Bienvenue au Canada, Grand Dick
Now that Dick Cheney has a new heart, he’s ready to resume his role of international power-broker who leaps tall buildings in a single bound. As such, he’s taking his act on the road to renew old acquaintances with the global moneyed elite who might come in handy when La Lizzie starts campaigning hard in Wyoming.
It’s not easy, though, for a convicted war criminal to globe-trot. You are forgiven if you spend most of your time in America the Beautiful and that little-known factoid escaped your attention. But, actually yes, this all happened, last year.
In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.
Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.
The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Bush & Co. were already having some travel troubles prior to their convictions. Just ask George W. Bush, who had to cancel a trip to Switzerland in 2011 due to threat of torture prosecution. I guess it never occurred to Dubya’s trip-planner that Geneva [yes, that Geneva] just might be the “belly of the beast” for a suspected war criminal.
Likewise, in 2011, Cheney was forced to spend a very uncomfortable day, holed up in a private club in Vancouver, BC. On that occasion, Cheney was planning to pimp his newly published memoir at a $500 a plate dinner at the Vancouver Club when such a mob of protesters swarmed the place that Cheney was locked in the private club for over seven hours before police deemed it safe to transport him away.
The following year, Cheney planned a trip to Toronto, ONT, but the trip was cancelled at the last minute due to “security concerns.” Which is to say, Cheney’s people were insecure that they could prevent his arrest for war crimes once out of the sanctuary of U!S!A!.
Which brings us to October 16, 2013 when an inconspicuous little press release announced that Cheney would be taking another whack at a border crossing into Toronto, to perform as keynote speaker at the Toronto Global Forum, hosted by the International Forum of the Americas, on Halloween.
Something tells me that this one might be cancelled, as well, for “security reasons” because, unlike the Vancouver incident, Cheney is now, in actual fact, a convicted war criminal and, evidently, some folks in the world still take that seriously:
Lawyers Against the War argued in a letter dated Sunday [full text below] that Toronto Police Chief William Blair and Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen have a duty to arrest Cheney “as a person suspected on reasonable grounds of authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture.”
“Once Richard (Dick) Cheney enters Canada … Canada must ensure that Dick Cheney is either investigated and prosecuted for the indictable offence of torture in Canada or extradited to another country willing and able to do so,” Lawyers Against the War’s Gail Davidson wrote.
The letter contended that Toronto police are legally obligated to arrest Cheney to prevent him from “escaping to the United States.”
Just in case Cheney decides to show up anyway, these folks are planning to greet him:
Lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild (U.S.), International Association of Democratic Lawyers, European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (Germany), Brussells Tribunal (Belgium), International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq (Iraq, Egypt, Spain), Lawyers Against the War (Canada) and Rights International Spain (Spain)
and they are urging Canada to either bar Dick Cheney from Canada – as a person credibly accused of torture – or to arrest and prosecute him on arrival, as required by the Convention against Torture.
Bonne chance mes amis . . .