Sep. 19th, 2006

Maher Arar

Sep. 19th, 2006 08:28 am
chickenfeet: (silent)
So the report of the inquiry into the deportation of Maher Arar to Syria is in and it exposes bungling, malfeasance, lying and indifference from both the RCMP and the Canadian diplomatic corps. It also gives a passing nod to the practice of torture by Syria and the use of 'extraordinary rendition' by our torture happy neighbours to the south but, quite properly, Mr. Justice O'Connor's report focusses on what went wrong in the Canadian bodies involved.

Both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star have editorials calling for 'heads to roll' but it's already apparent from the government reaction, best summed up as 'not on our shift' and 'we'll get back to you' that nothing is going to happen and, indeed, who would expect it?

What do the charges amount to? Firstly, extreme sloppiness and indifference to human rights by the RCMP in pursuit of sucking up to the US Torture Machine. Well, sucking up to the Americans is the principal function of the entire Canadian security establishment and is fully endorsed, indeed sealed with a loving ass lick, by the Prime Minister. So nothing is going to happen there.

Second, utter incompetence. Well, when has that ever resulted in action being taken against the RCMP? The recent history of the RCMP is one long catalogue of malfeasance and incompetence. Why do anything now?

Third, misleading senior officials and ministers. This is actually the interesting one. The briefings which, inter alia, allowed Bill Graham, then Minister for External Affairs, to get up on his hind legs and say that he was reliably informed that Arar had not been tortured happened at a time when the press was full of stories that just that had happened. I'm 99.9% sure that no-one was actually misled in those briefings but they certainly provided the 'plausible deniability' for ministers which was surely their true purpose.

So what happens now? My money says SFA. Stephen Harper is not going to do anything that jeopardises his status as second poodle to Dubya. So the incompetent will be promoted, the public will be reassured that procedures are in place to make sure it can never happen again until the next time and so on.

It's not a good day for Canada and it ought to be a wake up call to those who look at the train wreck to our south and say 'it couldn't happen here'. Next time you are voting, remember that both the Tories and the Liberals are deeply implicated in this.
chickenfeet: (rugby)
Partly because of the recurrent ankle problem and partly because of some interesting material about interval training that [livejournal.com profile] krustukles posted yesterday I decided to go back to a staircase routine for a bit. So, today 45 floors (mostly at a run) with each set punctuated with one of my shoulder exercises and twenty crunches. After the last set of stairs I did ten push ups too. That's the bit I'm most pleased about. Ten, full, fully controlled push ups for the first time since the shoulder separation. That's the real proof that I have the muscular strength back.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] vgym_buddies
chickenfeet: (widmerpool)
It looks like the military coup in Thailand has succeeded. Let's hope the rebels are serious about early elections. The king has been pretty hostile to previous coup threats from the military but seems at this point to be acquiescent in this one. Hopefully that means he's had some kind of assurances that the army really does intend to return to barracks. The speculation that General Surayudh Chulanont will be the new Prime Minister would tend to point in that direction.

ETA: It's still hard to see how a return to the army acting as political arbiter can be good for Thailand. Nor is it all clear that the coup solves anything. If free elections were held tomorrow Thai Rak Thai would be 99% certain of winning a majority and the Bangkok elite would still be pissed off. The bottom line is that the Thai ruling class is fundamentally unwilling to accept the government that the majority of Thais, for whatever reason, want.

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