Friday, June 15, 2007

Lewis Libby: "Pardon me."

Lewis Libby, who helped Vice President Cheney and others betray an American CIA agent in order to punish her husband for telling truths that should have undermined a US invasion of Iraq, and who has been convicted and sentenced for lying under oath, is back in the news because the trial judge has refused to let Libby remain free until his appeal is decided . . . there being no chance that his appeal could succeed.

It is notable that now, as when Libby was convicted and sentenced, his name is invariably mentioned in conjunction with the possibility of a presidential pardon, almost as if the natural procedure for all convicted felons is sentencing, appeal, pardon . . . rather than sentencing, appeal, jail. As we all know, pardons are even rarer than honest politicians, almost unheard of. It is also rare for a convicted criminal to be freed pending appeal.

Last night on MSNBC’s “Countdown” a guest expert said something which supported my earlier assertions that there was almost no support among the general public for a presidential pardon. I argued that the instant clamor for a pardon arose from the fact that Libby is Jewish. In accord, the “Countdown” expert stated last night that there was very little support for a Libby pardon outside the Washington beltway, and that the support was primarily from neocons . . . the word “neocons” pertaining to a category of Jews who moved into “conservatism”. (I will write about the meaning of “neocon” soon.)

Below I copy some of my earlier comments, but first I want to suggest that perhaps the constant babble about a pardon is part of a campaign to give the impression – which may not be true – that President Bush can hardly wait to pardon Libby, and to give Bush an excuse to “bend to the public will”. Perhaps the neocons hope to pressure Bush by making it seem that a pardon for Libby is a foregone conclusion. But it is questionable whether any such pressure ever influences G.W. Bush, who, once set in motion, is about as responsive to public opinion as Godzilla demolishing a city.

The real danger that there might be a pardon comes from Libby’s now being able to make a deal with the prosecutor to avoid all or some of his prison term by telling everything that he knows and covered up with lies . . . which means putting Vice President Cheney on the skewer and bringing the fire a bit too close to G.W. Bush for comfort. But only a Godzilla completely immune to all opinion, including the judgments of history, would grant a pardon under such circumstances:

1. The Godfather (Bush/Cheney) does bad things. 2. Subordinate (Libby) lies in court to protect his boss, The Godfather. 3. Subordinate sentenced to jail. 4. Subordinate may avoid jail by spilling the beans about The Godfather. 5. Godfather – the only person with power to keep subordinate out of jail – grants presidential pardon in order to keep subordinate from squealing.

A little too obvious even for President Bush? We’ll see. The Godfather’s favorite method – simply rubbing subordinate out – would be a lot easier.

The rest of this post contains things I wrote about Libby earlier. If you didn’t read them before, let me guarantee you that they really are fabulously important and interesting.

I wrote on March 8, "Let’s Hear It for Libby, Folks”:

‘As one who thinks that I. Lewis Libby got what he deserved, I was surprised that last evening’s television news discussions were virtual pep rallies for Libby’s pardon. Guests had been selected to promote the idea that Libby was a wonderful guy who should be pardoned. Almost all of the Libby-related discussions centered on his prospects for a pardon. Yet no one suggested that Libby was not guilty of the serious crimes for which he was convicted; no one questioned that he consciously, deliberately committed those crimes over a long period.

‘That leads to my final observation on why Libby is being treated like a hero instead of a criminal. When I saw how he was being boosted by the media I checked this morning and found out that he is Jewish. I noticed years ago that whenever an individual somewhere in the world was accused of a crime and there was a great international media outcry in support of the accused and against the accuser, the accused was usually Jewish. It became a kind of game with me to notice the phenomenon of “worldwide outrage” and see if the individual the protest supported was a Jew.’

Soon after that I wrote:

‘Except for almost all their newspapers and television networks, Americans do NOT want Lewis Libby pardoned.

‘According to a new poll from CNN, most Americans do NOT want President Bush to pardon Vice President Cheney's convicted former chief of staff Lewis Libby. "Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose a presidential pardon for former White House aide Lewis 'Scooter' Libby after his conviction on perjury and other charges related to a CIA agent's exposure, according to a CNN poll out Monday," the news network reports.
Less than 20 percent support a Libby pardon.’


Evan Whitton said...

As a former lawyer, you would know what it meant when Libby's lawyer threatned to put Cheney and Libby in the box, and then did not.

Fleming said...

Evan, welcome. I'd be interested in knowing what you'd say in response to your comment.

In my opinion a defense attorney who doesn't put his client or his client's most important witness on the stand doesn't have a defense.

Cheney, the proper co-defendant in the case, has so much to lose that he probably refused to testify as a witness and got away with it.

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