A 3-officer panel at Guantanamo Bay convicted former VP Richard Bruce Cheney of treason and murder after hearing only two hours of testimony Tuesday morning.
Rear Adm. Darse E. Crandall of the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps said in an opening statement that Cheney and the late George W. Bush were co-conspirators in the 9/11 tragedy and plots to criminally thrust the United States into unjustified wars. Their motives, he said, included destabilizing the Middle East, personally profiting from opium the U.S. military had seized in Afghanistan, giving the military an excuse to wantonly live-fire test novel weapons, and earning a hefty kickback from insurance money paid to Larry Silverstein, the American real estate mogul who owned the towers on the day they crumbled to dust.
As Cheney sat stone-faced behind the defense table, Rear Adm. Crandall showed the panel financial documents the military had acquired during its investigation into Cheney’s past. Five million dollars, paid in five installments, was dispersed to an offshore Cayman Island bank account bearing the name “Eric Burchard,” an anagram for “Richard Bruce,” Cheney’s proper first and middle names. The transactions took place between 11/7/2001-02/17/2002, long before Silverstein Properties Inc. received a 2bn settlement.
“We know with certitude that Eric Burchard is Richard Bruce Cheney; our investigation established this fact. The account was opened three days prior to 9/11 and had only the minimum balance needed to keep it open until Silverstein’s money poured into it. Silverstein knew he’d get a huge payout, it wasn’t the 7bn he wanted, but still. And the defendant, in opening the account, knew 9/11 would happen well in advance. If he has another explanation for taking the payout, we’d love to hear it,” Rear Adm. Crandall said.
“Rot in hell,” Cheney uttered with clenched teeth.
Additionally, Rear Adm. Crandall played the same audio tapes he had used to help convict George W. Bush, the ones Donald Rumsfeld had secretly recorded as he, Bush, and Cheney devised a plan to carry out 9/11 without being implicated. On them, Cheney told Bush “Not to worry” because he would “take care of everything.”
“When we first spoke to detainee Cheney, he tried to put the whole thing on Bush, and when informed that Bush is, well, dead, he got quiet. He refuses to explain why he fled the country the night we caught Bush. JAG and the OMC believe Cheney’s actions, the tapes, and his taking a payout from Silverstein prove beyond doubt that he is guilty of treason and, like Bush, must be held to account for the deaths the persons who perished in 9/11 and all American soldiers that died in Afghanistan and Iraq. We seek maximum punishment,” Rear Adm. Crandall said.
In an unusual move, an officer on the panel requested to ask Cheney a question directly.
“Have you any remorse? Do you ever think of the people who’ve died, or what the lives of their friends and family must be like? Do you have guilt over the callousness of it all?”
“Have you ever seen the film A Few Good Men, with Jack Nicholson playing Colonel Jessup? He wanted to strengthen our country, and without admitting anything, the same is for me. Any actions I might’ve taken were in the name of protecting and strengthening the United States,” Cheney replied.
Ten minutes later the panel reached a verdict: Guilty.
It endorsed Rear Adm. Crandall’s recommendation that Cheney be executed for his crimes.
A date of execution is pending.
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