Gravel: Cheney and Bush should be tried for war crimes
Supports NYC initiative for new 9-11 probe

By Peter Duveen

PETER'S NEW YORK, June 17, 2008--President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney should be tried for war crimes, former U.S. senator Mike Gravel said today. Gravel also said he supports a new investigation into the events of 9-11.

"He deserves to be prosecuted," Gravel said of Bush. "He and Cheney need to go to the Hague and stand in the dock." Gravel made the statements during an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, a nationally syndicated radio program. The interview was aired today on radio station WBAI, based in New York City.

The Hague refers to the Dutch city selected by international treaty as the venue to prosecute war crimes. The dock is the place in the courtroom where defendants are seated in full public view while their trial is being conducted.

Bush and Cheney should be tried for their actions leading up to, and in the aftermath of, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, Gravel implied. "What they did is criminal," he said. "Four thousand Americans have died as a result of their fraud on the American people."

The sooner a president goes to jail, "the sooner leaders will shape up," he added.

Bush and Cheney were not the only ones who came under criticism of Gravel during the interview. He called U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to keep impeachment of the president from congressional consideration "a tragic mistake." Gravel went on to say that Pelosi's performance as speaker was "no different from any male speaker that I have seen in my career.".

Gravel was U.S. Senator from Alaska from 1968 to 1981. During his tenure, he was instrumental in facilitating the release of the Pentagon papers, documents that detailed the history of how the United States became enmeshed in the Vietnam War. Public release of the documents discredited the war effort and helped to bring it to a close. More recently, Gravel ran for the 2008 Democratic nomination for U.S. president. Having failed in that attempt, he competed for the same spot in the Libertarian Party, losing out to former Georgia congressman Bob Barr. 

New York City Ballot Initiative for a new 9-11 investigation
Gravel said he will address a gathering tonight at St. Mark's Church, the Bowery, in lower Manhattan to support a signature campaign that will enable New York City residents to vote on the formation of a new 9-11 commission. A U.S. government commission, which issued a report in 2004, has been criticized
even by its own commissioners as having been misinformed and underfunded. Gravel said he hopes that lending his voice to the effort will help boost the signature drive, which he said has garnered 10,000 signatures out of the 50,000 needed. "We've got to get those signatures in the next 30 or 40 days," Gravel noted, citing time constraints in the legal process to place the initiative on the ballot.

"I believe in this concept," Gravel said. "What the government can't do, the people can do through the initiative process." He urged people to call 646 537-1755, a ballot initiative hotline, to find out how they can participate in the signature campaign.

Asked why it is important to establish a new 9-11 commission, Gravel said it was to "get to the truth; we don't know the truth."

"Ninety percent of what the government does is held secret," he said "It's a whole cult," he said "We just don't know what is going on."