Another Great Reason to be a Canadian

George Bush won’t likely be visiting soon. From an Amnesty International – Canada press release issued today:

Canada urged to arrest and prosecute George W. Bush

Overview

Amnesty International today urged Canadian authorities to arrest and either prosecute or extradite former US President George W. Bush for his role in torture, ahead of his expected visit to Canada on 20 October. Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture. Amnesty International submitted a memorandum to the Canadian authorities on 21 September 2011 outlining the case for his legal responsibilty. The violations took place during the CIA’s secret detention program between 2002 and 2009 – and include torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading-treatment and enforced disappearances. While President, George W. Bush authorized the use of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees held in the secret CIA program.

Full Text

Amnesty International today urged Canadian authorities to arrest and either prosecute or extradite former US President George W. Bush for his role in torture, ahead of his expected visit to Canada on 20 October.

“Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture,” said Susan Lee, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“As the US authorities have, so far, failed to bring former President Bush to justice, the international community must step in. A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the UN Convention against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights.”

Amnesty International submitted a memorandum to the Canadian authorities on 21 September 2011 that makes a substantial case for the former president’s legal responsibility for a series of human rights violations.

The violations took place during the CIA’s secret detention program between 2002 and 2009 – and include torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading-treatment and enforced disappearances.

While President, George W. Bush authorized the use of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees held in the secret CIA program.

The former President later specifically admitted to authorizing the “waterboarding” of several individuals whose subjection to this torture technique has been confirmed.

Detainees were subjected to waterboarding and a range of other “enhanced interrogation techniques” – including being forced to stay for hours in painful positions and sleep deprivation  – during the CIA’s secret detention program, set up under then-President Bush’s authorization.

The CIA Inspector General found that Zayn al Abidin Muhammed Husayn (known as Abu Zubaydah) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were subjected, between them, to at least 266 applications of waterboarding while in detention between 2002 and 2003.

Amnesty International’s submission also highlights further evidence of torture and other crimes under international law committed against detainees held under US military custody in Guantánamo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“This is a crucial moment for Canada to demonstrate it is prepared to live up to its commitments and obligations with respect to human rights,” said Susan Lee. “Canada has been a leader in efforts to strengthen the international justice system and must now demonstrate that when it comes to accountability for human rights violations, no one and no country is above international law.”

photo – Vienna 065 /piran cafe

Sunday afternoon Swish

Continuing on with my video obsession of late, this 30-second bit is for Vimeo’s Weekend Swishblog Project: quickly swish your camera up, shoot a scene, and close it with another swish. Easy. And it attracts plenty of odd looks, too!

Shot during a quick bike ride around central Ljubljana, 19-Jun-2011. There’s a bonus two-second cameo by George W Bush and Vladimir Putin.

Music: I’m Doing Just Fine, by Lee Rosevere / CC/Attribution-NonCommercial License

LJ Pic of the Day

Over a couple glasses of wine this afternoon, Bill Clinton chastised me for my rather lame efforts with my LJ Pic of the Day chore, so I promised that I’d resume the project with an image of him.

The former US President popped into Ljubljana today to say hi, and to collect a reported €100,000 ($147,318) for a 45-minute lecture. (As a point of comparison, George W. Bush hit the lecture circuit at home last week, an event for which organizers charged $19, but not per person. That was the ticket price per office.)

I didn’t see and haven’t read much about his lecture, but among the more memorable quips was in reference to the ongoing Adriatic boundary dispute between Slovenia and Croatia. Paraphrasing from a Radio SLO report:  “The current dispute won’t matter much in 50 years if we allow the sea levels to continue to rise.”

This was Clinton’s second visit to Slovenia, and while his stroll around town turned a few heads and attracted a few waves, the crowd didn’t quite compare with the one that turned out for Queen Elizabeth’s after-tea walkabout here last October.

Clinton in SLO 02, originally uploaded by pirano.

Eight Years Later

Discussing his latest novel, Man in the Dark, Paul Auster tells The Guardian about the root of his frustrations in recent years.

If there is something getting Auster’s goat, it’s American politics. It was his disgust at the outcome of the 2000 US elections that sparked the story-within-a-story at the heart of Man in the Dark, about a counterfactual US where civil war reigns and New York leads a movement to form the Independent States of America.

“It’s a war of bullets and bombs, whereas the divisions in the US now are similar to a civil war, but we’re fighting it with words and ideas,” he says.

He can pinpoint the idea for his latest story to his “frustration and disgust after the 2000 elections … Gore won, Gore was elected president, and it was taken away from him by political and legal manoeuvering, and ever since then I’ve had this eerie feeling of being in some parallel world, some world we didn’t ask for but we nevertheless got.

More…

US Foreign Policy Gift Shop

With just 108 shopping days left on the Bush Countdown clock, shoppers everywhere are scurrying about to find that perfect memento to help remember what aspiring Vice President Sarah Palin apparently knows nothing about: the Bush Doctrine.

Photographer Phillip Toledano has done his part with his online installation, America The Gift Shop, where he suggests a few souvenirs to recall the last eight years.

The selection varies wildly, from the moulded resin and plexiglass Abu Ghraib Coffee Table* pictured here, to neon signs, T-shirts, chocolate bars and an Inflatable Guantanamo Bay Bouncy Prison Cell. Really, you must take a look.

Toledano’s other recent work includes a portrait book of phone sex operators (wouldn’t that look sweet on that Abu Ghraib coffee table?). Much more on his website.

*Abu Ghraib bobble-head doll sold separately

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Collage mirage.

Here’s another reason why you need to keep old magazines.

British artist Jonathan Yeo created this collage portrait, entitled Paris Hilton 2008, entirely from porn magazine clippings. But if you’re looking to buy, it’s too late. Damien Hirst has already dropped a hefty undisclosed amount for it.

Yeo, son of a former British conservative MP, has created similar portraits of George Bush and Gordon Brown, the latter made entirely from gay porn. Describing the Bush portrait, his first venture into the porn clippings medium after his commission for an official portrait was later decommissioned by the White House, Yeo says:

“What’s going on in Bush’s right ear is actually illegal in the president’s home state of Texas.”

 

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