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Citizens’ arrest

The trial of the man who tried to arrest George W. Bush

On March 17, 2009, Mohawk activist Splitting the Sky (STS) attempted a citizens’ arrest on George W. Bush in Calgary (Canada), his first foreign visit as a private citizen without diplomatic immunity. Brutally arrested for his action, STS earned his "day in court" in March 2010 to highlight the hypocrisy of the Canadian Government for allowing Bush into Canada, in breach of its own laws. STS is a compelling example of the duty of citizens to act when our governments and their agents are derelict in their own duty. Former U.S. Attorney-General Ramsey Clark plans to be in Calgary for the June 7 sentencing of STS. Joshua Blakeney believes that Clark’s presence, as well as international public opinion, will mount pressure on the Canadian judiciary who failed to issue an arrest warrant for Bush and who now must decide the fate of STS.

| Lethbridge (Canada)
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Splitting the Sky attempting to break through police lines outside the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Canada, on 17 March 2009, to make a citizens’ arrest of War Criminal George W. Bush. The Canadian police arrested him instead.
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"George Bush hasn’t suffered at all over the monumental suffering, death, and horror he has caused...no matter how many American soldiers have died on a given day in Iraq (averaging well over two every day), he is always seen with a big smile on his face that same or next day” -
Vincent Bugliosi, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, 2008 [1]

- Canadian Man Could Be Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Implementing the Law:
- Former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark to Speak at the University of Calgary’s Peace Consortium in Defence of Splitting the Sky

Ramsey Clark will arrive in the Canadian oil-patch city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, this coming June 6th and 7th, mounting pressure on Judge Manfred Delong, who is presiding over the sentencing process in an epochal trial which some have dubbed: “The trial of Splitting the Sky versus George W. Bush.” Splitting the Sky (STS) on the advice of legal experts Ramsey Clark, Gale Davidson and Anthony J. Hall attempted a citizen’s arrest on George W. Bush on March 17, 2009 when the former US president was addressing an audience of business people at the TELUS Convention Centre in the downtown of Calgary [2]. In his March 2010 trial STS invoked the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes legislation, which was enacted by the Canadian parliament in 2000, to submit to the court that he was implementing the law by seeking to apprehend Bush, and was unjustly arrested by police who were in effect “aiding and abetting a credibly accused war criminal.” Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney came to Calgary to attempt to testify in the March trial but was prevented from doing so as the judge shut down the trial earlier than anticipated. Instead McKinney spoke at the University of Calgary in support of Splitting the Sky [3].

It is hoped by supporters of justice that the arrival of Ramsey Clark in Calgary will help to publicize this unprecedented case in Canadian legal history, the knowledge of which the state and their media accomplices have made a concerted effort to suppress and censor from the public domain.

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"If we can’t live as men, we sure as hell can die as men" - Attica prisoner.

Ramsey Clark has a long history of being a thorn in the side of those political elites who would seek to apply the law expediently rather than unanimously. Born in Dallas, Texas, the son of prominent jurist Tom C. Clark, Ramsey Clark witnessed as a young man the Nuremberg trials following World War II. Clark would go on to graduate from the University of Chicago law school and become Attorney General of the United States under the administration of Lyndon Johnson. Clark worked tirelessly throughout his career as an outspoken Civil Rights attorney advocating for many prominent activists and political dissidents. After the 1971 Attica Prison debacle [4] Clark replaced William Kunstler as Splitting the Sky’s legal advocate. STS’s charges were acquitted as a result of Clark’s relentless advocacy.

Clark took his human rights advocacy from the domestic realm to the international arena when he made a provocative visit to North Vietnam in 1972 as a protest against the illegal bombing of Hanoi by the US military. Clark’s pro-human rights and anti-war stances led him to become the attorney for a number of political nemeses of the military-industrial-complex. Clark’s clients included American Indian prisoner Leonard Peltier, members of the PLO, Camilo Mejia the US soldier who deserted his post in March 2004 in protest against the illegal invasion of Iraq, Slobodan Milosevic former president of Serbia, and Saddam Hussein former president of Iraq, to name a few. Clark has been particularly critical of those seeking to impose “victors’ justice” upon the vanquished opponents of Anglo-American expansionism. Of the “trial” of Saddam Hussein he stated: “it failed to respect basic human rights and was illegal because it was formed as a consequence of the United States’ illegal invasion,” going on to call for an “absolutely fair” trial for the deposed Iraqi leader“ [5]

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Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General and Saddam Hussein’s defence lawyer, is ejected from the courtroom during the 2005-06 show trial of the former Iraqi President in Baghdad.
Photo: Scott Nelson/EPA

In recent history, Clark was unflinching in his attempts to have George W. Bush impeached. In 2002, Clark founded “VoteToImpeach” an organization whose ostensible goal was to see members of the Bush administration brought before a court of law for their misdeeds. The Independent reported: “Clark said there is a website dedicated to collecting signatures of U.S. Citizens who want President George W. Bush impeached, and that approximately 150,000 have signed to impeach” [6]. Clark also helped found the protest organization A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

On April 3, 2010 Clark was elected at a meeting of over 150 lawyers, legal scholars and human rights campaigners, to be the chairperson of a new international campaign to investigate the alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Bush regime. Global Research reported: “Ramsey Clark emphasized that it is the imperative responsibility of the American people to relentlessly pursue this investigation, and to seek prosecution and indictment inside of the United States... Ramsey Clark made the point that all the war crimes and crimes against humanity flow from the commission of the most supreme crimes which he identified as the Crimes against Peace. This was the finding at the Nuremberg trial, and it is enshrined in the Nuremberg Principles" [7].

Clark’s reference to precedents set at Nuremberg, a German city once infamous for its right-wing extremism, encourages those of us who would like to see Calgary’s image in the world evolve from one of Harperite cowboys and vulture-capitalists into a city where law enforcement agencies set precedents in human rights jurisprudence and international law with the support of the polity’s residents. Perhaps such a paradigm shift would ignite a necessary atonement for the state-endorsed despoliation of the Indigenous Peoples of the region’s ancestral resources, lands and waters which has been unpardonably gifted to mainly Texas-based oil and gas conglomerates.

How Judge Manfred Delong will be influenced by Clark’s arrival in Calgary is yet to be seen. Will Judge Delong compound the Culture of Impunity afforded to credibly accused war criminals emanating from Anglo-America - which the Harper-minority government and their equivalents around the world have supported - by “setting an example” and sentencing STS to spend two-more years of his life behind bars and burdening him with a fine of up to $5000? Or will he realize the broader implications of this trial and dismiss the case before the court that STS “obstructed a police officer”?

Certainly it will be important that citizens of Calgary who are able to attend Clark’s upcoming lecture at the University of Calgary to show solidarity with this Peoples’ Process and attend. The more citizens who mobilize in solidarity with STS the less able the state and their media accomplices will be to sweep the profound juridical questions being raised by STS, Clark and others, under the carpet. The proceedings are as follows:

-  Ramsey Clark arrives in Calgary, June 6, 2010. He will speak at the University of Calgary Murray Fraser Hall Room 164, 4pm – 6.30pm.
-  The sentencing of Splitting the Sky commences on June 7, 2010 at the Calgary Courts Centre.





[1] Vincent Bugliosi, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”, 2008. Excerpt quoted here.

[2] Anthony Hall, “Should George W. Bush Be Arrested in Calgary Alberta to be Tried for International Crimes?”, Voltaire Network, March 9, 2009; and Gail Davidson, “Barring Bush From Canada: Time for the Law to Step in.” Global Research.ca, October 19, 2009.

[3] Anthony Hall, “Cynthia McKinney Meets Splitting the Sky”, Global Research.ca, March 14, 2010.

[4] The Nation; Attica: Exorcising the Demons, Redeeming the Deaths, by Clyde Haberman, The New York Times, 9 January 2000.

[5] Chaos Mars Saddam Court Hearing”, BBC News, Monday, 5 December 2005.

[6] Josh Davidson, “Ramsey Clark Speaks Out Against War at College”, The Independent, March 19, 2003.

[7] “Ramsey Clark Chosen to Head Commission to Investigate Bush Crimes”, by Indict Bush Now, Global Research.ca., April 14, 2010.

Joshua Blakeney

A U.K. freelance journalist and activist living in Canada, Joshua Blakeney was the Media Coordinator of the Center for Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) from September 2009 to October 2010. Further information on his background is available on his Blog.

 
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