Countdown discusses Seymour Hersh’s claim of a Cheney “assassination ring”

On Wednesday March 11, 2009, Eric Black reported on MinnPost.Com a stunning statement by investigative journalist/author Seymour Hersh (of The New Yorker):

At a “Great Conversations” event (MP3) at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”
Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn’t written about yet.

The evening of great conversation, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by [U of M Political Scientist Larry] Jacobs and titled “America’s Constitutional Crisis,” looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government official who had experience with many of the crises.

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John Dean: Bush terror memos close to ‘unconstitutional dictator’

Raw Video:

Lawyers told President Bush that he could detain anyone in the country without a warrant or order a military raid on them if they were terrorists. Author John Dean talked to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann about how it was determined who was a terrorist.

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Glenn Greenwald, himself a Constitutional lawyer, writes extensively on these newly-released ‘torture memos’ today.

One of the central facts that we, collectively, have not yet come to terms with is how extremist and radical were the people running the country for the last eight years.  That condition, by itself, made it virtually inevitable that the resulting damage would be severe and fundamental, even irreversible in some sense.  It’s just not possible to have a rotting, bloated, deeply corrupt and completely insular political ruling class — operating behind impenetrable walls of secrecy — and avoid the devastation that is now becoming so manifest.  It’s just a matter of basic cause and effect.

Greenwald goes on later to say this:

The most vital point is that all of the documents released yesterday by the Obama DOJ comprise nothing less than a regime of secret laws under which we were governed.  Nothing was redacted when those documents yesterday were released because they don’t contain any national security secrets.  They’re nothing more than legal decrees, written by lawyers.  They’re just laws that were implemented with no acts of Congress, unilaterally by the Executive branch.  Yet even the very laws that governed us were kept secret for eight years.

This is factually true, with no hyperbole:  Over the last eight years, we had a system in place where we pretended that our “laws” were the things enacted out in the open by our Congress and that were set forth by the Constitution.  The reality, though, was that our Government secretly vested itself with the power to ignore those public laws, to declare them invalid, and instead, create a whole regimen of secret laws that vested tyrannical, monarchical power in the President.  Nobody knew what those secret laws were because even Congress, despite a few lame and meek requests, was denied access to them.  What kind of country lives under secret laws?

Don’t miss it.

UPDATE: Another good article on this is Extraordinary Measures by Michael Isikoff found at Truthout.

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John Dean: ‘Serious consequences’ for not prosecuting torture

Raw Story

Former White House counsel John Dean talks about the trouble the Bush administration could face as the momentum grows to investigate possible war crimes committed during the past eight years.

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Palin Falls Short of VP Standards

Truthout

by John Dean

In truth, the vice president of the United States is important for only one reason: He or she will become president of the United States upon the death, incapacity or resignation of the president. Nine times in our history, vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency: John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), Chester A. Arthur (1881), Theodore Roosevelt (1901), Calvin Coolidge (1923), Harry Truman (1945), Lyndon Johnson (1963) and Gerald Ford (1974). Of course, the vice president also has a significant secondary role: It is he or she, acting with a majority of the Cabinet, who can declare the president incapable of carrying out the duties of the office, and then take charge—until the action is either ratified or rejected by a majority of the Congress. So far in our history, however, this has never occurred.

Given the fact that the 2008 GOP standard-bearer, John McCain, is 72 years of age, his selection of an inexperienced vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has again focused attention on the process and procedures for selecting vice presidents—or, to put it more bluntly, the utter lack of process or procedures in selecting the person who is a heartbeat away from the presidency. McCain, not unlike others before him, selected a less than fully vetted running mate for political reasons. That is surely a problem for voters to think over in the upcoming election—but it raises a systemic concern, too, for the long run.

Consider this parallel: Does anyone believe that if McCain were president and had selected Palin under the 25th Amendment to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency Congress would have confirmed her? Not likely. In fact, it is even less likely that McCain would have even attempted to do so, for he would have embarrassed himself.

While the Constitution does not expressly set forth qualifications for the vice presidency, it strongly implies them — and Palin falls short.

Read on as Mr. Dean explains..

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John Dean on Mukasey

via: TPM – Josh Marshall

A Last Thought Before the Senate Judiciary Committee Confirms Judge Mukasey
By John W. Dean

As the Senate Democrats complete another sad concession to President Bush, and confirms a nominee who refuses to declare “water-boarding” torture, allow me to offer a brief historical reminder: the Senate Judiciary Committee has conspicuously forgotten that there are direct situational and historical parallels with Judge Mukasey’s nomination to be Attorney General and that of President Richard Nixon nominating Elliot Richardson to be Attorney General during Watergate.

Nixon’s Attorney General had been removed (and was later prosecuted for lying to Congress) – a situation not unlike Alberto Gonzales’s leaving the job under such a cloud. Nixon was under deep suspicion of covering up the true facts relating to the bungled break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate, not to mention widespread rumors that he had engaged in abuses of power and corrupt campaign practices. Today, Bush is under even deeper suspicion for activities far more serious than anything Nixon engaged in for there is evidence Bush has abused the laws of war, violated treaties, and ordered (or approved) the use of torture and political renditions, which are war crimes. Continue reading…

I have the greatest respect for John Dean. I have read his first two books, “Worse than Watergate”, and “Conservatives Without Conscience”, and am about to start his latest book “Broken Government”. This man has great insight and his warnings should be heeded.