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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Attempted Arrest of George W. Bush for Murder

Splitting-the-Sky, the hero who attempted to citizens-arrest Bush last spring and was arrested himself, will join me on Saturday, March 6th,  5-6 pm Central on Truth Jihad Radio (listen at AmericanFreedomRadio.com).

I spoke with Splitting-the-Sky Sunday. He's in excellent spirits, though wishing he were getting more support for his heroic effort to put Bush on trial for war crimes. Recently the prosecution offered a plea-bargain in which he would be sentenced to community service. Splitting-the-Sky turned down the offer, telling them his attempt to arrest Bush WAS community service! 

A lot of us are still growing the guts to do something as audacious as Splitting-the-Sky's citizen's arrest attempt. Please let this modern North American hero know you appreciate his work by emailing him at splitting_the_sky(at)yahoo.com   Remember, this guy could be facing hard jail time for doing what all of us should be doing. And while you're at it, a contribution to his defense fund, however small, would also lift his spirits. Checks should be made out to John Boncore.

John Boncore
P. O. Box 1492
Chase, BC

Below is Sacramento peace and truth activist Tom King's review of Vincent Bugliosi's #1 New York Times bestseller The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

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Hi Kevin,

Since various of your current radio guests are concerned with getting the guts, as you put it, to citizen-arrest W, I thought you might like to take a look at a review I recently finished writing.  Here 'tis.

All best regards,

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, by Vincent Bugliosi

Hard to say where one will find, looking not only in courts of law but any profession or field, a more formidable reputation than that of Vincent Bugliosi.  His win-lose record in his career as prosecutor in the office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney strains credulity:  105 felony jury cases won, 1 lost; 21 murder convictions, no acquittals.  Yet equally noteworthy is his career as an author.  He had three non-fiction books reach #1 on The New York Times hardcover bestseller list.  One of these, Helter Skelter, became the best-selling true crime book in publishing history. Given the high distinction of attorney Vincent Bugliosi and the anything-but-coy title of his iconoclastic indictment, a would-be reader is apt to suppose he knows exactly what he’s in for.  In my own case, the expectations were pinned on a man of magnitude in his field, a courtroom attorney of the first order, and one who wrote lucidly enough to reach a wide audience.  In a book whose title was radical enough I was sure few publishers would have been likely to adopt it, I supposed he would put his expertise at my service in the attempt to deliver the goods.  I was not disappointed.  Surprises come, however, in unexpected bonuses.  The rewards consist not only in the sum and substance of what he has to write, but how he writes it.
What surprised me most was this author’s passion, his passionate mode in writing.  To be more precise, the astonishment springs from his application of the most thoroughgoing, carefully reasoned argumentation in combination with what I would call a rhetorical command of righteous outrage.  For example, dealing with the Bush’s brazen rewriting of the CIA’s classified NIE report to accommodate the agenda to mislead the public,

How, you may ask at this point, would these thugs have the guts to change the language of an official document that they had to know at some point would become declassified?  I guess for several reasons.  First, by the time the NIE document was declassified, it would be long after the start of the war the Bush administration wanted so badly.  Secondly, they know how completely out of it the American public (the Walking Dead) is and how they only focus, if at all, on what’s happening today, their memory lasting as long as a breath upon a mirror.  And finally, they know from experience that with the very weak “liberal media” and pathetic liberal TV personalities like Charlie Rose, Ted Koppel, and George Stephanopoulis—physiological marvels who are somehow able to sit erect in front of a camera without a spine—they can literally get by with murder…  (p. 113)

The fury is there throughout, the hot sparks assuring that a reader is never in danger of nodding off over dry legalese.  When Bugliosi has dealt with the Bush administration’s gigantic deception operation that led us into our most ineradicable shame as a nation, dealt with it in all its intricate twists and turns, exhaustively analyzing and exposing it, he drops a final benediction on his reader.

            If all of the above, enough to enrage a saint, doesn’t make your blood boil, it’s only because you are a bloodless wonder, and belong as a feature exhibit in the Smithsonian.  (p. 130)

Nothing unctuous here!
Most unforgettable of all are the passages early on, in the prologue to the prosecution, where the anger merges with profound grief.

            In talking about the horrors of the Iraq war, one of the problems is that numbers on a page are so lifeless and mean little to most people.  Saying that 100,000 people have died in the war in Iraq is just a number to them.  But obviously, if they could have seen, up close, the horror and carnage of all 100,000 people dying, the number 100,000 would have a totally different meaning to them… (p. 48)

When you have finished reading this chapter you will not be supposing its author to be one of those for whom deaths in Iraq are mere numbers; he gives page after page of true accounts, heartbreaking tales, of the young soldiers whose dreams were dashed, lives spilled for a worthless cause, and the agony and ululation of those affected by their all but unbearable losses.  It is as though the fallen in Iraq were his own family, his loss a personal one, and that he is thrust forever into mourning.
            This portrait of disregarded, collective misery of bereavement becomes the initial premise of a syllogism in which the second premise is a portrait of George W. Bush.  Supplying us scores of telling glimpses, he displays the Commander in Chief as not merely the prime mover behind the least of all justified wars, but an unfeeling idler who lives out his happiest years, joking with cronies and clicking his heels, while thousands die at his bidding.  We can have little doubt as to the syllogism’s conclusion, given his book’s title.
As a courtroom lawyer accustomed over the course of decades to scrutinizing with utmost care the mindset of juries, Bugliosi writes with full cognizance of his reader’s inevitable doubts.  He knows Joe Public, his reader, begins as skeptic.  You want us to believe that we could throw the former President of the United States into a cell like a common hoodlum?  Indeed, that is exactly what he wants us to believe.

…All I can tell you is that as a former prosecutor with twenty-one murder convictions without a loss, seeking and obtaining a death penalty sentence against eight of the murder defendants, I am probably in a better position than the average person to know what type of evidence is necessary to go to trial with and secure a conviction of murder.  And in my opinion there certainly is enough evidence against Bush to justify bringing him to trial and letting an American jury decide whether or not he is guilty of murder, and if so, what the appropriate punishment should be.  I am very confident that, based on the evidence I set forth on the following pages, a competent prosecutor could convict Bush of murder.  (p. 86)

Continuing to confront his dubious reader directly, supposing him to believe a courtroom is not the appropriate place for George Bush, he throws out this challenge in the realm of the hypothetical:

…if you maintain this position you therefore must be willing to say that if a president takes America to war under false pretenses (even those as base, hypothetically, as for his own personal gain), and if thousands of Americans, even 50 million Americans, die as a direct result,… the president should be absolutely immune from all criminal responsibility and punishment…. There is no third alternative. (p. 91)

In such fashion, then, does he speak as a man to men and women, grabbing them by the lapels.  But he speaks esoterically as well, a lawyer dipping into his tool kit.  To begin with he assures us, had we any doubt, that in the case of murder there is no statute of limitations to run out.  But he moves penetratingly to the finer points.
To this day there is still a mystery as to the primary cause for Bush’s preemptive invasion of Iraq.  Though only the gullible right wing buys in to the later-revised rationale of “freeing the Iraqi people from the yoke of a dictator,” some respectable observers will not entirely dismiss the idea that it might have been at least in part a vendetta against Saddam Hussein for the attempt he made on his father’s life.  And of course there’s the predominant explanation: oil.  Bugliosi makes no claim to have the answer.  He makes it clear, however, that there is no need in a murder case for the prosecution to establish motivation, but only to demonstrate intent.

            …in most states, to obtain a conviction of first degree murder, a prosecutor must prove a premeditated intent to kill.  However, in the federal courts, the best place to prosecute Bush, there is authority for the proposition that the premeditation necessary to constitute first degree murder does not have to be an intent to kill.  It can also be a premeditated intent to do an act “without regard for the life and safety of others,” which is implied malice.  In the 1983 case of United States v. Shaw, the premeditation was in the form of  “lying in wait,” but not specifically to kill, only to fire at a passing car, the defendant thereby doing an act exceedingly dangerous with reckless and wanton disregard for the consequences, though no specific intent to kill was shown…  (p. 98)

Here we observe the author doing the thing we expect of a good lawyer—citing precedent from the history of court cases which establishes what constitutes living law.  The reader will find Bugliosi doing this throughout, precedent after precedent after precedent.
His challenge is to establish that Bush, for whatever reason, willfully lied to the American people in order to take them into a war without any claim to the national interest; that he did so with reckless and wanton disregard for the consequences; and that there is ample warrant in what has played out previously before twelve good bipeds to see that Bush answers before the bar of justice.  (He also suggests with the strongest circumstantial evidence that Bush felt perfectly merry about all those thousands dying for him—not part of the substance of the case, but scarcely of dismissible interest to an imagined jury.)  The volume of pages with which he makes this case reveal a command of the details of the diurnal march of events in American political life that establish this author to be a phenomenon in his profession.  But it is not a display merely of the widest grasp of law case histories; it is continually a display of insight, judgment—the knitting of significant fact with deductive thought.  A good example of this is offered in an end note to his chapter “Why George Bush Went to War.”  He points out that with the endless debate focused so many months on the question of whether Hussein had WMD, a more important question was never pondered in all the wastepaper of the media:  even if he did, SO WHAT?

            The first argument in support of the proposition that Hussein was not a threat to this country is that—are you ready?—Saddam Hussein was not really an enemy of this country, and no one was pointing this out.  Since one goes to war with his enemies, it bears repeating that Saddam Hussein was not an enemy of the United States of America!  Although Bush has said that Hussein held “an unrelenting hostility towards the United States,” he never offered any credible evidence to support these words.  (p. 257)

Bugliosi expands capaciously on the point in his end notes, pointing out the warm handshake with which Bush’s father had assured Hussein he could count on America being in his corner in his war with Iran—and the fact that we were “his biggest oil customer,” maintaining him in his regal lifestyle.  Most tellingly of all, If Hussein cared about going on living—as he proved when he crept into the hole of his hiding place in which he was finally discovered—why would be ever attack the world’s superpower, thereby assuring his death?

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If strict critical standards are applied, the book suffers from serious structural weaknesses—or One Big Weakness.
The inevitable logic here calls for a thorough presentation of the reasons Bush deserves indictment followed by a legal expert’s demonstration of the unobstructable practicability of his prosecution.  By page 168, with the wrap-up of Part Two, the case against Bush as war criminal non pareil only requiring the simplest action of a single hero to be brought to inevitable justice has been made.  Part Three, focused on Bush’s ineptness as administrator in the war on terror, can scarcely be seen as relevant to a murder indictment, and stands at best as anti-climactic.  Nor can the book’s final chapter, “America, Up or Down?” be justified beneath the book’s title.  Having identified his quarry and targeted it with a large round bullseye, Bugliosi overshoots so far as to write as many pages beyond his cinched case as he takes for spelling out the actual prosecution.  His demonstrated contention that Bush is a mass murderer who beyond any question may be brought to justice might have been leaner and cleaner at half its length.
Yet once this major defect is admitted, there are major compensations.  It might well be argued that the tome is unified by the mind and personality of its author.  “While I have your attention,” he seems to be saying, “let me get a few things off my chest.”  In this time when the media grovel as submissive establishment shills, his explosive candor comes forth like a great wind that sweeps clean.  And in the process of the clean-up we are given trenchant history lessons.

Consider, for example, what he offers us in an end note to Chapter Four, the heart of his case.  (In this book, the end notes attached to the close, rather than mere addenda, are more on the order of additional chapters!)

            On February 15, 1848, in a letter to a friend, then U.S. House of Representatives member Abraham Lincoln wrote: “Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose—and you allow him to make war at his pleasure… If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him?  You may say to him, ‘I see no probability of the British invading us,’ but he will say to you, ‘be silent; I see it, if you don’t… This, our [Constitutional] Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing the oppression upon us…  And Lincoln wasn’t even talking about a president taking this nation to war under false pretenses, just to taking the nation to war at his whim.  (p. 278)

            Bugliosi, we learn, has pursued his hugely successful career as a seven-day-a-week workaholic, his zeal keeping him in harness 365 from early morning to late night.  As we think of him finally retired we can’t but imagine his applying all that ardor to his habit of indefatigable research.  So when he enters upon the controversies in our history revolving around false flag operations, we do well to give him an attentive hearing.
            Admittedly his defense of FDR, accused of looking the other way while knowing of the impending invasion of Pearl Harbor, is rather loosely deductive at best.  To believe that Roosevelt would have sacrificed twenty-four hundred American lives for a political agenda would require that he believe Roosevelt to be an evil man, and he cannot believe it.  “…there’s simply no way to compare Roosevelt’s conduct to what Bush did in Iraq.”  (p. 290)
LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin are afforded a more scholarly pondering.  In defending Johnson against the charge of using the attack on the Maddox as a subterfuge for attacking North Vietnam,  “… in addition to the very important fact that no credible evidence has surfaced in almost forty-five years that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was provoked or staged, there is one reality that I believe clearly demonstrates everything was on the up-and-up, at least as far as Johnson and his advisers were concerned…”  (pp. 287-8)  The evidence he offers is a transcript of taped telephone conversations between LBJ and McNamara during the actual moments of the attack.  Certainly what Bugliosi brings to the page, the President’s surprise at what is transpiring, seems authentic.  But the most inspired passage is what he offers in his wrap-up of these discussions of false flag controversies.

            But here’s the clincher with respect to Johnson and Roosevelt.  If, in fact, they did what many Bush supporters and conservatives say they did, then they should have been prosecuted for murder, too.  And if they had, the punkish college cheerleader from Crawford, Texas, may have thought twice before lying to the nation to take us to war in Iraq.  (p.290)

One having forgiven this author for carrying him far beyond the book’s purported objective, the reader may find the rewards continuing unabated.   Consider for example that final “irrelevant” chapter where his opinion is advanced that America is no longer the great nation that formerly it has been.

            America, for better or worse, has been a leader of pop and cultural change throughout the world for many years.  Other nations take their cue from us.  What type of nation do we still have whose movies are routinely laden with profanity of the worst kind and gratuitous, unrelated-to-the-plot grunting sessions of sex in bed or against the wall; whose movies are actually beginning to show people sitting on a toilet going to the bathroom; even, unbelievably, wiping themselves—something, of course, we all want to see very badly…    (page 241)

As Bugliosi sees it, it is not just our government that has gone rotten.  The American people are not what once they were.  And nothing proves it more decisively than the fact that we allowed George W. Bush to be elected twice, “someone who is actually the object of scorn and hatred throughout the civilized world.” (p.245)
Having thoroughly scourged his country and his countrymen with whiplash after refreshing whiplash—did these decidedly unpatriotic-looking sentiments emerging from his keyboard look suddenly scary?  At least the closing pages of his last chapter seem a bit disingenuous in their blind grope for something positive to say in way of counterbalance.  (“Despite all the danger signals, America remains, today, fortunately, a civil society.”)
However disaffected, he leaves us his card: unswerving watchdog and gadfly, at your service, America.

            I would be more than happy, if requested, to consult with any prosecutor who decides to prosecute Bush in the preparation of additional cross-examination questions for him to face on the witness stand.  I believe the cross-examination would be such that they’d have to carry the arrogant son of privilege off the stand on a stretcher.  ((p. 166)

Ah! to take on the monster who became a president, if only the prosecutor stepping forward might be himself, Vincent Bugliosi!  O consummation devoutly to be wished.

T.J. King

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