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11.07.2017 (348 days ago)
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What is Justice Worth?Ben Feral Selinger July 6 at 9:58am ·
by cosmicrat ·
11-July-2017, 2:16 pm

The following is quoted from a Facebook post, for 2 reasons. First, it is about an issue in Canada, and the author of the post is Canadian and knows both the subject and Canadian law better than I do.  Second, I thought it was extremely well expressed.

Although the author doesn't bring up American Constitutional law, it goes without saying that we also, presumably, guarantee the right to a fair trial without undue delay, and torture is also against the law.  I believe that every single victim of imprisonment without trial and of torture should be compensated generously by the US Government, and set free. 

Ben Feral Selinger

 "Okay, I'm fucking sick of the idiocy and done with writing a diatribe every single time a friend posts about how they're upset that Trudeau is giving a terrorist $10m. You people are.... wilfully ignorant and hypocritical. Here's why. (And I thoroughly suggest reading the entire post. If you know me, you know I'm neither stupid, nor an apologist. I am pure fucking science, and this post is such. Read it before making an ass of yourself by posting about how we just gave a terrorist money).

The story (the facts we know).
* Canadian born Khadr was taken to Afghanistan at age 9, by his father. We don't know if he wanted to go, and we don't know why they went. There has been zero evidence put forth to suggest the trip had anything to do with terrorism. Regardless, as he was only 9, he had no choice in the matter. 
* Khadr, aged 15, was found in critical condition following a firefight. The mission debrief report filed by the US troops stated that a middle aged man threw a grenade, which killed one US soldier. The grenadier was shot in the head and confirmed killed.
* Khadr was taken to Guantanamo Bay prison. No charges were filed against him at that time.
* Several years later, formal charges were filed. These charges were technically not even charges of war crimes, as if they were true, Khadr would be considered an enemy combatant during a time of war, and thus everything he was accused of doing, was legal under rules of engagement. He was denied access to a lawyer at this point and no trial date was set. He was held in detention and tortured for nearly 10 years.
* Nearly a decade later, an addendum to the original mission debrief was submitted, which identified the grenadier as Khadr by name. The original report was not rescinded. No one knows who made the addendum. No US personnel present during the firefight confirms the addendum. (at least I've not been able to find any).
* A week later, Khadr is offered a plea deal. The terms of the deal were to admit guilt to all charges and serve a few more years in a Canadian prison, or refuse to admit guilt and be denied trial indefinitely. (the latter portion is not confirmed by the US government, but let's be realistic here...)
* Khadr takes the plea deal, is transferred to Canada.
* Khadr sues the Canadian government for their involvement in his illegal detention, torture, and lack of a trial.

All of the above is true as far as anyone knows. That is the official story, from both the Canadian and US governments. They have said straight out that Khadr would not be offered a trial unless he took the plea deal. Just let that sink in for a moment.

Now let me ask you a question.
As a Canadian, what do you stand for? Do you believe that you, as a Canadian, have the right to be presumed innocent, until proven guilty, as well as the right to a fair and quick trial? I know this is hard for many of you to consider without jumping to "oh, but he's a terrorist, so fuck him, he's a traitor and doesn't deserve anything", but we'll get to that in a minute. Seriously consider this. Do you believe you have, as a Canadian, the inalienable right to everything laid out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

If you do, but still think Khadr does not, because he is a terrorist, let me ask you; "How do you know he is guilty?" There was no trial for 10 years, and he was only offered a trial on the condition that he plead guilty. How do we, as Canadians, determine guilt? Have you read and understood the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? It's entire purpose is precisely to ensure that what happened to Khadr, is not allowed to happen. Period.

Now I know many of you still can't get past the "but he's a traitor so he doesn't deserve a trial" even though neither you, nor me, nor the US or Canadian government were able to provide ANY evidence whatsoever, of his guilt (no evidence was submitted during his trial, presumably because none exists), but that doesn't matter. Let me explain the problem to you.

You are worried that terrorists are trying to take away your freedoms as a Canadian right? They're trying to force their way of life upon us and we as Canadians, won't stand for that right?

Do you see where I'm going here? Presuming Khadr's guilt, with no evidence and without trial, is precisely what the terrorists want to do to Canada. Isn't that your concern? Does it not strike you then, that by saying that Khadr doesn't deserve a fair trial because he is a terrorist, with absolutely no evidence, nor a trial to prove the charges, that you are doing precisely what you are worried the terrorists are trying to do do us? A presumption of guilt, no trial, a decade of detention and torture. Is that not EXACTLY what you are worried terrorists are trying to do to us?

At this point, I don't think any of us should even be concerned about Khadrs innocence or guilt. He is inconsequential at this point. The REAL concern for all Canadians, is that our government denied a Canadian citizen his inalienable rights, guaranteed to him under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They did EXACTLY what you are worried the terrorists are trying to do. If Khadr was guilty, a trial probably would have proven such, so why was he denied a trial?

For your information, the Canadian government did not simply offer up an apology and $10m for no reason. They were sued. Khadr filed a civil suit with the supreme court of Canada, and that court found in favour of Khadr, in that the Canadian government was in breach of Canadian and International law. Over half the money awarded will be going toward legal fees.

Think about it this way. Your government, was just successfully sued for war crimes. Crimes they committed not only against Khadr, but against the entire Canadian public. They assured us that we would all be given a fair trial, but now we know that is not true. They assured us that we will always be presumed innocent until proven guilty. We know that is not true. They took your money, money which could have been spent on building half a hospital or something, and spent it instead, on committing war crimes, and crimes directly against the Charter for which our country stands.

Now I don't know if Khadr is innocent or guilty and I don't know if that money will end up right back in the middle east, but before you get upset about that, I want you to consider this: Had the Canadian government offered Khadr a fair trial, regardless of his guilt, there would have been no civil suit and we'd have $10.5m more Canadian Pesos to spend on Moose shirts, or maple syrup flavoured hockey sticks. 
All they had to do, was abide by our own legal doctrine, and this whole mess would have never happened.

In summation:
If you believe Khadr did not deserve a fair and quick trial, you are not Canadian. You do not stand for what Canada stands for. You are saying very clearly, that you don't care about evidence, treating people (who we presume are innocent until proven guilty) with basic decency, or your own or anyone else's right to a fair trial. You are, quite literally, openly supporting about half of Sharia law. You fuckwits."

Thank you, Ben.  -cosmicrat

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  •  cosmicrat: 

    Your angry insistence that rights can be violated and injustice done is pointless, since the subject of discussion was one case out of many in which those things had been done.

    I wonder if you would have been so resentful of the victim of injustice, or so quick to presume his guilt, if he had not been Muslim.  

     343 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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    •  Midianlord: 

      Yes, I would have, actually. A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist.

      But then, I don't see Jews, Pagans/neo-Pagans, Satanists, Buddhists, Baha'i, Zoroastrianists, most halfway-sane sects of Christianity, or...(want me to go on? Because I can, you know.) indoctrinating children into making Semtex-fuelled fashion-statements --when they're not just abandoning all pretense and using them as human shields-- now do I?

      On the rare occasions that it does happen, the "mainstream" of the faith is usually quick to cast proper opprobrium on the extremists, something I don't see very many "moderate, peaceful" Muslims doing. What I do see is that subset, and all their contemptible little lick-spittle apologists, trying to minimise what these criminals do.

      Well, tell that to their victims' survivors if you've got real balls.

      Criminals who go so far as to commit terrorist murder should not expect rights, nor yet get them.

      The Islamist death-cult has wholly through its own choice, made of itself a legitimate target.

      Sorry, but that's how the world really works, bru.


      I are kyute necro-kitty, necro'ing a necro thread! Hear me meow!!

       327 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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      •  cosmicrat: 

        Well, that was a gesture of fairness to offer to hate "terrorists" of other religions, if only you could "see" any.  It is true that Christian terrorism, and racist terrorism, are less common than they once were.  When it does happen, I haven't heard specific disavowals by "mainstream" Christians, or white people.  There is no need for that, because no one thinks the extremists represent the whole religion or race.  They are condemned for what they have done, not because they might make the rest of us look guilty.

        There was a time not too long ago that Irish Catholics used terrorism against the British over Northern Ireland.  A number of Irish Americans were raising money to support them.  That was wrong, or course, but those terrorists did have sympathizers.

        We do hear more about terrorism by Muslims in recent years.  Could that be be because the countries the US and allies have attacked, occupied, overthrown, and otherwise abused, and the people the Israelis have occupied and oppressed, for quite some time, are almost all Muslim ones?  Just a coincidence, perhaps.

        While that doesn't excuse killing innocent civilians, it does provide a motive.  Of course when our side kills innocent civilians, that's called "collateral damage".

        Back when the Russians were occupying Afghanistan, our side was financing and encouraging terrorists to expel them.  It worked, too.  We labeled them insurgents, or even "freedom fighters", of course.  Labels are relative.

        Terrorism does have a definition, though.  Targeting civilians because they're vulnerable is terrorism.  Attacking the other side's military, or defending against that military, may be war, rebellion, or insurgency, but not terrorism.  

        Khadr, the original subject of this post, was not acting as a terrorist.  He may not have actually harmed anyone-- that's not known, but he was part of a group in Afghanistan being attacked by, and defending against a foreign military, the US.  As far as he was concerned, having lived there since age 9, that was his home.  The "winner" gets to make the rules, so after being shot, then saved, he is not a POW, but treated as a criminal, though not actually tried for a crime.

        What would you have done in his situation?

        It's reasonable to hate an actual terrorist, guilty of an even worse crime than waging war for no good reason, but shouldn't we be sure that the accused actually did, or attempted, the crime?  That's why there are supposed to be trials-- so we know who we can legitimately hate.

        Of course if you'd rather just pick a religion, a skin color, or a national origin to hate, go for it.  No one can tell you what (or whether) to think.

         327 days ago 
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  •  cosmicrat: 

    There's an interesting argument: "inalienable" doesn't mean "inalienable".  Sure, if a word doesn't mean what it is defined to mean, then anything is possible.  Except for meaningful communication of ideas, that is.

    So, the right to a fair trial, you say, should only be extended to those "who follow the laws of civilised conduct"-- in other words, those who obey the law.  The flaw in that logic is self-evident.  The PURPOSE of a trial is to determine whether or not the accused obeyed the law or not, isn't it?

    I don't personally know Ben Selinger, but I believe he is Canadian.  You and he may disagree whether a basic respect for human rights and your Constitution are considered part of your national principles.  I can only say that I believe that upholding the principles of justice is the duty of all rational civilized human beings everywhere.

    I agree that it was the US, under the Bush administration, that perpetrated the gross injustice against Khadr, and should have been the source of compensation for him and for every other person similarly treated.  I don't know when or if the Canadian government made an effort to intercede once it was known a juvenile Canadian citizen was being unjustly imprisoned.  So, you are right to be angry at one or both governments.

    But, since there is obvious and considerable doubt whether Khadr even did anything illegal, and the fact that, even if he did, he was shot nearly to death, then imprisoned and tortured for 10 years, more than sufficient punishment, there is no real reason for resentment toward him.

    Radicalized?  Maybe.  Sometimes young people believe what they are taught by adults they depend on.  They learn the prejudices, the hatred, from relatives and friends.  Just imagine, hating people because of a religion!  Who would do that?  Yet there are Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and maybe even Buddhists who harbor irrational prejudices against those who believe differently.

    Many, with the right approach, can unlearn the harmful ideas they have acquired.  Torture and indefinite imprisonment are probably not the right approach.  Personally, I try to reason with them, appealing to their higher nature.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.

     346 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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    •  Midianlord: 

      Mate, stop spewing 250+ year old generic talking-points and think, for the love of FSM.

      Who is it that ensures you have those rights, and protects your ability to have them? The state. Who is it that can take them away on the flimsiest of pretenses? Oh, that's right: The state.

      The only time your rights are truly inalienable is when you can live/experience/practise them beyond the reach of any other humans, and especially discrete groups of humans.

      In any other realistic context, men in suits and high castles can give some orders, and then more men --these will have guns, and other things they can use to make you die if you resist what they say-- can come take your rights away, and there isn't a damned thing you can do about it if you want to keep living.

      Sorry, but this is the actual knife's edge about which actual human societies actually balance. If that balance tips the wrong way, then your "inalienable" rights aren't a squirt of piss in a hurricane.

      Ever try reading the Bill of Rights/Charter of Rights and Freedoms/[your country's equivalent here]  to a cop?

      Your rights aren't as inalienable as you think, and your state certainly doesn't hold them in as high esteem as you seem to want to believe. Just ask all the people who've been subject to "extraordinary rendition" over the years, assuming you can find them and they'll want anything to do with you.

      I never said I thought this was handled correctly --he should have put to legitimate trial as soon as feasible. He should have also expected a conviction (it's why he copped a plea-deal, I think.), whether such is assessed fully fairly or not.

      What is also definitely not "correct" here is that Canadians are on the hook for this fucker's payout --he'll never have to work a day in his life again if he's careful with that money, yet the rest of us have to work to pay taxes to support that? Fuck him, and fuck everyone who thinks this is right.

      Khadr was almost certainly involved with the war on the enemy side, yet he wasn't a legitimate soldier (Intentional Laws of War dictate that such be made official PoWs, and there sre very strict laws about what you can/can't do with them). Where is the line drawn?

      Especially against the Islamic murder-cult that has said explicitly that they want us destroyed, and has made it clear that there is no tactic they won't stoop to, no matter how vile, and that concepts like "legitimate military target" and "non-combatant" have zero meaning to them?

      No. No sympathy, no more excuses, no more apologies. Ever.

      The line must be drawn somewhere.

      Maybe a genuinely concerned guilty leftist should tell Hadji that he shouldn't start wars he can't finish?

      Don't fuck with the wolves if you don't wanna get bit.

       344 days ago·2 replies2 replies 
      0 points
      •  SecretCorners: 

        --he'll never have to work a day in his life again if he's careful with that money,

        But he is the same man and most likely that state money given to him will go to help terrorists.

         344 days ago 
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      •  SecretCorners: 

        Here is a concrete example to back up what Dan states about rights.  The constitution of the USA clearly states that the state can not take property without due compensation.  Yet, and the courts have upheld this, the state can take property without due process and without due compensation through forfeit laws.  The state can take your property if they think you have committed a crime without ever charging you with a crime or finding you guilty of a crime.  So much for rights granted by the Constitution.

         344 days ago 
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  •  Midianlord: 

    Mate, "inalienable" rights aren't actually fully "inalienable" in the explicit sense.

    They are such based on the implicit agreement that we would follow the laws of civilised conduct in/with the society that provides them.

    It's implicitly a mutually-beneficial exchange --a contract, if you like-- between state and citizen, not an automatic entitlement.

    Oh, and...You and your sanctimonious mate don't get to tell me what is/is not a Canadian, boy-o.

    Trudeau --and governments before his, not least of all that detestable Republican-wannabe Harper-- have committed treason, but in other ways beyond the obvious:

    Namely, taking this on at all. It should have remained an American matter as that firefight was with Americans, and he was captured by Americans. A truly just Supreme Court would have thrown the case out, out of hand.

    (And yes, I firmly support the idea that those who become radicalised should be stripped of Canadian citizenship. By age 15 he was more than old enough to know right from wrong.) Besides, what kind of good little Yank-poodle would we be if we interfered in American affairs?

    But that street clearly doesn't go two ways, apparently, and our government, by shouldering this for the fucking Yankees, has fundamentally breached its own sovereignty in a way.

    ("Fight the Great Satan America for Allah and Islam! Don't worry, the Canadians will pay when you get caught!")

    Khadr was a radicalised enemy combatant --as far as I'm concerned he gave up any presumption to the rights/privileges/protections of any civilised country the instant he chose to commit to the firefight in service of that dark Ages murder-cult.

    Oh, and if the guy he permanently maimed/blinded decides to sue (because the USA is known as such a paragon of support for its veterans, money isn't going to be a problem for this guy/family --oh, wait....), then do we get to pay his settlement, too?

    Fuck Khadr, and fuck this government, fuck us for being America's craven little poodle in yet another way/time, and fuck anyone who says Khadr and/or his contemporaries deserve anything better than a firing squad. (The cost of the bullets is one bill I wouldn't mind footing as a taxpayer.)

     346 days ago 
    0 points
  •  cosmicrat: 

    If everyone who is wounded and disabled in combat could successfully sue the enemy for the injury, perhaps that would end all wars.  No nation, and certainly no soldier, could afford that.  Let's suggest that to the UN.

    Unfortunately, none of the war-making governments would ratify this addition to international law.

    You can, if you like, jump to the conclusion that he is actually guilty of more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Perhaps you believe it should be a crime to violently resist invading Americans, or that justice is optional if the accused's religion is not on the approved list.

    My question, "What is justice worth?" doesn't really have an answer.  Justice is priceless.  What sum of money would you take to give up your right to a fair trial?  What would you ask in return for 10 years in prison with torture and constant interrogation, never knowing when it might end?

    It's not a choice anyone would likely make in advance.  I think most of us would choose to live in a society that tries its best to provide justice to all, and when it fails, admits its mistakes and tries to make it right.

     348 days ago 
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  •  SecretCorners: 

    Maybe the man he blinded can now sue his arse; say for oh, I don't know, $10 million.

     348 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
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    •  Midianlord: 

      I'm sure we'll be happy to pay that settlement, too. (No doubt CosmicRat and his buddy would approve.)

       346 days ago 
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What is Justice Worth?Ben Feral Selinger July 6 at 9:58am ·