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