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Truthdigger of the Week

Truthdigger of the Week: Lawrence Wilkerson

Every week, Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney launched his long-anticipated memoir this week, a 576-page “grocery store tabloid,” according to Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell and this week’s Truthdigger of the Week.

A member of the Bush administration from 2002 to 2005, Wilkerson has evolved into an outspoken critic of the Iraq War and has expressed regret for his part in making it happen. He has admitted that he helped put together Colin Powell’s presentation to the U.N. Security Council in 2003 pushing for the invasion, and has said it was the “biggest mistake” of his life. But since then, he has been doing his best to make up for that mistake. On Tuesday, Wilkerson said he would be willing to take the stand in criminal court against Cheney. “I’d be willing to testify,” he said, “and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due.”

In an interview with Amy Goodman for “Democracy Now!” Wilkerson dismissed Cheney’s book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” as “singularly insignificant,” and said he agrees that Cheney is “not just a political figure with controversial views,” as constitutional law attorney Glenn Greenwald has said, “but an actual criminal, that he was centrally involved in a whole variety, not just of war crimes in Iraq, but of domestic crimes as well.”

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Honorable Mentions

This week the U.S. Justice Department sued to keep telecom giant AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile in a deal that would drastically reshape the mobile communications landscape. The complaint filed against AT&T shows that every once in a long while, Uncle Sam can be counted on to not just rubber-stamp another monopoly: “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove significant competitive force from the market,” it reads. “Thus, unless this acquisition is enjoined, customers of mobile wireless telecommunications services likely will face higher prices, less product variety and innovation, and poorer quality services due to reduced incentives to invest that would exist absent the merger.” Thanks for watching our backs, DOJ. And thanks for the nomination, @marinaayvazian.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders fought for his underwater state this week in the wake of Hurricane Irene, calling BS on Rep. Eric Cantor’s efforts to turn a natural disaster into yet another excuse to hack away at social programs like Social Security and Medicare. And speaking of Social Security, just last week (Aug. 25) Sanders laid out a plan that he said would keep the program solvent for the next 75 years: Apply the same payroll tax already paid by more than nine out of 10 Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year. In nominating Sanders, Truthdig reader Mary said that not only is he “concerned about real people in reality-based reality,” but he “has a good perspective about corporate power and understands what needs to be done to restrain corporate bullies.”

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Watch Lawrence Wilkerson’s interview on “Democracy Now!” below.

Listen to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ take on Social Security.

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