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October 31, 2005

Cheney's Refrain: 'I'm a Believer'

By Walter Brasch

Dick Cheney says "Scooter" Libby is innocent, until proven guilty. This is NOT what Cheney says about anyhone trapped by the PATRIOT Act

::::::::

It’s hard to believe that Vice-President Dick Cheney believes in Constitutional rights—at least after all that he and his protégé, George W. Bush, have done to the American people the past five years.

First, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, which twisted and shredded the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. Those amendments once guaranteed the rights of freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances; freedom from unreasonable searches; due process and the right against self-incrimination; the right to counsel, a speedy trial, and the right to a fair and public trial by an impartial jury; reasonable bail and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment; and an equal protection guarantee for both citizens and non-citizens.

There are the “No Fly” lists, databases that track what meals you ate, and innumerable “spy-upon-your-brother” programs.

There are the mass designations of “enemy combatants” that allow the Administration to hold anyone in secret, with no legal recourse, for as long as it wants. Of course, that pesky Supreme Court said otherwise, but what’s a Court’s opinion worth when the President believes he has a “mandate” from the people.

There were the officially-sanctioned tortures of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and Iraq, and of the Administration’s doctrine that the Geneva Conventions were “quaint” and outdated. Even after the Senate, by a 90-9 vote, passed a no-torture amendment to the $440 billion Defense Appropriations bill, President Bush threatened to veto the entire package if the amendment wasn’t removed. It would be the first veto in his five year presidency.

Mixed into all of this were the secret meetings with the oil industry to determine the nation’s environmental policies, and myriad Vice-Presidential and Presidential appearances where only those who affirm their loyalty to the Bush–Cheney agenda are allowed to attend.

But, Vice-President Cheney has now seen the light—hallelujah!—and believes in the Constitution and civil rights. Praise the Bush!

I. Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, who doubled as the Vice-President’s chief of staff and Assistant to the President, had just been indicted by the federal government and charged with one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and two counts of making false statements. A 22-page indictment against Libby, who resigned shortly before the indictment was made public, came after a 25-month investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, a Republican and U.S. Attorney in Chicago. The indictment charged that Libby told reporters that Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, an outspoken critic of the Bush–Cheney plan to invade Iraq, was a CIA covert agent. In the Bush–Cheney era, anyone contradicting the Administration’s political philosophy is unpatriotic, maybe even treasonous. Wilson had to be dealt with.

According to the indictment, an unidentified “Official A,” widely believed to be Karl Rove, the President’s deputy chief of staff and chief political strategist, revealed Plame’s identity to syndicated conservative columnist Robert Novak who dutifully published it in a July 14, 2003 column. Rove faced the Grand Jury four times, but wasn’t indicted.

About the same time Rove was leaking, Libby also leaked the news to New York Times reporter Judith Miller, whose primary responsibilities the past couple of years were to channel just about anything the Bush–Cheney Administration said. Miller’s story didn’t get published, but she went to jail for 85 days for disregarding a federal subpoena requiring she divulge her source.

Libby also “leaked” the information to Matthew Cooper of TIME magazine, which did publish it. It wasn’t long before most of the nation’s media jumped onto the story—not of the leak, but of Plame’s marriage and job. No one in the “We-protect-America-at-all-costs” Administration or the media seemed to care that revealing the name of a CIA covert operative violated federal law and the nation’s security.

In an official statement, the Vice-President praised his friend and strongly reminded the American people that “In our system of government an accused person is presumed innocent until a contrary finding is made by a jury after an opportunity to answer the charges and a full airing of the facts. Mr. Libby is entitled to that opportunity.” A remarkable statement from a man who believes “enemy combatants” should rot in cages, and Americans captured by the PATRIOT Act are guilty.

Libby wasn’t charged with violating the Espionage Act for releasing confidential information or disclosing the identity of an undercover agent, but with lying to federal prosecutors, the FBI, and the Grand Jury. In all of his appearances before the FBI and the Grand Jury, Libby was flanked by his lawyers, a right not granted to those detained under the PATRIOT Act or who are given the appellation, “enemy combatant.”

Should Libby go to trial, there is no question that Cheney, Rove, and several other Administration officials will be called to testify. Assuming they don’t perjure themselves, they will have to acknowledge that they pushed America into a war for reasons that were known to be false, and to cover their lies they tried to discredit Joseph Wilson and others who revealed the truth. They will have to confess they told others about Plame’s CIA role, and that they knew what Libby was doing, and may have even encouraged Libby to expose Plame’s job.

Of course, all of this is just conjecture. As the Vice-President said, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Authors Website: http://www.walterbrasch.com

Authors Bio:

Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights, and 'Unacceptable': The Federal response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com, borders.com and most major on-line bookstores. BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW is also available at www.greeleyandstone.com (20 discount)

Walter Brasch, a deeply valued Senior Editor at OpEdNews passed from this world on February 9, 2017, age 71, his obituary follows:

Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D., age 71, of 2460 Second Street, Bloomsburg (Espy), died Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville surrounded by his family.

He was an award-winning former newspaper reporter and editor in California, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio; professor emeritus of mass communications and journalism at Bloomsburg University; and an award-winning social issues journalist and book author.

Walter was born March 2, 1945, in San Diego, the son of Milton Brasch and Helen (Haskin) Brasch and was a 34 year resident of Espy.

In his early years he was a writer-producer for multimedia and film companies in California, and a copywriter and political analyst for advertising and public relations companies. For five years during the late 1990s, he was the media and social issues commentator for United Broadcasting Network. He was also the author of a syndicated newspaper column since 1992 and the creative vice-president of Scripts Destitute of Phoenix.

Dr. Brasch was a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee and was active in the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency. He was vice-president of the Central Susquehanna chapter of the ACLU, vice-president and co-founder of the Northeast Pennsylvania Homeless Alliance, a member of the board of the Keystone Beacon Community for healthcare coordination, and was active in numerous social causes. He was co-founder with his wife Rosemary Brasch of The Oasis, a biweekly newsletter for families and friends of personnel stationed in the Persian Gulf. Later, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they published The Oasis 2, for families of persons in combat zones. They were supported by the Bloomsburg Chapter, America Red Cross and Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

He was the author of 20 books, most which fuse historical and contemporary social issues. Among his books are Black English and the Mass Media (1981); Forerunners of Revolution: Muckrakers and the American Social Conscience (1991); With Just Cause: The Unionization of the American Journalist (1991); Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture (1997); Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the 'Cornfield Journalist': The Tale of Joel Chandler Harris (2000); The Joy of Sax: America During the Bill Clinton Era (2001); Unacceptable: The federal Response to Hurricane Katrina (2005); America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights (2006); Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (2007);  and Before the First Snow (2011). He was co-author of The Press and the State (1986), awarded Outstanding Academic Book distinction by Choice magazine, published by the American Library Association.

His last book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit (2015), a critically-acclaimed novel that looks at what happens when government and energy companies form a symbiotic relationship, using "cheaper, cleaner" fuel and the lure of jobs in a depressed economy but at the expense of significant health and environmental impact.

During the past two decades, he won more than 150 regional and national media awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, USA Book News, Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, Pennsylvania Press Club, Pennsylvania Women's Press Association, Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Penn-writers, International Association of Business Communicators, Pacific Coast Press Club, and Press Club of Southern California. He was recognized in 2012 by the Pennsylvania Press Club with the Communicator of Achievement award for lifetime achievement in journalism and public service.

He was an Eagle Scout; co-recipient of the Civil Liberties Award of the American Civil Liberties Union, 1996; and was honored by San Diego State University as a Points of Excellence winner in 1997. In 2000, he received the Herb Caen Memorial Award of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For the Pennsylvania Humanities Council he was twice named a Commonwealth speaker. He also received the meritorious achievement medal of the U.S. Coast Guard.

At Bloomsburg University, he earned the Creative Arts Award, the Creative Teaching Award, and was named an Outstanding Student Advisor. He received the first annual Dean's Salute to Excellence in 2002, a second award in 2007, and the Maroon and Gold Quill Award for nonfiction. He was the 2004 recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Service Award. For 22 years, he was Editor-In-Chief of the awarding-winning Spectrum Magazine, part of the journalism program of the Department of Mass Communications, Bloomsburg University until his retirement in 2010.  The community magazine was published twice a year by students for residents of Columbia and Montour counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and one of the few to be inducted into the national Associated Collegiate Press hall of fame. The magazine was also a consistent award winner in competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the American Scholastic Press Association. He primarily taught magazine editing and production, public affairs reporting, feature writing, newspaper editing; every Fall, he taught a 250-student section on mass communications and the popular arts.

 Dr. Brasch was co founder of the qualitative studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism, president of the Keystone State professional chapter and for three years deputy regional director of the Society of Professional Journalists, from which he received the Director's Award and the National Freedom of Information Award. He was president of the Pennsylvania Press Club, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Women's Press Association, and founding coordinator of Pennsylvania Journalism Educators. He was a featured columnist for Liberal Opinion Week, senior correspondent for the American Reporter, senior editor for OpEdNews, and an editorial board member of Journalism History and the Journal of Media Law and Ethics.

He was a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Author's Guild, National Writers Union (UAW/AFL-CIO), The Newspaper Guild (CWA/AFL-CIO), and the Society of Environmental Journalists. He was a life member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and was indicted into the national scholarship honor societies Phi Kappa Phi (general scholarship), Kappa Tau Alpha (journalism), Pi Gamma Mu (social sciences), and Kappa Tau Alpha (sociology.) He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, Contemporary Authors, Who's Who in the Media and Who's Who in Education. Dr. Brasch earned an A.B. in sociology from San Diego State College, an M.A. in journalism from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in mass communication/journalism, with a cognate area in both American government/public policy and language and culture studies, from The Ohio State University.

He is survived by his wife of 34 years, the former Rosemary Renn the most wonderful thing that happened in his life and whom he loved very much; two sons, Jeffery Gerber, Phoenix AZ and Matthew Gerber and his wife, Laurel  (Neyhard)  of Bloomsburg, a sister, Corey Brasch of Sacramento, Calif; a niece, Terri Pearson-Fuchs, Calif, numerous cousins; and his beloved dogs Cabot and Remy.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home & Cremation Service,  325 Market St., Bloomsburg with family friend, Nathaniel Mitchell officiating. Interment in Elan Memorial Park, Lime Ridge.

Friends may call at the funeral home on Tuesday from 6 - 8 p.m. or Wednesday from 1-2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Walter M. Brasch Scholarship Fund,

c/o First Keystone Community Bank, 2301 Columbia Blvd, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 or to

Mostly Mutts, 284 Little Mountain Rd., Sunbury, PA 17801

 


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