Thursday, January 17

Canada Places U.S.A. on Torture Watch List Dominated by 3rd World Dictatorships

Canadian humanitarian law hans't kept pace with a U.S. federal court finding that "terrorists" aren't human and have no legal standing within the U.S. legal system.

Last night, (Wednesday, 16 January), CTV, Canada's largest private television broadcaster, broke an story that, apparently, many Canadians found shocking.

Foreign Ministry officials in Ottawa obtained--then mistakenly released in court-- unredacted documents confirming that a Canadian youth has been tortured at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since his capture five years ago in 2002.

The new evidence counters claims by Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper that Omar Khadr, a 15-year-0ld at the time of his capture, was "receiving fair treatment" from the U.S. Khadr, now 21, is still awaiting trials for allegedly killing a U.S. soldier during fighting in Afghanistan.

William Kuebler, Khadr's U.S. military lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, confirmed the documented evidence for CTV.

"Omar has certainly been abused, his rights have been violated under international law, and apparently the Canadian government has reason to believe that's true, and yet, they've acted not at all to assist him," Kuebler noted.

This morning, The Globe and Mail, Canada's most widely circulated national newspaper, followed up on CTV's breaking story with this revelation: "Foreign Affairs has put Guantanamo Bay on a watch list for torture, despite Ottawa's assertions that it will not intervene with claims that Omar Khadr has been abused while in detention."

According to the 17 January "breaking news" section at Citizens for Legitimate Government, a left-leaning daily blog that claims Bush and Cheney were illegally appointed to the White House in December 2000 by then William Rhenquist-headed U.S. Supreme Court, the evidence of torture occasioned Canada to put the U.S. on a short list of third world democractic guiding lights that practice torture: "Syria, Iran, China, Afghanistan...Guantanamo Bay." Israel also made the Canadian list.

Of course, U.S. officials are nonplussed by the dubious distinction, but haven't issued a formal statement.

When they do, will they cite a recent court decision that legal undermines the Canadian condemnation. On 11 January, Presscue Wire Services reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs claims that they were tortured while in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, a decision predicated on the finding they are "human" and, hence, have no claim to U.S. legal protection.

In a 43-page opinion, Circuit Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantánamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law.

The Court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants,” and ruled that even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantánamo had any constitutional rights.

Any questions, my fellow sub-human dissidents?

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