Thursday, October 14, 2010


Troubling news- Omar Khadr could serve most of his sentence in Canada:

Omar Khadr has agreed to plead guilty to all war crimes charges he faces — including murder — and is ready serve a total of eight years in prison, seven of them in Canada, Postmedia News has learned. 

Final touches to the deal are still being made, according to sources; the final settlement between U.S. prosecutors and Khadr’s defence team is expected to be presented to the Canadian government by the U.S. State Department. 

The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not been involved in the negotiations, according to people familiar with the talks. 

Depending on the details of the deal, there could be provisions under the prisoner transfer treaty between Canada and the United States to put the agreement into effect. 

The trial of the Canadian-born terror suspect had been set to resume Monday at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following a postponement this summer. 

Khadr, 24, had previously said he would never stand up in court and admit to having thrown the grenade that fatally wounded Sgt. 1st Class Chris Speer, a U.S. special forces soldier, during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan. 

Among the other charges to which Khadr is admitting are attempted murder and providing material support to terrorism, according to the deal between prosecutors and his defence.

If these reports are accurate, terrorist and murderer Omar Khadr could not only serve a pittance of what he truly deserves but could do so in Canada, receiving all the benefits a murderer here gets. Appalling. Just appalling.

A hearing to determine if accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan is fit to go to trial is underway:

A military court has heard that the Army psychiatrist accused in a deadly Fort Hood shooting rampage carried two weapons during the Nov. 5 attack.

In testimony Thursday, Pfc. Najee Hull said the shooter had two weapons including one "with a red laser on it."

Hull then identified Maj. Nidal Hasan as the gunman.

Nidal is attending the Article 32 hearing to determine if he should stand trial in the shootings at the Texas Army base.

The 40-year-old Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder....

The hearing is to determine if Maj. Nidal Hasan, 40, should stand trial in the Fort Hood shootings. He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

On Wednesday, witnesses testified that the Army psychiatrist shouted "Allahu Akbar!" _ "God is Great!" in Arabic _ before unleashing a volley of gunfire in a center where soldiers from around the country were preparing to deploy overseas.

Witnesses have said Hasan used two personal pistols, one a semiautomatic, to take some 100 shots at about 300 people at the center where soldiers were making final preparations to deploy. Fort Hood police officers fired on him during the attack, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

Compromise nothing. Show your mug the way everyone else has to or don't testify. Keep in mind- rape in some circles is considered a matter of course. At least in Canada, some people are bothered by it (not so much the judiciary):

The Ontario Court of Appeal engaged in a legal balancing act yesterday as it ruled on whether Muslim women can wear a religious veil while testifying in criminal trials. 

The three-judge panel ordered a provincial court judge in Toronto to reconsider a 2008 decision ordering an alleged sexual assault victim, who can be identified only as N.S., to remove her niqab, yet refused to issue what it called a "bright-line" rule that would apply in all cases. 

Instead, the court set out a framework for lower court judges to apply on a case-by-case basis that would balance the fair trial rights of a defendant to see the face of a witness, against the religious freedoms of an alleged crime victim. 

N.S. is pleased with the decision, her lawyer David Butt said yesterday. "We don't mind answering some respectful questions" in court about religious beliefs, he said. "That kind of inquiry, though, is not to be turned into an attack on anyone's religious choices." 

In its ruling, the Court of Appeal noted the potentially political nature of its task. 

"The controversy raises important public policy concerns that have generated heated debate. Those difficult and important questions are not the focus of this proceeding and cannot and should not be resolved in this forum," wrote Justice David Doherty, with Justices Robert Sharpe and Michael Moldaver concurring. 

Blanket rules about the wearing of a niqab are best left to Parliament, implied the court, which stressed that judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers should strive for "constructive compromises," when the issue arises. 

"Recognition of apparently conflicting rights requires that no Charter right be treated as absolute and that no one right be regarded as inherently superior to another," said Judge Doherty. 

The role of a judge is to conduct a relatively limited inquiry into the sincerity of a witness who asserts it would offend her religious beliefs to remove the Muslim veil. "The court will not enter into a theological debate," said the appeal court. A judge must then determine if fair trial rights are infringed because a defendant cannot see the face of an accuser. 

"Fairness takes into account the interests of the accused, the witness and the broader societal concern that the process maintains public confidence," wrote Judge Doherty. 

In the case of sexual assault victims, the Court of Appeal stressed that it is a "difficult and intimidating task" to testify against their alleged attackers. "It should not surprise anyone that N.S., when faced with this daunting task, seeks the strength and solace of her religious beliefs and practices," the court wrote. 

The 32-year-old Toronto woman was originally ordered to remove the niqab in October 2008 at the preliminary hearing of her uncle and a former family friend, who are alleged to have abused N.S. when she was a child. 

We owe Japan an apology (h/t- OFK):

Ethan Epstein.... writes (this time, at Slate) that a joint Chinese-North Korean crackdown on refugees has been a grim success at closing off the flow of refugees. So thanks to our friends the ChiComs, North Koreans must now die in place. There is a special zone in hell for these people, but justice would be better served if they were sent to Camp 12, where so many of their victims have perished. It bears repeating that those victims are guilty of no greater crime than wanting to live.

In spite of the success of China’s cleansing campaign, the number of North Korean refugees in South Korea is about to hit the 20,000 mark. What’s not mentioned in CNN’s report is how many of those people are recent defectors from North Korea, and how many are fleeing China after hiding out there for years.

China, realizing that it has revealed too much of its arrogance and malice since the Cheonan attack, now wants us (and the South Koreans) to think that its sponsorship of North Korea’s terrorizing of its neighbors is simply misunderstood. It doesn’t bother trying to explain its sponsorship of, and active participation in, North Korea’s terrorizing of its own people. How could it? You simply can’t defend sending women and kids to die in gulags and before firing squads. Those things are evil — crimes against humanity — in any honest person’s lexicon.


Pretty freaky but still pretty cool:

These astonishing images show an extraordinary new artificial reef off the east coast of Mexico made entirely from human statues.

The underwater installation has been created by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor who used real people to create the 'life casts' made from materials which encourage coral to grow.

It is hoped the new sculptures will produce a coral reef system and attract a variety of aquatic creatures to the Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park.

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