Sunday, July 9, 2017

Facts Are Facts

Despite the impotent snorting and sputtering of the likes of Andrew Sheer and his fellow travellers, the facts about the apology and compensation awarded to Omar Khadr speak for themselves.

In today's Star, Adriel Weaver writes the following, which I am reproducing in toto.
Why we should embrace the Khadr settlement
Toronto Star 9 Jul 2017


Adriel Weaver (Goldblatt Partners LLP) on behalf of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). Adriel served as counsel to CCLA in the 2010 Supreme Court Khadr case.

The Canadian government’s recent announcement that it would issue an apology and compensation to Omar Khadr has given rise to considerable controversy.

Much of the discussion and debate has focused on the question of what Khadr did or didn’t do. But while it’s easy to get caught up in arguments about Khadr’s own actions, which may never be fully resolved, we cannot afford to lose sight of the issue at the heart of the settlement: what Canadian officials did — and failed to do. There, the facts are clear. On several occasions in 2003 and 2004, Canadian officials interrogated Khadr at Guantanamo Bay. On one occasion, they did so knowing that he had been subjected to the “frequent flyer program” — three weeks of scheduled sleep deprivation designed to make detainees more compliant and break down their resistance to interrogation. They then shared the fruits of those interrogations with U.S. prosecutors.

There is no question that at the time these interrogations were conducted, the regime governing Khadr’s detention and prosecution was illegal under U.S. and international law. There is equally no question that by participating in that regime, Canadian officials violated Canada’s international human rights obligations and Khadr’s charter rights.

Those are the facts as found by the Supreme Court of Canada more than seven years ago. Yet even in the face of those findings, the government of Canada refused to seek Khadr’s repatriation and instead fought his return.

And while we like to think of Canada as a champion of human rights, it’s worth noting that every other Western democracy not only sought, but secured the return of its citizens held in Guantanamo Bay to their own countries. Canada alone failed to do so.
It’s a legal truism that a right without a remedy is no right at all. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association welcomes the settlement as a necessary step if Canada wishes to maintain that it values, upholds and adheres to its own laws.

The settlement not only compensates Khadr for the profound abuses and rights violations he endured, but also affirms Canada’s obligation to defend and promote human rights, and to take meaningful steps to admit and redress past wrongs.

As many have pointed out, Khadr is not the only person to have suffered gross human rights violations in which the Canadian government was at the very least complicit. This is all the more reason to embrace the settlement. The apology and compensation extended to Khadr are a hopeful sign of the government’s growing willingness to acknowledge and make amends for the historic injustices it has caused and contributed to.

Those efforts must continue.
There are those who choose to ignore facts that don't agree with their philosophy and worldview. Clearly, it is time for them to grow up.


  1. What I find telling in this, Lorne, is that both Chretien and Paul Martin failed to help Khadr, perhaps even made his plight worse. Harper, remember, did not become prime minister until early 2006. Harper was deeply hostile to Khadr as his party remains today but the Libs have no clean hands either.

    1. There is no question that both the Conservatives and the Liberals have much to be ashamed of in their abandonment of Khadr, Mound.

  2. I wonder if Mr. K's endless beatification of Chretien coloured his disdain for Khadr. It was not Chretien's finest hour, was it?
    The LPT does not abide such introspection.

  3. The harm goes well beyond the Harper government, Lorne. The failure is owned by three prime ministers.

    1. And that failure, Owen, as Trudeau has noted, costs all of us (in more ways than one).

  4. That CCLA summary is excellent in both its succinctness and content.

    Still, it omits prior history. Since UN weapons inspectors didn't find WMDs, the UN did not sanction the US/Coalition bombing and invasion of Iraq. Chretien kept us out of it at least.

    What one would legally call an illegal invasion force or indeed its individual members, where formal war was not declared (the US has not formally declared war since WW2, preferring to keep its options open and rhetoric loud and all encompassing), I don't know.

    How the US could charge and arrest anyone who killed a US serviceman with being guilty of war crimes, when such person killed an illegally present apparent mercenary is beyond my ken, medic or not. Then sending the arrested to an offshore detention facility beyond US law as well, for mental realignment and a spot of Mark 1 abuse and torture - how's that legal? What's that called? They knocked off a million Iraqis themselves while they were at it, so they're hypocrites at best. Haven't seen any Americans up on war crimes charges. Of course, Bush and Chaney avoid travel to the EU, just in case the ICC gets frisky and puts them on a par with Milosevitch.

    I guess if you're the biggest bully on the block, might is right. But the logic they tout is deeply flawed. And then Canada sat on its hands. What, we had a citizen arrested? No surely not! We've never been much good arguing the case for Canadians held jailed overseas on trumped-up charges. There was that journalist in Egypt recently too. Nope, we just seem to wash our hands of our citizens when they get arrested overseas looking upon those unfortunates as obviously not being good citizens and not worthy of solid attention, no matter the circumstances. Give 'em a few magazines and a couple of O'Henry bars and call it good is about how we treat our unfortunates illegally jailed. Underage when arrested? Well in a couple of years you'll be 18 and a adult, so we can't press our good foreign friends too much. Great, isn't it ...


    1. A well-reasoned indictment of both the U.S. and Canada here, BM. I suspect that the kinds of facts you present here, the powers-that-be count on people being ignorant of. The malfeasance committed in Afghanistan is ultimately the greatest justification for the compensation given Omar Khadr. He has finally received some justice, not the 'reward to a terrorist' the rabid right would have people believe.