Leak Case: Leading Spanish Daily Weighs In

"As in the Watergate case," says an editorial in El Pais (in Spanish), a liberal leading daily in Madrid, "lies about something non-central may be the thread from which everything unravels.... The White House is starting to founder and what is now beginning is a trial not just of Libby but of a whole form of politics based on constant lies and deception. But all of this is also an example of the greatness of the US system, in which democracy and the rule of law prevail in the end."

By Jefferson Morley |  October 31, 2005; 8:06 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Never mind that, Morley. Check out this piece of world opinion - from Silvio Berlusconi. I hope you'll forgive me for quoting at length from a foreign paper, but this story is just TOO juicy:

Headline: I tried repeatedly to talk the US out of invading Iraq, says Berlusconi

· Italian PM tries to distance himself from White House
· Gadafy enlisted to help halt move towards war

John Hooper in Rome
Monday October 31, 2005
The Guardian

Silvio Berlusconi, one of George Bush's closest allies, says he repeatedly tried to talk the US president out of invading Iraq, in comments to be broadcast today.
In the television interview, which goes out on the day the Italian prime minister flies to Washington to meet Mr Bush...

"I have never been convinced war was the best way to succeed in making a country democratic and extract it from an albeit bloody dictatorship," he says. "I tried on several occasions to convince the American president not to wage war."

His version of events...was backed by his deputy, Gianfranco Fini, leader of the former neo-fascist party, who said: "We tried right up to the end to persuade Bush and Blair not to launch a military attack."
Coming after Lewis Libby's indictment capped a crisis week for the Bush administration, Mr Berlusconi's remarks will be seen by many in Washington as treacherous. Italy's prime minister is standing for re-election in just over five months and polls indicate that his support for Mr Bush is a major handicap...

Yesterday Mr Berlusconi's aides played down the remarks, pointing to two earlier occasions on which he had alluded to "doubts" and "reservations" about the invasion. Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by the Berlusconi family, quoted the prime minister as saying in November 2003 he had "expressed disagreement with Bush on the military action in Iraq".

His latest remarks were nevertheless at odds with public perceptions of his stance and astonished his political rivals. "What's going on?" asked Romano Prodi, the leader of the centre-left. "Has he finally realised the war was wrong? Well, let him say so. He told Bush? Well, it means he doesn't count for anything at all."

...at least one opposition politician suggested the prime minister might have been trying in advance to limit damage to his administration from the "CIA-gate" scandal. The document at the origin of the affair, which indicated that Saddam Hussein's regime tried to buy uranium in Africa, was allegedly forged by an Italian with links to the intelligence services.

Last week La Repubblica suggested it had been passed to the US. The government has acknowledged that the head of Italy's military intelligence met the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, in September 2002, shortly before the document was distributed to US intelligence agencies. But it said the uranium dossier played no part in their talks. Last night Mr Berlusconi gave full backing to his spymaster, Nicolo Pollari, who is alleged to have passed on forged documents. Arguments about the uranium claims are at the heart of the Plame affair in Washington...

Told you it was juicy. We already knew that Berlusconi was a rat. Now we know that GWB is a sinking ship, it's no wonder the Duce of sleaze is trying to jump off.

They deserve each other. Let's hope they get shared accomodation in the lowest circle of Hell.

Posted by: OD | October 31, 2005 10:16 AM

PS - If Berlusconi stands for election in five months and a single Italian soldier remains in Iraq, he will pay dearly and he knows it. So I think we can expect another imminent desertion from the Coalition of the Belatedly Unwilling.

Posted by: OD | October 31, 2005 10:19 AM

Hello... Earth to Morley...


How about mentioning that next time, huh?

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | October 31, 2005 11:55 AM

...And so did Rove. There's a lot of Nixonism in this WH and it is showing (can you say "we see you Elliott Abrams"?).

Here is an interesting article from today's Independent which covered an interview with Joe Wilson by 60 Minutes. Wilson says that his wife was "threatened" after she was outed. He does not elaborate, which in my mind means there is an investigation into it.


Also, now that Cheney has picked David Addington and John Hannah to replace Libby's jobs, why isn't the Post talking about Hannah? Wasn't he considered in league with Libby? Wasn't he considered to be a possible leaker? Is he still under investiagtion by Fitzgerald and if not is he no longer of interest to the investigation?

A more general question. Rove is tainted. Hannah is tainted. Cheney is acting like he is in an undisclosed location. Even some republicans (Lott for example) think there needs to be a house cleaning. How can Bush expect to govern for the next three years holding onto his tainted cronies?

Posted by: Sully | October 31, 2005 01:15 PM

I am afraid that the only way to get rid of these people is put them in jail. They control the Congress, the Executive Branch, and maybe the Supreme Court. This leak investigation may lead to the Vice-President who is the lead Neoconservative in the administration. Fortunately, they have no sense of discretion, and if they are not put in jail for leaking a C.I.A. agents name, they will commit some other illegal act. However, the Libby trial will destroy what passes as their reputation. However, the investigation is not closed, and I would not be surprised by further charges against possibly the Iraqi group that hyped the war.
Hanson and Pollard are in jail for betraying our agents abroad, I believe they should join them.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | October 31, 2005 01:42 PM

There's one good thing about having Bush as captain of this ship of state: When the Administration boat sinks, overloaded with unrepentant pirates, then the ever-loyal captain must go down with his ship.

Posted by: Francis L. Holland, Esq. | October 31, 2005 01:51 PM

To put them in jail means they have to commit a crime. As much as I agree that lies were told to the American people and the truth forfeited to start and maintain a war, there is little that is criminal about it. Only the Congress can get rid of Bush. He cannot be put in jail even if he did commit a prosecutable crime. If you want these guys stopped then you need to do what the republicans did to Clinton, get a majority in Congress then let the investigations and impeachment proceedings fly. That, and not jailtime, is what the republican neo-cons truely fear. It shouldn't be that hard to believe that the people of America hold this president's future in their hands and not some prosecutor.

And a question for the Post: Why didn't Saturday's headline read something like: "Bush and Cheney praise Libby's patriotism."? Is anyone going to hold Bush to account for why he thinks someone indicted for bringing unethical behavior and shame to the WH ought to be praised?

Posted by: Sully | October 31, 2005 02:05 PM

The Nixon White House had several more of the George W. cabal. There were members of the 'dirty tricks' group who have responsible positions today. And when are we going to start being honest and identify the group who are the neocons and call them Straussians. It is interesting to read about Straus. His basic belief that there is a ruling class and when they want something the end justifies the means. Check out Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, et al and their adherence to the Strauss philosophy. It is frightening and certainly not what we held a Revolutionary War to advance.

Posted by: Betty C | November 1, 2005 12:42 PM

Bush and his cohorts, namely Cheney, Rove, Libby etc. are a disgrace. Sooner they leave the White House the better for the Country.

Posted by: Gilbert LaBiaga | November 1, 2005 06:55 PM

I hadn't read that Berlusconi story that OD quoted. That's an eye-popper all right.

Yet, in spite of all the lies and deception committed by the Bush regime and the comparisons to Watergate it should be noted that there are huge differences in how this mob of liars and deceivers can be confronted and how they can ever be made to account for the heinous crimes they have committed. Heinous because Bush and his war hawks, most of whom disdained wearing the uniform of the U.S. military themselves when it was their turn to step up to the plate and protect America's freedoms, are directly responsible for the senseless deaths of tens of thousands of people.

The biggest and most important difference today is that the corrupt, corrosive Republican Party along with their corrupt corporate benefactors, own the government outright.

When Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal began falling apart the Democrats controlled the U.S. Congress and it wasn't until the impeachable evidence became opaque that Republican congressmen owned up to the coverup by Nixon and his White House operatives and called for him to resign.

In order to begin culling out all the countless crimes which have cost the lives of over 2,020 U.S. military and tens of thousands of Iraqis, someone has to open up an investigation. Guess what? It won't be the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress, and guess what again? Any challenges to the authoritarian Bush regime will be beaten back by the partisan, activist U.S. Supreme Court which will soon increase its phalanx of rubber stamp judges who are eagerly awaiting Sam Alito to join them in Bush's rubber stamp Star Chamber of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy.

The sad commentary at this point of no return is that, though the mainstream media seem to be catching on to this criminal-minded, astonishingly autocratic Bush administration, which is exhibited by the alarm they are expressing over the accountable-to-none despots in the White House, they are too late.

They are too late because Bush has all his ducks in place to lower the final hammer on the U.S. Constitution and strip away individual freedoms and liberties when the USA Patriot Act will be renewed at the end of this year.

What that Act will do is impose even stricter control over all American citizens' lives and restrict even further the people's right to know. The abuses of the Bush administration, as most of us now are aware, are legion. But who will force them to come clean and who will hold them accountable?

Not the gutless, corrupt and corrosive Republican-controlled U.S. Congress who are just as complicit in this five-year entrenched totalitarian regime as the Bush White House.

It will take a firm and principled Justice Department with individuals as concerned as Patrick Fitzgerald to restore and preserve democracy in America. Where will they come from and when, if they are there, will they come forward?

Posted by: Richard | November 1, 2005 07:48 PM

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