Khadr – no legal basis…

July 3, 2014

 Canadian Press – Colin Perkel
Secret U.S. memo suggests no legal basis to charge Omar Khadr with war crimes 

A memo by the US Department of Justice has come to light in a case pursued by the N.Y. Times and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  Specifically, the Defense Department wanted to know the legal status of CIA agents who are not part of the military and do not wear a uniform but who operated drones, and asked Justice if these agents could be charged with acts of war criminality.  The Justice memo, secret until released to the Times and ACLU,  responded that war criminality did not depend on whether the agent was part of the military or uniformed but war criminality turns on the individual’s actions.  The ruling would mean that the US courts should set aside Khadr’s conviction immediately.  The discovery has application to all the cases in Guantanamo Bay and raises more ugly questions about whether Canada knew as well as the US prosecutors and if not, did the US deliberately mislead the Canadian government.  Khadr is still jailed in Edmonton, serving the rest of the US sentence.    Related article – Toronto Star – Michelle Shepherd   U.S. ‘drone memo’ offers legal ammunition in Omar Khadr case

 Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
Legislated racism commemorated on Canada Day 

The Road to Justice is a new exhibit at Toronto City Hall intended to ring some alarm bells around how the law can be used for justice or for discriminatory ends.  Besides the obvious connection to the new citizenship act in Canada, Canadians should be asking if discarding the Chinese labourers a century ago after they built the railway has any parallels in the migrant workers scene.  The exhibit is travelling the country.   Related article:  The Globe and Mail – Jane Taber   PEI, Nova Scotia join Alberta in opposing changes to foreign worker program    Related article: Toronto Star   – Debra Black  Immigration experts say Bill C-24 discriminatory and weakens citizenship

 Hamilton Spectator (ON) – Nicole O’Reilly
Team studying acquired brain injuries in Hamilton inmates 

Experts have known for some time that acquired brain injuries make the problems with mental illness in the justice system more difficult to deal with, given the potential for cognitive impairment.  While the research is scarce, and preliminary at this stage, a working group in Hamilton have discovered a very high ratio of symptoms of brain injury among inmates on the ‘special needs’ range of the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre.  Besides impacting on decision making, the acquired brain injury condition appears to impact on depression and anxiety as well as suicide.

 Kitchener-Waterloo Record – Carol Goar
U.S. mayors tackle income inequality, why can’t Canadian politicians?

US mayors have spent their most recent national conference looking at the impact of income inequality in their cities.  After listing some of specific concerns of the US mayors, Goar reviews the appearance of income inequality on the agenda of the mayors of Canadian cities,  the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the provincial and federal political parties.


Ionia Sentinel Standard (LA) –  Dave Marsden
For New Orleans, restorative justice means reconciliation 

Rethinkers the students call themselves and they want to be heard about restorative approaches to school discipline and to prevention of violence.  The Rethinkers responded to the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and want the emphasis on repairing harm rather than punishing offenders.  The Centre of Restorative Approaches (CRA) has been active since 2009 encouraging circle work, community conferencing and professional development.

 BroCap (AUS) – Brotherhood of St. Lawrence
National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014 – APS 

The article is an executive summary of the presentation by the Australian Psychological Association to the Australian Human Rights Commission, presently hearing around the immigrant detention of children.  “Australia’s immigration detention policy is also in direct opposition to the wealth of evidence and current international practice of promoting optimal settings for children to thrive, as well as outside the Australian Government’s policies supporting effective mental health and suicide prevention programs.”   Full document:  (A 24 page downloadable pdf) A submission by the Australian Psychological Society to the Australian Human Rights Commission   Related article:  Latin Post – Nicole Akoukou Thompson     Unaccompanied and Undocumented in America: Maria Hinojosa of NPR’s ‘Latino USA’ on the Treatment of Migrant Children in Detention Centers  Related article:  Guardian (AUS) – Sophie Peer    A child will die in immigration detention unless the system changes