Friday, April 27, 2007

Terrorism, like democracy, is in the eys of the beholder

You know, sometimes as you go about your life in the great OneState you get a glance of the world outside the green wall and it suddenly dawns on you that you're living in a fascist dictatorship.

While we're busying ourselves with chit chat about whether Obama wears the same outfits as Mamoud Ahmadinejad or whether Rosey O'Donnel got the heave-ho from the View because she dared to question the official 9/11 story , the Canadians are actually practicing real, honest to God democracy.

You see, in the Great White North when your government sends people they've detained to third parties for torture, people notice and politicians are held accountable. Imagine that!

The Globe and Mail reports:

"Canada's opposition parties were demanding changes to the Afghanistan detainee transfer agreement and calling for the Defence Minister's resignation following accounts of gruesome torture of prisoners in Kandahar. Monday's Question Period exploded with a barrage of complaints and repeated calls for Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor's ouster from the portfolio. . . .Deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Mr. O'Conner was 'incompetent' and should be replaced by a minister 'who can ensure the Geneva convention will be respected' by both Canada and its allies."

When we have incompetent cabinet officials being accused of gross human rights violations or war crimes, we give them medals. In Canada, they hold them accountable.

Michael Byers, a human rights expert, is quoted in the artiocle saying, "We're not simply speaking about the criminal responsibility of individual Canadian soldiers. We're speaking also of command responsibility, of criminal responsibility that continues up the chain of command [Mine], to any superior officer who knew of the risk of torture and who ordered or allowed our soldiers to transfer detainees nevertheless."

"Up the chanin of command?" What is this 'chain of command?' Here in the beacon of the free world, when tortoure happens or wars are started it's always a few bad apples at the bottom of the barrel. Surely, they don't mean to say that the people who give the orders should be held accountable for the actions of those under their command?

Here in the US, we had a similar story recently of the pentagon sending 7 Russians who had been held at Gitmo back to Russian where they were -- you guessed it -- tortured. A Human Rights Watch report says, "Although they complained of mistreatment by the Americans, all of the detainees repeatedly asked authorities at Guantanamo not to be returned to Russia because they expected to be treated worse there."

"Under the Convention against Torture, the United States is prohibited from returning people to countries where they are at risk of torture. The U.S. government claims that it seeks 'diplomatic assurances' of humane treatment from receiving states before a detainee at risk of abuse is transferred out of Guantánamo Bay. Diplomatic assurances from states where torture is a serious problem or in which specific groups are targeted for torture, including Russia, are inherently unreliable and do not provide an effective safeguard against torture and ill-treatment."

Did I see something in there about a covention against torture? Is that some sort of treaty we signed or something? Isn't a treaty ratified by the Senate the law of the land? When someone high up the chain of command like, say Condi Rice or Robert Gates, signs off on sending people in their custody to a country to be tortured, areb't they breaking the law? I feel aa medal pinning ceromony coming on.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports:

"The Pentagon on Tuesday formally charged a Canadian captive at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with murder in the death of a U.S. Army medic during fighting in Afghanistan, setting the stage for his trial by a military commission. Omar Khadr, now 20, was 15 on July 27, 2002, when he allegedly threw a grenade at U.S. Special Forces who had assaulted a suspected al Qaeda compound near Khost, Afghanistan. The explosion killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., and partially blinded Khadr and another American soldier."

Now, what are we doing going around capturing and indefinatly holding 15 year-olds? If he was engaged in combat with US troops how can he be charged with murder? I don't get it, if he's a "enemy combatant" he can't be charged with murder, can he? How does that work? When our GIs kill insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan, that's legal. If the insurgents shoot back, they get a free vacation in Guantanamo for the rest of they're lives?

We're all over the war on terror. We'll lock up children if we think they're a threat. We'll pull passengers off plane on the thinist evidence and secretly send them to Syria to be tortured, but when it comes to Cuban terrorists who worked for Daddy -- we set them free.

Yes, as expected, the US has released Luis Pasada Carriles and sent him home. Instead of charging him with blowing 73 young people out of the sky in 1976, he gets a pass. Long live King George III.


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