Tomgram: Elizabeth de la Vega, Indicting Bush
Think of it as a Tomdispatch.com milestone. This is now the first website to "indict" the President, the Vice President, and their colleagues for defrauding us into war in Iraq. I put that "indict" in quotes because what follows, as former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega makes clear in her new book United States v. George W. Bush et al., is "not an actual indictment." It can't be, of course; but consider it the second best thing.
De la Vega has, in her career as a prosecutor, prepared numerous fraud indictments and, as she argued in the first excerpt from her book posted at Tomdispatch earlier this week, "A Fraud Worse than Enron," what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their senior officials committed was a crime, not just in the colloquial sense of the word, but in the legal sense too (and not a victimless crime either). While their crime was of a magnitude that puts even Enron, no less run-of-the-mill fraud cases, to shame, it also has all the elements of a typical, small-time scam.
De la Vega's "hypothetical indictment" of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell that you are about to read remains, unfortunately, in the realm of fantasy. But only for now. Until our world comes more fully to grips with the criminal nature of the Bush administration's acts, you can at least turn to the full de la Vega book. A Tomdispatch.com special project, produced in conjunction with Seven Stories Press, a wonderful independent publisher, it's officially published on December 1st (but available now).
You won't want to miss it. It's superbly done and -- though I hesitate to say it, given the nature of the subject matter -- genuinely enjoyable to read because De la Vega turns out to be as skilled a writer as she is a prosecutor, and applies both her talents to the book. So check out the indictment, read the first day of grand jury testimony (which will be posted at this site on Thursday), and in the meantime get the investigative ball rolling by purchasing the book at Amazon.com or, if you want to give all involved a few extra cents, directly at the Seven Stories website. After all, the excerpts at Tomdispatch can only give you a taste of the full case De la Vega makes. This book should be the political stocking-stuffer of the Holiday season. Tom
United States v. George W. Bush et al.
By Elizabeth de la Vega
Assistant United States Attorney: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're here today in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. In addition to President Bush, the defendants are Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who's now the Secretary of State, of course -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. I'll explain the law that applies to the case this afternoon, but I'm going to hand out the indictment now, so you'll have some context for that explanation. Take as long as you need to read it, and then feel free to take your lunch break, but please leave your copy of the indictment with the foreperson. We'll meet back at one o'clock.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ) Criminal No.
) Conspiracy to Defraud
v. ) the United States
GEORGE W. BUSH, ) 18 U.S.C. Section 371
RICHARD B. CHENEY, )
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, )
DONALD M. RUMSFELD, and )
COLIN POWELL, )
THE GRAND JURY CHARGES:
At times relevant to this Indictment:
1. The primary law of the United States Federal Government was set forth in the U.S. Constitution ("Constitution"), which provides that the first branch of government is the Legislative Branch ("Congress"). Pursuant to Article I, Section 8, Congress has certain powers and obligations regarding oversight of foreign affairs, including the powers to: (1) declare war; (2) raise and support the armed forces; and (3) tax and spend for the common good.
2. Article II of the Constitution establishes the Executive Branch. The Executive Power of the United States is vested in the President, who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services.
3. Defendant GEORGE W. BUSH ("BUSH") has been employed as President of the United States since January 20, 2001. On that day, BUSH took a constitutionally mandated oath to faithfully execute the Office of President and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. BUSH is also constitutionally obligated to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
4. As Chief Executive, BUSH exercised authority, direction, and control over the entire Executive Branch, which includes the White House, the Office of the Vice President, the Departments of State, Defense, and others, and the National Security Council.
5. Defendant RICHARD B. CHENEY ("CHENEY") has been employed as Vice President of the United States since January 20, 2001.
6. Defendant CONDOLEEZZA RICE ("RICE") was employed as the National Security Adviser from January 2001 to January 2005, when she became Secretary of State, a position she holds as of the date of this indictment. As National Security Adviser, RICE exercised direction, control, and authority over the National Security Council, which coordinates various national security and foreign policy agencies, including the Departments of Defense and State.
7. Defendant DONALD M. RUMSFELD ("RUMSFELD") has been employed as Secretary of Defense since January 2001.
8. Defendant COLIN M. POWELL ("POWELL") was employed as Secretary of State from January 2001 through January of 2005.
9. Before assuming their offices, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD and POWELL took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
10. As employees of the Executive Branch, BUSH, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD, and POWELL were governed by Executive Orders 12674 and 12731. These Orders provide that Executive Branch employees hold their positions as a public trust and that the American people have a right to expect that they will fulfill that trust in accordance with certain ethical standards and principles. These include abiding by the Constitution and laws of the United States, as well as not using their offices to further private goals and interests
OMG!!!111oneoneone111!!! This means the jig is up!!!! Damn you, Rove!!! You said we'd never be caught!!! Oh, you mean this is a fake indictement? Well, why didn't you say so?