Systemic Banality

by matttbastard

Well, isn’t this lovely — CBC News is reporting that the Feds are trying to block military commission hearings into Afghan detainee transfers: 

In papers filed in Federal Court, government lawyers argue the issue never should have gone as far as it has with the MPCC.

“In a spirit of co-operation, the government did not challenge the jurisdiction of the MPCC to investigate,” the Justice Department said in its Federal Court filing, according to the Globe and Mail.

“This should have given the commission the opportunity to satisfy itself that the…complaint should be dismissed either because it lacked merit or because the commission has no jurisdiction to investigate it,” the department states.


Government lawyers argue the handling of detainees is a military operation — not a policing issue.

But Amnesty International’s Alex Neve said it is appropriate for the commission to investigate.

“The military police are involved in the detention and transfer of prisoners, they do so in their police capacity,” he said.

He added that the government had indicated it would co-operate.

“So how can it be, one year later now, they change their mind and turn around and say they will contest this? It simply isn’t right.”

Ah, those wacky Little Eichmanns in Ottawa.  Nice to see the small government ideologues have come to realize the inherent value contained within an amoral, labyrinthine bureaucracy.  Nothing says “depraved” like using a last-minute jurisdictional argument to try and suppress torture allegations.

More from pogge, who notes that, according to The Canadian Press, “the government has already provided reams of documents and information -1,300 pages in all – and has delivered 38 witnesses to the commission.”  As pogge aptly observes, “That’s awfully strange behaviour when the entire matter is outside the commission’s jurisdiction, don’t you think?

Yes, I really do think.

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Quote of the Day: “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

“The Defence Department is so desperate to validate this broken process that they will disregard just about any concern of judicial economy or fairness to the accused… .

“They write a rule giving Omar a right to appeal, they tell Omar he has a right to appeal, and when he appeals, they claim he doesn’t have a right to appeal — Alice in Wonderland really is the only way to describe it.”

– Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, lead military lawyer for Omar Khadr, commenting on U.S. military judge Peter Brownback’s order that Khadr’s trial “proceed in a “judicious manner,” in spite of a court appeal from Khadr’s lawyers questioning whether the young Canadian can legally be tried at all.”

CP further quotes Kuebler:

The U.S. would never tolerate this kind of treatment for an American, yet the Canadian government continues to agree with the U.S. view that it’s good enough for a Canadian.

In an op-ed published this past June, Maude Barlow, Alex Neve and Roch Tasse noted that:

Despite the controversy surrounding Mr. Khadr and his family, who are well-known for terrorist connections and anti-western rhetoric, there is no justification for the Canadian government’s failure to demand forcefully and publicly, as other U.S. allies have, that his human rights be fully protected, including the right to a fair trial. Our government’s failure to make this public request, and its failure to demand that Guantanamo Bay be shut down immediately, sends a very worrying message to the rest of world about where Canada stands on human rights and international law. And it speaks volumes about the Canadian government’s tendency over these past five years to fail to put human rights at the centre of its relationship with the United States. [emph and link mine]

More from CanWest News on how “Canada is the only western country that has given the U.S. the benefit of the doubt in its treatment of “enemy combatants” being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba… .”

Background: 2006 Rolling Stone profile of Omar Khadr, who has been in Gitmo limbo since 2002 after being captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15; Human Rights Watch: The Omar Khadr Case: A Teenager Imprisoned at Guantanamo.

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