News that four former Guantanamo detainees have filed a complaint against Canada with the UN Committee Against Torture for the Canadian government's failure to arrest George W. Bush has caused quite a tempest in our teapot. Evidence of Bush's involvement in authorizing war crimes and torture goes far beyond the reasonable grounds necessary for law enforcement.
The recent repatriation of Omar Khadr has demonstrated yet again that serious concerns remain about Canada's approach when its citizens are detained abroad. The rights of too many Canadians have been or continue to be violated in foreign countries, and Canadian governments have regrettably been inconsistent defenders of those rights. The Conservative record on Canadians detained abroad is deeply troubling, and it constitutes the aggravation of a problem that has existed for too long, under Liberal governments as well.
The United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit released its decision Tuesday in the case of Hamdan v. United States, overturning Hamdan's conviction by the Guantanamo military commission. But what does the decision mean?
It's taken weeks -- no, years -- of frustrated waiting, but the other day anxious Canadians finally got an answer: he's in. Lefties have been swooning and right-wingers have been fuming, but the young dude with the famous name and rock-star reputation is now officially set for the long-haul. Now if only we knew what he actually believed. We're talking, of course, about Omar Khadr.
The arrival of Omar Khadr on Canadian soil was long overdue. It is the right thing to do and justice has finally been served. This saga has put our values and principles to the test. These people who are upset to see the government's move to bring him back to Canada should learn to accept the reality of our system. The system should be applied the same to everyone whether the person in question is someone we like or not. Learning from the Omar Khadr saga, I am fearful and uneasy. In spite of been granted citizenship, I feel that I am somehow judged as someone else -- perhaps a second class citizen. Perhaps there should be first class, second class and even third class Canadian citizenship. At least we would know who we really are and each person would know what to expect.
Canada announced that it has cut ties with the governments of Iran and Syria, shutting down its embassy in Tehran and expelling diplomats from Canada. But Canada is notorious on the human rights of its Middle Eastern immigrants.
Now 25, the full beard Omar Khadr has grown since his imprisonment in 2002 obscures the fact that he was only 15 when he was shot and captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Now there are psychiatric reports that supposedly claim Omar Khadr more dangerous than ever, surrounded and influenced in Gitmo by committed Islamic terrorists. His return to Canada is on hold because Public Safety Minister Vic Toews wants to consider the contents of these reports. The longer they procrastinate, the more sympathy Khadr gains.
A request for additional information by Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews last week has created doubt as to whether Canada wants Khadr back. Some Canadian observers have suggested that a bilateral row over Khadr is brewing and could generate a full-blown crisis in the U.S.-Canadian relationship.
The U.S. has now agreed to transfer Omar Khadr to a Canadian prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. By law, the Canadian government should not obstruct his transfer to a Canadian prison. Here is why we believe it is time to repatriate Omar Khadr ASAP.
The UN Committee Against Torture recently recommended that Omar Khadr receive redress for any human rights violations he may have experienced during his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay -- $10-million worth. Should Canadian taxpayers pay millions of dollars to a person who left Canada to join al-Qaeda and fight coalition forces in Afghanistan? Why does a convicted terrorist deserve millions of dollars, while terror victims languish?
The UN Committee Against Torture and Terrorism is blaming Canada, and seeks compensation for three Muslim Canadians who were held and allegedly tortured in Syria. If you become a Canadian citizen from a country that does the sort of things Syria and Iran do, beware about visiting for weddings or holidays. If you take a chance, knowing full well what can happen, then it's your responsibility, not Canada's.
Like him or not, approve of him or not, despair of him or not, Conrad Black is as Canadian as maple syrup and a hockey stick, and neither a threat nor a danger to fellow Canadians -- unlike, say, Omar Khadr.
To view Omar Khadr as "treasonous," or even as "criminal," is wrong to the point of absurdity. He's done nothing against Canada. His "crime" of murder -- to which he confessed, in order to facilitate return to Canada -- was fighting against an invader.
Though the Kony 2012 threw them into the spotlight, there's nothing new or unusual about child soldiers. Ask any Canadian veteran who faced units of Hitler Youth towards the end of WWII, and you get an idea of how dangerous these kids were, how fearless and ferocious. Sometimes the only way to deal with them is to kill them.
Omar Khadr has now completed his one-year sentence at Guantanamo, and is liable to be returned to Canada at any time. It's completely understandable that the PM and most Canadians don't want the guy back in Canada. His life is already a mess, and it's doubtful if it can be salvaged. But he's going to be our problem. So what should be done about him, if anything?