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March 12, 2009

Lawyer seeks to prosecute Bush for torture, bar him from Canada

Filed under: Impeachment Progress News — Mikael @ 9:20 pm

bushfrown20081205.jpgtherawstory
Stephen C. Webster

Even out of power and away from the White House, former President George W. Bush seemingly cannot get away from calls for his prosecution.

The latest outcry comes from a Canadian attorney with Lawyers Against the War, who said she will file a suit against Bush and bar his entry to Canada over alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Former President Bush plans a visit to Canada on March 17 for a speaking engagement at Calgary, on invite from the city’s chamber of commerce.

“In a letter to the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] war crimes section and copied to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and other federal ministers and opposition MPs, the Lawyers Against the War group claims that Bush is ‘inadmissible to Canada . . . because of overwhelming evidence that he has committed, outside Canada, torture and other offences’ as detailed in Canada’s War Crimes Act,” reported Canada.com.

The letter (PDF link) asks the mounted police to “begin an investigation of George W. Bush for aiding, abetting and counseling torture between November 13, 2001 and November 2008 at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Bagram prison in Afghanistan and other places.”

“The letter also alleges that Bush has engaged in ‘systematic or gross human rights violations, or a war crime or a crime against humanity’ under subsections 6(3) to 6(5) of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act,” reported Straight.com.

Lawyers Against the War has been pursuing similar tactics for years. The group’s Web site, which appears to have not been updated in the last five years, carries prior letters the organization has posted to Canadian officials.

“Surely you are aware of the many grave crimes against humanity and war crimes for which President Bush stands properly accused by the world, starting with the Nuremberg Tribunal’s ‘supreme international crime’ of waging an aggressive war against Iraq in defiance of international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” begins a letter to then Prime Minister Paul Martin, written in 2004.

“As recently as November 16, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and former war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour called for an investigation into crimes against the Geneva Conventions in the assault by US forces on the densely populated city of Fallujah,” the author notes.

“The federal government is keeping silent on the upcoming visit,” reported Canadian magazine See. “‘We have no comments to offer on the visit of Mr. George W. Bush to Calgary,’ said Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alain Cacchione in an e-mail. When told about Davidson’s letter, a spokesperson with the Canadian Border Services Agency said ‘we wouldn’t comment on something like that.'”

“[Lawyers Against the War’s Gayle] Davidson noted that the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled that a private prosecution of this nature cannot proceed to a first hearing without the consent of the federal attorney general, who is Robert Nicholson,” reported Straight.com.

“We can assume that he won’t,” she told the Web site. “So the next step would be to take an application to the Federal Court of Canada seeking an order of mandamus compelling the attorney general to give his consent.”

(Source)


3 Comments

  1. It is about time. Why has the United States not woken up to the facts? This past administration should all be brought up on charges and it never too late. Criminals, all of them! Lock them up and bring back Lady Justice, remember her, the one Ashcroft hid behind blue drapes?

    Comment by Patricia George — March 13, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  2. Mikael I lookin to read somebody prosecuted Bush,,I hear all talk and doin it.

    Comment by Den — March 13, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  3. Canada is always climbing in admiration and respect in my eyes. Apparently, safety and great health care were only the beginning.

    I was chatting with a friend the other day actually about prosecuting Bush (we’re both from Louisiana) and got into a heated debate. He’s a poli-sci minor, and said, “You just don’t prosecute a former president. Even Ford pardoned Nixon.” (Nevermind that that pardon cost Ford reelection.)

    Well, I think that’s bullshit. And Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, hell even Benedict Arnold, would raise hell about it. Obama said no one is above the law, yet Bush and the rest of his administration roam free. I fail to comprehend how someone guilty of treason and war crimes goes unpunished and I wish Canada the best luck.

    I have about two years left of undergrad, if at that time no one in the States has brought charges against the Bush Administration (or if they are not imprisoned by another court), I’m going to law school. To hell with being embarrassed by my country.

    Comment by Kaelieh — March 13, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

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• If we impeach Bush, we’ll get President Cheney!
The first impeachment resolution introduced by McKinney included Bush, Cheney, and Rice. Although, even if we only initially pursue Bush, initiating the impeachment process will lead to an investigation that will implicate lots of people in the Bush administration who are guilty of committing crimes, including Cheney.

No matter who we get to replace Bush, we’ll be showing those in power that anyone who breaks the law will be held accountable.

• Promoting impeachment will seem too “extreme.”
Demanding that crimes be investigated is NOT extreme. Some previous impeachment attempts were considered extreme because they were pursued for actions that didn't rise to the level of a Constitutional crisis, which is what the impeachment tool is meant to be used for. Nixon's impeachment, however, was bipartisan.

  • We should wait to impeach...
Wait to impeach? We've waited 3 or more years too long already. We had enough evidence to impeach years ago. Remember, an impeachment only means you have enough evidence to warrant a trial, just like an indictment. Our congress people didn't take an oath to bipartisanship. They took an oath to the Constitution. Besides which, our troops, Iraqi civilians, and our own civil liberties are all waiting for this.
 
• Before we impeach, we should get some legislation passed...
And with unconstitutional Presidential Signing Statements, veto power, and the power of "Commander in Chief" at his disposal, how do you think Congress is going to get anything accomplished without first impeaching Bush?

If your tire blows while you're driving, do you stop to fix it? Or do you continue driving on your rim because to stop would take too much time?

• It hurts the democracy to go through a presidential impeachment. And Bush is a lame duck anyway.
Holding government officials accountable for their actions strengthens our democracy. Letting lawlessness stand weakens it.

Sometimes reprimanding a child (president) doesn't make the family (Washington) a happy place. But you still have to do it so the child and his siblings (future presidents) learn about accountability. Impeachment is horribly UNDERUSED, which is part of why there's so much corruption at the top. Politicians must learn to fear it. People think things are better because we improved the make-up of our law-making body, Congress. But Bush is BREAKING LAWS. So, it doesn't matter how many laws Congress passes if they don't serve their OVERSIGHT duties as well by impeaching. They swore to defend the Constitution. What are laws without enforcement?

Besides, considering Bush's track-record of breaking laws, he can still do a lot of damage. Our troops, Iran, and our Supreme Court are all endangered so long as he remains in office. Waiting until Bush is out of office will leave us complicit in any further crimes he commits. The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated that the death toll from a "tactical" nuclear weapon of the kind Bush is contemplating using in Iran would be at minimum 3 million men, women, and children. The path of death would stretch across country boundaries into India.

Perhaps worst of all, we set a terrible precedent by allowing Bush to stay in office after he's broken so many laws. Impeachment will stop future presidents from using Bush's actions as justification for even more lawbreaking and erosion of civil liberties.

• I'm a Democrat/
Republican. If we support impeachment it will lower the chances of my party winning in 2008.

So, your party would rather win elections than do what's right for the country? I hope you're wrong. I also hope the public is willing to throw additional support to any party that holds our elected officials accountable for their actions. This has been historically true with every single impeachment effort launched. And this impeachment effort would begin with majority support (unlike most past impeachments including Nixon).

• Impeachment will never happen. Congress members will block it.
Well, all we need is a majority of support in the House. And 2/3rds vote in the Senate to remove Bush from office will happen once the evidence gets aired on the floor of the House, and subsequently the national media outlets. The political pressure will become too great.

Today's impossibility is tomorrow's reality. Congress members will realize that tying their political future to Bush reduces their chances of getting elected. Remember, one way or another, Bush is gone by 2009— but members of Congress may retain their offices beyond that date. Bush's poll numbers are extremely low, and most Americans support impeachment. This is a bipartisan movement. This means that if we make the pressure unbearable for Members of Congress, they'll turn on him to keep their own seats (like they did with Nixon). It's already starting to happen. While many Members of Congress have behaved unethically in the last few years, it's important to understand that this is related to their warped view of what's in their self-interest. Let's wake them up to their true self-interest (impeaching the president), by showing them our support for impeachment.

And even if we only impeach, and the Senate fails to do their duty and remove him from office, it will only implicate the Senators who fail to do their sworn Constitutional duty.

• But Speaker of the House Pelosi said that Impeachment was "off the table."

Pelosi most likely said this to remove any appearance of conflict-of-interest that would arise if she were thrust into the presidency as a result of the coming impeachment. What we need to do is to pressure Pelosi not to interfere with impeachment maneuverings within her party. Sending her Do-It-Yourself impeachments legitimizes her when she joins the impeachment movement in the future.

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