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Is State Department Cover-up a Criminal Obstruction of Justice?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   6 comments

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Is State Department Cover-up a Criminal Obstruction of Justice? Even as Condoleeza Rice was playing the coy fox with Henry A. Waxman's Oversight Committee, was the news breaking the new Watergate of Blackwater and the State Department? Could this lead to the impeachment, thus putting her and others under criminal investigation for Obstruction of Justice? If so, would it eventually lead to the White House? Will the information State Department e-mails obtained by ABC News and subsequent investigations by the LA Times lead to Obstruction of Justice and eventually to impeachment proceedings? Did the White House know about all of this? The above cited Emails discuss how a regional State Department official WAS complaining about a number of incidents where Blackwater guards were reported as opening fire upon innocent civilians. This particular official said that that Iraqis were frustrated because they were unable to find protection or justice for the reported alleged crimes by Blackwater. He said, further, "If we are unable or unwilling to address this issue, sooner or later those requesting compensation for their losses will lose patience with us and seek recourse through other the worst-case scenario, some might seek revenge." Meanwhile Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice deflected, ignored and avoided commenting on a number of Blackwater issues put to her by Henry A. Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and particularly, her department's oversight of private security contractors. Now in the wake of her appearance of faux ignorance, new evidence surfaced showing that the US was concealing alleged atrocities attributed to Blackwater, primarily shootings of Iraqi civilians over two years ago. Condoleezza Rice, The Bushite Secretary of State is now regretful that the State Department did not properly supervise "private security contractors" in Iraq, however, she was defensive concerning the wider sphere of American diplomacy in Iraq during what she labeled, "complex and difficult" circumstances, remiss in not adding, Complex and difficult circumstances that the Bushites created. Rice testified for more than three hours during a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, hearing, in which many responses were rather testy and hostile. In May of 2005, a Blackwater convoy was moving a senior U.S. diplomat down a Baghdad roadway when suddenly guards opened fire on an approaching taxi. The driver, Mohammed Nouri Hattab, said to The Times, he was reducing and about to stop when a burst of machine-gun fire slashed into and through his taxi, wounding him and also killing 19-year-old newlywed Yas Ali Mohammed Yassiri, a passenger, according to a chain of Emails obtained by ABC news. Some of those internal Emails in question displayed the State Department officials were trying to deflect a 2005 Los Angeles Times battery of questions about the alleged killing of an Iraqi civilian by Blackwater guards. One state department official said in the Email, "Give [the Los Angeles Times] what we can and then dump the rest on Blackwater. ...We can't win this one." Another official, in this chain of e-mails said that the "findings of the investigation are to remain off-limits to the reporter." Still another suggested that no one should even mention the existence of a criminal investigation because it would "...raise questions and issues." In August 2005, following a tip, the Times began their inquiries. Peter Mitchell, who, at the time was a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, informed his bosses that he was going to inform a reporter that the State Department, "thoroughly investigated" the incident and there was "no criminal act ...." The truth appears, to the contrary that however, the only investigation completed was "administrative." Nevertheless, two Blackwater employees were fired and returned to the U.S. because they violated operating procedures. Blackwater has so far, refused to comment on the shooting or the firings any further, according to the Times. Mitchell Emailed to superiors, "As for the legal jurisdiction under which a [private security contractor] operates, this is where things get hazy," "If the [private security company] is found negligent, the only recourse is dismissal. In cases where there was clear criminal intent, a criminal case could hypothetically be pursued in U.S. federal court, but this has yet to happen out here." Mitchell's suggested responses were reported to have created a fiery debate within the department. Although reporters tried, they were unable to catch-up with Mitchell for comment Thursday. David Satterfield, now Rice's senior advisor on Iraq, was eventually a party to the possibly criminal withholding of evidence in the Email trail. Satterfield suggested that Washington should first approve any answers to the reporter. "This is a sensitive story that deals with sensitive contract issues," another, unnamed official Emailed. Mitchell, in an e-mail to the Times reporter on the story, wrote that State officials were still investigating the issue and added, "I've been assured that the issue continues to be staffed back in Washington" Even as all of this was going on, Condoleeza Rice was denying any knowledge within her aegis of any of the matters concerning Blackwater. A number of lawmakers asked her whether she was even aware of some of the most heinous crimes that have been alleged. "You're the secretary of state!" Chairman Henry A. Waxman said once, incredulous after Rice responded to a specific charge against Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by saying, she was "not personally following every allegation of corruption in Iraq." What does she do with her time and who in that administration does, personally follow every allegation of corruption in Iraq? Congressman Henry A. Waxman said, "For most of this year, Congress has focused its attention on assessing the military surge, however, the quality and effectiveness of Rice's actions in Iraq and the State Department's management are a matter of urgent national concern." Pressed to express regret for what Representative John Sarbanes called "the failures of your department, your failures," Rice said, "I certainly regret that we did not have the kind of oversight that I would have insisted upon." (Editor's Italics) She has implemented changes recommended by the review, she said, and "we now will have that oversight." Rice said she launched a review of the State Department's private security contracts after Blackwater Worldwide guards allegedly shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians last month because "I did not think personally that I could say that oversight and follow-up was appropriate." In spite of many reports of suspicious Iraqi citizen's deaths over the last several years, she failed to act earlier, because she didn't want to "second-guess people on the ground" who had handled the shootings in Baghdad. Let's look at why, "We did not have the kind of oversight that I would have insisted upon?" I wonder, why did "we not have the kind of oversight that I (Rice) would have insisted upon!" and why did she not insist upon them in the beginning, has she no foresight? How did she get this job? Wasn't competence a consideration? She did not foresee, airplanes crashing into buildings as a possibility to defend against, she did not foresee, this. She did not foresee that, what the Hell does she do with her time. Is there anyone in this administration which is either competent or with an intellect and some foresight? Rice agreed that "there is a 'Lacuna' " in U.S. law that has prevented prosecution of contractors. Earlier this month, the House passed a bill that would place all contractors under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, and a similar measure is pending in the Senate. The White House opposes the bill because it would have "unintended and intolerable consequences" for national security. Boy, they must be in a Mad-Cow, brain-pitting, delusional, ecstasy, or heavily supplied by their Afghanistan, Coke and Heroin Dealers, to think that the American people are going to swallow that 'national security' BS forever, and ever. The FBI is investigating the September 16 Blackwater shootings. An earlier shooting, in which a Blackwater guard allegedly killed the Iraqi vice president's bodyguard after a Green Zone party on Christmas Eve 2006, was referred to the Justice Department sometime back, but a lack of evidence has hobbled that investigation, Rice said. Yeah, 'a lack of evidence' another 'what me worry' from the Alfred E Newman of politics, (They look alike, don't they?) the spoiled, twisted, sicko whose pleasures and hobbies are sadism, suffering of others, violence and death, hampered only by stupidity and lack of foresight, a sort of contagious Alzheimers. Rice's replies to the Government Accountability Office, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and the State Department having described pervasive corruption in the Iraqi government, which were in keeping with previous hearings and closed-door depositions, in which the oversight group was inundated with similar instances both from U.S. and Iraqi officials. Incredulous at Rice's appearance of either cluelessness, incompetence or contempt, Maryland Representative Elijah E. Cummings, snapped to Rice." This is not some pie in the sky! This is your own department!" She kept up the masquerade by refusing any discussion of specific allegations in the open session. She said it was. "Potentially damaging to relationships we are very dependent on." And that the Americans should know, that "if there is corruption, the United States is in fact dedicated to rooting it out." However, she also said, "let's not take Iraq in isolation . . .. We need to understand that corruption is a pervasive issue" in many other developing and nondemocratic countries." I assume she was including America under Bush. The Oversight Committee questioned an April 1 memo from Prime Minister Maliki forbids investigation of anyone in the government or the cabinet without his approval. The former head of the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, Judge Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, turned the memo over to the Oversight Committee. It now is understood that he is now seeking U.S. political asylum. Judge Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, testified to the Oversight Committee in early October that his investigators had uncovered "rampant" corruption in Iraqi ministries and that close to 50 anti-corruption employees and/or their families, had been assassinated. Despite the fact that nearly everyone, in America and Iraq, including grade school children have read or heard about the memo the memo has been widely publicized in U.S. and Iraqi and a senior State Department official was questioned about it in the Oct. 4 hearing when Radhi spoke of it, Rice told the committee she would "have to get back to you. I don't know precisely what you are referring to. Our understanding, is that the Iraqi leadership is not in fact immune from investigation . . .. If, in fact, there is such an order . . . that would certainly be concerning."

This may be the straw that breaks the criminal's backs, sends people to jail and begins the impeachment. Let us hope so.


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Professor Bagnolo has majored in: Cultural Anthropology, Architectural design, painting, creative writing. As a child prodigy, abed with polio for almost two years, he was offered an opportunity to skip three grades at age 8.
Later He was a (more...)

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