Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bernier is "Reassured". I Feel So Much Better Now.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier had a little get together with his American and Mexican counterparts yesterday, and lo and behold he was asked about our two biggest Canadian Celebrities Rotting in Foreign Prisons: Omar Khadr and Brenda Martin.

His responses were apparently under the same time constraints as an Oscar acceptance speech, but he still managed to babble his way through a comment on the very same free trade agreement with Columbia that killed Hillary Clinton's chief strategist this week.

Thank you, Secretary Rice. And I will be quick and – because we – sorry – yes, I’ll be quick. We were at the same meeting. So we discussed what is important for our countries. And as you know, we want to ensure that North America is a secure and economically dynamic region. This is important for us, but this is also important for our citizens. And yes, we discussed the agenda for the next meeting in New Orleans. Our leaders will be there and they will discuss issues that are shared concern. And also, we discussed the free trade agreement that we are having together, NAFTA, but the importance of free trade. It is important for the prosperity of our countries that we succeed in a free trade agreement. And I raised with my colleagues the negotiation that we’re having in Canada with the Colombian Government for having a free trade agreement with them.

(No. Really. They're complaining about Dion's English?)

The Mexican Foreign Minister ended up taking the question on the Brenda Martin case (shorter Espinoza: "Let's wait until our corrupt and incomprehensible legal system works its way through this, ok?"), but on Khadr, Bernier had this to say:

Concerning Omar Khadr, I think that you’ve read my statement, written statement, and it is very clear and I won’t comment on my statement that -- it’s all there. But what I can tell you right now, it’s, as you know, Mr. Khadr faces serious charges and it will be premature to comment about the legal process right now and appeal process because they’re still ongoing. And what we will do is we’ll do -- and I received also assurances that Mr. Khadr has been treated humanely.

"Humanely"? I see. Well, aside from the fact that this supposed 'written statement' appears nowhere on his ministry's website, that would be fine except for the fact that he's FUCKING LYING.

From 'Guantanamo's Child':
Omar retreated immediately to the back of the cell and sat down. Begg said he heard one of the guards say to him, "I hope you pay for what you've done," but Omar didn't look up. There were raw scars on his chest where there had once been two deep holes. Shrapnel had punctured the skin along his arms and legs. While the nicks and scrapes can sometimes look minor, they have a cruel habit of causing pain for years to come. Doctors will often not remove embedded shrapnel, preferring to allow the body to work on its own to eject foreign objects. While considered safer than extraction, it is incredibly painful as the shrapnel works its way to the surface, eventually bursting through like blood blisters.

Omar's introduction to Bagram was harsher than that of most detainees. Begg said the guards singled him out for the worst treatment, payback for allegedly killing one of their own. They would make him perform Sisyphean tasks, such as stacking heavy boxes and crates that the guards would knock over when he had finished and then force him to start again. Each time, they walked past his cell they would yell: Murderer! Killer! Butcher! "It was very, very hard to hear that because it was evident he was just a kid. Not only that, he was terribly wounded," said Begg.


One evening in March 2003, Omar was taken from his cell and in no mood to co-operate. The guards left him in the interrogation booth for hours, short-shackled with his ankles and wrists bound together and secured to a bolt on the floor. Unable to move, he eventually urinated and was left in a pool of urine on the floor.

When the MPs returned and found the soiled teenager, Omar's lawyers later said, the guards poured pine oil cleaner on his chest and the floor. Keeping him short-shackled, the guards used Omar as a human mop to clean up the mess. Omar was returned to his cell and for two days the guards refused to give him fresh clothes.

I'm so glad that Bernier feels 'reassured', but I'd feel a whole lot better if these reassurances were coming from someone other that the people who are torturing and abusing our citizens.

Come to think of it, who cares whose citizens they are?

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