THE LA ROCHELLE TIMES

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Libby risks death penalty in Plame case

Fitzgerald could seek firing squad for treason

Alain Terrieur
La lune de la presse internationale

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could seek the death penalty against defendant Scooter Libby if he decides to bring treason charges against the former White House counsel. Other officials could also face death by firing squad if found to be guilty of high crimes of treason against the United States of America.

Fitzgerald, along with other federal prosecutors through grand jury indictments, must first prove that Bush administration officials knowlingly released the name of a covert CIA operative for political purposes. Once the government officials, going as high as the President of the United States himself, were found guilty of treason, they could be executed by firing squad, electrocution or lethal injection.

Moreover, since the crimes took place in Washington, D.C., which is technically not a state, constitutional restrictions on "cruel and unusual punishment" do not apply to guilty administration officials. A similar argument was used in actively torturing detainees at Guantanomo Bay naval base in Cuba. Therefore, if the death penalty were granted by a judge and jury, administration officials such as Cheney and Bush could first be legally tortured using dogs, stress positions and self-defecation techniques.

It is perhaps too early to say what torture techniques will be used on the President. Congressional Democrats may put the House and Senate to a vote to decide on what kind of torture would be most appropriate.

"We've been tortured under Bush for the last five years," said Senator Phil Ibuster (D-Minnesota) on Wednesday's Colbert Report. "Now it's our turn to enforce real American values."

President Bush urged calm on Saturday, saying that "it's time for Americans to turn their other cheek. I turned another cheek, and now you all should too." His quasi-religious discourse might be intended to deflect criticism stemming from Wilma, Rita, Katrina, Plame, Harriet Miers, Iraq, Afghanistan, the 911 Commission, pre-Iraq intelligence, the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the withdrawals from the Kyoto Accords, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the still unexplained collapse of the World Trade Center, to note only the most cited.

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