[Mb-civic] Nothing Shakin' on Shakedown Street?
Mha Atma Khalsa
drmhaatma at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 3 19:03:40 PST 2005
Nothing Shakin' on Shakedown Street?
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 01 November 2005
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart. You just
gotta poke around.
-- The Grateful Dead
Here's what I have so far.
Mr. Libby is in deep dung. Fitzgerald absolutely
nailed his hide to
shed, detailing lie after lie after lie. From what I
am given to
understand, Libby intends to offer a "faulty memory"
defense when he gets
dropped into the skillet. Given the incredibly
detailed breakdown offered
by Fitzgerald in the indictment, however, one wonders
how far any kind of
"Duh, I forgot" argument will fly. The ball starts
rolling on Thursday,
when Scooter gets arraigned. Watch for a plea
agreement to be made at the
behest of the White House on this; the last thing
George and the boys want
is for all their dirty laundry to be aired before a
jury of ordinary
Americans. If no plea is reached, however, we may see
a fight over
Executive Privilege come up to keep folks like Mr.
Cheney from testifying
under oath and in open court. Paging Archie Cox.
With or without that testimony, Dick Cheney is
smack-dab in the middle of
this thing. Nicholas Kristof, whose
my-sister-my-daughter-my-sister-my-daughter routine on
the pages of the
Times has become unutterably tiresome, managed to
cough up some salient
questions for the Vice President: Did you ask Scooter
Libby to undertake
his inquiries about Ambassador Joseph Wilson? Why did
ask the CIA for information about the Wilsons? Did you
know that Mrs.
Wilson was a covert officer? Did you advise Mr. Libby
to leak information
about Mrs. Wilson's work in the CIA to journalists?
When Mr. Libby made
his statements in the inquiry - allegedly committing
perjury - were you
aware of what he was saying? Was Mr. Libby fearful of
about your behavior in the summer of 2003?
"When Richard Nixon was a candidate for vice
president and embroiled in
scandal," concludes Kristof in his column, "he
addressed the charges in
his Checkers speech: 'The best and only answer to a
smear or to an honest
misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth.'
(Mr. Vice President,
any time a columnist quotes Nixon to you in an
exhortation to be honest,
you're in trouble.) Even when Spiro Agnew was
embroiled in a criminal
investigation, he tried to explain himself,
repeatedly. Do you really want
to be less forthcoming than Dick Nixon and Spiro
Agnew? So, Mr. Cheney,
tell us what happened. If you're afraid to say what
you knew, and when you
knew it, then you should resign."
Finally, and most importantly, this thing is not
over by a long chalk.
great many chicken-little liberals cried foul when
they heard Libby was
the only one to be indicted. A great many so-called
pundits in the
mainstream called the whole thing a waste of time now
concluded. Neither assessment is anywhere near
accurate. The Libby
indictment came because Fitzgerald's grand jury was at
the end of its
string. "Courthouse officials said he is likely to
'borrow' a grand jury
already convened to investigate additional crimes if
needed," reports the
Washington Post, "and could wrap up his investigation
in less than two
Mr. Libby's travails may only be just beginning.
Aussenberg, columnist for the weekly Memphis Flyer,
broke down the
situation adroitly: "The fact that Libby wasn't
indicted for any of the
possible classified-information-related offenses
doesn't mean he still
can't be, since the special prosecutor has the
prerogative of getting a
superseding indictment from the grand jury which is to
follow (not unlike
what the prosecutor in Texas did in Tom Delay's case).
Thus, Libby is
still technically under the gun, and the indictment
itself is rife with
indications that there is another shoe yet to drop,
something Fitz also
strongly foreshadowed in his responses to reporters'
questions during his
press conference. And, of course, neither Rove nor any
of a variety of
other characters whose participation was described in
shadowy terms are,
as yet, off the hook."
Karl Rove, it seems, remains in the hot seat. "Rove
remains a focus of
the CIA leak probe" continues the Washington Post. "He
has told friends it
is possible he still will be indicted for providing
false statements to
the grand jury. 'Everyone thinks it is over for Karl
and they are wrong,'
a source close to Rove said. The strategist's legal
and political advisers
'by no means think the part of the investigation
concerning Karl is
Another Washington Post article reports, "Two
legal sources intimately
familiar with Fitzgerald's tactics in this inquiry
said they believe Rove
remains in significant danger. They described
Fitzgerald as being
relentlessly thorough but also conservative throughout
this prosecution -
and his willingness to consider Rove's eleventh-hour
pleading of a memory
lapse is merely a sign of Fitzgerald's caution.
Another warning sign for
Rove was in the phrasing of Friday's indictment of
referred to Rove in those charging papers as a senior
White House official
and dubbed him 'Official A.' In prosecutorial
parlance, this kind of
awkward pseudonym is often used for individuals who
have not been indicted
in a case but still face a significant chance of being
charged. No other
official in the investigation carries such an
In an article I wrote on October 17 titled "The
Heart of the Matter,"
said, "However important Rove and Libby may be to this
neither represents the end of the story. George W.
Bush and Dick Cheney,
with deliberation and intent, took this country to war
in Iraq based on
false premises, inflated intelligence and bald-faced
scare tactics. They
used September 11 against their own people to get what
they wanted. That
is the heart of this matter. If Fitzgerald's
investigation ends at Rove
and Libby, it will have ended too soon. The Office of
Special Plans to the
White House Iraq Group, Cheney to Langley and Bush
with his Executive
Order, a war to get paid and cash money, honey, for
friends. Rove and Libby are small fish. If and when
they get fried, the
stink may well fill the Oval Office. If George and
Dick come out of this
unscathed, Mr. Fitzgerald may as well have stayed in
At first blush, the indictment of Libby gets
nowhere near the center
the issue: the lies that led to war, and the outing of
a covert CIA agent
to cover those lies. Yet it feels very much as if this
indictment was only
the first salvo in a larger barrage to come.
At a minimum, the indictment managed to wake up the
Harry Reid threw down a scathing condemnation of the
and the war in a statement he read on the Senate floor
on Tuesday. "This
past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of I. Lewis
Libby, the Vice
President's Chief of Staff and a senior Advisor to
President Bush," "Libby
is the first sitting White House staffer to be
indicted in 135 years. This
indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts
engaged in actions that both harmed our national
security and are morally
repugnant. The decision to place U.S. soldiers in
harm's way is the most
significant responsibility the Constitution invests in
the Congress. The
Libby indictment provides a window into what this is
really about: how the
Administration manufactured and manipulated
intelligence in order to sell
the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who
dared to challenge its
"When General Shinseki indicated several hundred
thousand troops would be
needed in Iraq," continued Reid, "his military career
came to an end. When
then OMB Director Larry Lindsay suggested the cost of
this war would
approach $200 billion, his career in the
Administration came to an end.
When U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix challenged
Saddam's WMD capabilities, the Administration pulled
out his inspectors.
When Nobel Prize winner and IAEA head Mohammed
el-Baradei raised questions
about the Administration's claims of Saddam's nuclear
Administration attempted to remove him from his post.
When Joe Wilson
stated that there was no attempt by Saddam to acquire
uranium from Niger,
the Administration launched a vicious and coordinated
campaign to demean
and discredit him, going so far as to expose the fact
that his wife worked
as a CIA agent. This behavior is unacceptable."
Senate Democrats followed this up with a meaty
threat: they will shut
down the Senate every day until these issues are
addressed fully and
completely. Stay tuned. The next two weeks will almost
how this whole thing shakes out.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and
bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What
Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest
Sedition Is Silence.
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