Monday, October 31, 2005

Criminal Conspiracy...

Check out this article by Elizabeth de la Vega (former federal prosecutor from N. California) on Truthout.org.

Ms. Vega makes an exceptional argument that this administration may be charged with a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States:
The President's deceit is not only an abuse of power; it is a federal crime. Specifically, it is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States...

The Supreme Court has defined the phrase "conspiracy to defraud the United States" as "to interfere with, impede or obstruct a lawful government function by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest."

Finally, "fraud" is broadly defined to include half-truths, omissions or misrepresentation; in other words, statements that are intentionally misleading, even if literally true. Fraud also includes making statements with "reckless indifference" to their truth.


This means that the infamous sixteen words included in the presidents state of the union, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”, does not mean president Bush is not culpable for deception by including the modifier "The British Government has learned". Say George and Tony are riding in a car which is waiting at a stop light. If George is distracted by the stereo, and Tony decides to proclaim the light is green, and George then looks at the light which is still red and steps on the gas, when the cop is writing up the ticket George cant absolve himself of liability by proclaiming that Tony said the light was green. American intelligence had already debunked the uranium claim, and with held it from previous speeches given by the president. While the British Government may have reached a conclusion on this issue (it did, but not the conclusion the administration wished for), it was not Tony Blair giving the state of the union.

This applies to a wide variety of tactics used by the administration in the run up to the Iraqi invasion. For an administration official, on background, to be the source of a story by Judy Miller for publication on the front page of the N.Y. Times on Sunday, and then to have the same official on all the talking heads programs trumpeting the fact that since the Times ran it, it must be true is deceptive. Nearly every feature in the selling of the Iraq war was fraudulent.

So which governmental function was impeded you may ask? It was the function of the U.S. Congress to authorize the president to use any means necessary to enforce U.N. sanctions. The Congress was quite clearly a victim of the misrepresentations of the administration. The sixteen words in the state of the union, a constitutionally mandated presentation to the congress, is just one example of this. They were not provided with accurate intelligence and they made the decision based upon this misinformation. No amount of faux Republican congressional hindsight via committee report can reverse that fact. Also we the people were impeded by this concerted effort to sell the war and a majority at the time based their opinions on this misdirection. This also led to pressure on Congress to give the president carte blanche with Iraq.

Read the report by Ms. de la Vega and then get ahold of your congressional representative to demand accountability from the administration. This is absolutely an impeachable offense. No one died over a stained blue dress.

Comments:
Better yet, email or mail the article to your representitive....also send to media- I think it is time to hold the media accountable...good catch on the article.
( I send stuff to CNN , the SituationRoom@cnn.com, or Newsnight@cnn.com, maybe it makes no difference- but I think if we all do it every day they can't ignore normal humans forever......
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
It is amazing how wide ranging this "conspiracy" is. (All of the Bush administration, the CIA, Tony Blair, etc.) But for any investigation to find criminal wrongdoing, several questions would have to be answered.

1. Why? How did Bush benefit from this deception?
2. Is it possible that Bush was duped, and that he really believed what he said?
3. Can someone be convicted of dishonesty when they implied a link (to 9/11) but didn't actually say it?
4. Is Congress so dependent on the president for information, that they are impeded if what he gives them is biased?
5. What was known/believed by whom, when?

The last question will be the most difficult to prove for most of the allegations. How do you prove that someone read a report, particularly if their public statements indicate that they are ignorant of it? With all of the tons of reports that the president has access to, any jury could understand that some would be missed, even if it later becomes common knowledge, and even if witnesses testify that it was "widely known."

It would be interesting to see an investigation try to address all this, but it would be a waste of taxpayer money. Congress will never impeach a president for making misleading statements or witholding intelligence in trying to do what is best for the country. Even if it were found to be true.
 
Lets tackle the 5 questions from Jeff. 1: Why? How did Bush benefit from this deception? I suppose I could treat this like a big softball and point out all the oil they have over there. But I think the over riding benefit was ideological in nature. It has been a neocon theme from the mid 90's that Iraq needed to be taken down. Why do nations war for ideology? Or religion for that matter. It depends on which nation/struggle you are discussing, but generally it is simply to prove they are right.

2. Is it possible that Bush was duped, and that he really believed what he said? Not if he's part and parcel of setting up the conspiracy. This all boils down to the White House Iraq Group. Bush was privvy to a conspiracy to sell the war by deceptive means unless you can somehow show he had no idea this group was functioning. I think thats laughable seeing as Condi Rice and Karl Rove were 2 of the 7 members, and each was very close with the president.

3. Can someone be convicted of dishonesty when they implied a link (to 9/11) but didn't actually say it? I quote from the joint resolution submitted by the White House and approved by Congress: Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq; Could that be any clearer?

4. Is Congress so dependent on the president for information, that they are impeded if what he gives them is biased?
erm... yes! Of course they are dependent on the administration for accurate information to base their decision. Congress doesn't run the CIA or have its own international information gathering arm. Are you saying they should be guided by public pressure alone? It seems to me this question is sort of a no brainer... but I might be missing something here.

5. What was known/believed by whom, when? Well there is alot of evidence that the administration posited distorted intelligence and willfully ignored intelligence that did not fit the agenda to forward their cause. The washington post article I linked to in one of our previous go arounds has a plethora of examples of just this type of deception. And yes... it would be great to get to the bottom of this. Would it not be helpful to make an example of this type of behavior for future administrations? There should be clear and convincing factual evidence to make this decision. Let us stand for whats right here!
 
Also... upon further consideration of points 2 and 4. Point 2 seems to be a justification of the president remaining willfully ignorant of the facts. On point 4, no one should be able to carry an argument that congress can be misled. Whether they depend on the executive for information or not, the information they do recieve should be accurate should it not?
 
I'll keep this short.
1. You think Bush was motivated by some vague ideology. I don't buy it. Oil? He never seized it.
2. Generally, folks aren't required to prove innocence.
3. The statement you quoted is true. Al Queda did have branches in Iraq. No dishonesty there.
4. So, you think the president controls all international intelligence available to Congress? Congressional committees can and do talk to the CIA, but I guess it does no good if they are part of the conspiracy.
5. This is the key question. And it seems that today the Democrats have hijacked the Senate to try to get answers. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

No, the president should not intentionally mislead Congress. I don't know whether he did or not, but I'm certain he won't be impeached for it in this case. So if we make an example of him, it won't be the kind you hope for.
 
Neoconservatism is not vague. Their determination to topple Iraq well prior to 9/11 is well documented.

There are many and varied examples of Bush mis-stating (to put it nicely) the facts in the leadup to war. Once again, to use your logic, he would necessarily have been willfully ignorant of the facts to not be guilty as charged here.

Al Queda was in Iraq? You've just broken a major news story here...

When you say the CIA reports to congress... I say when they or any other branch of the executive, are instructed to mislead congress by the administration, this proves the conspiracy. Not the other way around.

Yay for the Democrats "hijacking" the Senate. I think the Republicans by not following through on their past promises to investigate this whole mess are the original hijackers of the process... But never the less Harry Reid burst through the senatorial cockpit door, and got the process rolling! What a stroke of genius that was. Just masterful!
 
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/they_knew_0802/

There is a well sourced article that details how this administration misled us to war. It is from a liberal so I'm certain that alone will discredit it in your view Jeff, yet it has the proof and it is documented if you care to read it.
 
I read the long article. At the end it grudgingly admits that intelligence gave credence to some of the pre-war claims. That is why Bush won't be impeached and Harry Reid is wasting the Senate's time.
 
Bush will be impeached. 2007.
 
Just heard Jeff Greenfield on CNN, the first time WMD was compared to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
That thought was in my head, the moment they mentioned WMD as a cause for war since Hans Blikzt said there was nothing.
It is much worse than Vietnam rational. It is THE BIG LIE, so outrageouse that it is difficult to disprove. Hitler used it.
Say goodbye to the Constitution.
And yes the Secret Service did invade my home on January 11, 2005, without a warrant.
I feel like Abbie Hoffman.
 
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