“They are criminal offenses, they are high crimes, they are indictable offenses, and they are impeachable offenses.”
This is how former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark described President George W. Bush’s foreign policy at an Oct. 26 anti-war rally in Washington, D.C.
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Now comes the encore.
Americans who insist the Bush administration has not made an adequate case for an attack on Iraq are gearing up for more intense and dramatic protests. Joint planning among anti-war groups and well-known figures is quickly coalescing and reaching critical mass.
In an interview this week with WorldNetDaily, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter echoed Clark.
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“I would be in favor of the impeachment of President Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors,” Ritter told WND. “Murder is a high crime and misdemeanor, and I can’t think of any better definition than murder when he talks about American service members and putting them in a war which is not only illegal but is based on a foundation of lies.”
This weekend will see a massive street mobilization of protesters in both Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. The march, organized by Clark’s International A.N.S.W.E.R group, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, carries the taglines “No War Against Iraq” and “Eliminate U.S. Weapons of Mass Destruction.”
There will be a rally at 11 a.m. on the west side of the Capitol building and a march on the Washington, D.C ., Navy yard. In conjunction with the national march on Washington, D.C., tomorrow, there will be a Youth and Student Rally & March, gathering at 11:00 a.m. at the Department of “In-Justice” to protest “attacks against the Arab and Muslim communities.”
Meanwhile, today in Gaza, a senior member of the militant Islamic movement Hamas said that Muslims and Arabs will attack American targets everywhere if the United States goes to war against Iraq.
The “youth rally” will be followed by a “March to the Presidential Palace,” the White House, for a “Youth & Student Weapons Inspection. ”
On Monday, Black Voices for Peace will be organizing what leaders only term “an important activity in Washington, D.C.”
The organizers of the rally encourage people to bring banners and puppets, to dress as weapons inspectors, “to find as many creative methods to dramatize our demands in opposition to a war of aggression and in support of a reorganization of society’s priorities that would put people’s needs ahead of the Pentagon and the war profiteers in corporate America.”
Protesters in San Francisco will assemble at 11 a.m. at the foot of Market Street at Embarcadero. They will rally, then march to Civic Center Plaza at Grove and Larkin, adjacent to City Hall, for a closing rally with speakers, entertainment and cultural performances.
Disarming the U.S.
According to the group organizing the protests, the International A.N.S.W.E.R. group, the real threat is America: “The world is being menaced by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a government that is openly threatening and planning to use nuclear weapons in pre-emptive wars of aggression against others, including non-nuclear countries.”
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The group adds, ” the real threat of nuclear war and the use of weapons of mass destruction arises within the U.S. administration.”
The protesters say they plan to demand instead that “these hundreds of billions of dollars be spent on jobs, education, housing, health care and to meet human needs.”
A “people’s inspection team” will call for unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems.
A.N.S.W.E.R. says it believes that all weapons of mass destruction should be banished from the planet, but adds that the U.S. should be the first to do so: “This is impossible until the biggest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction – the one at the disposal of trigger-happy George W. Bush and Co. – is eliminated. Any other call for disarmament will not be viewed as legitimate by the rest of the world.”
‘High crimes and misdemeanors’?
The rallies come on the heels of the release of a book by two anti-war leaders who accuse President Bush of planning “high crimes and misdemeanors” in his strategic theory of a pre-emptive military strike against Iraq.
“Empire at home: George W. Bush and John Ashcroft v. the Bill of Rights” was written by civil rights attorneys Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carlo Messineo of the Partnership for Civil Justice.
Verheyden-Hilliard was the emcee at the October Washington, D.C., rally.
Verheyden-Hillard told WorldNetDaily the book “breaks out the Patriot Act in simple matter-of-fact language” adding that “most of Congress didn’t even read [the Patriot Act].”
“I sought to demystify it in a book,” Verheyden-Hillard said. “It’s a legal analysis, written for the people of the U.S., so they can arm themselves with education and understanding so they can challenge the government.”
In the book, Verheyden-Hillard and Messineo seek to challenge what they call “the government’s sweeping new legal authorities, including the Patriot Act and the war against civil rights and civil liberties being conducted by the Bush administration.”
The authors argue that “the war on civil rights at home is the domestic component of the Bush administration’s larger program of conquest and empire.”
Verheyden-Hilliard told WND that there is a “formidable and potent anti-war movement” and that “there is enormous recognition by people in U.S. that there are two agendas at work in the White House: empire, and the global war drive that is pushing forward.”
She argues that these are not tied to 9-11, but part of a pre-existing agenda of Bush administration
‘The Bush Bastille’
Verheyden-Hilliard also contends that “one thing that holds back the opposition of people in the U.S. is this institution of repressive government authority versus people in the U.S.,” citing a post-9-11 “immediate demonization of Arab-Americans.”
“So many were swept up off street, with no lawyers – no right to trial and no ability for others to ask questions,” she said referring to this “right to jail” as the “Bush Bastille”
Verheyden-Hilliard also is a lawyer for the International Action Center, or IAC, the parent group of A.N.S.W.E.R.
Given the IAC’s links to dictatorial regimes worldwide, WorldNetDaily asked Veryheyden-Hilliard if this wasn’t a case of significant hypocrisy.
“I’m not a member of the IAC,” she answered, “but of an IAC-led coalition.”
She termed critical news coverage “heavy red-baiting” and added “they’re not supporters of dictators.”
She added that many were raising questions about impeachment of President Bush, adding that “many more are seriously evaluating it and discussing what mechanisms are appropriate to it.”
The author emphasizes that “all power is in the hands of the people to place restriction on government authority” and that “the people have the right to order and challenge and end government wrongdoing.”
Verheyden-Hillard says those protesting the war should take action on multiple fronts, “fighting, agitating, and causing progress – it’s not about waiting for government,”
“We need to fight by being in the streets,” she said, “by educating our neighbors, and taking appropriate legal action. We can’t sit back and wait for government to do the right thing.”
Verheyden-Hilliard adds that she is “not reliant on the Democratic Party to carry forward a people’s movement in the U.S. … Tom Daschle was out supporting Bush and the war drive.”
WorldNetDaily also asked the author about Al Gore’s prior use of anti-war lingo such as “empire” and “global domination” and whether this meant he was attempting to align himself, prior to backing out of the presidential race, with the anti-Bush momentum of the anti-war movement.
“Oh, a principled stand on war from Al Gore? It seems quite unlikely. He’s not aligning himself with the anti-war movement,” she said.
Scott Ritter: Nazis in the White House?
“When you go to war you open up a Pandora’s box, the results of which cannot be predicted,” maintains former weapons inspector Scott Ritter. “Therefore, there better be a darned good reason to go to war. It’s got to be worth the sacrifice that you’re asking others to make.”
WorldNetDaily recently interviewed Ritter via telephone as he drove from his Albany, N.Y., home to appear on Fox News. Throughout the interview, he contended that media have consistently missed his primary concern regarding the proposed military strike against Iraq.
Ritter said the issue is the abrogation of the rule of law, which he views as setting the U.S. up for a particularly nasty potential scenario – U.S. troops cornered in Iraq, subject to chemical attack, which then prompts the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.
“The Bush administration has put forward a nuclear policy planning document which clearly states a scenario in which nuclear weapons can be used pre-emptively and that scenario is tens of thousands of troops in a hostile land, threatened by the potential of chemical and biological weapons,” he said. “And clearly, Iraq could evolve into such a situation.
“What’s wrong with diplomacy, what’s wrong with inspectors, what’s wrong with the rule of law?” he asked.
WorldNetDaily asked Ritter whether he agreed with Mara Verheyden-Hilliard’s thesis regarding Bush’s foreign policy constituting a violation of the United Nations and Nuremberg charters.
Ritter reiterated that the U.S. is a signatory to the U.N. Charter, which “stipulates that war is rejected as a means to resolve disputes and conflicts,” although he allowed that there are exceptions, as “when the collective, the U.N. Security Council, finds a situation exists that threatens international peace. Then under chapter seven of the charter, it can be resolved by use of force.”
Still, Ritter does not find the current situation in Iraq to meet this criteria, and therefore views the idea of a pre-emptive strike as unconstitutional and a violation of American law.
“It has no grounds in legality,” he said.
“This is a constitutional issue,” he continued. “I think there can be no doubt his policy is a violation of the Constitution, except that constitutional lawyers will say that judicial system will not get involved in matters of national security … There are interpretation issues – what are the limits of executive authority? … I think that it’s not so much the legality of his actions. I view it as being unconstitutional … I’m sure many will say the president has these authorities regarding national security.”
Ritter also said that impeachment and indictment were legitimate issues.
“What I would find to be grounds of impeachment is the president lying to the American people,” he said. “I believe the president has lied to the American people. I believe the vice president has lied to the American people.
“And if we go to war where American service members are killed, I think the president should be held accountable for this judicially,” Ritter stated.
“I would be in favor of the impeachment of President Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Ritter. “Murder is a high crime and misdemeanor, and I can’t think of any better definition than murder when he talks about American service members and putting them in a war which is not only illegal but is based on a foundation of lies.”
WND also asked Ritter about comments he made in an interview with William Pitt, appearing in the book “War on Iraq: What Team Bush doesn’t want you to know.”
In that interview, Ritter said that “Donald Rumsfeld was politically dead. No one thought of Donald Rumsfeld as having any potential. Paul Wolfowitz was seen as a raving lunatic of the far right. Richard Perle is not called ‘The Prince of Darkness’ without cause.”
Ritter characterized the leaders as “sniping from the fringes,” and said “suddenly they’re running the show,” adding that for this reason, these are “extremely dangerous times.”
WND asked Ritter whether he viewed these people as having taken this turn since taking office, or always having been that way.
“Well, they were always this way,” he said. “Wolfowitz was always a very dangerous man. He is a walking affront to the Constitution of the U.S. He is a walking affront to international law. The same with Richard Perle . He was openly boastful how President Bush has no other choice but go to war because he’s committed too much political capital.”
Ritter concluded, “If Richard Perle thinks [that's] a reason to go to war then he might as well remove the American flag from outside his building and put on a swastika and call himself what he is, which is a Nazi. This is the rule of law, not about going to war for political convenience of any single individual.”
WorldNetDaily then asked Ritter why, if these political figures were always this way, he voted them into power by voting for President Bush. The former U.N. inspector argued that he didn’t vote for them, just for Bush, adding that Gore was a “known commodity – a liar,” and that he had actually initially supported Sen. John McCain.
Prior to the presidential election, media already were commenting on one of Bush’s top foreign policy advisers, Wolfowitz, noting he “advocates pulling out all stops to get rid of Saddam Hussein.” Also publicly known were his other top advisers at that time, Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Brent Scowcroft, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Cheney.
‘Freepers’ enter the fray
Kristinn Taylor, co-leader of the D.C. chapter of the grass-roots, web-based group Free Republic, commenting on Ritter’s remarks, said “President Bush is engaging in diplomacy right now, and he is operating under the rule of law and is under the authority of Congress and the United Nations. Going to war with Iraq is not written in stone.”
Taylor contends that “before President Bush started leading, nothing was getting done. You have to push against a recalcitrant regime like Saddam Hussein’s, just as Reagan did with the Soviet Union before.”
Referring to Ritter’s comments about “murder” of military members, Taylor told WND, “That’s a disgusting way to look at the value of the military. President Bush is not that kind of man.”
He added, “Who knows what else we’re going to find? The administration is operating in the framework of the rule of law and international law.”
Taylor has helped to organize a counter-demonstration to be held in D.C. organized by the D.C. Chapter of Free Republic (FReepers) and MOVE-OUT – Marines and Other Veterans Engaging Outrageous Un-American Traitors.
“The Patriots Rally” will be held at Constitution Gardens on the Mall near 21st Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., today from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
Afterward, they will move to the Marine barracks at 8th and I Streets, S.E., to stand on the sidewalk along the march route of the anti-war demonstrators and “exercise our right to offer our opinion of their public parade as it goes by us.”
Former U.S. Rep. Bob Dornan, who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s will be among those who address the crowd. Taylor said the purpose of the counter-demonstration was to “show support for our men and women in uniform who are fighting the war on terror and preparing to defend America from outlaw regimes such as Iraq and North Korea.”
Iraqi-Americans team up with vets
The FReepers and MOVE-OUT also will host Aziz Al-Taee of the Iraqi-American Council as speaker.
“Theirs is a voice that isn’t heard in the media,” Taylor complains.
Aziz recently appeared on Greta van Susteren’s Fox News show, Taylor said, and now he is starting to get a “few appearances.” He adds that Aziz and his group publicly demean Osama bin Laden in very strong terms, something that isn’t seen or heard – a very rare thing in the Islamic world.”
He added that the two groups agree on a very fundamental issue: a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Taylor thoroughly denounced anti-Semitism, saying “We’re not racist, and we don’t like people who are.”
The FReeper leader was referring to last April’s “pro-Palestinian” march in D.C., organized also by A.N.S.W.E.R. He called it a “horrific rally,” saying “I saw more swastikas there than in the films of the old Nuremberg rallies.”
Taylor has now reported that, unlike the October rally, “C-SPAN has informed me that they will not be covering ‘The Patriots Rally for America,’ but they will be broadcasting live tomorrow the ‘anti-war’ rally in D.C. put on by the communist front group IAC-ANSWER.”
Regarding the veterans who will be protesting with Taylor, he explained “there were Vietnam vets who were really upset when at the October rally, next to the memorial wall, a spokesman said ‘The men whose names are on that wall – if they were here today, they would say no to the war on Iraq.’”
“The vets are coming to say they got it all wrong,” he said. “They’re proud to have served their country trying to prevent South Vietnam from becoming enslaved by communists, and as far as they’re concerned, they left South Vietnam free, but were let down by politicians.”
One Vietnam vet, who wanted to go only by the name Sam, told WND, “They have every right under our Constitution to peacefully protest. It’s one of the rights we fought for. However, they also need to realize that the men and women who protect their right to protest are not the enemy.”
“They can protest against the government policies they disagree with, but I wonder how many are ‘anti-war’ and not really ‘anti-anything American.’ I also believe, with all my heart that, in this case, they’re dead wrong. This one is necessary.”
Taylor is especially disdainful of the controversial roots and connections of some anti-war leaders who, he says, cultivate close ties to repressive communist regimes like Cuba, Iraq, China and Cuba.
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, wrote that these “Marxists, who have now made common cause with Islamic and Palestinian groups and causes, are still dedicated to the destruction of our democracy and free enterprise system. They are skillful at manipulating front groups and the media to conceal their true aims. They brought between 70,000 and 100,000 people to Washington, D.C. on April 20, many of them Arabs and Muslims, making it the largest pro-Palestinian demonstration in the U.S. ever.”
Investigative reporter Kevin Coogan, author of a study on the postwar right, “Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International,” told WorldNetDaily: “My only wish would be to make the point that the WWP [World Workers Party, parent group of the IAC and A.N.S.W.E.R.], like the Revolutionary Communist Party, isn’t horrible simply because it is leftist or Marxist per se; it is horrible that both groups’ raison d’?tre has been on cheerleading the worst Stalinist and human rights abusing governments in the world, from Pol Pot to Saddam, as long as they are feuding with America.”
These groups, said Coogan, operate “under the pretext of being peaceful humanitarians concerned with human rights, poverty, and the suffering of innocent people. This is the real reason why the influence of both groups today is such a scandal.”
Coogan’s expose on the front groups driving and controlling the current anti-war movement has resulted in a “reverse-McCarthyism,” knee-jerk reaction, he said noting that his reporting is usually labeled “red-baiting” and “an exercise in McCarthyism.”
“However, to me it just meant that I had hit a nerve, as none of the attacks raised any factual errors in my piece,” he said.
Ironically, those making such accusations, seem ignorant of the fact that the investigative work exposing such groups was in many cases pioneered by leftist and communist journalists working for underground newspapers.
Coogan cited the work done by Christopher Hitchens and two other reporters for the left-leaning Nation as other examples of pioneering work.
Meanwhile, some anti-war protesters are wondering whether leadership will “stay on message” this weekend.
Regarding the October A.N.S.W.E.R.-led rally in San Francisco, Anti-war.com’s Justin Raimondo, a self-described ‘warp-speed Libertarian,’ criticized leadership’s lack of focus: “The Usual Suspects … all mouthing the same tired old phrases and subjecting their captive audience to every pathetic leftie cause under the sun: free Mumia Abu Jamal (won’t somebody free us from him?), ‘money for jobs, not for war’ (hey, bud, you get a job, and then you get the money!), ‘transgender rights’ (say what?), the whole kit-n’-kaboodle. Yikes! Indeed, at the end of it, I was convinced that I had wandered into the wrong demonstration, because we didn’t hear much about the war, or why we ought to be against it, or what any of the arguments for non-intervention in the affairs of other nations might be.”