Scooter Libby, Neocon Martyr

by , December 17, 2005

With Scooter Libby slated to go to trial sometime next year, the Lewis Libby Defense Trust is gearing up for a big fundraising effort – and lookee lookee at all the luminaries who’ve signed on to help!

Hey, how about a benefit concert?

They could book Libby supporters Jack F. Kemp and Steve Forbes to do their comedy act – you remember them from the 1996 Republican primaries.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson can reenact his part in the 1985 movie Marie, in which Thompson played himself – an assistant Justice Dept. attorney who convicted then-Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton on charges of selling pardons. (Don’t even think about it, George!)

There’s lots of entertainment value in the Libby camp: former Sen. Alan Simpson, the Wyoming connection, seems eminently qualified to give us a reading of Annie Proulx’s "Brokeback Mountain," the short story the movie is based on. Richard Carlson, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from 1992 to 1997, can use his connections to book guest appearances by the Cookie Monster, the letter B, and the number 9.

Lobbyist Wayne Berman – himself no stranger to scandal – whose wife, Lea, is White House social secretary, could do the invitations.

Phillip Merrill, minor media mogul and former president of the Export-Import Bank, could prove useful: if all else fails, maybe he can get the Trust a government subsidy. After all, if Saddam Hussein and Enron both qualified for Ex-Im loans, why not Scooter?

Billionaire Howard Leach, former ambassador to France, could tell French jokes – the neocons are big on that.

Jeanne Kirkpatrick can do her Augusto Pinochet imitation, and R. James Woolsey can tell that story about how, after some nutball crashed a plane on the White House grounds in 1994, the joke in Washington was that it was Woolsey trying to get in to see President Clinton.

Developer Mel Semblor, another Republican billionaire, and former U.S. ambassador to Italy, could regale us with stories of how CIA agents kidnapped a Muslim cleric off a Milan street and renditioned him to Egypt. Mel, who heads up the Trust, "was the U.S. ambassador to Italy when all the secret meetings took place and when the forged uranium papers showed up at the U.S. embassy in October 2002," notes Joshua Marshall:

"There’s a lot that’s still really murky about what was happening at the U.S. embassy in Rome after 9/11 with the forgeries and other matters. That was on Sembler’s watch. And Libby’s bad acts stem from the whole forgeries bamboozlement. (Whacking Wilson was part of the larger White House effort to keep the forgeries scam covered up – a cover-up that’s still underway.)

"So Sembler just seems like a pretty big part of this story to be collecting money for the one person under indictment for their role in it."

As for Barbara Comstock, spokeswoman for the group, she has her job cut out for her. And surely she’s well-qualified – one might even say overqualified. After all, as the former director of public affairs at the Department of Justice under John Ashcroft, now with Blanke Rome LLC – a law firm that specializes in providing government officials with "advocacy" – she has a handle on how the realms of public relations and high-profile legal cases interact. That she resigned from shilling for Ashcroft four days after Fitz was appointed special prosecutor in the Plame case is, of course, purest coincidence.

From the Justice Department to the Lewis Libby Defense Trust – it isn’t as far to travel as you might imagine…

As the neocons rally ’round their martyred hero, the New York Sun is suggesting that the holiday season is the perfect

"Time for many of our readers to write checks to worthy causes, whether they are organizations devoted to policy, education, culture, or religion – or other good works. This year readers of these columns may wish to include the Libby Legal Defense Trust."

Give to the blind, the halt, the lame – and the inveterate liars [.pdf]. Help the morally handicapped.

Libby, the Sun avers, is the subject of a "witch-hunt," the poor dear: after all, a top government official can’t be expected to tell the truth to a special prosecutor, or even a grand jury.

Now that Ahmed Chalabisuspected of espionage against the United States only a few short months ago – seems to be in the clear, it looks like Libby is taking his place as the Mumia Abu Jamal of the neocons, and the Sun has plenty of angles on building a rainbow coalition in Libby’s defense:

"One could be a neoconservative who believes that the Iraq war spread freedom."

So much for Fitzgerald’s assertion at his press conference that the prosecution has nothing to do with the Iraq war. To the neocons, it certainly does.

"One could be a defender of the freedom of the press who believes that government officials in America should be free to talk to the press without fear of being thrown in prison by a prosecutor."

Oh yes, by all means let’s defend the "right" of government officials to use the media as their personal megaphone – Libby, as we all know, had a First Amendment right to commit treason.

"One could be a Clinton loyalist who remembers how special prosecutors were used against the previous administration."

I wonder why it’s taking Comstock so long to sign up Clinton as a Libby supporter. After all, the former president and the former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney have much in common – including a penchant for perjury. Remember, too, that Libby was Marc Rich’s lawyer, and was instrumental in the "negotiations" that persuaded Clinton to pardon Rich in the final days of his administration.

"One could be a believer in a strong presidency who thinks the whole idea of criminalizing policy differences has a tendency to sap the boldness of the president."

Only in the world of the neocons is perjury, obstruction of justice, and blatantly lying to a grand jury defined as a "policy difference." The neocons, you see, have a different policy toward the truth from the rest of us.

"Finally, one could just be a believer in the underdog and want Mr. Libby to have a fair fight against the special prosecutor."

With what the Sun describes as "a distinguished, bipartisan" panoply of Washington insiders behind him, including several billionaires footing his legal bills and a Justice Department insider on his team, Libby is an "underdog," alright. Or, at least, some kind of a dog…

In the Bizarro World of the neocons, government officials who expose CIA agents are patriotic heroes, and the chief of staff of the second-most powerful officeholder in Washington is a victim of government persecution, who stands before his persecutors practically defenseless.

You can’t make this stuff up.

 

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