Mixed reactions from the crowd, shoes and toast welcome former president

By Katy Anderson
Published: March 19, 2009

Perhaps the most powerful man in the world for the last eight years, former president of the United States George W. Bush, gave his first speech since leaving office in Calgary on Tuesday.

The setting outside the Telus Convention Centre was intense as approximately 200 shoe-baring protestors rallied outside-- four of whom were arrested-- and at least two snipers were visible on the rooftop of a neighboring building.

The Calgary Police Service separated the activists from the 1,500 guests who had paid $400 to hear the Texan speak. Guests included members of Calgary's economic elite-- one protestor suggested to a friend that these were the real capitalists, "all they were missing was a monocle"-- to two of Calgary's aldermen, John Mar and Ric McIvor, and former-Alberta premier Ralph Klein.

The lunch not only garnered front pages in the city, but across the continent. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann featured the event on his Countdown program, bringing Canadian Gail Davidson of Lawyers Against the War onto his program.

Davidson led the fight in calling for Stephen Harper, who declined to comment on Bush's visit, to bar the former American president from Canada.

Davidson told Olbermann (alternate link to YouTube clip) and his viewers that Canada has a legal obligation under the Convention Against Torture to either prosecute him or extradite him to a country that is willing and able to do so.

"The fact of the matter is, if we're going to look at stamping out torture, the torture created and administered by the Bush administration has to be remedied and one of the principal remedies is criminal prosecutions of those people that are responsible," she said. . . . --NewsHammer 3/27/2009

Continue reading the March 19, 2008 article from the University of Calgary's Gauntlet.

Read the Bush satire in NewsHammer, "Shoes For Bush World Tour" . . .


Lawyer: Ex-US officials must face torture charges

Associated Press / Boston Herald
Published: March 30, 2009

. . . The case against the American officials — including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith — was brought by human rights lawyers before Spain’s investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, who has sent it on to prosecutors to see if the charges merit a full investigation.

It alleges the men gave legal cover to the torture of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by claiming that the U.S. president could ignore the Geneva Conventions . . .

Continue reading the March 30, 2009 AP article from the Boston Herald.

More Related News And Video

Torture Prosecutions Greenlit [by Obama], April 22, 2009 CBS News video

U.N. rep.: Bush lawyers must be prosecuted, April 25, 2009 AP article from MSNBC

John Bolton replies: Spain's illegitimate torture prosecution, May 7, 2009, The Guardian UK

More Student News And Comment On Bush Policies On Torture

If I don't see you, you don't exist: America the torturous

By Andrew Mendes
Published April 27, 2009

I came across an article this week entitled “Obama Stands Nuremberg on Its Head,” by Mike Farrell, a contributor for the progressive web magazine Truthdig. His opening paragraph:

“President Obama’s decision to spare CIA torturers from prosecution stands the Nuremberg principles on their head. ‘Good Germans who were only following orders’ are not exempt from the bar of justice. Individuals must be held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Last week, United States President Barak Obama released four memos outlining the interrogation techniques authorised by the Bush Administration. Techniques included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, slapping, and covering a prisoner’s body in insects, Fear Factor style.

Just for some background information, waterboarding was among the torture methods used by the Japanese against American prisoners of war in World War II. I know people whose grandfathers were awoken in the night from nightmares of when they were prisoners of Japan.

Although President Obama has put a stop to the practices outlined in these memos, he said that he would not be prosecuting CIA agents who did the torturing. At Nuremberg, making sure that the Holocaust trains ran on time was found to be a crime. How flimsy the rule of law seems these days. . . .

Continue reading the April 27, 2009 article from Victoria University of Wellington's Salient.

"The only approach I stand against is doing nothing."

By Andrew Mendes
Published April 30, 2009

I received an email update this morning from my Representative, Congressman Robert Wexler from Floirda’s 19th congressional district. The subject line: Wexler Calls for Special Prosecutor on Torture

I wanted to share it with you to prove that some people on the Hill are trying to bring these offenses to light and attempt to begin repairing the many criminal and heinous acts form what history will remember as one of the darkest times in America’s history. Or perhaps I just want to prove it to myself.

I hope this catches on like a house on fire. If this initiative is blocked, it will happen at the Executive level, in which case I’ll have all faith in “change.” Still, this is a step in the right direction. The email begins below.

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Bush Administration and Justice Department’s role in authorizing torture. With the release of the so-called “Torture Memos” last week, and the instrumental role that Bush Administration Justice Department and Executive Branch officials had in orchestrating and approving these techniques, it is evident to me that we need an independent investigation into this troubling series of events that have damaged our national security and diminished our nation before the eyes of the world.

Click here to view the text of the letter I sent to Attorney General Holder. . . .

Continue reading the April 30, 2009 article from Salient.

Dispatches from the Ministry of Love

What at first appears to be a relatively innocuous memo lifted from the pages of George Orwell’s 1984 is in fact an accurate account of the treatment by US forces of two detainees

By Sebastian Henderson

Published May 12, 2009

Take a journey down into the depths of the Ministry of Truth’s Records Department and fact check history. Change the names of Julia and Winston to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and Abu Zubaydah. Replace the names Ministry of Love to Joint Task Force Guantánamo, the Ministry of Peace with the Department of Defense and Emmanual Goldstein with Osama bin Laden. When life begins imitating literature in strange and dangerously coincidental ways, we must put the plagiarists on trial. . . .

Continue reading the May 12, 2009 article from Salient.