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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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?

U.S. Sovereignty……..

……in Canada

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has sounded the alarm over the provisions in Bill C-23, which is now in the Senate. The BCCLA has a point.

The 1974 Preclearance Act makes travel easier when U.S. Customs is cleared at Canadian airports before departure. There’s no question that passengers going through the process are still on Canadian soil, in Canadian territory, and retain all the associated rights and benefits.

Bill 23 will expand preclearance areas and broaden the powers of U.S. border agents within those areas.

Right now, a person can exit a preclearance area at any time, but Bill 23 would authorize U.S. border guards to detain and question people who make that choice. Further, U.S. agents would be able to strip search a traveler if Canadian guards are not available, or if Canadian guards refuse to conduct a strip search.

What’s more, there appears to be no measure in the new legislation to hold U.S. guards accountable for their decisions.

The BCCLA made a submission to Parliament on this bill back in June and some changes were made, but the three concerns around detention, strip searches, and a lack of accountability are still in place. The association wants Canadians to contact Ottawa to express displeasure. But, most Canadians have no idea these changes are in the works, and there’s not likely to be any outpouring of outrage.

The federal government may have acquiesced to American demands for greater border security, and it isn’t hiding the thrust of this bill. It’s just not running it up the flagpole for a broad scrutiny.

Too bad for us.

Gotta minute? (21)

The path to justice is strewn with the wreckage of abandoned lawsuits.

…… from observing the experiences of complainants who are so beaten down by the aggression of a tax-dollar funded opposing bureaucracy that walking away from a just cause becomes a painful option, reluctantly taken.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the confederation of the Canadian colonies, how about our governments own up and do what is right, without prodding?

Omar Khadr

…..no explanation needed.

July 7, 2017

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

Re: Thank you

Dear Prime Minister:

If I’m prone to be quick to criticize, a common characteristic, I should also promptly applaud when credit is due.

Thank you and your government for settling the claim Omar Khadr made against Canada. Yes, it can be argued the courts would have awarded him a more substantial compensation, but you did the right thing, nonetheless.

It’s only a shame your Conservative opposition can’t shake their medievalist mindset.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

…….and further…..

July 7, 2017

Andrew Sheer,
House of Commons,
Parliament Building,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Re: Omar Khadr

Mr. Sheer:

Just how poorly informed do you want to make yourself out to be?

You know very well how shamefully Canada treated Omar Khadr. You know very well there wasn’t a court in this country that would support the position you and the other troglodytes in the last government held on the question. You know very well you’re now simply playing politics to arouse the worst among us, when you should be contrite and remorseful. And, you know very well Canada can pay Mr. Khadr $10million now or a lot more at trial.

But, then I suppose we should expect nothing better from the intransigent medievalist thinking of the conservative mind.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen.

The same letter went to Tony Clement, Peter Kent, and Jason Kenny.

Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments routinely ignore their own policies and procedures, and violate both the law and Charter rights. Yes, sometimes it’s done clandestinely, sometimes with a rationalized good purpose, but most often unintentionally…. innocent mistakes.

No matter the cause, a government must accept responsibility and exact a punitive consequence. We need to ensure that happens.

On Trump…….a word……or two.

There are better things to do than comment on Donald Trump. There are a lot better things deserving of comment than Donald Trump. Unfortunately, it seems de rigueur today for anyone who has something to say about anything to pause long enough to take a position. And so, yielding to convention, and interrupting important work, here are a few words on the subject.

Our youthful and energetic prime minister congratulated Mr. Trump on his election victory, on his inauguration, and then invited him to Ottawa. It’s become a recent tradition for newly elected American presidents to make Ottawa their first foreign trip, and Mr. Trudeau was simply following a familiar precedent, as if all was right in the world of politics.

All is not right, and Canadians cannot be complacent and silent. A short letter to the PM offered a blunt perspective rooted in this unfortunate reality:-

January 23, 2017

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
Prime Minister of Canada,
House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Re: Donald Trump

Dear Prime Minister:

I am a Liberal Party supporter and a Justin Trudeau booster.

The position you have taken on the result of the U.S. presidential election, and the interaction with Mr. Trump to this point is understandable and politic. That you can hold your nose with one hand and extend the other in welcome makes you a martyr.

The rest of us, however, do not have to follow suit. Donald Trump is a parasitic fascist, a sorry excuse for a human being, a pathological liar, and an emotional basket case. One can hope you would prefer a trip to Washington to meet with him, and save the rest of us travel to Ottawa to make him feel unwelcome, should he come to this country.

In the end, I wish you the very best of good fortune with this uncertain venture.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

On a personal note, I was a part of the Niagara District High School’s United Nations Club a way back in the mid-1950s. It was a large, lively group where each participant was assigned the role of representing a United Nations member state.

I took on the USSR, and to ensure authenticity, the Soviet Union’s Ottawa embassy put me on its mailing list. Each week a package arrived with the latest English translations of news of the accomplishments and successes of the revolution, and the leaders’ speeches celebrating the merits of the communist movement toward world domination.

Outlandish, outrageous, and offensive as it was, the Soviet propaganda…..that’s what it’s called….of the 1950s cannot hold a candle to what the world has heard and seen from Donald Trump in the last eighteen months. Why waste resources to protest his assault on intelligent life; a short note to the man’s comments on the size of the inauguration crowds is all this writer can justify:-

January 23, 2017

Mr. Donald Trump,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC,
20500

Mr. Trump:

The live feed of the pictures around the U.S. Capitol on January 20 are clear.

If you take issue with what is obvious to even the casual observer, then I suggest you release your own photographic records.

Mr. Trump, it’s a matter of put up or shut up.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

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