By David Swanson
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers consistently lists among his reasons for not holding impeachment hearings, his fear of the corporate media. But last week the corporate media exhibited its fear of impeachment. Only those voices in support of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment spoke. Others kept quiet. The network news shows avoided the topic, but the cable news shows gave us Keith Olbermann promoting impeachment on MSNBC, and Jack Cafferty on CNN saying things like:
“Congress continues to refuse to exercise its Constitutional responsibility, which is oversight of the executive branch of our government. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi long ago said ‘Impeachment is off the table.’ This is a joke. We have a president who has abused the power of his office over and over and over again. It’s what got the Democrats elected to the majority in Congress in 2006. Now it’s election time again, and every member of the House is up for reelection in November. The Democrats are no doubt worried what it will look like to many voters if they spend their time on impeachment. To hell with what’s right or wrong. What will it look like? . . . What does it mean when Congress refuses to even consider 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush?”
One thing it doesn’t mean, Chairman Conyers, is that Cafferty is any more on target in his acceptance of the notion that impeachment is electorally disadvantageous, than you are in your acceptance of the notion that a few corporate blowhards with their fat behinds planted on our public airwaves should have the power to control your every move.
Chairman? Chairman Conyers? You can stop cowering now. It’s safe to come out from under the table. Sure, there were a few grumpy and screaming voices out there, but mostly there was silence. The corporate media does not want to take on this issue and will not be able to handle its actual existence the way it handles the threat of impeachment proceedings. If impeachment hearings get underway, the corporate media will have to deal with the substance of the charges. It will be impossible to simply avoid the matter or treat it dismissively. You know the substance of the charges as well as anyone, but apparently you have not considered what all that information could accomplish.
Seriously, the best the Washington Post could come up with this week was certified ass Dana Milbank ranting about his fear of a President Cheney, which didn’t stop him from ranting about some other fear last year when Congressman Kucinich introduced articles to impeach Cheney. And, do you recall the year 2005, in which you sent the Post a letter in response to Milbank’s stupid and inaccuracy-packed report on your Downing Street Minutes hearings? You came out looking better than ever, and you did so by crawling out, standing up, and speaking. That might be worth trying again.
I know you want to blame Barack Obama for your cowardice, but Congressman Robert Wexler is part of his campaign and is out there publicly lobbying you to fulfill your oath of office. Can you explain any possible scenario in which John McCain has to answer questions about Bush’s impeachable offenses for months and is subsequently elected president? I don’t see any way that’s possible. You could guarantee victory in your piddly little beloved election by acting to preserve our democratic republic for future generations.
Chairman Conyers, are you familiar with President Bush’s violations of the Posse Comitatus act? Here’s a law with a questionable origin that serves an absolutely essential purpose. Your congressional career, in contrast, had absolutely essential origins and now serves no clear purpose at all.
Benito Mussolini said “The function of a citizen and a soldier are inseparable.” The US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Posse Comitatus Act all say otherwise. Are you on the side of fascism or the side of our ongoing revolution? Do you understand how clearly and appropriately fascism is an impeachable offense?
Please read this one article, from Kucinich’s collection of 35. Then please study the other 34.
VIOLATION OF THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed”, has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, repeatedly and illegally established programs to appropriate the power of the military for use in law enforcement. Specifically, he has contravened U.S.C. Title 18. Section 1385, originally enacted in 1878, subsequently amended as “Use of Army and Air Force as Posse Comitatus” and commonly known as the Posse Comitatus Act.
The Act states:
“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
The Posse Comitatus Act is designed to prevent the military from becoming a national police force.
The Declaration of Independence states as a specific grievance against the British that the King had “kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures,” had “affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the civil power,” and had “quarter[ed] large bodies of armed troops among us . . . protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States.”
Despite the Posse Comitatus Act’s intent, and in contravention of the law, President Bush
a) has used military forces for law enforcement purposes on U.S. border patrol;
b) has established a program to use military personnel for surveillance and information on criminal activities;
c) is using military espionage equipment to collect intelligence information for law enforcement use on civilians within the United States; and
d) employs active duty military personnel in surveillance agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
In June 2006, President Bush ordered National Guard troops deployed to the border shared by Mexico with Arizona, Texas, and California. This deployment, which by 2007 reached a maximum of 6,000 troops, had orders to “conduct surveillance and operate detection equipment, work with border entry identification teams, analyze information, assist with communications and give administrative support to the Border Patrol” and concerned “…providing intelligence….inspecting cargo, and conducting surveillance.”
The Air Force’s “Eagle Eyes” program encourages Air Force military staff to gather evidence on American citizens. Eagle Eyes instructs Air Force personnel to engage in surveillance and then advises them to “alert local authorities,” asking military staff to surveil and gather evidence on public citizens. This contravenes DoD Directive 5525.5 “SUBJECT: DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement” which limits such activities.
President Bush has implemented a program to use imagery from military satellites for domestic law enforcement through the National Applications Office.
President Bush has assigned numerous active duty military personnel to civilian institutions such as the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security, both of which have responsibilities for law enforcement and intelligence.
In addition, on May 9, 2007, President Bush released “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51,” which effectively gives the president unchecked power to control the entire government and to define that government in time of an emergency, as well as the power to determine whether there is an emergency. The document also contains “classified Continuity Annexes.” In July 2007 and again in August 2007 Rep. Peter DeFazio, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, sought access to the classified annexes. DeFazio and other leaders of the Homeland Security Committee, including Chairman Bennie Thompson, have been denied a review of the Continuity of Government classified annexes.
In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.