We Will Sit In for Impeachment
David Swanson, 07/05/07
On July 23rd phone John Conyers at 202-225-5126 or send him a fax with one click.
Cindy Sheehan to Lead March for Impeachment, Arlington to Capitol Hill, July 23rd
WHAT: March from Arlington National Cemetery to the Capitol Hill Office of Congressman John Conyers to ask him to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney or President George W. Bush or both. Participants hope to meet with Congressman Conyers and receive his assurance that impeachment proceedings will begin at once in the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Many of those participating have commited to only leave if Conyers agrees to begin impeachment or they are arrested.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been the driving force against impeachment in Congress. If there is no agreement to begin impeachment proceedings by Monday, Sheehan will announce her candidacy challenging Pelosi for election in California’s 8th Congressional District.
WHO: Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, KIA in Iraq 2004, founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and of the Camp Casey Peace Institute; Ray McGovern, 27-year veteran of the CIA and cofounder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President of the Hip Hop Caucus; Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat who resigned in protest the day the U.S. invaded Iraq; Debra Sweet, national coordinator of the World Can’t Wait; Dave Lindorff, author of “The Case for Impeachment,” David Swanson, cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org; Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, both cofounders of Code Pink; Kevin Zeese, director of Democracy Rising; Tina Richards, military mother and creator of GrassRootsAmerica4Us; and many many others.
WHEN AND WHERE:
10:00 a.m. gathering outside the Arlington National Cemetery metro stop. Cindy Sheehan will make remarks.
10:30 a.m. beginning march to Capitol Hill, to 2426 Rayburn House Office Building, office of Chairman John Conyers.
12:00 p.m. noon — approximate arrival time.
“We have the deepest respect for Chairman John Conyers,” Sheehan said, “and I’m glad he’s the one who will lead the impeachment hearings. But time is wasting and people are dying every day that he holds off. The majority of Americans want Dick Cheney impeached. We are bringing that message to the chairman of the judiciary committee of our house of representatives. It is our house, the house of American citizens, and any representatives currently serving there who disagree should be challenged in the next election.”
Join Cindy Sheehan, Ray McGovern, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Ann Wright, Debra Sweet, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jodie Evans, Medea Benjamin, Kevin Zeese, Tina Richards, Barbara Cummings, …
Meet at 10 a.m. on July 23rd outside the Arlington National Cemetery Metro Stop.
(we’re marching, and those unable to can take the Metro from Arlington to Capitol South and meet us)
Bring a copy of the US Constitution.
About getting arrested:
This action is strictly nonviolent. We hope to speak with Congressman Conyers and reach an aggreement to begin the impeachment process. We hope that no one will be arrested.
Those not wishing to risk arrest can expect to be able to leave following a warning.
Those willing to risk arrest if needed must be disciplined and nonviolent. Bring an ID (with a street address, not a PO Box) and money (cash, check). Give everything else to a support person. Be prepared for the possibility of being held for as long as 24 hours.
If you have a car, you can park it at the Union Station or National Airport parking garage and leave it there as long as you need to.
If money is needed to release people more quickly than 24 hours, the Camp Casey Peace Institute will attempt to cover it for everyone. Those wishing to contribute funds to this effort can do so here: www.thecampcaseypeaceinstitute.org/
Why Would Anyone Protest John Conyers?
By David Swanson
John Conyers has a great quote in John Nichols’ book “The Genius of Impeachment” (pointed out by attentive reader Gordon Bennett):
“I have a choice. I can either stand by and lead my constituents to believe I do not care that the president apparently no longer believes he is bound by any law or code of decency. Or I can act.”
On the 5th Anniversary of the Downing Street Meeting and the same day as a Dem Prez candidates debate in the evening on CNN, Youtube, and Google, July 23, 2007, Cindy Sheehan plans to lead a delegation to Congressman John Conyers’ office in DC to demand impeachment. Ray McGovern will be among those marching to Conyers’ office from Arlington National Cemetery (meeting there just outside the Metro stop at 10 a.m.). Cindy and Ray were two of the four witnesses in Conyers’ basement hearing on the Downing Street Minutes in June 2005.
This time, we’ve not been invited. We plan to sit and read the Constitution aloud. If necessary, we will face arrest.
This is part of a march that Cindy and others are making from Texas to New York. The march may make stops at the district offices of other House Judiciary Committee Members, such as Rick Boucher, Mel Watt, and Bobby Scott.
You can organize a meeting, protest, honk-a-thon, or sit-in at your Congress Member’s office. One way to get organized is with this system. You can find events and create them here. And you can meet people in Facebook.
We need a nonviolent revolution to compel our Congress Members to revive our Constitution. Sitting in their offices and reading the Constitution out loud, if enough of us do it, may save our democracy.
Citizens are planning sit-ins the same day in several Congress Members’ district offices, including Congressman Conyers’ offices in Michigan.
Because he controls impeachment. We wouldn’t want anyone else. He has the knowledge and skill to lead the way, and we hope his better half wins out. And we hope he doesn’t arrest us for asking him to fulfill his oath of office.
Clearly at least half of Congressman Conyers wants to move on impeachment and wants public pressure to allow / compel him to do so. He wrote the best report on Bush and Cheney’s crimes a year and a half ago. He has encouraged the movement for impeachment. But half of him, for whatever reason, is intent on blocking it.
A Tale of Two Conyers
By Congressman John Conyers
WHY did all manly gifts in Webster fail?
He wrote on Nature’s grandest brow, For Sale.
In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.
There is a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President and other members of the Bush Administration violated a number of federal laws, including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence.
While these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable misconduct, because the Bush Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have blocked the ability of Members to obtain information directly from the Administration concerning these matters, more investigatory authority is needed before recommendations can be made regarding specific Articles of Impeachment. As a result, we recommend that Congress establish a select committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war detailed in this Report and report to the Committee on the Judiciary on possible impeachable offenses.
— Congressman John Conyers, “The Constitution in Crisis”, December 2005
As many of you also know, I have agreed with Speaker-to-be Pelosi that impeachment is off the table. Instead, we agree that oversight, accountability and checks and balances — which have been sorely lacking for the last six years — must occur. I have nothing but respect for those who might disagree, but that is where I come out.
Having devoted a considerable amount of time and attention to detailing the many abuses of the Bush Administration, I firmly believe that we have brought these matters to the attention of the American people and the mainstream media, and that their verdict was reflected in the elections on November 7. I consider the now famous “basement hearings” and the issuance of my “Constitution in Crisis” Report to be among the watershed achievements of my more than forty years in Congress.
— Congressman John Conyers, November 2006
We need the first John Conyers. There is no Republican majority blocking inquiries. There hasn’t been for over half a year. Instead, Conyers is issuing subpoenas, and the White House is refusing to comply with them. The third article of impeachment passed by the Judiciary Committee against Richard Nixon was for refusal to comply with subpoenas. Conyers served on that committee. He knows that publishing a report on Nixon would not have done the job.
Conyers knows that when he and his colleagues held Nixon accountable, the Democrats won the biggest victories in a generation at the next elections. Conyers knows that when they let Reagan go in order to focus on elections they proceeded to lose and create the Bush dynasty. Conyers knows where Congress’ approval rating has gone these past six months. He knows what another year and a half of building the already overwhelming case for impeachment but not acting on it would do to the Democrats. He knows that pursuing impeachment and having it blocked in the Senate by Republicans would guarantee Democratic landslides. And he knows that it is morally disgusting to put partisan elections concerns ahead of saving our Constitution and reinstating the rule of law for the executive branch.
Why divide the Democrats? 80% of Democrats want Cheney impeached. What kind of divide is that? It would be 90% the day after Conyers began impeachment. Conyers knows there is no downside to impeachment. We need to provide the public pressure to allow him to act.
Conyers: 3 More Congress Members and I’ll Impeach
By David Swanson
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members get behind impeachment he will start the impeachment proceedings.
I was a guest today on Bree Walker’s radio show. She’s the progressive radio host from San Diego who purchased Cindy Sheehan’s land from her in Crawford, Texas.
Bree attended an event on Friday in San Diego at which Congressman Conyers spoke about impeachment. Her report was extremely interesting. I had already heard reports that Conyers had said: “What are we waiting for? Let’s take these two guys out!” But, of course, what we’re waiting for is John Conyers. Is he ready to act? It was hard to tell from that comment. In January, Conyers spoke at a huge rally on the National Mall and declared “We can fire them!” but later explained that what he meant was that we could wait for two years and Bush and Cheney’s terms would end. Was this week’s remark just more empty rhetoric?
It appears to be more than that. Bree Walker told me, on the air, that Conyers said that all he needs is three more Congress Members backing impeachment, and he’ll move on it, even without Pelosi. I asked whether that meant specifically moving from 14 cosponsors of H Res 333 to 17, or adding 3 to the larger number of Congress Members who have spoken favorably of impeachment but not all signed onto bills. Bree said she didn’t know and that Conyers had declined to take any questions.
Either way, this target of three more members seems perfectly doable. It’s safe to assume, I think, that we’re talking about impeaching Cheney first. But, even if Conyers is talking about Bush, the target is perfectly achievable.
First, there are Congress Members like Jesse Jackson Jr. who have spoken out for impeachment but not signed onto H Res 333. They should be urged to act now! Second, there are dozens of members who signed onto H Res 635 a year and a half ago, Conyers’ bill for an investigation into grounds for impeachment, who have not signed onto H Res 333 yet. Third, one of the excuses citizens often hear from lots of Congress Members for not signing onto articles of impeachment is that not enough of their colleagues have signed on and therefore “we don’t have the votes.” Well that just changed. Now three more votes is all that’s needed to get this machine rolling. Fourth, many of the 14 Congress Members backing H Res 333 have used similar excuses to justify refraining from lobbying their colleagues to join them. That can now end. Our 14 leaders can do more than just put down their names.
Now, if Conyers begins impeachment proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee, we should all be clear on what that will mean. If it is serious, it will not mean sending any subpoenas or contempt citations to the emperors’ court. Bush and Cheney have already repeatedly refused to comply with subpoenas.
President Richard Nixon did the same, of course, and his refusal to comply with subpoenas constituted the offense cited in one of the three Articles of Impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974 as warranting “impeachment and trial, and removal from office.” But Bush and Cheney have gone further, ordering former staffers not to comply with subpoenas, and announcing that the Justice Department will not enforce any contempt of Congress proceedings.
What the impeachment of Cheney or Bush will be is very, very fast. It will not disrupt or distract from the important business of passing nonbinding resolutions and holding all-night gripe sessions over bills destined to be vetoed. Impeachment in the case of Dick Cheney need not take the three months it did for Nixon or the two months it did for President Bill Clinton. In fact, it could take a day. Here’s why:
Bush and Cheney’s lies about Iraqi ties to al Qaeda are on videotape and in writing, and Bush and Cheney continue to make them to this day. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq until the invasion.
Their claims about Iraqi weapons have been shown in every detail to have been, not mistakes, but lies.
Their threats to Iran are on videotape.
Bush being warned about Katrina and claiming he was not are on videotape.
Bush lying about illegal spying and later confessing to it are on videotape. A federal court has ruled that spying to be a felony.
The Supreme Court has ruled Bush and Cheney’s system of detentions unconstitutional.
Torture, openly advocated for by Bush and Cheney and their staffs, is documented by victims, witnesses, and public photographs. Torture was always illegal and has been repeatedly recriminalized under Bush and Cheney. Bush has reversed laws with signing statements.
Those statements are posted on the White House website, and a GAO report found that with 30 percent of Bush’s signing statements in which he announces his right to break laws, he has in fact proceeded to break those laws.
For these and many other offenses, no investigation is needed because no better evidence is even conceivable. This impeachment will be swift. And it will require only a simple majority. We already know that the Democrats can vote as a block if they want to, and that a few brave Republicans might join them.
Whether the Senate will then convict Cheney will depend on how much pressure citizens apply and how much information the House manages to force onto television sets. The latter could be surprisingly large and substantive, since the conflict of an impeachment is certain to generate incredible ratings.
But even an acquittal would identify the Senators to be removed from office by voters in 2008. And Cheney (or Bush) would still have been 100% impeached. Al Gore didn’t run for president pretending he’d never met Bill Clinton and pick Senator Joe Lieberman as a running mate because the Senate convicted Clinton (it acquitted).
The timing of Conyers’ remark may be related to the steps the White House has recently taken to assert “unitary executive” dictatorial power. Bush has commuted the sentence of a subordinate who obstructed an investigation into matters involving Bush and Cheney. And, as mentioned above, neither subpoenas nor contempt citations will go anywhere. Impeachment is no longer merely the appropriate step that it has been for the past six years. It is now the only tool left to the Congress for use in asserting its very existence as a functioning body of government.
But the timing is also quite helpful to the grassroots movement for impeachment, and rather symbolic. Five years ago this Monday, the meeting was held at #10 Downing Street that produced the Downing Street Minutes. Over two years ago, then Ranking Member Conyers held a hearing in the basement of the Capitol, the only space the Republican leadership would allow him. At that hearing, several Democratic Congress Members for the first time began talking about impeachment. The witnesses at the hearing were Ambassador Joseph Wilson, attorney John Bonifaz, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and a then unknown gold star mother named Cindy Sheehan. They discussed the evidence of the Downing Street documents, which added significantly to the growing body of evidence that Bush and Cheney misled the Congress about the case for war.
This Monday, Sheehan and McGovern and a great many leaders of the movements for peace and impeachment will lead a march at 10 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. We will march to Congressman Conyers’ office and ask to talk with him about impeachment. We will refuse to leave without either a commitment to begin at once the impeachment of Cheney or Bush or both, or our arms in handcuffs. The same day, groups in several states around the country will be sitting in and risking arrest for impeachment in the district offices of their congress members.
Not everyone will be able to take part. But everyone can take two minutes on Monday and do two things: phone Chairman Conyers at 202-225-5126 and ask him to start the impeachment of Dick Cheney; and phone your own Congress Member at 202-224-3121 and ask them to immediately call Conyers’ office to express their support for impeachment. Your Congress Member might just be one of the three needed, not just to keep us out of jail but to keep this nation from devolving into dictatorship.
Source URL: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/sit