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Prosecuting Bush for War Crimes

by RUSSELL MOKHIBER

In 2008, Charlotte Dennett ran for Attorney General in Vermont.

Dennett’s key campaign pledge – if elected, she would appoint Vincent Bugliosi as a special prosecutor to seek a murder indictment against George W. Bush for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bugliosi was the author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (Perseus Books, 2008)

He also had an enviable track record as an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles – 105 out of 106 successful felony jury convictions and 21 murder convictions without a loss.

Bugliosi is best known for his 1974 classic Helter Skelter – which documents his successful prosecution of Charles Manson and several other members of the Manson family for the 1969 murders of Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and six others.

Manson was not present at the murder scene.

When Dennett announced her candidacy for Attorney General of Vermont in September 2008, Bugliosi was at her side.

Now, Dennett has written a book – The People v. Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign to Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encounters Along the Way (Chelsea Green, 2010).

While Dennett’s 2008 run for Attorney General garnered only 5.9 percent of the vote, she and Bugliosi have not given up on prosecuting Bush for murder.

Bugliosi sent The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder to more than 2,200 district attorneys – all from counties who have lost soldiers in Iraq.

And Bugliosi now says that he’s “making progress in finding a district attorney to bring the case.”

As Bugliosi searches, Dennett will be out promoting her book – making the case for the prosecution.

And against letting bygones be bygones.

Dennett is a practicing trial lawyer in Cambridge, Vermont.

She’s married to Gerard Colby – author of a number of books including the classic – DuPont: Behind the Nylon Curtain (1974).

Colby and Dennett also co-authored – Thy Will be Done – The Conquest of the Amazon – Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil. (HarperCollins1995).

In her new book – The People v. Bush – Dennett argues that Bush took the country to war in Iraq based on a lie.

And the lie was that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States.

“We have documented evidence that Bush received a classified National Intelligence Estimate from October, 2002,” Dennett told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview earlier this week. “That document questioned whether Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. The summary of that estimate was produced for Congress. And the uncertainty in the classified report was completely deleted out of the summary report.”

One thing driving Dennett is her close connection to the Middle East.

She was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1947.

At the time, her father – Daniel Dennett – was the cultural attache at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

She says he was also America’s first master spy in the Middle East.

“He was in charge of counter intelligence,” Dennett says. “That means he spied on all of the other spies. And he tried to prevent them from penetrating U.S. intelligence.”

In 1947, Daniel Dennett died in a plane crash.

The plane carrying him and five other high-ranking U.S. officials crashed near Addas Ababa, Ethiopia.

Daniel Dennett never met his daughter.

Charlotte was six weeks old when he died.

Charlotte went on to become an investigative journalist.

She spent years covering the Middle East for the English language Beirut Daily Star.

“Back in 2008, a friend gave me Bugliosi’s book because she knew that I had a great interest in the Middle East,” Dennett said. “I was very disturbed about the war in Iraq. And here was this famous prosecutor.”

“When I read it, I landed on a sentence. And it said that any Attorney General or any district attorney could prosecute Bush using state criminal statutes. And I thought – this may have to be the way we go if the federal government let’s us down.”

Many believe that it is not possible to prosecute a former President for murder for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in a war funded by Congress.

Even prominent Constitutional scholars who believe that the Bush officials must be brought to justice don’t believe that Bush can be prosecuted for murder.

One of those is Bruce Fein.

Dennett said that during her campaign for Attorney General, she learned that Fein had been highly critical of Bugliosi.

Bugliosi reported to Dennett that Fein was at a fund-raising party at Sean Penn’s house for independent candidate Cindy Sheehan – then running for Congress against Representative Nancy Pelosi.

Dennett says that Fein discouraged West Coast activist and Sheehan supporter Cynthia Papermaster from showing any support for Dennett’s campaign.

“Fein, Bugliosi later told me, insisted that President Bush had immunity from prosecution,” Dennett writes. “But when Bugliosi challenged him on this, Fein refused to debate. ‘He got the law all wrong,’ Bugliosi told me. ‘Remarkably, he cited a civil case – Nixon v. Fitzgerald – to me about presidential immunity, which I told him was not applicable to criminal cases at all.’”

“Wrong about the law, then refusing to debate? That sounded familiar. In fact, it was identical to what I had confronted with my opponent, William Sorrell. Bugliosi showed me where Fein had jotted down ‘Read Nixon v. Fitzgerald’ in the margin of his, Bugliosi’s, book.

Fein told Bugliosi – Bush had complete immunity.

“When I brought up this exchange with Fein again, in January, 2009, it was clear to me that Fein was still upset.” Dennett recounts. “Not only because Fein – a highly respected constitutional lawyer – got the law wrong, but because he had apparently interfered in my campaign by persuading possible supporters to stay away.”

“I can’t allow you to do this,” Bugliosi told Fein. “The decent and honorable thing to do is for the two of us to have a debate.”

The debate never happened.

RUSSELL MOKHIBER is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.

Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.

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