Impeach Bush Coalition
A United Coalition of Bloggers for the Impeachment of George W. Bush

From Club Lefty: Criminal Conspiracy

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Check out this article by Elizabeth de la Vega (former federal prosecutor from N. California) on Truthout.org.

Ms. Vega makes an exceptional argument that this administration may be charged with a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States:
The President's deceit is not only an abuse of power; it is a federal crime. Specifically, it is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States...

The Supreme Court has defined the phrase "conspiracy to defraud the United States" as "to interfere with, impede or obstruct a lawful government function by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest."

Finally, "fraud" is broadly defined to include half-truths, omissions or misrepresentation; in other words, statements that are intentionally misleading, even if literally true. Fraud also includes making statements with "reckless indifference" to their truth.

This means that the infamous sixteen words included in the presidents state of the union, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”, does not mean president Bush is not culpable for deception by including the modifier "The British Government has learned". Say George and Tony are riding in a car which is waiting at a stop light. If George is distracted by the stereo, and Tony decides to proclaim the light is green, and George then looks at the light which is still red and steps on the gas, when the cop is writing up the ticket George cant absolve himself of liability by proclaiming that Tony said the light was green. American intelligence had already debunked the uranium claim, and with held it from previous speeches given by the president. While the British Government may have reached a conclusion on this issue (it did, but not the conclusion the administration wished for), it was not Tony Blair giving the state of the union.

This applies to a wide variety of tactics used by the administration in the run up to the Iraqi invasion. For an administration official, on background, to be the source of a story by Judy Miller for publication on the front page of the N.Y. Times on Sunday, and then to have the same official on all the talking heads programs trumpeting the fact that since the Times ran it, it must be true is deceptive. Nearly every feature in the selling of the Iraq war was fraudulent.

So which governmental function was impeded you may ask? It was the function of the U.S. Congress to authorize the president to use any means necessary to enforce U.N. sanctions. The Congress was quite clearly a victim of the misrepresentations of the administration. The sixteen words in the state of the union, a constitutionally mandated presentation to the congress, is just one example of this. They were not provided with accurate intelligence and they made the decision based upon this misinformation. No amount of faux Republican congressional hindsight via committee report can reverse that fact. Also we the people were impeded by this concerted effort to sell the war and a majority at the time based their opinions on this misdirection. This also led to pressure on Congress to give the president carte blanche with Iraq.

Read the report by Ms. de la Vega and then get ahold of your congressional representative to demand accountability from the administration. This is absolutely an impeachable offense. No one died over a stained blue dress.