Thursday, February 05, 2009

Conservatives will welcome Gitmo prisoners, just not the Canadian one

I read today that the Conservative point-person for building inroads into Canada's ethnic communities, immigration minister Jason Kenney, is considering accepting several prisoners being held by the U.S. at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to be resettled in Canada:

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is looking at the possibility of accepting several Chinese Muslims being held at Guantanamo Bay, without setting a precedent for several other detainees at the U.S. military camp who would like to settle in Canada.

Among other things, Kenney is contemplating whether to issue special ministerial permits for three ethnic Uyghurs who have applied to settle in Canada with the backing of Canadian sponsors, Canwest News Service has learned.

The rarely used ``temporary residence permits,'' which are valid for up to three years, would allow the detainees to bypass the backlogged refugee process.

Human-rights activists say Kenney, who meets regularly with members of Canada's Uyghur community, seems to be sympathetic to the 17 who remain imprisoned in Cuba despite being cleared of posing a terrorist threat to the United States.
I think this is a very positive development. I hope the government follows through.

But while he's looking at helping Gitmo prisoners bypass the immigration process and settle in Canada, perhaps Kenney might heed the pleas of folks like Bob Rae and groups like Amnesty International and see what he can do for the CANADIAN CITIZEN, Omar Khadr, who is also stuck in Gitmo and whom the government has shown little interest in helping. Bring him home and let the Canadian justice system deal with the charges against him.

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6 comments:

The Rat said...

Maybe it's the difference between innocent (even by American standards) members of a persecuted ethnic minority and the progeny of a proudly self-proclaimed al Qaeda family. Khadr has (allegedly) admitted to killing US soldiers and has been filmed making IEDs. I see some small difference in the risk here.

Devo said...

Rat:

So, these guys are being held in Guantanamo because they dress funny?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Admissions made under torture, Rat, which leads to very unreliable information. I didn't say allegedly under torture too, I said torture because last year the Federal Court of Canada ruled that he was tortured, and the Conservative government did not appeal, and therefore accepted that ruling. He was tortured.

So let's bring him home. And I'm not saying just let him go. But bring the charges in the Canadian justice system. What's so crazy about bringing a Canadian child soldier who was tortured home to face justice here? Particularly when we're bringing in non-citizens who also had very serious charges made against them.

The Rat said...

"But bring the charges in the Canadian justice system."

What charges do you propose? And you realize that would be handled under the nifty youth justice system, right? As for alleged, we know that the courts in Canada never makes mistakes (Marshall, Milgard, Morin), or use a definition of torture that would indict parents who hold a slumber party (sleep deprivation and sexual mortification, oh my!). And how did they torture that video out of him?

And Devo, you're pretty close. They're Uighurs, a persecuted Muslim minority in China. They fled China and got help or refuge in Pakistan. Doesn't make them terrorists. Even the Americans say they're not. But if you would prefer to judge these guys with no evidence and let Khadr off despite the evidence, well, I won't be surprised.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Vaguely condemning the system for other failures while ignoring the specific decision? Nice try, but no. Was THIS decision flawed? If it was, don't you think your Conservative government would have appealed it? They didn't.

As for CIA Gitmo torture methods, tell you what big guy. I'll take up a collection for a ticket, we'll fly you down to Cuba, and they can run through the torture menu on you. Then you can come back and tell us how easy it was, k?

Finally, a) try actually looking at the state of the so-called evidence against Khadr, the bulk of which has been discredited, and b) no one is saying let him of, but give him the due legal process we're all supposed to be entitled to. He's innocent until proven guilty too, and shit ain't been proven yet. Certainly not by you.

The Rat said...

Discredited? In what way has it been discredited, Jeff? Because it's not admissible in court? You should really think about that a bit. When we throw out evidence in court it's not because the evidence is bad but because the way in which we gather it is bad. That's nice when we're talking about a car thief, not so much when we're talking about a guy who likes to build bombs (remember that little video? Is that "discredited"?). Khadr is a dangerous man from a dangerous family, a family that laughs heartily at our Western values while taking free medical care for their son, a son wounded trying to overthrow that system.

So, tell ya what Jeff, let's make a deal. I'll pick one of the nice Uighur fellows and you take baby Khadr. We each pledge to commit ritual suicide if our guy turns up in some terrorist act in the future. Whaddya say? Or is it only other people's lives you're willing to risk while you sit astride that high horse? Because that's what you're doing when you decry the "torture" used to extract information. That's what you and the Liberal party does when you advocate returning Khadr to Canada. Me, I'd rather jail a known threat in Khadr and live with my conscience as opposed to risking someone else because I have a moral twinge about.