Re: [FairfieldCountyGreens] Impeachment can be quick & the Phony Persian Gulf Incident
- Maine Congressman Rep. Michael Michaud urges Rep. Conyers to begin
impeachment hearings on VP Cheney, and Rep. Michaud's hometown paper
"Expansions and potential abuses of power by this administration become
precedents for future ones, which lead to further erosions of our
Richard Duffee wrote:
> Dear Impeachment Folk and Greens:
> The following three messages are enlightening on our ability to
> impeach and the need to impeach. Steve Fournier argues in detail that
> impeachment need not take much time or energy at this point. It's
> simply a matter of the willingness of Congress to do its clear duty.
> The second article exposes a Bush Administration attempt to
> manufacture an incident to justify attacking Iran modeled on the Gulf
> Of Tonkin incident Johnson created to justify bombing Hanoi. Because
> there's no telling, of course, when another of Bush's frauds will
> succeed, we must impeach.
> The third message comes from Stop War on Iran. It elaborates on the
> faked incident in the Persian Gulf and gives us some simple actions to
> I'm postponing the message on over-consumption.
> Richard Duffee
> 1) Steve Fournier: Too Late for Justice?
> >From Current Invective * www.currentinvective.com
> Most people seem to be pretty much satisfied that the current
> president and vice-president have acted criminally, but the citizenry
> doesn't seem to be in a hurry to do anything about it. Some say that
> with just a year left in their term of office, it's too late for
> justice for these guys. Impeachment would take forever, they argue,
> and nothing else would get done, and when it's over, Bush wins,
> because Bush always wins. That's my congressman's view, anyway. I know
> because I asked him.
> Is it really too late? What sort of groundwork would have to be laid?
> What processes would kick in, how long would they take, and what might
> be pushed aside? What consequences might be anticipated?
> The groundwork has already been laid. The charges against the
> executive have been fleshed out in meetings and conferences across the
> country. They have been presented to political committees, town
> meetings, and state and local governing bodies, and they have been
> summed up in articles of impeachment now pending against Richard
> To proceed on the articles now pending in the House, the Judiciary
> Committee would have to convene a hearing of some kind. In
> Connecticut, when we impeached our governor a few years back, we had
> evidence on the record before the corresponding state legislative
> committee. The House committee can dispense with that step because it
> has an ample public record, including sworn testimony in court and
> before Congress.
> For the top ten crimes committed by this executive, there is no need
> for additional testimony. The evidence is on the record, and it could
> be presented in narrative form by the committee's chief counsel,
> presenting the work of two lawyers working hard for two weeks. In the
> House, it's an accusation, remember, and not a trial.
> There is little question that the committee would establish criminal
> liability in connection with the stated rationale for war, the
> politicization of federal prosecutions, spying on Americans, torturing
> prisoners, holding prisoners without trial, malfeasance as
> commander-in-chief, and any of the dozens of other crimes committed
> openly and brazenly by our chief executive officers. I would expect a
> unanimous vote, since the evidence is overwhelming.
> This could all be accomplished quickly. A few committee staffers would
> be occupied for a few short weeks putting together an iron-clad
> indictment, using evidence on the public record. The committee would
> hear the evidence in the form of a narrative for a day or two and
> vote. Most likely, on a vote of the committee that the articles
> against Cheney should be considered by the full House, the articles
> would be amended to include Bush. If Cheney is impeached, Bush has to
> be impeached on the same grounds, since there can be no doubt that
> Bush had full knowledge of Cheney's activities and sanctioned them.
> The full House would schedule a few days of debate, with Judiciary
> Committee members leading the debate for and against the indictment,
> and the House would vote on the articles. Each article that received a
> majority vote of the full House would go to the Senate for trial.
> Members of the Judiciary Committee would form the prosecution team in
> the Senate. The Chief Justice presides as judge over a trial in the
> Senate, and the trial takes as long as it takes to make the case on
> each article. The president and vice-president would have an
> opportunity to rebut and defend. The evidence would be presented much
> as it was in the House, except that it might be reverified by live
> witnesses. Figure a couple of weeks.
> A few congressmen would be occupied full-time for some weeks putting a
> coherent and compelling presentation together, but the rest of the
> House could go back to other business, having spent a grand total of
> three or four days on this. Nothing would have to be pushed aside to
> make way for impeachment. As for the senators, they could busy
> themselves with other matters in advance of the trial. They would be
> acting as a jury, and there's nothing for them to do until they get
> the evidence. Not long after the trial starts, it ends, and the Senate
> votes. Two-thirds to convict. On the line is the rule of law itself,
> and politics takes a back seat. Would the stock market go down? Maybe.
> Would foreigners lose faith in the dollar? Maybe they'd get it back.
> On conviction, the president and vice-president are removed, but the
> Senate could suspend their removal until shortly before the expiration
> of their term to ensure an orderly succession. It's win-win. In
> Connecticut, we spent a summer impeaching our governor, and it was
> worth it. He actually went to jail. He must be seething now--he was
> removed and prosecuted for taking gifts from state contractors. The
> guv had to do time for something a thousand times less serious than
> what these thugs have done, and they're walking around free.
> What are the consequences of doing nothing and allowing Bush and
> Cheney to serve out their term? A strong precedent would be
> established to exempt the president from all law. The next president
> will almost certainly claim a privilege to imprison people without
> trial if this president is allowed to get away with doing just that.
> By compelling logic, a future president who wished to extend the
> privilege to shooting people down in the street could cite the license
> accorded by the House to the Bush administration in our time,
> exempting the president from the criminal laws.
> Your congressman would be happy if he or she were not the sole
> prosecuting authority in the case of crimes committed by the
> president. It's true that a federal prosecutor could bring criminal
> charges against the president and vice president, but the president
> happens to be in charge of all the prosecutors, and prosecutors don't
> often prosecute their bosses. There could be an independent
> prosecutor, but the president can fire that officer, too, as Nixon
> proved the last time we removed a president.
> And so it's left to the House to prosecute, and the House won't do it.
> My member won't, and he wants me to think it's too late, so I'll stop
> pestering him. It's not, and I won't.
> >From Current Invective * www.currentinvective.com
> 2) From The Lede, New York Times:
> Jan10, 2008, 9:40 am
> Degrees of Confidence on U.S.-Iran Naval Incident
> By MIKE NIZZA
> TAGS: FOREIGN AFFAIRS, IRAN, MILITARY, UNITED STATES
> Updated, 5:48 p.m. Eastern. Scroll down for the latest.
> The list of those who are less than fully confident in the Pentagon's
> video/audio mashup of aggressive maneuvers by Iranian boats near
> American warships in the Strait of Hormuz now includes the Pentagon
> Unnamed Pentagon officials said on Wednesday that the threatening
> voice heard in the audio clip, which was released on Monday night with
> a disclaimer that it was recorded separately from the video images and
> merged with them later, is not directly traceable to the Iranian
> That undercuts one of the most menacing elements from the Pentagon's
> assertion that Iranian forces threatened the Navy ships: The voice on
> the radio saying, "I am coming to you. … You will explode after …
> Here's an excerpt from an article in this morning's New York Times on
> the Pentagon's assessment of the audio:
> The audio includes a heavily accented voice warning in English that
> the Navy warships would explode. However, the recording carries no
> ambient noise — the sounds of a motor, the sea or wind — that would be
> expected if the broadcast had been made from one of the five small
> boats that sped around the three-ship American convoy.
> Pentagon officials said they could not rule out that the broadcast
> might have come from shore, or from another ship nearby, although it
> might have come from one of the five fast boats with a high-quality
> radio system.
> Update, 3:36 p.m. ABC News just reported more details from the
> spokesperson for the U.S. admiral in charge of the Fifth Fleet, who
> confirmed the above and explained why they concluded that the threat
> came from the Iranian boats:
> "It happened in the middle of all the very unusual activity, so as we
> assess the information and situation, we still put it in the total
> aggregate of what happened Sunday morning. I guess we're not saying
> that it absolutely came from the boats, but we're not saying it
> absolutely didn't."
> Update, 5:48 p.m. At a news conference this afternoon, a reporter
> asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates about his level of "confidence in
> the U.S. military version" of the incident. He was unequivocal:
> I have no question whatsoever about the report on this incident from
> the captains of the ships and also from the video itself.
> Earlier on Wednesday, a reader posted a comment on The Lede claiming
> to be a former Navy officer with experience in the Strait of Hormuz
> and offering an explanation for how easily a mistake could have been
> made by Navy personnel trying to sift through radio transmissions
> filled with chatter:
> All ships at sea use a common UHF frequency, Channel 16, also known as
> "bridge-to bridge" radio. Over here, near the U.S., and throughout the
> Mediterranean, Ch. 16 is used pretty professionally, i.e., chatter is
> limited to shiphandling issues, identifying yourself, telling other
> ships what your intentions are to avoid mishaps, etc.
> But over in the Gulf, Ch. 16 is like a bad CB radio. Everybody and
> their brother is on it; chattering away; hurling racial slurs, usually
> involving Filipinos (lots of Filipinos work in the area); curses
> involving your mother; 1970's music broadcast in the wee hours
> (nothing odder than hearing The Carpenters 50 miles off the coast of
> Iran at 4 a.m.)
> On Ch. 16, esp. in that section of the Gulf,
> slurs/threats/chatter/etc. is commonplace. So my first thought was
> that the "explode" comment might not have even come from one of the
> Iranian craft, but some loser monitoring the events at a shore
> The commenter, who signed his posting "SWO officer," went on to say,
> "I hope everybody exercises great caution here and doesn't jump to
> President Bush was criticized today for doing the opposite. According
> to The Washington Post, "some diplomatic and military officials in
> Washington" said that Mr. Bush's statements on arriving in Israel
> Wednesday "inflated the significance of the brief incident" in the
> In his remarks, Mr. Bush warned Iran that "all options are on the
> table to protect our assets."
> Meanwhile, the video images that were released by the Pentagon came in
> for some more contradiction from Iran, which has contended that the
> United States was exaggerating a workaday encounter between two naval
> powers in the Persian Gulf: A competing video purporting to show
> Sunday's incident from the Iranian side was broadcast today on Iranian
> Here is how the semiofficial Fars News Agency described it:
> The four-minute video showed an Iranian commander in a speedboat
> contacting an American sailor via radio, asking him to identify the
> U.S. vessels and state their purpose.
> "Coalition warship number 73 this is an Iranian patrol," the Iranian
> commander is heard to say in good English.
> "This is coalition warship number 73. I am operating in international
> waters," comes the reply.
> That would seem to be a much less aggressive interaction between the
> American and Iranian forces, of course. But the timing of the
> recording could not be confirmed, and as Iran itself has said, these
> types of exchanges happen all the time.
> Agence France-Presse noted one way that Iran's video seemed to match
> up with the United States account of the encounter: all three U.S.
> vessels involved in the incident are seen in the video.
> But The Associated Press was skeptical, saying that "the short clip
> likely did not show Sunday's entire encounter."
> Update, 11:37 a.m. The Iranian video is now online.
> A reader using the name Hamid Pasha sent The Lede a link to an
> English-language Iranian web site, PressTV.com, that has posted the
> Iranian video.
> The clip is a bit over 5 minutes long. The first few minutes are views
> of coalition warships shot from smaller boats (if you thought the
> motorboats seemed to be moving fast in the American video, wait until
> you see the bow waves on the warships). In the latter portion, we see
> an Iranian on the boat using a microphone handset to hail "coalition
> warship 73″ by radio, in fairly clear but accented English, and we
> hear responses in an American voice.
> The video clearly covers only part of an encounter — perhaps the
> encounter, though there's no obvious way a layman would be able to
> know — and it cuts off abruptly after the American voice is heard
> answering several inquiries from the Iranian by saying simply that the
> coalition ship is operating in international waters. We don't see or
> hear what happened next.
> Patrick J. Lyons contributed to this post.
> 3) From Stop War on Iran:
> U.S. war provocation against Iran: Another Tonkin Gulf?
> Take Action NOW to Stop War on Iran!
> The Bush Administration has initiated an extremely dangerous war
> provocation just off Iran's coast, in the Strait of Hormuz. With Bush
> on his way to the Middle East to mobilize a collection of oil-rich
> U.S. client states against Iran, the U.S. government is working
> overtime to create a public-relations incident to heighten tensions
> in the region and threaten a new war. We must take action now to Stop
> War on Iran.
> On Jan. 6, the U.S. Navy alleged that a "confrontation" took place
> between three massive guided-missile U.S. attack vessels and five
> small, open Iranian speedboats at the entrance to the Persian Gulf in
> the world's most important and busiest sea lanes. The Navy even
> produced a video purporting to show the Iranian speedboats approaching
> the U.S. warships.
> HELP BUILD A GRASSROOTS MOBILIZATION TO STOP A U.S. ATTACK ON IRAN!
> NO Phony Provocations!
> In the coming days, we must mobilize like never before to Stop War on
> Iran! We need your help to do this. Please consider making an
> emergency donation at http://stopwaroniran.org/donate.shtml.
> But the Iranian media on Jan. 9 quoted an Iranian official as saying,
> "Images released by the U.S. Department of Defense about the Navy
> vessels were made from file pictures, and the audio was fabricated."
> Nearly five years ago, the Bush Administration, with active
> collaboration from Congress and the media, led the U.S. into war,
> claiming that Iraq possessed chemical and nuclear weapons and that the
> people of Iraq were behind the attacks on 9/11. Now the Bush
> Administration is clearly grasping for some excuse - any excuse - to
> attack Iran. Once the National Intelligence Estimate revealed that
> Bush has been lying about Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, the
> hawks in his Administration have begun looking for any justification,
> real or fabricated, to sell a military attack they have been planning
> for years.
> The real provocation here doesn't come from Iran. The U.S. currently
> has half of its Navy off the coast of Iran, including nuclear-armed
> aircraft carriers, guided-missile destroyers, frigates, cruisers and
> Meanwhile, Bush is spending eight days visiting Kuwait, Bahrain, Abu
> Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The purpose of his trip is to convince
> these corrupt, feudal regimes, which are dependent U.S.-client states,
> that Iran represents a dangerous threat, in preparation for a U.S.
> U.S. warships a constant threat
> The U.S. Navy has again and again held major war games to plan for and
> stage just such a confrontation with Iran. The Pentagon has announced
> that it has already set targets on thousands of sites in Iran.
> Even the video released to the media - if looked at closely- belies
> the very story that is being drummed up by the Bush administration. It
> shows five small open-air Iranian speedboats buzzing in the distance,
> far from the USS Hopper. Iranian boats have every right to patrol and
> defend their own coastal waters.
> It should be noted that, according to the Pentagon's own description,
> the USS Hopper is a guided-missile destroyer. It carries an M240
> machine gun that can fire 10 armor-piercing projectiles per second and
> is capable of carrying nuclear missiles that can destroy whole cities.
> This high-tech ship weighs 8,373 tons and measures 504 feet in length.
> It was traveling in convoy with the USS Port Royal--a guided-missile
> cruiser that weighs 9,600 tons fully loaded and has a length of 567
> feet and is also capable of firing Tomahawk cruise missiles--and the
> guided-missile frigate USS Ingraham, weighing 4,100 tons and measuring
> 445 feet in length.
> These three deadly ships are just a small part of the U.S. Navy armada
> arrayed off the Iranian coast.
> We Must Act Now to Stop War on Iran
> No New Tonkin Gulf!
> Even after 16 of the top U.S. spy agencies publicly released a
> National Intelligence Estimate concluding that Iran has no nuclear
> program, at least since 2003, nor nuclear weapons, the Bush
> administration has continued to threaten Iran.
> It is important to remember that the massive U.S. bombing of Vietnam
> and the Johnson administration's escalation of the war was preceded by
> reports of an attack on a U.S. destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin off the
> coast of Vietnam - which years later was finally admitted to be phony.
> On Aug. 2 and 4, 1964, the Pentagon claimed that small Vietnamese
> boats had fired on the USS Maddox and another destroyer in the Gulf of
> Tonkin. Lyndon Johnson used this "attack" as pretext for ramming a
> resolution through Congress giving him the power and funds to wage war
> on Vietnam.
> Johnson's own papers later revealed it was a fraud, and later Defense
> Secretary Robert McNamara admitted in the film "Fog of War" that the
> whole incident had been phony.
> Nearly all the Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress,
> including the present major contenders for the presidential
> nomination, voted for resolutions against Iran. In a staged or
> fraudulent confrontation with Iran, with wild charges from the
> corporate-owned media, Congressional opposition is highly unlikely.
> The only force that will stop an attack on a Iran is a massive,
> grassroots campaign.
> It is more urgent then ever that we raise a global alert.
> We must continue to mobilize and act to Stop the War on Iran BEFORE it
> starts! It is essential that the anti-war movement denounce this
> latest provocation by the Bush Administration.
> The Stop War on Iran campaign was the first international campaign
> launched to oppose Bush's plans to attack Iran. Since our founding
> in 2006, with initiators including George Galloway, MP; Ramsey Clark;
> Tony Benn, MP; Dennis Halliday; Harold Pinter, 2005 Nobel Laureate in
> Literature; Margarita Papandreou, former First Lady of Greece; Ervand
> Abrahamian, Prof. ME History, Author, Between Two Revolutions; and
> David N. Rahni, Professor and scholar; and dozens more, we have now
> generated more than half a million petitions sent to President Bush,
> Congress, and major media.
> But we must do more. In the coming days, we will be mobilizing like
> never before to stop another bipartisan rush to war. We need your
> help to do this. Please consider making an emergency donation at
> <http://stopwaroniran.org/donate.shtml> .
> We must join forces to demand:
> U.S. Navy Out of the Gulf!
> U.S. Troops Out of Iraq!
> We need Jobs, Health Care and Housing, Not Endless War!
> 1. Sign the Petition - http://stopwaroniran.org/petition.shtml
> 2. Print out and circulate Stop War on Iran petitions -
> 3. DONATE to continue the Campaign to Oppose U.S. War on Iran -