Monday, May 04, 2015

But Wait! There's More!

There usually is...

The government has filed an appeal to keep convicted terrorist Omar Khadr in prison:

Granting bail to former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr while he appeals his war crimes conviction in the United States threatens the entire system of international prisoner transfers, the federal government argues in new court filings.

The claim comes in material filed late Monday as part of Ottawa's 11th-hour attempt to block Khadr's release from prison — which could come as early as Tuesday evening.

"A lack of clarity in the international transfer process may jeopardize the system as a whole," the government states in documents obtained by The Canadian Press.

"(Khadr's) release unsettles the foundation of this system by introducing uncertainty and a lack of control over the manner in which Canadian offenders' sentences are enforced."

Despite having presented no such evidence at his bail hearing, the government also now argues that allowing Khadr out — given his long incarceration — presents a risk that is contrary to the public interest.

Yes, about that:

Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr told interrogators he was an al Qaeda terrorist and described pulling the pin of a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, a prosecutor told Khadr's war crimes tribunal on Thursday.

... funny if they had to live beside Khadr rather than Black right
Oh, dear. This must be embarrassing:

A parent-led campaign to keep children home from class in protest of Ontario's new sexual-education curriculum gained early traction on Monday as the province's largest school board reported tens of thousands of absences.

Ryan Bird, a spokesman with the Toronto District School Board, said 34,762 elementary school students were absent on the first day of the campaign, which was largely organized through Facebook. That's more than double the 14,191 absences recorded last Monday.

At least one of the city's elementary schools had an absentee rate of more than 90 per cent, Bird said. Thorncliffe Park Public School was reporting that 1,220 of its 1,350 students were not in class, he said, adding that about 100 parents had turned up to stage a protest outside the building.

The money shot starts at 3:05:

The US State Department responds to a report that it denied entry to an Iraqi Catholic nun who lectures on the human rights abuses of ISIS:

The State Department is apparently trying to cover up an embarrassing, politically damaging, and possibly discriminatory act. In an e-mail sent to me on Thursday, Kathryn Fitrell, press-unit chief of the Office of Policy Coordination and Public Affairs with State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, requested that I revise the text of my National Review article on the denial of a visitor visa to Sister Diana Momeka. I refused, and then on Friday — as the Department honored World Press Freedom Day — the Bureau contacted my employer, the Hudson Institute, with the same request. ...
In Sister Diana’s account, Mr. Patch offered her a critical insight into the reason she was denied a visa: She was classified as an IDP (internally displaced person), presumably more liable to overstay a visa and settle illegally in this country, although she is employed in Iraq, teaching at the Babel College for Philosophy and Theology, and the temporary nature of the visit she has applied for is vouched for by the prioress of her community, as well as by a member of Congress and others. 
 The order of Dominican sisters to whom she belongs says, and I believe them, that their only member to resettle in the United States did so in 2012 — that is, before ISIS — and that she had a green card, which means she resettled legally. The Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena have an established, 150-year-old presence in Iraq and are committed to helping the remaining displaced Christians of that country. 
In citing Sister Diana’s IDP status, Mr. Patch simply articulated the unspoken. But is there yet another explanation for her being blocked by the Erbil consulate general from traveling to Washington for meetings at which she was to report on the situation of Christians in Iraq? She was to be part of a delegation whose other members, representatives of two other religious communities in the region, the Yazidi and the Shia Turkmen, were granted visas. 
If Sister Diana’s IDP status was the issue, why were Yazidi IDPs granted visas last October? It so happens that every Christian survivor and eyewitness of ISIS’s religious-cleansing campaign is now an IDP or refugee. 
As an articulate, English-speaking Iraqi Christian, who is not only personally a victim of ISIS but also an aid worker with a broad perspective on the suffering of the Christian community there, Sister Diana would make an exceptional witness.

A North Korean refugee recounts her escape from the Stalinist state:

In 1998, her dying father sent her and her brother away. They were supposed to flee to China, but the escape helpers turned out to be human traffickers. Jihyun Park was sold to a Chinese man for the equivalent of 700 euros.

"Officially I was his wife, unofficially I was his slave," she says. Her brother was betrayed and taken back to North Korea. Park's only solace is the birth of her son Chol. Yet mother and son were considered economic migrants in China, and there was no asylum for North Koreans. "There is a reward for anyone who betrays an illegal," says Jihyun Park. "I was turned in by a neighbor." The young mother was taken back to North Korea in 2004, and had to leave her son in China. In her old home country she was condemned as a traitor and thrown into the labor camp at Chongjin.

Park says that women in the camp were forced to work from 4:30 a.m. until late in the evening. They had to plant, till, and harvest the fields with only their bare hands and no shoes, constantly in fear of being beaten, harassed, or sexually abused by the guards. "We weren't treated like humans, not even like animals, it was awful," says Park. A serious leg wound eventually saved her from prison - and today her leg bears an enormous scar, there is hardly a piece of undamaged skin left on it. Camp doctors did not think that the sick woman would ever recover, and they sent her home.

 Read the whole thing.

Seventy years later, veterans of the Second World War return to a country they liberated where they are offered thanks by a still-grateful nation:

Frank Graham had a long war as an artillery private with the 1st Canadian Division, landing in Sicily in August 1943 and fighting his way through Italy and northwest Europe before being wounded just before the end.

"Well, I tell ya, it got so after a while I didn't give a damn anyway," he said. "You take it that way and it don't bother you too much. But if you start worrying, you're gonna be in trouble."

The Dutch, renowned for their appreciation of their Canadian liberators turned out by hundreds at the cemetery, young and old in a display that never fails to move Graham.

"I can't explain it. My heart isn't big enough," he said. "It is such a different feeling when I get in here. I feel like, not at home, but I feel relaxed. I feel myself, mostly. Because that's the way they are."

And now, Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand on Star Trek and who survived alcohol addiction, has passed away:

Grace Lee Whitney, who played Captain Kirk's assistant on the original "Star Trek" series, has died. She was 85.

Whitney died of natural causes Friday in her home in the Central California town of Coarsegold, about 50 miles north of Fresno, her son Jonathan Dweck said on Sunday.

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