Thursday, October 19, 2006

Politics Detour

Matters political that caught my attention this week.

1. Husseyin Celil is a Canadian citizen who was essentially kidnapped by the Chinese authorities from Uzbekistan and recently sentenced to serve 15 years in an undisclosed location for terrorism. His crime is advocating democratic principles in the annexed Uyghur region. This is very similar to the plight of the Tibetans in their struggle against the Chinese authorities. The Canadian government has done next to nothing. It appears that they have learned very little from the Maher Arar case.

2. Speaking of the Canadian government... they are trying to pass legislation that ostensibly tries to lock up dangerous offenders for good. The problem is that they may have to contravene the constitution to do so. If convicted of three voilent crimes then the onus will shift to the defendant to convince a judge with arguments for why he should not be locked up for life. Do we really need to explain to lawmakers the importance of respecting the rule of law?

3. Speaking of the rule of law... the Bush administration has released another doctrine. They have outlined the legal framework within which they intend to proceed with their activities in space. The doctrine essentially states that they can do whatever they please and will not allow any interference or even debate on the matter. This wild west approach is their first step towards weaponizing space.

4. France is the home of civil liberties and free speech. So it's curious that their national assembly has passed a bill that makes it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide by the Turks. The irony is that saying such a genocide took place is illegal in Turkey. Both governments are engaging in counterproductive measures. It matters not at all to this discussion whether it did or not. I just don't think politicians are the people to decide on historical debates. Always err on the side of liberty and allow discussion. Only then can we hope to arrive at a closer approximation of the truth.

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