On Monday 2nd July 2007, the decider in chief of America over-ruled the decision of a U.S. court in June this year to jail Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, for two and a half years. Libby was convicted in March this year of lying to investigators probing the 2003 leak of CIA official Valerie Plame’s identity.
Plame’s identity was leaked to the press by the office of the Vice President in retaliation for Plame’s efforts to expose the U.S. government as having lied about its reasons for the invasion of Iraq and the murder, to date, of approximately 1 million Iraqi citizens. Dick Cheney, the instigator of the leak, was not charged because he, unlike Libby, had more ‘pull’ to avoid jail time for his part in the conspiracy. Libby was the fall guy, but as today’s news makes clear, he was always going to have a soft landing.
In his statement, Bush justified the move by stating: “with incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react” to the appeals court’s refusal to let Libby remain free.
H. Christopher Bartolomucci, a lawyer at Hogan & Hartson in Washington who worked on pardons in the White House from 2001 to 2003 agreed:
“This is a president who is not cowed by public opinion. This was a case involving a member of his administration, […] so the normal rules go out the window.”
Is that clear enough?
When an American president feels confident that he can brazenly and without fear of retribution “pardon” a former member of his administration for committing treason against the State in a case the implicates the entire government in what amounts to crimes against humanity, there really is only one word to describe such a situation: dictatorship.
Just don’t expect the mainstream media to use such an “inflammatory” word in tomorrow’s “fair and balanced” news coverage.