Thursday, November 22, 2007

National Lawyer's Guild impeachment resolution


Whereas George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney:

1. deliberately misled the nation and doctored intelligence, as
described in the Downing Street
minutes, about the threat
from Iraq in order to
justify a war of aggression and an occupation of Iraq, as further
described in House resolution H.

Res. 333
and as listed in House Resolution H. Res. 635

2. committed crimes against peace by initiating war against Iraq in
violation of the UN Charter;

3. committed crimes against humanity in their conduct of the
occupation of Iraq in which they
killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and created millions of
refugees,,1892888,00.html and

4. killed over 3700 American soldiers and severely wounded nearly
30,000 more in the pursuit of
an illegal, immoral, and unjust occupation of Iraq. While Bush and
Cheney have stated no
truthful noble cause for the war, one of the central purposes appears
to be to take control of
immense oil reserves to financially benefit private corporate
interests. See Bush's benchmark
listing fact sheet released the same day Bush announced the "surge"
that expressly called on the
Iraq parliament to "enact hydrocarbons law to promote investment . . . "
3.html and;

5. committed further crimes against peace by threatening Iran in
violation of the UN Charter, as
described in House resolution H. Res. 333
bin/query/z?c110:H.RES.333: and;

6. detained thousands of prisoners without charges and without
providing the ability to confront
their accusers at a fair trial


7. condoned the torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva
Conventions, the US anti-torture
statute of 1994, the US War Crimes Act of 1996, and the oath of
office and and
Bush's refusal to faithfully execute the laws prohibiting torture and
his declaration on February
2002 that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to prisoners in
Afghanistan and in Guantanamo
set the stage for torture there The Rumsfeld approved
Guantanamo torture techniques were then imported to Iraq in August
2003, where the
International Committee of the Red Cross found "systemic" mistreatment
of Iraqi prisoners in
several facilities and where the Schlesinger Report confirmed in
August 2004 that abuses were
"widespread" and "serious both in number and in effect," and that
there is both "institutional and

personal responsibility at higher levels;"

8. approved at least two different illegal electronic surveillance
programs of American citizens
without a warrant in violation of the fourth amendment and in
violation of the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and repeatedly lied to the
American people by stating that
no surveillance was taking place without a court order. The first
program includes intercepting
phone and email conversations without warrants and was exposed by the
NY Times on December
16, 2005
After that program
was exposed Bush said the program was carefully targeted to just
include international calls and
suspected members of Al Qaeda. Then, the second program was exposed by
USA Today on May
11, 2006. It provides a wholesale attack on the fourth amendment by
recording call identification
information of tens of millions of purely domestic calls as well as
international calls;

9. attacked basic human rights protections in the constitution
including habeas corpus, fifth
amendment freedom from loss of life, liberty and property without due
process of law, eighth
amendment freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and fourth
amendment freedom from
unreasonable search and seizure;

10. attacked the separation of powers in an effort to consolidate
power in the executive;

11. attacked the messenger who revealed that Bush "twisted"
intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraqi
threat." Just as Nixon retaliated against former Pentagon analyst
Daniel Ellsberg, according to papers
filed in court by special
prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in April 2006, there was "concerted
action" by "multiple people in
the White House" to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" former
Ambassador Joseph
Wilson for his July 6, 2003 NY Times op ed piece
dec0&ei=5007 that ripped the cover off of Bush's false assertions in
his 2003 state of the union
address that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa for building a
nuclear bomb. In
retaliation, and to silence other would-be critics, the White House
collected information about
Wilson and disclosed to reporters that his wife, Valerie Plame, was a
covert agent in the CIA
counterinsurgency division, putting her life, and the lives of her
contacts, at risk in violation
of a
US law protecting intelligence personnel (The Impeachment of George W.
Bush, by Elizabeth

12. as the sole person under the Federal Stafford Act with
responsibility and authority to issue
emergency orders to mobilize the military and any federal resources
needed to aid and assist in a
disaster (see Failure of Initiative, February 2006 report of the House
Select Bipartisan
Committee to investigate the Preparations for and the Response to
Hurricane Katrina, Bush failed to take care that the laws be
faithfully executed,
the public trust, and demonstrated reckless and inexcusable
indifference to human life before,
during and after Hurricane Katrina. Bush knew but did not act until
too late, and then he lied
about it on national TV. Footage and transcripts from briefings Aug.
25-31 demonstrate that
Bush was personally told well in advance of the "unprecedented
strength" of the hurricane, the
"devastating damage expected," and that "water shortages will make
human suffering
incredible," according to highly accurate predictions by the National
Weather Service. The
Associated Press reported that "in dramatic and sometimes agonizing
terms, federal disaster
officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before
Hurricane Katrina struck
that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans'
Superdome and overwhelm
rescuers, according to confidential video footage,"
bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/47/18079. Yet Bush failed to muster resources
to evacuate residents in
advance and failed to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane
Katrina hit. Then three days
later Bush told Good Morning America, "I don't think that anybody
anticipated a breach of the
dyn/content/article/2006/03/02/AR2006030202130.html In years before the storm
Bush demonstrated inexcusable criminal negligence and violated the
public trust by cutting the
budget for hurricane defense, though the high probability of the
breaching of the levees and the
enormous risk to human life from a major hurricane hitting New Orleans
were predicted and well
known for years before the hurricane hit;

13. failed to take care that the laws be faithfully executed by
issuing signing statements
that claim the authority to disobey laws based on the president's own
interpretation of their
constitutionality, and then by taking action in violation of these
laws, including the US law
making torture a crime, laws regarding Congressional oversight that
require providing
information to Congress, laws regarding domestic spying, laws
regarding civil liberties, and laws
strengthening whistle blower protection, thereby expanding the
president's own power by
stepping into the legislative and judicial functions at the expense of
Congress and the
courts, upsetting the balance among the three branches of government,
and moving us away from
the rule of law toward vastly increased executive
aws/ and;

14. converted the Justice Department into an arm of the Republican
Party by firing meritorious
federal prosecutors who refused to base decisions on whom to prosecute
on political
considerations--to help Republicans win election, an offense James
Madison discussed in a
speech to the Senate on June 17, 1789, in which Madison said, "The
danger then consists merely in
this, the president can displace from office a man whose merits
require that he should be
continued in it.
What will be the motives which the president can feel for such abuse
of his power, and the
restraints that
operate to prevent it? In the first place, he will be impeachable by
this house, before the
senate, for such
an act of mal-administration; for I contend that the wanton removal of
meritorious officers would
him to impeachment and removal from his own high

15. condoned criminal conduct and obstructed justice by commuting the
sentence of convicted
perjurer Scooter Libby to keep him silent and to demonstrate that Bush
and Cheney will not
allow high officials in the administration to be held accountable for
their criminal acts;

16. obstructed congressional investigations of these and other acts by
the administration by
defying subpoenas from Senate and House committees seeking documents
and testimony under
oath by administration officials and former administration officials; and

Whereas the constitution requires the president to take the following
oath of office: "I do
solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the
President of the United States,
will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the
Constitution of the United

Whereas the constitution provides that the president "shall take Care
that the Laws be faithfully
executed;" and

Whereas the constitution mandates that "the President, Vice President
and all civil Officers of
the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for,
and Conviction of,
Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors;" and

Whereas impeachment was so important to our founding fathers that it
is mentioned six times in
five different sections of the constitution; and

Whereas George Mason, a primary author of the Constitution, said that
impeachment was the
single most important part of the entire document. "Shall any man be
above Justice? Above all
shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?" July 20, 1787; and

Whereas "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" is a term of art that means a
serious abuse of power,
whether or not it is also a crime, that endangers our constitutional
system of government, or an
abuse of public trust. (See Constitutional Grounds for Presidential
Impeachment: Report of the
Judiciary Committee, 1974,
srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/watergatedoc_3.htm, articles by
Elizabeth Holzman who
served on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment
hearings of Richard Nixon in
1974; and, and the book, The
Impeachment of George W. Bush, by Elizabeth Holtzman)

Whereas each of the above listed acts meets or exceeds that standard; and

Whereas impeachment is the only constitutional method to protect
Americans from a president
intent on abusing power, violating the constitution, violating the
laws, and breaching public

Whereas Bush and Cheney threaten further crimes, including launching a
war of aggression
against Iran, and whereas sufficient time remains in their term of
office for them to commit those

crimes so allowing either or both of them to remain in office for that
remaining time will
facilitate these crimes, and whereas pretexts for attacking Iran have
been issued, as described by

a former CIA Middle East field officer and current Time Magazine columnist,8816,1654188,00.html; and

Whereas failing to hold Bush and Cheney accountable not only condones
their crimes but
facilitates a future president committing similar or greater crimes; and

Whereas members of Congress swear an oath to "support and defend the
constitution of the
United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," and no part
of this oath permits
exception for partisan advantage, the next election, political
expediency, whether it is
from other issues, or how much time they have left in office; and

Whereas failure by Congress to initiate the one
remedy--impeachment--provided by our
founding fathers to protect the constitution from such serious abuses
has put that constitution,
rule of law, civil liberties, our democratic form of government, the
separation of powers, the
lives of our men and women in uniform, and the lives of countless
civilians at severe risk; and

Whereas citizen pressure led the Vermont State Senate and 87 cities
and towns around the
nation to pass impeachment resolutions; and

Whereas a poll conducted by on
July 5, 2007 found that
54% of American adults want the US House of Representatives to begin impeachment
proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney while only 40% oppose,
and whereas the poll
also found that 45% are in favor of the same thing for President
George W. Bush while 46%
oppose; and

Whereas in view Congress' ongoing complicity with the war, the
torture, the lies, the warrantless
wiretapping, and the imprisonment without trial, and its failure to
protect rights and civil
liberties, it is up to the people themselves to defend the
constitution and our civil liberties by

building larger grassroots movements, including a movement for impeachment;

Therefore be it resolved that the National Lawyers Guild calls upon
the U.S. House of
Representatives to immediately initiate impeachment proceedings, to
investigate the charges, and
if the investigation supports the charges, to vote to impeach George
W. Bush and Richard B.
Cheney as provided in the Constitution of the United States of America; and

Be it further resolved that the National Lawyers Guild will establish
an NLG Impeachment
Committee open to all members to coordinate action by the NLG in
support of impeachment, to
work with national and grassroots impeachment organizations, and to
provide legal assistance for
those efforts to strengthen the national campaign for impeachment; and

Be it further resolved that the NLG Impeachment Committee will help
organize and coordinate
events at the local, state, and national level to build public
participation in the campaign to
initiate impeachment investigation, impeachment, and removal of Bush
and Cheney from office
without further delay; and

Be it further resolved that the National Lawyers Guild calls on NLG
members to ask their
respective member of Congress to support H. Res. 333 to impeach Cheney
and to introduce or
support other impeachment resolutions; and

Be it further resolved that the National Lawyers Guild calls on all
other state and national bar
associations, state and local government bodies, community
organizations, labor unions, and all
other citizen associations to adopt similar resolutions and to use all
their resources to build
campaign demanding that Congress initiate impeachment investigation,
impeach, and remove
Bush and Cheney from office without further delay; and

Be it further resolved that the National Lawyers Guild will forward a
copy of this resolution to
the Speaker and the Clerk of the US House of Representatives, to
Representative John Conyers,
Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to the various state and
federal bar associations, to
other peace and justice organizations, and to the news media.

Implementation: By the NLG Impeachment Committee established by this
resolution, by
interested local chapters, and by national officers.

Submitted by: James Marc Leas,

The resolution cosponsors are:
Audrey Bomse, Marjorie Cohn, Laura Safer Espinoza, John Wheat Gibson ,
Eileen Hansen,
Larry Hildes, Jim Klimaski, Jordan Kushner, Jim Lafferty, James Marc
Leas, Kerry McLean,
Bill Monning, Dorinda Moreno, Michael Ratner, Susan Scott, Jennifer
Van Bergen, Aaron
Varhola, Karen Weill