Thursday, June 19, 2008

War Crimes

The US Army general who investigated the torture at Abu Ghraib, and who was forced into retirement after publishing his damning report, has accused the Bush administration of war crimes.

In a Physicians for Human Rights report published yesterday, entitled "Broken Laws, Broken Lives," two-star former General Anthony Taguba, wrote, "After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

(You can read the entire report here.)

It is a good question. The Kucinich articles of impeachment have been sent to their grave in committee. No one expects the issue to be taken seriously before Bush and Cheney leave office. Few expect any justice after they leave office. Nancy Pelosi insists that impeachment is off the table and nearly all the Democrats in the house seem to agree. It seems clear that the only reason the Democrats consistently refuse to bring the White House to justice is that they are guilty. Pelosi and others had to have been briefed. The Rove machine was too careful to risk Cheney's hide (though Bush probably isn't bright enough to know the dangers). The best insurance would have been to dirty any potential prosecutors. Bush can probably be found guilty by using his own statements as evidence. Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Mansion, has published a plan to prosecute Bush for murder primarily using Bush's own words. (See The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.) So why are war crimes not important to Pelosi and the other Dems? What business could be more important?

Ray McGovern, an 27-year CIA analyst, has just published an argument on why impeachment needs to happen sooner rather than later. In his article in the Detroit Free Press, McGovern claims that the neocons know that if they are to invade Iran, it will have to be before the next election. McGovern also writes that Rep Conyers, chair of House Judiciary, holds all the power to move the impeachment forward and that Conyers claims that the votes are not there. (He has sat on the articles to impeach Cheney for over a year.)

Again, how can the votes not be there when the evidence is overwhelming and beyond reasonable doubt? Could it be that by indicting the administration, the congressional leaders risk revealing their own complicity and guilt? These are not secrets, after all. Most Americans have long known the Bush misled the country into war and I believe most care. But, as history has shown over and over, most Americans will forget. And very soon. And something great will be lost, the grand dream of possibility that Crevecoeur described even before the American Revolution. "Here there are no princes for whom we toil," Crevecoeur said about the young American nation.

Soon, it seems, there will be little else. The grand princes of Exxon and Haliburton and Dubai for whom we toil. If Pelosi is right and justice is off the table, what exactly is left?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gore Vidal on Impeachment

I quote this Gore Vidal article entirely.

If you can find a whisper of Kucinich's move to impeach in the US "liberal" press, please let me know. When a senior member of Congress accuses the President and Vice President (and their lackeys) of treason, and the New York Times (and its lackeys) doesn't find that accusation newsworthy, something is clearly wrong in paradise.

But, hell, it's just torture, war, kidnapping, wiretapping. As long as Americans have cheap French fries and Macmansions, who cares? Britney's thighs are more interesting and easier to cover (so to speak). Maybe Paris Hilton went without underwear again today. And Anna Nicole is dead, the papers tell us. But then so is Eva Braun. And the republic.

Gore Vidal’s Article of Impeachment

by Gore Vidal

On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.

I wish to draw the attention of the blog world to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment presented to the House in order that two faithless public servants be removed from office for crimes against the American people. As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment — he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials — we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it.

Although this is the most important motion made in Congress in the 21st century, it was also the most significant plea for a restoration of the republic, which had been swept to one side by the mad antics of a president bent on great crime. And as I listened with awe to Kucinich, I realized that no newspaper in the U.S., no broadcast or cable network, would pay much notice to the fact that a highly respected member of Congress was asking for the president and vice president to be tried for crimes which were carefully listed by Kucinich in his articles requesting impeachment.

But then I have known for a long time that the media of the U.S. and too many of its elected officials give not a flying fuck for the welfare of this republic, and so I turned, as I often do, to the foreign press for a clear report of what has been going on in Congress. We all know how the self-described “war hero,” Mr. John McCain, likes to snigger at France, while the notion that he is a hero of any kind is what we should be sniggering at. It is Le Monde, a French newspaper, that told a story the next day hardly touched by The New York Times or The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal or, in fact, any other major American media outlet.

As for TV? Well, there wasn’t much — you see, we dare not be divisive because it upsets our masters who know that this is a perfect country, and the fact that so many in it don’t like it means that they have been terribly spoiled by the greatest health service on Earth, the greatest justice system, the greatest number of occupied prisons — two and a half million Americans are prisoners — what a great tribute to our penal passions!

Naturally, I do not want to sound hard, but let me point out that even a banana Republican would be distressed to discover how much of our nation’s treasury has been siphoned off by our vice president in the interest of his Cosa Nostra company, Halliburton, the lawless gang of mercenaries set loose by his administration in the Middle East.

But there it was on the first page of Le Monde. The House of Representatives, which was intended to be the democratic chamber, at last was alert to its function, and the bravest of its members set in motion the articles of impeachment of the most dangerous president in our history. Rep Kucinich listed some 30-odd articles describing impeachable offenses committed by the president and vice president, neither of whom had ever been the clear choice of our sleeping polity for any office.

Some months ago, Kucinich had made the case against Dick Cheney. Now he had the principal malefactor in his view under the title “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.” The purpose of the resolve is that he be duly tried by the Senate, and if found guilty, be removed from office. At this point, Rep. Kucinich presented his 35 articles detailing various high crimes and misdemeanors for which removal from office was demanded by the framers of the Constitution.

Update: On Wednesday, the House voted by 251 to 166 to send Rep. Kucinich’s articles of impeachment to a committee which probably won’t get to the matter before Bush leaves office, a strategy that is “often used to kill legislation,” as the Associated Press noted later that day.

National Book Award winner Gore Vidal has written twenty-three novels, five plays, many screenplays, short stories, well over two hundred essays, and a memoir.

Articles of Impeachment

Here are the 35 articles of impeachment that Dennis Kucinich introduced in the House of Representatives on June 9, 2008.

Kucinich requested that we ask our U.S. House Member:

1. Have you read the Articles of Impeachment?
2. If he or she did, ask if they find any of the to be true?
3. If not, why not? If yes, are they going to vote for hearings of Impeachment?

I would add two more questions:

1. Did you support the impeachment of President Clinton?
2. If so, do you consider an illegal war and hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths as serious as fellatio?

Kucinich’s case: the 35 points

Article I

Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq

Article II

Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression

Article III

Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War

Article IV

Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States

Article V

Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression

Article VI

Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114

Article VII

Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

Article VIII

Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter

Article IX

Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor

Article X

Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes

Article XI

Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq

Article XII

Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation’s Natural Resources

Article XIIII

Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries

Article XIV

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

Article XV

Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq

Article XVI

Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors

Article XVII

Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives

Article XVIII

Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy

Article XIX

Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to ” Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture

Article XX

Imprisoning Children

Article XXI

Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government

Article XXII

Creating Secret Laws

Article XXIII

Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act

Article XXIV

Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment

Article XXV

Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens

Article XXVI

Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements

Article XXVII

Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply

Article XXVIII

Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice

Article XXIX

Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Article XXX

Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare

Article XXXI

Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency

Article XXXII

Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change

Article XXXIII

Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV

Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Article XXXV

Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-8), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-5), and Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel (IL-5) all remain adamantly opposed to impeachment - despite the overwhelming evidence of High Crimes, including the "Phase II" report by the Senate Intellligence Committee and Scott McClellan's new book.

And when Rep. Robert Wexler (FL-19) called for Judiciary Committee hearings on Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Cheney in January, only 17 Democrats joined them: Neil Abercrombie (HI-1), Tammy Baldwin (WI-2), Michael Capuano (MA-8), Yvette Clarke (NY-11), Lacy Clay (MO-1), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Sam Farr (CA-17), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7), Luis Gutierrez (IL-4), Barbara Lee (CA-9), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Jim Moran (VA-8), Mike Thompson (CA-1), Ed Towns (NY-10), and Lynn Woolsey (CA-6).

You can sign a petition supporting Kucinich's efforts at

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The "Terrorists," the "Paramilitary" and their Amazing Computers

According to the US press, laptops found in the bombed FARC camps just inside the Ecuadorian border contained a host of documents linking the FARC to both Venezuela's and Ecuador's governments. We have to wonder how the amazing laptops survived the bombings that killed the FARC soldiers while they slept. In my experience, it's pretty easy to kill a hard drive.

(We also have to wonder why the FARC soldiers suddenly decided to sleep as the Colombian army chased them in "hot pursuit" onto Ecuadorian soil, violating international law. They must have been really tired, but then the war's gone on half a century in Colombia. I'm sure everyone is tired.)

The laptop story is just bizarre and, if nothing else, averts the gaze of the US press from the violation Ecuador's sovereignty, which Ecuador sees as the real issue. Even the Guardian, a British newspaper I respect, got confused over the laptops.

Here is a response to a recent Guardian article.

The author looks more closely at Interpol's examination of the famous indestructible computers and examines connections between President Uribe (Bush's darling) and the Colombian paramilitary.

I have to wonder about the fine lexical difference between "paramilitaries" and "terrorists." What would Orwell have said? Is a right-wing terrorist a paramilitary? Is a paramilitary group one that defends the rich?