Friday, May 23, 2008

McCain dumps Parsley; Khadr gets (some) secret docs

Two items today ... in reverse order.

First, Omar Khadr, the Canadian detainee at Gitmo, won a partial victory today when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Government of Canada has to turn over some documents related to his case, provided that it doesn't relate to national security. The SCC also ordered the government to pay Khadr's court costs in this appeal. The ruling provides a bit of an out for Ottawa, but at least Khadr's entitled to transcripts of interviews conducted by Foreign Affairs, CSIS and the Mounties.

A key part of the ruling is that the principle of comity, where the decisions of foreign courts are respected, do not apply where international law is being violated -- and Gitmo is patently illegal except in the minds of Dubya and his cronies. The US Supreme Court has already ruled that the rules under which Khadr and others were detained violated due process; therefore by collaborating with an illegal court, Canada itself broke international law.

One notes the order was issued by "The Court," a tool the Supremes sometimes use in controversial cases to hide the author of the opinion. I think this is wrong, a per curiam order may be justified where leave to appeal is denied but where a hearing is granted Canadians do have a right to know who stepped up to the plate to make the ruling on behalf of his or her colleagues, even if it is a 9-0 decision.

Still, it's a major stand for human rights. The Stinchcombe precedent that requires almost complete full disclosure by prosecutors stands. It's hard to say how it will affect Khadr's defence but it got considerably easier today.

The other relates to John McCain. Late last night and still smarting from his disavowal of John Hagee, McCain also dumped Ohio-based Ron Parsley after it "became known" that Parsley believes it is America's destiny to destroy Islam. I place "became known" in quotation marks because he's had this opinion for years, and now McCain suddenly discovers it?

Dumping two ministers in the course of a day may actually be a good sign, that like many mainline Republicans he is simply sick and tired of televangelists and their undue influence on party policy especially when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Unfortunately the friends McCain have chosen to get endorsements from, like many other televangelists directly or indirectly support the aims of the Kach and Kahane Chai; both of which advocate the expulsion of Arabs not just from the Occupied Territories but also from Israel proper where 18% of its citizens are Arabs, as well as the destruction of Islamic worship sites including Haram al Sharif and -- worst of all -- the destruction of Israeli democracy and the installation of an absolutist monarchy that would make the Taliban seem pretty gentle to women.

Several illegal settlements in the West Bank not authorized by Israel have been already set up and are in the full control of Kahanists; few outside of foreign policy circles know about this but it should be known.

Not surprisingly, Israel, the US, Canada and the European Union have all declared Kach and Kahane Chai terrorist groups; even though Israel seems to be perfectly okay with religious tours organized by the likes of Hal Lindsey, Paul and Jan Crouch, inter alia, who support the aims of the followers of the late Meir Kahane. Something McCain seems to have forgotten or neglected. How could the guy with the most public service to America running for office this year not know who they are or what they stand for? With friends like these ...

McCain should go all the way and state the GOP is done with the "New Right," period. Either he's his own man, or the pawn of James Dobson. As more evangelicals admit they're actually with the centre or left in America and both Clinton and Obama court their favour, America is in for a huge shift in the way it reconciles church and state; and that it will be religious progressives, not religious conservatives, that drive the agenda for both foreign and domestic policy. This may finally mean, inter alia, a break in the logjam in the longstanding dispute over the Middle East.

All I can say to that is, it's about time.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the detailed breakdown
I know you'd agree there were more winners than Khadr
justice the law and humaninty took another tiny step forward