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Power and Corruption
  • Evil, Corruption, Greed, Inhumanity, Visions of Empire
  • THE DESTROYERS AND THE EVIL THEY DO The stench of corruption, lies, deceit, crimes, thefts, chicanery, greed, inhumanity, power-madness, and evil. {Plus a little levity now and then, spoofs to lighten up]
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    Saturday, July 14, 2007
      July 14, 2003 - A Day of Infamy Further expose of Cheney's machinations and plots to begin the war of imperial conquest and how lackeys strove to protect and shield him and Bush from exposure and to aid in furthering the evil goals. WA
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    July 14, 2003: A Day of Infamy

    By Ray McGovern
    July 14, 2007

    For those tracking the long train of abuses and usurpations of a modern-day George who would be King and his eminence grise behind the throne, July 14 has a resonance far beyond the fireworks of Bastille Day.

    Four loosely related events on this day four years ago throw revealing light on key ingredients of the debacle in Iraq.

    First, on July 14, 2003 the Washington Post and other papers carried a column by Robert Novak titled “Mission to Niger,” in which he set out to disparage former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and punish him by destroying the undercover life of his wife, Valerie Plame.

    The White House offensive against Wilson had been in the planning stage for several months. Novak’s column was, in effect, the first shot in a sustained, rapid-fire volley aimed at neutralizing Wilson and dissuading other potential truth-tellers tempted to follow his example.

    The former ambassador had spent several days in Niger, at the CIA’s behest, to investigate a dubious report in which Vice President Dick Cheney had taken inordinate interest—the strange story that Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger.

    From the outset, intelligence analysts had deemed the report false on its face, well before they learned it was based on forged documents.

    But the vice president had taken quite a shine to it. As a result, in February 2002 four-star Marine General Carlton Fulford, Jr., who was then deputy commander of the United States European Command (EUCOM) with purview over huge swaths of Africa, and former Ambassador Wilson took separate journeys to Niger to investigate the report.

    They both found it spurious. Almost a year later, they and U.S. Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick were thus amazed when President George W. Bush used that same cockamamie report in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, to help build a case for attacking Iraq.

    After confirming that Bush was using the same story and after attempting in vain to get the White House to issue a correction, Wilson went public on July 6, 2003, with a New York Times op-ed titled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”

    This brought White House wrath down upon him. Cheney and his then-chief of staff, Irv Lewis “Scooter” Libby, went on the offensive, using friendly journalists like Novak, whose July 14 column reflected Cheney’s neuralgic reaction not only to Wilson’s New York Times piece, but also to his July 6 remark to the Washington Post that the administration’s citing of that bogus report “begs the question regarding what else they are lying about.”

    Lying About War

    Reflecting the concern driving the White House counteroffensive, Novak wrote that the administration’s “mistake” in using the Iraq-Niger report “has led the Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war.”

    The primary concern of the White House showed through in the defensive tone of Novak’s protestation that it was “not just Vice President Dick Cheney” who had asked the CIA to look into the report.

    Wilson’s op-ed forced the White House to acknowledge that the spurious report should have had no place in Bush’s State of the Union Address. As he packed his bags to leave his post as White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer had memorized the essential talking point to reporters.

    Without even being asked about Cheney’s role, Fleischer was quick to offer gratuitous insistence that the vice president was not guilty of anything. Also in July 2003, former CIA director George Tenet also did his awkward best to absolve Cheney of any responsibility for giving the Iraq-Niger story more credence than it deserved.

    That this was a matter of protesting too much can be seen in Libby’s herculean effort earlier in the year to crank the Iraq-Niger story—as well as a host of other farfetched charges against Iraq—into then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s embarrassing speech at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003.

    While Powell let himself be bamboozled into using much of the spurious material urged on him by Libby, the Iraq-Niger fairy tale had long since taken on an acrid smell. Besides, Powell’s own intelligence analysts had branded the report “highly dubious” and, for once, he listened.

    In the end, Powell decided to throw virtually all but the kitchen sink into his UN speech condemning Saddam Hussein, but avoided the Niger report like the plague. When asked why he did not cite the Iraq-Niger fable when President Bush had featured it with such solemnity just a week before in his State of the Union Address, Powell resorted to faint praise, describing the report as “not totally outrageous.”

    White House officials calculated correctly that a four-star Marine general, though retired, would keep his mouth shut rather than expose his former Commander in Chief in a bald-faced lie. But they “misunderestimated” Joseph Wilson, who turned out to be a man of integrity and considerable courage.

    Wilson saw the Iraq-Niger report as a consequential lie, a monstrous lie in that it greased the skids for launching a war of aggression, condemned at the Nuremburg Tribunal as the “supreme international crime.”

    And rather than grouse about it privately over sherry in Georgetown drawing rooms, as is the usual custom with retired ambassadors, Wilson went public.

    On the Offensive

    And so on July 14, 2003, Robert Novak slipped into his accustomed role of “conservative” pundit and launched the White House counteroffensive.

    The best Cheney and Libby could come up with to divert the focus from themselves was to spread the word that Wilson’s wife, a CIA employee, had sent him to Niger on some kind of boondoggle (please stop laughing, those of you who have been in Niger).

    The regime pundits then eked almost four years of mileage out of the next diversion; namely, denying that Valerie Plame was really undercover.

    Under White House pressure, the CIA was slow to set the record straight and avoided doing so until March 14, 2007, when the patience of Henry Waxman, D-California, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, ran out.

    CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed to Waxman that Plame had been undercover until Robert Novak blew that cover: that Plame had been a covert employee, whose status with the CIA was classified information.

    Waxman made that public. But (surprise, surprise) “neo-conservative” drummers are still beating the drum of doubt.

    “Scooter” Libby agreed to take the hit and was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. In his closing argument, special counsel Fitzgerald made it clear that the role of Vice President Dick Cheney in blowing the deep cover status of Valerie Plame remains the key mystery, and that Libby’s lies ensured that Cheney’s role would remain a mystery. Fitzgerald could hardly have made this key finding clearer:

    “There is a cloud over the vice president....And that cloud remains because this defendant obstructed justice. ... There is a cloud over the White House. Don’t you think the FBI and the grand jury and the American people are entitled to straight answers?”

    Libby was convicted, and it was widely expected that President Bush would pardon him. But a pardon would have allowed Fitzgerald to put Libby back on the stand without the ability to plead Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

    So the Bush/Cheney lawyers advised the president to defer a pardon until later and simply commute Libby’s 30-month jail sentence, which he did.

    According to Michael Isikoff, veteran journalist for Newsweek, there was no doubt where Cheney stood, and what influence he exerted. One of the White House advisers told Isikoff, “I’m not sure Bush had a choice; if he didn’t act, it would have caused a fracture with the vice president.” Interesting.

    And so, Libby walks, and Bush and Cheney remain protected precisely because, as Fitzgerald put it, “Libby threw sand in the eyes of the FBI and grand jurors, obstructed justice, and stole the truth from the judicial system.”

    The Donnybrook started with Novak’s column exactly four years ago, on July 14, 2003.

    Resignation Request

    Second, that same day we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent a formal Memorandum to President Bush, recommending that he “ask for Cheney’s immediate resignation.”

    This unprecedented appeal even caught the eye of the corporate press, since our Memorandum for the President reviewed some of the deceit engineered by the vice president in conjuring up a synthetic rationale for war on Iraq and leading the cheerleading for it.

    We noted that Cheney, skilled at preemption (and an expert on clouds), had stolen a march on his vacationing colleagues by launching, in a major speech on August 26, 2002, a meretricious campaign to persuade Congress and the American people that Iraq was about to acquire nuclear weapons.

    That campaign mushroomed, literally, in early October, with Bush and senior advisers raising the specter of a “mushroom cloud” threatening our cities. (Never mind how Iraq could mount such a strike with no nuclear weapons and no delivery systems with enough range.) The synthetic clouds bore the label “made in the office of the vice president.”

    And poor George Tenet. In his recent book he complains that Cheney’s assertion that Iraq would acquire nuclear weapons “fairly soon” did not square with the intelligence community’s assessment that it could not do so until near the end of the decade.

    Tenet adds, “I was surprised when I read about Cheney’s assertion that, ‘Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.’”

    Tenet whines that the vice president did not send him a copy of the speech for clearance. The malleable CIA director quickly got over it, though, and told CIA analysts to compose the kind of National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that would provide ex post facto support for Cheney’s bogus assertions.

    Tenet says he believes that President Bush was also blindsided by Cheney, adding lamely that “I should have told the vice president privately that, in my view, his speech had gone too far...and not let silence imply agreement.”

    Yes, George; and you should have resisted Cheney’s pressure for a dishonest NIE to support the unnecessary war he was promoting.

    In fact Cheney, as well as Tenet, knew very well that Cheney’s assertions were lies. How? Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, whom Saddam had put in charge of chemical, biological, nuclear weapons, as well as missile development, told us when he defected in mid-1995 that all (that’s right, all) such weapons had been destroyed at his order by the summer of 1991.

    In mid-2002, the Iraqi foreign minister, whom my former CIA colleagues had recruited in place, was telling us the same thing.

    Unwelcome Intel

    When they briefed the president and his senior advisers on this, CIA operations officers were astonished to learn first-hand that this intelligence was unwelcome. These officers, who had used every trick in the book to “turn” the foreign minister and get him working for us, were told that further reporting from this source was not needed: “This isn’t about intel anymore. This is about regime change.”

    Astonished Tenet was not. From documentary evidence in the Downing Street Minutes we know that Tenet on July 20, 2002, told the chief of British intelligence that the intelligence was being “fixed” around the policy.

    And former UN inspectors like Scott Ritter could verify that some 90 percent of the WMD Iraq earlier possessed had been destroyed—some during the Gulf War in 1991, but most as a result of the inspections conducted by the UN.

    The reporting from Hussein Kamel and the Iraqi foreign minister, sources with excellent access, was suppressed in favor of “evidence” like the Iraq-Niger report.

    When finally U.S. officials were forced to concede that the Iraq-Niger information was based on a forgery, lawmakers like Congressman Henry Waxman, D-California, protested loudly—but too late.

    Three days before President Bush let slip the dogs of war, NBC’s Tim Russert braced Cheney with the assertion by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Saddam Hussein did not have a nuclear program.

    Cheney strongly disagreed and cited support for his view from the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community, He even ratcheted up his bogus assessment of Iraq’s nuclear capability: “We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

    We? Maybe his wife Lynne was on board for that judgment; few others believed. Indeed, the whole thing was made out of whole cloth.

    Contrary to Cheney’s claims, the most knowledgeable analysts—those who knew Iraq and nuclear weapons—scoffed at Cheney’s faith-based intelligence.

    In our July 14, 2003, appeal to President Bush to ask for Cheney’s resignation, we warned of the likelihood that intelligence analysts would conclude that the best way to climb the ladder of success is to acquiesce in the cooking of their judgments, since neither senior nor junior officials would ever be held accountable.

    Ignored Testimony

    Third: On July 14, 2003 Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, frustrated by all the deceit, had a room reserved for 11:00 AM in the Rayburn Office Building for a briefing on weapons of mass destruction, if ever any, in Iraq.

    The star witness was Col. Andrew Wilkie, a senior intelligence analyst from Australia’s CIA equivalent, the Office of National Assessments (ONA).

    Wilkie was the only allied intelligence officer to refuse to take part in the charade leading to war on Iraq. He quit, loudly, nine days before the war, when it became clear to him that his government had decided to take part in launching an unprovoked war based on “intelligence” he knew to be specious.

    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity invited Wilkie to Washington and passed the hat around for his airfare and hotel.

    At the Rayburn Building briefing, Wilkie gave a low-key but devastating account of how he viewed from his vantage point the corruption of intelligence to “justify” war on Iraq. He stressed that he could not escape the conclusion that war was totally unnecessary, because options short of war had not been exhausted. He accused his government of taking a willing part in fabricating the case for war:

    “The claims about Iraq cooperating actively with al-Qaeda were obviously nonsense. As was the Government’s reference to Iraq seeking uranium in Africa, despite the fact that the Office of National Assessments, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade all knew the Niger story was fraudulent.

    “This was critical information. It beggars belief that ONA knew the story was discredited but didn’t advise the prime minister; Defense knew but didn’t tell the Defense Minister, and Foreign Affairs knew but didn’t tell the Foreign Minister.

    “Please remember the Government was also receiving detailed assessments on the U.S. in which it was made very clear the U.S. was intent on invading Iraq for more important reasons than WMD and terrorism. Hence, all this talk about WMD and terrorism was hollow.”

    Wilkie’s testimony was electrifying. (And three months later Wilkie was vindicated when the Australian Senate, in a rare move, publicly censured the government for misleading the public in justifying sending Australian troops off to war.)

    But on that day, July 14, 2003 in the Rayburn Building, 14 TV cameras, including those of the corporate media, were whirring away. Would this be a breakthrough enabling TV viewers to learn what the Iraq War was all about?

    Glued to the TV on the afternoon and evening of July 14, we could find no coverage on any channel. And it was a slow news day.

    Wilkie, however disappointed, was entirely professional about the experience. He had not been naive enough to believe that by loudly quitting ONA he could stop the juggernaut toward war. And he was not surprised to find the U.S. media as domesticated as the media in Australia.

    To VIPS, Wilkie was an inspiration. What was clear to him was that he had a moral duty to expose the deliberate deception in which his government, in cooperation with the U.S. and U.K., had become engaged.

    And, though he had to endure the customary character assassination back home, he found vindication of a sort in the Australian Senate’s public censure of his government.

    Revisionist History

    Fourth (as if further proof of duplicity were needed): on July 14, 2003, President Bush, during a Q and A session with reporters after an Oval Office meeting with then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan provided this revisionist version of why Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis were at fault for the invasion:

    “We gave them a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.”

    Compare that statement to that of Kofi Annan on March 17, 2003, announcing the reluctant withdrawal of UN inspectors from Iraq, made necessary by the imminent U.S. shock, awe, and invasion:

    “Yesterday [we] got information from the United States authorities that it would be prudent not to leave our staff in the [Iraq] region. I have just informed the Council that we will withdraw the [UN] inspectors.”

    Someone ought to remind the president that his version about Saddam Hussein refusing to allow the inspectors in was Plan A; i. e., the plan worked out with the British to “wrongfoot” Saddam into such refusal by demanding a rigorous inspection regime of the kind they thought he would be sure to reject. And the Washington and London would have the casus belli after which they were lusting.

    Please, someone, remind the president that that ruse didn’t work; that, rather, Saddam outfoxed London and Washington by acceding to very intrusive inspections, that they were going well (but finding no WMD) before Annan was told to withdraw the inspectors just days before the attack on Iraq.

    So the allies opted for Plan B: get the UN inspectors out of Iraq before it became still clearer that, if any WMD remained, certainly there was not enough to pose any kind of a threat. In other words, Plan B was war without pretense.

    It was hard to watch Kofi Annan squirm as Bush played fast and loose with history. And he is still doing it, without challenge from the corporate media. To wit, at his press conference on July 12, 2007:

    Q. Mr. President, you started this war, a war of your choosing....Thousands and thousands are brought the al-Qaeda into Iraq.

    A. Actually, I was hoping to solve the Iraqi issue diplomatically. That’s why I...worked with the United Nations Security Council, which unanimously passed a resolution that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. That was the message, the clear message to Saddam Hussein. He chose the course...It was his decision to make....I firmly believe the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.

    Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He is a 27-year veteran analyst of the CIA and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


    Monday, July 09, 2007
      Cheney - Like an Evil Spider

    adopt your own virtual pet!

    Like an evil spider spinning his web to ensnare his victims, patiently waiting, biding his time, plotting to gain power and command, to set in place all situations to bring his evil to fruition.

    The next 4 posts demonstrate that he has been planning, plotting, spinning his web for many years , through a number of administrations, determined that HIS vision for the future was the ONLY future acceptible - unlimited power, an imperial dynasty, and global hegemony of the world's resources and puppet governments. An egomania that far exceeds that of Bush, certain that he alone is capable of directing the world's future. An egomaniac content to be the power behind the throne, to work in the dark, sneakily and stealthily, content with the knowledge of his power, oblivious to any public adulation or scorn.


      Cheney-Protecting the President's Power

    Protecting the President's Power

    James A. Baker III came to see Wyoming's sole member of Congress on Nov. 19, 1980, days after Ronald Reagan won election as president. He was about to assume the post of White House chief of staff, which then-Rep. Dick Richard B. Cheney (R-Wyo.) had held at the age of 34. Cheney's advice, recorded in four pages of handwritten notes on Baker's yellow legal pad, began with this:

    1. Restore power & auth to Exec Branch -- Need strong ldr'ship. Get rid of War Powers Act -- restore independent rights.****** Central theme we ought to push

    Cheney's muscular views on presidential power, then and now, offer one answer to the question raised often by former colleagues in recent years: What happened to the careful, mainstream conservative they once thought they understood? [WA: read "muscular" as dictatorial, imperialistic]

    In fact, Cheney's views on executive supremacy -- like many of his core beliefs about foreign policy and defense -- have held remarkably steady over the years. What changed was his power to promote them.

    James A. Baker
    Cheney's Advice to Baker
    Advice from Cheney to then incoming presidential chief of staff James A. Baker filled four pages of a yellow legal pad. View the actual notes and a transcript. More »

    In the Ford administration, Cheney backed largely losing arguments on executive authority, resisting the limits set by Congress after the Watergate scandal and the Church Committee's revelations of CIA abuse. He lamented a congressional override of President Gerald R. Ford's veto of amendments strengthening the Freedom of Information Act, opposed the limits on eavesdropping set by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and described the War Powers Act of 1973 as unconstitutional.

    Cheney left the White House at what he later called "the low point" of presidential authority. Congress is "all too often swayed by the public opinion of the moment" and is incapable of making the swift decisions required in "a dangerous and hostile world," Cheney said at an American Enterprise Institute conference on Dec. 6, 1983, according to the transcript.

    In a turn of phrase he would use many times after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney said -- in the context of Reagan's invasion of Grenada, an island nation with 1,500 men under arms -- that it "might have cost hundreds of lives" had Reagan waited for "the usual dialog and debate about whether Congress would authorize action."

    Simply by creating a defense establishment, Cheney said, Congress had "already given prior approval" for any presidential decision on where and how to make war. "We have appropriated the funds and raised the army and purchased the equipment and built the missiles and the bombers, and the president has the authority to make decisions about how to use those things," he said.

    Not long before becoming vice president, at a 2000 conference about White House chiefs of staff, Cheney recalled that even as "a congressman, I found that I was still very much taken with the notion, the preeminence, if you will, of the president" in foreign policy and defense.

    Every modern president, to some degree, has shared that view. But none -- including Reagan -- took the absolutist path that Cheney urged. Rather than "get rid of" the War Powers Act of 1973, which requires the consent of Congress after any 60-day deployment of U.S. forces abroad, Baker helped Reagan finesse the issue. Without acknowledging an obligation to do so, Baker negotiated a 1983 resolution with then-Rep. Clement J. Zablocki (D-Wisc.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, to permit Marines to remain in Lebanon.

    But the Reagan administration also maneuvered secretly to circumvent congressional bans on trading with Iran and funding Nicaraguan rebels known as Contras. An independent counsel indicted three top officials, including National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter, and a special congressional committee of Congress concluded that the Reagan White House had subverted the Constitution.

    Cheney was among the principal authors of a blistering dissent. The scandal, according to the Iran-Ccontra committee's minority report, was not that the White House had broken the law, but that Congress had tried to command the commander in chief. Reagan's secret decisions -- to sell prohibited arms to Iran and funnel the proceeds to Nicaragua's Contra rebels -- were not always wise, according to the minority report, but they "were constitutionally protected exercises of inherent Presidential powers."

    Cheney was particularly concerned that the scandal would give momentum to a congressional effort to require notification of all covert actions within 48 hours, said Michael J. Malbin, who worked for Cheney on the committee.

    Malbin recalled Cheney asking what would have happened if that rule had been in place during President Jimmy Carter's attempt to rescue hostages in Iran. Canada had offered assistance, conducting a clandestine operation to evacuate six U.S. citizens who had found their way to Canadian diplomats in Tehran. The Ottawa government insisted that Carter not inform Congress, and he agreed.

    David Gergen, who worked with Cheney during the Ford years, said the vice president's "zealous reassertion of the power of the presidency" during this administration is completely consistent with the views he expressed long ago.

    "He felt that what had become known as the imperial presidency during Nixon had become the imperiled presidency," Gergen said. "Where a number of us people part company with him is that a number of us believe that through Reagan, those powers had been substantially restored. When George W. Bush became president, I didn't think that should or would be a major priority."


      Cheney --Expanding Authority For VP

    Expanding Authority for No. 2 Spot

    In 1980, as Ford was being wooed to run for vice president, Cheney played a key role in re-imagining the job

    'If there is precedent for Dick Cheney's role, according to former vice president Dan Quayle, it is the might-have-been second vice presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

    Pollsters spoke of a "dream ticket" after Ronald Reagan won the 1980 Republican nomination and talk turned to Ford as his No. 2. Aides to both men tried to negotiate arrangements that might lure a former commander in chief into a secondary position.

    Contemporary accounts said Ford was represented by former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger and others. But at a 2000 conference of former White House chiefs of staff, Cheney disclosed that he had been deeply involved. He recalled an intense debate about how to shape expanded lines of authority in a job often ridiculed as largely ceremonial.

    Ford "made a number of requests in terms of his influence over the budget, personnel, foreign policy, et cetera," Cheney said. "I can remember sitting in a session with Bill Casey, who later became CIA director. Bill had a list of items that in fact the Reagan people were prepared to discuss. They went a long way toward trying to accommodate President Ford."

    Tempted, but wary of splintering presidential authority, Ford finally withdrew his name. Quayle, looking back on it, said Cheney appears to have accepted much the same deal.


      Cheney-Taking On Supreme Court Case

    Taking on the Supreme Court Case

    When it came to vetting potential nominees, the vice president steered the selection committee.

    In May 2005, a small group of the president's senior advisers gathered to weigh a historic choice: who should succeed an ailing William H. Rehnquist as chief justice of the United States.

    The meeting wasn't held at the White House or the Justice Department. And the highest-ranking official in the room wasn't the attorney general, the White House chief of staff, the White House counsel or the president's chief political adviser, although they were all there.

    It was Vice President Cheney, and it was to an unpretentious room off the vice president's quarters that potential candidates were summoned for interviews.

    The handful of candidates who survived a grilling of more than two hours by the Cheney-led selection committee would go on to what one participant described as a much shorter and "far more relaxed" interview with the president. President Bush seemed more interested in personal matters than in case law. By contrast, Cheney pressed for information that would shed light on the candidates' legal philosophies, demonstrating a sophisticated knowledge of doctrine and, without crossing the line by asking about specific cases, leaving a clear impression of the constitutional issue he considered paramount.

    "I think one of the reasons that this is a primary interest of Cheney's is 9/11," the participant said. "Questions about every aspect of the government's war on terrorism could come before the courts."

    That Cheney should play such an unprecedented role in vetting potential candidates is a measure of the trust Bush places in him, said David A. Yalof, who wrote a book about the history of Supreme Court selections. Senior aides to former vice presidents Al Gore, Dan Quayle and George H.W. Bush said that their old bosses' involvement was cursory by comparison.

    From the start of his administration, aides said, Bush had made clear his desire for diversity on the federal bench, pressing his staff to consider qualified women and minorities, according to participants in the selection process. The subject of judicial appointments also animated the normally reserved Cheney, who rarely makes his views known in group settings with the president. Cheney's primary concern was ensuring that potential picks be reliably conservative.

    "Some of the few times I can remember the vice president speaking up in an Oval Office meeting was on this subject," said former White House lawyer Bradford A. Berenson.

    The Cheney-led selection group started with 11 potential Supreme Court finalists that included women and minorities and whose dossiers had been forwarded to Bush. They then culled that list, recommending that the president interview just five, according to two former senior White House officials with direct knowledge. They were U.S. Court of Appeals Judges John G. Roberts Jr., Samuel A. Alito Jr., James Harvie Wilkinson III, J. Michael Luttig and Edith Brown Clement.

    All five finalists were white. All but one were men. What they shared were clear records of support for the positions most important to Cheney.

    Collectively, the group had expansive views on executive power and limited views of congressional authority. One judge had already given the administration a victory in its quest, championed by Cheney, to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely. Two other candidates would soon bless other aspects of the administration's terrorism policies. The majority also had records indicating that they shared Cheney's view that affirmative action was unconstitutional, and one had sided with power companies in a case involving a pollution rule Cheney considered overly burdensome.

    On July 19, 2005, Bush drew from the pool of five in nominating Roberts to fill the seat of Sandra Day O'Connor, who was retiring.

    The office of the vice president took the lead in developing a strategic communications plan to sell Roberts to the public and to the senators who would vote to confirm him. Then, in early September, Rehnquist died. The president moved Roberts to chief justice. That still left another vacancy, one that would give Bush the opportunity to definitively shift the court to the right.

    And that is when the president departed from the list.

    First, Bush openly speculated about making his longtime friend and aide Alberto R. Gonzales the first Hispanic on the court. Conservatives, who saw the attorney general as insufficiently devoted to their cause on issues such as affirmative action and abortion mobilized against the former Texas judge, slipping intelligence on Gonzales's background to Cheney's office.

    "In general, on Supreme Court judicial selection issues, conservatives would talk to Karl Rove but also would make sure to communicate expectations to the office of the vice president," said Leonard A. Leo, a conservative leader who was involved in the nomination process.

    Conservatives got their way on Gonzales, only to find themselves confronted with what many considered an even worse choice. On Oct. 2, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. was dispatched to tell Cheney that Bush had nominated White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, another longtime Texas associate, to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. "Didn't have the nerve to tell me himself," Cheney muttered to an associate in a rare display of pique with the president.

    Cheney's office disputed that account. "The vice president did not say that," said his spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride.

    In any case, Cheney did as he often does when he disagrees with a policy decision by the president -- he loyally defended it. Within hours of the announcement the following day, he was on the air reassuring conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. "You'll be proud of Harriet's record, Rush," he said. "Trust me."

    "It's fair to say that he wasn't thrilled by that nomination," said one former senior White House official. "But he's a good trouper."

    In the end, Miers was forced to withdraw amid a firestorm of criticism from the right. Bush then nominated Alito, a white male federal appellate judge. This time, he stuck to the Cheney committee's list.

    -- Jo Becker and Barton Gellman



    Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency -- Read The Post's Four-Part Series.

    Maintaining Connections

    Vice President Cheney has brought many of his former allies with him to the White House, placed them in important roles, or kept strong bonds.

    Maintaining Connections


      Impeach Cheney-3
    Impeach Cheney

    The vice president has run utterly amok and must be stopped.

    By Bruce Fein

    06/28/07 "Slate" -- - Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III. The most recent invention we know of is the vice president's insistence that an executive order governing the handling of classified information in the executive branch does not reach his office because he also serves as president of the Senate. In other words, the vice president is a unique legislative-executive creature standing above and beyond the Constitution. The House judiciary committee should commence an impeachment inquiry. As Alexander Hamilton advised in the Federalist Papers, an impeachable offense is a political crime against the nation. Cheney's multiple crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify.

    Take the vice president's preposterous theory that his office is outside the executive branch because it also exercises a legislative function. The same can be said of the president, who also exercises a legislative function in signing or vetoing bills passed by Congress. Under Cheney's bizarre reasoning, President Bush is not part of his own administration: The executive branch becomes acephalous. Today Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington refused to renounce that reasoning, instead laughably trying to diminish the importance of the legal question at issue.

    The nation's first vice president, John Adams, bemoaned: "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived; and as I can do neither good nor evil, I must be borne away by others and meet common fate." Vice President John Nance Garner, serving under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, lamented: "The vice presidency isn't worth a pitcher of warm piss." In modern times, vice presidents have generally been confined to attending state funerals or to distributing blankets after earthquakes.

    Then President George W. Bush outsourced the lion's share of his presidency to Vice President Cheney, and Mr. Cheney has made the most of it. Since 9/11, he has proclaimed that all checks and balances and individual liberties are subservient to the president's commander in chief powers in confronting international terrorism. Let's review the record of his abuses and excesses:

    The vice president asserted presidential power to create military commissions, which combine the functions of judge, jury, and prosecutor in the trial of war crimes. The Supreme Court rebuked Cheney in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Mr. Cheney claimed authority to detain American citizens as enemy combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay on the president's say-so alone, a frightening power indistinguishable from King Louis XVI's execrated lettres de cachet that occasioned the storming of the Bastille. The Supreme Court repudiated Cheney in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

    The vice president initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists. This lawlessness has been answered in Germany and Italy with criminal charges against CIA operatives or agents. The legal precedent set by Cheney would justify a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to kidnap American tourists in Paris and to dispatch them to dungeons in Belarus if they were suspected of Chechen sympathies.

    The vice president has maintained that the entire world is a battlefield. Accordingly, he contends that military power may be unleashed to kill or capture any American citizen on American soil if suspected of association or affiliation with al-Qaida. Thus, Mr. Cheney could have ordered the military to kill Jose Padilla with rockets, artillery, or otherwise when he landed at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, because of Padilla's then-suspected ties to international terrorism.

    Mr. Cheney has championed a presidential power to torture in contravention of federal statutes and treaties

    He has advocated and authored signing statements that declare the president's intent to disregard provisions of bills he has signed into law that he proclaims are unconstitutional, for example, a requirement to obtain a judicial warrant before opening mail or a prohibition on employing military force to fight narco-terrorists in Colombia. The signing statements are tantamount to absolute line-item vetoes that the Supreme Court invalidated in the 1998 case Clinton v. New York.

    The vice president engineered the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program targeting American citizens on American soil in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. He concocted the alarming theory that the president may flout any law that inhibits the collection of foreign intelligence, including prohibitions on breaking and entering homes, torture, or assassinations. As a reflection of his power in this arena, today the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Cheney's office, as well as the White House, for documents that relate to the warrantless eavesdropping.

    The vice president has orchestrated the invocation of executive privilege to conceal from Congress secret spying programs to gather foreign intelligence, and their legal justifications. He has summoned the privilege to refuse to disclose his consulting of business executives in conjunction with his Energy Task Force, and to frustrate the testimonies of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers regarding the firings of U.S. attorneys.

    Cheney scorns freedom of speech and of the press. He urges application of the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists who expose national security abuses, for example, secret prisons in Eastern Europe or the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. He retaliated against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, through Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, for questioning the administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction as justification for invading Iraq. Mr. Cheney is defending himself from a pending suit brought by Wilson and Plame on the grounds that he is entitled to the absolute immunity of the president established in 1982 by Nixon v. Fitzgerald. (Although this defense contradicts Cheney's claim that he is not part of the executive branch.)

    The Constitution does not expressly forbid the president from abandoning his chief powers to the vice president. But President Bush's tacit delegation to Cheney and Cheney's eager acceptance tortures the Constitution's provision for an acting president. The presidency and vice presidency are discrete constitutional offices. The 12th Amendment provides for their separate elections. The sole constitutionally enumerated function of the vice president is to serve as president of the Senate without a vote except to break ties.

    In contrast, Article II enumerates the powers and responsibilities of the president, including the obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. A special presidential oath is prescribed. Section 3 of the 25th Amendment provides a method for the president to yield his office to the vice president, when "he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." There is no other constitutional provision for transferring presidential powers to the vice president.

    Yet without making a written transmittal to Congress, President Bush has ceded vast domains of his powers to Vice President Cheney by mutual understanding that circumvents the 25th Amendment. This constitutional provision assures that the public and Congress know who is exercising the powers of the presidency and who should be held responsible for successes or failures. The Bush-Cheney dispensation blurs political accountability by continually hiding the real decision-maker under presidential skirts. The Washington Post has thoroughly documented the vice president's dominance in a four-part series running this week. It is quite a read.

    In the end, President Bush regularly is unable to explain or defend the policies of his own administration, and that is because the heavy intellectual labor has been performed in the office of the vice president. Cheney is impeachable for his overweening power and his sneering contempt of the Constitution and the rule of law.


      Cheney- Put "Vice" in Vice-Presidency

    “Everybody Knows the Clock is Ticking"

    Yet nobody knows what time it is.

    By Jim Kirwan

    06/28/07 "ICH" -- -- For most of the last ten days the news from Washington has been punctuated by the bizarre antics of Dick Cheney – the man that puts the ‘Vice’ in the US presidency. History gave us all a lesson during the Nixon years and Watergate, when the line between the laws and those who either make or enforce those laws was re-emphasized. No one then was allowed to place themselves above or beyond the law. That clock continues to tick: but apparently a lot of people have forgotten that presidents are not gods (or dictators), and that no president is or can ever be, allowed to remain above the laws of this nation that they supposedly lead.

    Cheney and his apologists have been making a lot of noise about ‘facts not in evidence,’ concerning his vices within his role is this government. The claims being made by both Cheney and his invisible staff stretch credulity beyond the breaking point. He is currently claiming that he has a legislative role, because of his capacity as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. According to the Constitution that does not make the-Vice a part of the legislative branch of government, anymore than it allows him to act as the White House Chief of Staff, without that title being formally conferred.

    As for all of Cheney’s “other functions” that have been ‘given’ to him by what has become an “absent without leave president” who is unwilling or unable to do those jobs that are his by virtue of his office. These additional duties should have been challenged at every turn by oversight committees of the Congress—but they gave themselves a semi-permanent vacation after they gave Cheney-Bush that “License to Kill” that enabled the unchecked Invasion of Iraq. Consequently not only has the ‘Decider’ been allowed to go berserk, but apparently Cheney has been acting for Bush in so many different “official” capacities that no one can tell where one man leaves off and the other begins. (1)

    On first glace this seems complex—but in reality if one returns to the basics, there can be no confusion. There is only one president of the United States at a time. The Vice-president is nothing but an empty suit in waiting whose only other ‘official’ task is to break tie votes in the Senate. Every other job that is given to The-Vice should be delegated on the record and be transparent enough that the public is aware of the duty thus delegated by the president and approved by the congress!

    However when all of this is done in secret, even from the other cabinet officers within the government: then questions arise. But no one officially questioned this steady stream of new and dubious ‘responsibilities’ that The-Vice has given to himself. (2)

    The Constitution was written, in part, to give some order to the officers and responsibilities within the government: its definitions and responsibilities cannot be changed without written laws to the contrary. Yet both Cheney and Bush have placed themselves above and beyond the laws that govern this Republic: and for that just like Nixon, these two Outlaws must be held accountable. Nixon was impeached – then allowed to resign – because too many others in congress would have gone down with him, if his case had been tried before the Senate. Perhaps the same is true today—maybe that’s why “Impeachment is off the table!” according to Nancy Pelosi?

    One thing is extremely clear: The current confusion over who is actually pulling the strings of this government needs to be sorted out on the record and in public. On Democracy Now today:

    “White House Subpoenaed for Domestic Spying Docs
    The Senate Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas ordering the Bush administration to turn over key documents on the National Security Agency program of spying on Americans without court warrants. On Wednesday, subpoenas were delivered to the offices of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the national security adviser and the Justice Department. The Judiciary Committee is seeking internal discussions on the program’s legality and the text of agreements with telecommunications companies that have aided the spying.

    Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy: “We've had a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection. In some ways it would have been better if they just ignored it. Instead they've evaded and they've tried misdirection. It’s unacceptable. It is stonewalling of the worse kind and I think the reaction is spreading to both parties in the senate.”

    The subpoenas could set off a new legal showdown with the White House, which has until July Eighteenth to comply.”

    “Roll Call reports today that President Bush has requested $4.75 million in fiscal 2008 to fund the Vice President’s operations (parts of which are housed, notably, in the Executive Office Building.)” $4.75 million for a government position that the constitution gives virtually no complex duties to, regardless of this so-called state of war. . . In this light Mary Lyon asks us all: “Are you Okay with this?” (3)

    It’s our money that is being used; our people that are wearing the uniforms that are prosecuting the wars of occupation, and our reputation that is being shredded in service to completely unworkable policies the world over. Millions of people have died; millions more have been displaced or mutilated in these unilateral military actions that were created from nothing more than a huge pack of deliberate and deceptive lies. Like it or not the facts on the ground belong to us - just as according to Bush himself: ‘He owns the Iraq War.’

    It’s way past time for both Cheney & Bush to begin to pay for their actions, in public, and on the record. These two must answer those subpoenas and appear before the congress—and the public needs to keep the heat on the White House—to do just that!


    Cheney and Bush Declare Autonomous Dictatorial Powers

    The Life & Career of Dick Cheney – Washington Post
    And You’re Okay With This?


      Impeach Cheney - 2
    Subject:Impeach Cheney? Think July 23rd
    Date:Mon, 9 Jul 2007 08:11:42 -0400

    Want to Impeach Cheney? Think July 23rd.

    The impeachment movement is gaining traction, and now is the time to push it all the way to success. Over the weekend, you made Impeach Cheney the number 1 video on Youtube!
    Impeach Cheney

    On Friday, for the first time, a polling company asked Americans if they want Cheney impeached. A majority of 54% said Yes, and the poll was reported in the media. Congressman John Conyers even cited it on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

    On July 4 - how appropriate! -- our Impeach Bush and Cheney petition passed 100,000 signatures! So now we're raising the bar to 1 million. Have you and everyone you know signed?

    Also on July 4, Los Angeles opened an Impeachment Center, and on July 5 Philadelphia held an impeachment forum (see the video).

    July 23, 2007, is the fifth anniversary of the Downing Street Meeting, the meeting at Number 10 Downing Street at which the head of British intelligence reported that Bush and Cheney were intent on invading Iraq and were going to "fix the intelligence and facts around the policy." The meeting was recorded in the Downing Street Minutes which were leaked in May 2005. It was then that we launched

    This July 23rd, a Monday, Cindy Sheehan will lead a march from Arlington National Cemetery (gather there at 10 a.m.) to Capitol Hill, to the office of Congressman John Conyers to ask him to move forward with impeachment. We will wear orange that day, a color that has come to stand for nonviolent revolution. We encourage as many people as possible to join us, and if you cannot, to phone Congressman Conyers' office that day asking him to move forward on impeachment: (202) 225-5126.

    Cindy Sheehan plans to announce her candidacy that day for Congress, challenging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to represent the 8th District of California. Sheehan's candidacy is motivated by Pelosi's actively blocking the impeachment of Cheney and Bush, but Sheehan won't run if Pelosi endorses impeachment. Please phone Pelosi's office right away and as often as you can to encourage her to support impeachment: (202) 225-0100.

    The 23rd in DC is part of a march from Texas to New York. Cindy Sheehan, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and others are leading a march/drive from Crawford, Texas, to New York City. The march will include stops at the district offices of House Judiciary Committee Members Mel Watt, and Bobby Scott. You can organize a meeting, protest, honk-a-thon, or sit-in at your Congress Member's office. One way to get organized is with this system. You can find events and create them here. And you can meet people in Facebook. Below is the route and a link for more information and to get involved.

    July 10 Crawford Tx Houston Tx
    July 11 Houston Tx. New Orleans La.
    July 12 New Orleans La. Montgomery Al.
    July 13 Montgomery Al. Ft. Benning Ga
    July 14 Ft. Benning Ga Atlanta Ga.
    July 15 Atlanta Ga. Gainsville Ga.
    July 16 Ganisville Ga. Clemson SC
    July 17 Clemson SC Charlotte NC
    July 18 Charlotte NC Greensboro NC
    July 19 Greensboro NC Lynchburg VA
    July 20 Lynchburg VA Charlottesville VA (rally at 6 p.m.)
    July 21 Charlottesville VA Richmond VA
    July 22 Richmond VA Arlington VA
    July 23 Arlington Cem White House/ Capitol
    July 23 Washington DC Philadelphia PA
    July 24 Philadelphia PA Allentown PA
    July 25 Allentown PA New York City NY
    July 26 United Nations Action
    July 27 Begin to Gather at Central Park
    July 28 TBA
    July 29 Gathering of Hearts Fest Central Park

    We've Got New Ways to Promote the Impeach Bush and Cheney Petition: You Can Help

    To reach our goal of 1 million signatures, we need you to spread the word to your friends. And to encourage you, we've added a new tool that lets you keep track of which of your friends actually sign the petition.

    There are several ways you can spread the word:

    1. Visit our petition page and enter the email addresses of your friends in the box
    2. Visit our petition page, send yourself a copy of the petition, and forward that copy to your friends
    3. Create your own customized link and send it to your friends:
      (of course you must replace with the email you use for your login)

    To see which friends actually sign up, login to, click "My account"
    and click the "Referrals" tab.

    Honk to Impeach

    Summer is a great time to be outdoors holding signs, making noise, and making new friends. Use our calendar to schedule a honking event or to find the one nearest you:

    Join our Impeachment Group on Facebook

    Got a Facebook profile yet? If you don't, now's a good time to create one.

    We've set up a new group to coordinate impeachment efforts among Facebook members: The Nationwide Movement to Impeach Cheney and Bush. Let's make this the biggest group on Facebook!

    Our new community organizer, Jacob Park, would like to ask you to do two things:

    1. Go to the group page, click on SHARE, and then click on POST. This will post the group to your Mini-Feed so that all your friends can see it. Then invite at least ten of your friends directly (and tell them to invite at least ten friends).

    2. Check the group page regularly. There will definitely be actions that you can do and good events near you.

    3. Speaker Pelosi and most Democrats have Facebook pages where you can "write on their wall." We have all the links, so why not write your own impeachment message and copy it onto all of their walls?

    Get an "Impeach Cheney?" Cap Free? is giving away 3,500 custom-embroidered "Impeach Cheney?" caps you can wear wherever you go to build grassroots support for impeaching Cheney.

    The "?" is meant to provoke thought - but it only takes a second's worth of thought to answer that question.

    If you want to collect petition signatures, the cap is a great way to attract signers. Use our print petition:

    The caps are free but donations to offset the cost are greatly appreciated.


    Forward this message to everyone you know!

    To subscribe, create a free account here:


    THE DESTROYERS AND THE EVIL THEY DO The stench of corruption, lies, deceit, crimes, thefts, chicanery, greed, inhumanity, power-madness, and evil.

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