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Harper continues to support Guantanamo Bay and the “process”

If you’re still wondering whether Harper would now reconsider his and his government’s hardline stance on Omar Khadr and repatriating him, now that Obama has suspended his trial and promised to close down Guantanamo Bay prison, the interview he did with the Ottawa Citizen should erase that notion, and I’m sure Peter MacKay, who publicly mused that the Conservatives should reconsider their position on Khadr, has been told by Harper and the PMO to shut up.

The interview by Harper does however give you a glimpse of why Canada is the only Western country that has a national in Guantanamo Bay, and some insight into our PM’s George Bush/Dick Cheney way of thinking.

First off, Khadr apparently was never a child soldier, in Harper’s mind:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he rejects the premise that Omar Khadr was a “child soldier” because the young Canadian was not a member of an army when he was accused a lobbing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier…”My understanding of international law is, to be a child soldier, you have to be in an army,” he said in the pre-taped interview.

But, as the news article states, international organizations, including the UN, don’t have the same opinion of what a child soldier is as does Mr. Harper:

The international Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and UNICEF have broader definitions than Harper does of what it means to be a child soldier..The coalition acknowledges on its website there is no “precise definition.” The international group, however, considers a child soldier to be anyone under 18 “who is a member of, or attached to, government armed forces or any other regular or irregular armed force or armed political group, whether or not an armed conflict exists.”

UNICEF also defines a child soldier as anyone under 18 “who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity,” including cooks, porters, messengers, and minors forced into marriage or recruited for forced sexual purposes.

Apparently though, Harper and his Conservative government’s “legal position” is his version.. apparently the international version is entirely too uncomfortably compatible with Omar Khadr’s, so he’s disregarding it.

The other excuse Harper uses in not trying to repatriate Omar Khadr is this:

Harper said he shares Obama’s concerns about the military process at Guantanamo Bay, but that doesn’t mean Khadr is not being treated fairly. “Everybody is concerned about that process,” Harper said. “The biggest concern about Guantanamo Bay is that most of the people there weren’t charged with anything and weren’t facing any kind of legal process. That is not the case with Mr. Khadr and, obviously, we have to see what the U.S. is going to do in terms of moving forward on that.”

So, despite the fact most international countries and even those in the US believe the military commissions that were taking on the trials of these men were woefully inadequate in protecting the accused rights, and used torture techniques to extract evidence that would no be admissible in a “real” court, the fact Khadr got to the point of the commission finally starting his trial is good enough for Harper. Under his leadership, Canada has been the lone country that refused to criticize the Guantanamo Bay prison camps or its so-called legal proceedings.

You should get the idea that Harper is going to try to keep Khadr out of Canada as long as he can while he remains in power, but if not, here’s the kicker:

Far from backing down to mounting pressure to repatriate Khadr, Harper maintained his hardline position by saying he will not make any decisions until he finds out whether the U.S. is going to drop murder charges.

So, either Obama is going to have to persuade/force Harper to take him back, or else remove Harper’s excuse by halting legal proceedings against Khadr, or else wait until he sees whether Harper’s government survives a confidence vote in Parliament next week (which it may or may not) and if it doesn’t, whether a new government by coalition or election takes its place. Michael Ignatieff, the new Liberal Party leader, has made it clear that he believes Khadr should be repatriated to Canada.

Obama is very popular in Canada right now according to polls – almost as popular s he is in the US. If he were to publicly call on Khadr to be repatriated to Canada, I think the pressure on Harper would be overwhelming (if he’s still around).

UPDATE: More on this Harper interview at the Canadian news magazine Macleans at one of their writers blogs. It’s titled A child, but apparently not a child soldier.

10 comments to Harper continues to support Guantanamo Bay and the “process”

  • mikeharris

    Mike
    I re read my post and I missed where i said i hate muslims? fact is I work with many of them. So if you are going to make at least a bit of this pont credible then at least dont put words in my mouth.

    Ok..let me make this clear. I DO NOT AGREE WITH GITMO. I am glad it is closing. My belief is that all the people there should be sent back to the country where the ALLEGED offence took place and let them deal with it. Do I agree with the war. does it matter what little ole me thinks..no..we have soldiers there and I am of the firm belief that in guerilla warefare rules get tossed out. things go wrong and there are bad eggs in every bunch. there have been many canadians and americans that have gone to trial for abuses…so when you have a society that trains its kids and women to strap bombs to there backs and look all sweet and inncocent then blow up there own people and our soldiers(who were deployed there under international law by NATO) whether they be 15 or 50 i say too bad if we turn them over to them.

  • mikeharris

    We can even try him here in Canada for that.

    Hey..you think the Us is so bad then i have the best idea of all..he ALLEGEDLY commited this crime in afghanistan…so turn him over to them for trial..and we all know what happens there.

    that is the best way to deal with it.

  • “Hearing a conservative voice lash out against wing-nut leftist opinions and commentary is a refreshing change “

    Yeah, those moonbat things like innocent until proven guilty, requiring charges and an public open trial, with evidence not based on torture. hell those ideas are damn near COMMUNIST!

    That King John and those guys in the meadow at Runnymede in 1215 were clearly Marxists.

    Dear God you are an idiot.

    “Also regarding Guantanamo Bay and their ‘inhumane’ interrogation tactics which include ‘threats’ amongst others”

    And it included waterboarding, and it included attack dogs, sleep deprivation, physical punishment and beatings. You remember those things don’t you? they were things that when the Japanese did them to Canadian and American troops in WWII, was considered torture and a war crime. The US hung at least 3 Japanese generals for allowing it.

    “how do you get information from people who only live to want to kill you and themselves based on the fact that you are an ‘infidel’!?”

    You don’t idiot, you find other evidence. You charge that this person committed the crime or act in question, provide evidence in an open court and allow a judge or jury to rule. Its the way its been for nearly 800 years in the West.

    Or do you contend that our way of justice is not good enough?

    When I was a kid, a certain republican US president called the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire” because they tortured, ran kangaroo courts, secret trials and locked people up for years without trial or charge. That is what made them evil. Suddenly now, poor little bed-wetting conservatives think that its ok. Gitmo and the other secret prisons are EXACTLY like the horrors of the Soviet Union and in using them, the US is just as evil – because they are doing the same thing. Shame on you for being so scared that you gave up your freedom and liberty. You are a coward and deserve derision, not praise. Every republican hack that supported it deserves the same.

    But lets not get caught up in that, lets talk about Khadr.

    If there is evidence he committed a crime – like murder – charge him. Present the evidence using the widely recognized rules of evidence (no evidence from torture, no secret evidence etc) and present it in open court for the accused to answer. Then let the court decide.

    We can even try him here in Canada for that.

    As it stands, while you may call him a “terrorist”, there is no evidence he committed the act he is accused of. He may have merely been a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. Indeed the original US Army documents indicate another person threw the grenade and was killed on the battlefield. Khadr, who was 15 at the time, was the only survivor and was not accused of the crime until long afterward. And so far, no evidence has been forthcoming. Anything that has happened is the result of the Military Commissions system – a system of secret trials which allows hearsay, information from torture and information from ‘secret’ witnesses that cannot be cross-examined. That is the ‘justice’ system of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Communist China, of Apartheid South Africa and Pinochet’s Chile.

    If you support it, you are a frightened fascist coward.

    “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security”
    Ben Franklin.

    A crazy Muslim in Afghanistan isn’t a threat to my freedom and liberty, you and your ilk are. They are not my enemy, you are.

    If you do not stand for freedom and liberty, then you are the grovelling toady for totalitarianism and deserve all of the consequences that flow from that position.

    Drop dead fascist.

    PS, I’m not a ‘liberal’ I’m a libertarian. And I’m not going to let some bigoted boogey man scare me into giving up any freedom.

  • RobG

    @Mike

    I agree with most of the things that ‘Mikeharris’ said. The fact that you claim that his grandfather would ‘slap (his) sick bigoted face’ seriously reeks of hard liberal sentiments. It’s not surprising to me that you attack conservative viewpoints so vehemently. ‘Mikeharris’ said nothing that was untrue. Canada (especially Ontario) is liberal and left-wing enough as it is, and has to contend with countless newscasts and articles riddled with liberal bias and anti-American sentiment. Hearing a conservative voice lash out against wing-nut leftist opinions and commentary is a refreshing change that I hope permeates into the msm. Sure you can assume Khadr is a frightened, innocent child who was naive and brainwashed into fighting a war he did not understand, or you can face reality and admit that he knew what he was doing and made a choice in which he has to deal with the consequences. I’m so amazed at how activists and human rights groups are pushing for his repatriotization into Canada citing countles reasons, all while ignoring why he got himself into that position in the first place. Clearly a 21-yr old kid alone will not bring Canada to its knees, but having a (former) terrorism supporter who now harbors anti-Canadian and anti-American sentiment reintroduced into the country should most obviously appear to be a risky move. Also regarding Guantanamo Bay and their ‘inhumane’ interrogation tactics which include ‘threats’ amongst others (wow, hey I’ve been threatened by Peel regional police back when I was 14…you think we should abolish the police force as well?), how do you get information from people who only live to want to kill you and themselves based on the fact that you are an ‘infidel’!? ALLAH U AKBAR! Gitmo is there for a reason, it’s not because the big bad republicans need a place to experiment with medieval torture practices. All you diehard liberals need a serious history lesson. If people like you dominated the populous of 17th century Europe, we’d all be speaking Arabic right now and praying towards Mecca 5 times a day….and WTF is a ‘mooslim’?

  • “he threw a frigging grenade at a NATO soldier and tried to kill them.”

    No he didn’t, that allegation is yet to be proved in open court and there is already abundant evidence form the US army itself that he did not throw the grenade. it seems more likely that he was later framed for it because he was the only survivor.

    But then, that’s what trials, with evidence and proper rules of evidence are for, right?

    “The man who married my grandmother and raised my mother was shot 3 times taking germany and protecting our freedoms and you people have the f***ing nerve to want to protect people like this in the name of your petty little political rant just because you want your mushy party back in power!!! you should be ashamed. you make me sick!! ”

    Isn’t that odd, because my grandfather fought against a country that didn’t respect the rule of law, threw habeus corpus out the window, had show trials and arbitrarily locked up people for years without charge or trial and tortured them. He fought at Dieppe, Normandy and in the Polders. So you’ll excuse me “mikeharris” if I say a big f*ck you to you. You represent everything that my grandfather fought against and your grandfather died to protect – human rights, due process and openness.

    If Khadr is guilty of a crime, then he should be charged with that crime, tied in open court where he can answer his accusers and examine the quality and veracity of the evidence in front of him.

    He should not be grabbed, thrown into a gulag, tortured, then years later brought before a secret court where secret evidence is allowed and self-incrimination extracted by torture is admissible. That sure the hell isn’t they system we hold sacred in Canada and it isn’t what our soldiers have fought and died for. That is the system of the fascists and of the totalitarians.

    If your grandfather was alive he’d slap your sick bigoted face. You are on the side of tyranny, not freedom.

    All because you hate teh mooslims and are about to wet your pants at the idea that a single 21 year old will bring Canada to its knees.

    You are truly a pathetic, cowardly little worm.

  • mikeharris

    go ahead CWTF…you make your jokes..typical liberal…lets not confuse the issues with facts..my father is a DIE HARD LIBERAL…and he doesnt want this little terrorist back here..you and your looney left are so preocupied with trying to pacify the soft centered wimps to win favour..go for it..and you wont even try to counter my points..just throw insults..but thats what liberals do..its ALWAYS someone elses fault

  • CWTF

    Originally Posted By mikeharris do you want him back here where he can think now that he can do this kind of thing here?? Scott..i remember seeing once that you had a grandfather who served? My blood grandfahter didnt even know my grandmother was pregnant when he died on the beach at normandy and a uncle who died bombing germany. The man who married my grandmother and raised my mother was shot 3 times taking germany and protecting our freedoms and you people have the f***ing nerve to want to protect people like this in the name of your petty little political rant just because you want your mushy party back in power!!! you should be ashamed. you make me sick!!

    I see the cuts in medicare have already affected the rightards and their access to calming drugs…

  • mikeharris

    the real disgrace is the softy leftys who would defend this little wanna be terrorist. the fact is no matter how old he is he threw a frigging grenade at a NATO soldier and tried to kill them. I dont give a crap if he was 15 or 50…he was fighting along side terrorists..do you people who defend him have any goddam brains? do you want him back here where he can think now that he can do this kind of thing here?? Scott..i remember seeing once that you had a grandfather who served? My blood grandfahter didnt even know my grandmother was pregnant when he died on the beach at normandy and a uncle who died bombing germany. The man who married my grandmother and raised my mother was shot 3 times taking germany and protecting our freedoms and you people have the f***ing nerve to want to protect people like this in the name of your petty little political rant just because you want your mushy party back in power!!! you should be ashamed. you make me sick!!

  • robert

    Harper is a goddamned disgrace. His ability to make the worst possible bass akwards decision on any and all matters rank him as a podium performer alongside Kim Jong and Robert Mugawbe (I’m unsure who though deserves the gold medal).

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