The 110th Congress isn’t over. We’re starting our work, and then we’re doing it in a period where the Congress is in recess. I’m calling everybody back. -- John Conyers on DemocracyNow, Aug.14,2008
UPDATE: Commenter reports that Conyers now says he did not call committee back, but only "staff," whom I thought stayed on anyway while congressmen were on "District Work Period." Left message seeking clarification. On the helplessness expressed in these comments, I direct readers once again to the new project reaching out to campaign contributors of Judiciary members. The work has been done, folks, it's a little cut-and-paste. When one button in democracy doesn't work, try another.
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers has taken the highly unusual step of calling his committee back from summer recess in order to investigate allegations by Ron Suskind..
that the Bush administration forged a letter to buttress the links made between Saddam and 9/11, and Saddam and WMD. The congressional Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq, the ""War Resolution" which, as far short as it fell of a congressional declaration of war, gave the invasion its constitutional legal cover, and gave Bush the authorization to invade only after he had certified to congress the existence of these two critical links. If Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and if he did not possess WMD, the war was off.
The Authorization for the Use of Force stipulated:
Sec. 3 (b) Presidential Determination.--
In connection with the exercise of
the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President
shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible,
but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make
available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--
(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent
with the United States and other countries continuing to take
the necessary actions against international terrorist and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations,
or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the
terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
On March 23, 2003, the president certified just that:
-"I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." -George Bush, certification to Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq, March 23, 2003
"Armed force against Iraq is consistent with...actions against...nations...who...aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11..." are the operative words in that statement without the subordinate clauses.
After the flurry of impeachment articles embodied in HR 1345, read on the House floor on June 9, 2008, Rep. Dennis Kucinich followed up on July 10 with a single article which lasers in on the exact war lies Suskind's alleged forgery has called attention to. Not that the document is needed to show Bush lied. He admitted as much, which in a courtroom is prima facie evidence which supercedes any other.
In a press conference with Tony Blair in Jan. of 2003, Bush said:
[Adam Boulton, Sky News (London):] One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?
THE PRESIDENT: I can't make that claim.
THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question.
And on Sept. 18, 2003, on Meet the Press, Bush drove the nail in all the way:
-"No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.
Conyers' reconvening of his committee was the result of enormous public pressure, most poignantly that coming from military families wanting to know why their loved ones are dead. Despite the exquisite, shining clockwork political operation now in place at the Executive Branch, working hand in glove with the media spin machine, it's still not that easy to get 4100 Americans killed over lies. Bush knew Americans would not subject their troops to such an uncertain fiasco over 17 violated UN resolutions, or Saddam's brutal but by no means unique human rights record. If we attacked every country which violated UN resolutions, we'd be bombing Tel Aviv.
So Bush lied.
What is needed now is a full-court press by the public, especially those citizens up until now silent, to transform the Suskind investigation into true impeachment hearings. Public pressure, and only public pressure, resulted in the stunning but buried hearings of July 25, 2008. On that day only 17 out of hundreds of citizens from across the country who packed the hallway outside the Judiciary chambers were allowed into the room. As people chanted "Shame!" it was explained by Judiciary staff that the rest of the seats were taken by the media. The joke turned out to be on you, the public. Media packed the room, but not one American newspaper, not one network news station, reported the dramatic six-hour testimony which outlined some of the most serious charges which can be made against a U.S. president.
This country is now learning what many already know: that democracy is not given. It is demanded. Few politicians are interested in your right to freedom from search and seizure without a warrant, or your right to a jury trial even if George Bush thinks you are an "enemy combatant." They already belong to a class of the powerful who will merit special consideration. Some, with good reason, may argue that we already have a two-tier system of justice, for the rich, and for the poor. But like the movie says, you ain't seen nothing yet.
There is nothing partisan about impeachment. Just as politics should stop at the water's edge (except for John McCain, who injected himself into the Georgia crisis in a manner which would have earned Obama a withering barrage,) it stops when the very process by which we govern ourselves is in peril.
This is why someone like Bruce Fein, a former Reagan deputy attorney general who "trashed the Roe v. Wade abortion decision, stating that it required a "hallucinogenic intellectual flight" on the part of Justice Harry Blackmun to draft the opinion," according to CommonDreams.org, has come out as one of the most effective spokemen for a Bush impeachment. Why? CommonDreams goes on:
This is what did it: The disclosure that the National Security Agency (NSA) is engaged in the domestic wiretapping of American citizens in the United States without first obtaining warrants. The Bush Administration had crossed the line. Within twenty-four hours, Fein went into constitutional combat mode. And he hasn’t stopped since.
For Fein, there is nothing really to debate; the law is settled. In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, permitting the government to conduct electronic surveillance on citizens in the United States if it first gets a warrant from the FISA court, which exists for that reason only. The FISA court rarely has denied such a request.
"The President could pick and choose which statutes to obey in gathering foreign intelligence and employing battlefield tactics on the sidewalks of the United States."
Please do three things:
- Call Judiciary Committee members, give a message saying we know the difference between a show, and impeachment. This is fast.
- Participate in the campaign to reach Judiciary members' campaign contributors, to ask them as one citizen to another to withhold contributions until the member does this clearest of patriotic duties. Why this route? Because congressmen have shown themselves to be impervious to any amount of constituent pressure. Rep. John Olver (D-MA) even said, at a town meeting "Spare me, I know full well the overwhelming majority of my constituency is in favor of impeachment" as he told the packed room he would not co-sponsor any resolutions against either Bush or Cheney. We used to think that representatives were there to represent us. We have learned better. But we're not done with them.
- Start now to prevail on the media to cover important hearings when they happen. Participate in the advertiser boycott.
There will be naysayers, and the Pelosians who seems to think that a super-majority of Pelosians is the answer. These are the same people who betrayed Americans by failing to stop the Iraq War, when they were given a majority to do just that. Better the Pelosians understand that doing their duty to impeach will be seen as a down-payment on regaining the trust of the rank-and-file, and the American people. Otherwise all promises are empty. Any national healthcare will be written by big pharma and the insurance companies. Presidents will continue to get their blank checks for war. As for the naysayers on impeachment, as the saying goes, either lead, follow, or get out of the way.
DIARIST'S UPDATE 7:30 EST I'm still waiting for Conyers' staff to get back to me. I'll take a call at 3 in the morning or any time. I think one of the key points I was trying to make in this diary is that Conyers is paying attention to the two simple thrusts of the Suskind charges, which are that Bush said:
Saddam EQUALED 9/11
Saddam EQUALED WMD
which are the same two simple thrusts of the latest and greatest Kucinich impeachment resolution against Bush. Conyers has a resolution which matches exactly what Suskind says all ready to uncork in short order. We can't let this go.
My point is also that even without the Suskind document proving to be a forgery (which it surely is) we have Bush at his own word saying Saddam was not involved in 9/11. An enormous number of people still, incredibly, think Saddam had something to do with 9/11, because Bush spent a year saying he did, before he said the opposite on Sept. 18th, 2003.
There was no evidence that Saddam was connected to 9/11, there is no evidence, and all the evidence we DO have indicates that he wasn't. But Bush kept saying it anyway. Suskind turns out to be right upon investigation, trot out Kucinich article on those very points, slam dunk. Next: we start investigating President Cheney. The elections go on parallel to what's happening on the Hill, both Obama and McCain plead "no comment, let the constitutional process take it's course." Cheney would have to nominate a vice president acceptable to both parties, as he would have to be confirmed by the Senate, under the 25th Amendment. Someone personally liked aside from his politics, like a Chuck Hagel. That's who serves out the last month or so, and the rule of law and the Constitution are safe for another generation at least, because the American people proved you can't fool all of them all of the time.
The threat of President Pelosi is a right-wing canard. The Speaker only becomes president in the unlikely event that both pres and VP die at almost exactly the same time.
Thanks to MediaMatters.org for the following. Each one of these statements has been debunked:
* From Bush's September 28, 2002, radio address to the nation:
The danger to our country is grave and it is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are Al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year.
* From Bush's October 7, 2002, speech:
We know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.
* From Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address:
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.
* From a February 6, 2003, statement by Bush:
Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and Al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with Al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.