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Day Two- The Trial of Splitting the Sky Versus George W. Bush
A review of the first day of the trial of Splitting the Sky Versus George W. Bush, the media attention that it received, the main arguments being put forward.
At the trial on Monday, the police officer who arrested Splitting the Sky (John Boncore) said that he was "protecting Spitting the Sky” from Bush's guards. He went on to say that Bush's protectors carry “lethal weapons” and that they would have used them to kill the accused man had the police not intercepted him. The questions raised by the police officer's testimony were not raised by the defense nor the prosecution. The presiding Judge Manfred Delong, denied the defenses plea too allow for a distinction between “Obstructing a Police Officer” and “Preventing a Police Officer from Performing his Duty.”
Splitting the Sky testified in his own defense to remind the court that the laws which the minority government eschewed vis-a-vis Bush were invoked to keep British peace activist George Galloway MP out of Canada last March. He stated “All Galloway had been doing was bringing medical aide to Palestinians in Gaza, 2000 of whom Israel had massacred, but they barred Galloway from Canada using the same laws which they should have used to ban George W. Bush.” (See-Joshua Blakeney's firsthand account)
The Calgary Sun framed the trial by reiterating defense counsel Charles Davison's assertions that his client’s attempts at breaching a police barrier to gain access to Bush were justified. Davison said that he will present evidence to support Boncore’s claim. Lawyers Against the War, had urged the RCMP to arrest Bush for crimes against humanity if he stepped on Canadian soil. That group asserted Bush was “inadmissible to Canada” as a suspected war criminal and said the former U.S. president should not be allowed into Canada. If he was deemed a suspected war criminal Bush would be disentitled to enter Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and would be breaking the law if he came here, Davison said. As a result, Boncore was entitled to make a citizen’s arrest since a crime was being committed.
The Crown prosecutor Tracy Davis argued that citizen’s arrests can only be carried out by a person witnessing a crime taking place and that Splitting the Sky was not entitled to make an arrest of George W. Bush.
The Calgary Sun's article is entitled- Citizen's arrest of George W. Bush justified, court hears. Russia Today also covered the story and interviewed Splitting the Sky.
Cynthia McKinney spoke in London yesterday. She first spoke to MPs and their assistants in in a committee room in parliament. She also spoke at a packed public meeting of some 150 people in the School of Oriental and African Studies, and received a standing ovation at the end of her talk. She was supported by 9/11 authors Nafeez Ahmed and Ian Henshall, who also gave good speeches, and by an excellent chairwoman: Dr Jay Ginn, who has been a long term peace campaigner since the 1960s. Cynthia read out to the meeting a prepared statement of support to Splitting the Sky which was acclaimed by near unanimous applause:
'Trial of John Splitting the Sky Boncore (aka Dacajeweiah)
'The organisers of this meeting, Reinvestigate 911, held in London, England on March 8th 2010 and addressed by Cynthia McKinney, send greetings of solidarity to John Splitting the Sky Boncore in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who non-violently attempted to perform a citizens’ arrest on suspected war criminal George W Bush when he visited Calgary last year. We understand that as a result Splitting the Sky was manhandled to the ground, arrested and charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We hear he was seriously wounded and is now facing a criminal trial in Calgary.
'We salute your bravery, Splitting the Sky, wish you every success with your trial and hope you will be acquitted and compensated for the injuries you have sustained. We call on those present at this meeting to publicise your case so that justice may prevail.'
Joshua Blakeney, Media Coordinator of Globalization Studies University of Lethbridge, wrote a firsthand account of yesterday's events entitled- George W. Bush gets his day in court! STS vs. Bush trial goes forward. Kevin Barret hoped to get an update from the trial on his radio show this morning.
The Immigration law that was used to prevent entry into Canada by George Galloway states:
"A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on security grounds for:
in an act of espionage or an act of subversion against a democratic government, institution or process as they are understood in Canada;
(b) engaging in or instigating the subversion by force of any government;
(c) engaging in terrorism;
(d) being a danger to the security of Canada;
(e) engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada; or
(f) being a member of an organisation that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in acts referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c)."
Lawyers Against the War had urged Canada to recognize that, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Bush should have been inadmissible, and as a person suspected of torture, then he should either prosecuted in Canada for torture or extradited to another country that is willing and able to prosecute as required by the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 7.
Splitting the Sky presented three documents which influenced his actions, the first was Lawyers Against the War request RCMP to investigate George W. Bush for War Crimes- W is reported to be planning to visit Calgary, Alberta on or before March 17, 2009, the second was a letter of solidarity written by former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, the third was an article Time for Accountability- Should George W. Bush Be Arrested in Calgary, Alberta, To Be Tried For International Crimes? by Professor Anthony J. Hall. The judge concluded the day by saying that he would allow the defense four, and possibly five days to present evidence, which in itself, was a victory for the defense. Cynthia McKinney will be arriving this evening in Calgary and speaking publicly, and hopefully testifying on Wednesday.
The big question before the judge is whether his court is a court of law, a court serving those with great political power, a court serving the cause of justice and accountability, and whether global public opinion bears any weight or is paying any attention to this case.