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 Post subject: Canuck Conundrum
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:51 pm 
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I don't know if anyone much outside of Canada has been following the curious case of Omar Khadr but it is a real hot potato right now.

In summary, though quoting from the Wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Khadr

"Born in Canada, Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father, who was affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. On July 27, 2002, at age 15, Khadr was severely wounded in a firefight between U.S. soldiers and Taliban fighters in the village of Ayub Kheyl, during which Khadr is alleged to have thrown a grenade that killed American Delta Force medic Sgt. Christopher Speer.[2] After being captured and detained at Bagram, he was sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba. During his detention, Khadr was interrogated by both Canadian and US intelligence officers."

While at Gitmo, he was tortured via sleep deprivation and a number of other non-invasive techniques - He was not waterboarded - and eventually confessed to the crimes that the US military court pressed against him. In 2012 he was finally repatriated to Canada to serve the remainder of his 8 year sentence and was released in 2015 due to an appeal of his US conviction in Canadian court.

This past week it was revealed that as a result of a lawsuit filed by Khadr against the Canadian government, the government had decided to settle the case for $10.5M CAD (about $8M USD) and has issued an apology for failing to uphold his rights to fair trial and extradition under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

For those on the right, the very idea of giving an enemy combatant a payout for being detained in Gitmo and being treated according to US guidelines is abhorrent. Where is the payout for the US serviceman killed by this terrorist? Why is our government giving millions of dollars to a convicted terrorist? Why didn't he get a bullet to the head a long time ago?

On the left, the very idea that Canada allowed the US to torture and convict outside of normal laws an underage combatant who holds Canadian citizenship without so much as a complaint from his government, who by the Charter has obligations and responsibilities to their citizen. The compensation is viewed as fair due to the treatment of Mr. Khadr by the Canadian Government, as is the apology for not protecting his rights. This is actually long established law with precedents here in Canada.

For myself, I don't personally feel all that bad for Mr. Khadr and his treatment at the hands of his captors. Yes, torture is definitely wrong and that shouldn't have occurred to a Canadian citizen with the tacit approval of his own country. On the other hand, he was captured working for the enemy in Afghanistan, and regardless of his age he should be held responsible for that. To me, though, whether I like Mr. Khadr or not (I do not, I think he should rot in a humane Canadian prison until he dies of old age), my country failed to uphold his rights as enshrined in Canadian Law.

Thus, the payout. I'd be terribly happy if he got sued in Canadian court by the family of the deceased US soldier and lost every cent, to be frank but just imagine the can of worms that would open! But ultimately, we violated his rights and must be punished accordingly.

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Canuck Conundrum
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:14 am 
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It would be freaking weird, if people on opposite sides in a war could sue each other's soldiers for loss of family members. Dude was a Canadian citizen, an enemy combatant, but also an underage soldier. So he committed treason in the narrow legal definition (the only wiggle room being the definition of the Taliban as representatives of a hostile state at the time), so he should've extradited immediately and tried by Canada, not the US. His sentence should be whatever they give people for treason in Canada, but with his age as mitigating factor.

Since he wasn't tried by the proper authority, but the Canadian government figures he has finished serving his sentence regardless, then fine. He's out now.

The Guantanamo stuff - being held, tortured by the Americans and abandoned by the Canadian government, is a separate issue. The American government tortured a dude and the Canadian government botched its responsibilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Canuck Conundrum
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:52 am 
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Quote:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


-- Martin Niemöller

--------------

This looks like a clear case of the Canadian government getting things wrong. In short, there are rules. Rules about things like fair trials, about torture, about rights. Rules that the Canadian government is supposed to enforce. By failing to uphold those rights - no matter how objectionable the person for whom they were failed - the Canadian government is, in effect, saying "those rules we say counts for everyone? They only count for the people we like". And this is a terrible precedent to set.

The government is supposed to obey the law. The law describes what it is acceptable to do to a Canadian child soldier who attacks and kills allies of Canada, and the law describes how this must be done. And the rules are there for a reason. They need to be followed. If the rules are lacking, then there is a procedure by which they can be changed, and by which the change can be made public, so that people know what's going on. So yes, he should be held responsible for what he did, but he should be held responsible for it in the proper legal manner. Not taken outside the legal system just because people don't like him.

...that's my view, anyhow.

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 Post subject: Re: Canuck Conundrum
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:38 am 
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One reason for fines, damages and other, that courts can rule on is general prevention. Make an example, that if you do that, there will be this result you don't like, so in future people have an incentive to behave lawfully.

I guess "if that suspected enemy combatant or terrorist or whatever does not get due process, we will have to pay him or his heirs millions of Dollars", could work as incentive for future governments.

If you are the opinion, that doing things by existing laws, rules and procedures, then attempt to change the laws, or other rules.

You could be in a situation NOW, where you find the laws insufficient, and have to react, before you are able to finsih the process of establishing new laws. But AFAIK the Canadian government back then has not attempted to change the laws, so i guess that excuse does not count.

So it seems, they simply broke laws, because it seemed convenient at that time and hoped that it goes under the radar. That is a practice that has to be stopped.

BTW have there been any government officials identified, who would have been responsible at that time to ensure Mr Khadrs rights are upheld and does the Canadian State try to reclaim some of the payout from them?

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 Post subject: Re: Canuck Conundrum
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:53 pm 
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arcosh wrote:
BTW have there been any government officials identified, who would have been responsible at that time to ensure Mr Khadrs rights are upheld and does the Canadian State try to reclaim some of the payout from them?


Definitely not. To be frank, the main offending agency seems to be CSIS (our version of the CIA) and their processes are not subject to direct scrutiny by the Canadian public. Especially when it's embarrassing. The government changed parties, Prime Ministers, and main Foreign Affairs bureaucrats during Khadr's imprisonment so it's pretty hard to point to one or a few people and say "It's this dude's fault."

In my opinion it's a systematic problem which worries about optics and "Fighting Terrorists!" before morality or common decency. My Prime Minister, IMHO, is a preening little twerp who's wholly unqualified to be PM other than his last name and good looks. In this case, however, I have to take his side in that we have to abide by the rule of law. It's just that simple - anything else puts justice at the mercy of the rich and powerful even more than it is now. Whether I find Khadr himself to be a terrorist piece of garbage who betrayed his country is irrelevant to that statement.

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 Post subject: Re: Canuck Conundrum
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:30 pm 
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arcosh wrote:
If you are the opinion, that doing things by existing laws, rules and procedures, then attempt to change the laws, or other rules.

You could be in a situation NOW, where you find the laws insufficient, and have to react, before you are able to finsih the process of establishing new laws. But AFAIK the Canadian government back then has not attempted to change the laws, so i guess that excuse does not count.

To be fair, a nation can find itself in an existential crisis where blind respect for the law would be openly suicidal. But while Lincoln might justify a lot of what he did under that logic, Canada was and is under no such threat.

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