Bush League Justice in Splitting the Sky’s Calgary Court Trial
Calgary, Alberta - The trial of Splitting the Sky (STS) began on March 8 and continued until ‘presiding magistrate’ Manfred Delong shut down the trial on March 9, 2010. While many have dubbed the trial Splitting the Sky vs. George W. Bush, the trial is actually the result of Splitting the Sky’s attempt to have George W. Bush arrested on charges of being an international war criminal on March 17. 2009 while he was in Calgary. Instead of justice being served, STS was arrested and jailed for crossing the police lines surrounding the former U.S. president.
Splitting the Sky, a passionate activist and spokesman for human rights, was denied his repeated request to have two witnesses give evidence in his defense. The two requested witnesses were Anthony J. Hall, Professor of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta and former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, who had just flown in from London to testify in court.
Three documents were accepted by the court for Splitting the Sky’s defense. One was Gail Davidson’s widely disseminated legal opinion for Lawyer’s Against the War (LAW). LAW’s paper cited the evidence and treaties to brand Bush as a “credibly accused war criminal” that should not be allowed into Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Prior to Bush’s arrival in Calgary last year to address an audience of oil executives, Davidson’s paper was directed to a number of law enforcement officials right up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Joshua Blakeney of the University of Lethridge reported the following from the trial:
“The morning’s proceedings were mostly filled with the testimonies of the policemen involved in protecting Bush and arresting STS. Amazingly, when one of the policeman was asked why he had arrested the Mohawk activist, the official contended that he “was protecting STS” from Bush’s henchmen. He went on to say that Bush’s protectors carry ‘lethal weapons’ and that they would have used them to kill the accused man. Rather than seek further information on Bush’s private-Blackwater-style militia, the lawyers on both sides of the case passed over this startling revelation.
“The presiding magistrate, Judge Manfred Delong, initially appeared, in my view, to be siding with the Crown prosecutor against STS’s lawyer, Charles Davison. Davison’s initial submission asked the court to allow for a distinction between ‘Obstructing a Police Officer’ and ‘Preventing a Police Officer from Performing his Duty.’ Davison’s argument was disallowed by Delong. From that point on, Mr. Davison appeared to be improvising in a defense on which the hopes of many anti-war activists were riding.
“Certainly the turning point of the day came when STS took the stand to testify in his usual flamboyant, surprising and erudite manner. STS reminded the court that it was the same laws which the minority government eschewed vis-a-vis Bush which were invoked to keep British peace activist George Galloway MP out of Canada last March. STS opined: ‘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.’
“My perception was that until STS testified, Judge Delong was more inclined to the Crown’s side of the argument, namely that the police were ‘keeping the peace’ in a law-abiding manner by arresting STS. Once STS had outlined his justifications for seeking the arrest of Bush, the judge perked up markedly. Charles Davison’s main contentions revolved around the characterization of STS’s understanding at the moment he attempted the citizen’s arrest. STS informed the court that three documents most influenced his decision to arrest Bush. The first was the legal opinion for LAW [previously mentioned] The second document submitted to the court was a letter of solidarity written by former U.S. Attorney-General Ramsay Clark. The third document was ‘Bush League Justice: Should George W. Bush be Arrested in Calgary, AB, and Tried for International Crimes’ by Prof. Anthony J. Hall. I noticed that Judge DeLong, who had been particularly statue-like and expressionless prior to reading Hall’s essay, suddenly metamorphosed into an engaged human being apparently interested in this highly significant case in Canada’s history.”
Delong is expected to deliver his ruling on June 7, 2010. Peace activists and 9/11 truthers are all strong supporters of STS worldwide. Prof. Anthony Hall summarized the tenor of the trial and abrupt ending: “The case for the prosecution both revealed and obscured much about the new police strategies being employed throughout North America to monitor, manage, divide and spin doctor demonstrators seeking to call attention to their political dissent. In my opinion the Crown’s chief agent of prosecution, Tracy Davis, acted more as an advocate and defender of the police rather than as a representative of the Canadian people through Her Majesty as she is required to do according to the constitutional tradition of the British Commonwealth.”