Monday, July 02, 2007

Excessive? Compared to What?

What a surprise, Bush has commuted "Scooter's" sentence.

"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

Perhaps we should buy the man a dictionary, respect and excessive, seem to require further definition.

A spokeswoman for Cheney said simply, "The vice president supports the president's decision."

I think we can replace the word, "supports" to forced, don't you?

It is quite remarkable what this man, Bush, has gotten away with. This being minor in the scheme of things. I'm sure historians will be scratching their heads wondering how it all happened.

The answer of course is, because America allowed it, politicians and citizens alike.


Anonymous said...

I think this was arranged long before Libby's trial - I think it was a set up to protect Bush and Cheney.

knb said...

You're not wrong, as the saying goes.

Cheney would be the key here though, imo.

Scotian said...


I would not assume this is over, by preventing Libby from doing time he took away the main incentive for Libby to provide evidence to Fitzgerald to reduce his serving time. This since this is a case dealing with the Offices of both the President and Vice-President and the persons of both the officeholders that this action could be seen as a further obstruction of justice into the Plame investigation, which Fitzgerald left it inactive, not closed. What I am wondering is whether Fitzgerald will follow up on this; it will be interesting to see that.

This was clearly to keep Scooter from talking under the duress of being in jail, made obvious by both Bush's statement on this (check out FireDogLake's coverage today on that) and the fact this was a few hours after Libby lost the last appeal he could file to stay out on bail while appealing prior to when he had to report, as I noted at RT's blog. This was pure obstruction and protecting their own legal asses, and the travesty this makes of the concept of the rule of law and that all are treated equally under it in America makes the way it looked when Paris Hilton was getting out of jail unfairly because of her celebrity appear minor by comparison.

I really hope this ends up triggering a similar public anger as the Saturday Night Massacre did in the Nixon years, although given the way the American MSM is clearly unwilling to deal with this issue accurately (and never has been, likely because at least in part because Fitz went after journalists, although the reason he did was because people like Libby and Rove claimed they learned of Plame's CIA affiliation via those reporters, so they should be blaming Libby and Rove and not Fitz for it but of course that is not the way they operate in the Bush years) I am not all that hopeful. We shall see. As for myself, I am enraged about this because this is an issue that touches on a lot of core beliefs and also on my familial background to the intelligence community which was so treacherously betrayed by their own leaders in this fiasco.

knb said...

Scotian:What I am wondering is whether Fitzgerald will follow up on this; it will be interesting to see that.

Indeed it will.

I really hope this ends up triggering a similar public anger as the Saturday Night Massacre did in the Nixon years, although given the way the American MSM is clearly unwilling to deal with this issue accurately

Well that's the thing, the snag, isn't it? It absolutely boggles my mind to see what is passed off as news in the US. Here too I guess, but there is no in depth reporting anymore. I share your wish, but have little hope for it.

Will we see this trigger again? I'm doubtful frankly. I just dont think issues are covered that way anymore.

What's your opinion of Sy Hersh? He seems to be on a mission and I want to believe it's about truth. I'd prefer for his ego to stand back a bit.

and also on my familial background to the intelligence community which was so treacherously betrayed by their own leaders in this fiasco.

If you care to share more of that, in a way that doesn't hurt you or anyone in your family, I think that would be incisive.

I just picked up Gwynne Dyer's "The Mess They Made". Have you read it?

Scotian said...


All I have ever been willing to state is that it was a blood family relation that raised me and that they were active between the early thirties to mid 60s, held the highest clearances going (e.g. in WWII always knew when the convoys left Halifax prior to departure which was one of the most classified military secrets going, also got to get a look at Churchill on his way through to a secret meeting in Ottawa with King because of knowing about it via work and having the clearances to be there when he came through on that person's own clearances and need to know), and spoke more freely with me than any other family member ever about this part of their life. I have always been careful to limit it to that much and no more (including keeping gender secret as you no doubt noticed), out of respect for that relative's wishes about this if/when I ever discussed any of it.

I also do so because if I make it easy to identify the person then my own identity will be traced out, and given the actions of the more extreme members of those I oppose I prefer to not do that. I know I am not anonymous to those with the tech skills to trace me out, I understand how the 'net works more than sufficiently to know this AND why this is so, but most of the ones I worry about are not those folks. I also do this because my wife has had a fairly traumatic life with multiple rapes in her life from various attackers (three of which prior to our meeting, the fourth during our early years by an uncle) so I do not want her being splashed with anger and actions of hatred intended for me, or worse her used to cause me grief because of how deeply I love her. This is why I tend to be non-specific about details that would make it fairly easy to identify me if one really wanted to through applying deductive reasoning from personal info stated online. Combine that with the promise I gave to my relative regarding discussing their career in the intelligence world and I am afraid that what I have written here is about all I will ever give regarding this person and their remarkable history and life's story.

Sorry to have to disappoint you in this regard, but I take it you understand why I do so. I don't mention it often because I dislike citing authorities I cannot authenticate for others as a basis for why I should be believed about something. I generally mention it regarding Plame to explain why this was so personally offensive to me as to enrage me on the same order as things like the Grewal fraud and the recent Afghanistan detainees fiasco from Harper have done despite it being an American issue primarily. I say primarily because this had direct ripples into international intelligence operations including our own (especially so given how closely we tend to work with Americans on nuclear proliferation concerns) as well as more broadly in making it harder for all western nations to gain intelligence.

The Plame treachery was one of two things: An attempt to discredit a public critic (Joe Wilson), or to cripple/shut down the main CIA nuclear counter proliferations unit actively working the Iraq-Iran to prevent them from opposing Cheney's nuclear scare card for Iran and/or covering up just how wrong he was on Iraq although that was already becoming apparent or perhaps for fear they would unravel the origins of the forged Niger uranium docs that have long been suspected of ultimately tying back to the neocon crowd around Cheney. If this was to destroy her, having her husband come out as a public critic gives the perfect cover if the leaks are traced back, it looks like a political hit job which given the vindictive nature of this Administration would not be a stretch alas. I honestly do not know which one is the likely truth, I can see it being simply the vindictiveness and I can see it being used as a cover to destroy the lead CIA active counter proliferations operations network that would be most in the way of any further use of nuclear threat claims as with Iran.

It is a very disturbing consideration to have to keep in mind, and not one I tend to mention very often. I thought though you should be aware of it if you were not before, because it is also for that aspect as to why I have paid such serious attention to this matter all along. As I said I have a thanks to my familial connection a personal interest in the intelligence world, the rules it works under and the way Plame was outed was something so profoundly out of bounds, so outrageous, so unthinkable that it truly is the blackest of betrayals and true treachery to one's nation, especially by a senior government official let alone the top assistants to the President and VP and almost certainly the VP if not the President himself.

I have spent many hours reading court documents involved in this matter as well as reading the best analyses I can find online from sources I have good reason to consider are competent and credible in the necessary respects. I know that this was a deliberate and systemic outing by the VP and Libby at the very minimum and Rove barely behind with Bush (given he was also in the White House Iraq Group makes me think this is likely) joined at his hip, as GWB's one great professional career success was as an understudy of Lee Atwater. I know she was covert because of everything from the investigation being demanded and launched by Ashcroft’s DoJ, the rulings and opinion of Tatel when requiring Judy Miller to testify, The CIA itself formally confirming this as well as Fitzgerald doing so in legal filings, and we even know she was working actively as a NOC outside the USA in 2002 in the ME/Iraq area from these sources.

So she was covered by the IIPA, the person Fitz is looking for is the original leaker of this info that got it legally and then started spreading it around for this purpose, which Fitz clearly has come to conclude is Cheney given his comments about him to date in all of this. The problem is you do not indict on a charge as difficult to prosecute as the IIPA requires with the standard of needing to prove that it was known that this was someone under active cover as well as proving they spoke to unauthorized people about it lightly, especially not when you are targeting this level of the government including the possibility of Presidential and/or VP direct involvement. Fitz's record tells me that this man is meticulous and patient and relentless against those he truly believes have betrayed their public oaths. I suspect this action today will have repercussions with him, but I cannot be sure of that because I do not know all the cards he still has given the sealed/redacted nature of some of his filings to this day. So I have zero patience with anyone that tries to excuse what Libby did as either no big deal, not a crime at all, and especially as some sort of partisan witch-hunt since to do that one must have the power to do so and this was all by GOPers with Fitz being a longtime independent and no Dem involvement because of that GOP lock on federal power throughout the critical elements of this affair.

Anyways, sorry about the run on nature of this comment, I am still feeling the feelings of disgust and outrage at what Bush did today work their way through my system, and it came out in this comment. Thanks for letting me work some of it out here on this matter.

Oh yes, I have always found Sy Hersh quite excellent and always worth the time to read/listen to. As for his ego, in some ways I think that is a necesary defence to keep doing what he does, especially in the last half dozen years given the ugly foulness underlying most of the issues he has investigated. I can appreciate though why you would say what you did though, it can be something that can damage the quality of the work and work to discredit the person's work by a determined foe.

knb said...

Absolutely fascinating Scotian. Thank you for all the insight.

While the reaction we see this morning, from both sides, is not unexpected, it was frustrating to watch Bill Kristol, grinning and stating what a great move this was by Bush. He went so far as to say, that anyone who thought otherwise was "ridiculous".

It's frightening to contemplate just how much we don't know, isn't it?

Scotian said...


You are quite welcome, I would tell you more about my relative in another forum (as in in person, over the phone, I simply know too much about how permanent data can become online once put there and it is the online political loons that I consider my primary threat and not folks like you and say RT) as I am most proud and humbled to have known this individual let alone having the incredible honour and privilege to become the de facto child they never had as their career mattered more to them than marriage and children, although family mattered as was a member of a family with nine siblings. Thanks to that person I was trained in critical thinking and observation and to pay at least as much attention to that which is not said/known as to that which is from my earliest childhood, and I could not have asked for a more important and powerful gift/blessing to receive to be able to understand the world around me. This is why I can almost always tell when someone is trying to play me for stupid or pull a snow job even in things I do not have extensive knowledge in, there are identical underlying patterns to such actions that can be detected/observed and by looking for them one has a reasonable indicator to start from (although cross verification wherever possible is something I practice, as I am always uncomfortable with single sourcing anything) which can and does make all the difference I find.

As to any insights I may have added to your understanding of the Plame treachery you are more than welcome to it. One of the reasons I tend to write detailed commentaries on this topic wherever I am is because I do know the details, do understand what this was all about and how it was done (as much as anyone can without being one of the active players, just because Fitzgerald does not feel he has enough to convict those like Cheney does not mean he has none at all and he revealed enough to make that point during the Libby trial) and understand just how serious, how grotesque, how fundamentally serious this act of treachery is and how it cannot be allowed to be brushed aside or worse forgotten about. When they outed her and destroyed her network, the cover business she and other CIA operatives were using and massively impaired her unit's ability to monitor and engage in active nuclear counter proliferations actions they placed all of us in the west at risk of a loose nuke being used against us, and I do not thank them for it. This is an issue that for me has never been remotely politically partisan, if a Dem President had done this, if Clinton had done this (and I liked him and considered him a very good US President for the transition years post Cold War for the international elements of American policy) I would be no less irate and determined to seek justice for the outed spy.

I think part of the problem I have with movement conservatives in NA is that they cannot comprehend motivations in the political arena that are not rooted first in partisanship. For me there are aspects of governance that must transcend partisanship for good effective and responsible government to exist, and it is one of the main reasons why the movement conservatives scare me so much that I speak of them and their standard bearers like Bushco and Harper and his Calgary School in such stern, harsh, and what some consider over the top a manner. Before I belong to any political party or philosophy I am a Canadian who believes in the Canadian model of democratic responsible government (warts and all, like every other democratic government on the planet) who first believes in the common rules and protocols of respect and consideration that equally bind all Canadians together regardless of political or ethnic or any other considerations.

This is what these folks threaten from all I have seen and it is why I cannot simply ignore what they are doing and why I must be as vocal and as hard-line in my opposition to them. It is not because they are CPCers first or not Liberals/NDPers first, it has always transcended partisan political consideration of that nature because I see a threat to the core of how we govern ourselves. Just because people may be well intentioned does not make them at all less dangerous to anyone, this is a common fallacy I find many fall into, that if it is "for the common good"/"best intentions" that somehow it is not going to be all that dangerous or have major negative repercussions.

That our current CPC leadership is so clearly inspired by the same people that created the modern GOP and Bush/Cheney and the tools they used to get that power is bad enough, that they are as blatant about it is truly disturbing in what it says about their arrogance/hubris. Not to mention what it says about how much they fail to understand what that road ultimately brings to those that use it (after of course the earth has been scorched and salted prior to getting to that point with massive collateral damage to innocent bystanders) as it did for the GOP in the last midterms, and for what Bush did in this matter and in so many others where he defies the laws of the nation by claiming to be above them as CinC, and for what will likely be an even louder repudiation of the GOP in the 2008 general election both Congressional and Presidential no matter who the candidates are. Yet our new Canadian Conservatives want to emulate this and make us more like that?!? Not while this Canadian patriot/nationalist still draws breath (however long that may be)!

Anyhow, I always enjoy talking with you KNB, you are one of my delights from the online community like Dana, RT, Steve V and many others of intellectual honesty and decent critical thinking capability and perhaps most importantly for having a sense of honour and principles.

knb said...

Scotian: I would tell you more about my relative in another forum (as in in person, over the phone,

I completely understand.

I think part of the problem I have with movement conservatives in NA is that they cannot comprehend motivations in the political arena that are not rooted first in partisanship.

That is the aspect that I find so frightening and frustrating to be honest. Whenever I react to comments made by the aforementioned group, I'm labelled as "partisan" and dismissed. The fact is, I am a Liberal, but I do not simply approach all issues through that lens, or at least not in a simplistic partisan manner. Sometimes I do, when discussing a lighter issue, but for the most part, I try to come from an angle that takes into account the larger impact, be that on the country, NA or the globe.

I no longer care if someone simply labels me partisan, as it only confirms how deeply mired they are in their own dogma and illustrates that they refuse to consider arguing the facts.

Yet our new Canadian Conservatives want to emulate this and make us more like that?!?

I confess that I find that rather mind boggling. Not that they want to emulate it, but that they cannot see it's failure. I haven't put my finger on why. I presume they do see it falling apart. Perhaps they believe that Canadians are where the Americans were when Bush came along. Perhaps they think they can still generate that wave and sweep Canadians up with it. To think that though presumes that Canadians are insular and do not pay attention to anything outside our borders, which is ridiculous of course.

Anyhow, I always enjoy talking with you KNB

Likewise my friend for precisely the same reasons you cited.