- "What I've experienced in the last six months is
the ugly side of the American dream."
- Last month, David Iglesias and I were looking out at
the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island where his dad had entered the US
from Panama decades ago. It was a hard moment for the military lawyer who,
immediately after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired Iglesias as US
Attorney for New Mexico, returned to active military duty as a Naval Reserve
- Captain Iglesias, cool and circumspect, added something
I didn't expect:
- "They misjudged my character, I mean they really
thought I was just going to roll over and give them what they wanted and
when I didn't, that I'd go away quietly but I just couldn't do that. You
know US Attorneys and the Justice Department have a history of not taking
into consideration partisan politics. That should not be a factor. And
what they tried to do is just wrong and illegal and unethical."
- When a federal prosecutor says something is illegal,
it's not just small talk. And the illegality wasn't small. It's called,
"obstruction of justice," and it's a felony crime.
- Specifically, Attorney General Gonzales, Iglesias told
me, wanted him to bring what the prosecutor called "bogus voter fraud"
cases. In effect, US Attorney Iglesias was under pressure from the boss
to charge citizens with crimes they didn't commit. Saddam did that. Stalin
did that. But Iglesias would NOT do that - even at the behest of the Attorney
General. Today, Captain Iglesias, reached by phone, told me, "I'm
not going to file any bogus prosecutions."
- But it wasn't just Gonzales whose acts were "unethical,
wrong and illegal."
- It was Gonzales' boss.
- Iglesias says, "The evidence shows right now, is
that [Republican Senator Pete] Domenici complained directly to President
Bush. And that Bush then called Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General,
and complained about my alleged lack of vigorous enforcement of voter fraud
- In other words, it went to the top. The Decider had
decided to punish a prosecutor who wouldn't prosecute innocents.
- All day long I've heard Democrats dance with glee that
they now have the scalp of Alberto Gonzales. They nailed the puppet.
But what about the puppeteer?
- The question that remains is the same that Watergate
prosecutors asked of Richard Nixon, "What did the President know and
when did he know it?"
- Or, to update it for Dubya, "What did the President
know and how many times did Karl Rove have to explain it to him?"
- During the Watergate hearings, Nixon tried to obstruct
the investigation into his obstruction of justice by offering up the heads
of his Attorney General and other officials. Then, Congress refused to
swallow the Nixon bait. The only resignation that counted was the one
by the capo di capi of the criminal-political cabal: Nixon's. The President's.
- But in this case, even the exit of the Decider-in-Chief
would not be the end of it. Because this isn't about finagling with the
power of prosecutors, it's about the 2008 election.
- "This voter fraud thing is the bogey man,"
- In New Mexico, the 2004 announcement of Iglesias' pending
prosecution of voters (which he ultimately refused to do) put the chill
on the turnout of Hispanic citizens already harassed by officialdom. The
bogus "vote fraud" hysteria helped sell New Mexico's legislature
on the Republican plan to require citizenship IDs to vote - all to stop
"fraudulent" voters that simply don't exist.
- The voter witch-hunt worked. "Wrong" or "insufficient"
ID was used to knock out the civil rights of over a quarter million voters
in 2004. In New Mexico, that was enough to swing the state George Bush
by a mere 5,900 votes.
- So what is most frightening is not the resignation of
Alberto Gonzales, the Pinocchio of prosecutorial misconduct, but the resignation
of Karl Rove. Because New Mexico 2004 was just the testing ground for the
roll-out of the "ID" attack planned for 2008.
- And Rove who three decades ago cut his political fangs
as chief of the Nixon Youth, is ready to roll. To say Rove left his White
House job under a cloud is nonsense. He just went into free-agent status,
an electoral hitman ready to jump on the next GOP nominee's black-ops squad.
The fact that Rove's venomous assistant, Tim Griffin, was set up to work
for the campaign Fred Thompson, is a sign that the Lord Voldemort of vote
suppression is preparing to practice his Dark Arts in '08.
- It was Rove who convinced Bush to fire upright prosecutors
and replace them with Rove-bots ready to strike out at fraudulent (i.e.
- Iglesias, however, remains the optimist. "I'm hopeful
that I'll get back to the American dream. And get out of the American
- Dreams. Nightmares. I have a better idea for America:
- Greg Palast is the author of http://mailings.gregpalast.com/lt/t_go.php?i=42&e=MTQ2NDg=&l=-http--www.gre
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