Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Khadr video confirms Canada’s disgrace

Most of us haven't paid much attention to the case of Omar Khadr, the Canadian captured by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan in 2002.
Khadr, then 16, was shot twice in the back during the fight; the Americans believe he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier.
Since then, he's been a prisoner, mostly at Guantanamo Bay, the detention centre the U.S. set up in Cuba to escape its own and international laws on the treatment of prisoners.
Other western countries, including Britain and Australia, have repatriated their nationals from Guantanamo because of concerns about prisoner abuse and the lack of rights.
Canada, even though Khadr was a boy when he was captured, hasn't made any effort to bring him here to be dealt with in our courts.
And the Canadian government has insisted that it was monitoring the situation and Khadr was being treated humanely.
That probably reassured a lot of people, who then felt they didn't need to think much about the case.
Khadr said he was tortured, but both the Liberal and Conservative governments said everything was fine.
Except the Canadian government lied to us.
CSIS and Canadian Foreign Affairs officials questioned Khadr in 2003 and 2004, when he was still not old enough to vote here.
The government knew then that the Guantanamo interrogation experts had decided to soften up Khadr before the Canadian officials arrived.
For three weeks, the teen was moved to a different cell of holding area every three hours night and day. That's three weeks with no real sleep or human contact.
I'm no expert in international law. But I'm a parent, and if a child of mine were treated that way, I'd call it torture.
And I'd certainly call any government that said the treatment was "humane" both dishonest and morally bankrupt.
The U.S. interest in Khadr is understandable. His parents were Islamic extremists who lived in Toronto and Pakistan. His father was killed in an anti-terrorist raid in 2003. Omar played with Osama bin Laden's children.
When he was captured, less than a year after the attack on the World Trade Centre, the U.S. was desperate for any information on bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
So interrogators started questioning the 15-year-old as soon as he regained consciousness in a U.S. military hospital at Bagram in Afghanistan.
The first U.S. interrogator told Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star that it was "neat" to watch Khadr's vital signs change on the life support machines as he answered questions.
Humane treatment, says the Canadian government.
Khadr's interrogators at Bagram included U.S. Sgt. Joshua Claus, later convicted of maltreatment and assault in the killing of another prisoner - an innocent Afghan taxi driver - during questioning. Claus says he didn't torture Khadr; censored statements by Khadr suggest he did.
Given that governments lied about humane treatment, it is hard to accept claims that Khadr was not tortured.
This week, the videos of the Canadian officials questioning of Khadr were released by court order.
They show no torture.
But they do show what you would expect: A scared 16-year-old, trapped indefinitely in a detention centre, threatened and sleep-deprived, who thinks the Canadian officials are there to rescue him.
He soon learns that's not true. The hidden camera captures him pleading with them to "Help me" or "Kill me." The words aren't clear.
The bare facts should shame Canadians. A child soldier brainwashed by his parents - anyone who knows 15-year-olds knows they are mostly big kids - is captured.
The evidence on whether he threw the grenade is uncertain.
He's abused and says whatever his captors want to hear.
While Guantanamo Bay prisoners from every other western nation are repatriated, Canada won't ask for Khadr's return and questions him - after three weeks of abuse - and turns the results over to the U.S.
And the federal government - under both the Liberals and the Conservatives - lies to Canadians about Khadr's treatment and won't make the simple effort to have him returned here to face a legitimate court.
Footnote: The video released this week made headlines around the world. Most of the coverage focused on the abominable treatment Khadr had received, the pathetic state he was in and the Canadian government's inexplicable failure to do the right thing.


DPL said...

I have read that he wasn't the only person alive and there sre stories that someone else threq the grenade not him according to US soldiers. He was a child , subject to indoctination for sure. A US military tribunal sure won't treat him as a confused young person. I guess it's Ok for US troops to shoot at most anyone in the area, but nobody else can, that is if he actually did fight back. speking of backs, he was twice shot in his back. Get him out of that place, just as all other countries have done with their citizens. Harper will not do the right thing for reasons known only to him.

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Anonymous said...

What can Canandian veterans now say about what they fought and died for in two world wars? It 's starting to look like their sacrifice was a sham and in vain.

Anonymous said...

Khadir was 16 when he was captured. A boy really, and one whose childhood had been spent steeped in the views of his parents, whom history will ascert had many good reasons to feel righteously indignant about an awful lot of the things going on in this world. A young soldier doing what he believed in his heart of hearts was the right thing, NOT something he believed to be bad or evil. At 16 years of age - more like hero than criminal I'd say. Interrogators like Joshua Klaus and their superiors are afraid when they see such courage in their enemies, and have now gone to the same extremes their country once so loudly denounced, in an effort to assuage their insecurities.

Dawn Steele said...

I have a 15-year old son. He's fascinated with anything military, like many boys his age. If I were a fundamentalist involved in a war, I'd have no trouble as a parent convincing him of his duty to fight at my side.

I've already written (about a year ago) to my MP David Emerson and Prime Minister Harper, pleading with them to get Khadr out of that Guantanamo hellhole created by the Bush administration's sick mix of fear, paranoia and machismo.

I subsequently watched a documentary that showed they're not even sure that Khadr was the one who threw the grenade that killed the US Medic. I cried watching that tortured child on the news last night. Like any mother, I could see how easily that could have been my son instead, were our roles reversed.

Where is our humanity as a nation? When did we formally condone punishing children for the sins of their parents? I'm ashamed of Canada's treatment of this child soldier! Our leaders are frightened cowards who have knowingly and severely abused a frightened child to create a false sense of security!

Anonymous said...

Khdar the hero. What's next the order of Canada?

I might puke.

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to be Canadian right now. The treatment of Omar Khadr is something all Canadians should be ashamed of. Maybe he is guilty as charged, maybe he isn't, he has not had his day in court, but we know he has he has been subjected to torture. What ever happens to him, if he is found to be innocent, his life is ruined. Until he has had his day in court, he should be protected by the Geneva Convention. Our government is run by cowards, other countries have taken their prisoners home, instead of leaving then in Guantanamo. If he wasn't a monster before, he is one now, created by Canadans that run our country. I love Canada, but someone should have the guts to stand up to our government, bring that broken man back to Canada, he will never be a contributing citizen, even if innocent, after what he has been put through.

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Dawn Steele said...

The rabid intolerance demonstrated by "Muslims against Sharia" demonstrates exactly why we have the fighting, the terrorism, the torture and all the rest of it...

You really want to subject blog posters whom you find naive to such extreme brutality as to make them want to "rip this fucker's head off"? Just because they happen to have a differnt opinion? Does that make you any different from those who seek to brutally impose Sharia on others?

You have as much right to a different opinion as anyone else, but don't you see the parallel between what you find so abhorrent and what you are espousing? That's what is so tragic at the societal level about the Khadr case - if we sink to the level of fanatics for whom the end justifies any means, we have already lost it all.

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Anonymous said...

Khadr has tenuous ties to Canada at best. He's hardly lived here, and was in fact fighting for our enemies when he was captured. The Canadian government owes him nothing. He should be repatriated to Afghanistan or Pakistan, where he's actually lived and fought. Of course, it's not a very practical policy to release enemy prisoners of war in the middle of a conflict.

paul said...

Sorry about some of the abusive, pointless comments, which I;ve deleted. They are a rarity on the site, which I much appreciate. People generally demonstrate the ability to disagree without resorting to name-calling and the need to make some sort of coherent argument.
Cheers, and thanks
Paul Willcocks

Jim said...

Written by a housewife in New Brunswick, to her local newspaper. This
>>> is one ticked off lady.
>>> Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we?
>>> Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our
>>> shores on September 11, 2001 and have continually threatened to do so
>>> since?
>>> Were people from all over the world, not brutally murdered that day,
>>> in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from the nation's capitol
>>> and in a field in Pennsylvania?
>>> Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible,
>>> burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?
>>> And I'm supposed to care that a a few Taliban were claiming to be
>>> tortured by a justice system of the nation they come from and are
>>> fighting against in a brutal insurgency.
>>> I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents
>>> for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.
>>> I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start
>>> caring about the Holy Bible, the mere belief of which is a crime
>>> punishable by beheading in Afghanistan.
>>> I'll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking
>>> off Nick Berg's head while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed
>>> throat.
>>> I'll care when the cowardly so-called 'insurgents' in Afghanistan come
>>> out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by
>>> hiding in mosques.
>>> I'll care when the mindless zealots who blows themselves up in search
>>> of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their
>>> suicide bombs.
>>> I'll care when the Canadian media stops pretending that their freedom
>>> of speech on stories is more important than the lives of the soldiers
>>> on the ground or their families waiting a home to hear about them when
>>> something happens.
>>> In the meantime, when I hear a story about a CANADIAN soldier roughing
>>> up an Insurgent terrorist to obtain information, know this:
>>> I don't care.
>>> When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told
>>> not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the
>>> bank:
>>> I don't care.
>>> When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat,
>>> and fed 'special' food that is paid for by my tax dollars, is
>>> complaining that his holy book is being 'mishandled,' you can
>>> absolutely believe in your heart of hearts:
>>> I don't care.
>>> And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled 'Koran'
>>> and other times 'Quran.' Well, Jimmy Crack Corn you guessed it,
>>> I don't care!!
>>> If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on to all your E-mail
>>> friends Sooner or later, it'll get to the people responsible for this
>>> ridiculous behavior!
>>> If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should
>>> you choose the latter, then please don't complain when more atrocities
>>> committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great Country! And
>>> may I add:
>>> 'Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a
>>> difference in the world. But, the Soldiers don't have that problem.'
>>> I have another quote that I would like to add AND.......I hope you
>>> forward all this.
>>> One last thought for the day:
>>> Only five defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
>>> 1. Jesus Christ
>>> 2. The Canadian Soldier.
>>> 3. The British Soldier.
>>> 4.. The US Soldier , and
>>> 5. The Australian Soldier
>>> One died for your soul, the other 4 for your freedom.

Anonymous said...

Hypocrisy of the "Repatriate Omar Khadr to Canada" Movement

As soon as the Gitmo interrogation tape of Omar Khadr hit the Internet, the blogosphere was flooded with demands to repatriate him to Canada. This wave is reminiscent of a Soviet campaign to free Luis Corvalán from the "fascist regime" of Augusto Pinochet thirty five years ago. The scenario is strikingly similar. A "victim" held by "fascist regimes" this time run by Bush and Harper, and a public outcry for justice. Except for the fact that Luis Corvalán didn't kill anyone and didn't fight for a terrorist group that wants to impose Sharia.

The "repatriate Khadr" crowd describes him as "a child", "a kid", "a boy", and even "a torture victim", with no facts to substantiate the torture claims notwithstanding. They complain about Khadr being mistreated, again, without anything to back up their claims. Some of them are outraged about "child abuse." And they all scream for justice.

They want justice? OK, let's talk about JUSTICE. What about justice for Sgt. First Class Christopher J. Speer, who was (according to an eyewitness) murdered by this "child"? What about justice for Tabitha Speer, who is a widow because of this "kid"? What about justice for Taryn and Tanner Speer, who are left without a father by this "a boy"? And what about all those Afghani civilians and NATO troops who are a little bit safer because this "torture victim" is behind bars? How many of these "repatriate Khadr" hypocrites concern themselves with justice for real victims? In literally hundreds of posts, we couldn't find a single one.

One would ask, what is the reason for this idiocy? The answer is simple. Ignorance. Complete and utter ignorance. Let's forget for a second that Omar Khadr killed Christopher Speer. Let's forget that Khadr's father was an al Qaeda financier. Let's forget that Khadr's family is known for it being al Qaeda sympathizers. Let's just remember what this "child" was fighting for in Afghanistan.

This is what Taliban-imposed Sharia looks like in real life: http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2000/07/hypocrisy-of-repatriate-omar-khadr-to.html

Why don't all of you, bleeding heart demagogues go to Afghanistan and spend a day in a Taliban-controlled territory? And let's talk about Khadr when you get back. If you get back.