From Volume 6, Issue 29 of EIR Online, Published July 17, 2007

United States News Digest

Instead of Removing Cheney, the Senate Just Debates

July 12 (EIRNS)—Lyndon LaRouche commented on the stultifying debate in the Senate on the fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization bill, "There's no more reason to debate. Honest debate has ended. There's nothing left to debate." LaRouche was referring to the fact that the Senate, yesterday, rejected two amendments to the bill that would have addressed the real damage being done to the military by the Bush/Cheney war policy, but adopted two amendments designed to ratchet up the confrontation with Iran.

The first amendment, sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), requires the Defense Department to produce a report on Iran's alleged support of terrorists in Iraq, which passed 97 to 0; another amendment, accepted today, by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), requires that the U.S. build missile defenses against Iran. Sessions' amendment was adopted by a vote of 90 to 5. Both regaled the Senate with the propaganda emanating from Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner—the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad who previously served on the National Security Council as the military deputy to Iran-Contra criminal Elliott Abrams, who has been busy fomenting civil war in the Palestinian territories—on how much of a global threat Iran allegedly is.

Of the two amendments that were rejected, one by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) would have required a minimum time between troop deployments equal to the length of deployments, and the second, by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), would have limited deployment lengths to 12 consecutive months for the Army and 7 consecutive months for the Marines. Both warned that the demands of the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations were stretching the Army to the breaking point.

"The crap stops now," LaRouche said. "Debate, debate, debate. We had it in Vietnam, and we're doing it all over again. The debate itself is dishonest. What we have is more lies. Our troops are dying while the lies pour out. Don't say you're supporting the troops by putting them out to be shot."

LaRouche: White House Claims of 'Executive Privilege' a Fraud

July 12 (EIRNS)—Lyndon LaRouche today denounced as "fraudulent" the Bush-Cheney White House claims of "executive privilege"—asserted to prevent White House officials from testifying under subpoena to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

The White House claim, LaRouche said, is "totally contrary to the U.S. Constitution," and constitutes "an attempt to establish a dictatorship in the United States."

"People who don't want a dictatorship will reject this argument. We don't need the Supreme Court to tell us it's unconstitutional. The smell alone tells us. We don't need the Supreme Court to tell us that shit stinks."

LaRouche made his comments after former White House counsel Harriet Miers failed to appear at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on the subject of the firing of U.S. Attorneys. Although earlier in the week, Miers' attorney had assured the committee that she would appear for the hearing, but would then assert executive privilege, last night he sent a letter to committee chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) informing him that Miers had been directed by the President's attorney not to appear at all.

Both Conyers and subcommittee chair Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) wrote back to Miers' attorney, telling him that asserting a privilege does not obviate the need to appear before the committee, and that Miers' refusal to appear could subject her to contempt proceedings.

After a period of contentious debate this morning, Sanchez made a ruling that the White House claims of executive privilege had not been properly asserted, and that Miers was required to appear before the subcommittee. Sanchez's ruling was sustained by a 7-5 party-line vote. For Conyers, the issue was straightforward. "If we don't enforce this subpoena," he declared, "no one will ever have to come before this committee again."

Conyers Asks: What Was Cheney's Role in Libby Commutation?

July 10 (EIRNS)—In a letter sent to President Bush July 6, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the head of the House Judiciary Committee, put a series of questions to the President concerning his commutation of the prison sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Libby. The first question was: "What role if any, did Vice President Cheney play in the decision the commute the sentence of his own former aide?"

Another question: "Was any consideration given to the impact commutation would have on the possibility that Mr. Libby might yet decide to cooperate with the Special Prosecutor?" Some members of Congress and others have suggested that the commutation was made to head off the possibility that Libby, facing prison, might decide to tell special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald the full truth about Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame exposure.

Conyers also asked Bush to waive executive privilege before the July 11 House Judiciary hearing on "The Use and Abuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials," so that Administration officials involved in the commutation could testify. Conyers points out that former President Bill Clinton did just that, in allowing his aides to testify at Congressional hearings on the controversial Marc Rich pardon, and former President Gerald Ford also did so, and personally testified regarding his pardon of Richard Nixon.

House Punts on Proposed BAE Takeover of Armor Holdings

July 10 (EIRNS)—The House of Representatives today completed debate on legislation supposedly designed to strengthen the procedures for reviewing foreign investments in the U.S. through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)—without any Member of Congress mentioning CFIUS's most recent atrocity, in which it approved the British BAE Systems' takeover of a top U.S. defense contractor, just as the huge bribery scandal broke out around BAE in Britain, and as the U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal investigation of BAE under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Shamefully, CFIUS approved the BAE takeover of Armor Holdings on June 21, allegedly finding that it presented no national security threat to the U.S., even as the scandal was exploding around BAE's $2 billion bribery scheme and the estimated $80-100 billion BAE-Saudi slush fund growing out of the 1985 deal.

After weeks of news reports that the U.S. Justice Department was about to open a criminal investigation, BAE itself acknowledged, in a June 26 disclosure to investors, that a criminal investigation had been opened.

The Senate passed similar CFIUS legislation on June 29, also with no mention of BAE during the debate. Coverage in the British press has indicated that the British government and BAE hoped to get the takeover approved before the BAE scandal hit the front pages in the U.S. Just today, the Financial Times of London reported that the House was set to pass the CFIUS bill, gloating that Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) request to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the Justice Department provide information on the BAE bribery investigation to CFIUS, had "failed to gain much traction from lawmakers in Congress."

Ignorance is no excuse. Every Congressional office has received the full dossier on the BAE scandal from EIR and the LaRouche Youth Movement.

Senate Judiciary Could Call Fitzgerald To Testify

July 8 (EIRNS)—The senior Democrat and the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee have indicated that they might call special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to testify before their committee.

This possibility first came up during an interview with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on CBS's "Face the Nation," in which Schumer said that he has spoken with committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) about calling Fitzgerald before the committee. "You know, he's not allowed to talk about what happened before the grand jury, but he did interview the President and the Vice President, not before a grand jury," Schumer said. "And he might have some very interesting things to say. He issued a rare statement after the commutation that was very harsh in condemning it, and with good reason."

Later, when Leahy was interviewed, along with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking Republican on the committee, they agreed that it could be useful to call Fitzgerald—although for somewhat different reasons.

Schumer said that "it would do no good to call Scooter Libby. His silence has been bought and paid for, and he would just take the Fifth." But, Schumer added, if Specter "has no objection to Mr. Fitzgerald coming forward, I think you may very well see Mr. Fitzgerald before the Senate Judiciary Committee."

Specter said he would like to ask Fitzgerald about the basis for his investigation, claiming that "there was no underlying crime on the outing of the CIA agent." However, that canard, often repeated by critics of Fitzgerald, has been thoroughly refuted both by Fitzgerald and by the CIA itself, who have declared that Valerie Plame Wilson was indeed a covert operative whose identity was subject to protection under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

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