Bush Indictment Drafted by Former Federal Prosecutor
By Matthew Cardinale,
News Editor and National Correspondent, Atlanta Progressive News
(APN) ATLANTA Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor, has written a new best-selling book, US v. Bush, which includes a federal indictment against President George W. Bush and other top administration officials for conspiracy to defraud US Congress and the American people over the need to invade Iraq. It also includes a fictional grand jury proceeding based on the completely factual drafted indictment.
The book, published by Seven Stories Press, is 241 pages, but the pages are smaller than typical pages. For such a cute little book and quick read, its one of the most important books on the apparent criminality of the Bush Administration to date.
"I wrote the book because I wanted people to know this is a very serious crime," De la Vega told Atlanta Progressive News in an interview. "I completely agree there are grounds for impeachment," she added.
The book makes legal concepts accessible to the average citizen. You dont have to be an attorney to recognize when someone says something misleading or untrue.
One of the most important points in the book is that lying is just one type of fraud.
De la Vega argues the American people are too narrowly concerned about whether Bush Administration officials lied or not, when in fact, lying is just one type of fraud.
"A scheme to defraud is any plan or course of action thats intended to deceive another through false pretenses, representations, or promises," she writes on page 54.
In addition to outright lies are: false pretenses, false representations, half truths, deliberate concealment of important information, misleading information, and statements made with reckless indifference to their truth.
The fact is, persons in powerful positions have an obligation to make sure theres actually some factual basis for what they are saying. They are also obligated to undertake due diligence to make sure theres a factual basis.
"Its ridiculous that we could be surprised the President does have to have some basis for what hes saying," De la Vega tells APN.
It is possible, she says, the President actually believed Iraq had WMDs or that there was a connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Its possible he ignored the top secret reports only he and a few others had access to when they contained facts contradicting his plans.
However, the issue is not whether Bush intentionally lied. The issue is, he made very serious representations, and many of them were untrue.
In fact, one of the surprising things in the book is where De la Vega cites Bob Woodwards book, Plan of Attack, to say that President Bush says he never consulted with anyone on the need to invade Iraq. This seems difficult to believe, although the White House has not denied the accuracy of Woodwards book.
Bush "talked about how to get people to go along with it [invading Iraq], or how to do it, but not the grounds. He said, I knew what the other people thought," De la Vega told APN.
"With him, its bad either way. If hed read the reports, hed know it was an outright lie. Or if he didnt, he said those things with reckless disregard for the truth," De la Vega said.
Also, the word conspiracy does not legally mean people in trench coats were whispering in a dark alley. It simply means a concerted effort; and the White House stated publicly in the weeks prior to the 2002 Congressional Authorization to go to war, that they were openly engaged in a concerted public relations strategy.
The problem is, the public concerted strategy occurred several months after the US had already bombed Iraq several times, re-appropriated funds from Afghanistan to Iraq, moved troops into the area, and killed dozens of Iraqis.
This is something the public is vaguely aware about as well, that the US had bombed Iraq and that Rumsfeld had signed numerous authorizations for Iraqi civilian casualties, all which occurred several months before March 2003.
And when Bush announced in late 2002 his "open dialogue" with US Congress, it had been months since he and top Administration officials had already begun planning the full-scale invasion.
Meanwhile, he told the foreign press there were no plans on my desk to invade Iraq. De la Vega jokes this is an example of a misrepresentation. "They werent on his desk. It was in the cabinet," she speculates. Its "technically true, but deceptive."
Bush had asked top military planners to draft plans to invade Iraq only days after September 11, 2001.
Perhaps, he didnt consider the plans to be plans, you know, like plans plans versus a rough outline.
"They do all kinds of things hidden from the American people. Iraq was being attacked; it wasnt a secret to them. Congress should be just hitting the roof that funds were being moved, she said.
Some Senators like former US Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) did know Iraq was being bombed months before the official Invasion. "They really boxed these guys in. They knew but they were told on a form that says classified," she said.
And, of course, the Downing Street Memos have revealed US and British top officials secretly discussed how to get the public to support the invasion by "wrongfooting" Hussein into not cooperating with United Nations inspections [although he did actually cooperate]. One British official noted in the Memoswhich are just one of many pieces of evidence in the indictmentthat the facts were "being fixed around the policy" and that Bush had already made up his mind.
As a result of this conspiracy to defraud Congress and the American people, "As of July 2003, approximately 71 percent of the American people believed that the President had deliberately implied that there was a link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein," she writes on page 69.
Why is the publics opinion important?
"When you talk about fraud, in a legal sense, it doesnt matter if the fraud succeeds. In this case, people did believe it. Bush kept saying over and over there was a link. Thats a huge betrayal," she tells APN.
"The Congressional resolution was really premised on the link and people wouldnt have gone along with it," otherwise, she says. Indeed the resolution itself cites the link to terrorists and 9/11.
"They took this thing, 9/11, which was so close to people," she says.
Indeed, many Americans who did support the Invasion believed very deeply in the honesty of the Bush Administration and claimed that Bush must have access to information most Americans couldnt see.
In turns out, as many Anti-war protesters suspected, Bush did have access to secret information, but he either didnt read it, did read it and psychologically suppressed it, or did read it and intentionally told Americans facts inconsistent with top secret intelligence.
Either way, its fraudulent, and it should be unacceptable to the American people.
"Its devastating to Democracy, because the very foundation of the whole system is we have three branches of government," De la Vega told APN. If Congress receives misinformation and doesnt hold anybody accountable, "then we really have one branch of government."
"Another principle is, no person is above the law. So, if we allow the President to violate the law and nobody does anything about it, then weve lost that principle," she says.
Congress is starting to hold hearings but it doesnt seem like theyre moving very quickly or vigorously, she says. The next step is, Congress has to conduct hearings, like in Watergate."
"I do think it was a mistake for [US House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to say impeachment should be off the table. That would be like a prosecutor saying were not pursuing indictments," she said.
Throughout the book, De la Vega makes references to the prosecutors arguments in the Enron case, where she says top executives defrauded their shareholders and employees. The shareholders and employees... "they were the owners of Enron. It was their Enron. It wasnt Mr. Lays Enron."
Borrowing from the Enron case, she says, It is not President Bushs United States. It is the American peoples United States." And that's the crux of the matter.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is News Editor of Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at
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