Oct 082009
 

Related to the Bush visit (Oct 20-21-22 Edmonton-Saskatoon-Montreal).

Letters (below) to:

  • RCMP F Division (Sask) Commander  (arrest)
  •  Chief of Police   (arrest)
  • Letter to the Attorney General of Canada (prosecution)

 

Interesting update, item 15 in the letters:

“LAW & ORDER” TV PROGRAMME MAKES CASE FOR PROSECUTION OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION TORTURERS, OCTOBER 2, 2009

I almost feel guilty putting my name to the attached two letters because they are a collaborative creation.

But never mind – please feel free to cut, copy and paste to send your own letter to members of the justice system.

“Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.” Gandhi

 

I included a copy of the letter to the RCMP in the letter to the Attorney General of Canada.

For you, much of it is a repeat of information in previous emails.

The first item, SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RULE OF LAW,  is to me the most important part. We are in big trouble if the laws do not apply to those who govern.

I think we can and will and must win this one. A mass of informed people will do it – please forward this to others.

 

UPDATE (Sept 2014):

George Bush and his cohorts were not arrested, but they seem to have stopped coming to Canada.    They may have stopped travelling – – they are at risk of being arrested.

See the  international efforts  Arrest George Bush. Rule of Law essential to democracy.

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October 8, 2009

FROM:   Sandra Finley  (address and contact information)

TO:   RCMP

Commander Division F

Bag 2500

6101 Dewdney Avenue

Regina, SK  S4P 3K7

Dear Commander of F Division,

RE:  George Bush in Saskatoon, October 21.  Duty to arrest under the Rule of Law.

Please review the enclosed information regarding the laws as they apply to George W. Bush.

I request that you carry out your duties under the law and arrest Bush when he comes to Saskatchewan.

I know this is a touchy issue.  It is not a political one.  It is not a question of whether it may or may not be popular with some people or organizations.

It is a question of whether people are equal before the law.

The substantial information appended is more than sufficient ground upon which to arrest George Bush.

I have written to the Attorney General of Canada, Robert Nicholson.  He must carry out his duty which is to prosecute after Bush has been arrested.

Thank-you.

Best wishes,

Sandra Finley

 

CONTENTS

(1)  SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RULE OF LAW:   GEORGE BUSH’S VISIT IS AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS MATTER

(2)  LETTER TO THE CHIEF OF POLICE

(3)  INTERNATIONAL AND CANADIAN LAWS, AS THEY APPLY TO BUSH

(4)  G.W. BUSH SHOULD BE BARRED ENTRY UNDER INADMISSIBILITY PROVISIONS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT (IRPA)

(5)  CANADIAN LAW OBLIGES THE POLICE IN SASKATCHEWAN TO ARREST BUSH

(6)  DUTY TO BAR ENTRY TO CANADA

(7)  DUTY TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE

(8)  DUTY TO PROSECUTE

(9)  VINCE BUGLIOSI’S BOOK, “THE PROSECUTION OF GEORGE W. BUSH FOR MURDER” AND TESTIMONY AT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARINGS (YOUTUBE)

(10)  MESSAGE FROM RAMSAY CLARK, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL

(11)  SPANISH JUDGE RESUMES TORTURE CASE AGAINST SIX SENIOR BUSH LAWYERS,  8.9.09   

(12)  UPDATE ON THE SPANISH PROSECUTION, OCTOBER 7.  LEGAL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST BUSH, BLAIR AND OTHERS

(13)  BOOK, THE GUANTANAMO FILES, THE  STORIES OF THE 774 DETAINEES IN AMERICAN’S ILLEGAL PRISON

(14)  TORTURED LAW, VIDEO FOOTAGE

(15)  TV PROGRAMME  “LAW & ORDER” MAKES CASE FOR PROSECUTION OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION TORTURERS, OCTOBER 2, 2009

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(1)  SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RULE OF LAW:   GEORGE BUSH’S VISIT IS AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS MATTER

We are in big trouble if the laws do not apply to those who govern.

Many of us do not appreciate the significance of  The Rule of Law.  We take it for granted.

We don’t stop to think what it would be like if we DO NOT HAVE the rule of law.

We don’t stop to think about WHAT UNDERMINES the rule of law? . . .  If people see that the law applies to them, but not to rich people, they grow to hold the law in disdain.

Unequal application of the law breaks down the rule of law.  The response then, of those who govern, is to invoke martial law, a police state, because people become unruly.

People comply with the law if they see that is it fair and equally applied.  You can have a measure of PEACE in the community if the Rule of Law is upheld.

Many of us do not appreciate that it is the CITIZENS in a democracy who have responsibility for ensuring that the rule of law is upheld.

We don’t bother to understand that World War Two happened because the PEOPLE in Germany, the influential, the educated, the police, the lawyers, and judges DID NOT stand up and speak up when they saw things that were wrong in the application of the laws.

Citizens have to stop things BEFORE they get out of hand. The German people did not do that.  After a certain point, bad actors cannot be stopped, except through the extreme measures of (World) war.

IF YOU BELIEVE that young lives were expended for a good cause in World War Two, then get the hell off your butts and do something to preserve what they fought and died for.

In pre-war Germany, people did not stand up and insist that law-breakers be arrested and tried in courts of true justice.

As bad actors amassed power, they were allowed to break the laws with no fear of prosecution.

“All persons, regardless of wealth, social status, or the political power wielded by them, are to be treated the same before the law.

“The rule of law means that the law is above everyone and it applies to everyone. Whether governors or governed, rulers or ruled, no one is above the law, no one is exempted from the law, and no one can grant exemption to the application of the law.

“The rules must apply to those who lay them down and those who apply them – that is, to the government as well as the governed.  Nobody has the power to grant exceptions.”

People must, of course, KNOW WHAT THE LAW IS, if the rule of law is to be upheld.

We are in big trouble if we are ignorant, because then we are disempowered and at the mercy of bad actors.

The laws as they apply to George Bush for crimes against humanity are spelt out in the letter below to the Chief of Police.

We do not have the luxery of being ignorant, and we do not have the luxery of being complacent.

/Sandra

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(2)  LETTER TO THE CHIEF OF POLICE

September 10, 2009

Sandra Finley  (address and contact info)

 

TO:   Saskatoon City Police

Chief Clive Weighill

 

HAND DELIVERED

 

Dear Chief Weighill,

 

CONCERNING:    G.W. Bush visit to Saskatoon, October 21, 2009

 

George W. Bush is responsible for an illegal war on Iraq.  I ask people how they would like it if he had done to Canada what he did to Iraq.

G.W. Bush authorized the use of treatment prohibited by the Convention against Torture and Canadian law.  His coming to Canada will trigger Canada’s jurisdiction and duty to prosecute him.

What can the Saskatoon City Police do?  Can you start an investigation perhaps?  There is lots of information already collected.  I think it would mostly be a matter of using existing documents.  Please see appended information.  I would be happy to obtain more, if that would be helpful.

You may know that there are many lawyers and organizations around the world who are working on the legal case against Bush, in order to bring him before the International Criminal Court.

If he was the president of an African country (e.g. Al Bashir of Sudan, Darfur notoriety) who is responsible for similar but lesser deeds, he would be tried by the International Criminal Court.

It may take some time, but in the end G.W. Bush will be tried for his crimes against humanity – – worse than those of any criminal you have in your custody today.

There is more than a month’s time for the justice community in Saskatchewan to figure out how to deal with the entry into our City of a most likely war criminal.

Please see the appended legal duties of Canada in this situation.

I have left a message for:

  • Karl Bazin in his role of President of the Law Society of SK   (Swift Current  778-3632 home)
  • Terry Kimpinski, President of the SK branch of the Canadian Bar Association   Saskatoon  (306-244-6686.)
  • I phoned Bedford Biofuels in Calgary (a sponsor of the Bush visit) and then sent them the legal case against Bush.  Maybe they are unaware.

This is so offensive that they would bring Bush here.  I have a sick feeling when I think that we would in any way celebrate the perpetrators of illegal war and torture, and worse yet, do nothing to see that justice is applied equally.  Mr. Bush is not above the law.

The Star Phoenix sent out a full colour advertisement by email for the event.  The names across the bottom of the ad indicate that the sponsors here are the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, The Saskatoon Star Phoenix, TCU Place, and American Express.

I will contact others and encourage my friends to circulate the information.  I am sure that working together, citizens and law enforcement, we can find a way out of this dilemma.

You are in a very difficult position vis-à-vis law enforcement.  I would not wish to be in your boots.

 

(INSERT:  Sept 12th.  When I think of it, the Chief of Police is not in a difficult situation, especially if citizens rally behind him.  If the rule of law is to prevail, the laws MUST apply equally to everyone, regardless of their perceived stature. It is the job of the Chief of Police – he would understand this better than anyone.)

 

Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.

 

Best wishes,

Sandra Finley

(THE FOLLOWING Items 3 & 4 are THE LEGAL  ARGUMENT INCLUDED IN THE COMMUNICATION TO CHIEF WEIGHILL.)

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(3)  INTERNATIONAL AND CANADIAN LAWS, AS THEY APPLY TO BUSH

Canada’s legal duties

By ratifying the Convention against Torture and the Rome Statute for an International Court, Canada agreed not only to make the torture and other war crimes and crimes against humanity crimes under Canadian law but also to participate in acting effectively to prevent and punish these crimes wherever they occur. To ensure Canada’s ability to fulfill these duties, Parliament has:

o       Passed laws enabling Canada to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity wherever the crimes occurred and whatever the nationality of the suspected perpetrators and the victims. (e.g. Criminal Code, torture provisions and the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.)  Under the Convention against Torture , when a person suspected of any involvement in torture enters Canada, Canada has a duty to either prosecute that person or extradite him to a state that is willing and able to prosecute.

o       Passed laws to ensure that Canada will not allow people suspected of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity and/or gross human rights abuses to enter Canada or otherwise provide a safe haven, even temporarily, for people suspected of any involvement in carrying out or acquiescing to war crimes, crimes against humanity or other gross human rights abuses. (e.g. Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)

The Canadian Ministers responsible are not enforcing these laws.  In spite of significant intelligent, peaceful protests, G.W. Bush was allowed entry into Canada in March and May 2009 and Colin Powell was allowed entry in June 2008.

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(4)  G.W. BUSH SHOULD BE BARRED ENTRY UNDER INADMISSIBILITY PROVISIONS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT (IRPA) 

G. W. Bush should be barred from entering Canada in accordance with the inadmissibility provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

Foreign nationals suspected of human or international rights violations are not allowed into Canada.

George W. Bush has been accused by knowledgeable groups and individuals throughout the world of complicity in war crimes, crimes against humanity and other gross human rights abuses.

Bush (and Dick Cheney) are known to have authorized and directed the torture of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and other U.S. controlled prisons.

A Canadian citizen, Omar Khadr has been subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment prohibited by international law—treatment and interrogation techniques approved by Bush and Cheney.

States are responsible for enforcing international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by ensuring that violators are prosecuted and held accountable.

As a signatory to the Convention against Torture, the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute Canada has a duty to take effective measures to prevent and punish torture and other war crimes and crimes against humanity wherever such crimes occur, no matter what the nationality of perpetrators or victims.

War crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by the Bush administration under the supervision and direction of G.W. Bush as President and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and Dick Cheney as Vice-President are very well documented.  Evidence that is part of the public record far exceeds the ‘reasonable grounds’ required by the IRPA.

Michael Haas (his book, George W. Bush, War Criminal?  The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes) identifies and documents evidence of 269 war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the U.S. under the direction and supervison of Bush and Cheney.

(INSERT, Sandra Finley:  There is also the work of Vince Bugliosi in the U.S. in relation to Bush (testimony before the House Judicial Committee (on Youtube) and his book “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”.  I didn’t mention those to Chief Weighill, but should have.  Please see Item #9 for more information.)

Courts in Canada and the U.S. have confirmed the involvement of G.W. Bush, as president and other members of the Bush administration in war crimes.  The U.S. Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush 542 U.S. 455 (2004) ruled that Bush’s order  depriving Guantánamo Bay prisoners of habeas corpus was unlawful under U.S. and international law. Again in 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court in Hamdan v Rumsfeld, 126 S,Ct. 2749 (2006) ruled that the Guantánamo Bay regime created by Bush’s 13/Nov/01 order violated Geneva Convention fair trial rights.   Under international (Geneva Conventions) and Canadian (Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act) depriving a prisoner of a fair trial is a war crime.

The Supreme Court of Canada in Canada (Justice) v. Khadr, 2008 SCC 28 confirmed that the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay violated the Geneva Conventions and both Canada’s domestic law and international law obligations.  The Federal Court of Canada in Khadr v. the Prime Minister et al 2009 FC 405, found that the U.S. treatment, including of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay and the use of sleep deprivation (moving Khadr every three hours for a period of three weeks to ‘soften’ him up for interrogation by Canadian officials) violated the Convention against Torture (CAT) and that Khadr’s detention was illegal under international law.

If the law is applied equally, if citizens are to have confidence that the laws apply equally, G.W. Bush will be denied entry to Canada, in accordance with the IRPA.  I think we have to work together to see that he is somehow stopped from coming to Saskatoon.  We can do what is within our control, at the least.

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(5)  CANADIAN LAW OBLIGES THE POLICE IN SASKATCHEWAN TO ARREST BUSH

Canadian law obliges the Police in Saskatchewan to arrest G.W. Bush for torture when he arrives in Saskatchewan. To investigate allegations that G.W. Bush, while President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces counseled, aided and abetted torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan, the Police must review the extensive investigations and conclusions of the reports already conducted by experts around the world including. On the basis of those reports the Police are bound to recommend to the Attorney General of Canada that torture charge be laid against G.W. Bush unless there is another jurisdiction ready and able to prosecute him for torture. In the latter event, Canada’s duty would be to extradite Bush to that jurisdiction for trial.

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(6)  DUTY TO BAR ENTRY TO CANADA

An essential component of Canada’s duty to prevent and punish torture and other war crimes and crimes against humanity–wherever they occur–is to ensure that people suspected on reasonable grounds of involvement (e.g. authorizing, directing, executing, failing, as a person in charge, to stop) in such crimes don’t find a safe haven from prosecution in Canada. There is no exception that allows entry to suspects for short periods of time. By failing to enforce the relevant sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that bar people suspected of involvement in such crimes in the case of Bush, Cheney and Blair from Canada, the government of Canada is effectively granting domestic immunity to each of them. By granting immunity to Bush, Blair and Cheney, Canada also encourages and gives license to other leaders to engage in these horrific crimes with impunity–at least from Canada.

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(7)  DUTY TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE

Under CAT, Art. 12, Canada has also an urgent duty to investigate allegations of torture and of other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as part of its duty to prevent such crimes. CAT Committee rulings establish that delay by a state to investigate allegations of torture or inhumane or degrading treatment is itself a violation of CAT.  Canada’s duty to investigate became imperative, at the latest, in March 2004 when Canada received notice that the US had subjected Canadian citizen Omar Khadr to prolonged sleep deprivation and isolation to prepare him for questioning by Canadian officials.

Canada has enacted the jurisdiction to prosecute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and war crimes as defined by the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court, wherever they occur and whatever the nationality when the victim is a Canadian citizen. The Criminal Code of Canada (CC) s. 269.1 & 7(3.7) establishes jurisdiction to prosecute torture committed outside Canada when the victim is a Canadian citizen.  The Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (CAHWCA) and the Geneva Conventions Act make grave breaches of the GCs, including unlawful confinement and deportation and denial of a fair trial, war crimes and establish Canada’s jurisdiction to prosecute such crimes wherever they occur when the victim is a Canadian citizen.

The common law duty of the RCMP, Canada’s national police force, to investigate and prevent such crimes, has been enacted by statute and recognized by Canadian courts.  To meet the challenge of investigating crimes committed outside Canadian territory, Canada has also established the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Program (War Crimes Program).

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(8)  DUTY TO PROSECUTE 

The mandate of the War Crimes Program is to “…ensure that the Government of Canada has properly addressed all allegations of war crimes…against Canadian citizens…[and]…to ensure that Canada complies with its international obligations…In order to meet this objective, the RCMP, with the support of DOJ [Department of Justice], investigates allegations involving reprehensible acts that could lead to a possible criminal prosecution.”

References

15 See Halimi-Nedzibi v. Australia in which a 15-month delay was adjudged a breach of Article 12 and Blanco Abad v. Spain where a delay of 32 days was held by the CAT Committee to be a breach of CAT Article 12.

16 Criminal Code of Canada, ss. 269, 7(3.7); Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act, (2000, c.24) ss. 6(1) (3)

& 8(a) (iii), Geneva Conventions Act, R.S. 1985 c. G-3.

17 RCMP Act, R.S. 1985, c. R-10, s. 18 and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations, 1988, SOR/88-361, s. 17.

18 “[common law] recognizes the existence of a broad conventional or customary duty in the established constabulary as an arm of the State to protect the life, limb and property of the subject.” Shacht v. R. [1973] 1 O.R. 221 at pp. 231-32.

19 Overview of Operations, mandates and Structure, Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program:

http://www.justice.gc.ca/en/ps/wc/oms-ams.html.

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(9)  VINCE BUGLIOSI’S BOOK, “THE PROSECUTION OF GEORGE W. BUSH FOR MURDER”  AND TESTIMONY AT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARINGS (YOUTUBE)

Excerpt from 28/07/2008:

Vince Bugliosi’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, on YouTube video.   http://watsupjb75.blogspot.com/2008/07/bugliosi.html

Other testimony is available by clicking on the caption under the video:  “For a cross section of the testimonies at the Judiciary Committee Hearings”

Baby boomers will remember Bugliosi’s prosecution of Charles Manson.  I read his book “Helter Skelter” way back then, about the Manson “family” and the murders.

Bugliosi’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee is based on his most recent book, “The Prosecution of George W Bush for Murder”.

Excerpt from the book:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vincent-bugliosi/the-prosecution-of-george_b_102427.html

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me about the belief of many that George Bush lied to the American public in starting his war with Iraq is that the liberal columnists who have accused him of doing this merely make this point, and then go on to the next paragraph in their columns. Only very infrequently does a columnist add that because of it Bush should be impeached. If the charges are true, of course Bush should have been impeached, convicted, and removed from office. That’s almost too self-evident to state. But he deserves much more than impeachment. I mean, in America, we apparently impeach presidents for having consensual sex outside of marriage and trying to cover it up. If we impeach presidents for that, then if the president takes the country to war on a lie where thousands of American soldiers die horrible, violent deaths and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, even babies are killed, the punishment obviously has to be much, much more severe. That’s just common sense. If Bush were impeached, convicted in the Senate, and removed from office, he’d still be a free man, still be able to wake up in the morning with his cup of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice and read the morning paper, still travel widely and lead a life of privilege, still belong to his country club and get standing ovations whenever he chose to speak to the Republican faithful. This, for being responsible for over 100,000 horrible deaths?* For anyone interested in true justice, impeachment alone would be a joke for what Bush did.”

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(10)  MESSAGE FROM RAMSAY CLARK, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL

I urge you to read the complete text of the MESSAGE FROM RAMSEY CLARK to the protestors of the Bush visit to Calgary.  He is a former United States Attorney General:

Ramsay Clark starts:  “My congratulations and gratitude to Canada’s peace movement and its many organizations and individuals protesting the March 17th, 2009 appearance of former US President George W. Bush for a speech at a private lunch in Calgary.  .

We dare not blink at the magnitude, diversity and pervasive impact of the known crimes committed by the Bush administration.  With unity, cooperation and perseverance, We Shall Overcome, or be undone, together. We dare not fail. … “

(Sept 10, 2009 – unfortunately, the blog is no longer there and I didn’t copy the whole text.)

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(11)  SPANISH JUDGE RESUMES TORTURE CASE AGAINST SIX SENIOR BUSH LAWYERS,  8.9.09

http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2009/09/08/spanish-judge-resumes-torture-case-against-six-senior-bush-lawyers/

Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers

8.9.09

 The Spanish newspaper Público reported exclusively on Saturday that Judge Baltasar Garzón is pressing ahead with a case against six senior Bush administration lawyers for implementing torture at Guantánamo.

Back in March, Judge Garzón announced that he was planning to investigate the six prime architects of the Bush administration’s torture policies — former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, who played a major role in the preparation of the OLC’s notorious “torture memos”; Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy; William J. Haynes II, the Defense Department’s former general counsel; Jay S. Bybee, Yoo’s superior in the OLC, who signed off on the August 2002 “torture memos”; and David Addington, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff.

In April, on the advice of the Spanish Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, who believes that an American tribunal should judge the case (or dismiss it) before a Spanish court even thinks about becoming involved, prosecutors recommended that Judge Garzón should drop his investigation. As CNN reported, Mr. Conde-Pumpido told reporters that Judge Garzón’s plans threatened to turn the court “into a toy in the hands of people who are trying to do a political action.”

On Saturday, however, Público reported that Judge Garzón had accepted a lawsuit presented by a number of Spanish organizations — the Asociación Pro Dignidad de los Presos y Presas de España (Organization for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners), Asociación Libre de Abogados (Free Lawyers Association), the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España (Association for Human Rights in Spain) and Izquierda Unida (a left-wing political party) — and three former Guantánamo prisoners (the British residents Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes, and Sami El-Laithi, an Egyptian freed in 2005, who was paralyzed during an incident involving guards at Guantánamo).

The newspaper reported that all these groups and individuals would take part in any trial, which is somewhat ironic, as, although Judge Garzón has been involved in high-profile cases that have delighted human rights advocates — his pursuit of General Pinochet, for example — he has been severely criticized for his heavy-handed approach to terrorism-related cases in Spain (as in the cases of Mohammed Farsi and Farid Hilali, amongst others), and, in fact, aggressively pursued an extradition request for both Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes on their return from Guantánamo to the UK in December 2007, in connection with spurious and long-refuted claims about activities related to terrorism, which he was only persuaded to drop in March 2008.

It is, at present, uncertain whether another attempt to stifle Judge Garzón will derail him from his pursuit of the Bush administration’s lawyers, as he is not known for letting adversaries stand in his way. At the end of June, the Spanish Parliament pointedly passed legislation aimed at “ending the practice of letting its magistrates seek war-crime indictments against officials from any foreign country, including the United States,” on the basis that no Spanish Court should be able to judge officials of foreign countries except when the victims are Spanish or the crimes were committed in Spain.

However, on Sunday, when Público spoke to Philippe Sands, the British lawyer, and author of Torture Team, which provided much of the first-hand evidence for Garzón’s case, Sands explicitly stated that there was “no legal barrier” to prevent Judge Garzón’s prosecution from proceeding. He explained that he believed the recent decision by US Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special investigator to investigate cases of torture by the CIA is related to the Spanish lawsuit and the importance it has acquired because of its instigation by Judge Garzón. Sands told Público, “The recent decision by Eric Holder emphasizes how appropriate the Spanish investigation is. Many commentators believe that this decision has had a significant and direct impact in the United States, reminding people that there is an obligation to investigate torture.”

He added, “Judge Garzón’s actions have acted like a catalyst, and are supported by many people in the United States, including some members of Congress. He has reminded everybody that a blind eye cannot be turned to these actions and that there are people who are not going to let that happen.” He also explained that Eric Holder’s gesture is only a first step, “limited to cases in which interrogators may have exceeded the limits formally approved by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel,” that the architects of the “legal decisions that purported to justify the use of torture are not in immediate danger in the United States,” and that there is, therefore, “no legal barrier to the continuation of the Spanish investigation.”

He concluded by stating that it was “important” that Judge Garzón proceeds with the case in Spain, because, although Eric Holder “has confirmed the importance of the Convention Against Torture, he has taken only a first step that “does not really address the actions of those who were truly responsible for its violation.”

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(12)  UPDATE ON THE SPANISH PROSECUTION, OCTOBER 7:  LEGAL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST BUSH, BLAIR AND OTHERS

Prosecution News

A legal complaint was filed in Spain, October 7, 2009 against Bush, Blair and others for commissioning, condoning and/or perpetuating multiple war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Iraq. http://brusselstribunal.org/

The next step: This complaint will be assigned to one of six investigative judges and that judge will decide whether to “admit” the case for investigation or not.

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(13)  BOOK, THE GUANTANAMO FILES, THE  STORIES OF THE 774 DETAINEES IN AMERICAN’S ILLEGAL PRISON

 Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK).

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(14)  TORTURED LAW, VIDEO FOOTAGE 

To view 10 minute documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJnQbPtgMAU

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(15)  TV PROGRAMME  “LAW & ORDER” MAKES CASE FOR PROSECUTION OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION TORTURERS, OCTOBER 2, 2009

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/oct2009/lawo-o02.shtml

By Patrick Martin
2 October 2009

Last Friday’s season premiere of NBC’s crime drama “Law & Order” was a rarity for American television: an unsparing and essentially honest examination of the crimes being committed by the American government, in the name of the “war on terror.”

The episode is entitled “Memos from the Dark Side,” a reference to Vice President Dick Cheney’s phrase describing US tactics in the “war on terror.” It has the familiar structure of the long-running program: the first half-hour focuses on the police investigation of a murder, the second half-hour on the outcome of the case in court.

The murder victim is an Iraq war veteran, a former guard at the Abu Ghraib prison who participated in the torture-killing of a prisoner and is haunted by it. In a moving video “diary,” not discovered until after his death, he avows, “I didn’t join the service to murder people.”

The veteran is shot down after he confronts a professor at a New York City law school over the professor’s role in drafting the legal memoranda spelling out permissible methods of interrogating prisoners. The professor ultimately confesses to the shooting, claiming self-defense, and a grand jury refuses to indict him.

Sam Waterston in Law & Order: Memos from the Dark Side

It is here that the program takes a sharp political turn. The district attorney, Jack McCoy, played by Sam Waterston, intervenes to propose that the law professor (clearly modeled on former Justice Department attorney John Yoo) be prosecuted on charges of conspiracy, using the fact that the torture memoranda were drafted at the office of the US Attorney in Manhattan to assert local jurisdiction.

“You want to prosecute a member of the Bush administration for assaulting suspected terrorists?” his top assistant district attorney, Michael Cutter (played by Linus Roache), asks incredulously. “The word is torturing,” McCoy replies, “and yes, it’s about time somebody did it.”

When the law professor objects that he can’t be charged with conspiracy without co-conspirators, McCoy extends the case, bringing indictments against the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the former secretary of defense, former vice president Cheney, and others in the chain of command (whether this includes former president Bush is left unstated).

These indictments touch off a political and legal uproar, with countermotions by a battery of lawyers for the prominent defendants and threats to McCoy’s political career, culminating in the intervention of the Obama administration to head off the prosecution of its predecessors.

There are several points at which the executive assistant DA Cutter expresses doubts about the prosecution case, voicing both some sympathy for the right-wing justifications for torture and concern over the political repercussions for McCoy. But he is eventually convinced of the legal basis of the case and serves as lead trial attorney.

At several points during the latter half of the program, the script makes use of verbatim sections of actual documents written by Yoo and other Justice Department torture apologists, including one where the lawyer upholds the right of the president to order a child’s testicles to be crushed to force his parent to talk.

In perhaps the most striking sequence, the author of the torture memos is confronted on the stand with photographs of other famous examples of the brutal treatment of “illegal enemy combatants”—the summary execution of a Vietnamese prisoner on the streets of Saigon by the chief of the US-controlled secret police, and the hanging of Polish resistance fighters by the Nazis during World War II.

The comparison between the methods of the Nazis and the methods of American imperialism does not faze the former Bush aide. He defends not only these atrocities, but even the right of King George III to treat American militiamen in a similar fashion during the Revolutionary War.

The most politically important aspect of the program is not merely its hostility to the Bush administration, however justified, but its portrayal of the Obama administration (although the new president is never mentioned by name).

A Justice Department official and former colleague approaches McCoy to pressure him to abandon the prosecution, pointing out that the attorney general has already begun such an investigation. When McCoy dismisses this—correctly—as targeting only “small fry,” while the decision makers go scot free, the official tells him cynically that it’s all “just politics.”

Later, the same official uses Obama’s own words, declaring, “We’re looking forward, not backward.” When McCoy refuses to cave in, the Justice Department goes to federal court seeking an injunction to suppress the case under the “supremacy clause” of the Constitution. At the end of one hearing, the official sneers at McCoy that he should be careful not to provide “aid and comfort to the enemy.”

This allegation is the staple of all defenders and apologists for the crimes of American imperialism. It is rebutted effectively by the former doubter, Cutter, in his closing argument to the jury. He declares that it is not “treasonable” to question the actions of the government. On the contrary, he tells the jurors, they need to decide what they want the government to be able to do “in your name.”

Whatever the conscious intentions of those who created the program, they have given voice to the growing suspicion and hostility towards the new administration felt by millions of people, many of whom voted for Obama in the hope that the installation of a Democrat in the White House would mean an end to the Bush policies of war and attacks on democratic rights, only to see these policies continued with slightly altered rhetoric.

There has been little notice taken in the American media about the unusually pointed political exposure in the “Law & Order” season premiere. In liberal quarters on the Internet, such as Huffington Post and Salon magazine, the program was highly praised, but with a significant silence on its criticism of the Obama administration.

Salon featured a 10-minute audio interview with head scriptwriter Rene Balcer by Glenn Greenwald, in which not a single question touched on the portrayal of the Obama Justice Department official. While noting Balcer’s use of comments by Cheney, Yoo and other Bush administration officials, Greenwald made no mention of the citation of Obama’s “looking forward, not backward” apologia for allowing Bush administration officials to escape prosecution for ordering and condoning torture and other violations of international law.

Balcer told Greenwald that he was in part motivated to write the episode by anger over the role of some of his Hollywood counterparts at program’s like Fox Television’s “24,” which regularly glorifies torture.

“I was embarrassed by how some in my community of writers and producers on television had irresponsibly embraced torture by having their heroes use it as a supposedly effective means of getting information,” Balcer said, “and how these same writers and producers were peddling lies even in the face of the Defense Department sending experts to talk to them and enlighten them on the realities of torture.”

Perhaps the most politically duplicitous response to the “Law & Order” broadcast came from Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who posted an extended commentary on Huffington Post hailing the NBC program. “What McCoy understands is that in America, the rule of law applies to everyone. No one is above the law, not even (and some might say especially) the most powerful,” Romero wrote. “In real life, there has yet to be an investigation into the high-level authorization of torture, a crime that has stained the reputation of our nation at home and abroad.”

Romero described the appointment of a special prosecutor by Attorney General Eric Holder as “a good first step and a positive sign,” suggesting that prosecution of higher-level officials could ensue. He then concludes his post by asking, “Now the question is, in real life, will Attorney General Holder rise to the occasion?”

This rhetorical question falsifies the actual position of the Obama administration, since both Holder and Obama have flatly rejected the prosecution of those who authorized torture and wrote the legal apologetics. Only those CIA agents whose abuse of prisoners went beyond the letter of the authorized torture methods face any investigations, and even those are unlikely to face legal sanctions.

Romero made no reference to the broadcast’s actual criticism of the Obama administration, which is portrayed, quite correctly, as opposing prosecution of the Bush administration for fear that its own crimes could be prosecuted by a successor. In context, this is nothing more than an ACLU cover-up for Obama’s right-wing policies. Protecting torturers is fine as long as it is done by a Democratic administration.

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