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rant

finally found the Kucinich thing

As some few of you have heard, Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against GWB last night. It's not in any of the mainstream media, of course, and there are only a few minutes of it in the "obvious" blogs, but after some digging I found Kucinich's complete speech here; start the video and fast-forward about 45 minutes to the start of Kucinich's four... hours... and... forty... minutes... speech.

I don't know how I feel about this. There's no doubt in my mind that GWB is guilty of impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors. There is likewise no doubt in my mind that it won't happen in the remaining six months of GWB's office. If it had been done a year and a half ago, there would be have been enough time, but it would have been very divisive, and it would have put Cheney in office unless he was impeached at the same time. The only thing to be gained is making a statement to the world that the U.S. recognizes and regrets its mistake.

I suspect it will have little or no effect on the Presidential campaign. Obama and his VP-to-be-named won't bring it up. McCain won't bring it up except perhaps to pick out the most preposterous few words Kucinich says (I assume he said something preposterous in nearly five hours of speech, although I haven't heard it yet).

Let's see. What exactly did Kucinich say?


Article 1: illegally using Federal funds for domestic propaganda purposes, to create support for invading Iraq. Backed up with numerous news stories about the marketing effort and the recruiting of "talking heads" to give White House talking points without divulging the source of those points.

Article 2: intentionally and misleading conflating the 9/11 attacks with Iraq, to create support for invading Iraq. Backed up with a variety of CIA reports, national security analyses, etc. making clear to the White House how unlikely it was that Saddam was cooperating or had cooperated in any way with al-Qaeda, and with repeated White House statements that they were cooperating.

Article 3: intentionally misleading Congress and the American people into believing that Iraq had WMD's, to create support for invading Iraq. Backed up with DOD and CIA reports telling the White House that Iraq's WMD's had been destroyed and were not currently being redeveloped, and subsequent White House statements that Iraq did have them, and was still developing them.

Article 4: intentionally misleading Congress and the American people into believing that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the U.S. Backed up with a few intelligence reports saying that Iraq was not an imminent threat to the U.S., and lots of subsequent White House statements that it was. News stories about White House pressure on intelligence analysts to tweak their reports to make the Iraq threat more urgent than it was.

Article 5: illegally mis-spending funds to secretly begin a war of aggression prior to Congressional authorization (diverting money authorized for Afghanistan).

Article 6: invading Iraq in violation of House Joint Resolution 114, which required the President to provide a (truthful) determination to Congress that there was no effective solution other than military action, prior to undertaking such military action (or within 48 hours after such action). Apparently GWB did send Congress a letter saying that, but "President Bush knew that these statements were false." Kucinich's evidence for the latter seems to be numerous intelligence reports showing no Iraq-al-Qaeda link, no WMD's, etc.

Article 7: invading Iraq without a declaration of war. I think Kucinich is claiming that HJRes 114 was itself un-Constitutional in that it didn't actually declare war, but delegated the power to do so to the President.

[After 1 hour and 7 minutes, he takes a drink of water.]

Article 8: invading Iraq in violation of the U.N. charter and international criminal law, which (having been ratified by the U.S.) become U.S. law. Quote from Kofi Annan: "from the U.N. Charter point of view, it [the invasion] was illegal." The U.S. was carrying out "collective punishment" against civilian populations, which under U.N. law is a war crime.

Article 9: failing to provide U.S. troops with adequate body and vehicle armor.

Article 10: falsifying accounts of U.S. troop deaths and injuries for political purposes.
Example: Pat Tilman's known friendly-fire death, which was instead reported as enemy action.
Example: Jessica Lynch's injury, capture, and rescue, which were reported as much more dramatic than they were, including false claims of mistreatment in captivity.

Article 11: establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq in violation of a law that GWB himself signed; he made a "signing statement" that he would effectively ignore those clauses of the law.

Article 12: initiating a war against Iraq for control of that nation's natural resources. Item: the U.S. pressured the Iraqi government into passing a law that places U.S. oil company executives on the Iraqi-government board that approves U.S. oil company activities in Iraq.

Article 13: creating a secret task force to develop energy and military policy, and thereby impeding the ability of Congress to set such policy. This task force solicited lots of input from energy-industry executives and lobbyists, without divulging to Congress or the GAO where the input had come from or even how much the task force's proceedings had cost. Some of these executives and lobbyists denied their involvement under oath in Congressional testimony, and the Bush Administration didn't correct these misstatements. Pressure on the Iraqi government to pass laws written by and for the U.S. oil industry.

Article 14: misprision of a felony, obstruction of justice, etc. with respect to the Valerie Plame Wilson affair. Selectively declassifying information to retaliate against a whistleblower. Exposing a CIA covert agent. Failure to investigate this leak, and to cooperate with Congressional investigation of it. Undermining the prosecution by commuting Scooter Libby's sentence.

Article 15: providing immunity from prosecution for criminal contractors in Iraq, in violation of the Geneva Conventions (which, having been ratified by the U.S., are therefore U.S. law).

Article 16: reckless mis-spending and waste of U.S. tax dollars in connection with U.S. contractors, both in Iraq and in the U.S. Contracts awarded to companies guilty of defrauding the government in the past, no-bid contracts, cost-plus contracts encouraging over-runs, and contracts with no requirement of completion. Over 2000 regional-monopoly contracts awarded prior to specification of any particular projects. Halliburton torched $85000 trucks rather than perform maintenance. Kickbacks and factor-of-ten over-runs. Halliburton officials participating in DoD meetings to set bidding requirements. Demotion and transfer of whistle-blowers. "Waste, fraud, and abuse appear to be the rule rather than the exception."

Article 17: detaining people indefinitely and without charge, in violation of U.S. and international law and the Geneva Conventions. Systematic abuse of detainees. Refused to provide identities and locations of detainees, prevented access to Red Cross etc. Claimed right to detain even U.S. citizens indefinitely, without charges and without access to courts.

Article 18: authorizing and encouraging the use of torture, in violation of U.S. law, the Geneva Conventions, international treaties ratified by the U.S, and the U.S. constitution, as official policy. Failure to halt these practices and punish those responsible. Signed a law in 2006 that prohibited torture, but attached "signing statement" that he was not bound by that prohibition. "Repeatedly lied to the American people, claiming that the U.S. does not torture."

Article 19: extraordinary rendition: kidnapping people in friendly nations and transferring them to the custody of nations that routinely practice torture, in violation of U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions. Invention of "enemy combatant" status not covered by either POW rights or civilian rights. Captives are held indefinitely, without charges, at secret locations, without notice to their families or access to Red Cross etc. Many of these have turned out to be completely innocent. Note that the CIA doesn't have authority to arrest anyone, much less transfer them to foreign custody. Example: 6 people acquitted by Bosnian courts, then immediately kidnapped and transferred to Guantanamo. Example: Canadian citizen captured in U.S., held for 2 weeks w/o counsel, Canadian consulate, then sent to Jordan, beaten, sent to Syria, beaten and interrogated, held for almost a year, then released without charges.

Article 20: imprisoning children, at least 2500 "enemy combatants" under the age of 18, for years without charges, in violation of U.S. law and Geneva Conventions. Preventing civilians from surrendering and fleeing scenes of impending battle. "The continued detention of such children, some as young as 10 years of age, ... constitutes a war crime for which the President, as commander in chief, bears full responsibility."

Article 21: misleading Congress and the American people about the threat from Iran, and trying to overthrow the government of Iran. Backed up by National Intelligence Estimates that Iran's nuclear-weapon program was terminated, and subsequent public statements by GWB that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. Administration memos detailing plans to overthrow governments of Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. Pentagon supporting, funding, and supplying weapons to al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations trying to overthrow Iranian government, without Congressional authorization.

Article 22: creating secret laws through classified executive orders and DoJ "legal opinions", binding on the Executive Branch. No legitimate justification for classifying them, as they contain no national-security or other sensitive information. Example: "The Fourth Amendment has no application to domestic military operations;" Congress has requested and been denied the actual memo. Several other similar opinions on Congressional and Presidential authority, which Congress hasn't been able to see. In effect, laws are being made and executed without the public -- or even Congress -- knowing what those laws are.

Article 23: violation of posse comitatis act, using U.S. military forces for law enforcement. Also, National Security Presidential Directive 51, which gives President power to control entire government in case of emergency, as well as to decide what constitutes an emergency. Parts of this directive are classified, and when senior members of Congress on Homeland Security and Intelligence committees asked to see them, they were denied.

Article 24: spying on U.S. citizens without warrants, in violation of FISA and the constitution. Two public stmts from GWB (2004, 2005) that Federal agents could not conduct wiretaps without court orders, at a time that he was already authorizing them to do so without even requesting a court order.

I'm up to 3:51 in the video; eleven articles to go.


Oh, I thought of one other use for this action: if Bush were to attack Iran in the next six months, there would be enough outrage in Congress to actually take action on these articles, and this way they're already filed and ready.

Comments

off the table

The Dems won't bring up impeachment because the obviously politically inspired action against Clinton has tainted the option for at least a generation. If they were to pursue this (or even discuss the option seriously) then impeachment would be framed as a tool that one party uses against the other whenever it has a majority in congress and the president is of the other party.

It would become like the votes of no confidence in parliamentary systems which frequently bring all legislative activity to a halt. Italy has had one new government on average ever since the end of WWII. As a consequence it lags behind all the other traditional west European states in development.

Notice that international tribunals aren't doing much better. Obvious criminals like Mugabe are still in power and not even under investigation by these bodies. In addition the UN was set up with a "dictator protection clause" - demanded by Stalin, which prohibits it from intervening in the "internal" affairs of member states, even when a genocide as in Rwanda is underway.

I'm afraid that the rich and powerful just do get away with murder. The rare case that gets prosecuted proves the point. Spend your time working on changes that will matter, from the bottom up.

I've been wondering...

After the monkey is out of office, I assume he can't be criminally prosecuted for the stuff he's pulled in office, but can he at least be subpoenaed to testify under oath about it, with somebody else deciding what needs to be classified and what doesn't? That way at least there could be a semi-public proceeding in which America recognizes and acknowledges its mistakes.

more articles

Article 24: spying on U.S. citizens without warrants, in violation of FISA and the constitution. Two public stmts from GWB (2004, 2005) that Federal agents could not conduct wiretaps without court orders, at a time that he was already authorizing them to do so without even requesting a court order. Public stmt from GWB saying that in some cases he was seeking warrants, and in some cases he wasn't. Quotations from the 4th Amendment, FISA, correspondence between Congress and various lawyers, court decisions.

Article 25: directing telecommunications companies to create a database of private customer data and make it available to law-enforcement officials without a warrant, in violation of the Stored Communications Act of 1986 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Quotations from various news stories and analyses.

Article 26: announcing the intent to violate laws, with "signing statements", and then violating those laws. Study by governmental accountability office showing that Administration had already started violating at least 30% of the laws it had claimed the right to violate.

Article 27: failing to comply with Congressional subpoenas, and instructing former employees to do likewise. List of about eight specific subpoenas.

Article 28: tampering with free and fair elections. Citations of artificially-manufactured "voting fraud" problems in Democratic-leaning districts; selective prosecution of Democratic candidates and not of Republican candidates in months preceding elections; threats to fire attorneys who refused to do so; obstruction of Congressional investigation of these firings, by ordering subordinates not to testify when subpoenaed, and refusing to prosecute them for failure to comply with subpoenas.

Article 29: conspiracy to violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Citations of Bush campaign officials (mostly Ohio Secretary of State John Kenneth Blackwell) who intentionally jammed phone lines on election day 2002, and in the 2004 Presidential election, carried out intentional voter intimidation and misinformation targeted at African-Americans, denied adequate voting machines and paper ballots to Democratic-leaning districts in Ohio, failed to investigate the above, intentionally promulgated confusing and unreasonable regulations on what constitutes a legitimate voter registration form (e.g. 80-lb. paper vs. 60-lb. paper) and where votes must be cast, purged tens of thousands of African-American voters from voting rolls immediately before the election, did nothing when computer error disenfranchised thousands of voters in urban districts. Justice Dept. filed indictments for voter fraud within days before election, violating Justice Dept. rules. Vote "caging" in at least five states. Justice Dept. forbade its attorneys to file lawsuits for violations of Voting Rights Act. Federal Election Assistance Commission withheld release of reports before 2006 election, and modified their conclusions to suit Republican priorities.

Article 30: misleading Congress and the American people in an attempt to destroy Medicare. More specifically, deliberately draining Medicare's resources by underpaying providers to discourage them from participating, creating prescription-drug benefit without cost controls, etc. Gave Congress known underestimates of the program's costs, and forbade actuaries from providing accurate estimates, in order to get Congress to pass it.

... and more ...


Article 31: failure to plan for and respond to natural disasters such as Katrina. Lots of numbers about what was destroyed, and how much of it was in low-income neighborhoods. Denial of scientific predictions of increased hurricane strength; forbidding National Weather Service to discuss that trend. Cutting budgets for flood-prevention and evacuation plans in the two years leading to Katrina. Reports from Weather Service and Homeland Security to White House before landfall predicting widespread levee breaches; public statements by GWB that "Nobody could have predicted that the levees would break." State and local officials declared states of emergency promptly; no Federal state of emergency for several days.

Article 32: misleading Congress and the American people on global climate change. Manipulation of scientific reports to de-emphasize anthropogenic warming. DARPA report in 2003 analyzed likely national-security implications of global warming. GWB refused to ratify Kyoto Accord, suppressed release of EPA reports on climate change, and pressured EPA into reversing its position and forbidding California from imposing stricter regulations. Threats against EPA and NOAA scientists if they speak to reporters about climate change. Appointment of petroleum-industry lobbyists to head Council on Environmental Quality, which modified scientific reports to de-emphasize anthropogenic warming. EPA scientists ordered to omit or modify certain scientific findings on climate change.

Article 33: repeatedly ignored and failed to respond to intelligence warnings of terrorist attacks on US before 9/11/01. Citations of dozens of DOD and CIA reports and PDB's in preceding months, specifically mentioning Osama bin-Laden, airplane hijacking, and targets in NYC and Washington; no apparent Presidential or Cabinet action until 9/4.

... and the last two...

Article 34: obstructed investigations into the 9/11 attacks. Citations of a lot of conflicting stories about who told GWB what when in summer 2001. "The President's knowledge of intelligence information ... remains classified, even when the substance of that intelligence information has been declassified." Inquiry commission was underfunded and denied access to documents.

Article 35: endangering the health of 9/11 first responders, by downplaying and ignoring health risks. Encouraging EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones from their public statements about air safety. "All statements to the media [by EPA] should be cleared through the National Security Council before being released." News-filtering done largely by Council on Environmental Quality (see Article 32). Worker-safety laws not enforced at WTC site.