Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Seeing the Full Cheney: America Held Hostage, Year Six

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 8:16am. Editorials

January 20, 2007, marked the sixth year of America being held hostage by a rogue government.

The latest in a daily series of symbols of this betrayal is how our GIs continue to be pawns in the chess game of death being played out by Cheney and Bush – and Bush and Cheney are as suited to playing chess as Britney Spears is for singing opera.

Not long ago, as we noted in another BuzzFlash editorial, Nancy Pelosi warned that the White House was speeding up the escalation of troops (labeled for PR purposes with the Frank Luntz focus-group-tested term: "surge") in order to insulate the move from criticism. The administration claimed that sane people who opposed them were putting the troops "in harm’s way." A White House spokesperson called Pelosi’s accurate analysis "poisonous," declaring that Pelosi was questioning the motives of Bush, as if this were akin to criticizing Jesus.

Last week, Cheney -- in one of his now infamous interviews -- dared Congress to pass a resolution condemning the escalation in troops or capping funds for the war in Iraq because it would put the troops in harm’s way. The new Cheney mini-me at the Department of Defense (Gates) let slip the other day that he suddenly needs to "speed" up the increase of troops to Iraq.

Are you getting the picture here?

The GIs, the Iraqis, American citizens -– we are all pawns in a chess game played by guys who, if they lose a move, they try and swipe all of the other player’s pieces off the board, because they don’t have an inkling of how to play by the rules. All they know is thuggish force –- and believing that they’ve got bigger "ones" than the multi-pronged and ever-evolving "enemy" out of Orwell’s 1984.

This is playing by caveman rules. The winner is the person who batters anyone who doesn’t give them what they want. It’s really that simple.

The first step in America being held hostage to a rogue executive branch began with the still unexplained choice of Dick Cheney as Bush’s vice-presidential candidate. Here was a washed-up D.C. insider with a critical heart problem who played the "senior statesman" role of heading up the search committee for a Bush running-mate for the 2000 election.

Then, inexplicably, for reasons and stratagems still unknown to this day, Cheney mysteriously ended up as the announced candidate himself. It was one of the most curious moments in American presidential history. As usual, the corporate press let it pass with hardly a raised eyebrow or exploratory analysis. But it was the beginning of the erosion of democracy and a national posture of war that Cheney declared last week might last through several administrations.

We could speculate all we want on the decisive moment when Junior’s mind was manipulated into choosing Cheney -– who, if last week’s series of arrogant, defiant, and calculatedly preposterous interviews made clear anything, it is that Cheney is the behind-the-scenes president for foreign policy. One could go with the theory that Cheney played the artful royal courtier and manipulated Junior like a marionette into choosing him as VP, with the fawning words of praise and empowerment that he never heard from Bush I, his actual father.

But it really doesn’t matter how this oddest of vice-presidential "selections" occurred; at this point, it’s the utterly ruinous impact on our Constitution, democracy and our foreign relations that resulted from it that is the matter at hand.

As we noted recently on BuzzFlash, an administration that can steal an election –- as this one did in 2000 -– is emboldened to steal the whole government, and such has been the case.

Cheney’s astonishing emergence from the shadows last week in a series of defiant, arrogant interviews that evidenced a disdain for democracy, contempt for anything that doesn’t go his way, lack of concern for human life, and Nero-esque proclamations that revealed the big Nero behind Junior (who just gets to pretend he’s Nero) ... well, it was a performance of such unilateral imperial assertion that it would have left our founding patriots scurrying off with their muskets to seize back democracy from the Red Coats now ensconced in the White House.

The sensationally Royalist Cheney interviews came -– and perhaps not coincidentally -– at a time when the Libby perjury trial is revealing much more than "Scooter’s" lying to federal prosecutors. Patrick Fitzgerald’s prosecutorial tour de force is providing evidence to the public that Cheney orchestrated the outing of an operative who specialized in tracking the illicit sales of Weapons of Mass Destruction (and thereby Cheney endangered the national security of the United States of America), authorized the leaking of classified information, and manipulated the corporate press as if it were a hand puppet.

Trying to figure out what is really going on in this secretive, Kremlinesque Bush-Cheney regime is often like trying to figure out what is going on in the old Soviet Politburo by seeing where leaders stood in officially released group photographs –- or whether they were in them at all.

But BuzzFlash will venture to speculate that Cheney sees a rapidly deteriorating political crisis at hand and that Junior isn’t up to "pushing back" the media and public, so Dick decided to take the crowbar out himself and start pummeling opponents of the regime. Sometimes the Godfather has to go public as the chief enforcer, because the front man isn’t up to the job. That’s what Cheney is doing.

Cheney basically told the American people last week: "F**k Off! I am the government. Live with it."

And so, in the absence of divine intervention on an assertion of sanity on Capitol Hill –- or a restoration of the American Revolutionary Militia -– he’ll have his way with us.



Vice President Cheney tackles 'Darth Vader' image in Newsweek interview

Published: Sunday January 28, 2007

From a Newsweek press release.

ON HAGEL’S IRAQ WAR CRITICISM: ‘Let’s say I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. But it’s very hard SOMETIMES to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved’





New York-In Vice President Dick Cheney’s first print interview since the GOP lost control of Congress, he talks to Newsweek Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe about Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel’s harsh criticism of the administration’s Iraq policy. “Let’s say I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. But it’s very hard sometimes to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved,” says Cheney in Newsweek’s February 5 issue (on newsstands Monday, January 29). Responding to other comments-including criticism from Brent Scowcroft, and others who have worked with Cheney in the past-he says, “Well, I’m vice president and they’re not.”

Cheney also tells Newsweek he has no regrets about statements made before the war that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators. “The comments I made were based on the best information we had. There’s no question that the struggle has gone on longer than we anticipated, especially in Baghdad … It does not, though, lead me to conclude that what we’re doing in terms of our overall effort, taking down Saddam Hussein’s regime, standing up a new democracy in Iraq, isn’t a worthy objective. I think it is. I think we have made significant progress … The conflict we’re involved in-not just Iraq, but on the broader basis against Al Qaeda, against the threat that’s represented by the extreme elements of Islam on a global basis now-is going to go on for a long time. And it’s not something that’s going to end decisively, and there’s not going to be a day when we can say, ‘There, now we have a treaty, problem solved.’ It’s a problem that I think will occupy our successors maybe for two or three or four administrations to come. It is an existential conflict.” He adds, “Obviously, there was flawed intelligence prior to the war … but we should not let the fact of past problems in that area lead us to ignore the threat we face today and in the future. It would be a huge mistake.”

Cheney doesn’t think U.S. involvement in Iraq is causing allies to worry we are too extended to respond to an Iranian threat, he tells Newsweek. “Most of the nations in that part of the world believe their security is supported, if you will, by the United States. They want us to have a major presence there. When we-as the president did, for example, recently-deploy another aircraft-carrier task force to the gulf, that sends a very strong signal to everybody in the region that the United States is here to stay, that we clearly have significant capabilities and that we are working with friends and allies as well as the international organizations to deal with the Iranian threat.” When asked about the possibility of airstrikes against Iran, he says, “We are doing what we can to try to resolve issues, such as the nuclear question, diplomatically through the United Nations. But we’ve also made it clear that we haven’t taken any options off the table.”

While discussing the recent national mourning for President Gerald Ford, Cheney’s mentor and friend, the Vice President says he does see similarities between Ford’s term and the current political turmoil in Washington, reports Newsweek. “I was delighted to see the outpouring of tributes to his leadership … and praise for the tough, tough decisions he made-in particular, for example, the pardon,” Cheney says. “I reflected back on where we’d been 30 years ago when he made those decisions and, obviously, suffered for it in the public-opinion polls and the press, and how history judged him 30 years later very, very favorably because of what he’d done. He had displayed those qualities of leadership and decisiveness, steadfastness, if you will, in the face of political opposition.” Is there a parallel to now? “There may well be,” says Cheney.

Cheney also speaks out about his “Darth Vader” image and whether he feels he gets treated fairly by the media. “By the time I leave here, it will have been over 40 years since I arrived in Washington, and I’ve been praised when I didn’t deserve it, and probably criticized when I didn’t deserve it,” he says. “And there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to spend a lot of time worrying about my image.”


Dick Cheney: A Creepy Metaphor Machine:

Oh, what metaphors abound for Dick Cheney's interview with Wolf "Behold the Resplendent Glory of My Silvery Stubble" Blitzer on CNN's Situation Room yesterday. Yes, the slithering tentacles of evil that manipulate the willing puppet body of the Vice President hunched him into a seat to answer questions without spewing viscous black oil from his dessicated entrails or unhinging his jaw to swallow whole the CNN host to slowly digest later in the quiet of his rotting corpse-filled underworld sanctuary. With a nice single malt and cigar.

For instance, we could compare Cheney's initial appearance and reactions to the surfacing of that frilled shark in Japan this week. Other than behind its heaving gills (for, indeed, it was dying, nay, rotting from within), the fishy beast, which has been around since prehistoric times, has no real color, existing in the netherest of nether regions in the deep ocean. Shifting eel-like in his seat, Cheney rasped to Blitzer, "The fact of the matter is, we can do more than one thing at a time and we have. We've been very successful with going after al Qaeda. They're still out there, they're still a formidable force. But they're not nearly as formidable as they once were, in terms of numbers and so forth...We have successfully defended the country for over five years against any further attack. They've tried, we know, repeatedly -- the president talked about it last night in his speech." The shark, as we know, died soon after it was captured. Cheney, though, kept going in the interview, so let's try another metaphor. Another shark metaphor.

In Australia, diver Eric Nerhus was being eaten head first by a great white shark. Imagine that for a moment - your head, shoulders, upper torso being swallowed as the shark tries to engorge the rest of you, the blinking dark and light of the mouth opening and closing, trying to saw you in bits, or at least in half for easier consumption. Yes, you know if you're diving off the coast of Australia, you're gonna get in the water with sharks. Nerhus used his only free arm (for the other one was in the shark) and jabbed the eye of the great white, which, sharks notoriously being pussies about their eyes, opened its mouth, giving him time to swim away.

So it was that Blitzer, in Cheney's office, tried to confront the Vice President, repeatedly. Attempting to pin down Cheney on the administration's role in destabilizing Iraq and plunging the region into its inevitable conflagration, Blitzer asked, "How much responsibility do you have, though -- you and the administration -- for this potential scenario?" Trying to hold Dick Cheney, though, is like trying to hold down a slug. Blitzer, wanting to avoid being swallowed whole, said that Saddam Hussein had been contained. Cheney, chewing hard, gurgled, "He was not being contained. He was not being contained, Wolf. Wolf, the entire sanctions regime had been undermined by Saddam Hussein," before dismissing Blitzer with "You can go back and argue the whole thing all over again, Wolf, but what we did in Iraq in taking down Saddam Hussein was exactly the right thing to do." Blitzer fought like a son of a bitch, eventually extricating himself and getting out of the water, because, as those who swim with man-eating fish beasts know, the shark always comes back to where the blood is. Or it just swims off, knowing it'll eat again soon.

Cheney stuck a shiv into Blitzer, repeatedly, if we think about the bearded one as our proto-citizen questioning the powerful. He questioned Blitzer's objectivity, he said that if Americans "don't have the stomach for the fight. That's the biggest threat," he dismissed half of America by saying that the reason Hillary Clinton wouldn't be a good President is "Because she's a Democrat," he told Congress it can go fuck itself, and, when Blitzer attempted to engage Cheney on the wackoid religious right's reaction to his muff-diver daughter's pregnancy, he became the outraged father, saying, "You're out of line with that question." By that point, though, any attempt to appear human, beyond his fleshy form, was long past worthless.

It was a disturbing twenty-minutes, filled with an unending stream of revulsion and disgust, not unlike catching your roommate masturbating to pornographic images of severe burn victims. And, at the end, we learned that Dick Cheney's contempt for Congress, the American people, and the Constitution is boundless, like the roots of depravity that tie him to the earth and feed his barely beating "heart."

Note: The Rude Pundit is thinking about another metaphor. See, in the film Pan's Labyrinth, there's a being that's called (in the credits) the Pale Man. (Suppose this oughta say "Spoiler Alert," although if you've seen a damn preview, you've seen the dude.) Bald with saggy skin, blind except for eyes that rest on a plate in front of him, the Pale Man sits still and silent at the head of a table that holds a sumptuous banquet. Our adolescent heroine, Ofelia, has been warned not to eat anything. She looks up at paintings in the large chamber and sees that the Pale Man is portrayed as skewering and eating children, as clear a warning as anything can be. Ofelia is too tempted though, and she downs two grapes. This awakens the Pale Man, who inserts the eyes into his hands and he rises, dragging his thin legs and limping towards Ofelia, who doesn't notice the Pale Man coming towards her. Who is Ofelia? Blitzer? All of us? Either way, a pissed-off Cheney thinking someone's taking his shit is not to be fucked with.

Note II: Any time she wants, the Rude Pundit will throw down with Maureen Dowd over who comes up with the coolest pop culture references to describe the political landscape. C'mon, MoDo, let's boogie.


BREAKING: Libby Destroyed Evidence Prior To Testifying, Cheney ‘Deeply Involved’

Under oath, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff Scooter Libby told a grand jury that he first learned that Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent from conversations with the media. In fact, he first learned that information from Vice President Cheney himself.

Libby is now on trial for perjury. His defense is that he simply forgot who told him that Plame worked for the CIA. But in court today, prosecutors outlined a powerful case establishing that Libby had reason to remember who told him and motive to cover it up. MSNBC’s David Schuster said today’s revelations from prosecutors are “new and will astound a number of people, even those who have been following this case.” Among the new claims:

– “Vice President Cheney himself directed Scooter Libby to essentially go around protocol and deal with the press and handle press himself…to try to beat back the criticism of administration critic Joe Wilson.”

– Cheney personally “wrote out for Scooter Libby what Libby should say in a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper.”

– “Scooter Libby destroyed a note from Vice President Cheney about their conversations and about how Vice President Cheney wanted the Wilson matter handled.”


Mondale: Cheney steps 'way over line'
Takes vice president to task for what he sees as bully tactics

January 20, 2007
Athens, Ga.

Vice President Dick Cheney has bullied federal agencies and given absurd advice about the nation's risk and Iraq, Walter Mondale said Friday, adding that it never would have been tolerated when Mondale was vice president.
"I think that Cheney has stepped way over the line," Mondale said at the opening of a three-day conference about former President Jimmy Carter at the University of Georgia.

Mondale, who served under Carter, said Cheney and his assistants pressured federal agencies as they prepared information for President Bush.
"I think Cheney's been at the center of cooking up farcical estimates of national risks, weapons of mass destruction and the 9/11 connection to Iraq," he said.
That does not serve the president, because he needs facts, Mondale said.

"If I had done as vice president what this vice president has done, Carter would have thrown me out of there," Mondale said. "I don't think he could have tolerated a vice president over there pressuring and pushing other agencies, ordering up different reports than they wanted to send us. I don't think he would have stood for it."

Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, had this response to Mondale's comments: "Twice elected to serve with President Bush, the vice president is committed to protecting Americans from those who wish to do us harm." She also cited a September television interview in which Cheney said he would take issue with "any suggestion we've gone beyond where we should have."
Academics credit Carter with expanding the role of the vice presidency during his administration.

As vice president, Mondale served as the president's senior adviser. He held an office in the West Wing of the White House, had private meetings with the president and spoke on behalf of the president before influential groups.


Deal impedes scandal leads
Secret Service sued over visitor records

By Pete Yost
Associated Press
Published January 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

Not until the fall did the Bush administration reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding that was signed last spring. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.

The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

In the past, Secret Service logs have revealed the comings and goings of various White House visitors, including Monica Lewinsky and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon in the closing hours of the Clinton administration.

The memo last spring was signed by the White House and Secret Service the day after a Washington-based group asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on the Secret Service in a dispute over White House visitor logs for Abramoff.

The chief counsel to another Washington-based group suing to get Secret Service logs calls the memo "a political maneuver couched as a legal one."

"It appears the White House is actually manufacturing evidence to further its own agenda," Anne Weismann, a Justice Department lawyer for 19 years and now chief counsel to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Friday.

The White House and the Secret Service declined to comment.

Last year in the Abramoff scandal, the Bush administration, in response to three lawsuits, provided an incomplete picture of how many visits Abramoff and his lobbying team made to the White House.

The task of digging out Abramoff-White House links fell to a House committee that collected the lobbyist's billing records and e-mails. The House report found 485 lobbying contacts with presidential aides over three years, including 10 with top adviser Karl Rove.

As part of its security function of protecting the White House complex, the Secret Service uses the log information to conduct background checks on people prior to daily appointments and visits.

In the mid-1990s, the conservative group Judicial Watch obtained Secret Service entry logs through a lawsuit.

Secret Service records played a significant role in congressional investigations of the Clintons when they were in the White House.


Fox mocks 'S.O.B.' Cheney's eviction from 'prime' office

Published: Thursday January 4, 2007

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who will be elevated today as Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives, has "evicted" Vice President Dick Cheney from the Capitol Building, and Fox News Channel correspondents had a few laughs about it.

Cheney has long occupied an office suite on the second floor of the Capitol Building in his constitutional post as President of the Senate. The office is prime Capitol real estate, and traditionally reserved for the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel reportedly lobbied quickly with incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi to occupy the office after the Democrats achieved a majority in the House of Representatives, according to a New York Post article in November. The article further suggested that Rangel was seeking to one-up the vice president, with whom he has had a conflictual relationship in the past. In a testy exchange over Cheney's perception of Rangel's understanding of economics, Rangel said to the Post, "He's such a real son of a bitch, he just enjoys a confrontation."

With the 110th Congress sworn in, Cheney has now left the office to Rangel. Cheney's staff apparently stated that the vice president always understood that the office was "on loan."

On this morning's Fox and Friends, Judge Andrew Napolitano mimicked how the distinctively, raspy-voiced Democrat may have sounded when he asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"Can I have that office, Nancy?" Napolitano said in his best imitation of Rangel.

Another Fox commentator asked Napolitano if he did any "other voices" such as the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn.

The Fox News clip, based on a story in this morning's New York Post can be viewed below.


Bringing the "Perps," Bush and Cheney, to Justice

Posted 3 January 2007
A Review of U.S. v. Bush
By Elizabeth de la Vega

According to President Bush, Saddam Hussein was brought to "justice," when, after being sentenced to die by a kangaroo court, he was taunted before his hanging by petulant Shiite's from Bush's puppet regime inside the Green Zone -- Baghdad's Alamo, where the quislings can cower and nominally rule on behalf of "democratic" Iraq.

Granted, Saddam was evil and his horrendous crimes demanded justice. After all, he gassed Kurds, executed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and launched unprovoked invasions of Iran and Kuwait, in violation of international law. Yet, the indignities and blasphemies attending Saddam's hanging seem certain to inflame the civil war raging outside the Green Zone bubble.

Moreover, it's a shame that Iraqis couldn't overthrow their own tyrant and criminal, just as it's a shame that the puppet regime's "justice" required death - officially sanctioned murder at a time when sectarian murder has become a way of life. As I heard just the other day, an eye for an eye - taken to its logical conclusion - leaves everybody blind. Somebody must call a halt.

It's also a shame that Americans seem equally incapable of bringing their criminals in the Bush regime to justice. Criminals? Yes! As I've argued in an earlier article (http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/pelosi.html ), the Bush administration's decision to launch an unprovoked invasion of Iraq violated the United Nations Charter, which, as a treaty signed by the United States, is "the supreme Law of the Land." Unprovoked war is the highest of war crimes under international law.

But, as a former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, demonstrates in her recent book, U.S. v. Bush, prima facie evidence indicates that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, former National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, also broke the law by violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 "prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States." [p. 13] Or, as Ms. de la Vega puts it: "It is still the law of the United States that once politicians become Executive Branch officials, they are legally required to be honest and forthright about public matters." [p. 197]

A "conspiracy" is "an agreement between two or more persons to join together to accomplish some unlawful purpose." [p. 49] Moreover, "a standard jury instruction is that proof of a conspiracy does not require evidence that the defendants explicitly discussed details of the scheme or made some formal agreement." [p. 51]

"Fraud" includes lying, "but it's much more than lying." [p. 53] Under law, "a 'false' or 'fraudulent' representation is one that is: (a) made with knowledge that it is untrue; (b) a half-truth, (c) made without a reasonable basis or with reckless indifference to whether it is, in fact, true or false; or (d) literally true, but intentionally presented in a manner reasonably calculated to deceive a person of ordinary prudence or intelligence. The knowing concealment or omission of information that a reasonable person would consider important in deciding an issue also constitutes fraud." [p. 30]

Moreover, "continuing to assert something as true, even after receiving notice that would cause a reasonable person to inquire further about whether his statement is in fact true, is the same a knowingly and intentionally making a false statement." [p. 54]

Ms. de la Vega claims that Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 (conspiracy to defraud) is as applicable to the Bush administration as it was in securing the convictions of former Enron CEOs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Which is to say: "As the [Enron] jury was instructed… anyone who makes representations intending that the public will rely on them, has an affirmative obligation to make sure that they are true and accurate. Representations made with reckless indifference to their truth are as false as outright lies." [p. 21]

For example, Mr. Lay "tired to convince his employees to buy stock by telling them that he had bought $4 million in stock that very month. What he didn't mention was that he had also sold $24 million." [p. 58]

Similarly, on August 26, 2002, Vice President Cheney asserted: "Simply stated there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," [p. 173] a claim subsequently proven to be false after the U.S. invaded Iraq and found no such weapons. In support of his claim, Cheney cited evidence provided by Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, who had defected. Yet, in a blatant act of criminal fraud, Cheney failed to mention that the son-in-law also claimed that all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed.

Two examples - among hundreds -- of the Bush administration's criminal indifference to the truth occurred on October 2, 2002 and October 7, 2002, just days before Congress would approve a resolution authorizing him to use force against Iraq. On October 2nd President Bush asserted: "The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency…it has developed weapons of mass destruction." [p. 192] And on October 7th President Bush gave a nationally televised speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, in which he claimed that Iraq "stands alone" as a unique threat.

Yet, just days before the October 7th speech, "a State Department representative was specifically informed by North Korean officials that North Korea already possessed nuclear weapons." [p. 225] Thus, the Bush administration fraudulently concealed information indicating that North Korea stood alone as the "unique" threat until after Congress approved its resolution concerning Iraq.

But, both speeches constituted attempts to defraud Congress and the American public. For, as we now know, the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, testified in February 2004 that "the intelligence community had never informed the President that Saddam Hussein presented an imminent or urgent threat,"[p. 192] let alone a threat that stands alone.

Thus, the October 2nd speech, the concealment of information about North Korea's nuclear weapons and the October 7th speech constitute prima facie evidence of a conspiracy to defraud Congress.

Want more evidence of Bush's criminal violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371? Consider that, in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address, Bush asserted that the "British have recently learned that Iraq was seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Although literally true, Bush's assertion was fraudulent because it was inserted as a way to weasel around the fact that "less than four months earlier, Tenet and the CIA had excised the sentence from the president's speech in Cincinnati because the assertion could not be confirmed and was thought to be shaky." [Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack pp. 294-95]

As Ms. de la Vega notes: "Much has been written regarding what the President knew when he made this statement, but the analysis of whether this statement is fraudulent in a criminal context is very simple." Consider the following: "this President is highly involved in the speech-writing process. At the time of the speech, the public's support for the war was waning and the President wanted specific proof. If he could have phrased this assertion more strongly, he would have. It may have been literally true - the British did acquire this information - but it already had been debunked. Bush's phrasing was an attempt to deceive the American public into believing that he was vouching for the British intelligence information when he knew he could not do so." [p. 231]

Ms de la Vega also makes an impressive prima facie case demonstrating that Condoleezza Rice criminally defrauded both the Congress and the American people on September 8, 2002, when she asserted that the aluminum tubes that Iraq had attempted to purchase were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs." [p. 196] She's equally persuasive when indicting Vice President Cheney and President Bush for similarly fraudulent assertions about the tubes on September 8th and September 12th respectively.

Why so persuasive? Because fourteen U.S. intelligence assessments about the tubes had been produced by September 8th and twelve had "discussed problems with - or differences of opinion about - the CIA's contention that the Iraqis wanted the tubes for nuclear-centrifuge work." [p. 203] Thus, no government official possessing honesty and integrity could have made the reckless assertions that Rice, Cheney and Bush made about the aluminum tubes in September 2002.

Moreover, as Ms. de la Vega reminds us, the September 7, 2002 issue of the New York Times reported: "White House officials said today that the administration was following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein." [p. 184] Given the facts available to us today, it appears to have been a meticulously planned strategy to defraud.

Consider that the Times article also reported, "White House officials said they began planning more intensively for the Iraq rollout in July." Then consider that, during that same month, George Tenet apparently communicated elements of this "meticulous" plan to his British counterpart, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir Richard Dearlove.

For, it was Dearlove - confidentially reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Cabinet about his recent talks in Washington (according to a "SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL, - UK EYES ONLY" memo dated July 23, 2002) - who asserted: "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable, Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy." [pp. 137-38]

This "fixing" of the intelligence explains Cheney's August fraud about Saddam's son-in-law, the frauds about the aluminum tubes perpetrated by Rice, Cheney and Bush in September, Bush's attempt to defraud Congress in early October, as well as his "uranium" fraud in January 2003 State of the Union speech.

Yet, Colin Powell's efforts to defraud America and the world about the tubes were among the most egregious. For, when he made his false assertions about Iraq's aluminum tubes to the United Nations on February 5, 2003, Powell already knew that his own State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research "was not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use in centrifuge rotors." [p. 212] And he already knew that the International Atomic Energy Agency had already denounced 'the possibility that the tubes had a nuclear application."[p. 213]

Ms. de la Vega also presents persuasive evidence indicating that Bush also defrauded Congress and the American public when he claimed to have no war plan on his desk and when he diverted funds ($700 million) and resources (some "1,800 U.S. troops, including the elite Fifth Group Special Forces who had tracking Osama bin Laden") from Afghanistan to Iraq. [pp. 107-112]

Nevertheless, Ms. de la Vega could have strengthened her legal case against the Bush administration's fraud, had she included the following information:

(1) Beginning in October 2001, a rogue intelligence office headed by Douglas Feith (and subsequently called Feith's "Gestapo office" by Colin Powell, see http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/Gestapo.html ) funneled bogus intelligence about Saddam's ties to al Qaeda up the DOD chain of command, through Paul Wolfowitz to Rumsfeld and Cheney. Throughout 2002, this bogus intelligence was given preference over the legitimate intelligence reports, which correctly found no such ties.

(2) On August 29, 2002 Bush signed a TOP SECRET National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD), titled: "Iraq: Goals, Objectives and Strategies." The product of weeks, if not months of work, the directive "was a good way to make sure everyone was operating with the same instruction." [Woodward, p. 154] One of the goals was to "free Iraq in order to eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction." One of the objectives was to "minimize disruption in international oil markets." One of the strategies was "to work with the Iraqi opposition to demonstrate that we are liberating, not invading Iraq." [Woodward, pp. 154-55] Although not the "Ten Commandments," [Woodward, p. 154] this NSPD locked in the Bush drive for an invasion before he opened his so-called dialogue with the Congress and the American public, and before he took his case to the United Nations.

(3) On September 6, 2002, General Tommy Franks informed Bush: "Mr. President, we've been looking for scud missiles and other weapons of mass destruction for ten years and haven't found any yet, so I can't tell you that I know that there are any specific weapons anywhere." {Woodward, p. 173]

Unfortunately, the conspiracy to defraud continued after Bush illegal, immoral invasion. On March 30, 2003, Rumsfeld lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Yet, not only was Rumsfeld present when General Franks expressed his doubts about WMD to President Bush the previous September, on October 12, 2002, he also made his own list of what could go wrong in Iraq. Item 13 was: "U.S. could fail to find WMD on the ground." [Woodward, State of Denial, p. 99]

And, in December 2003, some nine months after the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq proved his reckless assertions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to be false, ABC's Diane Sawyer pressed Bush about justifying a war to the American public by stating "as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he [Saddam] could move to acquire those weapons." Put on the spot, Bush defrauded Ms. Sawyer and all Americans when he responded: "So what's the difference?"

The difference is precisely this: You, President Bush, commit fraud when you deceive the Congress and the public by making the case stronger than it actually is! You punk!

Equally unfortunate, the Bush administration conspires to defraud Americans to this very day. Thus, notwithstanding the unabated and uncritical news coverage of the "perps," you should approach all of their pronouncements with extreme skepticism.

Why? Because, by presenting evidence gained from "speeches, public remarks, White House press briefings, interviews, congressional testimony, official documents, all public intelligence reports and various summaries of intelligence, such as the reports of the Senate Select committee on Intelligence and the 9/11 commission," [p. 12] in a hypothetical grand jury setting, Elizabeth de la Vega persuasively has demonstrated that "our highest government officials employ[ed] the universal techniques of fraudsters - deliberate concealment, misrepresentations, false pretenses [and] half-truths - to deceive Congress and the American people." [p. 14]

Which prompts one final question: "When will 'our highest government officials' ACTUALLY be brought to justice?"

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).