I promised myself I would try to move this blog away from being a place where I flagrantly flaunt my political views, but a couple of recent items have caught my eye:
First, remember the whole Valerie Plame ordeal? If you don’t, here’s a refresher:
In July 2003, Ambassador Wilson spoke out against the Bush Administrationâ€™s false claim that Iraq had sought nuclear material in Africa, which had been a primary justification for going to war with Iraq. To punish and discredit Wilson and intimidate others who might come forward, senior Bush administration officials leaked to reporters the name of Wilsonâ€™s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, and her classified CIA status â€“ destroying her career and jeopardizing national security.
After an investigation, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and “Scooter” Libby have been implicated as the sources of the leak. As such, Plame and Wilson (now just “the Wilsons”) have started The Joseph and Valerie Wilson Legal Support Trust, a trust aimed at helping them pay for their legal expenses as they sue the Bush administration (specifically against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and “Scooter” Libby). While they will be pulling money out of their pocket in order to pay for this lawsuit, the fact of the matter is that this one’s going to get very expensive.
Now the next point, what about impeaching Bush? Honestly, if you look at the evidence, anyone with half a brain could see this administration has been the single most erosive force to hit American freedoms in over 200 years. I wonder whether the Alien and Sedition acts would pass this congress if it helped “stop the terrorists”?
Anyway, there’s a site I just found out today, AfterDowningStreet.org, which basically covers all of the crimes committed by the Bush administration, starting from about the time of the 2002 Downing Street Meeting, a secret meeting in which the US and England devised a deception campaign intent on starting a war with Iraq. (You can read the entire set of memos here.) Honestly, when I heard about the site I was expecting to see a list of the administration’s crimes: warrantless wiretapping of all Americans, obstruction of justice by the President, lying to congress, starting an illegal war, violating the Geneva Conventions, violating the US constitution (gotta love that 4th amendment), the illegal use of torture by the CIA, arrest, detention, and exportation without a valid warrant — the list goes on, but you get the point. Instead I got a site so packed full of information that I was shocked. Although there are large portions of the site with which I don’t agree (such as the condemnation of Israeli acts against Lebanon, which I believe to be fully justified), the coverage of the crimes committed by the Bush administration is extensive. Now, I will warn, it is a seriously ugly site, but don’t let that fool you: the site has a lot of information useful to those of us who know that this administration is the most dangerous to ever “lead” the United States.
Finally, a few videos: check out the following video from Crooks and Liars in which Attorney General Gonzales admits that George Bush has personally prevented internal investigations into the warrantless wiretapping programs. You can see Gonzales’s entire explanation here, or you can read the part of the transcript important to this matter:
SPECTER: Highly-classified, very important, many other lawyers in the Justice Department had clearance. Why not OPR?
GONZALES: And the President of the United States ultimately makes decisions about who ultimately is given access â€“
SPECTER: Did the President make the decision not to clear OPR?
GONZALES: As with all decisions that are non-operational in terms of who has access to the program, the President of the United States makes the decision because this is such an important program â€“
SPECTER: I want to move on to another subject. The President makes the decision and thatâ€™s that.
Also, see this video in which Senator Feinstein calls Gonzales out on why the President of the United States has been granted war powers when there has been no declaration of war. Here’s the transcript:
FEINSTEIN: Now, Congress did not leave the question opened. FISA explicitly says that warrantless surveillance can continue for only fifteen days after a declaration of war. Now that youâ€™ve had an opportunity to examine Hamdan, is it still DOJâ€™s opinion that it does not affect the legality of the TSP?
GONZALES: Of course, thereâ€™s been no declaration of war here, so we canâ€™t take advantage of that particular provision. Uh, our judgment isâ€¦is that, um, it does not affect the legality, uh, ofâ€¦of the, uh TSP program. But let me explain whyâ€¦
FEINSTEIN: Whoa. But if I might, just a (unintelligible). Then youâ€™re saying, clearly, that the AUMF does not carry the full constitutional weight of a declaration of war.
GONZALES: Yes. Thatâ€¦that is correct. When youâ€¦when you declare warâ€¦well, when you declare warâ€¦
FEINSTEIN: I understand that.
GONZALES: â€¦that triggers diplomatic relations. That trigâ€¦thatâ€¦that maybe nullify treaties ofâ€¦thereâ€™s a big differâ€¦thereâ€™s a reason why Congress has not declared war in sixty years. But theyâ€™veâ€¦theyâ€™veâ€¦theyâ€™veâ€¦theyâ€™ve authorized the use of force several times. Clearly, thereâ€™s a difference, yes.
FEINSTEIN: But youâ€™re creating a caveat now, and saying that the fifteen days does not extend to the AUMF.
GONZALES: No, what I said was weâ€¦we canâ€™t take advantage of that provision under FISA because thereâ€™s been no declaration of war. Maybe I misunderstood your question. Iâ€™m sorry, Senator.
FEINSTEIN: Yeah, well, see Iâ€¦I think that Congress did, um, prepare for that eventuality by providing the fifteen days. And, youâ€™re saying, well, it really doesnâ€™t apply. Well, in aâ€¦in essence youâ€™re restricting the AUMF, which I think should be restricted. So you are, in essence, agreeing with my point.
GONZALES: Well, I agree with your point that the Authorization of Military Force is not a declaration of war. Thatâ€¦that is certainly true.
FEINSTEIN: All right. So, weâ€™re in open session, but I really donâ€™t accept that, because of past actions with respect to the FISA court.
GONZALES: Senator, I beg your pardon. Iâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™m gonna go back and look at the transcript of your question. And Iâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€¦Iâ€¦I probably wantâ€¦want to modify it. I want to make sure that Iâ€™m being as accurate as I can aboutâ€¦about what weâ€™re doing, because there may be some things here that may affect myâ€¦my response.
FEINSTEIN: Iâ€¦I would appreciate that because, the way I view it, a very consciousâ€¦(unintelligible) effort has been made not to submitâ€¦certainly content collection to the FISA court.
What I want to know is when Alberto Gonzales went from being Attorney General of the United States to being the President’s personal lawyer?
Ok, I’m done with my political ranting.