Rome - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on the eve of a trip to Washington, said he repeatedly tried to persuade U.S. President George W. Bush against invading Iraq.
The Italian leader voiced his unease with the military operation to remove Saddam Hussein in a television interview to be broadcast on Monday, the day he meets Bush.
Berlusconi is one of Washington's strongest allies but he did not send troops to join the invasion, preferring to despatch forces only after the fall of Baghdad.
"I tried many times to convince the American president not to go to war," Berlusconi was quoted as saying by the La7 television network, which recorded the interview.
By Jane Hamsher
It looks like Cheney is bloodied if not out of the game entirely. Dubya sits on the sidelines like a dispirited waterboy watching one fallen warrior after another carried off the field. But are we really to believe that he is nothing more than a thick-witted victim of his compatriots' malfeasance? What are the odds?
Pretty friggin' low, if you ask me.
This week saw the nick-of-time release of the New Yorker article where Bush the Elder's best friend, Brent Scowcroft, rushes in to save Junior by hanging all his cronies out to dry. "Poor Dubya, he just doesn't know how to pick his friends." But Scowcroft is a player in a much larger and much more telling drama with regard to Junior that is only hinted at in the New Yorker piece.
By Pat Lang
One of the more pathetic spectacles available in today's media is the propensity of the tribe of journalists to interview each other about events, systems and areas of expertise of which they have only a limited grasp. I suppose that tendency is thought of among them as a sign of confidence in their role as protectors of the public good, but the truth is that the bloviations of journalists are usually sadly demonstrative of ignorance of anything but their trade.
Members of Congress, their staffs and the press are (with some exceptions) so poorly grounded in the underlying matter of their stories that they are very easily manipulated and deceived by anyone who cares to do so. The White House, the Department of Defense, the State Department, various lobbies, and just about anyone who has an assured manner and credentials can use the broadcast and print press to "project" whatever they want through the media.
By TomDispatch and The Nation
Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, whose analysis of the Libby indictment I posted on Friday, now turns to the larger administration picture in what is the cover story of this week's Nation Magazine -- a piece being shared with, and released on-line by, Tomdispatch. In "The White House Criminal Conspiracy" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=32550
she turns to the question of how to make the Bush administration accountable for having defrauded the American people into a war. Her striking exploration offers a potential new legal avenue that could force Bush & Co.
Leak trial to bleed Cheney
Washington, Oct. 29 (Reuters): The indictment of former top White House aide Lewis Libby in the CIA leak investigation will put vice-president Dick Cheney’s office at the centre of court proceedings, raising the spectre of a politically damaging trial for the beleaguered Bush administration.
Libby, who resigned yesterday as Cheney’s chief of staff after being indicted for obstructing justice, perjury and lying, is expected to make his first court appearance in the next week or so for an arraignment.
The indictment means the next stage of the case will play out in open court, in contrast to the secret two-year grand jury investigation directed by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into the leak of a covert CIA operative’s identity.
Overheard in Blogtopia*
by Jane Hamsher
. From Kid Oakland: "Occasionally, Tenet had breakfast with Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser, in the White House mess and joked that he would share secrets with Rove that even Rice was not allowed to know."- Bob Woodward, "Plan of Attack," p. 67-8
. Tom Maguire, on the enigma of Libby's notes: "[O]ne wonders whether the other contacts mentioned by Fitzgerald were in Libby's "copious" notes. If so, Libby needs to sue his attorneys for malpractice, since they should have reviewed that material before submitting it to Fitzgerald and allowing Libby to testify. Of course, attorney ineptitude notwthstanding, if his notes included these contacts then it is easier for Libby to argue that he had no real intention of obstructing the investigation. On the other hand, if they were not in his notes, why not?"
All It Takes Is One...
As a prosecutor, you can't always predict when the wall will crumble. So what do you do? You sit back, and wait for a tiny little crack. And then you exploit the hell out of it.
Scooter Libby just may be that point that rocks the entire case. Or maybe not. But to get there from here, you have to understand a little bit about what a plea bargain really is -- and how a prosecutor works a defendant to get one. I've been getting quite a few questions about plea bargains, so I thought I'd try to answer a few here.
A plea bargain is exactly what it sounds like -- an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant on terms that both can live with to settle an outstanding criminal charge. But it is a bargain, not a gimme, for any criminal defendant.
30 October 2005 02:13
Special report: Bush faces his Watergate
Sleaze, leaks and an indictment add up to the worst presidential crisis since Nixon. And it will get worse. The White House has lost one key man but the whole chain of command may be engulfed by a scandal slowly revealing the lies that led to war.
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 30 October 2005
Presidential second terms are prone to scandals, from Bill Clinton's embarrassments over Monica Lewinsky to Ronald Reagan's implication in the Iran-Contra imbroglio. But the troubles now circling George Bush's White House could be even worse than Watergate.
Posted on Fri, Oct. 28, 2005
Indictment doesn't clear up mystery at heart of CIA leak probe
By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - At the heart of Friday's indictment of a top White House aide remain two unsolved mysteries.
Who forged the documents that claimed Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country of Niger?
How did a version of the tale get into President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, even though U.S. intelligence agencies never confirmed it and some intelligence analysts doubted it?
Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con 'crazies' row
Sunday September 12, 2004
A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Real George W. Bush
By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted October 27, 2005.
Ninety percent of Americans believe the Bush administration is guilty of illegal or unethical behavior in the CIA leak case. Where does that leave our president? Tools
For three more years America is going to be led by not just a lame duck president, but a totally discredited president.
In a poll conducted Oct 21-23 and released on Tuesday, 90 percent of those asked said they believed top Bush administration officials are guilty of either illegal or unethical behavior in the CIA leak case.
Besieged Bush faces attacks from friends as well as foes
As the President sees his ambitious plans for his second term mired in a swamp of scandal and investigations, Paul Harris maps out what the future may hold for the radical Republican revolution and the divided Democrats
Sunday October 30, 2005
On Monday evening last week, as darkness descended on the capital, smartly dressed FBI agents moved quietly through the leafy Washington neighbourhood of Georgetown. They knocked on doors, questioning several residents about how well they knew Valerie Plame, the exposed CIA agent at the heart of a scandal that has rocked the Bush administration to its foundations.
Diplomat Joseph Wilson speaks; seven in cabinet knew of Plame's ID; three more US soldiers killed; Mexico ratifies War Crimes Tribunal Treaty; and more ... Browse our continually updating front page at http://www.truthout.org
For full coverage of the CIA leak investigation, go to our Special Coverage Page.
Join fellow bloggers at the t r u t h o u t Town Meeting. Get perspective on today's important issues from TO's editorial team and prominent guest bloggers.
Join the debate! http://forum.truthout.org/blog
t r u t h o u t | 10.29
Joseph C. Wilson IV | Our 27 Months of Hell
Fitz’s Knuckle Ball
Sat Oct 29th, 2005 at 08:02:54 PM EDT
Gadfly is Marty Aussenberg, a columnist for the weekly Memphis Flyer. Marty is a former SEC enforcement official, currently in private law practice in Memphis, Tennessee. (A full bio is below the fold.)
The indictment of “Scooter
Tracing the Leak
Online Journal's editors
A five-count indictment alleges "Scooter" Libby learned of Valerie Plame's connections to the CIA from numerous government sources ... and that he shared information with reporters. Ms. Plame's identity and role were first revealed publicly in a column by Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.
Indictment Dissected: Libby’s Knowledge of Plame’s Covert Identity
[This is the second part of a Think Progress series breaking down the significance of the Libby indictment.]
In at least three instances, it appears from the facts outlined in the indictments that Libby was aware that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent.
1. Libby spoke to his Principal Deputy [John Hannah] about an article in The New Republic and discussed whether they could share information about the role of Wilson’s wife in sending him to Niger. “Libby responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.
Indictment Dissected: Cheney’s Role
[This is the first part of a Think Progress series breaking down the significance of the Libby indictment.]
There are a few instances in the indictments that point to a larger role that Dick Cheney may have played in the leak. Here are some examples:
1. Libby was “advised by the Vice President
Saddam accepted UAE exile plan to avert Iraq war-TV
Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:19 PM ET
DUBAI (Reuters) - Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had secretly accepted a last-minute plan to go into exile to avert the 2003 Iraq war, but Arab leaders shot the proposal down, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.
UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan made the proposal for Saddam to go into exile at an emergency Arab summit just weeks before the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.
But the 22-member Arab League, led by Secretary-General Amr Moussa, refused to consider the initiative.
NY Times downplayed Powell's responsibility for false weapons claims in U.N. address
An October 23 article by New York Times reporters Richard W. Stevenson and Douglas Jehl downplayed the role of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in shaping the speech Powell delivered to the United Nations on February 5, 2003 -- a speech that boosted the administration's case for invading Iraq but was subsequently shown to be riddled with falsehoods. Citing "former government officials and several published accounts," the Times reported that the original draft of the speech was written by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and was rejected by Powell and then-director of central intelligence George J. Tenet, both of whom believed it was "exaggerated." The Times then used a quote from Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack (Simon & Schuster, 2004), its use of which had the effect of suggesting that Powell's main contribution to the speech was to remove baseless claims.
Demand the truth
Join with other people of faith in signing this petition to demand the truth about why we went to war with Iraq. This petition will be delivered to your senators and member of Congress. Then, tell your friends! We are trying to get 25,000 signatures by Wednesday.
Tell me more
Send this petition to:
As a person of faith, I believe that truth-telling is a religious and moral value. When we lie, it eats away at our souls. The indictment of I. Lewis Libby, vice presidential chief of staff, raises serious questions as to whether we went to war based simply on massive intelligence failures, or whether there were serious efforts to suppress the truth.
Did Fitz Meet With Bush's Personal Lawyer?
by RJ Eskow
READ MORE: Patrick Fitzgerald, George W. Bush
Patrick Fitzgerald was seen Friday outside the office of Pres. Bush's personal lawyer, Jim Sharp - who is apparently the same Jim Sharp who represented a major Iran/Contra figure. One, two, three ... start your impeachment fantasies.
No Blood for Hubris found this graf in the former "Paper of Record":
Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.
Valerie Plame: The Bush Equivalent of Paula Jones?
By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted October 29, 2005.
Legal experts are already debating whether the Wilsons have a case. These are the same experts who thought Jones' case was going to get laughed out of court -- instead, it set off a sequence of events that led to Clinton's impeachment. Tools
Also in Top Stories
What do Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson have in common? Both men slipped through the fingers of the criminal justice system, only to get their comeuppance in civil court.
I only mention that because yesterday's developments in the CIA leak investigation are just the beginning -- not the end. No matter how many senior administration officials end up getting indicted, the real damage to this administration may come not from criminal convictions -- if any -- but from a civil action currently being planned by Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.
Cheney's office at center of CIA leak indictment
By James Vicini and Adam Entous
2 hours, 1 minute ago
(Editor's note: Reminder...Remember, I. Lewis Libby doesn't just work for the Vice President. From the beginning of the administration, a key root of Libby's power at the White House is that he works both for the Vice President (as Chief of Staff and National Security Affairs Advisor) and the President of the United States (as Assistant to the President)).
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The indictment of former top White House aide Lewis Libby in the CIA leak investigation will put Vice President Dick Cheney's office at the center of court proceedings, raising the specter of a politically damaging trial for the beleaguered Bush administration.
Military shares public's declining support for Bush, war
More than half the North Carolina military members surveyed in the latest Elon University poll don't like the way President Bush is handling his job and the war in Iraq.
The survey results were released today.
Of the 539 adults surveyed, nearly 53 percent of military members said they strongly disapproved or disapproved of Bush's handling of his job. And 56 percent of that same group said they strongly disapproved or disapproved of his handling of the Iraq war.
Overall, slightly more than 53 percent of those surveyed did not approve of Bush's job performance, while 57 percent didn't approve of his handling of the Iraq war.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
by Jane Hamsherp
. Looks like everyone's struggling to keep up with Patrick Fitzgerald. NYT:
With the term of his grand jury at an end, Mr. Fitzgerald said he could present any new evidence to an already impaneled grand jury if needed.
Already impaneled? That's new.
Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, said in a statement he was confident Mr. Fitzgerald would conclude Mr. Rove had done nothing wrong.
Yeah and I remain confident that my dog Kobe will win the Nobel Prize. Whatever.
Mr. Libby could face a trial that seems likely to expose to the public some of the administration's innermost workings and probably require testimony by Mr. Cheney. And it only highlighted how many elements of the case remained obscured by the secrecy of the legal proceedings.
Wilson: There Have Been Threats
NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2005
Joe Wilson (CBS)
(CBS) Joe Wilson, whose wife’s unmasking as a CIA agent is at the center of the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation, said today that that his wife, Valerie Plame, has been threatened. Wilson talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley, in his first interview since Fitzgerald announced the indictment of I. Lewis Libby, Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
"There have been specific threats [against Plame]. Beyond that I just can’t go," Wilson tells Bradley. Wilson says he and his wife have discussed security for her with "several agencies."
Saturday, October 29, 2005
A new moment of truth for a White House in crisis
By Dan Balz and Juliet Eilperin / The Washington Post
Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press
President Bush said Friday he's saddened by the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned Fridy as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.
WASHINGTON -- With Friday's indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, President Bush's administration has become a textbook example of what can go wrong in a second term. Along with ineffectiveness, overreaching, intraparty rebellion, plunging public confidence and plain bad luck, scandal has now touched the highest levels of the White House staff.
Libby's defense may rest on hectic schedule
Indicted aide could say he can't recall conversations
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Call it the "I-can't-recall" defense.
A lawyer representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is outlining a possible criminal defense strategy for his client that appears to rely on the muddle involved in hectic schedules, chaotic times and an overall blur of events and conversations, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
Attorney Joseph Tate complained in a statement that allegations that Libby lied to the FBI agents and a federal grand jury relied too heavily on recollection amid "the hectic rush of issues and events at a busy time for our government." The aide resigned Friday from his role as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.
John Dean Says Scooter is the Cheney Firewall
by Jane Hamsher
Crooks & Liars is taking a nap and then going to a party with Mark Kleiman but tomorrow they will have the video up of John Dean on Countdown tonight with Keith Olbermann. The transcript is not available yet but Dean basically reiterated what David Gergen said earlier today, that Fitzgerald's tactics are probably meant to squeeze Scooter. He referred to Scooter as the firewall to Cheney, and said that the indictments brought down today were quite probably intended to test the resilience of that firewall.
We've known since Judith Miller's testimony that Fitzgerald has been inquiring about Cheney. At the very least today's indictments, if brought to trial, will give Fitzgerald the opportunity to question Cheney on the witness stand as he testifies against his former Chief of Staff. And at worst? Well, the threat of thirty years might make a guy like Scooter rat Big Dick out sooner rather than later.