First Step to Impeachment

Elsy Fors
Prensa Latina

Next year might be decisive for US President George W. Bush, accused of lying, showing total disregard for US and international laws, Constitution violations, living in a bubble, promoting abuses, torture, indefinite detention of and spying on US citizens and foreigners.

For similar crimes, former president Richard Nixon -dabbed as Dirty Dick- was impeached almost thirty years ago as a consequence of what is known as the Watergate scandal.

In the impeachment of Nixon, the argument in its Article 2 said that Nixon committed a crime "by directing or authorizing (intelligence) agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office."

Now, US Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat, who was a critical player in the Watergate and Iran-Contra investigations into presidential wrongdoing, has introduced a package of resolutions that would censure Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

Conyers is seeking much more, and is proposing that Congress use all the powers available to it to hold Bush and Cheney accountable, including the power to impeach the holders of the nations´ most powerful positions and remove them from office.

Jon Bonifaz, attorney and the author of the book: Warrior King: The case for impeaching George Bush, argues that "Now is the time to return to the rule of law and to hold those who have defied the Constitution accountable for their actions."

Senator Robert C. Byrd, on a speech pronounced December 19 in the Senate, expressed his strong concerns about possible violations of the Constitution in the Bush Administration´s admitted practice of spying on American citizens.

"It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our country´s law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution", said Byrd.

Even Senator Arlen Specter, Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee conceded there ought to be an inquiry into the eavesdropping.

Though a far-fletched possibility, impeachment is being mentioned each day with greater force, based on violations committed by Bush and Cheney on the Constitution.

Barroom discourse

When confronted with the accusation of eavesdropping on businesses and private citizens in Europe and the United States, George Bush defended his decision to authorize spying based on his title of Commander in Chief and "the Constitutional authority to protect our country," contained in Article II of the fundamental law.

That was dabbed by some media as barroom skank, because the title of Commander in Chief refers only to the armed forces of the nation, not the citizens.

Pierre Tristam, editorial writer of the Daytona Beach News-Journal in Florida and editor of Candide´s Notebooks, recalls that Section 2, Article II of the Constitution requires the President to seek advise and consent of Congress on various matters in executive and foreign policy purviews and it addresses presidential impeachment in case of conviction of "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours".

Another cover poorly defended was the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which experts say Bush has also violated. To Bush, even FISA´s rickety requirements weren´t loose enough. He wanted it all, complete authority to spy.

To further dig his grave while seemingly adding a brick or two in his favour, Bush used the tactic of "It´s a new world out there, everything changed with September 11" in the most incoherent and self-defeating response of Monday the 19th news conference. Bush dared affirm that calls targeting al Qaeda ties and affiliates are not intercepted within the country.

Tristam recalled the information published two days before in The Standard Times of Massachusetts that agents of the Homeland Security Department questioned a Darmouth University Student for having requested an inter-library loan for Mao-Tse-Tung´s Little Red Book, on the grounds, said the agents, that the book was on a "watch list" and that the significant time abroad spent by the student triggered them to investigate further.

In his delusion, Bush has a messianic sense of being the law.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold and Idaho Republican Larry Craig, who led the filibuster that defeated the Patriot Act´s renewal, said "the president does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow."

However, illegal spying began in November 2001 and from the very first briefing for Congressional leaders by Vice President Cheney, Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees were told about it, while information on these activities were kept from reaching the American public.

No wonder Bush and Cheney mistook these undisputed communications to Congress institutions as a green light to their actions.

According to a Zogby poll released November 4, people asked their opinion, "if President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment," citizens answered Yes by 53 percent to 42 percent.

Follow the money trail

Impeachment is a political trial, concerning the correlation of forces inside both parties, but also and most important, about the corporate groups supporting a President.

The fund-raising network of wealthy supporters, known as Pioneers and Rangers, that propelled Bush to the presidency included oilmen, lobbyists, developers and agricultural executives. The political financiers made an investment in the Bush family, in George W. for President and Jeb Bush as governor of Florida.

According to the Toledo Blade of Ohio, by 2004, Bush´s reelection campaign had assembled 66 elite fund-raisers in Texas and 55 in Florida. Some of the contributors even acknowledged that being a prolific fund-raiser translates into access for those who want to influence government decisions.

Since 2001, the federal government has awarded more than $3 billion in contracts to the President´s elite 2004 Texas fund-raisers, their businesses and lobbying clients, a Blade investigation shows.

In Florida, massive sugar companies and development firms have reaped millions of dollars from government policies, which environmentalists say have sided with sprawl and development over the restoration of the Everglades.

A Blade report released in October showed that Bush´s top fund raisers in Ohio collected more than $1.2 billion in taxpayers´dollars for their companies and lobbying clients.

Besides winning contracts to different government agencies and the Department of Defense, some supporters won high-ranking appointments and ambassadorships from a grateful President.

W.A. "Tex" Moncrief, the longtime owner of Moncrief Oil and a major Republican contributor said he believes one of the "big reasons" Bush decided to invade Iraq was oil. And the decision, he said, will pay dividends for the US oil market.

"The Iraq situation doesn´t look good, but my honest opinion is that if we hadn´t gone into Iraq, then we would be in a worse shape with the oil situation", he said in a quote published by the Toledo Blade of Ohio.

It is understandable then that Bush dared say a few days ago "we are winning the war", because the truth would have taken elite members off his supporters´ list.

In Florida, leading sugar companies have held on to their power by contributing millions of dollars to federal and state candidates, said Nancy Watzman, senior analyst for Public Campaign, which advocates public financing of political races.

To confirm there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans for these executives, Alfonso Fanjul, executive with Florida Crystals Corp, was co-chairman of Clinton´s presidential campaign in Florida, while his brother Jose Fanjul was national vice chairman of finance for the Republican presidential candidate Robert Dole.

Florida sugar companies requested Governor Bush to delay the enforcement of a law amending the state´s Everglades Forever Act, which set a 2006 deadline for the cleanup of phosphorus. Now Governor Bush signed legislation that delays the planned cleanup of phosphorus pollution from the sugar industry by another 10 years.

The Halliburton corporation of which Richard Cheney was CEO before assuming the Vice Presidency is notorious for fraud scandals in overpricing contracts from the Pentagon to supply troops in Iraq.

Examples of wrongdoing are not lacking. Legal grounds for impeachment are there. What honest US politicians and personalities who have come to find the truth kept from public knowledge hope is that these facts come out before more US troops and innocent civilians are killed in Iraq to nourish the greed for money and glory of the Bush Administration and its beneficiaries.


Informant: Walter Lippmann



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Dezember 2005

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