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The following are articles written and published in both local and national media before Bush spoke at a synagogue fundraiser in MN on Sept. 21, 2011.  This was part of a campaign to build resistance to the visit of this war criminal.  These are excellent examples of what can be done to create awareness.


Bush Kept Out of Canada, Can We Keep Him Out of Minnesota Too?

By Coleen Rowley

From The Huffington Post | Original Article

Sept. 15, 2011

Please JOIN US for an anti-torture candlelight vigil dedicated to detainees and victims of torture authorized by George Bush!

Wednesday, September21, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Beth El Synagogue, public sidewalk area along parking lot, 5224 West 26th Street, St. Louis Park, Minnesota. (This is the same synagogue that hosted Condi Rice a couple years ago and police have assured us we can protest in approximately the same public sidewalk area.) Has Beth El Synagogue sold out? I'm referring of course, to their 250 tickets ranging in price from $1250 to $3600 that Synagogue leaders predicted would sell out quickly for an "intimate evening" with George Bush. In any event, while the Synagogue's "silver to platinum level" ticket holders go inside to enjoy their hors d'oeuvres and photo-ops with George Bush, we will be outside yelling "SHAME!"

Speaking of shame, should we also remind the Synagogue's Bush boosters that September 21 just happens to be the United Nations' designated "International Peace Day"?

Of more interest to the press and general public, might be the question of why Bush was forced to abruptly cancel a similar fundraising appearance in Toronto at Tyndale University College and Seminary (a non-denominational evangelical university), set for September 20th, the day before Bush's trip to the Minnesota Synagogue. Apparently news of Bush's visit to Tyndale generated strident student and faculty dissent (see articles and here with petition) so naturally much curiosity now exists as to whether Bush's war crimes might finally be catching up with him. When will Bush be "Pinocheted" (as other commentators have put it)?

So join us... we need you at our candlelight vigil to protest the fundraising appearance of this former president who ordered torture: George W. Bush. Is it proper to honor this war criminal who launched pre-emptive, unjustified wars of aggression and "shock and awe" that led to hundreds of thousands of people killed, mostly civilian "collateral damage" and widespread destruction in the Middle East? Join others to stand up against those who torture, who order torture, and who attempt to "legalize" torture.

While it's still light, we'll display "wanted poster" signs, banners, distribute sample indictments and conduct some street theatre in orange Gitmo jumpsuits with dramatic readings of detainee descriptions and actual statements of Bush's torture victims who were held without a right to habeus corpus or to due process. An author of a book on Bush's torture, lawyer James Roth, will speak as will Phil Freshman, a Beth El congregant who also protested against Beth El's prior invitation to Condi Rice.

When it gets dark, we'll hold a candlelight vigil (we have candles available but you can also bring your own). Quite likely there will be some songs and music as well! Sponsored by WAMM Tackling Torture at the Top (T3) Committee. FFI: Call Women Against Military Madness, 612-827-5364.

Here are "World Can't Wait's" wanted posters which we displayed tonight at our weekly peace vigil. Please come help us hold these Bush "Wanted Posters" on Sept 21 outside Beth El Synagogue!

Coleen Riley is a Former FBI Special Agent.

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George W. Bush event tarnishes Beth El’s image

By Phil Freshman

From The American Jewish World | Original Article

Sept. 15, 2011

Bush is, at best, a polarizing figure — and many legal experts have compiled detailed cases for bringing the former president and top members of his administration to trial as war criminals

As a longtime member of Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, I was troubled to learn that my synagogue will host former President George W. Bush for hors d’oeuvres and a 6 p.m. speech on Sept. 21.

Chiefly arranged by former Beth El Board President Elliott Badzin, this “intimate evening” with the former president (as the official announcement bills it) is limited to 250 people, with ticket prices starting at $1,250. The press won’t be allowed to cover the proceedings. In fact, the event isn’t even mentioned, much less advertised, in the synagogue’s online events calendar or in its monthly print-and-online newsletter.

Bush’s regular speaking fee reportedly ranges from $100,000 to $150,000. If the event sells out, the synagogue stands to reap more than $300,000.

It’s no secret that Beth El needs such large cash infusions to pursue its multifaceted mission — a need that’s hard to meet in the current wobbly economy. Doubtless, the primary impetus for inviting Bush is to address that need. (Some of Beth El’s more affluent members were heavily invested in Bernie Madoff’s investment scam, so the shul was hit hard when that swindle was exposed.)

Yet beyond questions of money, this event amounts to the promotion of a particular political agenda — not to mention aiding the public relations campaign of an ex-president trying to burnish his tarnished image.

Of course, Beth El has the right to present speakers of its choice. But it is not entitled to serially promote a particularly biased perspective through the forum of a house of worship, which it has done by hosting former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and, most recently, Michael Broyde, the Emory University law professor and rabbi (who advocates torture “under certain circumstances”), among others, during the past few years.

Regardless of its limited scope and relatively private nature, the Bush appearance will be seen as bearing the Beth El seal of approval. The synagogue’s public image will be further stained, adding to the negative reactions in both the community and congregation to the Rice and Broyde events. The Rice speech, in November 2009, drew more than 100 protestors to Beth El to decry her role in promulgating the Iraq war and facilitating the use of torture in interrogations of suspected terrorists.

Bush is, at best, a polarizing figure. Many legal experts, notably including retired federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega and former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, have compiled detailed cases for bringing Bush and top members of his administration to trial as war criminals. Bush instigated the unprovoked invasion of Iraq on a trumped-up pretext — and we’re still there, still paying for his decisions and actions. The war has claimed more than 100,000 innocent lives, wreaked havoc among its wounded survivors, catalyzed Islamic terrorism, and worsened Middle East unrest.

Moreover, Bush authorized the frequent use of torture, abusing well-established U.S. and international law and violating cherished American — and Jewish — values. In his recently published memoirs, he makes no bones about having ordered practices such as waterboarding, which the U.S. government today officially forbids.

If the Beth El organizers think Bush’s shameful legacy is something that can be ignored in the name of fundraising, they are sorely mistaken. Synagogues are expected to promote and represent the moral high ground. This intimate evening with Bush in the sanctuary risks forfeiting any claim to that moral position.

Sept. 21 follows the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by more than a week, but it falls right on the annual International Day of Peace; the irony of that coincidence hardly needs underscoring. This year, too, Sept. 21 comes on the eve of the High Holidays. I’m reminded of a verse from Deuteronomy that’s cited often during this period of introspection and self-evaluation: “I have set before you life and death: therefore, choose life that both you and your seed may live.”

Beth El’s hosting of George W. Bush likely will lend those words a discordant ring in the minds of not a few Twin Cities Jews this season.

Phil Freshman lives in St. Louis Park.


U.S. touts 'Equal Justice Under Law' -- except when it comes to Bush and torture

By Chuck Turchick

From MinnPost.com | Original Article

Sept. 16, 2011

"Equal Justice Under Law." Along with a seal of the United States, those four words appear on a huge marble slab covering almost the entire back wall opposite the entrance of the Federal Building/U.S. Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis – four words that say so much.

If only they were true.

The attorneys in the United States Attorney's Office on the sixth floor must be going in the back door. The words are impossible to miss if one walks in the front door.

A group of us recently met with two assistant U.S. attorneys, one of whom is second-in-command to U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones. Among our requests was that former President George W. Bush, who will speak at a Beth El Synagogue fundraiser in St. Louis Park on Sept. 21, be brought in for questioning while he is in Minnesota, the jurisdiction for which Jones is the chief federal law-enforcement officer.

The attorneys said little in response, nothing that would indicate whether they would act on our requests. But the bemused looks on their faces spoke volumes. And First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marti did say to one of the participants as she was leaving that the prosecution of George W. Bush for torture "ain't gonna happen."

"Equal Justice Under Law"? Maybe a paraphrase of George Orwell would be more accurate: All of us are equal under the law, but some are more equal than others.

Admits authorizing water boarding

On his book tour last fall, former President Bush repeatedly proclaimed that he had authorized water boarding. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been clear that water boarding is torture. The Federal Torture Statute outlaws conspiracy to torture if the torture occurs outside the United States. President Bush's multiple admissions fall precisely into this category. The case against George W. Bush is an easy case.

When he signed the Convention Against Torture in 1988, former President Ronald Reagan summarized the essence of its most important provisions: "Each State Party is required to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

Ah, but what about those legal memos? Didn't Bush rely on the legal advice he was being given? By his own words, no, he did not. On Nov. 8, 2010, in an interview with Matt Lauer of NBC, he was asked about the water boarding that he had authorized: "You'd make the same decision again today?" He responded, "Yeah, I would."

Legal memos withdrawn as inoperative

If Bush would make the same decision today, when he knows that the legal memos he supposedly relied on were withdrawn as faulty and inoperative legal advice — which occurred during his own administration — it's questionable whether he was actually relying on those legal memos at the time. This is not a difficult case.

Marti heads up the Terrorism and National Security Team in the local U.S. Attorney's Office. Nothing he or Jones could do would do more for national security than to open an investigation into Bush's admitted crimes, bring him in for questioning, and if necessary prosecute him for violating 18 U.S.C. Secs. 2340-2340A, the Federal Torture Statute. It would weaken al-Qaida, strengthen our alliances, and enhance our human-rights standing in the world.

Unless that happens, that slab of marble is a mere decoration. If "equal justice under law" ain't gonna happen for George W. Bush in this jurisdiction, I would again summon the words of Reagan: "Mr. Jones, tear down this wall."
 
Chuck Turchick is a retired Minneapolis resident who is concerned about torture and torture accountability issues. A Candlelight Vigil Against Torture will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., outside Beth El Synagogue, 5224 26th St. W. (Hwy. 100 and 26th St.) in St. Louis Park. Coincidentally, in 1981 the United Nations declared Sept. 21 International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. As President Bush is feted inside, the vigil will call for a return to the rule of law.

 
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