Sunday, July 06, 2008
Did you ever wonder why we’ve been drinking beer, dancing in the parking lots, watching fireworks, and chanting “USA! USA! USA!”? Well here’s your answer, or at least part of it, from Dennis Kucinich:
Article I: Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, illegally spent public dollars on a secret propaganda program to manufacture a false cause for war against Iraq.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has engaged in a years-long secret domestic propaganda campaign to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This secret program was defended by the White House Press Secretary following its exposure. This program follows the pattern of crimes detailed in Article I, II, IV and VIII. The mission of this program placed it within the field controlled by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a White House task force formed in August 2002 to market an invasion of Iraq to the American people. The group included Karl Rove, I. Lewis Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Stephen Hadley, Nicholas E. Calio, and James R. Wilkinson.
The WHIG produced white papers detailing so-called intelligence of Iraq’s nuclear threat that later proved to be false. This supposed intelligence included the claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger as well as the claim that the high strength aluminum tubes Iraq purchased from China were to be used for the sole purpose of building centrifuges to enrich uranium. Unlike the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, the WHIG’s white papers provided “gripping images and stories” and used “literary license” with intelligence. The WHIG’s white papers were written at the same time and by the same people as speeches and talking points prepared for President Bush and some of his top officials.
The WHIG also organized a media blitz in which, between September 7-8, 2002, President Bush and his top advisers appeared on numerous interviews and all provided similarly gripping images about the possibility of nuclear attack by Iraq. The timing was no coincidence, as Andrew Card explained in an interview regarding waiting until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”
September 7-8, 2002:
NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Vice President Cheney accused Saddam of moving aggressively to develop nuclear weapons over the past 14 months to add to his stockpile of chemical and biological arms.
CNN: Then-National Security Adviser Rice said, regarding the likelihood of Iraq obtaining a nuclear weapon, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
CBS: President Bush declared that Saddam was “six months away from developing a weapon,” and cited satellite photos of construction in Iraq where weapons inspectors once visited as evidence that Saddam was trying to develop nuclear arms.
The Pentagon military analyst propaganda program was revealed in an April 20, 2002, New York Times article. The program illegally involved “covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recruited 75 retired military officers and gave them talking points to deliver on Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC, and according to the New York Times report, which has not been disputed by the Pentagon or the White House, “Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.”
According to the Pentagon’s own internal documents, the military analysts were considered “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who would deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.” In fact, they did deliver the themes and the messages but did not reveal that the Pentagon had provided them with their talking points. Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and Fox News military analyst described this as follows: “It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'”
Congress has restricted annual appropriations bills since 1951 with this language: “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.”
A March 21, 2005, report by the Congressional Research Service states that “publicity or propaganda” is defined by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to mean either (1) self-aggrandizement by public officials, (2) purely partisan activity, or (3) “covert propaganda.”
These concerns about “covert propaganda” were also the basis for the GAO’s standard for determining when government-funded video news releases are illegal:
“The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the viewing audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual — the essential fact of attribution is missing.”
The White House’s own Office of Legal Council stated in a memorandum written in 2005 following the controversy over the Armstrong Williams scandal:
“Over the years, GAO has interpreted ‘publicity or propaganda’ restrictions to preclude use of appropriated funds for, among other things, so-called ‘covert propaganda.’ … Consistent with that view, the OLC determined in 1988 that a statutory prohibition on using appropriated funds for ‘publicity or propaganda’ precluded undisclosed agency funding of advocacy by third-party groups. We stated that ‘covert attempts to mold opinion through the undisclosed use of third parties’ would run afoul of restrictions on using appropriated funds for ‘propaganda.'”
Asked about the Pentagon’s propaganda program at White House press briefing in April 2008, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino defended it, not by arguing that it was legal but by suggesting that it “should” be: “Look, I didn’t know look, I think that you guys should take a step back and look at this look, DOD has made a decision, they’ve decided to stop this program. But I would say that one of the things that we try to do in the administration is get information out to a variety of people so that everybody else can call them and ask their opinion about something. And I don’t think that that should be against the law. And I think that it’s absolutely appropriate to provide information to people who are seeking it and are going to be providing their opinions on it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those military analysts ever agreed with the administration. I think you can go back and look and think that a lot of their analysis was pretty tough on the administration. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk to people.”
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.
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, executed a calculated and wide-ranging strategy to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States into believing that there was and is a connection between Iraq and Saddam Hussein on the one hand, and the attacks of September 11, 2001 and al Qaeda, on the other hand, so as to falsely justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner that is damaging to the national security interests of the United States, as well as to fraudulently obtain and maintain congressional authorization and funding for the use of such military force against Iraq, thereby interfering with and obstructing Congress’s lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and declaring war.
The means used to implement this deception were and continue to be, first, allowing, authorizing and sanctioning the manipulation of intelligence analysis by those under his direction and control, including the Vice President and the Vice President’s agents, and second, personally making, or causing, authorizing and allowing to be made through highly-placed subordinates, including the President’s Chief of Staff, the White House Press Secretary and other White House spokespersons, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the National Security Advisor, and their deputies and spokespersons, false and fraudulent representations to the citizens of the United States and Congress regarding an alleged connection between Saddam Hussein and Iraq, on the one hand, and the September 11th attacks and al Qaeda, on the other hand, that were half-true, literally true but misleading, and/or made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth, as well as omitting to state facts necessary to present an accurate picture of the truth as follows:
(A) On or about September 12, 2001, former terrorism advisor Richard Clarke personally informed the President that neither Saddam Hussein nor Iraq was responsible for the September 11th attacks. On September 18, Clarke submitted to the President’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice a memo he had written in response to George W. Bush’s specific request that stated: (1) the case for linking Hussein to the September 11th attacks was weak; (2) only anecdotal evidence linked Hussein to al Qaeda; (3) Osama Bin Laden resented the secularism of Saddam Hussein; and (4) there was no confirmed reporting of Saddam Hussein cooperating with Bin Laden on unconventional weapons.
(B) Ten days after the September 11th attacks the President received a President’s Daily Briefing which indicated that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11th attacks and that there was “scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda.”
(C) In Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary No. 044-02, issued in February 2002, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein- Al Qaeda conspiracy: “Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.”
(D) The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate gave a “Low Confidence” rating to the notion of whether “in desperation Saddam would share chemical or biological weapons with Al Qaeda.” The CIA never informed the President that there was an operational relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein; on the contrary, its most “aggressive” analysis contained in Iraq and al-Qaeda-Interpreting a Murky Relationship” dated June 21, 2002 was that Iraq had had “sporadic, wary contacts with al Qaeda since the mid-1990s rather than a relationship with al Qaeda that has developed over time.” (E) Notwithstanding his knowledge that neither Saddam Hussein nor Iraq was in any way connected to the September 11th attacks, the President allowed and authorized those acting under his direction and control, including Vice President Richard B. Cheney and Lewis Libby, who reported directly to both the President and the Vice President, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, among others, to pressure intelligence analysts to alter their assessments and to create special units outside of, and unknown to, the intelligence community in order to secretly obtain unreliable information, to manufacture intelligence or reinterpret raw data in ways that would further the Bush administration’s goal of fraudulently establishing a relationship not only between Iraq and al Qaeda, but between Iraq and the attacks of September 11th.
(F) Further, despite his full awareness that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had no relationship to the September 11th attacks, the President, and those acting under his direction and control have, since at least 2002 and continuing to the present, repeatedly issued public statements deliberately worded to mislead, words calculated in their implication to bring unrelated actors and circumstances into an artificially contrived reality thereby facilitating the systematic deception of Congress and the American people. Thus the public and some members of Congress came to believe, falsely, that there was a connection between Iraq and the attacks of 911. This was accomplished through well-publicized statements by the Bush Administration which contrived to continually tie Iraq and 911 in the same statements of grave concern without making an explicit charge:
(1) “[If] Iraq regimes [sic] continues to defy us, and the world, we will move deliberately, yet decisively, to hold Iraq to account…It’s a new world we’re in. We used to think two oceans could separate us from an enemy. On that tragic day, September the 11th, 2001, we found out that’s not the case. We found out this great land of liberty and of freedom and of justice is vulnerable. And therefore we must do everything we can — everything we can — to secure the homeland, to make us safe.” Speech of President Bush in Iowa on September 16, 2002.
(2) “With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.” March 6, 2003, Statement of President Bush in National Press Conference.
(3) “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men — the shock troops of a hateful ideology — gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the ‘beginning of the end of America.’ By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation’s resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed.” May 1, 2003, Speech of President Bush on U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.
(4) “Now we’re in a new and unprecedented war against violent Islamic extremists. This is an ideological conflict we face against murderers and killers who try to impose their will. These are the people that attacked us on September the 11th and killed nearly 3,000 people. The stakes are high, and once again, we have had to change our strategic thinking. The major battleground in this war is Iraq.” June 28, 2007, Speech of President Bush at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
(G) Notwithstanding his knowledge that there was no credible evidence of a working relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda and that the intelligence community had specifically assessed that there was no such operational relationship, the President, both personally and through his subordinates and agents, has repeatedly falsely represented, both explicitly and implicitly, and through the misleading use of selectively-chosen facts, to the citizens of the United States and to the Congress that there was and is such an ongoing operational relationship, to wit:
(1) “We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.” September 28, 2002, Weekly Radio Address of President Bush to the Nation.
(2) “[W]e we need to think about Saddam Hussein using al Qaeda to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind.” October 14, 2002, Remarks by President Bush in Michigan.
(3) “We know he’s got ties with al Qaeda.” November 1, 2002, Speech of President Bush in New Hampshire.
(4) “Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.” January 28, 2003, President Bush’s State of the Union Address.
(5) “[W]hat I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network…” February 5, 2003, Speech of Former Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations.
(6) “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. . . . [T]he liberation of Iraq . . . removed an ally of al Qaeda.” May 1, 2003, Speech of President Bush on U.S. S. Abraham Lincoln.
(H) The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence “Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq By U.S. Government Officials Were Substantiated By Intelligence Information,” which was released on June 5, 2008, concluded that:
(1) “Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.”
Through his participation and instance in the breathtaking scope of this deception, the President has used the highest office of trust to wage of campaign of deception of such sophistication as to deliberately subvert the national security interests of the United States. His dishonesty set the stage for the loss of more than 4000 United States service members; injuries to tens of thousands of soldiers, the loss of more than 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi citizens since the United States invasion; the loss of approximately $527 billion in war costs which has increased our Federal debt and the ultimate expenditure of three to five trillion dollars for all costs covering the war; the loss of military readiness within the United States Armed Services due to overextension, the lack of training and lack of equipment; the loss of United States credibility in world affairs; and the decades of likely blowback created by the invasion of Iraq.
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 V: Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.
Article VI: Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of H. J. Res114.
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.
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” has violated an act of Congress that he himself signed into law by using public funds to construct permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.
On January 28, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R. 4986). Noting that the Act “authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs,” the president added the following “signing statement”:
“Provisions of the Act, including sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.”
Section 1222 clearly prohibits the expenditure of money for the purpose of establishing permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. The construction of over $1 billion in U.S. military bases in Iraq, including runways for aircraft, continues despite Congressional intent, as the Administration intends to force upon the Iraqi government such terms which will assure the bases remain in Iraq.
Iraqi officials have informed members of Congress in May 2008 of the strong opposition within the Iraqi parliament and throughout Iraq to the agreement that the administration is trying to negotiate with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The agreement seeks to assure a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq of which military bases are the most obvious, sufficient and necessary construct, thus clearly defying Congressional intent as to the matter and meaning of “permanency.”
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, invaded and occupied a foreign nation for the purpose, among other purposes, of seizing control of that nation’s oil.
The White House and its representatives in Iraq have, since the occupation of Baghdad began, attempted to gain control of Iraqi oil. This effort has included pressuring the new Iraqi government to pass a hydrocarbon law. Within weeks of the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a $240 million contract to Bearing Point, a private U.S. company. A Bearing Point employee, based in the US embassy in Baghdad, was hired to advise the Iraqi Ministry of Oil on drawing up the new hydrocarbon law. The draft law places executives of foreign oil companies on a council with the task of approving their own contracts with Iraq; it denies the Iraqi National Oil Company exclusive rights for the exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing of Iraqi oil, and allows foreign companies to control Iraqi oil fields containing 80 percent of Iraqi oil for up to 35 years through contracts that can remain secret for up to 2 months. The draft law itself contains secret appendices.
President Bush provided unrelated reasons for the invasion of Iraq to the public and Congress, but those reasons have been established to have been categorically fraudulent, as evidenced by the herein mentioned Articles of Impeachment I, II, III, IV, VI, and VII.
Parallel to the development of plans for war against Iraq, the U.S. State Department’s Future of Iraq project, begun as early as April 2002, involved meetings in Washington and London of 17 working groups, each composed of 10 to 20 Iraqi exiles and international experts selected by the State Department. The Oil and Energy working group met four times between December 2002 and April 2003. Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, later the Iraqi Oil Minister, was a member of the group, which concluded that Iraq “should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war,” and that, “the country should establish a conducive business environment to attract investment of oil and gas resources.” The same group recommended production-sharing agreements with foreign oil companies, the same approach found in the draft hydrocarbon law, and control over Iraq’s oil resources remains a prime objective of the Bush Administration.
Prior to his election as Vice President, Dick Cheney, then-CEO of Halliburton, in a speech at the Institute of Petroleum in 1999 demonstrated a keen awareness of the sensitive economic and geopolitical role of Middle East oil resources saying: “By 2010, we will need on the order of an additional 50 million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and national oil companies are obviously controlling about 90 percent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East, with two-thirds of the world’s oil and lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies. Even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow.”
The Vice President led the work of a secret energy task force, as described in Article XXXII below, a task force that focused on, among other things, the acquisition of Iraqi oil through developing a controlling private corporate interest in said oil.
Article XIIII: Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on the Cheney Energy Task Force, in August 2003, described the creation of this task force as follows:
“In a January 29, 2001, memorandum, the President established NEPDG [the National Energy Policy Development Group]–comprised of the Vice President, nine cabinet-level officials, and four other senior administration officials–to gather information, deliberate, and make recommendations to the President by the end of fiscal year 2001. The President called on the Vice President to chair the group, direct its work and, as necessary, establish subordinate working groups to assist NEPDG.”
The four “other senior administration officials were the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs.
The GAO report found that:
“In developing the National Energy Policy report, the NEPDG Principals, Support Group, and participating agency officials and staff met with, solicited input from, or received information and advice from nonfederal energy stakeholders, principally petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and electricity industry representatives and lobbyists. The extent to which submissions from any of these stakeholders were solicited, influenced policy deliberations, or were incorporated into the final report cannot be determined based on the limited information made available to GAO. NEPDG met and conducted its work in two distinct phases: the first phase culminated in a March 19, 2001, briefing to the President on challenges relating to energy supply and the resulting economic impact; the second phase ended with the May 16, 2001, presentation of the final report to the President. The Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) unwillingness to provide the NEPDG records or other related information precluded GAO from fully achieving its objectives and substantially limited GAO’s ability to comprehensively analyze the NEPDG process.
“None of the key federal entities involved in the NEPDG effort provided GAO with a complete accounting of the costs that they incurred during the development of the National Energy Policy report. The two federal entities responsible for funding the NEPDG effort—OVP and the Department of Energy (DOE)—did not provide the comprehensive cost information that GAO requested. OVP provided GAO with 77 pages of information, two-thirds of which contained no cost information while the remaining one-third contained some miscellaneous information of little to no usefulness. OVP stated that it would not provide any additional information. DOE, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided GAO with estimates of certain costs and salaries associated with the NEPDG effort, but these estimates, all calculated in different ways, were not comprehensive.”
In 2003, the Commerce Department disclosed a partial collection of materials from the NEPDG, including documents, maps, and charts, dated March 2001, of Iraq’s, Saudi Arabia’s and the United Arab Emirates’ oil fields, pipelines, refineries, tanker terminals, and development projects.
On November 16, 2005, the Washington Post reported on a White House document showing that oil company executives had met with the NEPDG, something that some of those same executives had just that week denied in Congressional testimony. The Bush Administration had not corrected the inaccurate testimony.
On July 18, 2007, the Washington Post reported the full list of names of those who had met with the NEPDG..
In 1998 Kenneth Derr, then chief executive of Chevron, told a San Francisco audience, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas, reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.” According to the GAO report, Chevron provided detailed advice to the NEPDG.
In March 2001, the NEPDG recommended that the United States Government support initiatives by Middle Eastern countries “to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.” Following the invasion of Iraq, the United States has pressured the new Iraqi parliament to pass a hydrocarbon law that would do exactly that. The draft law, if passed, would take the majority of Iraq’s oil out of the exclusive hands of the Iraqi Government and open it to international oil companies for a generation or more. The Bush administration hired Bearing Point, a U.S. company, to help write the law in 2004. It was submitted to the Iraqi Council of Representatives in May 2007.
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.
In a statement on Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush declared that in the US fight against Al Qaeda, “none of the provisions of Geneva apply,” thus rejecting the Geneva Conventions that protect captives in wars and other conflicts. By that time, the administration was already transporting captives from the war in Afghanistan, both alleged Al Qaeda members and supporters, and also Afghans accused of being fighters in the army of the Taliban government, to US-run prisons in Afghanistan and to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The round-up and detention without charge of Muslim non-citizens inside the US began almost immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with some being held as long as nine months. The US, on orders of the president, began capturing and detaining without charge alleged terror suspects in other countries and detaining them abroad and at the US Naval base in Guantanamo.
Many of these detainees have been subjected to systematic abuse, including beatings, which have been subsequently documented by news reports, photographic evidence, testimony in Congress, lawsuits, and in the case of detainees in the US, by an investigation conducted by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
In violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions, the Bush Administration instructed the Department of Justice and the US Department of Defense to refuse to provide the identities or locations of these detainees, despite requests from Congress and from attorneys for the detainees. The president even declared the right to detain US citizens indefinitely, without charge and without providing them access to counsel or the courts, thus depriving them of their constitutional and basic human rights. Several of those US citizens were held in military brigs in solitary confinement for as long as three years before being either released or transferred to civilian detention.
Detainees in US custody in Iraq and Guantanamo have, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, been hidden from and denied visits by the International Red Cross organization, while thousands of others in Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, ships in foreign off-shore sites, and an unknown number of so-called “black sites” around the world have been denied any opportunity to challenge their detentions. The president, acting on his own claimed authority, has declared the hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to be “enemy combatants” not subject to US law and not even subject to military law, but nonetheless potentially liable to the death penalty.
The detention of individuals without due process violates the 5th Amendment. While the Bush administration has been rebuked in several court cases, most recently that of Ali al-Marri, it continues to attempt to exceed constitutional limits.
In violation of the Constitution, US law, the Geneva Conventions (to which the US is a signatory), and in violation of basic human rights, torture has been authorized by the President and his administration as official policy. Water-boarding, beatings, faked executions, confinement in extreme cold or extreme heat, prolonged enforcement of painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, and the defiling of religious articles have been practiced and exposed as routine at Guantanamo, at Abu Ghraib Prison and other US detention sites in Iraq, and at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The president, besides bearing responsibility for authorizing the use of torture, also as Commander in Chief, bears ultimate responsibility for the failure to halt these practices and to punish those responsible once they were exposed.
The administration has sought to claim the abuse of captives is not torture, by redefining torture. An August 1, 2002 memorandum from the Administration’s Office of Legal Counsel Jay S. Bybee addressed to White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales concluded that to constitute torture, any pain inflicted must be akin to that accompanying “serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” The memorandum went on to state that even should an act constitute torture under that minimal definition, it might still be permissible if applied to “interrogations undertaken pursuant to the President’s Commander-in-Chief powers.” The memorandum further asserted that “necessity or self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability.”
This effort to redefine torture by calling certain practices simply “enhanced interrogation techniques” flies in the face of the Third Geneva Convention Relating to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, which states that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”
Torture is further prohibited by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the paramount international human rights statement adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly, including the United States, in 1948. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is also prohibited by international treaties ratified by the United States: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
When the Congress, in the Defense Authorization Act of 2006, overwhelmingly passed a measure banning torture and sent it to the President’s desk for signature, the President, who together with his vice president, had fought hard to block passage of the amendment, signed it, but then quietly appended a signing statement in which he pointedly asserted that as Commander-in-Chief, he was not bound to obey its strictures.
The administration’s encouragement of and failure to prevent torture of American captives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the battle against terrorism, has undermined the rule of law in the US and in the US military, and has seriously damaged both the effort to combat global terrorism, and more broadly, America’s image abroad. In his effort to hide torture by US military forces and the CIA, the president has defied Congress and has lied to the American people, repeatedly claiming that the US “does not torture.”
Article XIX: Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture.
The president has publicly admitted that since the 9-11 attacks in 2001, the US has been kidnapping and transporting against the will of the subject (renditioning) in its so-called “war” on terror—even people captured by US personnel in friendly nations like Sweden, Germany, Macedonia and Italy—and ferrying them to places like Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, and to prisons operated in Eastern European countries, African Countries and Middle Eastern countries where security forces are known to practice torture.
These people are captured and held indefinitely, without any charges being filed, and are held without being identified to the Red Cross, or to their families. Many are clearly innocent, and several cases, including one in Canada and one in Germany, have demonstrably been shown subsequently to have been in error, because of a similarity of names or because of misinformation provided to US authorities.
Such a policy is in clear violation of US and International Law, and has placed the United States in the position of a pariah state. The CIA has no law enforcement authority, and cannot legally arrest or detain anyone. The program of “extraordinary rendition” authorized by the president is the substantial equivalent of the policies of “disappearing” people, practices widely practiced and universally condemned in the military dictatorships of Latin America during the late 20th Century.
The administration has claimed that prior administrations have practiced extraordinary rendition, but, while this is technically true, earlier renditions were used only to capture people with outstanding arrest warrants or convictions who were outside in order to deliver them to stand trial or serve their sentences in the US. The president has refused to divulge how many people have been subject to extraordinary rendition since September 2001. It is possible that some have died in captivity. As one US official has stated off the record, regarding the program, some of those who were renditioned were later delivered to Guantanamo, while others were sent there directly. An example of this is the case of six Algerian Bosnians who, immediately after being cleared by the Supreme Court of Bosnia Herzegovina in January 2002 of allegedly plotting to attack the US and UK embassies, were captured, bound and gagged by US special forces and renditioned to Guantanamo.
In perhaps the most egregious proven case of rendition, Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria, was picked up in September 2002 while transiting through New York’s JFK airport on his way home to Canada. Immigration and FBI officials detained and interrogated him for nearly two weeks, illegally denying him his rights to access counsel, the Canadian consulate, and the courts. Executive branch officials asked him if he would volunteer to go to Syria, where he hadn’t been in 15 years, and Maher refused.
Maher was put on a private jet plane operated by the CIA and sent to Jordan, where he was beaten for 8 hours, and then delivered to Syria, where he was beaten and interrogated for 18 hours a day for a couple of weeks. He was whipped on his back and hands with a 2-inch thick electric cable and asked questions similar to those he had been asked in the United States. For over ten months Maher was held in an underground grave-like cell – 3 x 6 x 7 feet – which was damp and cold, and in which the only light came in through a hole in the ceiling. After a year of this, Maher was released without any charges. He is now back home in Canada with his family. Upon his release, the Syrian Government announced he had no links to Al Qaeda, and the Canadian Government has also said they’ve found no links to Al Qaeda. The Canadian Government launched a Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar, to investigate the role of Canadian officials, but the Bush Administration has refused to cooperate with the Inquiry.
Hundreds of flights of CIA-chartered planes have been documented as having passed through European countries on extraordinary rendition missions like that involving Maher Arar, but the administration refuses to state how many people have been subjects of this illegal program.
The same U.S. laws prohibiting aiding and abetting torture also prohibit sending someone to a country where there is a substantial likelihood they may be tortured. Article 3 of CAT prohibits forced return where there is a “substantial likelihood” that an individual “may be in danger of” torture, and has been implemented by federal statute. Article 7 of the ICCPR prohibits return to country of origin where individuals may be “at risk” of either torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Under international Human Rights law, transferring a POW to any nation where he or she is likely to be tortured or inhumanely treated violates Article 12 of the Third Geneva Convention, and transferring any civilian who is a protected person under the Fourth Geneva Convention is a grave breach and a criminal act.
In situations of armed conflict, both international human rights law and humanitarian law apply. A person captured in the zone of military hostilities “must have some status under international law; he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, [or] a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention….There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law.” Although the state is obligated to repatriate Prisoners of War as soon as hostilities cease, the ICRC’s commentary on the 1949 Conventions states that prisoners should not be repatriated where there are serious reasons for fearing that repatriating the individual would be contrary to general principles of established international law for the protection of human beings Thus, all of the Guantánamo detainees as well as renditioned captives are protected by international human rights protections and humanitarian law.
By his actions as outlined above, the President has abused his power, broken the law, deceived the American people, and placed American military personnel, and indeed all Americans—especially those who may travel or live abroad–at risk of similar treatment. Furthermore, in the eyes of the rest of the world, the President has made the US, once a model of respect for Human Rights and respect for the rule of law, into a state where international law is neither respected nor upheld.
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 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.
The White House’s top counter-terrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, has testified that from the beginning of George W. Bush’s presidency until September 11, 2001, Clarke attempted unsuccessfully to persuade President Bush to take steps to protect the nation against terrorism. Clarke sent a memorandum to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on January 24, 2001, “urgently” but unsuccessfully requesting “a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with the impending al Qaeda attack.”
In April 2001, Clarke was finally granted a meeting, but only with second-in-command department representatives, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who made light of Clarke’s concerns.
Clarke confirms that in June, July, and August, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned the president in daily briefings of unprecedented indications that a major al Qaeda attack was going to happen against the United States somewhere in the world in the weeks and months ahead. Yet, Clarke was still unable to convene a cabinet-level meeting to address the issue.
Condoleezza Rice has testified that George Tenet met with the president 40 times to warn him that a major al-Qaeda attack was going to take place, and that in response the president did not convene any meetings of top officials. At such meetings, the FBI could have shared information on possible terrorists enrolled at flight schools. Among the many preventive steps that could have been taken, the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines, and airports might have been put on full alert.
According to Condoleezza Rice, the first and only cabinet-level meeting prior to 9/11 to discuss the threat of terrorist attacks took place on September 4, 2001, one week before the attacks in New York and Washington.
On August 6, 2001, President Bush was presented a President’s Daily Brief (PDB) article titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The lead sentence of that PDB article indicated that Bin Laden and his followers wanted to “follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and ‘bring the fighting to America.’” The article warned: “Al-Qa’ida members–including some who are US citizens–have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.”
The article cited a “more sensational threat reporting that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a US aircraft,” but indicated that the CIA had not been able to corroborate such reporting. The PDB item included information from the FBI indicating “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” The article also noted that the CIA and FBI were investigating “a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.”
The president spent the rest of August 6, and almost all the rest of August 2001 on vacation. There is no evidence that he called any meetings of his advisers to discuss this alarming report. When the title and substance of this PDB article were later reported in the press, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice began a sustained campaign to play down its significance, until the actual text was eventually released by the White House.
New York Times writer Douglas Jehl put it this way: “In a single 17-sentence document, the intelligence briefing delivered to President Bush in August 2001 spells out the who, hints at the what and points towards the where of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that followed 36 days later.”
Eleanor Hill, Executive Director of the joint congressional committee investigating the performance of the US intelligence community before September 11, 2001, reported in mid-September 2002 that intelligence reports a year earlier “reiterated a consistent and constant theme: Osama bin Laden’s intent to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States.”
That joint inquiry revealed that just two months before September 11, an intelligence briefing for “senior government officials” predicted a terrorist attack with these words: “The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”
Given the White House’s insistence on secrecy with regard to what intelligence was given to President Bush, the joint-inquiry report does not divulge whether he took part in that briefing. Even if he did not, it strains credulity to suppose that those “senior government officials” would have kept its alarming substance from the president.
Again, there is no evidence that the president held any meetings or took any action to deal with the threats of such attacks.
Article XXXV: Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.
In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.
But the Democratic leaders say, “Impeachment is off the table.”
Their presumptive nominee doesn’t appear to disagree.
Once again Dennis Kucinich has been hung out to dry by his alleged colleagues.
So why are we celebrating?