By David Swanson
As some people learned from the minimal and abusive media coverage, on December 8, 2006, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney introduced Articles of Impeachment [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/16230 ]against President George W. Bush, making him the 10th president of the United States to face such action. Of course, McKinney was on her way out of office and thus more willing to challenge the Democratic Party leadership by upholding basic Constitutional principles.
Fewer people are aware that Congresswoman McKinney on December 27, 2006, entered into the Congressional Record (pages E2253 – 2255) extended remarks on impeachment that merit our close attention. Why would she do such a thing on her way out the door with no chance of reintroducing her bill in the new Congress? For one thing, she clearly would agree with the response Congressman John Conyers gave to Lewis Lapham when asked what he thought the point was of publishing a lengthy report laying out evidence of Bush’s impeachable offenses. Conyers’ response was: “to take away the excuse that we didn’t know.”
Here is McKinney’s case for impeachment and for the history books, a case that says to historians “Look, I knew what needed to be done, and I failed for years but I admitted it on my last day,” but a case that says to us: “Here is your mission: awaken currently serving Congress Members to this case or kiss your democracy goodbye.”
On December 27, 2006
REMARKS ON H. RES. 1106 — (Extensions of Remarks – December 27, 2006)
SPEECH OF HON. CYNTHIA McKINNEY OF GEORGIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2006
Ms. McKINNEY. Mr. Speaker, I wish to enter the following into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
ADDENDA TO A RESOLUTION INTRODUCING ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND OTHER OFFICIALS: FURTHER ACTIONS BY THE PRESIDENT THAT WARRANT FURTHER INVESTIGATION AS POSSIBLE GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT AS IDENTIFIED BY MANY SCHOLARS, LAWYERS AND CONCERNED CITIZENS
I. FAILURE TO ENSURE THE LAWS ARE FAITHFULLY EXECUTED
(1) Self-Exemption from Laws upon Signing.
(2) Suspension of Basic Legal Proceedings.
(3) Promoting Illegal War.
(4) Promoting Torture.
(5) Promoting Kidnappings and Renditions for Torture.
(6) Use of Illegal Weapons.
II. ABUSE OF OFFICE AND OF EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE
(1) Obstructing Inquiry and Detection.
(2) Replacing the Veto with Signing Statements.
III. FAILURE TO PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION
(1) Suspension of Due Process.
(2) Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.
(3) Non-Cooperation with Congress.
(4) Establishment of an Unconstitutional, Parallel Legal System.
I. FAILURE TO ENSURE THE LAWS ARE FAITHFULLY EXECUTED
Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America, the President has a duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” George Walker Bush, during his tenure as President of the United States, has repeatedly violated the letter and spirit of laws and rules of criminal procedure used by civilian and military courts, and has violated or ignored regulatory codes and practices that carry out the law, has contravened the laws governing agencies of the executive and the purposes of these agencies, and in conducting the foreign affairs of the United States of America has proceeded in flagrant violation of the core body of international laws, to which the United States of America is bound by treaty.
With respect to domestic law, this conduct has included one or more of the following:
(1) Self-Exemption from Laws upon Signing. Since assuming the office of President of the United States, George Walker Bush has attached signing statements to more than one hundred bills before signing them, within which he has made over eight hundred challenges to provisions of laws passed by Congress, a figure that exceeds the total number of such challenges by all previous presidents combined, and has used this practice to exempt himself, as President of the United States, from enforcing or from being held accountable to provisions of the said laws.
(2) Suspension of Basic Legal Proceedings. In dereliction of his duty to uphold the law, George Walker Bush has systematically violated basic legal and criminal procedures that require any search, seizure, arrest or detention to be non-discriminatory, based on probable cause and sufficient evidence to warrant a stated charge, that provide access to legal counsel, arraignment and the option of bail within a period of days, and that require reasonable and non-coercive interrogations, rights of silence, as well as privy communications with counsel and with others, pending an outcome of either release or a speedy and public trial, conducted in accord with federal and state statutes on criminal and court process, the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, applicable international law, or appeals to higher courts that apply. By ordering mass arrests and indefinite detentions based on indiscriminate profiling of specific populations, George Walker Bush has also systematically violated laws prohibiting harmful extraditions, secret arrest and custody, and denial of defined and legal periods of detention or incarceration.
With respect to international law, this conduct has included one or more of the following:
(3) Promoting Illegal War. Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1848, “Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invaslon and you will allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you will allow him to make war at pleasure. If today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, `I see no probability of the British invading us,’ but he will say to you, `Be silent; I see it, if you don’t.’ ” In direct violation of Articles 41 and 42 of the United Nations Charter, a treaty ratified by the United States Senate in 1945 and therefore the supreme law of the land as according to Article VI of the Constitution, George Walker Bush has advanced and executed a policy based on so-called pre-emptive or preventive war, whereby the United States of America claims the right to unilaterally assault, invade or occupy other nations without first engaging in collective measures with other member states of the United Nations or first gaining the prior assent of the United Nations Security Council, and whereas George Walker Bush did apply this doctrine by launching a war of aggression against the sovereign nation of Iraq, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of United States military personnel, without United Nations Security Council authorization, whereby said George Walker Bush, as President of the United States, by advancing a doctrine of preventive war and initiating and continuing the invasion and occupation of Iraq by United States forces did commit and was guilty of precisely such abuses as Abraham Lincoln foresaw.
(4) Promoting Torture. In direct violation of, and as part of a pattern of consistent attempts through executive orders, legal memoranda and alterations to regulations such as the Army Field Manual, to undermine the Federal Torture Statute [18 USC Sec. 2340A]; the Third Geneva Convention banning torture and abuse of Prisoners of War, as well as non-combatants and unarmed (“enemy”) combatants held in detention; and Articles 4 and 32 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which expressly prohibit not merely torture but physical abuse of any kind being inflicted upon “persons protected by the Convention,” defined as “those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals,” this language being written as a precaution against and in anticipation of alternate definitions of torture, these declarations and treaties being ratified by the United States Senate and therefore the supreme law of the land as according to Article VI of the Constitution, George Walker Bush, as President of the United States of America, has condoned and presided over a vast expansion of the use of torture against unarmed combatants and civilian non-combatants, both foreign and domestic, detained or kidnapped by forces or agents of the United States, leading to extreme pain, psychological trauma, disfigurement and in some cases, death. By signing a legal memorandum on February 7, 2002 (declassified on June 17, 2004), in which he wrote that “The war on terror ushers in a new paradigm,” one which requires “new thinking in the law of war,” and decreeing that, contrary to all past military practices of an official nature, the United States would no longer be constrained by the laws of war presently in force in its treatment of those captured during its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and subsequently detained, a legal opinion which the Supreme Court struck down on June 29, 2006 (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld) by its ruling that the Third Geneva Convention did apply to detainees in the custody of the United States, George Walker Bush, President of the United States, by his concerted efforts to undermine any legal limits on the use of torture by United States personnel, did commit and was guilty of high crimes against the United States of America.
(5) Promoting Kidnappings and Renditions for Illegal Torture. In direct violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, Article 3, which states that “No State party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture,” and the Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 31 and 45, the said conventions having been ratified by the United States Senate and therefore the supreme law of the land as according to Article VI of the Constitution, George Walker Bush, as President of the United States of America, did sign, on September 17, 2001, an executive order (still classified) granting unilateral authority to the Central Intelligence Agency to render detainees to countries where torture is routinely practiced for the express purpose of interrogation, thereby subverting an established program of rendering detainees to justice by bringing them to the United States or to a country in which they were wanted to face criminal charges in a court of law. And whereas the Central Intelligence Agency did thereafter carry out this order not only by rendering hundreds of detainees to countries where they were subsequently tortured, but also in many cases first illegally kidnapping the detainees, and did subsequently establish secret detention centers, operating outside any known laws, for the express purpose of circumventing all legal protections to which the said detainees were entitled under international law.
(6) Use of lllegal Weapons. In violation of multiple and diverse tenets of international law, George Walker Bush, as President of the United States, has authorized or sanctioned the use of illegal weapons, including but not limited to the following:
(a) land mines, deployed by United States forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, which indiscriminately injure and kill combatants and innocent civilians alike, and which are therefore illegal under Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Article 85, which states that it is a war crime to launch “an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population in the knowledge that such an attack will cause an excessive loss of life or injury to civilians,” and which are banned under the Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which forbids the deployment of any “mine, booby-trap or other device which is designed or of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering;”
(b) cluster bombs, including those which upon explosion project lethal plastic fragments not detectable by X-ray, deployed by United States forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, which leave unexploded ordnance known to maim and kill innocent civilians and which are therefore also illegal under Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Article 85, as well as under Protocol I of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which bans the use of “the use of any weapon the primary effect of which is to injure by fragments which in the human body escape detection by X-rays,” and under Annexed Articles 22 and 23 of the Hague Convention IV, which states that “It is especially forbidden to kill treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army;”
(c) depleted uranium munitions, being radiological weapons used extensively by United States Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol 1, Articles 35.2, 35.3, 48 and 55.1, which prohibit the use of “projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering” or weapons “which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment” or damage to “the health or survival of the population,” and which have been classified as “weapons of mass destruction” by the United Nations Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities;
(d) napalm, a weapon widely used in Vietnam, an upgraded kerosene-based version of which has more recently been used by United States forces in Iraq, being dubbed the “Mark 77 firebomb”, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article II.1.b, which expressly prohibits “Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties” of the device when used as a weapon;
(e) white phosphorous, which Defense Department spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable confirmed on November 15, 2005 was deployed “as an incendiary weapon” in urban areas of Fallujah, Iraq, where there were high concentrations of civilians, during Operation Phantom Fury (November 2004-January 2005), making the said deployment of white phosphorous a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article II.1.b;
(f) BLU-82B/C-130 “daisy cutter” bombs, being massive incendiary bombs deployed by United States forces in Afghanistan, and which upon detonation create a firestorm the size of five football fields or greater, and a vacuum pressure capable of collapsing internal organs, in violaton of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Articles 35, 48, 51 and 55, which expressly forbid such indiscriminate destruction of civilian life and the environment;
In all of this, George Walker Bush’s conduct has followed a pattern of not merely failing to uphold the laws he took an oath to defend as President of the United States, but of flouting such laws with the impunity of a dictator. Indeed, on numerous occasions, George Walker Bush has openly expressed his desire to become a dictator, as he did while President-Elect on December 18, 2000, when he stated: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier ….. just as long as I’m the dictator …..”
This arrogant posture has also been typical in foreign aftairs where he has made concerted efforts to undermine international law and international treaties, including his termination of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty without the assent of the legislative branch, his decision to rescind the authorizing signature of the United States from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, his willingness to offend the 152 nations who are signatories to the Ottawa Treaty by refusing to sign and continuing the use of land mines by the world’s most powerful military rather than asserting America’s moral leadership, his willingness to offend the 93 nations who are parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Protocol III by refusing to sign and continuing the use of incendiary weapons against civilian targets, his defiance of the United Nations Security Council by launching a unilateral war of aggression against the government and the people of Iraq, and in general showing little remorse over or regard for the tens of thousands of innocent civilians and American service personnel who have perished as a direct or indirect result of his foreign policy.
II. ABUSE OF OFFICE AND OF EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE
In taking his oath of office, the President swore to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.” George Walker Bush, in his conduct while President of the United States, has consistently demonstrated disregard for that oath by obstructing and hindering the work of investigative bodies, by seeking to expand the scope of the powers of his office, by failing to ensure a swift response to a natural disaster where lives were in the balance, and by failing to appoint competent officials or to hold those whom he appoints or those to whom the government grants contracts accountable in cases of dereliction of duty, abuse and outright fraud.
(1) Obstructing Inquiry and Detection. At the Virginia Convention on ratification of the Constitution, George Mason argued that the President might usurp his powers to “pardon crimes which were advised by himself” or prior to indictment or conviction “to stop inquiry and prevent detection,” to which James Madison responded that if he did so, “the House of Representatives would impeach him.” In an effort to conceal the high crimes and misdemeanors here mentioned, George Walker Bush, in his conduct as President of the United States of America, has presided over the most secretive Presidency in this nation’s history, and an administration which actively interferes with the free flow of information by manipulating the press and frustrating its ability to provide an oversight function by being actively hostile to questioning from the press, by placing imposters posing as agents of the press at press conferences, by threatening reporters with prosecution under espionage laws, and by purchasing television segments and placing newspaper stories falsely posing as unbiased reporting in an effort to promote Administration policies. The conduct of this Administration follows a pattern of seeking to hush “whistleblowers” who come forward to share potentially incriminating information with the public, rather than investigating the alleged crime. This Administration has also refused to provide key information to Congressional investigations, and to prosecutors investigating the outing of a Central Intelligence Agency Officer in an apparent act of retribution, or to actively pursue the identity of the guilty informant, despite the President’s public pledge to fire the guilty party once discovered, and even after one Administration official was charged in the case with obstruction of justice. George Walker Bush has abused his office by consistently invoking executive privilege in order to shelter his office and his appointees from both Congressional oversight and judicial accountability.
(2) Replacing the Veto with Signing Statements. By declining to veto even one bill, and instead attaching signing statements challenging hundreds of laws passed by Congress, thereby seeking to exempt the executive branch from accountability to said laws,
George Walker Bush has subverted the very nature of his office by seeking to add to his office extraordinary and unconstitutional powers and privileges.
III. FAILURE TO PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION
At the Constitutional Convention, James Madison argued that “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” intentionally included “[a]ttempts to subvert the Constitution.” In taking his oath of office, the President swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” to the best of his ability, which includes the duty not to abuse his powers or transgress their limits, the duty not to violate the rights of citizens, including those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and not to act in derogation of powers vested elsewhere by the Constitution, George Walker Bush, in his conduct while President of the United States has not only failed in this regard, but has demonstrated a pattern of disregard or contempt for the Constitution itself, as he clearly demonstrated in November 2005 when he shouted at a group of Republican lawmakers, “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a [expletive] piece of paper!”
This conduct has included one or more of the following:
(1) Suspension of Due Process. In direct dereliction of his duty to defend the Constitution, George Walker Bush has systematically deprived citizens and residents of the United States of their constitutional rights to due process under the law, by sanctioning or ordering, at the discretion of the executive, their detention without charge and without trial, a fundamental right to which they are entitled under habeus corpus and the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights; by denying the right to a fair and speedy trial and blocking access to counsel for the defense, both of which are rights guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights; by denying those so illegally detained the opportunity to appear before a judicial officer that they might challenge the legal grounds of their detention; by sanctioning and ordering mass arrests and detentions which inevitably involve all of the above named abuses; and by refusing to disclose the identities and locations of those detained.
(2) Unreasonable Searches and Seizures. In violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, George Walker Bush did clandestinely direct the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security to conduct electronic surveillance, including a new form of spying using sophisticated software to track internet usage, of citizens of the United States on U.S. soil without seeking to obtain, before or after, a judicial warrant, including spying on groups and individuals who had committed no illegal acts, involving penetration, entrapment and provocation, thereby reviving practices previously discontinued after they were deemed prejudicial to justice by the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Senator Frank Church.
(3) Non-Cooperation with Congress. In derogation of the legislative functions of the Congress, granted under Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution, and the implied power to see that the laws made by Congress are faithfully executed, George Walker Bush, in his conduct as President of the United States, has engaged in a consistent pattern of obstructing and frustrating Congressional investigations. George Walker Bush opposed and delayed the formation of a commission to investigate the attacks of September 11, 2001, and once it was formed, refused to turn over key documents and information in compliance with subpoenas, and also sought and gained exemption from testifying under oath for all but one top administration official. (Condoleezza Rice). He refused requests from the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina and requests from the 9/11 Commission to turn over key documents and information. Under his administration the Justice Department made it official policy to refuse cooperation with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, to refuse the release of records or testimony, central to informing government decisions, to re-classify previously unclassified records and to withhold even non-secret documents. These actions severely restrict the ability of the people and their representatives in Congress seeking to hold government officials accountable for their decisions to have access to a record of how official decisions were reached, or even to know what the official polices are. Wherefore, George Walker Bush, by obstructing the work of the Congress, did commit and was guilty of high misdemeanors against the United States of America.
(4) Establishment of an Unconstitutional, Parallel Legal System. Edmund Randolph stated at the Constitutional Convention that: “The Executive will have great opportunitys [sic] of abusing his power, particularly in time of war when the military force, and in some respects the public money will be in his hands.”
In direct dereliction of his duty to defend the Constitution, George Walker Bush has, during his tenure as President of the United States of America, sanctioned the establishment of a parallel legal system operating outside the scope of the Constitution under which the participants would not be bound by due process or basic rights of the accused to speedy and fair trials, access to counsel, or even the right to know the charges and evidence against them, by replacing these measures with a new form of law involving: secret and indefinite detention without trial or hearing; renditions to other countries outside the reach of law and justice; the use of military tribunals to replace civilian courts; detentions outside normal writ of habeus rules and without access to effective counsel, unmonitored conversations or judicial attention and review; exclusion of the accused from portions of the trial and from access to evidence used against them; acceptance of hearsay, including testimony gained under torture or duress; and a lack of independent judiciary or appeal of conviction. An unknown number of individuals, many of whose names the Administration has refused to release, have already been held in undisclosed locations or secret prisons, and mass arrests have been accompanied by deportations. By failing to conduct timely status review hearings, as required under Article 5 of the Geneva Convention, the Bush Administration has made it effectively impossible to determine the status and the rights of those held in secret detention. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that the denial of rights under the Geneva Accords is illegal [Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld], new proposals from the Bush Administration expand the definition of those who can be detained as “enemy combatants” as no longer limited to aliens abroad, and assert that neither the Uniform Code of Military Justice alone, nor federal criminal procedures will guide the functions of these new courts. George Walker Bush, as President of the United States of America, in defiance the Supreme Court, and in keeping with a pattern of conduct seeking to exempt himself from its rulings and from constitutional law, did commit violations of domestic law and was guilty of war crimes.
In all of this, George Walker Bush has sought to arrogate unprecedented power to his executive office and to undermine the system of check and balances established by the Founders, by using war and national emergency as the basis for his claims in support of a unitary presidency.