The president’s recent commutation of the criminal sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby has done more than produce a bit of political squabbling between the Democrats and Republicans. It has opened a window that peers out over a battlefield where a war has been waged between the three branches of government.
The Libby decision “was clearly an effort to protect the White House,” Senator Hillary Clinton said. “There isn’t any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent.”
Hillary isn’t the only one criticizing this administration for its brazen dismissal of the 30-month prison sentence given to Libby for his part in breaking a federal law by outing CIA agent Valerie Plame (Wilson). John Conyers (D-Mich), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has scheduled hearings to review Bush’s decision to let Libby off the prison hook. Conyers also wants to look into the overall pardoning and commuting powers used by the current and past presidents, including Bill Clinton, who pardoned 140 folks on his way out the door of the White House.
Unfortunately, Conyers’ attempt to look into the Libby loopholes and past presidential egregious acts will amount to nothing. The simple reality is that presidents have long acted with independent power to direct covert and overt acts of aggression and expand the power of the executive branch incrementally regardless of the political party in power. Congress has enabled the executive in every case, despite the facade it paints for the American people.
Hillary is right. There is no doubt Libby took the fall for the vice president and possibly the president as well. But the sacrifice of Libby’s career saved the fear-based “war on terror” policies that Bush used to initiate a ground invasion of Iraq in 2003 — policies that continue to push America along a destructive path toward a permanent occupation of Iraq.
THE CASE FOR WAR
We should never forget that today’s “war on terror” is an outcropping of the events of 9/11. And lest we forget, those events still have the stench of an inside job hovering over them — while Congress has yet to conduct any truly independent investigation over which the executive branch would have no control.
9/11 ushered in an urgency of operations for the Bush administration toward a second invasion in an ongoing war with Iraq. Given the information we have now, which shows “without a doubt” that this administration had preconceived plans for war with Iraq, how can Congress continue to ignore the forceful nature in which the executive branch is behaving toward the supposed balancing branches? Can we wake up and smell the depleted uranium? This is war!
Libby was merely a lowly lieutenant acting accordingly in a major political cold war being fought here at home in front of the backdrop of a bloody real one overseas. Libby’s order to “out” the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson was given in retribution for the criticism Wilson offered during a crucial period of time when the case for an invasion of Iraq was being made by the Bush administration. The tenuous “nuclear WMDs” claim against Saddam (which Wilson exposed as bogus), was also made many years earlier by George H. Bush in an effort to galvanize support for the first U.S. ground invasion of Iraq in 1991. Since then, the Bush family, along with the Clintons, have continuously made the charge that Iraq had nuclear capability or was seeking such capability. Such a claim did not suddenly crop up in the mind of Dubya. It had long ago taken root — planted by Dubya’s dad and watered faithfully by Bill and Hillary.
THE SECRET POWERS
Lost in the minutia of the battle to root out the mastermind behind the disclosure of a covert agent, is the fact that a U.S. foreign diplomat and a secret agent spouse is the perfect match pair for overseas operations. The past claims by other nations accusing the U.S. of using our embassies as bases for spy operations rings true, as this case is merely one of several that can be pointed to regarding the marriage of the State Department with secret powers within the executive branch. It is no secret that John Negroponte quit his newly ordained position atop all the spy organizations in order to assume the No. 2 spot behind Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And newly-installed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is a former CIA Director. And who could ever forget that Dubya’s own dad headed the CIA in 1976, right about the time Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial star was rising and the reign of the U.S. puppet dictator in Iran was coming to a close.
There is no doubt this nation’s foreign policies (and some would argue domestic as well) are manipulated, directed and progressed through a power structure financed and supported by, but yet unaccountable to, the American people.
FOCUS ON FALSE FLAG
9/11 was the catalyst used by the Bush administration to rapidly expand the powers of the executive branch. Still, it knew the shock and awe of such a catastrophic event would only buy a certain amount of time and influence. And it used that time wisely. The expansion of the executive powers included coercing Congress into creating legislation that would assist the president in an aggressive move toward dictatorial powers. The USA Patriot Act, along with the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security, provided a gateway beyond the boundaries of the constitutional prison that once limited and regulated presidential authority.
Today, Congress issues subpoenas that are routinely ignored. Congress calls for documents from the White House and CIA that will never be produced. Congress seeks testimony that will never be given. And Congress asks questions pertaining to the mysterious firing of eight federal prosecutors — and those questions will never be addressed. Meanwhile, the judicial branch dismisses the lawsuit against the executive branch for illegal espionage — filed by the ACLU — because they weren’t brought to court by the purported victims of the alleged crimes.
“They’ve launched over 300 investigations, had over 350 requests for documents and interviews and they have had over 600 oversight hearings in just about 100 days,” said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel on July 5 in response to a probe launched by Congress into the firings of a handful of federal prosecutors, according to the Associated Press.
Whether or not those numbers add up is irrelevant. The very notion that Congress can make many requests and launch many investigations and yet get nowhere discloses a most disturbing fact. America has been seized.
We live under the incremental encroachment of an approaching dictatorship. We ought not compare what is happening in our nation with extreme dictatorships in foreign nations to create a false feeling of temporary comfort. Even Hitler and Stalin didn’t start out the way they ended. We should look carefully at the intent of the constitutional powers provided to each branch of government and come to a realization that the only branch controlled by the people has been rendered moot by an out-of-control executive. Tyranny isn’t at the door. It is in the house … the White House.
Americans constantly seek ways to console one another that this nation could never be taken over without a revolution. But indeed, the facts are clear. Over the past 50 years, the executive branch has grown in scope and power to such a degree that even our congressional representatives aren’t completely aware of its enormous power, until they try to exercise the muted power of the legislative branch. Sixteen secret agencies currently operate under the umbrella of the Bush-created position of Director of National Intelligence…who answers only to the president. That’s quite a remarkable change over the past half-century.
As Commander-in-Chief, the president directs the agenda of the armed forces, which is information not shared with the American people. The funding for the CIA and other secret organizations comes from the taxpayers. But we have no right to know how much of our money is budgeted to fund the secret power structure. It is secret.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESSURED
Freedom of the press is a joke in a nation where the leaders are beyond questioning. Those reporters seeking access to the White House, conferences, the Pentagon, briefings, war zones, etc., all must play the game of walking a tightrope. Questions are limited. Access is limited. Every second with a president or member of his cabinet is not to be wasted or risked by asking a question that is “off limits.”
The CIA and other secret elements within the executive branch, including those operating from the Pentagon, infuse American media routinely with disinformation, misinformation and distortions of truth. Propaganda is readily regurgitated by a press corps grateful to have something to fill its hungry news cycles. No reporter wants to lose an “inside source” by refusing to write about information from a credible source, even when it is obviously incomplete or perhaps even inaccurate information.
In every war there is a war of propaganda. The American people have misplaced their trust in both a deceitful government and its complicit cohort, the national media.
ABOVE ANY LAW
So Libby is now excused. Some will say he still paid his fine of a quarter-million dollars. For a rich man whose “friends” raised $5 million on his behalf, it is laughable to think that such a tiny amount of cash makes any difference at all. There seemingly is no justice in this lifetime for those living above the law. And the White House is, if not above the law, acting as though it is, without challenge from any daring leader in the peoples’ House.
TO THE VICTOR GOES THE SPOILS
America isn’t a land of the free. It is a land filled with millions of folks who choose to freely remain ignorant of the conflict being played out before us all. That conflict has been ongoing for generations. Today, it manifests itself in the directness of a demanding leader who expects expansion of executive authority even if it defies the rule of law. The president refuses to comply with Congress’ investigations, refuses to answer to the American people, ignores requests for information and disregards subpoenas for documents and testimonies alike.
If Bush isn’t a dictator, as some would argue, then perhaps he is as close to what a dictator would look like under a slowly dissolving representative republic.
Bush’s new “Plan” under a National Continuity Government is still flying under the radar of the national media. Many are looking forward to the date when the traditional transfer of power takes place. Meanwhile, the president is constructing a “Plan” through his National Continuity Coordinator — appointed from the Department of Homeland Security — due on the president’s desk in August.
While Americans pretend this is the greatest nation on earth, and Congress prepares legislation to bolster a deflated international tourism industry here at home, our president is preparing for the greatest takeover that anyone with eyes could see coming a mile away. But, we keep telling ourselves the drumbeat of an internal conflict is merely the heartbeat of our nation struggling to forge a new political path. All is well, we cautiously remind ourselves.
BATTLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
Some believe Americans deserve the government we elect. But the truth is that Americans have long been deceived. This deception will continue until we wake up and address the reality that tyranny has overtaken our land, and begin the process of overhauling the leadership through the last vestiges of power left among the people — our right to vote.