Wednesday, July 19, 2006

FBI calls Canada a haven for terrorists (again).

Considering that mid-term elections are coming up in the US, and Bush's approval rating is in freefall, it's perhaps not surprising to see the FBI director regurgitating the old "Canada's a haven for terrorists" line. He claims that:
"Countries who do not afford extended jail time to those who engage in material support for terrorism are opening themselves up, in my mind, to the possibility that these networks will find a haven in which to operate," Mr. Mueller said.
His basis for this claim? Well, remember all those suspected "terrorists" arrested in Ontario a few weeks back?
When a reporter mentioned that most of the terrorism suspects face sentences of 10 to 14 years maximum if convicted, Mr. Mueller said "that's a problem, that's a real problem."
So, basically, some stupid kids talk tough and shoot off their guns in a way that the RCMP takes to be a vaguely credible threat. For this, they could go to jail for a minimum of 10 years. The FBI director considers that not enough. One wonders what he would consider appropriate for people who actually commit terrorist acts -- public hangings?

What else did the director have to tell us? (Incidentally, I'm ignoring, of course, the usual cries of outrage that emanate from American commentators whenever some other country's officials try to tell them what to do. Mainly because this sort of tactic is a blatantly fallacious ad hominem. Just because someone's from another country doesn't mean they're wrong. It just so happens, however, that in this case a guy from another country is wrong.)
Mr. Mueller also urged Canada to consider U.S.-style laws that criminalize "material support" of terrorist causes and ones that would allow prosecutors to air secret government intelligence in court. Under the U.S. Classified Information Procedures Act, defence lawyers can be barred from hearing classified information that prosecutors present to a judge. In Canada, all criminal evidence is subject to rigorous disclosure principles.
In other words, the director of the FBI thinks it's okay for suspected terrorists to be tried with information that their defense attorneys aren't even allowed to hear. Moreover, he also thinks it's okay for people who "materially contribute" to terrorists -- by which I presume he means people whose money ends up in terrorist hands -- to be treated as if they were terrorists themselves.

And, apparently, no reporter in the room called him a fascist. I'd commend their restraint, but I think it was more due to apathy than anything so admirable.

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