Tuesday, June 08, 2004

C-Span Hints at More Wheels Coming off Bush Wagon

The memo discussed in this article was among the hot topics when the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled John Ashcroft on Anti Terrorist Efforts.
Watching senators from both sides of the aisle grill Ashcroft on C-Span last night was very encouraging for those of us who believe the Bush administration are denying culpability for the torture of prisoners in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.
Though the memo has already been leaked to the press, Ashcroft steadfastly refused to turn the original over to the Senate investigative committee.
He wouldn't even say if the memo(s) were classified or not.
Though the president can theoretically claim executive privilege in releasing the memo to the Senate, he has not done so.
Ashcroft tried to cite that privilege, but he's not the president and hasn't got the power to claim executive privilege.
When pushed by Senator Dick Durbin (D Illinois) to state which law allowed Ashcroft to refuse to turn over the memo, Ashcroft squirmed and stuttered and sidestepped at such an alarming rate, I was almost uncomfortable for him.
But he was unable to answer the question, even when Sen. Durbin suggested his refusal to turn over the memo or cite applicable law that protected him from turning it over was in contempt of Congress.
Later in the hearing, when bluntly asked whether Bush okayed the abuse and torture that would lead to Iraqi prisoners and detainees divulging useful information, Ashcroft said Bush had issued an order not to defy the war and civilian prisoner treatment provisions of the Geneva Conventions that prohibit torture.
But when Ashcroft was asked if Bush had said or issued any further orders that might allow the use of torture or abuse, Ashcroft simply refused to answer yes or no.
Apparently, Ashcroft did not want to perjure himself, but it was pretty damned clear he had an answer he didn't want to give.
It seems Ashcroft was saving his own ass, and in the process making Bush look guilty as hell.
What was remarkable was the intensity of the questioning by Republican Senators, who often seemed impatient and exasperated with the Attorney General's sidestepping and equivocation.
As I said months ago, eventually even some GOP legislators would grow disgusted with the Bush administration's stubborn secrecy and their refusal to abide by the laws as set forth in the Constitution.
Stories like these start with obscure Senate hearings on C-Span.
From hearings like this, small kernels of lies and scandal start to emerge. Dots start to connect.
Covering up the truth in cases like this is called obstruction of justice.
Crimes are bad, but covering them by lying to the Senate or Congress is what brings down politicians, crooks, liars, traitors and thieves.
Another wheel is coming loose.

...And we still have to get to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame case, where Bush has already retained Jim Sharp, a high power criminal defense attorney based in Washington, DC.
Outing a CIA agent is a serious felony, made doubly serious with the advent of the Patriot Act.
When George Herbert Walker Bush led the CIA, he rightly called outing an agent, "an act of high treason."

That case will be the final wheel flying off, mark my words.
Sic semper tyrannis, baby.

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