George W. Bush Military Tribunal: Day 1
Wednesday, December 8
The officers empaneled to judge the military’s case against George W. Bush sat in silence as the defendant, shackled at the wrists and flanked on either side by a uniformed MP, entered GITMOs south courtroom and took a seat beside his attorney, David D. Aufhauser, at the defense table. Next to them was a throng of junior lawyers and paralegals dressed in dark suits and somber ties, a conclave of legal minds hired seemingly to intimidate the military’s resolute prosecutor, Rear Adm. Darse E. Crandall.
Before launching into an opening statement lasting nearly 3 hours, Rear Adm. Crandall assured everyone in attendance that JAG and the OMC had comprehensively vetted the panel for impartiality, a fair trial. He quipped, however, that of the 250 officers JAG had interviewed, only 3 showed no bias or animus toward the former president.
“We had to do extensive interviews because it was nearly impossible to find officers whose lives hadn’t been impacted in some way by the defendant’s crimes,” Rear Adm. Crandall said, provoking an objection.
Aufhauser argued that Rear Adm. Crandall’s comment was inflammatory enough to taint the panel, and demanded a mistrial.
“My remark was not of malice, but of fact, Mr. Aufhauser. This case will be prosecuted without passion or prejudice, and there will be no mistrial,” Rear Adm. Crandall replied.
He said JAG’s evidence would demonstratively prove that George W. Bush, while serving as the 43rd President of the United States, knowingly committed multiple acts of treason on the nation and its people, and that those transgressions, which included war crimes and conspiring with hostile foreign governments, contributed to the deaths of 8,793 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Evidence will show Bush profited massively from his illegal wars,” Rear Adm. Crandall said, “and that is partly why we are seeking 1 count of murder for every life lost during those wars. Consolidating the fatalities to a lesser number of charges would marginalize the lives lost, the families destroyed.”
While he was speaking, George W. Bush sat silently beside his lawyer with an aloof grin on his wrinkled face. Every now and then he nodded or wagged his head, but, apparently at his lawyer’s advice, otherwise sat motionless and tranquil.
Not so tranquil was Aufhauser, his boisterous voice echoing throughout the chamber, as Rear Adm. Crandall said he would prove beyond all doubt that Bush had lied about the number of people who perished in the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. JAG, he told the panel, had evidence that directly countered official narrative.
“We’ve been led to believe 2,997 died when the towers fell. This was a lie to soften the blow, so to speak. The genuine number is between 6,950-7,000, and when we begin discussing evidence and presenting witnesses on Friday, you’ll see how we arrived at that number. You’ll hear an audio recording of Bush, in his own voice and words, discussing with his senior staff reasons for obscuring the truth,” Rear Adm. Crandall said.
“What is this?” Aufhauser said. “Even the 9/11 Commission Report exonerated my client of any responsibility for 9/11. Tragic loss of life, yes, but not my client’s fault.”
“Your client commissioned the report. It points fingers at everyone but him and Cheney. Our evidence will prove the report is filled with inaccuracies and fallacies to shift blame away from the defendant,” Rear Adm. Crandall said. “Prosecution will also prove that no plane struck the Pentagon, and that United Airlines Flight 93 was, on Bush and Cheney’s orders, shot down. The buck doesn’t stop there.”
The tangible losses beyond death were obvious and massive, he said, and put the tribunal in recess until Friday morning.
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