war criminal coming to vancouver: ottawa won't prosecute, but you can protest

Vancouver, a war criminal will be in your midst tomorrow, promoting his book. Join the welcoming committee.

If you live elsewhere and don't see the evil man himself, you might see his book in a bookstore. Re-shelve for resistance!

It's nice to see this movement making headlines. Although the ruling class will always protect and defend itself, we can still remind each other that war criminals and mass murderers shouldn't be allowed to walk freely amongst us.
Prosecute Dick Cheney for torture, human-rights group tells Ottawa

A human rights group is urging the federal government to bring criminal charges against former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney, accusing him of playing a role in the torture of detainees during the years of the Bush administration.

Mr. Cheney will be in Vancouver on Monday to promote his book, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, which outlines his views of the war on terror and other events during the administration of president George W. Bush.

Human Rights Watch claims that overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush administration, including at least two cases involving Canadian citizens, are grounds for Canada to investigate Mr. Cheney and comply with the Convention Against Torture.

In addition, the New York-based group said that Canadian law expressly provides for jurisdiction over an individual for torture and other crimes if the complainant is a Canadian citizen, even for offences committed outside of Canada.

It said in a news release issued Saturday that Canada had ratified the Convention Against Torture in 1987 and incorporated its provisions into the Canadian Criminal Code.

“The U.S. has utterly failed to meet its legal obligation to investigate torture by the Bush administration, but that shouldn't let other countries off the hook,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

“Cheney's visit to Vancouver is a rare opportunity to remedy this shameful failure to uphold the rule of law.”

A spokesperson for Mr. Cheney could not be reached for comment, but in the past the former vice-president has been a staunch defender of the policies of the Bush years.

He frequently appeared on the U.S. talk-show circuit to say he's unapologetic about waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques. He has repeatedly insisted such tactics saved “hundreds of thousands of lives.”

The complaint from the human rights group came on the heels of a New Democratic Party MP's call on Friday for the federal government to bar Mr. Cheney from entering Canada.

Don Davies sent a letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney urging the federal government to deny Mr. Cheney entry, also citing the treatment of detainees during the Bush administration years.

Mr. Kenney's office could not be immediately reached for comment.

Human Rights Watch said it had documented the role of senior Bush administration officials in authorizing torture of detainees, including “waterboarding” and prolonged exposure to heat and cold.

The group further said the U.S. was directly responsible or complicit in the alleged torture of at least two Canadian citizens, Maher Arar and Omar Khadr.

U.S. authorities deported Mr. Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, back to Syria in 2002 when he stopped in the U.S. on the way home to Canada. He was jailed in Damascus and tortured into giving false confessions about terrorist links.

Mr. Khadr was convicted a year ago in Guantanamo Bay after pleading guilty to war crimes he committed as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan.

“Canada's own investigation into the Maher Arar case shows there is sufficient evidence to investigate Cheney for authorizing torture,” Mr. Roth said.

“Bush, Cheney, and others authorized the abusive detention regime that Canadians and thousands of others were subjected to. They should be held accountable.”

Antiwar activists are expected to protest in Vancouver during Cheney's trip.


johngoldfine said...

I'm glad that Cheney is too arrogant and evil to 'apologize' because there really are no words to excuse or even explain the cruelty he unleashed on individuals and the degradation he further advanced in the nation whose vice-president he was.

I doubt he will even note the protests, but I hope they are loud, angry, and determined. He deserves arrest, detention, trial, and, if found guilty, punishment.

But, as for barring him from a visit to Canada? No, no more than George Galloway should have been banned. Freedom for the expression of ideas we hate is the freedom we espouse.

laura k said...

But, as for barring him from a visit to Canada? No, no more than George Galloway should have been banned. Freedom for the expression of ideas we hate is the freedom we espouse.

The reason Dick Cheney should be barred from entry to Canada is not because of any ideas he expresses. The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits entry of known war criminals into the country. Therefore...

johngoldfine said...

Barring the 'known' war criminal--that I can see.

But 'suspected' or unindicted is another matter. He isn't a known criminal until he has been found guilty of something. At this point, he's just a wicked man whose sins and crimes are evident to most but whose day before the bar of justice has not yet arrived.

laura k said...

John, I respect what you're after, but in this case, I think it might be nitpicking. Canada is only too happy to allow Cheney and Bush to cross the border, and likely be treated as celebrities while they're here. After all, our current PM is part of the oil oligarchy and would have had Canada in Iraq.

No one seriously believes Dick Cheney will be refused entry into Canada - although Medea Benjamin and other peace activists are, on a regular basis.

But Dick Cheney and his ilk will never be called before any earthly bar of justice. If we waited for that standard to materialize, our moral jury would still be out most of the world's genocidal dictators.

Power protects power. The great evildoers of the world will never be troubled by indictments, let alone prison sentences. So it's the least (and sadly, the most) we can do is to call them war criminals, and claim that as such, they shouldn't sully our land.

laura k said...

Or, as many have suggested, that they be allowed in, then arrested and tried as international war criminals. That works, too. :)

John F said...

I like the idea of reshelving Darth Cheney's memoir under "Crime". Reminds me of a used bookstore I once frequented, where the owner kept a single copy of "Dianetics" on hand so he could sheve it as fiction.

laura k said...

Amnesty: Arrest Bush when he comes to BC.