Washington, Sept. 8--President Ford granted former President Richard M. Nixon an unconditional pardon today for all Federal crimes that he "committed or may have committed or taken part in" while in office, an act Mr. Ford said was intended to spare Mr. Nixon and the nation further punishment in the Watergate scandals.
Mr. Nixon, in San Clemente, Calif., accepted the pardon, which exempts him from indictment and trial for, among other things, his role in the cover-up of the Watergate burglary. He issued a statement saying that he could now see he was "wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate."
'Act of Mercy'
Phillip W. Buchen, the White House counsel, who advised Mr. Ford on the legal aspects of the pardon, said the "act of mercy" on the President's part was done without making any demands on Mr. Nixon and without asking the advice of the Watergate special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, who had the legal responsibility to prosecute the case.
Reaction to the pardon was sharply divided, but not entirely along party lines. Most Democrats who commented voiced varying degrees of disapproval and dismay, while most Republican comment backed President Ford.
However, Senators Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts and Jacob K. Javits of New York disagreed with the action.
Dangers Seen in Delay
Mr. Buchen said that, at the President's request, he had asked Mr. Jaworski how long it would be, in the event Mr. Nixon was indicted, before he could be brought to trial and that Mr. Jaworski had replied it would be at least nine months or more, because of the enormous amount of publicity the charges against Mr. Nixon had received when the House Judiciary Committee recommended impeachment.
This was one reason Mr. Ford cited for granting the pardon, saying he had concluded that "many months and perhaps more years will have to pass before Richard Nixon could obtain a fair trial by jury in any jurisdiction of the United States under governing decisions of the Supreme Court."
During this long period of delay and potential litigation, ugly passions would again be aroused, our people would again be polarized in their opinions, and the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad," Mr. Ford said in a 10-minute statement that he read this morning in the Oval Office upon signing the pardon.
Mr. Ford's decision was not unexpected, in...
On this day in 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, his disgraced predecessor, for any crimes, spawned by the Watergate scandal, that he might have committed or participated in while in office.
In a Sunday afternoon broadcast from the Oval Office, Ford argued that the pardon served the country’s best interests. He said Nixon’s circumstances reflect “a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.”
In accepting the pardon, Nixon said: “That the way I tried to deal with Watergate was the wrong way is a burden I shall bear for every day of the life that is left to me.”
In the wake of the pardon, Ford’s poll numbers plummeted. His newly named press secretary, Jerald terHorst, resigned in protest. In an unprecedented step, Ford, a former House minority leader, testified before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee. He insisted that there was no quid pro quo involved in Nixon’s Aug. 9 resignation. On that date, after taking the oath of office, Ford had said, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
After leaving office in 1977, Ford carried in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States, a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said that a pardon indicated a presumption of guilt and that acceptance of a pardon was tantamount to a confession of that guilt.
In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded its Profile in Courage Award to Ford. In presenting the award, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) noted that while he had opposed the Nixon pardon at the time, history proved Ford had made the correct decision.
Ford died on Dec. 26, 2006, at the age of 93.
n the predominantly black Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, racial tension reaches a breaking point after two white policemen scuffle with a black motorist suspected of drunken driving. A crowd of spectators gathered near the corner of Avalon Boulevard and 116th Street to watch the arrest and soon grew angry by what they believed to be yet another incident of racially motivated abuse by the police. A riot soon began, spurred on by residents of Watts who were embittered after years of economic and political isolation. The rioters eventually ranged over a 50-square-mile area of South Central Los Angeles, looting stores, torching buildings, and beating whites as snipers fired at police and firefighters. Finally, with the assistance of thousands of National Guardsmen, order was restored on August 16.
The five days of violence left 34 dead, 1,032 injured, nearly 4,000 arrested, and $40 million worth of property destroyed. The Watts riot was the worst urban riot in 20 years and foreshadowed the many rebellions to occur in ensuing years in Detroit, Newark, and other American cities.
On Wednesday, 11 August 1965, Marquette Frye, a 21-year-old black man, was arrested for drunk driving on the edge of Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. The ensuing struggle during his arrest sparked off 6 days of rioting, resulting in 34 deaths, over 1,000 injuries, nearly 4,000 arrests, and the destruction of property valued at $40 million. On 17 August 1965, Martin Luther King arrived in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the riots. His experiences over the next several days reinforced his growing conviction that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) should move north and lead a movement to address the growing problems facing black people in the nation’s urban areas.
Frye had been drinking, and was driving with his brother, Ronald, in the car, when the two were pulled over two blocks from their home. While Marquette was being arrested, Ronald retrieved their mother from her house. When Mrs. Frye saw her son being forcibly arrested, she fought with the arresting officers, tearing one officer’s shirt. An officer then struck Marquette’s head with his nightstick, and all three of the Fryes were arrested.
By the time the Fryes were arrested, hundreds of onlookers had been drawn to the scene. Anger and rumors spread quickly through the black community, and residents stoned cars and beat white people who entered the area. A neighborhood meeting called by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission the following day failed to quell the mounting tension, and that evening rioting resumed. Firemen attempting to put out blazes were shot at by residents, and looting was rampant. All day Friday the riots intensified, prompting the California lieutenant governor to call in the National Guard. By Saturday night a curfew had been set, and nearly 14,000 National Guard troops were patrolling a 46-mile area. By the time King arrived on Tuesday, having cut short his stay in Puerto Rico, the riots were largely over and the curfew was lifted. Fueling residual anger, however, police stormed a Nation of Islam mosque the next night, firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the building and wounding 19 men.
While deploring the riots and their use of violence, King was quick to point out that the problems that led to the violence were ‘‘environmental and not racial. The economic deprivation, social isolation, inadequate housing, and general despair of thousands of Negroes teeming in Northern and Western...
A man shot dead by police hunting the bombers behind Thursday's London attacks was a Brazilian electrician unconnected to the incidents.
The man, who died at Stockwell Tube on Friday, has been named by police as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27.
Two other men have been arrested and are being questioned after bombers targeted three Tube trains and a bus.
Police also said a suspect package found in north-west London on Saturday may be linked to Thursday's attacks.
Scotland Yard said Mr Menezes, who lived in Brixton, south London, was completely unconnected to the bomb attacks and added: "For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."
The Brazilian government has expressed its shock at the killing and Brazil's foreign minister Celso Amorim is on his way to London to get an explanation from foreign secretary Jack Straw.
In a statement the government said it "looks forward to receiving the necessary explanation from the British authorities on the circumstances which led to this tragedy".
The shooting is being investigated by officers from Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards, and will be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The family of Mr Menezes told the Brazilian media there was nothing in his past which would give him a reason to run from police.
Mr Menezes' cousin, Alex Alves, told O Globo television: "I asked that the body be released as quickly as possible, we need to bring him to Brazil, which is what the family wants".
"He does not have a past that would make him run from police," he said.
Mr Alves said Mr Menezes, who was from the town of Gonzaga in Minas Gerais state, had lived in London legally for at least three years and was employed as an electrician. Civil rights groups have called for a full inquiry into the shooting.
Meanwhile Dr Azzam Tamimi from the Muslim Association of Britain told BBC News the police should review their procedures.
"Frankly it doesn't matter whether he is a Muslim or not, he is a human being.
"It is human lives that are being targeted whether by terrorists or whether in this case unfortunately, by people who are supposed to be chasing or catching the terrorists."
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "The police acted to do what they believed necessary to protect the lives of the public.
The Met was at full stretch hunting four suicide bombers – but when officers shot dead an innocent Brazilian, everything changed
Saturday 13 December 2008
Stepping off the No 2 bus at 9.46am on 22 July 2005, Jean Charles de Menezes made the kind of decision that is second nature to Londoners used to the unpredictability of the city's transport network.
Realising the Tube station he was heading for was closed, he jumped back on the bus he had just alighted and carried on towards Stockwell. That split-second, seemingly innocuous decision cost him his life.
Unbeknown to Mr de Menezes, the officers tailing him thought the U-turn was a "typical anti-surveillance" technique. It convinced them that the Brazilian was a terrorist – one of seven deadly errors the police made as they tried to hunt down four men who had tried and failed to detonate suicide bombs the previous day.
If any one of these mistakes had not been made, Mr de Menezes would not have been pinned down and shot seven times in the head.
1 MISSING FIREARMS OFFICERS
The first came the moment the Brazilian left his block of flats at Scotia Road, Tulse Hill, which by sheer bad luck was also home to one of the failed bombers, Hussain Osman. The plan, according to John McDowall, who was in charge of the operation and is now deputy assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, was that firearms teams would be outside the flats and would stop and question everyone who left. But the order was never communicated to the armed officers. Instead surveillance officers, with no training in stopping and questioning suspects, staked out the flats alone.
2 PHOTOGRAPH MIX-UP
The surveillance team, SO12, had not been shown a quality picture of Osman, the man they were hunting. All they had seen was a faded passport photograph at briefing at Scotland Yard at 5am and not all of them had a copy at the scene. The jury decided that the failure of the police to provide better photographs to the officers contributed to Mr de Menezes's death.
3 ABSENT FROM POST
But it should not have been a problem. The SO12 officers had a video with them to record those coming in and out of the flats. That could have been cross referenced to the photographs of Osman and the obvious differences established. But the SO12 officer, codenamed Frank, failed to film the Brazilian as he walked past his surveillance van because he had put down his camera so he could urinate.
4 BOARDING THE BUS
A fourth opportunity...
Syndicated columnist Robert Novak identified Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in a column published in July 2003 — not long after Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the White House for exaggerating evidence in its push to justify going to war against Iraq. Novak said two unnamed administration sources had identified Plame to him.
That revelation sparked a two-year-long investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into who disclosed the covert agent's identity. In October 2005, Fitzgerald indicted I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, on charges of obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury in the CIA leak case. Libby resigned from his post and pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him. But a jury found Libby guilty on four of the five counts, convicting him of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000.
However, on July 2, 2007, President Bush stepped into the politically charged case by commuting Libby's prison sentence. Libby will not have to serve time behind bars, but he must still pay the fine and serve two years probation.
Following is a timeline of how the CIA leak case has evolved:
February 2002: Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson travels to Niger at the CIA's request to check for evidence that Iraq bought uranium "yellowcake" from the African country that could be used for production of a nuclear weapon.
Jan. 28, 2003: President Bush delivers his State of the Union address. In the speech he includes the following sentence: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Those 16 words contradicted what Wilson had reported upon his return from Niger to check out the claim. Months later they would be retracted by the White House.
March 20, 2003: The invasion of Iraq begins.
May 6, 2003: The New York Times publishes a column by Nicholas Kristof disputing the accuracy of the 16 words in the president's State of the Union address. The column reports that, following up on a request from the vice president's office, an unnamed ambassador investigated the allegations regarding Iraq's efforts to buy uranium from Niger. Kristoff writes that in early 2002, the ambassador had reported to the CIA and State Department that the allegations were...
The CIA's decision to send retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson to Africa in February 2002 to investigate possible Iraqi purchases of uranium was made routinely at a low level without Director George Tenet's knowledge. Remarkably, this produced a political firestorm that has not yet subsided.
Wilson's report that an Iraqi purchase of uranium yellowcake from Niger was highly unlikely was regarded by the CIA as less than definitive, and it is doubtful Tenet ever saw it. Certainly President Bush did not, before his 2003 State of the Union address, when he attributed reports of attempted Iraqi uranium purchases to the British government. That the British relied on forged documents made Wilson's mission, nearly a year earlier, the basis of furious Democratic accusations of burying intelligence, though the report was forgotten by the time the president spoke.
Reluctance at the White House to admit a mistake has led Democrats ever closer to saying the president lied the country into war. Even after a belated admission of error last Monday, finger-pointing between Bush administration agencies continued. Messages between Washington and the presidential entourage traveling in Africa hashed over the mission to Niger.
Wilson's mission was created after an early 2002 report by the Italian intelligence service about attempted uranium purchases from Niger, derived from forged documents prepared by what the CIA calls a "con man." This misinformation, peddled by Italian journalists, spread through the U.S. government. The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, and not just Vice President Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.
That's where Joe Wilson came in. His first public notice had come in 1991 after 15 years as a Foreign Service officer when, as U.S. charge in Baghdad, he risked his life to shelter in the embassy some 800 Americans from Saddam Hussein's wrath. My partner Rowland Evans reported from the Iraqi capital in our column that Wilson showed "the stuff of heroism." The next year, President George H.W. Bush named him ambassador to Gabon, and President Bill Clinton put him in charge of African affairs at the National Security Council until his retirement in 1998.
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the...