A remarkable, attractive young woman named Terri Chu has taken it upon herself to revive the tradition of public salon evenings, and holds monthly gatherings upstairs at that pub to have open conversations of matters of public interest.
Monday night, the ostensible topic was Charter Rights, but in truth, the gathering was for discussing the violation of the Canadian Charter Rights of confessed terrorist and murderer Omar Khadr.
Two speakers made presentations to the room of mostly middle aged Annex dwellers who were almost to a person sympathetic to the Canadian-born Guantanamo prisoner who was the son of al Qaida bag-man Ahmed Khadr. That sympathy for Khadr was clearly shared by the speakers, the first of whom, Barbara Falk, is an instructor at The Canadian Forces College. A clearly intelligent woman, bespectacled, with hair styled in a military-buzz cut but distinctive in its being dyed bright red, she began with a somewhat selective history of Omar Khadr's life story.
Like so many of Omar Khadr's supporters, she attempted to paint a sympathetic picture of a "child soldier" while ignoring Khadr's commitment to jihadist ideology. She implied that Khadr may not have been physically capable of throwing the grenade that killed Sgt. Christopher Speer and that his confession to that killing may have been coerced. While conceding that Khadr's family was unsympathetic to the public and harmed his cause whenever they speak publicly, Falk didn't make herself particularly convincing by euphemistically referring to Khadr's sister Zaynab and mother Maha as "critical of Canadian foreign policy." That is much like describing Luka Magnotta as "someone with slightly unusual culinary tastes." In actuality, the females in Khadr's immediate family are openly supportive of Osama bin Laden and his goals.
Falk also said that she believes Canadian reluctance to repatriate Khadr is because of racial and religious prejudice and to support her assertion, compared him to American Taliban John Walker Lindh and Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks. She indicated that if Khadr had a more Anglo-Saxon sounding name and appearance, he would have been reclaimed by his country as those two had been. Left out of that argument was the fact that Khadr differs from Lindh and Hicks in that he is an unrepentant jihadist who is likely to be surrounded by a radicalized infrastructure in Canada including his family and religious leaders.
Attempting to discredit internationally-acclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, she referred to his report, in which he did extensive research on Khadr, his associates and family as well as interviewing the young al Qaida fighter himself for 8 hours over two days as a "travesty."
One salient observation did emerge from Ms Falk's presentation; that in the new world of asymmetrical warfare, combatants on the side that surrender often continue to wage war in the form of insurgencies and the Geneva Conventions are not equipped to deal with that contingency.
The next speaker was Gavin Magrath from Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. Passionate and affable with a sort of hippie look, he seemed like the sort of leftie lawyer Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind actor Richard Dreyfus would have played well about 30 years ago.
Magrath too was outraged at Khadr's treatment and his denial of Charter rights even though the dilemma of how Canadian Charter rights could be enforced outside Canada was not addressed. More humanization and a softened depiction of the young terrorist was going on, with Khadr continually being called "this kid."
During Magrath's talk, there was an implicit suggestion that when Khadr does return to Canada, his lawyers will try to argue that the violation of his Charter rights should invalidate his conviction by the US military tribunal and he should immediately cease to be incarcerated.
When I heard that, the first thought that occurred to me was that the best solution would be to have Omar Khadr declared a dangerous offender when he returns to Canada so he can be incarcerated here indefinitely.
Keep in mind that this event was occurring in a bar and by this point, I had already pounded back a few rye and cokes (served by cute blond waitresses whose informal dress code appeared to involve mini skirts and knee socks.) And that last matter struck to the point of concern to the overwhelming majority of Canadians who do not want Omar Khadr returned to Canada, ever. So I felt it was my time to pipe up. Conceding that his Canadian Charter Rights rights were violated, I added that nothing said that night addressed the practical considerations of unleashing an avowed jihadist and al Qaida terrorist on the Canadian public.
That remark of mine infuriated a few aging, white-haired socialists at the other side of the room who repeatedly screamed out "he is not a member of al Qaida!!"
Magrath concurred with the enraged Khadr supporters saying Khadr wasn't a terrorist and hasn't even had a chance to pay up his al Qaida membership dues.
If Khadr wasn't in al Qaida, it was a strange coincidence he lived in an al Quada camp, fraternized with al Qaida terrorists, fought with them against the Americans and was filmed building improvised explosive devices for them. But maybe that's just the Afghan version of the Cub Scouts.
My calling out Magrath on being glib without addressing got him to get to the heart of what the position was, that he didn't care whether Khadr was a terrorist or a war criminal, but that he had a right to due process under Canadian law. And then came the more telling point, when Magrath used the "c" word. He identified the real problem, from his perspective, as "colonialism." He continued, "the problem is our going over there with airplanes and warships and Marines and then crying because the people fighting you don't want to put on a uniform!"
And that was everything I could have expected to typify the muddle headed positions of the useful idiots in the west who sympathize with our enemies. On one end was the pathetic cognitive dissonance by some who refused to even acknowledge that Omar Khadr could be a terrorist, despite the fact that even he hasn't denied his involvement in a terrorist group. On the other are people like Magrath who, in his impassioned condition appeared to forget that Khadr, father and son, went over there from here too. For people like that, the impression they give is that they are so obsessed that points of law take precedence over the safety, security and rights of innocent, law abiding members of the Canadian public.
They are basically good people. But they have a pathological devotion to multicultural aspirations and cultural relevance, and in the process have buried their heads buried so far up their backsides they can only hear the sanctimonious musings of their own internal processes.
At one point, it was said that Omar Khadr was a victim of "religious and community" profiling. Anyone whose religion and community believe they are entitled to slaughter infidels at will should be profiled and we have the right to protect ourselves from them. It's unfortunate we also have to fight a battle of ideas against our own citizens who are working to enable the people who want to destroy us.
you can watch the CBS 60 Minutes segment on Omar Khadr here (including video of his building IED's)