by James Corbett
March 16, 2012
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Elizabeth, have
cancelled a planned speaking engagement at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre
next month, citing safety concerns.
According to the president of the
promotion company that booked Cheney for the April 24th speech,
that in Canada the risk of violent protest was simply too high. They
specifically referenced what happened in Vancouver.”
The reference is to a fierce protest of Cheney’s speech in British Columbia
last September which necessitated the use of Vancouver riot police and kept
Cheney locked inside the speaking venue for seven hours while crowds were
Cheney is not the first credibly accused war criminal from the Bush
Administration to cancel a speaking arrangement due to concerns about
popular protest or even arrest.
In early 2011 former President
George W. Bush was
forced to cancel a trip to
Switzerland to speak at a fundraiser for the United Israel Appeal after it
was revealed that a number of human rights groups were planning to prosecute
Bush for war crimes, including contravention of the Convention Against
Torture to which the United States is a signatory.
The first such attempt to prosecute Bush occurred in 2009 during the former
president’s first trip abroad since leaving office, when he spoke at the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary, Canada.
At the time,
Lawyers Against the War
and other groups lobbied Canadian prosecutors to fulfill
their duties under the Canadian War Crimes Act to arrest and try Bush for
his documented participation in the commission of torture techniques during
his reign as president.
Despite widespread protest, prosecutors declined to bring charges against
Bush at the time, and police defended Bush from
Splitting The Sky, a Mohawk
activist who attempted a citizen’s arrest.
Another round of lobbying preceded Bush’s appearance at a speaking
engagement in Surrey, B.C. late last year, citing the evidence in a 2006 UN
report, a 2007 Council of Europe report, a 2008 US Senate Armed Services
Committee report, the testimony of UN Special Rapporteurs Nowak and Scheinin,
a 2009 admission by Cheney and Bush’s own 2010 memoirs, but once again
Canadian authorities refused to enforce the law by bringing charges against
Other Washington insiders, too, have been forced to be careful with their
travel arrangements due to the possibility that they will be prosecuted for
Famously, former Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger has had to
be careful about where and how he travels, as he has been linked to war
...and could be
arrested under the Geneva Conventions Act in any country that is a signatory
to that convention.
Last year, Swiss politician Dominique Batettig urged the General Prosecutor
of the Swiss Federation to arrest Henry Kissinger while he was in the
the Bilderberg Conference, an annual meeting of 150 of the
world’s top power brokers, bankers, heads of state and royalty that takes
place amidst a near-total media blackout.
Despite a letter from one of the
country’s leading politicians and a clear obligation to do so under the
Geneva Convention, Swiss authorities declined to arrest Kissinger at that
Cheney’s recent decision to cancel his trip to Canada will come as little
solace to those who, like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie, have a
heartfelt desire to see unindicted war criminals arrested and tried for
their crimes against humanity.
No word yet whether Clooney, Jolie or other Hollywood A-listers are behind
the growing movement of people around the world who are interested in the
arrest of war criminals like,
Who's Afraid of War Crimes Prosecution?
Cheney Cancels Toronto Speaking
March 18, 2012