Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just in Case You Thought They Weren't That Bad...

Believe it or not there are Americans who think that although the wing-nut right might be ever so slightly weird, the "other side" is almost as bad.  Right.

Before we get to the "real meat" in the issue, we can preface the argument with a few lesser matters.

$5 Tn in borrowed money missing.

Richest 2% receiving 28% of all money earned in the country annually.

7 million Americans out of work.

Homes being foreclosed at the highest rate in history.

$14 Tn national debt.  We have to borrow more to keep running.

$2 Tn emergency repairs of collapsing infrastructure needed.

Okay.  Thanks to the national corporate media fraud, most of us either don't believe that the autocracy was at the root of this or we've just "moved on" with a stoic numbness and accepted it as "just one of those things."

However, right at the top of these anti-American outrages rests the grisly shade of George W. Bush's "Church of Death."  Like it or not, this little psychopath signed our names to roughly 1,300,000 death warrants (The Lancet) with his "warring ways."  Although here we are still able to put foam plastic cheese wedges on our heads and sit, transfixed, through a Super Bowl game, the rest of the world doesn't take it so lightly.

Gee whiz.  Lots of those corpses left pissed off relatives behind.  You know, wrong colored folks who aren't taking it so lightly.  It hasn't been, uh, quite long enough for them to have forgotten exactly who killed their kin.  For any of us  Americans who are planning to "wiggle out" of the stench of the slaughter, sorry.  There's not enough lipstick to make that pig lovely.

So, what is the rest of the world thinking?

This is a Reuters story from the Huffington Post.  (MeanMesa's thanks to Michael Settle at fB.  Read the source article here. )

Bush Cancels Visit To Switzerland Due To Threat Of Torture Prosecution, Rights Groups Say

GENEVA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Former U.S. President George W. Bush has cancelled a visit to Switzerland, where he was to address a Jewish charity gala, due to the risk of legal action against him for alleged torture, rights groups said on Saturday.

Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod's annual dinner on Feb. 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.

Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say.

Human rights groups said they had intended to submit a 2,500-page case against Bush in the Swiss city on Monday for alleged mistreatment of suspected militants at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. naval base in Cuba where captives from Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts in the so-called War on Terror were interned.

Leftist groups had also called for a protest on the day of his visit next Saturday, leading Keren Hayesod's organisers to announce that they were cancelling Bush's participation on security grounds -- not because of the criminal complaints.

But groups including the New York-based Human Rights Watch and International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) said the cancellation was linked to growing moves to hold Bush accountable for torture, including waterboarding. He has admitted in his memoirs and television interviews to ordering use of the interrogation technique that simulates drowning.

"He's avoiding the handcuffs," Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

The action in Switzerland showed Bush had reason to fear legal complaints against him if he travelled to countries that have ratified an international treaty banning torture, he said.

Brody is an American-trained lawyer specialised in pursuing war crimes worldwide, especially those allegedly ordered by former leaders, including Chile's late dictator Augusto Pinochet and Chad's ousted president Hissene Habre. Habre has been charged by Belgium with crimes against humanity and torture, and is currently exiled in Senegal.


"President Bush has admitted he ordered waterboarding which everyone considers to be a form of torture under international law. Under the Convention against Torture, authorities would have been obliged to open an investigation and either prosecute or extradite George Bush," Brody said.

Swiss judicial officials have said that Bush would still enjoy a certain diplomatic immunity as a former head of state.

Dominique Baettig, a member of the Swiss parliament from the right-wing People's Party, wrote to the Swiss federal government last week calling for the arrest of Bush for alleged war crimes if he came to the neutral country.

Bush, in his "Decision Points" memoirs on his 2001-2009 presidency, strongly defends the use of waterboarding as key to preventing a repeat of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Most human rights experts consider the practice a form of torture, banned by the Convention on Torture, an international pact prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Switzerland and the United States are among 147 countries to have ratified the 1987 treaty.

FIDH and New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights said in a joint statement on Saturday.

Sami El Hadjj, a former Al Jazeera journalist and former detainee at Guantanamo, had been due to speak at their news conference in Geneva on Monday, where they will release the 2,500-page complaint.

"I'm surprised he (Bush) would even consider visiting a country that has ratified the torture convention and which takes its responsibilities seriously," said Brody.

"I think George Bush's world is a very small place at the moment," he said. "He may enjoy some kind of impunity in the United States, but other countries will not treat him so indulgently." (Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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