To: Richmond, Va., Mayor Dwight C. Jones, Police Chief Ray J. Tarasovic, Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr,
From: David Swanson, author; Phil Wilayto, editor, The Virginia Defender; Ana Edwards, chair, Defenders' Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
We hope you will consider this request from deeply concerned Virginians on its legal merits rather than its acceptability in certain social circles or how it might be received by certain television talking heads.
Conspiracy to torture has long been a felony in the U.S. Code, in both Title 18, Section 2340, and Title 18, Section 2441. The United States is also a party to the Convention Against Torture, which requires the criminal prosecution of complicity in torture, and which -- under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution -- is part of the supreme Law of the Land.
A new movie has just been released based on Vincent Bugliosi's book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder." Bugliosi, of course, prosecuted Charles Manson and authored best sellers about Manson's guilt, O.J. Simpson's guilt, and Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt. Whether we all agree with all of those conclusions, it is worth noting that each book was reviewed and considered by the biggest U.S. newspapers and television networks. When Bugliosi wrote a book about George W. Bush's guilt, something we're almost all united on, the corporate media shut it out. Will the same fate greet this movie?
The political parties in Washington, D.C., have switched sides for the moment. Now the Democrats accept presidential power abuses, while the Republicans are outraged, selectively, by a few of them. Host David Swanson gives his thoughts. Guest Elizabeth Holtzman discusses the possibility of creating a climate of accountability by prosecuting George W. Bush. Holtzman was a member of Congress and of the House Judiciary Committee that voted for articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. She proposed the bill that required review of state secrets claims, as well as the bill that created a special prosecutor -- a law that was allowed to lapse following Kenneth Starr's abuse of it. She was there for the creation of FISA. She has brought Nazi war criminals to justice. She was a leading advocate for impeaching George W. Bush. Liz Holtzman's new book, co-authored with Cynthia Cooper, is called Cheating Justice: How Bush and Cheney Attacked the Rule of Law and Plotted to Avoid Prosecution, and What We Can Do About It. In the book, and in this interview, Holzman builds a case that Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney went out of their way to carefully protect themselves from prosecution but nonetheless left themselves open to it.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson. Producer: David Swanson. Engineer: Christiane Brown. Music by Duke Ellington.
I recently sat down for 90 minutes to speak with six Afghan judges, all of them women, and an English-Dari interpreter, a man. They spoke to me as individuals. They aren't preparing any investigations or indictments. The relevance of their being judges is that they know the law. They've studied international law, and they were visiting the United States to learn about our legal and political systems. They believe the United States is guilty of war crimes.
I was the one who raised the subject. I pointed to Italian convictions of CIA agents for kidnapping, Spanish investigations of U.S. officials for torture, etc., and asked what these judges' views were on international law violations, universal jurisdiction, and what appear to be clear crimes committed by the United States in Afghanistan.
Nailing Rupert Murdoch for his employees' phone tapping or bribery would be a little like bringing down Al Capone for tax fraud, or George W. Bush for torture. I'd be glad to see it happen but there'd still be something perverse about it.
I remember how outraged Americans were in 2005 learning about our government's warrantless spying, or for that matter how furious some of my compatriots become when a census form expects them to reveal how many bathrooms are in their home.
I'm entirely supportive of outrage. I just have larger crimes in mind. Specifically this:
Spain is pursuing a case against former top U.S. officials who authorized the use of torture, including David Addington, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith, William Haynes, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. U.S. activist groups have been encouraging Spain in this endeavor.
2011 Virginia Festival of the Book Panel: "The Imperial Presidency"
Bruce Fein; David Swanson
About the Program
David Swanson, author of "War Is A Lie," and Bruce Fein, author of "American Empire Before the Fall," take a critical look at the U.S.'s role and actions around the world. This event was part of the 2011 Virginia Festival of the Book, held annually in Charlottesville, Virginia.
About the Authors
David Swanson is the co-founder of AfterDowningStreet..org and Washington director of Democrats.com. He is the author of "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." For more, visit: davidswanson.org.
Bruce Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General and general counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan. He is the author of "Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy."
If you've wanted to be part of a powerful effort to bring Bush-era officials to justice for their crimes, now is your chance. We've joined a national effort to reach out to the people of Spain, whose courts are considering prosecuting six of Bush's lawyers under international law. Our campaign includes an open letter and ads in prominent Spanish newspapers and billboards.
Even though the Obama administration has been working hard behind the scenes to stop this, our friends at the Center for Constitutional Rights have already submitted proof to the Spanish courts that our government is not taking action under international law and treaties. Now is our chance - we can keep the wheels of justice turning by doing people-to-people diplomacy now.
Feral House offers this important and urgent publication of Dennis Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment in two formats: an offset-printed paperback book available for the cost of $12 and a free downloadable PDF available below.
David Swanson’s additional article explains how the Impeachment process is possible and necessary even after the guilty perp leaves office, and how they can be used for prosecution of crimes. Those wishing to purchase over ten copies of the printed book can obtain them at discount from Feral House directly. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for costs.
"More than two centuries ago, the Founders of this country set forth a procedure for Congress to follow in the event of grave abuse of power by the Chief Executive. That process is impeachment. In the face of the monumental deceit and disregard for the Constitution that we have witnessed on the part of the President over the past seven years, Congressman Kucinich’s initiation of this process is neither fanciful nor futile, neither vengeful nor vindictive; it is the sober fulfillment of his sworn duty as a Congressman to follow the law without regard to personal consequence and misguided political stratagem. It is, quite simply, an act of patriotism." —Elizabeth de la Vega, Former Federal Prosecutor and author of United States v. George W. Bush et. al.
"This collection of impeachable offenses should be viewed as a sampling of the crimes and abuses of President George W. Bush and his subordinates. Bush has had many accomplices — first and foremost Vice President Cheney. But our Founders created a single executive precisely so that we could hold that one person accountable for the actions of the executive branch. It is high time we did so, and millions of Americans will be urging their representatives to support the effort being led by Congressman Kucinich. These articles establish, and hearings would establish further, that President Bush was ‘the decider’ behind countless abuses of power. And, of course, his public comments have time and again advertised his indifference to the laws he is violating. Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: 'What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger.' What’s the difference? Hundreds of thousands of corpses and a fatal blow to the rule of law among nations. That’s the difference. Unless we remove impeachment from the Constitution by failing to exercise it, in which case truth will no longer matter any more than justice or peace." — David Swanson, creator of ImpeachCheney.org, Washington Director of Democrats.com and co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org.
"Overload is the main problem—I call it outrage fatigue. The sheer multitude, not to mention magnitude, of impeachable offenses tends to dull the senses. The opportunity to dig into just one or two provided some space and focused the mind. At the same time, the deeper one digs, the more unimaginable the dirt that comes up. Earlier, I had not taken the time to sift through the abundant evidence of the unconscionable ways in which George Bush and George Tenet teamed up—including, in Tenet’s case, lying under oath—to stave off charges of misfeasance/ malfeasance before the attacks on 9/11. The Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to create a system in which we could protect ourselves from unbridled power. Today, we cannot let a 21st Century string of abuses and usurpations stand without challenge. But the experience of the past several years shows that there is a very high hurdle in our way: no Common Sense. I refer, of course, to the courageous independent journalism of the likes of Tom Paine who stirred the innate dignity of Americans toward sacrifice for independence and freedom. Tom Paine would be horrified to see what has become of his profession today—with browbeaten journalists and former general officers doing the bidding of the corporations that own/pay them.In my view, impeachment proceedings are essential to:
Reestablish the separation of powers in our Constitution as a check on the so-called unitary executive
Prevent a budding—and catastrophic—US attack on Iran by exposing it as yet another war of aggression against a country posing no threat to the US;
Call attention to the blood already drained from our civil liberties and staunch the bleeding.
"Impeachment proceedings may be the only way to force the captive media to inform normal citizens about what has been going on in our country. Thomas Jefferson underscored the importance of this when he said: 'Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.'” —Ray McGovern; former Army officer and CIA analyst; co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
"President Bush, Cheney and other US officials have violated numerous domestic and international laws governing crime of aggression, war crime, torture, etc., and they should be not only impeached by the US Congress but also be prosecuted by a special prosecutor, to the full extent of the law before or after impeachment. That is the best way to uphold the US Constitution and the rule of law at home and abroad." —John Kim, Esq., Attorney; author of The Crime of Aggression Against Iraq
"The breadth of impeachable offenses committed by the Bush/Cheney administration is likely unparalleled in our nation’s history. Equally unparalleled, and in many cases even more alarming and outrageous, is the lack of accountability brought to the perpetrators of these High Crimes and Misdemeanors. It is the Constitutional duty of members of Congress—members from any political party—to bring such accountability, particularly when the list of crimes began with the very acts that brought this administration into office during their elections, and right up through today when the same sort of crimes continue, and are in place to try and affect our next Presidential Election. This is not about politics, it’s about the Constitutional duty of Congress. If a line in the sand is not drawn immediately and clearly in the face of such corruption and disdain for our American values, such as the Rule of Law, the historical bar for criminality in our Executive Branch will have been forever lowered, no matter who happens to serve in the White House in the future." —Brad Friedman, creator/ editor of The Brad Blog, and co-founder of the watchdog organization VelvetRevolution.us.
“I have provided the legal architecture and evidence for a trial to prosecute the President for murder. My book lends credence to a powerful case for impeachment laid out persuasively by Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s 35 Articles of Impeachment.” — Vincent Bugliosi, Former District Attorney, author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder