Liberty Under Siege
It's been a very good week, unless you are a believer in freedom and liberty. If you are one of us, then its been perhaps one of the darkest weeks in recent memory.
First, we had a crusading reporter in Russia gunned down in a contract killing. Her crime was trying to tell the truth.
Next, in Canada, we have a Reform* government that is attempting to introduce a draconian reverse onus for dangerous offenders, despite the continuing drop in Canada's crime rate, including he rate for violent crime. They have offered no evidence, no proof that there is a such a crime problem with repeat offenders that it requires this clear violation of the Charter (put forth, conveniently, after they killed the Court Challenges program). They do so to divert attention from their other failures and shortcomings, playing on myth and fear to gain political power.
Worst of all, yesterday the United States of America, formerly the beacon of freedom and liberty in the world, signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This act destroys over 200 years of jurisprudence and history, in the name of protecting the US from "terrorists." As the ACLU points out, the act allows for:
"The president can now - with the approval of Congress - indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act."[emphasis mine]
It destroys legal protections such as habeas corpus and the right to face your accuser that have existed since the Magna Carta. It is the antithesis of justice.
So to my American friends and cousins, I would like to remind you of something that perhaps many of you have forgotten:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security" [emphasis mine]
Our current Reform* government, who seem quite the fans our our US cousins, would do well to heed these words (Their supporters should read this).
Well, at least some of our cousins in the US are paying attention. Read or watch, its powerful stuff.
* Since they support arbitrary and undemocratic government, are purging real, principled conservatives from their midst, I refuse to sully the good name "conservative" by associating it with these people. Nor will I ever from this point forward. "Reform" is much more polite than the alternative, more accurate name I had in mnd.