Friday, June 27, 2008

UPDATED: "Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment: A Three-Part Guide"

An "FYI" post. The 35 articles are quite dry and time consuming to read.

Elizabeth de la Vega has done a wonderful job of simplifying them for easier consumption and understanding, and they enumerate all of George Bush's crimes since he took office.

Maybe more people will understand these articles and comprehend the nature of Bush's offenses now, not having to wade through the legalese.

de la vega translates them into plain english that no one has any excuse for not getting, now.

Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment: A Three-Part Guide
By Elizabeth de la Vega
The Public Record
Saturday, June 14, 2008

It is entirely possible to be a reasonably well-informed citizen of the United States and not know that on June 9, 2008, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D. Ohio) took to the floor of the House of Representatives and spent over four hours reading thirty-five Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.

Even worse, it is not merely possible, but likely, that the vast majority of people who have been more than willing to ignore or ridicule those charges have not read them. Or, if they have read them, they have found the allegations and citations so overwhelming they just switch off their minds. Perhaps surprisingly, I understand this phenomenon quite well. I spent many years attempting to present complex and disturbing information to people in the context of criminal indictments and cases. And the truth is that legal documents are confusing to everyone, including lawyers. Much as I hate to admit it, for example, I have never been able to plow through our family will, so for all I know, our very meager estate has been designated by my husband to be held in trust for the care and feeding of ferrets.

But the House Judiciary Committee does not, of course, have the luxury of being so cavalier. For the past seven years, we have watched as evidence of President Bush’s deceit, contempt of Congress and abuse of power has piled up like rank seaweed on a beach. We cannot, in this summer of 2008, simply step around it and pretend it’s not there. There is a constitutional process to follow and we must follow it. If the threat of terrorism is not a reason to disregard the constitution – and it is not – then surely neither is an election.

So I have decided to offer some help, a modest contribution in the one area I know best: the presentation of charges. It’s a Three-Part Guide to the Articles of Impeachment. There is nothing fancy here -- no sarcasm, no vitriol and no cynicism. Part I is a chart that itemizes the Articles of Impeachment with a subheading and a longer description. Part II is also a chart which itemizes U.S. and international laws that are implicated by the charges in the Articles of Impeachment. (Quite properly, not every impeachable offense is based on a specific legal violation.) In Part III I present an opening statement setting forth - just as a prosecutor would do before a trial - what the evidence would show with regard to these allegations.

Forward them around, if you would. At the very least – before we decide to ignore it --we should all clearly and unflinchingly apprehend the nature and scope of this executive misconduct and its consequent human misery and damage to our country.

Part I:

Part II:

[Updated June 27, 2008 4:00 AM PST]

Part III: Opening Statement to the House Judiciary Committee Regarding the Articles of Impeachment

I want to speak to you about the Articles of Impeachment Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced on June 9, 2008.  There are, as you know, thirty-five of them and they allege violations of just about as many U.S. and international laws.

When I first sat down to write this statement, I planned to discuss the evidence and the law that relates to some of those violations, just as I would do if I were presenting a case to a jury at the beginning of a trial. But I've decided not to do that. Instead, I am going to follow the wise counsel Abigail Adams gave to her husband John and just speak plainly.

I believe that most of you know what the evidence would show.

You know that the President has admitted violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. You know that the President of the United States has admitted committing a crime, but there has been no consequence.

You know that the President has caused his subordinates and agents to refuse to comply with duly-authorized subpoenas from Congress. It has happened over and over again.

And many of you are lawyers, some former prosecutors and even judges: You know what the law says about criminal responsibility. Under the law of the United States, anyone who "willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another" or who "aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures" the commission of an act is just as culpable as the person who commits the act. That is not some strange legal theory -- it's what your professors would have called "black-letter law."
I'm thinking about this elementary rule of criminal law as I write today -- June 26, 2008. Because I'm listening to some of you question the infamous former Office of Legal Counsel Attorney John Yoo and the Vice-President's lawyer David Addington. And even as you ask tough and often heated questions about secret legal opinions memos and definitions of torture, I have no doubt most of you know that none of this horrific reign of terror on the part of the United States would have occurred if President Bush had not signed a memo on February 7, 2002 declaring that Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners would not be protected by the Geneva Conventions.

I know, in other words, that most of you are well aware that the President is responsible -- factually, legally and as a matter of common sense -- for the torture and abuse of prisoners that has occurred as a result of his authorization.

You also know that the President has himself deceived us and caused others to deceive us about this torture and so many other things: nuclear weapons in Iraq, Iraq and 9/11, the alleged threat from Saddam Hussein, a possible threat from Iran, illegal detentions, nuclear weapons, money, death and injury to our own soldiers, government contracts, the response to Hurricane Katrina, our civil liberties, our voting rights, the cost of Medicare, the firing of U.S. Attorneys, the very air that we breathe.

And throughout nearly eight years of these frauds and machinations, we have heard parsings of White House statements, and arguments about "literal truth" ad nauseum --even though, as most of you know, these legal-sounding discussions were almost entirely beside the point and, of themselves, a sham. The law of fraud is very clear and well-established. It makes no difference whatsoever whether the President did or did not make statements that were literally untrue. Literal truth is only a defense to a perjury charge. It is irrelevant to the crime of fraud which -- reflecting our everyday experience -- prohibits all kinds of deceit: false pretenses, outright lies, representations that are misleading even if they are literally true, deliberate concealment of material information, half-truths, and statements made with reckless indifference to the truth. These are principles that prosecutors advocate to jurors every day as they try to convict people who have used fraud to steal government funds, take families' homes, or deprive the elderly of their life savings.

I believe that most of you -- from both sides of the aisle -- understand and appreciate all too well what the nature and scope of this President's law-breaking, deceit and abuse of power has been. And it is precisely because you know all of these things that you would like nothing better than to just forget about it and move on.

Please do not do that.

Why do I say this? Because the continued success of government in this country, including, of course, the criminal justice system, depends upon a most fundamental and simple precept: No person is above the law. When I first started as a prosecutor, judges would sometimes phrase it more archaically: The law is no respecter of persons. But however it's phrased, this basic premise has never changed. In the United States of America, regardless of a person's station in life or political affiliation, he is entitled to be judged -- and must be judged -- according to the same laws as every one else.

What happens to this fundamental principle if after all these congressional investigations revealing widespread fraud, legal violations and gross misconduct by the President, Congress decides to do nothing?

What happens is that you will have chosen to up-end the bedrock upon which this nation has stood for over two hundred years. You will be telling the world that the 110th Congress has decreed that the President of the United States is not subject to the same laws as every one else. From now on, this radical, if unspoken, about-face will never be far from the minds of prosecutors, defense attorneys, defendants, victims and jurors when they hear a judge declare that a verdict must be rendered in accordance with the law, and without bias or sympathy towards either side. All of us who depend upon the fairness of the criminal justice system -- and upon whom the fairness of that system depends -- will know, in short, that it's rigged.

Now, am I suggesting that every time anyone introduces Articles of Impeachment against the President, Congress is obligated to proceed forward with them? Absolutely not. But it does fall to you -- if you are to fulfill your oaths as defenders of the Constitution -- to consider them carefully in light of the applicable law, just as any responsible prosecutor would do when deciding whether to proceed with an investigation.

If you fail to do this -- if you put this roiling mess on the back burner and walk away from the stove -- you will have made a staggeringly-radical and consequential decision to undermine the Constitution and the criminal justice system. And you will have made this choice without discussion or debate -- without, in fact, doing anything at all. It would be, I'm sorry to say, a shameful display for this Fourth of July, 2008.

Copyright © 2008 Elizabeth de la Vega

Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the San Jose Branch of the US attorney's office for the Northern District of California.

The author of "United States v. George W. Bush et al," she may be contacted at or through Speakers Clearinghouse.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bush Goes to GITMO: How the Patriot Act Makes Bush a 'Terrorist'!

The Patriot Act makes it a felony to disseminate or provide false information about 'terrorism'. What has Bush done BUT lie about terrorism? Bush has repeatedly stated that 'the United States is waging a war on terror.' That'a a lie about 'terrorism', a violation of the US Patriot Act! Bush goes to GITMO!

As Bush has most certainly never told the truth about 911, al Qaeda, or the phony 'war on terrorism', then any one of his many lies chosen at random should suffice to send his sorry ass to GITMO. As Bush has falsely characterized the 'war on terrorism', any lie supporting it violates the Patriot Act! Exquisite justice! Exquisite irony! A Greek Tragedian nor William Shakespeare could not have done a better job! Bush is stuck on his own flypaper!

Read the rest of the story at The Existentialist Cowboy

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Monday, June 23, 2008




"Commentator" Says Democrats Infringing On Iraqi Sovereignty By Objecting To Bushco's No-Bid Oil Deals

These Republicans would have made the Fuhrer so proud! They have cleverly infiltrated the press with agents pretending to be objective, so that they are able to immediately attack any truth before it gets too far. It's Wunderbar! Herr Goebbels spirit lives! Anything can be turned around, if you only lie big enough, lie loud enough, and lie often enough. Achtung, Baby!

Democrats are responsible for the escalation in oil prices, because they wouldn't allow Republicans to drill everywhere. Never mind that dozens and dozens of US government oil-leases are going unused by the oil companies. Never mind that there is no actual shortage of supply. Never mind that demand is going down. Never mind that this is an engineered "crisis." Lie about it, meine kinder!

Democrats are responsible for speculation in the oil markets, never mind why, but now they are trying to interfere with these free markets. This is socialism, and not the National kind. If prices are frozen at these historically high and incredibly profitable levels, the free market will simply impose an instantaneous worldwide freeze on supplies, as if by magic, not collusion. So, don't f*ck with us, or the invisible hand of the market will choke your loved ones to death, you leftist degenerates!

Democrats do not understand these things. They do not understand the delicate balance in Iraq: Negotiating, or pretending to negotiate a deal that was set in stone years ago, with whatever puppet government happens to be there today, requires great theatrical skill. Democrats do not have this kind of acting ability. That is why der Schwarzenegger is a Republican, and in favor of oiling, I mean drilling on the coast of Coll-ee-fah-nee-yah, no matter what the Jews and homosexuals and Democrats think.

As to those Iraqi's, of course they signed a sweetheart deal! We have them surrounded. If they say no, we just march them outside, and let them be shot. Meine herren, if only we could do that here! It would only require a small expansion of the Second Amendment. Houston Uber Alles!
"Senators seek to stop Iraq oil deals"

" The U.S. senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging her to ask the Iraqi government to put off signing any oil contracts until agreement is reached on a national oil law. 'We fear that any such agreements signed by Iraq's Hydrocarbon Ministry without an equitable revenue sharing agreement in place would simply add more fuel to Iraq's civil war,' the senators wrote. The deals would heighten tensions in Iraq 'at the same time that American service members are fighting night and day to reduce the levels of violence,' they said. The State Department said the United States, which has 146,000 troops in Iraq, has no say in the matter. 'Since the United States has had no involvement in this, I'm not sure on what basis the United States could 'block' the Iraqi government from contracting it the way it sees fit," said State Department spokesman Tom Casey. 'It's a decision for the Iraqis to make.' "
"Bush: U.S. won't interfere with Iraqi oil deals"
" 'Iraq is a sovereign country, and it can make decisions based on how it feels that it wants to move forward in its development of its oil resources,' said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. 'And if that means that our companies here in the United States can compete and win business, then that's for them and the Iraqis to decide," Perino added. 'But I don't think the federal government of the United States needs to get involved.' Likewise, Perino dismissed the senators' concerns as illogical. 'I'm curious as to why the Democrats seem to, on the one hand, want Iraq to take over more control of their own country, but on the other hand, want to continue to meddle in their business,' she told reporters. "
"Congress pressing Bush to block, reverse Iraqi oil deals"
" In a separate letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Schumer and Kerry called for Iraq to pass legislation governing the oil sector first. 'We ask that you work with the (government of Iraq) to ensure that they do not sign any agreements relating to oil or gas until they have passed a fair, equitable and transparent hydrocarbon revenue sharing agreement that benefits the Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds and all other Iraqi citizens,' the senators wrote. Without a new law, Iraq is relying on regulations left over from Saddam. A draft oil law has been stalled in Parliament by internal Iraqi disputes over the extent foreign oil companies should be allowed into the national oil sector and how much control over the oil strategy will be given to local governments. Three companion laws -- revenue sharing, reconstituting the national oil company and reorganizing the Oil Ministry -- are further behind in the legislative process. Iraq is already splitting revenue by compromise between factions. Schumer, Kerry and McCaskill in a short press conference Tuesday said without a revenue sharing law the oil deals will cause more fractures. 'You can't blame Iraq for the desire to expand oil production,' Schumer said. 'However, signing oil contracts without a revenue sharing law is a recipe for disaster.' The three warned against possible perceptions that the war was fought to benefit international oil companies, and that no-bid contracts were not transparent. "
"Big Oil's slick no-bid contracts will keep us mired in Iraq "
" A consortium of Western oil companies — the very definition of Big Oil — is on the verge of receiving no-bid contracts in Iraq, giving them access to one of the most sought-after prizes in the petroleum industry, according to The New York Times. Can it be mere coincidence that the leading companies in the deal — ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total — are the very same companies that Saddam Hussein threw out when he nationalized the Iraqi oil industry more than three decades ago? The American public has been reassured, repeatedly, that petroleum had absolutely nothing to do with the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. President Bush, the oilman from Texas, has scoffed at the idea. So has Vice President Dick Cheney. When I raised the specter of 'petroleum wars' in a column dated Sept. 9, 2002, just as Bush was selling the idea that Saddam posed an imminent threat, I was assailed by critics, who called me 'naive,' among other choice descriptives. While I never believed that oil was the only reason for toppling Saddam, my critics weren't willing to concede petroleum played any role. ('The Bush administration is saturated with oil industry bigwigs. ... Their natural mindset is to assume that oil must be consumed ever more abundantly, even if that means going to war to preserve access to the supply,' I wrote.) Yet despite the vociferous denials, the four original partners of the Iraq Petroleum Co. (a misnomer, since all the companies are multinationals based in the U.S. or Western Europe) are about to receive contracts that allow them to service the fields in the country with the world's second-largest proven oil reserves. According to The New York Times, these are service contracts — paying the companies for their work — instead of the more lucrative licenses for oil deposits. But the contracts will give the global oil giants a leg up on more lucrative deals later on. To protect those oil fields, the U.S. would have to station troops in Iraq indefinitely. That may explain why Bush has been so determined to work out a deal for more or less permanent military bases before he leaves office. The war in Iraq has already lasted longer than U.S. involvement in World War II, and the projected cost is around a trillion dollars. That doesn't count the human toll — more than 4,000 U.S. troops dead and tens of thousands maimed and shattered, physically or mentally. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and millions displaced. The U.S. government could have spent $500 billion on an Apollo mission-like search for alternative energy and still had about $500 billion to hand to Americans as gasoline subsidies. And we would have been well on the way toward freeing ourselves from the troubled Middle East. "


[Cross-posted at blog me no blogs.]


Rewriting Iraq War History

(Cross-posted from Gold Star Mom Speaks Out)

James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize winning author who wrote "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration." writes in the Washington Independent about "The Return of the Neocons, Bush Hawks Aggressively Working to Rewrite Accepted Iraq War History"

Ever since the Rumsfeld era at the Pentagon ended abruptly in the aftermath of the Democratic victory in the 2006 mid-term elections, the civilian hawks who ruled the Defense Dept. during the early years of the Iraq war have remained largely silent. They have not engaged publicly even as their culpability for the Iraq war's myriad failures has congealed into accepted wisdom.
Poor Doug Feith, the Pentagon team and his own historical standing is being damaged.
“It caused enormous damage to me personally,” Feith said. “I wasn’t in a position to contradict false and damaging things said about me.”
Feith will never understand “enormous personal damage” until he loses a child in a war that should never have happened and to which he holds personal & professional blame.

As a Gold Star mother, (my son, Lt Ken Ballard, was KIA in May 2004) I have no sympathy for the likes of Feith (or Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice, Perle et al). Feith’s efforts to rewrite history are an insult to the country, but mostly to the military; the boots on the ground who acted on the orders of their commander-in chief. Fortunately, there are sufficient witnesses to this hideous chapter in our country's history to keep him from gaining any traction to his convenient 20-20 recall and we will not be silent.

Notwithstanding my hopes for all of them to sit in judgment at the Hague, the least I can ask is that the lot of them live a miserable life until the heat of Hell is hot enough to accept them for eternity. Even that might be too good for them.

There's more: "Rewriting Iraq War History" >>