Omar Khadr….one last time?

Dear Canadians: Don’t sit on your brains; it’s not becoming.

Here we go again. It seems a lot of Canadians don’t like the settlement Omar Khadr received.

Let’s keep this simple.

First, this can’t be dumped on Justin Trudeau, or the government he leads, or Stephen Harper and his team. Okay, Trudeau’s taking some heat ‘cause he’s the point person now, but the responsibility lies with government bureaucrats and agencies like our CSIS.

The bottom line is that the government could settle with Khadr for the 10.5 million it did hand over, or it could have stalled like the Harper people tried to do. It could have let the process play out, and then cough up 20, 30, or even 40 million, once costs came into play.

Why? There isn’t a court in Canada that would not have sided with Omar Khadr.

Why? We did him wrong! And, we did him wrong in a big way! Period!

We should be thanking the prime minister for saving taxpayer dollars.

Second, Guantanamo exists solely to allow the United States not to follow any of the principles defined in its Constitution or Bill of Rights.

All men held in the facility are abused and tortured by American military personnel.

Omar Khadr pleaded guilty to a crime for which there is no conclusive proof of guilt in exchange for an opportunity to leave Guantanamo behind. No American or Canadian court would have convicted him of killing an American medic in Afghanistan.

His appeal of that conviction in the United States could drag on for years, and might easily fail. The United States can’t allow one of its courts to find the country culpable for the heinous acts it permitted and still condones, and the kangaroo courts it supported. “Coming clean” would open a pathway for Khadr and dozens of other men to severely tax the U.S. Treasury.

Lastly, let’s briefly review a few of the other settlements Canada has reached with victims of the questionable behaviour in which some of our public servants engaged:-

Stephen Harper apologized to Maher Arar on January 26 in 2007 and awarded him 10.5 million for his 2002 detention in Syria.

Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, and Abdullah Amalki were held in Syria….and Egypt as well in the case of El Maati….for periods during 2001/2002/2003. They sued Canada for 100 million. In March of 2017, public safety and correctional services minister Ralph Goodale apologized, and gave them a total of 31.25 million.

Benamar Benatta crossed the border into the States in September of 2001, and then spent 5 years in a federal prison in Brooklyn. On December 7 in 2015, it was quietly disclosed in the annual Public Accounts that Canada has paid him 1.7 million.

Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudanese-born Canadian, went home for a family visit in 2003, was imprisoned there for a year, and then spent six more years waiting for Canada to allow him to return home to Montreal. As of 2015, he was suing the government but we have no information of a resolution.

Djamel Ameziane left Canada 15 years ago to visit family in Algeria, was detained by American security forces, and spent 11 years in Guantanamo until his release in December of 2013 when he was returned to Algeria. He was never charged or prosecuted, and is suing Canada for 50 million.

There may be others.

In all cases, these men were abused and tortured by their keepers. Where money has been awarded, courts and investigations in this country have found Canada complicit in their mistreatment, and deserving of compensation.

Now, can we move on?

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Canada killed Matthew Hines….

….just as we said last June.

A persistent and distressed family, along with CBC News, and journalists like the Toronto Globe and Mail’s Patrick White would not accept Correctional Service of Canada’s explanation that Matthew Hines died from a drug-induced seizure, and died despite the efforts of CSC staff members to save him.

Correctional Service of Canada lied. Our prison industry killed this man, and then tried to cover it up.

33 year-old Matthew Hines died in Dorchester Penitentiary on May 26 in 2015. Since then, we’ve published “What say you, Minister?” September 25, 2016, “Matthew Hines died. Chapter the second.” October 2 of 2016, and “Matthew Hines’ death was a homicide…..” on June 4, 2017.

On Wednesday, January 3 of this year, New Brunswick RCMP charged two prison guards with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. Alvida Ross, 48, and Mathieu Bourgin, 31, had been on administrative leave since the investigation began, but the two men will not appear in Moncton Provincial Court until the end of February.

The particulars around Matthew’s ordeal will not be reviewed again here, but after 2 ½ years, four investigations, and a determined Hines’ family, the death was ruled a criminal act. A spokeswoman for Correctional Service of Canada said the agency co-operated with the investigation and is committed to “learn from Mr. Hines’ death and continually work to improve our response to individuals in medical crisis.” This is CSC’s necessarily politically correct position, and it’s not the first time it has made this statement, and it’s not the last.

Correctional Investigator Ivan Zinger released his own report on this death-in-custody last May, citing numerous “staff errors and omissions”, and criticized all levels of CSC, from correctional officers to senior staff for releasing misleading information and denying accountability. “Nearly everything that could have gone wrong in a use of force response went wrong,” the CI report said.

The Hines family is grateful for the work done to get at the truth, but rightly suggests that responsibility for Matthew’s death goes well beyond the two men accused. That includes, for example, an inexperienced duty nurse who did not even check the inmate’s vital signs, in spite of the man’s obvious medical distress. The family nonetheless accepts the decision to charge only two employees, but “we trust that all who saw Matthew before and during his death look in the mirror every day with the knowledge of what they did and did not do.”

And, as we’ve noted twice before, the family has a lawyer. This is going to cost every Canadian taxpayer.

Remember that Matthew had to die for this to get so much attention. What would we know if he had survived this assault? What do we know about the experience of other inmates who’ve been subject to the same treatment?

A Hitler-esque rising?

“With this, we hope not to feel the need to bring up the topic again. There is a plenitude who recognize the danger and can rally for right.”

That’s how last year’s January 29th posting “On Trump……a word……or two” ended. Apparently, and unfortunately, Americans seem to be deer frozen in the glare of the oncoming headlights of a ‘trumptruck’ barreling toward them.

What was one of the questions asked in “Where have all the flowers gone?”
”When will they ever learn?”

Barack Obama’s warning to Americans to “pay attention” when he spoke to an audience of 2,800 on Tuesday, December 6th at the Economic Club of Chicago is a welcome relief. “The danger is [to] grow complacent. We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly. That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s.” he said in part.

‘Complacency’ is an American watchword. When all the hoopla over the 2016 U.S. presidential election last November was over, only about 55.5% of the voting age population bothered to cast a ballot. Why didn’t we hear more about that? Well, the last time voter turnout hit 60% in the States was in 1968 when Richard Nixon was first elected. This has been the country’s pro forma for the last century, and makes the United States vulnerable to the fringe crazies.

In the meantime, Canadian media recently noted that Donald Trump hasn’t visited Canada, unusual for an American leader over the last many decades. When asked, the federal government simply referred to an outstanding invitation. Is that what we want?

Let’s not be silent…….

January 2, 2018

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
Prime Minister of Canada,
Office of the Prime Minister,
80 Wellington Street,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Re: Donald Trump

Dear Prime Minister:

So, while Mr. Trump has not visited Canada…..yet, your government tells us there is an outstanding invitation.

I can grudgingly accept the politically expedient relationship you have with this man. I can join the chorus of admiration for your skill in coping with the difficulties this must present. I can even condone with reservations the manner in which you approach Mr. Trump, as you would any other world leader. I can hope too that circumstances will not one day call for a comparison between you and Neville Chamberlain.

But please sir, do not expect all Canadians to be as forbearing. A Trump visit to Canada would provoke a considerable and negative reaction to Mr. Trump, and the sycophants, idiots and opportunists who surround him. I for one would welcome an opportunity to participate in such a demonstration of outrage.

Better Mr. Trump stays in Washington.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

Now, will someone please give those deer good swift kicks in the rump, shake them out of their apathetic and indifferent stupor, and let us get back to pursuits worth our while!

Stop already!

American Kelly Craft is a Republican Party donor, and a contributor to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. She’s the new U.S. Ambassador to Canada, and in a true contemporary White House smear, suggested that Canadians need to improve and be more like Americans. Her suggestion wasn’t well-received.
We don’t usually reprint newspaper items verbatim, but Robert Macdonald’s Ottawa Citizen counterpoint has appeared widely. We’ll copy it too:-

“Canada’s doing just fine, thanks.

U. S. Ambassador Kelly Craft, in her first Canadian print interview, stated, “The golden rule is we want Canadians to be as successful as Americans.”

I doubt Canadians want to be ‘as successful as Americans.’ In February, Scott Gilmore, writing in MacLean’s magazine, provided some statistics that show Canadians are already more successful than Americans. We live 2.5 years longer than Americans. Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated. The World Economic Forum ranks Canadians as the sixth happiest people in the world. Americans are 13th.

Fifty-nine per cent of Canadians have college degrees versus 46 per cent in the U.S. Home ownership rates are five per cent higher in Canada than in the U.S. Canadians are twice as likely as Americans to move from the poorest quintile of the population to the wealthiest. And perhaps most telling for the citizens of the “Land of the Free,” the Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index considers Canadians to be the sixth freest people in the world. Americans are way behind, in the 23rd place.

So Ambassador Craft, I suggest to you revisit your Golden Rule. Instead, during your appointment as Ambassador to Canada, you should try to help your citizens be as successful as Canadians. As helpful Canadians, we would be happy to show you how.”

We added a comment of our own:-

January 2, 2018

The Honourable Kelly Craft, Ambassador,
U.S. Embassy, Ottawa,
490 Sussex Drive,
Ottawa, ON K1N 1G8

Re: “Canada’s doing just fine, thanks”

Madam:

A Canadian expat living in Los Angeles for the last 35 years sent me Robert Macdonald’s Ottawa Citizen piece responding to your comment about wanting Canadians to be as successful as Americans. I’m sure your staff has put this in front of you.

Mr. Macdonald is succinct. I would only add that at this particular point in your country’s history, the very best thing about being a Canadian is that I’m not an American.

I wish you and your fellow U.S. citizens the best of good fortune. You’ll need it.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

What in hell is going into the drinking water in the United States?