Gitmo: Canadian Style

Big news out here on the spreading of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld illegal detention regime to Canada. From the CBC:

The curtain will be drawn back this week on the normally top-secret operations of Canada’s biggest spy agency, as lawyers for Omar Khadr, the 21-year-old Toronto-born man detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are expected to release video footage of his interrogation there by agents of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Four formerly classified DVDs, to be released Tuesday, show CSIS questioning Khadr, then a teenager, at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where he has spent the past six years.

Background on Khadr’s case here.

1)He was 15 when captured.

2)His charges were thrown out and then he was labeled in the limbo/illegal position of “enemy combatant” and has languished for years in Guantanamo Bay. Like too many others.

And this (my emphasis):

Journalist Kirk Makin, writing in the May issue of Canadian Lawyer, sympathizes with the plight of Edney, the Edmonton lawyer representing Omar Khadr because he had to wait four years before getting a face-to-face meeting with his client.

His case is clouded of course by his minor status (at the time of his capture that is) and the environment of his upbringing:

The complexity of the Khadr case is heightened by his upbringing as the youngest in a family of al-Qaeda sympathizers who considered religious martyrdom, being a suicide-bomber, as a supreme calling. Omar’s father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an associate of Osama bin Laden and a reputed financier of al-Qaeda operations. He was killed in October 2003 by Pakistani forces. One of Omar’s older brothers, Abdullah Khadr, is in jail in Toronto and is fighting a U.S. extradition request for terrorism-related crimes.

Khadr it is charged threw a grenade that exploded killing a US soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. The firefight is described in the above link.

This case along with the rendition of innocent Syrian-Canadian Maher Arar has brought Canada into the US’ orbit of illegal detention facilities, lawlessness, and torture, shaming her in the process, undermining the rule of law and the moral standing of liberal democratic governance.

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 10:08 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Lt.C. Ralph Peters on Omar Khadr Gitmo Tape: “We Should Have Killed That Punk on a Battlefield where it was legal to do so!”

    Watch video at

  2. 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:

    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.

  3. RI,

    Thanks for the comment.

    As to repatriation, it’s a matter of whether the Canadian court system will handle the case and if so what information do they give to the prosecution. But for now Harper is not pushing it, so it’s really a moot issue.

    I think you are right to remember Sgt. Speer. And that Khadr may in fact be a killer. But there has to some trial to argue this. I don’t care particularly whether it is US or Canadian more that it is a fair trial. His lawyer actually gets to speak with him, sees the evidence (classified or otherwise), has a chance to call witness/cross-examine state witnesses, etc.

    And I think in legal terms, you have to take into account (though not as an excuse to let of free if found guilty) that he was raised in an essentially cult-like environment. How much freedom do you imagine this boy had in terms of forming his own identity or morals?

    The main issue however is that I’m flat out against the Bush administration’s blanket embrace of war powers. See my recent post on Benjmain Wittes’ book for me if you are interested.

    Whether or not Khadr is a killer–the point is that has to be proved in court and the West needs to show that the rule of law holds even during a war on terrorism. Without that, I think (sadly) your own work towards a post-sharia Islam (a rule of law, modern Islam) will be undercut by the West undoing key elements of that tradition.

    peace. cj

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