Murphy’s Law, Libby’s Luck & Hints of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission


In light of the recent response to the book by White House Spokesperson, Scott McClellan I decided to republish this piece from a year ago.


 John Milton Wesley 




Murphy’s Law, Libby’s Luck & Hints of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission




Early in the 1960s the state of Mississippi set up a special commission complete with a line item on the state budget to spy on and intimidate anyone suspected of being involved in efforts to foster desegregation.  It was called the “Sovereignty Commission”. Up until sometime in 1973 this commission went about its business in secrecy spying on, undermining, intimidating, harassing, and destabilizing any citizen rumored to be involved in helping the Civil Rights movement. In the process many Mississippians, and others who ventured into the state had their careers, businesses, and families negatively impacted based on rumor, innuendo, and false accusations including being members of the Communist Party, and the ACLU. I was accused of being a member of the ACLU (then considered to be a subversive organization, Go figure!) at 17 years of age while a student at Tougaloo College, simply because I gave the writer Herbert Aptheker, considered to be a Communist a ride to and from campus. As a student, whose adviser was Dr. Ernst Borinski, Ph.D., Chairman of Tougaloo Colleges Political Science Department, and Aptheker’s, friend I was honored to pick Aptheker up from the airport, after all, he was W.E.B. DuBois’s biographer. The work of the Commission would come to light later after a long court battle to release the documents. 


“Scooter” Libby was indicted for giving false testimony to a grand jury regarding his knowledge of whether the wife of Joe Wilson was a CIA agent, and the source of Libby’s information.


In a classic case of Murphy’s Law run amok for Mr. Libby, it seems a low level plan to back channel an effort to devalue former Ambassador Joe Wilson’s report regarding the purchase, or attempt to purchase nuclear materials from Niger landed Libby in front of a Grand Jury and a “real” Special Prosecutor, a revamped FBI in need of vindication, and on the wrong side of an issue with his nemesis, the Central Intelligence Agency. Apparently Mr. Libby missed the light bulb that went off after former CIA Director George Tenet’s famous “slam dunk” comment, and the rumor that he had taken a fall for the administration regarding the extent of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.


Libby has been indicted not for a role in trying to undermine Wilson’s report or credibility, but for attempting to impede the investigation by giving false testimony on more than one occasion to investigators for the grand jury (a crime after the fact) seeking the source of the leak about Wilson’s wife. In perhaps the cruelest twist, his own notes that his office turned over to the grand jury (Libby’s Luck) just may turn out to be his downfall.   


He claimed he first learned her status from a “reporter”, when in fact his notes showed he received the information from Vice President Chaney.

One unanswered question is, was there a strategy developed by operatives in the White House to undermine any voices with the potential to slow down the administration’s rush to invade Iraq? And whether a list of persons were targeted for silencing once the administration’s chose to use Secretary of State Colin Powell’s credibility, and faulty British intelligence information about “weapons of mass destruction” to sell the “Just War” concept to the American people and the United Nations.

First of all, I. “Scooter” Libby is too smart to treat the level of security clearance he enjoyed so casually.

 Now we all know the framing of the fear of the potential imminent use of WMDs against America and her democratic allies was essential to gaining congressional support for the war in Iraq. Add to this, the potential availability of lucrative defense, and “no bid” service contracts for friends of the current administration.

What remains to be seen is whether the indictment of Mr. Libby will stand up in court. Will Libby for his own political survival, (and to avoid jail time) allow himself to be framed as an insider with “loose lips” or, now that the Democrats are in charge risk triggering congressional hearings on politically motivated negative “back channeling” run amok. Regardless, the viability of the Libby indictment should not become a distraction from what remains at the core of this investigation and that is, was the Bush administration’s rush to war the result of “clear and present danger”, or the over zealous actions of a cabal of “petty tyrants” operating in the White House (like in Iran Contra) who underestimated America’s enemies resolve, overestimated the capacity of our military’s “bells and whistles?”, and completely disregarded the risks of starting a war with a “Stateless” enemy without an exit strategy.



John Milton Wesley is a poet and author living in Columbia Md.



John Milton Wesley


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