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Indicting America


Published on Saturday, October 29, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
By Scott Ritter

NEW YORK -- The indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby by Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald provides the most cogent and visible evidence to date of the criminal mindset that exists inside the Bush administration regarding the decision to invade Iraq.

The indictment is linked to Libby's involvement in illegally revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame, in violation of U.S. law, and the resultant conspiracy to deny and cover up the fact that this crime had in fact taken place. But the real crime committed here is the deception leading to war carried out by the Bush administration, in particular the activities of the vice president, Dick Cheney, and his chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby, which is why they felt they needed to go after former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Plame.

The outing of Plame was just the tip of this criminal enterprise. The specific charge - making false statements to a grand jury - is in fact the best indicator of the true nature of the crimes committed by Libby and, by extension, the Bush administration.

Acting at the behest of the vice president, Libby was a key figure behind inserting dubious and unverified intelligence data alleging the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction into the public arena, either by leaking this information to reporters such as The New York Times' Judith Miller, or by having it referenced in high-profile speeches such as the president's 2003 State of the Union Address or Colin Powell's now-infamous presentation to the Security Council in February 2003.

Cheney and Libby were behind the decision to mislead Congress, in particular the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's investigation into the reasons why the U.S. intelligence community had gotten it so wrong about Iraqi WMD capabilities. (Contrary to the much-hyped case made by the Bush administration in justifying the decision to invade Iraq, no WMD were found in Iraq, and the CIA subsequently acknowledged that all Iraqi WMD had been destroyed by the summer of 1991).

To Cheney and Libby, Joseph Wilson had committed the ultimate sin when he publicly challenged President Bush's case for war with Iraq by exposing the fraudulent nature of the administration's very public claims that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium "yellowcake" from Niger.

If true, the "yellowcake" story would have bolstered the president and vice president's assertions that Iraq had resurrected its nuclear weapons program, thus legitimizing the case for war. But the reality is that the "yellowcake" claim, like all of the Cheney- and Libby-peddled intelligence, was specious, in this case derived from forged documents.

Wilson's exposure of this fraud was seen not only as an act of betrayal, but also rightly recognized as a threat to the entire charade that was the Bush administration's fabricated case for war. If left unchallenged, Wilson's claims could have initiated a process that would have unraveled the entire fabric of deception and lies woven by Cheney, Libby and the Bush administration about the non-existent Iraqi WMD threat. As far as Cheney and Libby were concerned, truth was the enemy, and truth-tellers were to be attacked and destroyed.

And now the lies have come home to roost. But the indictment of Libby must not be the final punctuation in this tragic tale of lies and deception. Instead, it should serve as a much-needed boost for Congress, the media and ultimately the American people to carry out a massive re-examination of the totality of the processes that took place in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

The lies of Cheney, Libby and the Bush administration regarding Iraqi WMD did not take place in a vacuum. Congressional checks and balances, especially in the form of relevant oversight committees, were non-existent; the few hearings held served as little more than sham hearings designed to amplify a case for war that was accepted at face value, without question, despite the fact that all involved knew the supporting evidence was either non-existent or paper-thin.

The fourth estate was likewise reduced to little more than a propagandistic extension of the White House and Pentagon, losing any claim to journalistic integrity through its slavish parroting, without question, of anything that painted Saddam Hussein's regime in a negative light, especially when it came to the issue of retained WMD. At the receiving end of this tangled web of lies and incompetence are the American people. Having been duped into a war that has to date cost the lives of over 2,000 members of the armed forces (not to mention hundreds of our coalition partners and tens of thousands of Iraqis), the question now is how the citizenry of the world's most powerful representative democracy will respond.

Void of a major backlash on the part of the American people in response to the deliberate falsification and deceit that has transpired regarding Iraq and the now-debunked case for war, the Libby indictment may prove to be little more than an exercise in damage control.

Already senior Republican officials, such as Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, are calling the Libby indictment a mere "technicality." Right-wing pundits refer to the indictment as the "criminalization of politics," as if lying one's way into an illegal war of aggression is somehow akin to politics as usual.

If the American people go along with such blatant attempts at obscuring the reality of the criminal conspiracy that has been committed, then it is perhaps time we finally lay to rest this experiment we call American democracy. At the very minimum, Congress should be compelled into action. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and in particular its two senior senators, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va, should not only complete their investigation into how the Bush administration used (or misused) intelligence to formulate Iraq policy, but also re-open its initial report into the so-called "intelligence failure" regarding the flawed WMD assessments, with the intent to indict any and all who conspired to keep relevant information from, or made false statements to, that committee during the conduct of its original investigation.

There must be a wider investigation into the totality of the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration to defraud

Congress and the American people about the issue of war with Iraq, and in particular the case used to justify the invasion of that country. The crime that was committed goes far beyond the outing of a rogue diplomat's CIA-affiliated spouse, as serious as that charge may be. The deliberate and systematic manner in which the Bush administration, from the president on down, peddled misleading, distorted and fabricated information to Congress and the American people represents a frontal assault on the very system of government the United States of America proclaims to champion.

Scott Ritter is a former chief U.N. weapons inspector who participated in 52 missions in Iraq, 14 of which he led. He is the author of the newly released "Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the U.N. and Overthrow Saddam Hussein" (Nation Books).

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The New Commandment on Political Murders

by Liaquat Ali Khan

The September 11 attacks have changed American law and foreign policy regarding political murders. Since the 1970s, when a Congressional Committee exposed the CIA plots to murder Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders, the President’s law embodied in Executive Orders has prohibited government employees from directly or indirectly engaging in assassinations. That law seems to have been secretly revoked. The President may do so for national security reasons. Even if the Executive Order prohibiting assassinations is still law, its language is open to interpretation. Given the bad faith interpretations that government lawyers have made to undermine the laws of war and torture, do not be surprised if the Executive Order is reinterpreted to allow domestic—yes domestic—and foreign political murders. If the law has indeed been revoked, the President’s hand is freer.

http://www.mwcnews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2011&It...

I heard Mr. Ritter's discussion with Seymour Hersh of 10/19/05 as recorded by C-Span. His background and experience about the entire Iraq invasion was impressive. I hope Mr. Ritter will continue to speak out articulately and authoritatively about the crimes Bush and the neo-cons perpetrated against the Iraqi people. It is worthy of a war crimes trial.
Margaret W. Ostrom

When the public was being lied to I knew they were lies and I tryed to tell my friends that they were lies and I am just a little person. What I can't understand is why couldn't the rest of the country know that a small country like Iraq was not a danger to the United States. Why couldn't congress see though the lies. The press didn't ask any hard questions they went along with the lie. I feel that the press should also take some of blame they are the watch dogs and they failed the American people.

I firmly commend this message, and to am inspired by at least one to have the back-bone to publish the truth! The efforts of Dennis are to be commended as well. The time has come, Hell, long over due, for
TRUE AMERICANS, whether GOP or DEM to link arms,join the masses and
DEMAND government that is responsive to the People. Demand honest,
hard-working, truthful, Government employees.

Yes, from the President downward, each are only employees of the People. We have sat idlely by and permitted two of the biggest most
lawless to seat themselves in and around the Whitehouse. There we
are folks! We have become the joke of the world, with the jokes of our Country at the helm! Impeachment is too good for them. We need
a fearless Special Prosecutor to lead the way to the "Cleanup-Clean-out" at the seat of our government, bring Grand Jury indictments for
those criminal and give them a life of luxury at the hotel housed by
the Navy down in the Bay. Exile them from our view!

Having said that, move on over the Congress and do some sweeping as
well. There are many there who have reached maturity and need to get
back to personal affairs. Their having gave out the blank check to
Bush & Cheney to prosecute a war in Iraq is example of ineptitude at
it's maximum! How bright can one be, giving a blank-check to go to
war at will. Congress has failed us, the President and Vice have done
nothing but provoke problems far into our future, and alas we have to
see our last leg of the trifecta (the Supreme Court) being packed with
conservatism! We need moderates! We need "swing votes" there.
We need Justices that are weighing the the rights for litigants.
We do not need those destined to do the "Master's Bidding."

Poor Harriet Miers, no doubt a wonderful person, but used in the tools
box of the Whitehouse, her qualifications apparently were she had a
religious tendency, was a lawyer, and perhaps might someday shield
Whitehouse criminality. At this point in time, indictments have been
handed down. Those indicted are those identified as criminal, those
in the shadows are hoping they are not named as well, those mostly
the large fish who might need the protections and shielding!

The time is NOW! America, please for all our sakes, make your voices heard. We have been silent far too long! We have made two (2) big
big mistakes at this juncture. These mistakes have costs too many lives to count here, hundreds of Billions of dollars of our common-wealth, and for what????? Use your common intelligence! That money,
and that money only, could have funded the things you hold most dear!
Schools, healthcare, social security reform, for just a few. Do we have good schools, adequate healthcare, secure sccial security? NO!
Where are good things we want and need for our people? Blown all the
way to Hell in Iraq!!!! Can we recover? YES! In what time frame?
Take a guess, many years we are set back now. Our children and grand-
children will still paying the way, and because we depress our family
and our families family with these idiot ideas.

Are we more secure with these huge expenditures? NO! This war was
a machine built by intellectually challeged people!!!! The Commander-
In-Chief, our President began by costing us Millions of dollars for
an F-18 fighter jet, Million or more traing him to fly it, chose other
things for his personnal interest other than fly, or engage in any
known military action with it, but takes pride in telling us, "I did
my duty!" Drunk-driving reared it's ugly head at this juncture.
To be drunk, whether or not driving, says "Partytime" was largely an
example of what Fighter-Pilot Training did for the President. And, the Vice-President had other things to do as well.

From the ranks of the poor, I and others instinctively knew we were
never going to be President, we with uncanny percetions knew this is
reserved for the privileged. QUESTION: Is there not any one of the privileged available to us who is forthright, honest, and discerning
enough to grasp that there is responsibility in leading?
The President lacked leadership qualifications! The President yet has
inadequate leadership qualifications, with on the job training.
The best I can say for we Americans, we have had on the job training
equal to our President's 5 years + or -, and a large segment of us
know from that, that the time has come to fire our employee, the
President, and forgive us if we fail to fire the Vice-President with
him!

The Constitution provides for the chain of command. The Speaker of the House is third in succession. Mr. Speaker, have you boned up on
Your Leadership skills? Are you ready to take on this awesome task?
Our Washington Fearless have led us on a course of distruction, we
need someone to lead us out and back into our promised, but denied,
land of the free, home of the brave!

Thank you very kindly for this forumn, I remain

James W. Iles
jiles331@sbcglobal.net

This letter is available for republication, no restriction.

Getting even is what this administration is all about. Anyone who speaks out against it puts him or herself in jeopardy. The purpose for outing Valerie Plame was not just to harm Joseph Wilson and his family individually, but to serve as a warning to any and all who might think about speaking out against this administration that it will do anything to avenge a perceived transgression. Remember Paul O'Neill saying that no one could do anything to him at his age and then suddenly being accused of using classified documents in his book. No one is safe from the Republican/corporate crime syndicate. Scott Ritter should know this better than most.

Scooter turning over his own notes (that contradicted his testimony) qualifies this as a "resultant conspiracy?"

Usually one "conspires" with others, here it was Scooter giving up his own handwritten notes to the Special Prosecutor.

Scott Ritter states as fact that a crime had taken place. Well, if a crime had "in fact" taken place, then there should be an indictment accusing someone, somewhere of that crime.

It looks more like the Martha Stewart case. The cover up was there - the crime was not, so the crime becomes the cover up.

It also appears that the logical fallacy of "guilt by association" is alive and well in Ritter's world. Libby is indicted, awaiting trial (presumed innocent etc...) for the cover up of a non-crime, but this somehow

"provides the most cogent and visible evidence to date of the criminal mindset that exists inside the Bush administration regarding the decision to invade Iraq."

It is always nice to hear someone spin, but please spin responsibly.

If Saddam can be jailed for his alleged offenses, then bombing and destroying a small country full of young children and elderly who can't possibly defend themselves against the biggest bully on the block should land Bush and Co. in prison. Especially since his reasons turned to be so much barnyard hooey. Bush should remember that even the biggest elephant can't stomp all the mosquitoes out the swamp. Being the most powerful military on earth does have it's responsibilites. Bush didn't prove a thing by murdering all those civilians. He should've had all his ducks beak to tail before making such a decision. The "BUCK STOPS HERE".

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