
- REPEATEDLY IGNORED AND FAILED TO RESPOND TO HIGH LEVEL INTELLIGENCE WARNINGS OF PLANNED TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE US, PRIOR TO 911
- OBSTRUCTION OF INVESTIGATION INTO THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
- ENDANGERING THE HEALTH OF 911 FIRST RESPONDERS
All the details behind each of these charges found here. Good luck to the Congressman, though I doubt seriously much will happen before Bush leaves office in early 2009. Some of these charges are a bit of a stretch, as far as being impeachable offenses, but if I had a vote, there are several that I would investigate further as they are apparent violations of the law, and of the President’s Oath to uphold the Constitution.
Bush’s team should be impeached for incompetence on top of all their other crimes.
She had probably done this a dozen times before. Modern digital technology had made clandestine communications with overseas agents seem routine. Back in the cold war, contacting a secret agent in Moscow or Beijing was a dangerous, labour-intensive process that could take days or even weeks. But by 2004, it was possible to send high-speed, encrypted messages directly and instantaneously from CIA headquarters to agents in the field who were equipped with small, covert personal communications devices. So the officer at CIA headquarters assigned to handle communications with the agency’s spies in Iran probably didn’t think twice when she began her latest download. With a few simple commands, she sent a secret data flow to one of the Iranian agents in the CIA’s spy network. Just as she had done so many times before.
But this time, the ease and speed of the technology betrayed her. The CIA officer had made a disastrous mistake. She had sent information to one Iranian agent that exposed an entire spy network; the data could be used to identify virtually every spy the CIA had inside Iran.
Mistake piled on mistake. As the CIA later learned, the Iranian who received the download was a double agent. The agent quickly turned the data over to Iranian security officials, and it enabled them to “roll up” the CIA’s network throughout Iran. CIA sources say that several of the Iranian agents were arrested and jailed, while the fates of some of the others is still unknown.
This espionage disaster, of course, was not reported. It left the CIA virtually blind in Iran, unable to provide any significant intelligence on one of the most critical issues facing the US – whether Tehran was about to go nuclear.
In fact, just as President Bush and his aides were making the case in 2004 and 2005 that Iran was moving rapidly to develop nuclear weapons, the American intelligence community found itself unable to provide the evidence to back up the administration’s public arguments. On the heels of the CIA’s failure to provide accurate pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, the agency was once again clueless in the Middle East. In the spring of 2005, in the wake of the CIA’s Iranian disaster, Porter Goss, its new director, told President Bush in a White House briefing that the CIA really didn’t know how close Iran was to becoming a nuclear power.
But it’s worse than that. Deep in the bowels of the CIA, someone must be nervously, but very privately, wondering: “Whatever happened to those nuclear blueprints we gave to the Iranians?”
[Click to read a large excerpt Did the CIA give Iran the bomb? Extracts from New York Times reporter James Risen’s new book | Environment | The Guardian]
Apparently, these revelations came out in 2006, but this is the first I’d heard of them. Book is now available in paperback, I’m going to look for it. The plan, called Operation Merlin, was to sell slightly flawed nuclear plans to Iranian agents in the hopes that they wouldn’t realize part of the data was flawed. The agent who sold the plans pointed out the flaw, and thus helped accelerate (allegedly) Iran’s nuclear program. Yikes.
Impeachment is too good a solution for these war crimes – George Bush needs to be arrested and tried at The Hague. Floating torture vessels? Horrible.
The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.
Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.
Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.
The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.
It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.
According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as “floating prisons” since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.
Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.
Reprieve will raise particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.
At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were “disappeared” to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.
What part of “Rule of Law” don’t these thugs understand? Misleading Congress is an impeachable offense, lest we forget.
Simply outrageous. Outrageous is an overused word, here, and elsewhere, but the callousness of our government, and the majority of our media, is despicable. If an invader killed 7.5 million Americans in three years of occupation, would we be throwing rose petals or bombs at their feet?
According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, George Bush’s lies have killed not 30,000 innocent Iraqis, as the president not long ago estimated, but nearly 22 times that amount, or 655,000. Neither the Pentagon, nor much of the mainstream media have made much attempt to make their own counts — it’s just not that important to anyone.
So how has the U.S. media reported on these shocking-albeit-necessarily-imprecise findings, based on door-to-door surveys in 18 provinces, by the experts trained in this kind of thing? The actual methods included obtaining data by eight Iraqi physicians during a survey of 1,849 Iraqi families — 12,801 people — in 47 neighborhoods of 18 regions across the country. The researchers based the selection of geographical areas on population size, not on the level of violence. How strict were their standards? They asked for death certificates to prove claims — and got them in 92 percent of the cases. Even so, the authors say that the number could be anywhere from 426,000 to 800,000.
Dr. Alterman continues…