Dr. Dawg

Globe and Mail double standards

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G20 police thuggery.jpg

A Globe and Mail editorial headed “Tragic Impunity” (print edition) caught my eye this morning. I thought at first it might have something to do with George W. Bush, his Vice-President Dick Cheney and his officials—monsters like John Yoo, for example, and countless CIA operatives—effectively granted immunity by Barack Obama for their crimes against humanity.

As Glenn Greenwald puts it:

So, we’ve seen the construction of a worldwide torture regime, spying on American people without the warrants required by the criminal law, an aggressive attack on another country that killed at least a hundred thousand innocent people, multiple acts of obstruction of justice, systematic fraud on an enormous scale that triggered a worldwide economic crisis that destroyed the economic comfort and middle-class security of tens of millions of people, mortgage fraud where homes were taken without legal entitlements. And every single one of these crimes has been completely protected. None have been investigated meaningfully, let alone prosecuted. [emphasis added]

Or, closer to home, could the Globe have been referring to the near-impunity of the uniformed thugs who brutalized more than a thousand innocent Canadian citizens in Toronto during the G20 protests in 2010, and who got cover from municipal, provincial and federal leaders? Or the goons who Tasered Robert Dziekanski to death, who were subsequently taken under the protective wing of the Crown and the BC government? These are, after all, both on-going disgraces that strike at the very heart of Canadian democracy, such as it is.

Nope. The Globe bravely turns its attention instead to the Third World country of Haiti, and the admittedly regrettable decision by a judge not to try former ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier (“Baby Doc”) for crimes against humanity.

The Globe concedes that there are complicating factors:

…Haiti…faces so many extraordinary challenges, including rebuilding its infrastructure and institutions, following the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, and strengthening its fragile democracy.

And it goes on to make perfectly reasonable points:

The handling of the case reflects the weakness of the justice system, and the enduring political power of Duvalier loyalists, some of whom support the current leader, President Michel Martelly. “There is no appetite for a prosecution against Mr. Duvalier,” says Carlo Dade, a Haiti expert and senior fellow at the University of Ottawa.

Even when he was sentenced to house arrest, Mr. Duvalier thumbed his nose at authorities. He was seen dining in fine restaurants in the capital, and even gave a speech at a law school graduation in Gonaives. “Unless this ruling is overturned on appeal, it’s just going to be another confirmation that the justice system is always on the side of the rich and the powerful,” says Reed Brody, with Human Rights Watch.

But at least there was a judicial process, if an obviously flawed one. There was even a legal rationale for the judge’s decision—an existing statute of limitations on prosecution. What excuse do the US and Canada have, having had no infrastructural devastation, and whose democratic institutions could hardly be described as “fragile?”

“For Haitians to have faith in the state, it must be able to hold leaders accountable for their actions,” the editorialist intones. And the Globe’s masthead continues to cite Junius’ maxim: “The subject who is truly loyal to the chief magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.”

Perhaps the Globe might like to take itself more seriously in the future, casting its censorious eye and wagging its finger at arbitrary measures and judicial failures closer to home. In the meantime, its sanctimonious concern about law and morality in another country rings more than a little hollow.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on February 13, 2012 9:15 AM.

Canada's new national animal? was the previous entry in this blog.

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