February 10, 2011

Christian Hugs and Handcuffs for George W. Bush

Hugs were exchanged at the Billy Graham Library during the signing of Bush's new book "Decision Points" released 9 November 2010. As noted, "Billy Graham rarely appears in public these days, but a visit from former President George W. Bush is enough to bring him out. Franklin Graham says his 92-year-old father is as sharp as he's been in the past few years."[1]

About a month after the book signing, in early February 2011, Bush avoided Switzerland because international human rights groups were waiting to arrest him for war crimes he committed, according to Reuters News: "Criminal complaints against Bush alleging torture have been lodged in Geneva, court officials say." Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch told Reuters "He's avoiding the handcuffs."[2] With personal confessions of what are considered international war crimes, George W. Bush is eligible for arrest around the world.



In the very book that G.W. Bush was signing in Billy Graham's presence, Bush defends his belief that torture is OK. Bush wrote his answer “Damn right” when the CIA asked for permission to waterboard Khalid Sheik Mohammad and other prisoners. Bush signed torture into U.S. war policy 7 February 2002 and according to Time Magazine, this was Bush's "most despicable act."[3]

While Bush may believe waterboarding is not torture, internationally accepted definitions say otherwise. Consider Webster's definition of torture: 1a: "anguish of body or mind. b: something that causes agony or pain. 2: the infliction of intense pain (as from burning crushing or wounding) to punish coerce or afford sadistic pleasure." People use waterboarding in order to try and coerce a person to confess something. Notice Webster's definitions do not say permanent physical damage is required in order for something to be considered torture. U.S. Lt. Grover Flint of the Philippine-American War described the intended effects of waterboarding: "His sufferings must be that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown."[4]

Bush seems to be in hot water. But all of his former cabinet and Obama seem to be liable as well. Obama has confessed his belief that waterboarding is torture, but has not sought to pursue the issue legally. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama has authorized the CIA to kill an American citizen, al-Alwaki, without a trial, no matter how far he is from any battlefield.[5] A tortured Guantanamo Bay detainee, Djamel Ameziane, lost a legal battle 8 October 2010 when a federal appeals court ruled that the Obama administration can keep information secret that the prisoner wanted to make public.[6]

Does George W. Bush Deserve Hugs, Handcuffs or Both?

As an evangelical Christian, I acknowledge that I'm far from perfect. And I also acknowledge the biblical principle of loving others unconditionally, no matter what. But, as a conscientious U.S. citizen, I can't deny that there is abundant evidence that George W. Bush and many other politicians have committed egregious crimes, both international and domestic, and these crimes need to be legally addressed in order to restore the foundation of the rule of law to the United States.

From a biblical perspective, if a person calls himself or herself a Christian but does not want to address serious sins and shows no signs of remorse, both the New and Old Testaments show a need for some kind of confrontation. In 2 Samuel 12, God led Nathan to David to confront him for his sins. If George W. Bush believes Billy Graham was instrumental in leading him to Christ, Graham seems like he would be an ideal candidate for approaching Bush in a "spirit of meekness" as shown in Galatians 6:1-5. Or the pastor of Bush's church may want to follow the steps of reconciliation outlined in Matthew 18:15-20. If Bush declines to address these crimes and sins, which are against foreigners and every citizen of the United States, the Apostle Paul outlined an approach that may be fitting in 1 Corinthians 5.3-5.

Some Documented Crimes of George W. Bush

George W. Bush authorized the invasion of Iraq based on deception, and the profiteering by Cheney and Halliburton has been well documented in hindsight. In addition to oil resource control, the no-bid contracts and "cost plus" billing arrangements ensured massive profits. The war was unprovoked and was begun without any evidence of WMD. This was illegal according to international protocol.

In authorizing torture, George W. Bush violated the Geneva Convention, ignored the U.S. "Federal Torture Act" Title 18 United States Code, Section 113C, and usurped the UN Torture convention. He violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens by imprisonment without a trial, by simply declaring untried suspects as "enemy combatants."[7]

Bush authorized illegal spying on U.S. citizens by the NSA without seeking warrants in violation of Title 50 United States Code, Section 1805. Illegal wiretapping is a felony under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Bush also violated the Fourth Amendment's guarantee of protection against unreasonable search and seizure.[8]

President George W. Bush swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution in his inauguration but committed treason in secretly working to undermine the sovereignty of the United States. Without the knowledge or approval of congress, G.W. Bush sent a team, including Donald Rumsfeld, to a North American Forum September 12-14, 2006, the purpose of which was to dissolve U.S. borders.[9] G.W. Bush was in step with the basic plan of his father, George H.W. Bush, who signed Executive Order 12803 on April 30, 1992, for the sale of U.S. infrastructure to foreign interests.[10]

Ron Paul has begun to put some of the Bush crimes on the official record. On 26 January, 2011, Paul entered official testimony in the U.S. Congressional record how George Bush. Sr. lied to the American people at the onset of the Gulf War in 1990. Paul outlined how the policy of lying has led to our present governmental crisis and the need for addressing corruption.[11]

Morals from the Dark Side

The illegal torture program begun by the Bush administration has its roots in a relativistic belief that the end justifies the means. In other words, "It's OK to break laws as much as you want to, as long as the results work out for the best." The film "Taxi to the Dark Side" is named after a quote from Bush's right hand man, Dick Cheney, from shortly after September 11, 2001:

"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will...That’s the world these folks operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective."[12]

Upon receiving the Oscar award for 2008 Best Documentary Film, the director of "Taxi to the Dark Side" Alex Gibney, had this to say: "This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us, Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury about what was being done to the rule of law. Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light." An investigation into the death of Afghan taxi-driver, Dilawar, at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2002, found that Dilawar had been repeatedly kicked and punched and was chained to the ceiling of his cell for days before he ended up dying.

The philosophy "the end justifies the means" seems to create corrupt and pathological liars. On 23 December 2010, the Associated Press reported how Nigeria dropped legal prosecution for bribery charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton after they offered to pay an agreed-upon lump sum of $250m to Nigerian officials. Apparently, George W. helped with some phone calls. Did he try to negotiate the bribe down a bit? Anti-corruption lawmakers in Nigera were infuriated because Cheney, Bush and Halliburton are setting them back in their cause.[13] No matter what Neocons may say, history shows they are relativists who would be willing to use patriotism, Christianity and any other means in order to achieve their goals.

The Cremation of Care


One thing many Republican-honoring evangelicals don't seem to be interested in is the connection between the Bush family and the occult. A photo from a 1992 Bohemian Club yearbook shows both Bush presidents at a speaker's podium and Newt Gingrich, who says he is presently considering a run for presidency in the Republican party. The cartoon captions were added by me but the underlying photo is from an actual Bohemian Grove yearbook. The played-up, political hype between the Conservative-Republican-Right and the Liberal-Democratic-Left is revealed for what it is when you see the list of political guests who visit the Bohemian Grove.

Though G.W. was strong against partial-birth abortion, there seems to have been a severe lack of conscience in many other areas. Perhaps it's not coincidental that the Bush men have been regulars at the pagan meeting in California, where the Druid-like "Cremation of Care" ceremony celebrates the searing of the conscience through the burning of a human effigy in sacrifice to a 40 foot stone idol. In order to really get a feel for what goes on there, it helps to see a video of the Cremation of Care ceremony, as secretly recorded by Alex Jones in film clip, The Cremation of Care - Enhanced Footage, and read the transcript, linked here.[14]


On August 17, 2000, Time Magazine asked George W. Bush if it bothered him that he had joined the nefarious society Skull and Bones as a young man. His response: "No qualms at all. I was honored."[15] No qualms? No regrets? The public was led to believe G. W. became a born-again Christian in 1985 based on Bush's ghost-written autobiography "A Charge to Keep." But an article by Graig Unger at Salon Magazine outlines the many contradictions in the Bush conversion accounts.

Bush's main conversion experienced is vaguely summarized in the autobiographical book: "He (Billy Graham) led me to the path, and I began walking." But when Bush's ghost writer, Mickey Herskowitz, interviewed Bush about the words of Graham that helped lead G.W. to his conversion, Herskowitz was shocked: "He (Bush) couldn't remember a single word that passed between them."[16]

When Billy Graham was asked about the episode by NBC's Brian Williams, his response was also surprising: "I've heard others say that [I converted Bush], and people have written it, but I cannot say that," Graham said. "I never feel that I in any way turned his life around." And then there is the testimony by evangelist Arthur Blessit in his journal from April 3, 1984, a year before the Graham encounter: “A good and powerful day. Led Vice President Bush's son to Jesus today. George Bush Jr.! This is great! Glory to God."[17]

After his two Christian conversions, many were surprised at Bush's complete lack of mercy in allowing a woman in Texas to be executed in 1998 after becoming a reformed, born-gain Christian in a Texas jail and marrying the Christian pastor who visited the prison. Pat Robertson told 60 Minutes in an interview, if Bush "lets this sweet woman of God die, he's a man who shows no mercy." The complex details of the event and how Bush actually mocked the woman before her death can be found in the article "Clearing Up the 'Karla Faye Tucker' Episode."[18]

The International Call for Justice

Because George W. Bush blatantly broke international laws regarding war and torture, the international community is continuing to seek his prosecution. In 2004, a group of lawyers from Tokyo prepared a formal tribunal and found U.S. President George W. Bush guilty of war crimes.[19] Bush, in an admission of guilt, passed a bill in 2006 to try and insulate himself and his coworkers from the long arm of the law, as noted in report, "Bush Seeks Retroactive Immunity From US War Crimes Prosecution."[20]

Both Americans who love their country and international citizens who understand the basics of natural law realize the illegality of presidents writing pardons for themselves and their cabinet members. On 26 October 2007, Donald Rumsfeld was charged for the fifth time with direct involvement in torture. He made a hasty exit out of Paris France where the human rights groups filed the papers.[21] In 2008, Vermont towns Brattleboro and Marlboro approved a measure that would instruct police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution" if they ever set foot there.[22]

On March 17, 2009, John Boncore, also known as Splitting the Sky, attempted to make a citizens arrest of Bush in Canada. Prior to the civilian arrest action, the group Lawyers Against the War asked Canadian officials to bar entry of Bush, or arrest him and try him, as they desire to do in Switzerland. Canadian Law prohibits people suspected of any involvement in torture, war crimes or crimes against humanity from entering Canada for any purpose. When Bush arrived, it was Boncore who was arrested, not Bush. But Boncore did achieve more than the entire U.S. judicial system has so far, an opportunity to present his case against George W. Bush in a court of law.

The trial ensued in June 2010 and Boncore's attorney collected evidence, including the award-winning documentary film "Taxi to the Dark Side" and writings by David Ray Griffin, among others. In short, the Canadian judge ended the legal proceedings after two days and required Boncore to make a $1,000 donation to a charity and pay a $50 surcharge as conditions of his probation. And so no true justice has been served against George W. Bush for the time being.[23]

On 19 January 2010, in the Hague, Netherlands, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales were charged for “extraordinary rendition” activities, which essentially means kidnapping and torture. About 100 prisoners were rendered and abused in European prisons and this broke EU laws against torture.[24] On 7 January 2011 in Spain, papers were filed by the Centre for Constitutional Rights against the "Bush Six," according to the Guardian.[25] Benjamin B. Ferencz, an American lawyer who prosecuted Nazi criminals of war, believes George W. Bush should be tried as a criminal for the illegal initiation of the present Iraq War. Nazis from WWII are still being hunted because there is no statute of limitations on war crimes.

Conclusions and Questions

As an American overseas missionary, I've notice the opinion of America has fallen over the years. When the first Iraq War broke out, most Americans, including myself, believed we went to war because Saddam Hussein committed torture and mass murder and we had something better to offer the people, freedom and democracy. But, as Ron Paul pointed out, the launching of the Gulf War in 1990 was actually based on fraud and over the past twenty years we've seen the suicide rates our troops reach record highs because we are performing the very crimes we supposedly went to alleviate, the torture and murder of innocent civilians.

Whistle blowers, such as Bradley Manning, are in prison for simply leaking out the truth while elite criminals protect each other with impunity. Judas-goat presidents undermine the U.S.Constitution and continue to implement a police state. The most effective means for reducing the threat of terrorism against the United States is not a police state, but peaceful reform.The animosity against the U.S. would be drastically reduced if those complicit in torture and other war crimes were tried by the U.S. justice system.

The spiritual and political relationships between Bush and Graham seem to embody some of the main paradoxes of Christian culture and society today in the U.S. While I admire the vast work the Graham family has done to share the gospel, they don't seem to realize the extent to which they have been used as political pawns. I wonder if the Grahams considered why the press was not allowed to ask any questions in their library when G.W. Bush was signing his book. I wonder where the nearest "free-speech zone" was and if Franklin or Billy realize free-speech zones were the brain-child of the Bush administration shortly after 11 September 2001.

I wonder if the Grahams and other prominent evangelicals really believe torture is OK, as long as we are the ones doing it. I wonder if they have ever looked into the Skull and Bones and the Bohemian Grove involvement of their favorite politicians. The image presented by the press is that George W. Bush is a good ol' boy Christian. And this image is propped up by many Christians who are perhaps not filling in the blanks or who are in a state of denial. One advantage I have of living overseas for 10 years is the ability to view the United States from outside of the U.S. mass-media bubble.The image of the Bush-Graham book signing of Decision Points and the Neocon / Christian quiz were created to help the Christian community to ask some deep questions. It seems we were conned by the neocons into supporting anti-Christian values and policies.

Only God knows the heart of George W. Bush and whether or not he is a true Christian. But Matthew 7.20 gives us very basic advice on this question: "You will know them by their fruits." The fact is, G.W. Bush never joined a local church fellowship the eight years he served in the White House[26] and he has shown no public signs of remorse for his occult activity and crimes. I have not seen any evidence the Graham family has really sought to understand the Bush Dynasty and their actions over the past 20 years. It may be the Grahams need to consider their own "decision points" at this time with regard to backing G.W. Bush unequivocally as he is increasingly recognized around the world as a criminal. Ephesians 5.11 states "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."(NIV)

(On 17 February, I sent Billy Graham's organization, BGEA, an email asking 1) If they disagreed with any of the historical, documented facts in this article and 2) Why they endorse an alleged criminal. The reply was a standardized form letter with a pitch to buy a Billy Graham book. All things considered, this isn't very surprising.)

References

1. Telegram News Canada: Former president George W. Bush in North Carolina for book-signing at Billy Graham Library, December 20th, 2010 http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Canada%20-%20World/Arts/1969-12-31/article-2057553/Former-president-George-W-Bush-in-North-Carolina-for-booksigning-at-Billy-Graham-Library/1
2. Reuters: Bush's Swiss visit off after complaints on torture,
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/05/us-bush-torture-idUSTRE7141CU20110205
3. Time: The Bush Administration's Most Despicable Act,
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1870319,00.html
4. Waterboarding.org: Is Waterboarding Torture? http://waterboarding.org/torture_definition
5. The World Can't Wait: Confirmed: Obama Authorizes Assassination of U.S. Citizen, http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php/home-mainmenu-289/6265-confirmed-obama-authorizes-assassination-of-us-citizen
6. The Guardian: Court rejects Gitmo detainee appeal over secrecy, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/9302959
7.Charges and Evidence: Impeachment of George W. Bush, http://www.impeachforpeace.org/evidence/
8. Oh my News: Bush's Impeachable Offenses, Part 2 http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=340571&rel_no=2
 9.  Vive Le Canada, Deep Integration Planned at Secret Conference Ignored by the Media, http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article/print/132553106
10. The American Presidency Project, Executive Order 12803 - Infrastructure Privatization, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=23625#axzz1RzHrg2Rw
 11. Infowars: Ron Paul Enters Evidence of Bush War Crimes in Congressional Record, http://www.prisonplanet.com/ron-paul-enters-evidence-of-bush-war-crimes-in-congressional-record.html 
12. America at War: Cheney’s “dark side” Quote, (Originally16 September 2001,  Meet the Press, live interview), http://afpakwar.com/blog/archives/576
13. The Independent: Nigeria drops Halliburton bribery charges http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/nigeria-drops-halliburton-bribery-charges-2167608.html
14. Anomalies Network: Cremation of Care Transcript, http://communities.anomalies.net/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=158320#Post158320
15.  Counter Punch: Is the President's Soul in Jeopardy?: An Evangelical Christian Looks at Bush's Skull and Bones Initiation, http://www.counterpunch.org/alper11262005.html
16. Salon: How George Bush really found Jesus, http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/11/08/house_of_bush
17. The Official Website of Arthur Blessitt: The Day I Prayed with George W. Bush to Receive Jesus! http://blessitt.com/?q=praying_with_george_w_bush
18. The Daily Kos: Clearing Up the "Karla Faye Tucker" Episode, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/8/28/154043/126
19. The Japan Times: Citizens find Bush guilty of Afghan war crimes, http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nn20040314a5.htm
20. NoGW: Bush Seeks Retroactive Immunity From US War Crimes Prosecution, http://www.nogw.com/download/2006_bush_seeks_immunity.pdf
21. On Visit to France, Donald Rumsfeld Hit with Lawsuit for Ordering, Authorizing Torture, http://www.democracynow.org/2007/10/26/on_visit_to_france_donald_rumsfeld 
22. Reuters: Vermont towns vote to arrest Bush and Cheney, http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/03/05/us-usa-politics-vermont-idUSN0454699420080305
23. 911 Truth: Citizen's Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in Canada: Trial Underway, http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20100310155337373
24. Free Republic: International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2433582/posts
25. The Guardian: Bringing the 'Bush Six' to Justice, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/06/george-bush-torture
26. Tribes: Emply pew: Why Doesn't W go to church? http://dems.tribe.net/thread/577ea6b9-9ff9-4753-a5ec-02fa2062d86b

Photos are used for non-profit and educational purposes. Images created under fair-use laws for artistic parody.


(article edited June 23, 2011)

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4 comments:

  1. "As an American overseas missionary, I've notice the opinion of America has fallen over the years."

    Throughout the world more and more people are becoming aware of the hypocracy of their governments and the evil perpetrated in their names. from Bush and Blair to Cheney and Rumsfeld from the self interest of multi national companies; Banking and finance; Weapons systems and arm dealers; Oil and energy companies our "leaders" are ripping the heart out of communities and christian values.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Darmok,

    It's a time of great deception, as Jesus said it would be (Matthew 24.11). There are a lot of false testimonies and false prophets out there today who are misleading millions of people.

    A lot of people were conned by the neocons, including me. But the truth of Christ doesn't stand or fall based on government politics and deception. And God's plan will continue to unfold. It's interesting that Christianity is flourishing in places like China, where there has been intense propaganda and persecution for decades. God's Spirit cannot be stopped. :)

    ReplyDelete
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