Monday, October 12, 2009

Can/American Diplomacy: Clean Up In Aisle Three

Steve the Large and his team of pudding gobblers have apparently upset American plans to start offloading prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay spa and gulag. In a move typical of them that is Back On The World Stage, Harper and the gang abandoned negotiations to accept prisoners from the Americans and rather than actually, you know, going through channels, they issued a press release stating that Canada wouldn't take any of the inmates.

But the official, who has intimate knowledge of the negotiations and who spoke to the Star on the condition he not be named, said Canada abruptly stopped talks earlier this year. He said the task force was surprised to learn of Canada's decision through a press release.

"I just found it puzzling," there were no phone calls or diplomatic meetings, the official said. "A public rejection was odd."

Granted, our dear friends to the south, home of the prison industrial complex and war crimes inc., haven't being paying attention to little old Canada. Hell, while Stevie's been honing his touring act, Ivory & Ivories, and between rehearsals with his band The Gala Gang, he's been fighting tooth and nail to prevent the repatriation of an actual Canadian from America's famous, tropical destination. Somewhere in America's diplomatic corps a file folder sits unread, Harper ain't interested in any of this prisoner stuff, this really shouldn't come as a surprise.

Now, here's where I go off message, while my sympathies are with those who have been illegally and unfairly detained at Gitmo, this is a made in America mess. While I certainly don't approve of the inept twit Harper and his methods, I have no sympathy for any American administration whining about how tough things are.

"We're still hoping Canada will help," he said. "We can't do this alone."

That was the message Obama's Guantanamo czar tasked with closing the prison brought to Ottawa this spring. There had been earlier negotiations under the Bush administration about Canada accepting Uighur detainees – Chinese citizens from a Muslim minority group facing persecution in China. But those talks broke down reportedly over concerns of Chinese government reprimands.

The simple fact is that the American government stole these people's lives and now they want to dump them in third party yards and hope their problems just go away. The American government is also mindful that any effort to bring these poor bastards stateside will be met with insane levels of outrage and protest by their own domestic yahoos. Well fuck you America, time to clean up your own mess. It is time that the American people learned that their actions and the actions of their government have consequences. For years the world was told that all of these people were the worst of the worst, too dangerous to release, too dangerous to be charged, too dangerous to stand trial in a duly appointed court of law and too dangerous to be afforded basic human rights, Geneva Convention rights or habeas corpus rights. But now, suddenly, they're not too dangerous to release in someone else's territory.

These people were vilified, tortured, detained and abused by the representative government of the American people. America was able to snatch people from around the world and secret them to black site prisons without help. America was able to torture, abuse and demean these individuals without help. America gave them no legal recourse, proper representation or charges without help. America was able to pinch a great, steaming shit on the rule of law, make a mockery of jurisprudence and deny these people even the dignity of a show trial, all without third party help. But now,
this is too difficult, this is ever so hard, whatever can poor little America do?

Here's what America can do, hell, here's what America should be honour bound to do, bring these individuals to America proper, where they can seek some justice of their own in the much vaunted American legal system. I'm thinking a class action suit in the tens of billions of dollars. Many of these people face tremendous hardship should they ever return to their homes, their lives ruined by accusations unanswered. America has a choice, they can either formally charge these individuals with specific crimes and bring them to trial in the legitimate criminal court system or admit that they essentially kidnapped them and allow these persons to seek justice of their own in the civil court system. But but but... Americans won't react well to these people being brought onto American soil, yup, there is the bigotry factor to consider. Well... Tough. Shit. Fuckers.

Need a place to put these poor souls while the system works? There's a nice spread down in Crawford they could stay at. If there is any justice to be had in America, the owner of that place should be in the dock facing his own charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and corruption.

Only 20 of the remaining 223 detainees have left this prison under the Obama administration, and only half of those men have been settled in third countries (others returned to their countries of birth). The Pentagon plans to prosecute as many as 80 terrorism suspects in U.S. military or criminal courts and return others to their homelands, a group that could include the nearly 100 Yemeni detainees.

So much for fair and speedy trial. Some of these poor buggers have been languishing for close to a decade and even after the rest of these people are released, to wherever they end up, there's no great likelihood that any trials will occur in any sort of fair and timely manner. And Mr Peace Prize isn't looking too good in the reflected light of this national disgrace. He squeezed out a deadline for closing Gitmo, January 22, 2010 but it certainly doesn't appear that the deadline will be met while America plays hot potato with people's lives. America is asking other nations to do what America itself is unwilling to do.

But hanging over any negotiations is the fact that there is one country where it appears detainees will not settle – or at least not unless they're behind bars.

U.S. House and Senate leaders agreed this week that detainees could be tried on U.S. soil, but refused to allow the transfer of those prisoners not considered a risk.

So why should other countries help when the U.S. administration won't help clean up its own mess?

Although careful not to criticize Congress's position, that undoubtedly makes the task more difficult, the administration source conceded.

That would be the Democratic majorities in the house and the senate agreeing that America refuses to help clean up the mess that America has made. But naturally, that won't stop America from being vengeful against others for failing to clean up their stinking mess for them.

The official would not speculate whether Canada's apparent snub would hinder relations between the two countries.

But Gar Pardy, the former head of Canada's consular programs, said he would be surprised if it didn't create a chill.

"The administration is saying, 'Look, we've inherited all this stuff. We're looking for a solution here and we would expect getting some help from our friends and we're not getting any.' "

Well, isn't this just the sort of difficulty that the speculative Peace Prize is awarded for? Where is the stinging rebuke from the White House to his own party in both house of congress? Where is this president's demand that America redeem her once great reputation by doing the right thing, by accepting the responsibility for actions taken. The administration didn't fucking 'inherit all this stuff' it is America's stuff and the new administration knew full well that it would have to face this problem. That's why people run for high office, because they think they have the answers to the big problems, that they know a better way to do things. It really is ridiculous for the administration to whine that their friends won't help them to do something that they are unwilling to do themselves. Our friends the Americans are essentially saying, 'We shit the bed, hop on in, we'll pull the covers up under your chin.'

Of course the thorniest issue in all of this is the fate of the Uighur detainees, "Chinese citizens from a Muslim minority group facing persecution in China." Nobody wants to piss off the Chinese gorilla in the room. And it seems that for most every nation, including Canada, it is a safer bet to piss off the Americans. China is the ascendant world force economically and they hold the papers on the American economy as America continues to decline in influence. Of course none of this excuses Harper and his government from the embarrassing diplomatic failure to deal openly and fairly with the bully next door. Making a diplomatic statement via press release is the international political equivalent of breaking up by changing one's relationship status on Facebook. Stay classy Steve.


pogge said...


Backseat Blogger said...

your usual overblown rhetoric aside, you're bang on cc.

I did love the tone of the Star's article what with all it's "oh noes, we've offended the Obama; he's going to be so mad at us" quotes.

I think that the American can come back, cap in hand, when they decide to place a few of the detainees in the own country before trying to offload their problem onto their allies.

deBeauxOs said...

your usual overblown cluelessness aside, it's somehow escaped your attention that Lindsay wrote this, BB.

CC said...

Attaboy, BB ... nice of you to criticize my "usual overblown rhetoric" given that I didn't write it.


Ti-Guy said...

BB only agrees because they're all Muslims. And he hates Muslims.

That aside, I agree. I'm not going to make a humanitarian case for the resettlement of these detainees until the Americans do. Something I've yet to see all that much on the progressive political side...they all seem to be staring at their navels again and combing through the minutia of incomprehensible health care reform and the shenanigans of their Congresstwits.

Lindsay Stewart said...

poor bb, reading r teh hard. the democratic majorities in both houses of congress have stamped their little feetses and there'll be no detainees on murkin soil unless they're in chains. even then its unlikely as they'd be subject to actual american legal provisions once inside the united states. no made up, jerry rigged kangaroo courts allowed. i'd expect them to get trotted through show trials at gitmo or elsewhere off shore before ever getting near the yoo ess of ay.

CC said...

There is some irony in the US of A -- having poured countless billions of dollars into an entire prison industry -- now suggesting that those prisons aren't good enough to hold their prisoners.

If the Americans are so determined to track down the eeeeeeevil terrorists and "bring them to justice" as it were, where exactly did they think that justice was going to be dispensed?

You capture them, you charge them, you convict them, you deal with them. You don't get to stop at 3 out of 4.

sooey said...

You could draw up a new schematic that makes step 4 "whatever".

Purple library guy said...

3 out of 4?
For the most part seems like the Murkins really were a lot happier just staying at 1. Seems like as soon as they started counting past that it all got kinda too complicated for them.

sooey said...

We haven't been classy since the early days of Trudeau.