The current debate on our side as to whether President Obama should “go after” the Georgites, right up to, or perhaps starting with, BushCheney echoes the debate on possible impeachment that occurred when the last Congress came to power. At the time, I put forth the view that it might be a good idea, despite the political risks, if one started on the mundane, such as corruption. One could start with it rather than with the truly important, such as the use of torture by the Administration, ordered/approved (depending upon how you read the known words) from the top. Among other things, violating the Geneva Conventions automatically violated Article Six of the Constitution (which makes ratified treaties part of the supreme law of the land). Given the incoming personnel at the top levels of the Justice Department, I do think the Administration will get there, sooner or later. But it has other priorities now, such as the economy, health care, and Israel/Palestine. And Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, is already starting in on the top level Georgites, on the matter of violating the Constitution. So what might the Administration do right away?
Well, why not start small (or relatively small) and go after corruption and possible other law violations, other than the Big T, in the Bush Administration. It was there, all over the place, from Iraq to Katrina to the Department of the Interior (and sex stuff always sells). There would be lots of actors to ensnare in any broad-based investigation of the Georgites and corruption. But particularly sweet would be to go after Cheney on it. In aid of that effort, here’s just some of the stuff one could start with, dating back to the beginning of that debate on impeachment.
Let’s begin with that one word: “Halliburton.” As gleaned in just a first go from the Web, via the good offices of Project Censored, here are a few items that were ripe for criminal investigation at the beginning of 2007 (and who knows how many more might be dug up now):
ITEM: “Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran“, With Source: Global Research.ca, August 5, 2005, Title: “Halliburton Secretly Doing Business Key Member of Iran’s Nuclear Team,” Author: Jason Leopold: “According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies. . . . Halliburton has a long history of doing business in Iran, starting as early as 1995, while Vice President Cheney was chief executive of the company.”
ITEM: “Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year,” Raw Story, October 2005, Title: “Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Options Rose 3,281 Percent Last Year, Senator Finds,” Author: John Byrne; (and, lo and behold) Senator Frank Lautenberg’s Web site: “Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Options Soar to $9.2 Million. Vice President Dick Cheney’s stock options in Halliburton rose from $241,498 in 2004 to over $8 million in 2005, an increase of more than 3,000 percent, as Halliburton continues to rake in billions of dollars from no-bid/no-audit government contracts. An analysis released by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) reveals that as Halliburton’s fortunes rise, so do the Vice President’s. Halliburton has already taken more than $10 billion from the Bush-Cheney administration for work in Iraq. They were also awarded many of the unaccountable post-Katrina government contracts, and off-shore subsidiaries of Halliburton quietly worked around U.S. sanctions to conduct very questionable business with Iran [see just above]. ‘It is unseemly,’ notes Lautenberg, ‘for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his administration funnels billions of dollars to it.’ According to the Vice President’s Federal Financial Disclosure forms, he holds the following Halliburton stock options: 100,000 shares at $54.5000 (vested) expire December 3, 2007, 33,333 shares at $28.1250 (vested), expire December 2, 2008, 300,000 shares at $39.5000 (vested), expire December 2, 2009. The Vice President has attempted to fend off criticism by signing an agreement to donate the after-tax profits from these stock options to charities of his choice, and his lawyer has said he will not take any tax deduction for the donations. However, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) concluded in September 2003 that holding stock options while in elective office does constitute a ‘financial interest’ regardless of whether the holder of the options will donate proceeds to charities.”
My oh my, it seems to me, what a rich Cheney-corruption field there is to plow. And that’s just Cheney. There’s the former Agriculture Secretary who had to step down under a cloud and the fellow at Bush’s “Justice” Dept. who violated the rules and maybe the law by choosing new DOJ lawyers based on party affiliation. Political risks, to be sure, as there would be in any such attempts. But following this line of attack, it would be much easier for DOJ prosecutors to begin by investigating possible just garden-variety criminality to ask for “The facts, just the facts, Ma’am, and sir.” And hey, if he’s got nothing to hide, well then, he’s got nothing to hide. In the meantime, oh-so-many facts about policy would be brought out too, as “totally incidental to the investigation of possible criminality,” of course. And then, that might lead to those no-bid contracts for the BushCheney buddies at Blackwater, and then that might lead to privately operated torture centers, and then, oh my, who knows where else. In the meantime, as noted above, Congress is going to work on its own. Maybe even Sen. Leahy will wake up one of these days and smell the skunks.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. He has also published numerous articles and reviews in both the academic and the lay literature on health policy, health and wellness, and athletics. On politics Dr. Jonas is a www.TPJmagazine.us Contributing Author; a regular Columnist for the webmagazine Buzz Flash; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC; a regular contributor to Thomas Paine’s Corner http://thomaspainescorner.wordpress.com/; and a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/.