3 November 2005 Edition

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Indictment may prove tipping point in exposing truth on Iraq - BY MICK DERRIG

Historians of the Bush/Blair Iraq oil war will probably look back on recent events and find that the indictment of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney, charged with two counts of perjury last week, two of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice, proved to be the tipping point in finally getting the truth about the Iraq war conspiracy.

The legal process that this man is about to go through could reveal forensically what many people across the planet believed about the build up to the Iraq oil war. The first question that might be asked however is — Who is Lewis Scooter Libby?

Libby was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Florida. After graduating from Andover, an exclusive New England boarding school, he graduated from Yale University in 1972, where one of his professors was Paul Wolfowitz. Libby received his Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Columbia University Law School in 1975. In those days Libby was a Democrat and an anti-Vietnam War protester.

After graduating from Columbia Law School, Libby practiced law in Philadelphia. His most famous client was Marc Rich, the fugitive financier and alleged tax evader who was pardoned by President Clinton during the last hours of his administration. Clinton's pardon, which at the time drew heavy criticism from Republicans, was largely the result of legal arguments Libby had been making for 15 years.

Libby started his government career in the State Department in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan. He has also, at various times in his career, held positions with the American Bar Association, on the board of the RAND Corporation, at the Department of Defence, and as a legal advisor with the United States House of Representatives. He has consulted for the defence contractor Northrop Grumman. He has also been active in the Defence Policy Board of the Pentagon while it was chaired by Richard Perle. Libby co-authored the draft of the "Defence Planning Guidance" with Wolfowitz for then Defence Secretary Dick Cheney in 1992.

He wrote a novel published in 1996 called The Apprentice.

Libby was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century. He joined Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, and others in writing its 2000 report entitled, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century.

On 28 October 2005, Libby was indicted by a grand jury for perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice. He resigned from his position as Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff on the same day. Since then, he has claimed that he is completely innocent of the charges and that he will be exonerated. He has not passed public comment on the testimony of the four White House officials and three national reporters whose testimony directly contradicts his testimony.

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