(CNN) - They've sung his praises on social networking pages, calling him a "hero," "the greatest man of our time," "a legend." They've said he deserves to be knighted and should be decorated with medals. They've cried out for his amnesty and have even proposed serving time for him.
The man many hundreds of thousands of Facebook users honor is no other than Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for hurling his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush.
The double-whammy size 10 shoe toss, neither of which hit Bush, took place in December at a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq. In many traditional Middle East circles, throwing shoes at someone is considered a grave insult.
To do this to an American president surrounded by Secret Service agents, no less, was as shocking to riveted viewers who watched the footage later as it was to the president himself.
"First of all, it's got to be one of the most weird moments of my presidency," Bush said later. "Here I am getting ready to answer questions from the free press in a democratic Iraq, and a guy stands up and throws his shoe. ... I'm not angry with the system. I believe that a free society is emerging, and a free society is necessary for our own security and peace."
Expressing their own freedom on Facebook, a worldwide fan base rose up to laud al-Zaidi's actions. They formed hundreds of fan pages and groups, big and small, serious and light. One is even called the "Shoe-Throwing Appreciation Society."
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Muntadher al-Zaidi, the man seen as a hero in some circles for throwing his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday by an Iraqi court.
Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in December in Baghdad.
Neither shoe hit the president, and other people in the room quickly knocked al-Zaidi to the ground before security officials arrested him.
Family members and journalists were cleared from the courtroom before Thursday's verdict.
After news of the verdict reached family members, al-Zaidi's brother appeared close to fainting. Other family members were seen crying and shouting curses about al-Maliki and Bush.
Al-Zaidi was a journalist who worked for the television network al-Baghdadia. The network also called for his release shortly after the incident.
He explained his actions during an hourlong appearance last month in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. Asked whether anyone pushed or motivated him, al-Zaidi said he was spurred by the "violations that are committed against the Iraqi people."
In the Middle East, throwing shoes at someone is traditionally a sign of contempt.
Al-Zaidi's angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero, and demonstrators took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release shortly after the incident.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In the latest of a series of moves intended to limit or reverse the policies of his predecessor, President Obama quietly issued a memorandum Monday that will likely limit the impact of the many legislative signing statements that became a bit of a trademark during former President George W. Bush’s tenure.
In the two-page memo, Obama makes the case both for and against presidential signing statements, the presidential practice of laying out constitutional and other legal concerns about a piece of legislation at the time the chief executive signs a bill into law.
“Constitutional signing statements should not be used to suggest that the President will disregard statutory requirements on the basis of policy disagreements,” Obama wrote in the memo.
“At the same time, such signing statements serve a legitimate function in our system, at least when based on well-founded constitutional objections. In appropriately limited circumstances, they represent an exercise of the President’s constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and they promote a healthy dialogue between the executive branch and the Congress.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration Monday released nine previously secret internal Justice Department memos and opinions defining the legal limits of government power in combating terrorism.
The Bush administration had refused to make the documents public, rejecting demands from congressional Democrats.
The release ends a tug-of-war over copies of controversial legal guidance from the post-9/11 period that advocated greatly expanded executive power to combat terrorism.
Among the documents from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is a 2001 memo declaring that in terrorism cases the military may conduct searches in the United States without a warrant if approved by the president.
"We conclude that the president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States," wrote John Yoo, then a deputy assistant attorney general. "We further believe that the use of such military force generally is consistent with constitutional standards, and that it need not follow the exact procedures that govern law enforcement operations." Read the memo
The October 23, 2001, memo was sent to then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales later became Bush's attorney general.
Before laying out his administration's plans for the U.S. military in Iraq Friday, the President called former President George W. Bush. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) – President Barack Obama called former President Bush on this morning to tell him about his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq, the White House said Friday.
Obama called the former president “as a courtesy” right before his speech at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Obama also called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki from Air Force One to brief him on his plan to withdraw most troops from that country by the end of August 2010. The preident also “sought and received” an agreement from the prime minister that he would receive Christopher Hill as the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq.
On Friday, Obama released his plan to end combat operation in Iraq by August 31, 2010.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration told a federal court late Friday it will maintain the Bush administration's position that battlefield detainees held without charges by the United States in Afghanistan are not entitled to constitutional rights to challenge their detention.
"Having considered the matter, the government adheres to its previously articulated position," said a Justice Department document filed in federal court in Washington.
In a controversial 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court last year ruled that detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay had a right under the constitution to challenge their continued detention. However, the court did not say whether it applied to prisoners in other locations abroad, including Afghanistan.
Five prisoners held at Bagram Air Base, backed by human rights groups, have gone to court to claim the same rights as the men detained in Guantanamo Bay.
The new administration, which was given a month by a federal judge to declare whether the government wants to change its position, has now indicated it will continue to argue that it is against its security interests to release enemy combatants in a war zone.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Muntadher al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist on trial for throwing his shoes last year at then-President George W. Bush, said the former American leader's "bloodless and soulless smile" and his joking banter provoked him.
Al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at Bush during a December news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad. Neither shoe hit the president, and other people in the room quickly knocked al-Zaidi to the ground before security officials arrested him.
He explained his actions in an hour-long appearance on Thursday at the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. Asked if anyone pushed or motivated him to do this, al-Zaidi said he was spurred on by the "violations that are committed against the Iraqi people."
"I could only see Bush and feel the blood of the innocents flow under his feet, as he was smiling that smile - as if he had come to bid farewell to Iraq and with the last support and more than 1 million martyrs," al-Zaidi said. "At that moment, I felt this is the man who killed our nation ... the main murderer and the main person responsible for killing our nation."
Speaking in his first public appearance since his arrest two months ago, al-Zaidi told the court he "got emotional and threw the shoe at him" and "the second one was involuntary."
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at former President George W. Bush will be tried in two weeks, a spokesman for Iraq's Higher Judicial Council judge told CNN.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi faces charges of assaulting a foreign head of state on an official visit to Iraq. The trial is scheduled to begin on February 19, the spokesman for Judge Abdul Sattar al-Beeraqdar said.
Al-Zaidi has been detained for nearly two months and his appearance in court will mark the first time he has been seen in public since his arrest.
Al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at Bush in mid-December during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad. Neither shoe hit the president, and others in the room quickly knocked Al-Zaidi to the ground before security officials arrested him.
By tradition, throwing a shoe is the most insulting act in the Arab world.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN.
A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush last year during a trip to Iraq has been unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex during a Thursday ceremony.
Assisted by kids at the home, sculptor Laith al-Amiri erected a brown replica of one of the shoes hurled last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad at Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi - now in an Iraqi jail.
After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed.
"We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives," said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the administration of former President George W. Bush worked with its Arab allies to try and change the "realities" in Gaza before Barack Obama took office.
In a wide-ranging speech on Thursday marking "Freedom Day" - a celebration of the release of Hezbollah prisoners from Israeli custody - Nasrallah said the Bush administration worked with its Arab allies "in order to take advantage of the short time of Bush's term and before (Barack) Obama takes office in order to change the realities" in Gaza.
There were no U.S. forces involved in the 22-day Israeli military operation in Gaza; the United States is a key supporter of Israel.
Israel launched the operation on December 27 with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks on southern Israel. Last week, both Israel and Gaza's Hamas leadership agreed to a temporary cease-fire that took effect after Israeli forces withdrew from the Palestinian territory.