Inside the life of Guantanamo's child

March 8 The Toronto Star by Toronto Star national security reporter Michelle Shephard.

Exclusive book review and excerpt online.

“Omar Khadr was 15, badly hurt and a target when he arrived at Afghanistan’s Bagram prison in August 2002. Guards heckled and rode him mercilessly for his role in a firefight that left a U.S. soldier dead. Then he made a surprising friend.”

waring – graphic picture after the jump ~eds

About this image accompanying the book’s review, Fred Kuntz, Editor-in-Chief of the Star writes, in part…

“We realize the image shocks. We publish it after deliberation, not to offend, but to help bring home to Star readers something we believe they need to think about ”“ our values as Canadians, our belief in fair trials for our citizens.

Six years after his July 2002 capture, now 21, Khadr is the only remaining Westerner in Guantanamo Bay prison, awaiting trial for murder and other war crimes in a discredited military process. Setting aside issues of Khadr’s culpability, maturity or moral responsibility for his actions, we are still left with a question about our national view of justice.

Even more disturbing than such a photo, to certain critics of Canadian policy ”“ including federal opposition parties, Amnesty International, the United Nations and the Canadian Bar Association ”“ is this country’s failure to follow the lead of Britain and Australia, which demanded the repatriation of their citizens to face due process at home. Has this been sufficiently debated here?

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  • Accused, who claims he was 16 when arrested, says he has been tortured

    U.S. NAVAL BASE GUANTANAMO, Cuba – In a dramatic outburst, a terror suspect brought before the U.S. war crimes court in Guantanamo Bay yesterday declared the proceedings illegal, claiming he had been tortured and refused representation by his appointed military, or any other, lawyer.

    Accused of attempted murder in a grenade attack in Afghanistan that injured two U.S. soldiers and an interpreter, Mohammed Jawad is the only Guantanamo detainee other than Canadian terror suspect Omar Khadr who is accused of committing acts when he was a minor.

    “My right has not been given to me,” he said through an interpreter as he sat in the orange jumpsuit the U.S. military issues to the “non-compliant” detainees. “I have not violated any international law.”

    While Toronto-born Mr. Khadr was 15 when he allegedly threw a grenade that killed a U.S. serviceman during a July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, Mr. Jawad was believed to have been 16 or 17 at the time of his alleged crime in October of the same year.

    In court, Mr. Jawad insisted he had been 16 — adding that soldiers had told him after his capture that computers containing his file listed him as 21.

    “There are many accusations against me … they don’t make any sense … I am a human being,” Mr. Jawad complained. He said he continued to be treated unjustly and interrogated, and that he wanted the “whole world” to know it.

    He also compared the justice system he faced as being worse than the “justice” meted out by the Taliban — the Islamist fundamentalists who ruled most of Afghanistan before the U.S.-led invasion that swept them from power after the 9/11 attacks.

    “One newspaper publication said the Taliban has been very cruel in Afghanistan,” he said. “But … I have seen the Americans kill people without trial.”

    In a comment that could also resonate in Mr. Khadr’s case, Mr. Jawad’s lawyer, army Col. Mike Sawyers, said his client’s outburst came as no surprise, under the circumstances.

    “I believe this is the direct result of taking a 16- or 17-year-old boy and putting him in confinement … with no contact with the outside world,” he said. “He has been in a three-by-seven-(foot) cell. … I do not believe he understands the proceedings. … I don’t know if he were given 10 years if I could explain it to him.”

    In other news, the U.S. announced a new policy yesterday allowing certain Guantanamo Bay detainees to make regular calls to their families. It is likely Mr. Khadr will be among those given phone privileges.

    Mr. Khadr is housed in Camp 4 for the “compliant” and its detainees would be the most likely to qualify. The least likely are the estimated 16 “high-value” detainees held at the maximum security, top-secret Camp 7. Even lawyers seeking access to that group need a high level of security clearance.

    The U.S. has, until now, cited security concerns for not allowing regular calls, but a Pentagon spokesman said the new policy reflects a commitment to the detainees’ welfare.

  • One evening in March 2003, Omar was taken from his cell and in no mood to co-operate. The guards left him in the interrogation booth for hours, short-shackled with his ankles and wrists bound together and secured to a bolt on the floor. Unable to move, he eventually urinated and was left in a pool of urine on the floor.

    When the MPs returned and found the soiled teenager, Omar’s lawyers later said, the guards poured pine oil cleaner on his chest and the floor. Keeping him short-shackled, the guards used Omar as a human mop to clean up the mess. Omar was returned to his cell and for two days the guards refused to give him fresh clothes.

    Excerpted from from a new book about him by Toronto Star journalist Michelle Shephard, “Guantanamo’s Child”.

    Omar Khadr would be 16 years old at this time. How proud are these American “interrogators” of such “creative” actions in dealing with children? I hope society has an opportunity to ask them that question soon, in a real court room.

  • Terror suspect alleges serious abuse by U.S. interrogators

    Steven Edwards, The Ottawa Citizen
    Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    NEW YORK – For the first time since U.S. forces seized him on an Afghan battlefield in 2002, Omar Khadr has publicly detailed allegations of serious mistreatment by his captors.

    The only prisoner from a western nation still in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre also writes about the apparent indifference of Canadian officials when they visited him behind bars. The allegations are contained in eight typed pages of an affidavit Mr. Khadr swore for submission to a war crimes commission the United States established to try terror suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    The Toronto-born accused terrorist, who was 15 when the U.S. government claims he lobbed a hand grenade that fatally injured a U.S. special forces soldier, says he told a Canadian delegation in 2003 that the Americans “would torture” him — so he told them “whatever they wanted” to hear.

    “The Canadians called me a liar, and I began to sob,” Mr. Khadr, now 21, says in the affidavit. “They screamed at me and told me they could not do anything for me.”

    Some months later, two other men identifying themselves as Canadians turned up. “These two men yelled at me and accused me of not telling the truth,” he says, repeating something he told one of his civilian lawyers back in 2005, namely that “one of the Canadian men stated, ‘The U.S. and Canada are like an elephant and an ant sleeping in the same bed,’ and that there was nothing that the Canadian government could do against the power of the U.S.”

    U.S. censors have blacked out certain portions of this document, citing concern terrorists could discover — and presumably prepare to resist — specific interrogation techniques.

    The version hides many of the details Mr. Khadr appears to have given of the measures used against him. The alleged abuse detailed in untouched passages hints at the severity of what may be in the blacked-out portions. In the past, his civilian lawyer has made snippets public, but now Mr. Khadr goes into more detail, and makes public additional allegations.
    More

  • Toronto Star

    Mar 19, 2008 04:30 AM
    Isabel Teotonio
    Staff Reporter

    Canadian officials refused to help a sobbing Omar Khadr when they visited him in Guantanamo Bay, despite allegations of torture at the hands of Americans who had captured him after a firefight in Afghanistan, according to Khadr.

    “I showed them my injuries,” recalled Khadr in an affidavit filed with a U.S. military war crimes court. “I said that I told the Americans whatever they wanted me to say because they would torture me. The Canadians called me a liar and I began to sob.

    “They screamed at me and told me that they could not do anything for me,” said Khadr, recalling one of six visits in 2003 and 2004 by Canadians to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which is being used as a prison for terrorism suspects.

    This is the first time a personal account by the 21-year-old Toronto man has been made public since his arrest in July 2002 for throwing a grenade that killed a U.S soldier.

    MORE at the link.

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact. Non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington

  • Miami Herald

    Here is the Pentagon response to Canadian captive Omar Khadr’s descriptions in a sworn February 2008 affidavit of his alleged abuse in U.S. custody at ages 15 and 16 in Bagram, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    The Miami Herald asked specifically whether threats to rape or outsource rape would have fit into the approved interrogation techniques used at the time of Khadr’s July 2002 capture and subsequent detention:

    “Our policy is to treat detainees humanely.

    “Credible allegations of abuse are investigated, however in this case, we have no evidence to substantiate these claims.

    “Our approved interrogation techniques are listed in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations, which has been made public.

    “The [Defense] Department conducts interrogation operations effectively within the parameters set by U.S. policy, the laws of war, and the Geneva Conventions with trained and well disciplined personnel.

    “The Manchester Manual, an al Qaeda training document, teaches its operatives to make false claims of abuse while in detention in order to garner public sympathy designed to lead to their release.”

    It was signed by a Department of Defense spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon.

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact. Non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington

  • A quick Google reveals the astonishing myriad of denials by Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon on numerous aspects of Guantanamo’s dealings with many prisoners. His nose could be so long by now that at least two Ensigns must have to accompany him at all times just to support it.
    (The Miami Herald did not report on the present length of Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon’s nose but it’s possible that it may have grown another 12.8 inches during the Khadr denial alone.)

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact. Non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington

  • An extensively sourced critical view New Field Manual (Keep in mind that this only marginally less horrific set of guidelines has only been in effect since late 2006.)

    Regarding the “Separation technique”, teenager Omar Khadr has been incarcerated in solitary confinement for many years according to many reports including the Globe and Mail and according to psychiatric assessments became a high risk for performing an act of “asymetric warfare” (the fanciful term used by Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris) also known as “suicide”.

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact. Non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington

  • Canadian Press
    reports March 20, 2008

    OTTAWA — The federal government has failed to block the country’s top court from considering whether U.S. authorities are violating international law in their treatment of accused Canadian terrorist Omar Khadr.

    In a ruling released Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the go-ahead for Khadr’s lawyers to raise the legality of his detention and forthcoming trial at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

    The matter will be argued as part of a hearing next week, at which the main issue will be a demand by Khadr for access to documents held by the Canadian government. He wants to use the material in his defence against a charge of murdering a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

    But his lawyers also want to use the hearing to highlight the broader point that the Americans’ handling of the case doesn’t meet international standards of fairness.

    The federal Justice Department filed a motion trying to quash that line of argument, saying a Canadian court is the wrong place to examine U.S. actions.

    “In essence the respondent (Khadr) wants this court to preside over a trial of the Guantanamo trials,” federal lawyer Rob Frater wrote in his submissions. “The court should refuse this invitation.”

    The court replied Thursday that Frater is free to make that argument, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t hear from the other side as well.

    The judges also rejected a government effort to keep human-rights groups from raising similar points of international law in support of Khadr.

    Frater had sought an order effectively barring any further participation in the case by Human Rights Watch, the University of Toronto human rights clinic and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

    MORE at the link

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact. Non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington

  • My taxes pay for a Justice Department that seeks to limit the defense of a Canadian child illegally imprisoned and tortured by a foreign nation and wants to bar civil liberties organizations from any associated reportage?

    Oh, oh, oh, Mr Stephen “Bush Mini-Me” Harper. We’ll judge him in the election booth. And as for his personal “justice department”, he should keep them well fed. He may need them when the dust clears. In the meantime, He should pray to his perverse version of some holy entity, that no further harm comes to Khadr or any other Canadian in such desperate need of help from his government.

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact. Non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington

  • From the Globe and Mail
    OMAR EL AKKAD

    March 20, 2008

    OTTAWA — U.S. soldiers were seconds away from killing Omar Khadr when Special Forces members told them not to, newly released documents show.

    According to the diary of a U.S. military officer who was present at the end of the 2002 Afghanistan firefight where Mr. Khadr was captured, another soldier had the then-15-year-old Canadian in his sights.

    “I was about to tap [identity edited out] on his back to tell him to kill him [Khadr] but the SF guys stopped us and told us not to,” the officer’s diary states.

    The account of Mr. Khadr’s near-death was revealed in documents released by the Guantanamo Bay military commission this week. The 112 pages of documents – all relating to several defence motions asking for more disclosure in the case – also contain gruesome details about the wounds Mr. Khadr sustained in the battle, and allegations that the decision to charge the Canadian in the first place was politically motivated.

    Last month, the testimony of a soldier identified only as “OC-1,” accidentally released to the public, showed that another fighter was alive inside the Afghan compound where the 2002 firefight took place and a grenade was thrown at U.S. soldiers, killing one of them. Until last month’s revelation, it had long been assumed that Mr. Khadr was the only person alive inside the compound, and so must have thrown the grenade. Mr. Khadr now faces multiple charges in connection to the incident, including murder.

    The U.S. officer’s diary, snippets of which were made public this week, confirms the OC-1 account that another fighter was alive, but includes more detail on how that fighter was killed.

    “I remember looking over my right shoulder and seeing [edited out by government] just waste the guy who was still alive. He was shooting him with controlled pairs …” the officer writes, referring to bursts of gunfire.

    Asked if he had any idea why the soldiers let Mr. Khadr live, his U.S. military defence lawyer replied simply: “Someone had a conscience.”

    MORE at the link, including the new information that Khadr was allegedly only charged because they wanted to charge Australian David Hicks on trial and they worried it would “look strange” if only Hick’s case was to be tried by the then new Tribunal.

    “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That ‘s easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” – Hermann Goering

  • The judges also rejected a government effort to keep human-rights groups from raising similar points of international law in support of Khadr.

    How did these mean, cold-spirited and cold-hearted jerks get elected? They’re making a mockery of Trudeau’s Canada – he who proclaimed that Canada must be a “Just Society”.

    The concept a “Just Society“, is the ideal strived for by advocates of social justice, civil rights, and toleration, of which Trudeau was one.

  • A wide ranging and fact filled chronology.

    WIKI – Khadr

    “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That’s easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works that way in any country.

  • Lawyers for Omar Khadr – from the March 25 edition of the National Post

    An almost completely censored August 31, 2002, memo from the RCMP in Islamabad to the Department of Foreign Affairs presumably contains all the Canadian government was told by the U.S. government about the circumstances of Omar Khadr’s capture in Afghanistan a month before. The document — one of many whose uncensored release is the subject of a case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada this week — now resides under the same shroud of secrecy that later descended upon the true facts surrounding Omar’s near-fatal shooting and detention as a child soldier on an Afghan battlefield almost six years ago. In the place of truth, the U.S. government has allowed a myth to reign — that Omar Khadr, the sole survivor of a four-hour aerial bombardment of a Khost compound, feigning injury, rose up and lobbed a hand grenade, killing Sgt. Speer, a U.S. Army “medic” who was searching for wounded combatants to treat. No part of this story is true. But the myth has largely sustained Canadian indifference to Omar’s plight for almost six years.

    Over the past few weeks, the shroud has been pulled back, demolishing this myth and shedding the first light on the true facts surrounding Omar’s capture. A confidential document inadvertently released in February shows that at least one other combatant was alive and fighting when the grenade that allegedly killed Sgt. Speer was thrown. A U.S. soldier then shot and killed that combatant. In contrast, Omar was sitting down, facing away from his attackers, leaning against brush and suffering from wounds to his eyes and other parts of his body when he was shot in the back by a U.S. soldier, ostensibly because the Canadian teenager was “moving.”

    This revelation could not be more important. It is, of course, far more likely that the other man, who does not appear to have been wounded during the bombing — the one fighting and later killed — was responsible for throwing a hand grenade (if one was thrown) than a 15-year-old boy who had shrapnel in both of his eyes. This conclusion is consistent with a report, prepared the day after the battle by the on-scene commander, which says that the enemy combatant responsible for the U.S. soldier’s death was “killed.” Months later, the same commander “altered” this report to clear the way for Omar to be blamed for the death. In the new version, the responsible enemy combatant had merely been “engaged” (rather than killed) by U.S. forces. The commander backdated the new report to July 28, 2002, the date of the original report.

    We also now know that the “medic” was actually a U.S. Army soldier acting as a combatant, not a medic. He was one of the Special Forces soldiers assaulting the compound and trying to kill Omar. Recent evidence suggests that U.S. personnel were not treating the wounded (as the original story had it), but shooting the wounded in that compound — providing them with a motive to lie about the actions of a boy found alive at the scene with at least two bullet holes in his back.

    We also now know that this critically-wounded 15-year-old Canadian boy was taken directly from the battlefield to the U.S. detention facility at Bagram Airbase. Within days of regaining consciousness, and while lying on a stretcher in a tent hospital, U.S. military intelligence personnel began a process of frequent, coercive and often brutal interrogations. His interrogators belonged to the same intelligence unit implicated in numerous instances of detainee abuse at Bagram, including the deaths of two detainees. Indeed, Omar’s main interrogator — “Sergeant C” — was court-martialed for his role in the abuse of a detainee who died. Sgt. C refused to speak to prosecutors in Omar’s case about his interrogations of Omar until he had been granted immunity from further prosecution.

    As all this information becomes known, the Canadian government’s indifference to the plight of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr becomes increasingly unjustifiable — especially if, as appears to be the case, Canada was misled by the U.S. government about Omar’s role in the 2002 firefight. If the Canadian government is willing to intervene to protect the rights of Canadian citizens such as Brenda Martin, it cannot explain its continuing indifference to Omar Khadr as motivated by anything other than political expediency and a willingness to hide behind the unpopularity of the Khadr family.

    But if everything the U.S. government says about Omar’s father and family is true, then Omar — a child when taken from Canada to the Middle East and sent into combat by his father as a child soldier in Afghanistan — is a victim of choices made for him by others. Punishing Omar for their sins is the very height of injustice.

    It is time to bring Omar home to face justice under Canadian law, and not merely abandon him to a process that not only treats a 15-year-old boy the same as an adult, but also treats Canadians as worth less than Americans by giving a Canadian fewer protections and rights than a U.S. citizen would receive.

    As for concerns about the safety of Canadians, the picture painted of this young man by the U.S. government is false. It is based on deception and exaggeration. Omar is not a dangerous “terrorist.” He is a polite, cordial and decent young man, with no other desire than to return to Canada, get an education, a job, and get on with his life as best he can. Moreover, there are means available, under Canadian law, to prosecute Omar and/or to place appropriate restrictions on Omar’s liberty and to ensure his participation in an appropriate rehabilitation program.

    Exploited and abused the whole of his young life, Omar deserves a chance — not a second chance, but a first one.

    — Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler and Rebecca S. Snyder are U.S. Department of Defense attorneys assigned to the Office of Military Commissions. The views expressed are their own and do not constitute an official position of the U.S. Government.

  • Toronto Star
    by Michelle Shephard, March 25, 2008

    Joshua Claus was a 21-year-old rookie American soldier in 2002 when he was sent to interrogate terror suspects at Bagram prison in Afghanistan.

    One of his prisoners was an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar who had been picked up on suspicion of launching a rocket attack. The soldiers kicked Dilawar repeatedly on his thighs, chained him to the top of his cell by his wrists and left him hanging for hours. Five days later he died and a military investigation ruled his death a homicide. (My note: Diliwar’s story was the subject of the Academy Award winning film, “Taxi To The Dark Side”)

    Investigators also determined Dilawar, 22, was innocent – he was a taxi driver, not a terrorist. Claus was among a group of soldiers charged in his death and was sentenced to five months in jail.

    Now Claus is at the centre of the latest controversy concerning the Guantanamo war crimes trials of Canadian detainee Omar Khadr. Documents released last week revealed “Sgt. C,” who was later identified as Claus, was Khadr’s main interrogator when he was held at the U.S. base in Bagram. The documents also noted Claus was initially offered immunity in return for his testimony for the prosecution. In other words, he could not face charges concerning his treatment of Khadr.

    But Claus was later dropped from the prosecution’s witness list and the Pentagon tried to keep his identity secret. Ironically, he may now prove to be one of the Khadr defence team’s greatest allies.

    “The government took Sgt. C off their witness list knowing that he was Omar’s principal interrogator and fought us on access to information about Sgt C’s abuse of detainees,” Khadr’s military lawyer, navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, said in an interview yesterday. “The government’s attempt to hide Sgt. C is an example of what we’ve said about military commissions generally – they exist to launder evidence derived from torture and coercion.”

    A military judge earlier this month ordered the prosecution to give the defence additional information concerning Claus, but Kuebler said yesterday that they had yet to receive any correspondence.

    Claus’ involvement in the case is key because the prosecution is relying on Khadr’s statements made during interrogations in Bagram and Guantanamo.

  • May 21 – Canwest News by Steven Edwards

    NEW YORK – The United States has snubbed Canada by denying lawyers for Omar Khadr permission to have the 21-year-old psychologically assessed by independent doctors at Guantanamo Bay.

    Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said in a written parliamentary statement in March Canada has “requested repeatedly that Mr. Khadr be given an independent medical and psychological assessment” during his confinement at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

    The denial, which emerged Wednesday, was even initially marked “secret” – an act that might have prevented Ottawa from ever learning U.S. authorities had ruled on the matter.

    They lifted the “secret” classification after Khadr’s U.S. military defence lawyer, navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, officially asked for it to be justified.

    “Since there was no reason for them to classify that we sought expert witnesses, it’s clear they did not want the Canadian government or public to know they were refusing Omar this assessment – especially given Canada’s foreign minister is on record saying one is necessary,” Kuebler said in an interview from Washington.

    The Pentagon insisted the initial response was marked secret for a far less sinister reason, namely that the defence’s initial request had arrived with classified portions requiring continued protection. Officials also said Kuebler’s application was incomplete – something he denies – and that he is welcome to re-apply.

    The row comes as the United States Thursday will make extensive references to Khadr – seized at age 15 – when it defends its record on the treatment of captured child soldiers before a United Nations panel in Geneva. (Be sure to keep a close eye on the back section of your SnoozPaper for those hearings.)

  • May 22, 2008 04:30 AM
    Michelle Shephard
    National Security Reporter
    Toronto Star

    U.S. military doctors drafted policies recommending detainees under the age of 18 be kept out of Guantanamo Bay or receive special treatment to “minimize psychological, emotional and physical harm” at a time when Canadian Omar Khadr was interrogated and held among adult detainees, a newly disclosed document reveals.

    The January 2003 document recommends seven pages of treatment specific for “pediatric detainees,” including the right to education, psychiatric evaluation and imprisonment out of “sight and sound” of adult detainees.

    “All efforts should be made to keep those in the pediatric age range from undergoing detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” the report states.

    “People less than 18 years are emotionally, psychologically and physically dynamic and complex. If it is determined that they must be detained, then all aspects of their transport, in-processing, and detainment should be specific for this age group.”

    The document indicates for the first time the U.S. administration’s recognition that “enemy combatants” under the age of 18 are entitled to special treatment. It was written by four military doctors and released to Khadr’s defence team following a request for any directives concerning the treatment of minors at Guantanamo. Khadr’s military lawyer, navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, said it was the only material disclosed.

    “The document shows that the U.S. government was aware of the legal requirements to afford children age-appropriate treatment,” Kuebler said yesterday. “It flagrantly broke the law in its treatment of Omar Khadr, and is still doing so by subjecting him to trial by a military commission designed for adults.”

  • KIRK MAKIN

    Globe and Mail Update

    May 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM EDT

    The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the federal government to hand over information to alleged terrorist Omar Khadr that it gleaned from interrogation sessions that Canadian agents held with him in 2003.

    Now 21, Mr. Khadr’s U. S. war-crimes trial is scheduled to begin later this year. His lawyers are seeking the material in order to prepare his defence.

    The 9-0 decision – signed simply “by the Court” – said that Mr. Khadr is entitled to any records of the interviews, regardless of what form they are in. It stated that he must also be given any information that Canadian authorities have given to their US counterparts as a direct consequence of conducting the interviews.

    Friday morning’s decision is a major triumph for a growing phalanx of Khadr supporters who believe that Canada has washed its hands of complicity in an abusive U.S. military process.

    However, a lawyer for Mr. Khadr – Nathan Whitling – said that the decision does not go far enough. What the Khadr defence now needs most, he said, is a U.S. military report of the battle that took place on the day Mr. Khadr was arrested, and which were shared with Canadian authorities.

    “The U.S. government claims to have somehow misplaced it,” Mr. Whitling said in an interview. “The only way to get that report was to get it from Canada. We requested everything, but unfortunately, the Supreme Court has not gone far enough today.”

    Mr. Whitling said that he has seen – on a confidential basis – the material the Supreme Court of Canada freed up as a result of Friday’s ruling, since it was previously revealed to Mr. Khadr’s U.S. military lawyer. He said that while, it will be of limited use, the most valuable information remains suppressed.

    In its ruling, the Supreme Court specifically instructed the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to “produce to a judge … unredacted copies of all documents, records and other materials in their possession which might be relevant to the charges against Mr. Khadr.”

    The court said that the judge “shall consider any privilege or public interest immunity claim that is raised, including any claim under Ss. 38 et seq. of the act, and make an order for disclosure in accordance with the reasons for judgment.”

    The case plunged the court for the first time into a shadowy U.S. military prosecution founded upon a vast array of contentious statements and transcripts of interviews that have been withheld from Mr. Khadr’s defence team.

    On July 27, 2002, Mr. Khadr – 15 at the time – was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan during a firefight at a presumed al-Queda training camp.

    Mr. Khadr was charged with murdering U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Speer by throwing a hand grenade and has been held in the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since October of 2002.

    He is awaiting trial on charges of murder, conspiracy and other terror-related offences.

    Canadian authorities had their first visit with Mr. Khadr in early 2003, when he was 16. An agent from CSIS and another from the Department of Foreign Affairs intelligence division interrogated Mr. Khadr over three days. They followed that up afterward with two more visits.

    Reaction from civil libertarian lawyers to Friday’s ruling was positive.

    Frank Addario, a lawyer for the Criminal Lawyers Association, said that the court has nudged the federal government toward demanding that Mr. Khadr be either tried in the domestic U.S. court system, or sent back to Canada.

    “The process in Guantanamo Bay is completely unconstitutional and at odds with international law,” Mr. Addario said in an interview.

    The ruling has profound implications for future cases involving foreign jurisdictions, some legal observers said Friday.

    University of Ottawa law professor Errol Mendes said that the decision states clearly that Canada cannot be complicit in violations of international law.

    This effectively strips the federal government of its rationale for asserting recently that the actions of Canadian officials or military in Afghanistan “are none of the business of Canadian law – including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Prof. Mendes said.

    He said that the court’s ruling is also almost certain to negate a recent Federal Court of Canada ruling that the Charter does not extend to what the military may do in Afghanistan.

    “This is really hugely significant both for Canadian law and as a precedent for other liberal democratic countries that were so aghast that the Bush administration was thumbing its nose at the most important aspects of international law, including international human rights conventions,” he said.

    “This is a brave decision,” said Joe Arvay, a lawyer for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “Bravo to our Supreme Court of Canada!

    “The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously upheld that the Charter applies to the conduct of Canadian officials acting outside of Canada when they participate in the processes of a foreign government – here, the U.S. – that is in violation of international law.”

    He said this “is an extremely important point of constitutional principle with broad ramifications. The federal government has recently argued that the Charter does not apply to Canadian armed forces operating in Afghanistan, a view accepted by the Federal Court of Canada. That decision is now clearly incorrect.

    Mr. Arvay added that the ruling “killed two nasty birds with one carefully aimed stone” – the violation of both Mr. Khadr’s rights and those of Afghan detainees.

    The court pinned its decision on international agreements to which Canada is a signatory, and on the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has already found the Guantanamo Bay legal processes “to violate U.S. domestic law and international human rights obligations to which Canada subscribes.

    “With Khadr’s present and future liberty at stake, Canada is bound by the principles of fundamental justice and is under a duty of disclosure pursuant to s. 7 of the Charter,” the court said, in its 9-0 ruling. “The content of this duty is defined by the nature of Canada’s participation in the process that violated its international human rights obligations.

    “In the present circumstances, this duty requires Canada to disclose to Khadr records of the interviews conducted by Canadian officials with him, and information given to U.S. authorities as a direct consequence of conducting the interviews, subject to claims for privilege and public interest immunity,” it said.

    “Since unredacted copies of all documents, records and other materials in the appellants’ possession which might be relevant to the charges against Khadr have already been produced to a designated judge of the Federal Court, the judge will now review the material, receive submissions from the parties and decide which documents fall within the scope of the disclosure obligation.”

    MORE

  • However, a lawyer for Mr. Khadr – Nathan Whitling – said that the decision does not go far enough. What the Khadr defence now needs most, he said, is a U.S. military report of the battle that took place on the day Mr. Khadr was arrested, and which were shared with Canadian authorities. “The U.S. government claims to have somehow misplaced it,” Mr. Whitling said in an interview. “The only way to get that report was to get it from Canada. We requested everything, but unfortunately, the Supreme Court has not gone far enough today.”

    Hopefully the Court will also expedite handing over this essential information which is central to proving Khadr’s probable innocence of all charges against him. (Why is it that the US government habitually “loses” so many evidentary documents? Is there an endemic lack of file clerks or just a thinly veiled intent to make a mockery of justice?)

  • For sure! The attempt isn’t even veiled.


    “While not a Playboy reader, she invites a male acquaintance in for a quiet discussion of Chagall, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” – not a Hugh Hefner quote

  • Video documentation of Canadian agents’ questioning has been kept secret for five years

    COLIN FREEZE
    Globe and Mail

    May 31, 2008

    Canadian intelligence agents were videotaped as they questioned a 16-year-old prisoner held in Guantanamo Bay, and a court battle is brewing to force disclosure of the footage.

    A videotaped interrogation of Omar Khadr over three days, conducted seven months after he was shot and captured in Afghanistan, has been kept secret for five years. Yet efforts are under way to force government officials to release four DVDs containing the recordings that may yield insights into the secrets of the U.S. prison camp and one of Canada’s more ethically fraught investigations.

    “There is a strong public interest in seeing first-hand the effect this terrible ordeal has had upon a young Canadian citizen,” said Nathan Whitling, a Khadr family lawyer who hopes a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling will allow him to obtain and circulate DVDs showing the February, 2003, interviews.

    The footage was publicly mentioned for the first time in a Guantanamo Bay proceeding this spring, said Mr. Whitling, a dual citizen fighting for his client in both Canada and the United States. Until then, he said, only privileged parties knew about the recordings.

    The military commission prosecuting Mr. Khadr in the death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan may or may not air edited portions of the footage, Mr. Whitling said. But because U.S. copies are unlikely to travel from coastal Cuba or Washington agencies, he will be fighting in court to push Canadian officials to release any copies they retained.

    The Globe and Mail and CTV yesterday filed a joint motion seeking to intervene and argue that the footage should be widely released. “The public disclosure, to the greatest extent possible, of the records and videotapes detailing the interviews Canadian officials had with Omar Khadr is of the utmost importance,” said Peter Jacobsen, a lawyer who recently represented The Globe and Mail in a bid to reveal a $500,000 (U.S.) bounty the United States paid for the capture of one of Mr. Khadr’s brothers.

    The Supreme Court of Canada last week ruled that federal officials breached Omar Khadr’s rights by travelling to a military prison that operates outside the continental United States. No one has ever suggested the Canadians mistreated the prisoner, but the top court found it was wrong for the agents to visit a prison camp eventually found to be “illegal under both U.S. and international law.”

    Because the contents of the interviews were shared with U.S. prosecutors, the Supreme Court last week ordered that Canada must now also release all relevant records to the Khadr defence. The Federal Court of Canada is to vet materials in coming weeks to make sure nothing is disclosed that compromises national security.

    Canadian officials have not acknowledged they have copies of the DVDs, but will likely argue that any footage is the fruit of a sensitive intelligence investigation – and its release for public consumption could poison international intelligence relationships.

    Arguments over the rights of the accused to see sensitive state information are bogging down terrorism-related prosecutions in Guantanamo Bay and beyond.

    The Pentagon this week removed the U.S. military judge in the Khadr case after he threatened to suspend proceedings if prosecutors withheld evidence. The director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has recently complained that the “judicialization” of intelligence practices is lifting the “veil of secrecy” over agencies like CSIS.

  • Sun 08, 2008 03:19 PM
    Michelle Shephard
    National Security Reporter

    Guantanamo Bay interrogators were directed to destroy handwritten notes in an attempt to minimize the chances they could have their actions questioned in court, states a newly released document that could derail the case of Canadian Omar Khadr.

    The document confirms for the first time that the Pentagon had a policy that required original notes to be systematically destroyed – something detainee defence lawyers argue undermines their ability to challenge the government’s evidence.

    This is particularly true in Khadr’s case where it appears prosecutors will rely heavily on Khadr’s alleged confessions.

    The directive for interrogators is known as a SOP or standard operating procedure, and was released late last week to Khadr’s defence lawyers by the prosecution.

    “This mission has legal and political issues that may lead to interrogators being called to testify, keeping the number of documents with interrogation information to a minimum can minimize certain legal issues,” the policy states, according to an affidavit released to the media Sunday by Khadr’s military lawyer, Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler.

    “If handwritten notes were destroyed in accordance with the SOP, the government intentionally deprived Omar’s lawyers of key evidence with which to challenge the reliability of his statements,” Kuebler wrote in an email.

    Furthermore, if the U.S. government is proven to have destroyed evidence in bad faith, the war crimes law under which Khadr is charged requires that the case can be thrown out.

    There was no immediate response about the disclosure from the Pentagon.

    MORE at Toronto Star

  • Excerpts from interview with Omar Khadr April 8, 2008

    Summary: I met with Mr. Omar Khadr on April 8 (2 hrs), 9 (2 hrs) and 11 (1 hr) at the facility nicknamed “Camp Iguana” of the US Military base of Guantanamo. As for the previou&visit by $~ Millington (March 12 & 14), (SJA) acted as my escort, official point of contact
    and channel of communication with the detention operations and various
    authorities in GTMO.

    SNIP
    Omar Khadr is perceived as a “good kid” and he is salvageable. The physical conditions of the meetings with Mr. Khadr were similar to thosedescribed in the last visit report and Camp authorities were very cooperative infacilitating my access to him. My observations are as follows:

    SNIP

    As mentioned in previous welfare reports, he has a number of permanent health problems and limitations linked to injuries sustained during the battle which lead to his capture in Afghanistan:

    -He has lost vision in his left eye because of a shrapnel injury,
    and his vision is impaired and gradually deteriorating in his right eye because of a piece of shrapnel embedded in the eye’s membrane. Doctor1s advice regarding his right eye is that his vision is still at a level where the risk linked to an operation outweighs the relative benefit to his vision. When his vision further deteriorates, surgery
    may be warranted. His eye is hyper-sensitive to light and he has
    requested a pair of sunglasses which have not been provided.

    He still has shrapnel in his right shoulder which is painful at night when the temperature drops. He said he had asked for an extra blanket and a pillow but that this was reserved as incentives for detainees under interrogation (this was confirmed to me by my military escort who could not deliver a pillow brought on a previous welfare visit.)

    He did not refer to any specific problem relating to his injuries from two assault-riffle gunshots fired at short range through his thorax. He however has recurring stomach problems, for which he occasionally uses available medication (but he says he doesn’t want to live on pills)

    He still has nightmares but he says that he sleeps better since his removal from solitary confinement last year as he can now exercise and has more to occupy his mind. (My note: This then teenaged boy was held for more than 2 years in solitary confinement.)

    He also has a “sports-related knee injury”, the meniscus in his right knee is torn and a piece of cartilage sometimes moves abnormally, blocking the movement of his knee. Mr. Khadr said that he was offered arthroscopic surgery for his knee but he is afraid of getting it at the prison camp in Guantanamo because he saw another detainee who was worse-off after a similar intervention. He also questioned the quality of physiotherapy offered to detainees.

    As during the previous visit, he complained that the enamel was breaking from his teeth and said that he had been asking to see a dentist for 2 months.

    SNIP

    Educational Opportunities
    Mr Khadr is currently not receiving any education. Although there is a classroom in Camp IV to dispence literacy programs in English, Pashto and Arabic, there are currently no teachers.

    (My note. The relentlessly savage treatment of this Canadian teenager is simply heartbreaking.)

  • Jun 11, 2008 04:30 AM
    Tonda MacCharles
    Ottawa Bureau

    OTTAWA–A Commons subcommittee has called on the federal government to immediately seek the return of Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr.

    Over stiff opposition from Conservative MPs, the international human rights subcommittee endorsed a report containing seven recommendations that would unshackle Khadr from U.S. custody, and turn him over to Canadian law enforcement.

    It declares a firm belief that Khadr, aged 15 at the time he was wounded and captured in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, is a child soldier and should not be treated as an adult accused.

    The report adds to a growing chorus of calls for the Conservatives to finally weigh in on the American military prosecution of Khadr.

    The full foreign affairs committee will vote tomorrow on whether to adopt the report.

    “The subcommittee believes that Omar Khadr should be considered a `child involved in armed conflict’ and afforded the special protection outlined” in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada signed and ratified, says the report.

    The report says there’s no indication that Khadr’s age “has been sufficiently taken into account” in the American-led military commission proceedings against Khadr in Guantanamo Bay.

    It also cites the May 23 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that the Guantanamo Bay military commission proceedings were found by the U.S. Supreme Court to violate American domestic law and international human rights obligations to which Canada is party.

    Although revised, the American process still faces criticism it violates international legal and human rights standards.

    But the majority opposition MPs on the subcommittee declared the Canadian justice system has the power to hold Khadr accountable for terrorism offences allegedly committed in Afghanistan.

    After hearing from 18 witnesses in six hearings, the subcommittee will ask the government to:

    * Demand an immediate end of military commission proceedings against Khadr.
    * Formally object to the U.S. government’s declaration it reserves the right to detain Khadr as an “enemy combatant” even if he is acquitted or if proceedings are halted.
    * Demand Khadr’s release from U.S. custody into the custody of Canadian law enforcement “as soon as practical.”
    * Ask the federal director of public prosecutions to investigate and, “if warranted,” prosecute Khadr for offences under Canadian law.
    * Take any measures necessary to ensure possible security concerns upon his return are addressed.
    * Take “appropriate measures” to rehabilitate and reintegrate Khadr consistent with Canada’s international obligations to deal with child soldiers, and consistent with Canadian law.
    * Ensure any rehab program for Khadr places judicially enforceable conditions on him “to the extent necessary.”

    Toronto Star

  • Report backs bringing Khadr home for justice, treatment
    CanWest

    House of Commons subcommittee findings not endorsed by Tories
    Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service; with files from Reuters
    Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    NEW YORK – Canada should demand the immediate repatriation of Omar Khadr from U.S. detention in Guantanamo Bay, but also consider prosecuting him under Canadian law, a parliamentary body that probed his case is urging.

    In a report marked confidential because it has yet to be officially released, the subcommittee on human rights, additionally calls for a program aimed at rehabilitating the Canadian-born terror suspect, saying “judicially enforceable conditions” could be placed on his conduct to allay security concerns.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also weighed in on the U.S. government’s planned Guantanamo war crimes trials yesterday. She said in Geneva that they fell short of international standards and handing down death penalties would be “just not acceptable.”

    The 61-year-old former Canadian Supreme Court justice has long denounced the system created by the Bush administration to try suspected al-Qaeda operatives outside regular civilian and military courts, and alleged torture and secret renditions conducted in the U.S.-led “war on terrorism.”

    In Ottawa, the Conservative government has not endorsed the 19-page document that has the backing of the majority of MPs on the sub-committee.

    That division over whether to intervene in the U.S. prosecution of Mr. Khadr for war crimes played out again yesterday during question period in the Commons.

    “Why does the government prefer American martial law over Canadian justice?” Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Bob Rae asked.

  • on the rescuing of Omar Khadr. Apparently Harper’s posse is scared to death Khadr may go home to his mother and – nudge, nudge- we all know what THAT will mean.

    Well, do we?

    It’s bad enough that the kid is about to be dragged before a completely unconstitutional US military tribunal on charges that sound increasingly trumped up. (How can you murderously toss a grenade at somebody when you’re doubled over on the ground facing away from your target and your eyes are full of shrapnel?) But now, we learn, that’s not actually the charge worrying Harper. He’s swallowed the US line that the entire Khadr family, including dead Papa, are/were terrorist sympathizers – all this without benefit of charge, trial or inciting incident from any one of them. So, primarily based on the ranting of an hysterical widow (with, among others, a severly disabled son, another son in the living hell of Guantanamo, and another currently facing extradition, all courtesy of the US “war” machine), we arrive at the conclusion that this is an extremely disfunctional family who are all bound and determined to obliterate us all. There can be only one punishment for having a family accused of unsubstantiated things, of course, and that is to have the USA imprison and torture Omar Khadr for life, guilty or not.Tory opinion justifies leaving Khadr in Guantanamo”

    How incredibly bizarre.

    “If returned to Canada, the government believes Mr. Khadr would have no other recourse than to re-establish his ties with his family, a group of suspected terrorist sympathizers espousing an extremist ideology.”

    One might be forgiven for thinking that if there is true substance to the “suspicions” that knot the knickers of the Tories, then surely it should be the rest of the family that is sent to the slammer. Young Khadr has already been through more, way more, than enough.

    One of the most mysterious elements of the US War on Tourism is the reworking of the word, “alleged”. For some time now it has been used as a synonym for “guilty”. If you are alleged to have committed a crime or allegedly know someone who is alleged to have committed a crime or allegedly thought about committing a crime, then these days EVERYBODY knows you’re guilty of… er…. something.

    I could be wrong but believe it was Barbara Frum’s wretched spawn, he who recklessly coined the phrase “axis of evil” to such effect, who may have started this whole thing by referring to this family as “Canada’s first family of terrorism” thus setting the whole hysteria into motion.

    Pathetic.

  • Dave Lindorff”

    President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the rest of the warmongers and terror-pimps in the White House would have us believe that Omar Khadr is a monster. Khadr is the 21-year-old Canadian who is facing one of the first show-trials at Guantanamo.

    But let’s just step back a minute and consider Mr. Khadr’s case.

    The son of an alleged Islamic fundamentalist, Khadr was sent to one of those fundamentalist madrassa schools in Pakistan back when he was 14. From there, he went to Afghanistan, to join with the Taliban in fighting against the remnant warlord backers of the Soviet Union, which had attempted to run Afghanistan as a vassal state.

    Then came 9-11 and the October 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. Young Khadr suddenly found himself fighting against the world’s most powerful military.

    In 2002, after the Taliban government had fallen, Khadr was still out in the hills with the forces of resistance. The Taliban government was gone, but the war was not over. In fact it’s still not over, with the Taliban resurgent in much of Afghanistan.

    In this situation, with some 20,000 US and European troops battling across Afghanistan, Khadr, by then at the ripe age of 15, found himself with a group of five older fighters in a compound up in the hills. Some US Special Forces came on the location, and, peeking through cracks in the door, saw the group, armed with AK rifles. They called on the men to surrender, but the men allegedly refused.

    At that point the brave Americans called in an air strike, and clobbered the building. After that softening up, they went inside to pick up the pieces.

    Someone at that point, and US military prosecutors claim it was the wounded Khadr, tossed a grenade while lying injured on the ground. The grenade killed Special Forces Sergeant Christopher Speer. Speer’s comrades opened fire, with three of them hitting Khadr.

    When they went to check on him, the critically injured, yet miraculously still living Khadr reportedly pleaded, “Shoot me!” Reportedly, some of Sgt. Speer’s buddies were ready to do just that. Apparently the “clicking” of injured captives by American forces (a war crime) is not uncommon, and even has its own slang word. But a medic with the group interceded and stopped the battlefield execution, and took action to save Khadr’s life.

    Khadr was eventually shipped off to Guantanamo, at the age of 15, in violation of a 2002 protocol signed by the US which extended the protection of the Geneva Conventions against imprisoning child soldiers from the prior “under 15” standard to “under 18.” No matter, “bad guy” Khadr would be one of at least 2500 children that the US has admitted to incarcerating in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere as “enemy combatants.”

    Today, Khadr is 21. He has spent the second half of his teenage years confined in a prison camp on the naval base at Guantanamo.

    This is what Bush and Cheney are really referring to when they assure us that they are holding “the worst of the worst” on the island of Cuba.

    They are keeping us safe from 15-year-old boys.

    Khadr’s “trial” is now scheduled for October, 2008. After billions of wasted US dollars and thousands, millions of newly displaced persons in Iraq and Afghanistan, reportedly hundreds of thousands of dead and injured on all sides of these US invasions, the first trial is actually scheduled in the US War on Terror. It turns out that the worst of the worst, the probable representative of the umteenth “20th hijacker”; the probable sidekick of the kazillionth “Mastermind of 9/11; the clear supporter of the milatrillionth “Second hand guy to the head of Al Quaida” – who is this extraordinary evil doer par excellence? This worst of the worst of the worst? This person set and determined to bring all America to its knees? Why a 15 year old Canadian boy, that’s who.

  • Answers

    Dictionary:
    kangaroo court
    n.

    1. A mock court set up in violation of established legal procedure.
    2. A court characterized by dishonesty or incompetence.

    The term is still in common usage by defendants, writers, and scholars critical of a court or a trial. The U.S. Supreme Court has also used it. In In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 87 S. Ct. 1428, 18 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1967), a case that established that children in juvenile court have the right to due process, the Court reasoned, “Under our Constitution, the condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court.” Associate Justice William O. Douglas once wrote, “[W]here police take matters in their own hands, seize victims, beat and pound them until they confess, there cannot be the slightest doubt that the police have deprived the victim of a right under the Constitution. It is the right of the accused to be tried by a legally constituted court, not by a kangaroo court” (Williams v. United States, 341 U.S. 97, 71 S. Ct. 576, 95 L. Ed. 774 [1951]).

    (Except in the case of Omar Khadr, of course, where his jailers remain confident that fun pastitmes like using the badly injured child as a human mop to clean up his own excrement helped extract confessions. Besides, he’s a Canadian. Hang ‘im high.)

  • Salon

    The war on teen terror
    The Bush administration’s treatment of juvenile prisoners shipped to Guantánamo Bay defies logic as well as international law.
    By Jo Becker

    Jun. 24, 2008 | When Mohammed Jawad took the stand in a courtroom at the U.S. Naval base here late last week, he described a litany of abuse he has endured while detained at Guantánamo, including a sleep deprivation regime known colloquially as the “frequent flyer” program.

    “Day and night, they were shifting me from one room to another room,” Jawad said. “I don’t remember how much time I slept, but it was only a short time before they were knocking on my door and shifting me from place to place. No one answered me why they were giving me this punishment.”

    Military records showed that during a 14-day period in May 2004, Jawad was moved from cell to cell 112 times, usually left in one cell for less than three hours before being shackled and moved to another. Between midnight and 2 a.m. he was moved more frequently to ensure maximum disruption of sleep.

    Such tactics used against a detainee would have been severe under any circumstances — Department of Defense guidance limits sleep deprivation to a maximum of four days — but in the case of Jawad, they are particularly disturbing because he was a scared and suicidal teenager at the time. Jawad’s military-appointed lawyer, Maj. David Frakt, described the tactics as “sadistic and pointless,” and moved to dismiss the charges against his client on grounds of torture.

    Jawad was arrested by Afghan police in December 2002 after allegedly throwing a grenade into a U.S. army vehicle in Afghanistan that severely injured two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan translator. Frakt argues that Jawad was drugged and forced to fight with Afghan militia. Jawad doesn’t know his exact birth date, but was 16 or 17 years old at the time. In early 2003, he was brought to Guantánamo.

    According to government records obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, more than 20 detainees under the age of 18 have been brought to the prison camp since 2002. The treatment of underage prisoners at Guantánamo, largely in defiance of international law, is one of various ways in which the Bush administration’s policies have tainted prospects for Guantánamo detainees ever to be brought to justice under U.S. law.

    Although most of the 20 juvenile detainees have now been released, three remain, having spent more than a quarter of their lives at Guantánamo. The other two juvenile detainees were each only 15 years old when they were apprehended. Mohammad El Gharani was arrested at a mosque in Pakistan and brought to Guantánamo in early 2002. Omar Khadr, a Canadian, was apprehended in July 2002 after a firefight in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of a U.S. soldier. Held for several months in Afghanistan, he was barely 16 when he arrived here later that same year.

    The presence of juveniles at Guantánamo first came to light in 2003, when media reports revealed the age of the youngest detainee at Guantánamo — who was only 13 years old. Unable to explain how a 13-year-old could be classified as being among “the worst of the worst,” as top Bush officials had described Guantánamo’s prisoner population, the Pentagon realized it had a PR problem on its hands. It quickly created a special camp for the three detainees between ages 13 and 15. At Camp Iguana, these children received math and English classes and access to a social worker and recreational facilities. Bizarrely and perhaps without any sense of irony, they were permitted to watch movies including “Cast Away.” Defense Department officials proudly gave tours of the special facility.

    That year, on behalf of Human Rights Watch, I had several meetings with Pentagon representatives to discuss the fate of these children. In early 2004, they were released to UNICEF in Afghanistan for rehabilitation. But whenever I tried to raise the case of Omar Khadr (we were unaware of El Gharani and Jawad’s cases at the time) I received the same response: “Khadr is off the table; we will not discuss Khadr.”

    Unlike with the three boys held at Camp Iguana and released for rehabilitation, the Pentagon has never acknowledged the juvenile status of Khadr, Jawad or El Gharani. Although international law provides that anyone under 18 is a child and entitled to special treatment, the Defense Department created its own standard: Anyone who was 16 would automatically be treated as an adult. When I asked Defense Department officials in 2004 about the rationale for this policy, they had no reply. One official finally admitted to me that it was completely arbitrary.

    During last week’s hearing, Frakt, Jawad’s attorney, asked the prosecutor who authorized the charges against Jawad: “You did not believe his age was worthy of bringing to the attention of the convening authority?” Lt. Col. William Britt’s answer: “No, I didn’t.”

    The Bush administration’s refusal to treat these prisoners as juveniles has had profound consequences for Khadr, Jawad and El-Gharani. They have had no access to education or recreation facilities and have been housed in the same facilities as adult detainees. After five years of imprisonment, Jawad remains functionally illiterate. None of the three have been allowed to see members of their family.

    The effects of prolonged isolation have taken a severe toll. El Gharani has tried to commit suicide at least seven times. He has slit his wrist, run repeatedly into the sides of his cell and tried to hang himself. On several occasions he has been placed on suicide watch in a mental health unit.

    Jawad also tried to commit suicide about 11 months after arriving in Guantánamo, by hanging himself by his shirt collar. Prison records also state that he “attempted self-harm by banging his head off of metal structures inside his cell.”

    On the witness stand last week Jawad referred to his suicide attempt. “Islam never permits [suicide], but when a person is in great trouble, it was beyond my control. That’s why I tried that.” His lawyer says that Jawad seems to have lost touch with reality and suffers from major depression.

    MORE at the link.

  • Steven Edwards , Canwest News Service
    Published: Saturday, June 21, 2008

    NEW YORK – The new judge in Omar Khadr’s war-crimes prosecution has denied his defence lawyers access to so-called “baseball-card” interrogation summaries they believe laid out the story he was expected to tell.

    Army Col. Patrick Parrish ruled in favour of the prosecution’s bid to keep the officially named “analyst support packages” (ASPs) secret.

    Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, Khadr’s Pentagon-appointed lawyer, said Saturday he believes the packages would have been “key” as he tries to show interrogators used punishments to lock the Canadian-born terror suspect into a story he says was largely of the government’s making.

    MORE at the link.

  • Full Decision re the handing over of documents germane to Khadr’s defense at the Supreme Court of Canada website.

    Minister of Justice, Attorney General of Canada,

    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Director of the Canadian

    Security Intelligence Service and Commissioner of the

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police Appellants

    v.

    Omar Ahmed Khadr Respondent

    and

    British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Criminal

    Lawyers’ Association (Ontario), University of Toronto,

    Faculty of Law — International Human Rights Clinic and

    Human Rights Watch Interveners

    Indexed as: Canada (Justice) v. Khadr

    Neutral citation: 2008 SCC 28.

    File No.: 32147.

    2008: March 26; 2008: May 23.

    Present: McLachlin C.J. and Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein JJ.

    on appeal from the federal court of appeal

  • CTV News

    Updated Thu. Jun. 26 2008 8:47 AM ET

    CTV.ca News Staff

    Videotaped footage of interviews by Canadian officials with Omar Khadr must be released to his defence team, a Federal Court of Canada judge has ruled.

    SNIP

    Mosely also ruled that the U.S. military’s treatment of Khadr, a Canadian citizen, violated international laws against torture.

    The judge said the way the military prepared Khadr for interrogation sessions with visiting Canadian officials broke human rights laws, including the Geneva Conventions.

    Khadr’s treatment is described in a U.S. military document outlining “steps taken by the Guantanamo authorities to prepare the applicant for the Canadian visit” in March 2004.

    Mosley, who did not reveal the technique used on Khadr, said the document should be made public because it is relevant to Khadr’s allegations that he was mistreated while in U.S. custody.

    Mosley also said Wednesday that Canada was not an innocent player in Khadr’s mistreatment.

    The federal judge said Canada “became implicated” when the Canadian interrogator met Khadr despite having knowledge of the efforts to prime the prisoner.

  • Kris Kotarski
    Calgary Herald

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    On July 27, 2002, after a firefight in Afghanistan during which U.S. soldier Christopher Speer was killed by a grenade, 15-year-old Canadian Omar Khadr was arrested by American soldiers.

    Treated for his wounds, Khadr was interrogated by American investigators led by 21-year-old Sgt. Joshua Claus, who later pleaded guilty to charges of assault, prisoner maltreatment and lying to investigators in connection to the homicide deaths of two innocent prisoners at the same facility Khadr was taken to.

    The U.S. transferred him to Guantanamo in late October 2002. He has been kept there ever since, awaiting trial by military tribunal.

    Last week, reports surfaced confirming our government knew as far back as 2004 Khadr was among the detainees at Guantanamo who were tortured by the Americans. According to reports released by the government, Khadr was softened up for interrogators through sleep deprivation, something his American captors readily admitted to Canadian officials.

    That one of our fellow citizens — a minor at the time — was tortured and Canada remains the last western country not to repatriate its Guantanamo detainee is absolutely shameful. That Stephen Harper sounds like he’s playing politics with the matter is even worse than that.

  • COLIN FREEZE

    July 14, 2008

    When a Canadian spymaster was asked three years ago whether his agency had kept any tapes of its talks with teenage prisoner Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay, his reply was that nothing could be said.

    The alleged existence of any such tapes was classified.

    “To answer that question would disclose national security privileged information,” said Jack Hooper, a CSIS deputy director compelled to testify by lawyers acting for Mr. Khadr, the Canadian citizen being detained in the U.S. prison camp in Cuba.

    “Mr. Khadr has provided us with a great deal of specific information concerning Canadian-based operatives associated with al-Qaeda, some of whom are still at large,” Mr. Hooper said. But he said it was illegal to even speak to whether records of the conversations were retained. “Disclosure of that information would reveal service operational methodologies and tactics.”

    It was illegal – in 2005. But this week, CSIS, which has always operated in the shadows, will find itself in an uncomfortable spotlight. After a series of stunning legal decisions, footage of the CSIS interrogation of Mr. Khadr is about to be revealed.

    Four DVDs – originally marked “Secret/No Foreign” by U.S. agencies that created them – show the Canadian Security Intelligence Service at work, something that has never happened before. This is being done over the objections of CSIS, which is far better known for destroying its own tapes than showing them, and U.S. agencies who will likely be irritated that Canadians courts have ordered up the DVDs that will provide a rare glimpse inside the secret prison camp operating on leased land in Cuba.

    A CSIS agent, who travelled to Guantanamo Bay in February, 2003, will be shown grilling Mr. Khadr about six months after his capture, for seven hours over three days. His face obscured to preserve his secret identity, the agent will be seen asking Mr. Khadr questions about the al-Qaeda figures he met while he was raised in Afghanistan by his fundamentalist parents, before being captured as a 15-year-old alleged “enemy combatant.”

    The CSIS operative will also be seen asking the teenager hard questions about his relationship with Islam. More than once, Mr. Khadr will be shown breaking down, crying, denying he knows anything about al-Qaeda.

    MORE

  • Steven Edwards
    Canwest News Service

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    NEW YORK – The lead military defence lawyer for Omar Khadr hit back Thursday at a declaration by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that Canada has “no real alternative” but to keep the Canadian terror suspect at arm’s length.

    U.S. navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler argued Canada has strayed from what he claims are the dictates of international law over the plight of Toronto-born Khadr, who was 15 when U.S. forces seized him in Afghanistan following a firefight.

    “You (should) stand up for the rights of a Canadian citizen, you follow the law, you do the right thing, you stop taking your orders from the Bush administration,” Kuebler charged.

    “You also stop being the last western leader to subsidize a clearly failed policy at Guantanamo Bay.”

    MORE

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that his government has “no real alternative” to the U.S. legal system in the Omar Khadr case Thursday, setting off a barrage of criticism from lawyers, opposition critics and human right activists.

    “I think it’s deplorable that he would say that there’s nothing to be done,” Khadr’s U.S, military lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler told CTV Newsnet. “This Canadian prime minister refuses to stand up to the Bush administration and protect the rights of a Canadian citizen.

    “This is a disingenuous comment from the prime minister,” Khadr’s Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney told The Canadian Press.

    “The prime minister, through his cabinet members, particularly Mr. (Peter) MacKay, have long said that they have been assured that Omar Khadr was being well treated, when in fact the Canadian government well knew that was not the case,” he said.

    The prime minister’s comments come a day after explosive new documents suggest Canada was aware of the harsh treatment that Khadr was being subjected to in Guantanamo Bay at the hands of U.S. military interrogators.

    But Harper, speaking Thursday in Tokyo, Japan following this week’s G8 meetings, said Canada had little say in the situation and has no intention of interfering.

    The Foreign Affairs documents released by Khadr’s defence team this week show Khadr was visited in 2004 by Canadian officials. They found the then 17-year-old had been deprived of sleep for weeks in an attempt to make him more pliable for interrogation by U.S. agents.

    “Every three hours he was moved to a different place. A different cell to disorient him, to make him weak,” Edney said.

    Alex Neve of Amnesty International Canada told CTV News that people “who have been through it have called it one of the most excruciating types of torture because it just goes on and on.”

    Harper has distanced his government from the documents. He said former prime minister Paul Martin’s government was aware of how Khadr was being treated, but there was little that could have been done.

    “The previous government took a whole range, all of the information into account when they made the decision on how to proceed with the Khadr case several years ago,” he said.

    Harper added that Canada: “frankly, has no real alternative” to the U.S. legal process.

    MORE” from CTV

  • and up to date account of the entire Omar Khadr story, including the inciting incident is available on WIKI. Very much worth a read by Canadians, of course, and all those who cast this boy as a symbol of US injustice and a reckless trashing of the nation’s fundamental ideals, under the auspices of its current administration.

  • Halifax Chronicle Herald

    By DEAN BENNETT The Canadian Press
    Wed. Jul 16 – 5:46 AM

    Excerpt:

    …It was al-Qaida and bin Laden whom CSIS investigators wanted to know more about from Khadr. His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was then a vocal supporter and financier for al-Qaida and later died fighting Pakistani forces in the fall of 2003.

    No, says Khadr, eating potato chips, picking off crumbs from his shirt and licking his lips, Dad didn’t fund terrorist training camps.

    “So everybody’s perceptions of what your father was doing is all kind of a big mistake, is it?” asks the interrogator.

    Yes, he nods.

    Did Omar go to training camps?

    Yes.

    For what.

    “Self-defence.”

    Chip. Smack. Finger lick.

    “I’m very happy to see you,” smiles Khadr as Day 1 wraps up.

    The next day the bonhomie falls off a cliff.

    On the tape, Khadr remains behind the desk but now is sullen, morose, unco-operative, crying.

    “You don’t care about me!” he blurts out, his face down, covered by his hand.

    “Nobody cares about me.”

    He pulls his orange shirt over his head and points to his left shoulder.

    “I can’t move my arms.

    “I requested medical help a long time ago. They wouldn’t do anything about it.”

    The interrogator is unfazed.

    “I’m not a doctor but I think you’re getting good medical care.”

    “I lost my eyes, I lost my feet, everything!” he shouts back.

    “No, you still have your eyes and your feet are still at the end of your legs, y’know.”

    They leave him alone to compose himself. Instead he sits in the room, head in his hands, fingers clawing at his hair and forehead, sobbing and crying for his mother in Arabic.

    By Day 3 he has shifted to a couch, but the mood is improving.

    The interrogator softly, forcefully, pushes forward on the father.

    “You know what your father wants. Your father wants to continue this struggle. But he’s doing this at the expense of his entire family.”

    “He’s not doing anything bad,” says Khadr.

    “Well, we think he is.”

    On the last day, Khadr is relaxed, back on the couch, eating a reheated burger, sipping a Coke, his arms stretched out on the top of the couch.

    He fences with the interrogator, shrugging and smiling as they discuss what he may know about terrorist operations.

    Yes, he says, he lied to the Americans and, yes, he has lied to the interrogator. But he had to.

    “I said that because I’m scared.”

    Of what.

    “Of torture.”

    He didn’t kill Speer, he says, but instead was sitting down when he was ambushed by three soldiers: “They just came over and shot me,”

    “How did that American end up getting so dead then?”

    “There was a fight on.”

    From there it was over.

    “This is our last kick at the cat,” says the interrogator.

    Help us out or we’re outta here.

    “You just want to hear whatever you want to hear,” says Khadr.

    How is he doing in Guantanamo? Getting along? Making friends?

    No, says Khadr, head hung again.

    “There’s nobody to help me here.”

  • about the whole inciting incident here….

    First off, we’ve all pretty much agreed, without benefit of uncontested evidence or trial, that Omar Khadr’s father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was a “chief financier of Al Qaeda” and so, according to the poison pen of Frum, (he of the “axis of evil” hell raising designation) this makes the boy a member of “Canada’s first family of terrorism.” According to many otherwise rational people, this means the boy well deserves any misery to which he has been subjected – a rather quaintly irrational “sins of the father” extrapolation, I guess. If your father was a designated enemy, then it’s ok to use you as a human mop to clean up your own urine; subject you to weeks of sleep deprivation, etc. Well, I tend to agree with CSIS on this point of questioning, if not their methodology. What exactly were the crimes of the senior Khadr? What would have been your role as the “Chief financier of Al Qaeda”? Keep in mind that Al Qaeda is presumably the balliwick of a son of one of the world’s wealthiest families – a family so influential, in fact, arrangements were made to remove several of its members from Boston, where they were real estate barons/land developers, through closed airspace following 9/11; a family so wealthy that its members were also air lifted out of Kandlahar the day before the US invasion of Afghanistan. So what’s the deal? Are you arranging 1000 dollar a plate invitation only soirees in Afghan mountain caves? Are you operating a computer network from the middle of some forsaken desert in one of the world’s most destitute countries, switching big bucks between secret accounts in offshore banks? While recuperating from serious injuries back in Canada, are you accepting unmarked envelopes full of Canadian dollars from dusky skinned persons, meeting in the dark of night at the corner of Yonge and Eglington? What, exactly, have you been doing to earn this horrifying monkider, back in the 80s and 90s? Again, WIKI, is very informative on the details, including “Khadr worked with a number of charitable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) serving Afghan refugees. He set up two orphanages for children whose parents had been killed in the Soviet invasion, and funded the construction of Makkah Mukarama Hospital in Afghanistan with his own savings”. Perhaps CSIS should read it. An early account of his sudden death is still online at the CBC. Early press accounts of critical events are always interesting, imo, because they’re often issued before the fixers get their hands on the details.

    I also have a nagging question about that hand grenade. The one that killed poor Sgt Speers in the attack that led to the capture of Omar Khadr. What was its make, model and manufacture? If those details were not recorded, why not? Was that information included in the original record of the event – the one before the one that was later rewritten? How many other hand grenades were found in that mountain compound? According to Yahoo, a hand grenade costs about $200 US. Did all the insurgents have them? We understand that a small compound that housed either 5 or 6 men (including Omar Khadr) and 1 or some women and children that was first blasted to pieces with bunker bombs, then surrounded by up to 200 US troops, many or all whom was probably carrying, as part of his standard ammo kit, a hand grenade. It’s also safe to assume that there was a great deal of dust, adrenalin, confusion and fear surrounding the assault. Did US soldiers use hand grenades that day? Does it require any special skill to toss a hand grenade, or is used like in all those movies where the grimy faced hero, rips out the pin with his teeth and tosses the grenade in the general direction of the bad guys? If soldiers have surrounded a village and are randomly tossing hand grenades what could be the result?

    I’m sure the answers to these questions are readily available and may be among those raised and answered satisfactorily at Omar Khadr’s pending “trial”.

  • they should be removed from his home immediately.

    Khadr tape

    Ed Morgan, an international-law professor at the University of Toronto and former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, agreed the video shows Khadr in psychological distress, but said the line of questioning used by the CSIS agents was not “excessively harsh.”

    “That’s not abusing a prisoner, that’s just a stern statement like you would say to a wayward child,” he said.

  • and weaken the whole “torture” argument by trying to cast this as “torture” too.

    The CSIS videos I’ve seen so far show absolutely nothing – nothing at all – more sinister than the sort of adversarial questioning that would be permitted at any investigation, including police investigations into vandalism. For what it’s worth, on the tapes I’ve seen, the stresses and pauses in the CSIS interrogator’s voice as he questions Khadr might even be suggestive of small cracks in his own professionalism, perhaps suggestive of an inner psychological conflict, moments of – perhaps distaste or disquiet – at the process (I’ve had some training and experience in reading those signals).

    CSIS is *not* being accused of torture here, and these videos must *not* be held up as evidence of that. CSIS is being accused of eating the fruit of the poison tree – of knowing that torture was used to soften Khadr before these interrogations. Any attempts to raise these interviews to torture themselves merely confuses the public and gives people a perfect “out” – “well, if that’s torture, it doesn’t look all that bad to me!”. The true torture – sleep deprivation and humiliation and physical abuse – took place before and after these videos.


    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • to get him to remember details about his parent’s past bank accounts?

    Air Force Office of Special Investigations Report of Investigative Activity which purports to be a summary of the CSIS proceedings during their 4 days of interrogating Omar Khadr.

    Have you ever heard of anything so patently absurd? What kid knows about their parent’s banking activities, beyond knowing that a heart wrenching request for 20 bux sometimes results in a parent’s trip to some bank machine somewhere.

    I bet you could stop 100 such kids on the street and their answer to the question would be, “well, like, ask the bank, eh?”

    Peeling back a couple of layers of CSIS secrecy gives a very discomforting view of this outfit.

    Like, I always thought, like, spies and stuff were smart, right?

    Sorta like the CSIS interrogator in the Khadr tape who, in response to the kid’s complaint about the shrapnel that blinded him in one eye and is still painfully lodged in both eyes, states, “You’ve still got eyes in your head.”

    In what part of the cabbage patch do they sprout petunias like this?

  • and thanks for making that very important point.

    Regarding that interrogator, I’m also somewhat puzzled by him. He seems extraordinarily ignorant of Khadr’s circumstances – dismissive of the boy’s injuries, eyesight issues, etc even though one presumes CSIS had been party to full reports about him – and also repeatedly points out that he can’t respond in any way to any requests for help – not even for a phone call home. It’s sort of “Here, have a big Mac. Now, if you ever hope to get out of here, tell us everything about your father’s past banking activities.”

    The fact that, at this point, although imprisoned for many months the boy had also not been charged with anything, is also not visible in the video but must surely have been well known to the Canadian police. He was never charged until November, 2005.

  • about my first response to your comments about the relatively benign questioning of Omar Khadr and the result is less acquiescent than “absolute agreement”.

    Here we had a barely 16 year old Canadian boy, still nursing terrible wounds and already imprisoned for several months without charge, being interrogated by Canadian officials who make it abundantly clear they can do nothing to help him, not even arrange a telephone call home. They discredit his complaints, refuse to believe his answers and are immune to his tears and pleas for help.

    The fact of his incarceration without charge alone, regardless of the ugly highlights we now know and they then knew, represent extraordinarily disgusting callous bullying, if not torture.

    Alright, let me admit I feel a personal connection to the plight of this child extrapolated from my own experience. Once there was a boy, just 15 years old, active, troublesome sometimes, full of adventure and spirited mischief. A boy’s boy on the vulnerable cusp of manhood. Then the polio epidemic that once terrorized Canada came to his small village and 10 children fell victim to its terrible thrall. Some were afflicted to a lesser degree than others. The vaccine had not yet been developed and the village was agog with ignorance and half baked theories about why these particular children had been singled out. Some people agreed that the children themselves were somehow responsible, having brought the illness upon themselves in the form of retribution from some dark and damning superior power. This boy, this 15 year old boy, was by far the worst affected. Paralysis consumed his entire body. For 10 long months he lived in an iron lung, unable to move, unable to even breathe for himself. Christmas was the first time I was permitted to see him since he’d been admitted to hospital so many months before. When we were alone for a moment, with great effort he was able to gasp out two sentences to me. The first was “I’m sorry.” The second, through tears, was “Please help me.” The boy was my brother. I was only 12 years old. There was nothing I could do. Then, in January, just 2 days before his 16th birthday, his heart finally gave up the struggle and he died.

    (Here, in this video, we have another child, also imprisoned by circumstances bully beyond his control, whose anguished cry for help could actually have been adressed, but he is, incredily, ridiculed and ignored.)

    Since those long ago years, I have shepherded 3 boys through their tumultuous teenage years, standing firm through numerous crisises, episodes of outrageous behavior, and moments of great joy. However difficult the circumstances may sometimes have been I cannot remotely imagine turning a blind eye and a dear ear to a child’s genuinely desperate plea.

    I would not, could not, do it. If it is in my power I would not allow anybody else to do it. And I sure as hell am not willing to endorse such disturbing behavior from people working on my behalf and paid by my tax dollar to do it.

    You’re right. What we see in the video is not torture from the powerful interrogators. It’s far worse than that. Far, far worse than that. It is their cruel and arrogant choice to willfully abandon fair and civilized conduct.

    Perhaps, one day, if the cycle of life holds karmic relevance, a child who matters greatly to this interrogator will beseech a stranger for help and be denied. In the meantime, I hope an identifiable face is ultimately placed on the black dot of the video’s cowardly stick man for he is the one who should stand to answer some important questions.

  • about this story. Now I know. Your caring spirit is evident in your powerful words. Bless you, Chickadee.


    “While not a Playboy reader, she invites a male acquaintance in for a quiet discussion of Chagall, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” – not a Hugh Hefner quote

  • What’s that again, Mr Gould? You and “Greg” your trusty CSIS colleague “only wanted to look at the kid – see what he’s like”?

    How much farther below contempt can two people be and still be considered human?

    Canadian Press

    A report, dated April 20, 2004, and written by R. Scott Heatherington, who was the director of the department’s foreign intelligence division — states Foreign Affairs official Jim Gould was told Khadr was placed on a “frequent flyer program” for three weeks before Gould’s visit. That meant Khadr was “not permitted more than three hours in any one location.

    “At three-hour intervals, he is moved to another cellblock, thus denying him uninterrupted sleep,” according to the report. “He will soon be placed in isolation for up to three weeks, and then he will be interviewed again.”

    Frequent flyer

    Last month, Canadian Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley called Khadr’s treatment a “breach of international human rights law.”

    “Canada became implicated in that violation,” Mosley wrote, when Gould “chose to proceed with the interview.”

  • It took over 5 years to come up with these charges against a 15 year old, so you’d think there’d be a bit more, je ne sais pas, flair or creativity or something. Actually, even some properly written legalese might have been anticipated. Oh well. Maybe military kangaroo courts are less fussy than the old fashioned variety. Whatevah.

    Kadr charges

  • We can’t say for sure that the examiner knew about the softening up techniques, though from some of remarks it seems so to me- but we do know for sure that CSIS knew.


    1.”George Washington did not cross the Delaware for Capitalism,” -Shmuley Boteach.
    2.The Dems haven’t punished the GOP enough, so you’re going to reward the Republicans?

  • I’m pretty amazed. What a co-inky dink. Bare hours after posting my questions it turns out I’m not the only one who has been puzzled by that grenade. I sure am happy attention is being paid to this essential detail.

    Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, July 18, 2008

    NEW YORK — Omar Khadr’s defence team says it has expert testimony indicating the soldier he is accused of killing died as a result of injuries inflicted by an American grenade.

    The lawyers say the evidence will be added to the results of the defence’s wider investigation of the July, 2002, firefight, and show that the American assault had been a “botched operation.”

    The claim follows the lawyers’ release of videotapes of Canadian officials interrogating Mr. Khadr that — beyond snippets they highlighted showing him crying or pulling at his hair — include statements he made that the prosecution in his war crimes case will have analyzed.

    The contrasting pictures give a glimpse of some of the key opposing arguments when Mr. Khadr’s war crimes trial gets underway in early October at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The proposition that U.S. “friendly fire” may have killed Sergeant Christopher Speer has been floated before by the defence, but U.S. navy Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler, Mr. Khadr’s Pentagon-appointed attorney, said in an interview the expert testimony has helped them complete what he calls the “first coherent version” of the firefight.

    In a report expected soon, one expert will say that Sgt. Speer’s injuries are consistent with the types of wounds that fragments of an American- made grenade would have caused. The conclusion of another expert corroborates that finding, Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler says.

    Mr. Khadr, now 21, admits in a portion of the seven hours of videotapes released this week there was an abundance of rifles, pistols and grenades in the compound he and other al-Qaeda suspects occupied near Khost, Afghanistan, on the day of the battle.

    It is also believed that only the U.S. soldiers who stormed the compound were armed with American-made grenades.

    “A war crimes investigator who examined the evidence, without prompting of any kind, offered his opinion that [it] suggested a friendly-fire incident of some kind,” Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler said.

    “A ballistics expert has expressed the opinion that Sgt. Speer’s wounds — based on photos and description — are consistent with the fragments expected of an American grenade, rather than a Russian grenade of the type Omar is alleged to have thrown.”

  • July 18, 2008

    WASHINGTON –The Bush administration is telling a federal appeals court that it has the authority to detain a Canadian who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 and is accused of killing a U.S. soldier.

    Attorneys for Omar Khadr, who is being held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, say international law bars governments from detaining people that young as enemy combatants and prosecuting them for war crimes.

    The government, in a filing Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, says the military has the authority on the battlefield to capture and detain anyone, including juveniles, attacking and killing U.S. soldiers.

    The court will hear arguments in the case on Sept. 4

    Boston.com

  • By Gregory Bonnell, The Canadian Press

    TORONTO – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “playing politics” and remains indifferent to Omar Khadr’s plight because the Guantanamo Bay prisoner is “brown-skinned” and a Muslim, says the leader of one of Canada’s largest Islamic groups.

    Against a backdrop of “Islamophobia” stirred by the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Harper has calculated that refusing to press Washington for Khadr’s return would score him “political points,” said Canadian Islamic Congress president Mohamed Elmasry.

    “This is where a leader comes in to say, ‘This is really wrong and I have to correct that wrong by bringing this person (back to Canada) even if I lose some political points with Islamophobes,”‘ Elmasry said in an interview Monday.

    “Mr. Harper is playing politics because of the backdrop of Islamophobia in this country… he has to rise above that.”

    In an opinion piece released to the media Sunday, Elmasry accused Harper of showing “shocking indifference” to Khadr’s situation.

    Khadr’s lawyers, the federal Liberals and other organizations want Ottawa to repatriate Khadr, who was 15 when he was accused of killing a U.S. army medic in Afghanistan in 2002, from Guantanamo Bay.

    Harper has steadfastly refused to intervene in the case, insisting Canada has “no real alternative” but to follow a U.S. military tribunal’s proceedings against Khadr.
    More


    “While not a Playboy reader, she invites a male acquaintance in for a quiet discussion of Chagall, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” – not a Hugh Hefner quote

  • TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to press for the repatriation of Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay is a political and legal travesty, social activists said Friday in announcing a series of rallies across the country.

    Canada could find itself hauled before the United Nations Human Rights Commission for failing to come to the aid of the accused Canadian terrorist, they added.

    “Omar became a victim, on one hand, because he was manipulated by his family at a young age,” said Mohamed Boudjenane, executive director of the Canadian Arab Federation.

    “He’s also the victim of this government, which is now supporting this kangaroo legal system happening in Guantanamo Bay.”
    More


    “While not a Playboy reader, she invites a male acquaintance in for a quiet discussion of Chagall, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” – not a Hugh Hefner quote

  • David Akin, Canwest News Service August 13

    GUANTANAMO NAVAL STATION, Cuba – Canadian Omar Khadr was among the first group of Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged with war crimes only because his case was “sexy” and senior U.S. administration officials believed charging Khadr would help whip up support for the controversial military commissions set up by the U.S. Congress to try terrorism suspects, a court here was told Wednesday.

    Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor for all military commission trials, testified that there was a sense of urgency within the Bush administration and in senior ranks of the U.S. military justice system to get some star trials started before the end of Bush’s term this year, on fears that the next president could end the commissions.

    “If we didn’t get (the military commission) up and running and get the public behind it, it would implode. Cases like Khadr’s were going to bring political support and make it harder for the next commander-in-chief to stop the process,” said Davis, who describing the Khadr case as “sexy” in his testimony.

    Khadr, who was born in Toronto, was 15 years old when he was captured in 2002 in a firefight in Afghanistan. He is accused of murdering a U.S. soldier in violation of the laws of war, attempted murder in the violation of the laws of war, and other war crimes. He has been held at Guantanamo for six years.

    In court Wednesday, military commission judge Col. Patrick Parrish heard a remarkable series of exchanges in which Davis testified that his boss, Brig.-Gen. Thomas Hartman, and senior officials of the Bush administration pressured him to charge Khadr before prosecutors working under him felt they were able to proceed.

    The court then took testimony from Hartman himself, who was questioned in court at one point by Col. Lawrence Morris, the very man who replaced Davis as chief prosecutor and reports directly to Hartman.

    Davis, giving testimony by video conference from Washington, said that Hartman “liked the Khadr case.” Davis said Hartman described it as “the kind of case the public’s going to get energized about.”

    Davis also fingered William J. (Jim) Haynes as the political source pressuring Hartman. Haynes was the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense, a Bush political appointment, until he resigned in February.

    “The influence that expedited the charging of Khadr came from Jim Haynes,” Davis testified.

    More at the link. Read it if you like. I’m just going to excuse myself to go and throw up.

  • Haynes

    A brief bio of this person. Apparently he resigned just a few days after he announced there “would be no acquittals” at Guantanamo.

    His WIKI also notes…. “In November, 2006, the German government received a complaint seeking the prosecution of Mr. Haynes for alleged war crimes. The complaint alleges that during his tenure, he was legally responsible for the US torture programs. The charges have since been withdrawn due to a lack of substantial evidence.”

    Hopefully he will be prominently noted on the World Court list however.

    Also see SourceWatch

    During his tenure as General Counsel, Haynes was responsible for the development, implementation and promotion of three controversial Bush Administration policies: [2] [3]

    * The refusal to treat any of the hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and conversely, the refusal to apply Contsitutionally mandated due process to these Guantanamo Bay prisoners, who are detained with a status of Non-POW by the United States Government without being convicted of any illegal act.
    o Haynes appointed a working group led by John C. Yoo and Air Force general counsel Mary Walker that produced a report proposing ways in which existing international treaties banning torture could be circumvented, either through legal technicalities or by invoking the President’s ultimate authority to wage war as he sees fit.
    * The Defense Department’s military tribunal plan for trying suspected war criminals.
    * The indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the Executive Branch without legal counsel or judicial review.

    Also …The ‘enemy combatant’ doctrine was developed on Mr. Haynes’s watch, and it is one of the most dangerous legal developments in years.
    # Mr. Haynes’s trial experience is thin. He has tried only one case to a verdict.

  • Canwest News Service

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    In a decision that could have an impact on the war crimes case against Canadian Omar Khadr, a military commission judge in a separate case ruled Thursday that a Pentagon general charged with overseeing all war crimes tribunals “compromised his objectivity” and will be disqualified from participating in some aspects of that trial.

    It is the second time in just over four months that a military judge has censured Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartman, a senior Pentagon official with key responsibilities for overseeing all war crimes tribunals here, and represents another setback for the U.S. government as it tries to build political support for the controversial military commissions process.

    Defence lawyers for Mohammed Jawad, a 23-year-old Pakistani man, asked military commission judge army Col. Stephen Henley to throw out war crimes charges against Jawad, alleging Hartman unlawfully interfered in Jawad’s case. Lawyers for Khadr, 21, also allege political interference by Hartman and have asked the judge in their case, army Col. Patrick Parrish, to dismiss the charges against Khadr on the same grounds.

    Henley did not dismiss the case against Jawad, but did agree that Hartman’s behaviour leading up to the decision to charge Jawad, Khadr and others did, in fact, have an impact on his ability to discharge his duties in an objective way. Henley ordered that Hartman be disqualified from further involvement in the Jawad case.

  • Editorial Toronto Star Editorial

    October 31, 2008

    So, just when does Prime Minister Stephen Harper expect that embarrassing call from the White House? The one asking why Harper doesn’t do both Washington and Ottawa a favour and ask that Omar Khadr be freed from the Guantanamo prison camp and returned home? And when the call comes, what does Harper intend to say?

    This case is an international human rights scandal. A Canadian, Khadr is the only detainee from a NATO country still languishing in a holding tank for terrorists that Barack Obama and John McCain both have vowed to close down. He is facing trial before a military tribunal that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to be gravely flawed.

    McCain says he will ship Khadr home if asked. Obama wants to abolish the tribunal.

    Khadr was a child soldier of 15, under his Al Qaeda-friendly father’s control, when American forces in Afghanistan captured him in 2002. He is accused of killing a U.S. soldier, though the evidence put forward so far is less than compelling. He has been abused by his captors. Now 22, he has served six years in custody, the most he would get as a juvenile offender under our law for murder. He has done his time, without being convicted. What part of all that does Harper not get?

    Khadr’s Canadian lawyers have asked the Federal Court to order Harper to press for his extradition. In the United States, his lawyers are trying to quash his trial, which is set for Jan. 26, six days after the new president is sworn in.

    Yesterday, Harper repeated his mantra that “the U.S. process must be completed before we consider changing our position.” What process? It is crumbling. Once Obama or McCain is installed and begins to dismantle the Guantanamo centre and its tainted court, Harper’s neglect of this file may become an acute embarrassment for both sides. The Prime Minister should make a phone call before the president does.

  • OMAR EL AKKAD

    December 13, 2008

    GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA — Omar Khadr could not have possibly thrown the grenade that killed a U.S. soldier during a 2002 firefight because he was buried under the rubble of a collapsed roof, his lawyer argued in court yesterday, pointing to photos from the firefight that show Mr. Khadr under so much debris that a U.S. soldier inadvertently stepped on him.

    But Colonel Patrick Parrish, the judge in Mr. Khadr’s Guantanamo Bay military commissions hearing, banned Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler from showing the photos in court, meaning the public did not get to see them.

    “I don’t want things shown that may not be admitted [as evidence],” Col. Parrish told a clearly exasperated Cdr. Kuebler, who tried for several minutes to change the judge’s mind.

    Asked afterward why the judge didn’t allow him to show the photos, Cdr. Kuebler told reporters: “Because they show he’s innocent.”

    MORE at the Globe & Mail

  • CBC News = January 13, 1009

    Legal proceedings against Canadian Omar Khadr have been thrown into fresh uncertainty after the head of the U.S. military commission process at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, secretly withdrew, then re-issued charges against all defendants, Khadr’s military defence lawyer said Tuesday.

    The procedure — referred to as “withdrawal and re-referral” — has the legal effect of nullifying all prior proceedings in Khadr’s case, Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler said in an email to CBC News.

    He said documents recently disclosed by the U.S. Defence Department show that Susan Crawford, the Pentagon’s top official for the military commissions, withdrew all charges on Dec. 17 and refiled them last Friday.

    Kuebler said the latest “circus-like” proceedings could be a calculated ploy to pre-empt the incoming administration of president-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to close the detention centre and shut down the controversial military commission process. Obama has said he wants those charged in the commission process to face trial in U.S. civilian courts.

    “Whether the secret withdrawal of charges was part of a calculated effort to tie the hands of the new administration, it is abundantly clear that officials overseeing the military commission process are going ‘all out’ to make it as difficult as possible for President Obama to follow through on his commitment to end the sham military commission proceedings in Guantanamo,” Kuebler wrote in his email.

    Rest of the article is HERE

  • and I’m very grateful that Romeo Dallaire has taken up this cause – but the devastating bullying of Omar Khadr has long since evolved into such an international amusement that I fear that government participants are too ashamed to confront their own complicity, as might quickly become clear were he to be released. Of course, nobody really wants a properly constituted trial either, and for the same reasons. One mustn’t forget that a great deal of money rides on finding of guilt in the case of Omar Khadr; the families of his alleged victims successfully sued for enormous amounts of money. A trial would almost certainly present the important eye witness reports that the victims were injured or killed by friendly fire. If Khadr is found not guilty, then those families will turn to the the government for compensation. These points are definitely ultra simplistic, but I hope they point to the ponderous political machine that slowly grinds on without achieving much of anything, nourished by the misery of innocents at Guantanamo. I would still dearly like to know what it is that the Bush administration has been holding over Steven Harper’s head these many years that has prompted Harper to reliably parrot whatever words are broadcast to him from Washington – up to an including the absurd idea that American “justice” has anything whatsoever to do with the treatment o

  • CP Jan 21

    OTTAWA — National security experts say the federal government has fumbled the Omar Khadr file by leaving it up to the United States to decide the young Canadian’s fate – a policy failure that’s becoming more apparent now that he may be returning north to an uncertain future.

    The Harper government sent mixed signals Wednesday as to where it stands on the Khadr case, perhaps a reflection of the fact no one is quite sure how it will all turn out.

    Khadr, 22, is being held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for allegedly throwing a grenade in Afghanistan when he was 15, killing a U.S. soldier.

    The Toronto-born Khadr has spent more than six years at Guantanamo, the lone remaining westerner at the U.S. holding facility for prisoners in the war on terror.

    Successive governments, both Liberal and Conservative, have refrained from intervening in the case. The Tories have rejected a growing chorus of calls to repatriate Khadr and deal with him on Canadian soil.

    But that may soon change.

    Barack Obama’s new administration announced Wednesday it is putting off Khadr’s trial and signalled plans to shut down Guantanamo within a year. A senior Obama aide tells The Associated Press that Obama will sign the order Thursday. Some Guantanamo detainees would be released, while others would be transferred elsewhere and later put on trial under still unspecified terms.

    Critics have long objected to the notion Canada should defer to U.S. proceedings against Khadr.

    Last year a group of University of Ottawa law students published a report calling on the government to push for Khadr’s release to be dealt with under Canadian law.

    Law professor Craig Forcese, who supervised the project, now says the case against Khadr has eroded to the point where trying Khadr in Canada is not really practical – given fresh allegations about Khadr’s mistreatment while in U.S. custody and confusion about what happened during the Afghanistan confrontation.

    “There’s some serious doubt as to what actually took place in that firefight in 2002. I have very serious doubts that, if he were repatriated to Canada, that there could be any sort of fair trial in a Canadian criminal court against him now,” Forcese said.

    “For a lot of reasons, I don’t think a prosecution in Canada would be desirable.”

    Documents have trickled out showing Khadr’s American captors threatened him with rape, kept him isolated and would not let him sleep.

    The government has missed several “wholly appropriate” opportunities to ask Washington for Khadr’s return, said University of Toronto historian Wesley Wark.

    But those moments have passed.

    Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa “have played the issue very poorly,” Wark said.

    “There’s just been a sort of steadfast refusal to rethink the policy once the initial game was lost, and I think that was on purely political grounds.”

    MORE at the link

  • Excerpt from CBC National News Interview with Layne Morris(that’s the guy wounded in one eye by somebody, friend or foe, when all Hades consumed the Afghan compound where Khadr was found. Also, due to the injuries he suffered, he together with another soldier, Speers who was killed in the alleged attack, won a big money civil judgement against the Khadr family as yet uncollected one presumes. )

    CBC

    EXCERPT

    SO: HOW MANY GUYS WOULD THAT BE?

    LM: Oh the main body?

    SO: YES.

    LM: It would have been the other half of the Special Forces team and then a couple of squads of 82nd Airborne soldiers and then a couple of squads of our Afghan militia. So it’d be a total of about 40. 40 to 50 guys.
    So we waited at that, waited for that point and they finally showed up and we made the attempt to talk to them, communicate with them. When I’d gone there initially, it was just myself and Americans, so no one spoke the language, so we didn’t really get a chance to even try and you know incentivize [sic] them to come out until we got the translators there.
    And that was the point when the translators went in to try and talk to these guys that, that the fight started.

    SO: TRANSLATORS WENT IN TO SAY COME ON OUT?

    LM: Translators went in – we had the translators, and these guys, the Afghan militia, these were all guys that were not a lot of military training but interested in their country and so their first inclination was always to try and talk to the guys on the other side there and see if we can work this out. That’s the Afghan way, a lot of negotiation.
    They wanted to go in to speak and they thought one of them knew one of the dialects that they could talk to these guys. So we told them to stay inside. There was just a little wall right inside the gate, to stay down below that wall.
    They got in the gate and felt comfortable enough that they stood up a little bit and the 5 or 6 guys that were inside popped up right over that wall and just shot them point-blank in the face, killed them instantly.

    SO: THEN WHAT DO YOU DO?

    LM: Well then we’re shooting at them, and they’re shooting us and they’re throwing grenades at us. They’re throwing grenades over the wall at us. So we got to kind of back up and get out of the way of the hand grenades.
    So we backed off out of the way of the hand grenades. We had a couple of guys run in and grab the, the Afghans and pulled them out. We returned fire and killed most of them right there. I think we killed 2 or 3 right there at the gate and the rest moved to the back of the compound to kind of make a last stand.

    SO: AND SO THEY’RE HURLING GRENADES. YOU’RE FIGHTING BACK. YOU HAVEN’T BEEN AMBUSHED BUT IT’S SUDDEN?

    LM: It’s sudden– I was a little bit surprised because the perfect time for them to attack us would have been when it was just myself – 45 minutes ago. We’d been here for 45 minutes, you know, one at each corner of the compound. It would have been real easy to kill at least a couple of us.
    We were out in the open. They had all the cover. I mean they could have done some damage and probably escaped. So that was a little bit – you know, I didn’t, I didn’t really, can’t say we didn’t expect trouble because we definitely did expect trouble, and the longer we were there, the more trouble we expected.
    I think that the thing that surprised us was their embracing the opportunity to die, which is I think really what it came down to. I don’t think they ever meant to conduct an action where they killed as many as they could and then got away. It was a let’s get as many Americans here as we possibly can and then we’ll take as many of them out as we can on our way out.

    SO: ON OUR WAY OUT MEANING?

    LM: On our way out, on our way to, to wherever it is we’re gonna go when we die. So I think it was a suicide action from the beginning, which was a little bit surprising because it didn’t have to be from their perspective, and maybe that’s just my Western perspective. Hey, let’s just get a few of them and live to fight another day. But I think they went into it with a let’s kill as many as we can before they kill us and we’ll have done our job.

    SO: SO YOUR GUYS GOT THE AFGHAN INTERPRETERS OUT, HAULED THEM OUT, THEIR BODIES. AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT THIS POINT AND HOW DID YOU GET HURT?

    LM: Well, we had been returning fire, so I’d set up at a new spot. I thought I was a little bit out of grenade range and I was, I was trying to get these two guys with my grenade launcher, as they were throwing grenades at me over the wall, as they ran to the back of the compound, and I thought they were far enough away. I didn’t think they could throw a grenade that far.

    So either they threw it before they started running or – anyways, I didn’t see the grenade, so the moment I pulled the trigger to shoot my grenade launcher, just as the recoil hit me in the shoulder, something smacked me in the eye, and of course the lights went out in my right eye and I didn’t really know what had happened at that point.
    I thought maybe I’d been shot ‘cause I just didn’t think there was a grenade that close. But pretty quick figured out that I’ve just been hit by something in the eye, but other than that, I’m okay.

    SO: BUT YOUR EYE WAS THEN BLINDED.

    LM: Yeah. The piece of shrapnel went in and, and bounced off the back of my nose or my eye socket or whatever. As it went to the side of my head, it went through the optic nerve, so the lights just went out like that on that eye. But other than that, I was, was okay.

    SO: SO WHAT HAPPENED –

    LM: Could have been worse. I could have been dead, so. You know, at that point it’s almost like you know, I, I tell people, I was thrilled because you go from one second to I’m dead, my brains are – I’ve been shot in the head and my brains are oozing out the back of my skull, to I’m perfectly fine, I’m just missing an eye. And I got another eye. I mean that’s like getting a promotion.

    SO: YOU WERE THINKING THAT? YOU COULDN’T HAVE BEEN THINKING THAT AT THE TIME.

    LM: Well yeah. I thought I was dead. I mean, I did, I thought I was dead. You’re standing there and something smacks you and you – there’s no one really around that’s close enough to get you with a grenade, so I thought I’d been shot in the head. I thought I’m gonna – I’m gonna die standing up.
    And yeah, that’s terribly disappointing, discouraging when you realize you’re not gonna see your kids anymore. Yeah, that is, that’s terrible. And then all of a sudden, half a second later, you realize well I’m okay. I can’t see out of my right eye but I’m okay. That’s a great feeling.

    SO: ALL THAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD IN THAT NANOSECOND?

    LM: You know, it’s funny because you’re like it’s going so slow. In fact, one of my thoughts was they’re gonna be talking about me for years cause I’m gonna die standing up and that’ll – that’ll be my legacy. I died standing up.
    But all my buddies said no, that piece of shrapnel hit you and your butt hit the ground just a split second later. In my mind, that was a long period of time between that, but yeah – so I dropped to the ground, trying to get out of there.
    So we just backed off and called for some air support and the close air support just bombed the compound into rubble.
    And we just sat back and watched them do it. And you know, every time a plane would fly overhead, there’d be small arms fire from the compound and call them on the radio and say make another pass, there’s still somebody alive in there who wants to fight.
    So they just continued doing that with different aircraft until there was no more fire coming from the compound.

    SO: THAT TOOK SOME TIME.

    LM: That did. There was a lot of aircraft. A couple of F18’s, couple of A10’s and a couple of Apache helicopters, all made multiple gun runs on that compound.

    SO: FOR FIVE OR SIX GUYS IN A COMPOUND?

    LM: Yeah. Yeah, but still living. You know, you – it was, that was one of the reasons I think that, that Chris was killed is by the time they were finished, it’s just almost inconceivable that there could be somebody alive in there.
    When you drop a couple of 500 pound bombs on your compound, you would think everybody’s dead. So –

    SO: SO HOW DID THE OTHER SOLDIER, CHRISTOPHER SPEAR, GET MORTALLY INJURED?

    LM: After there was no more fire from the compound, and it was just destroyed, the rest of the team went into the compound to clear it, just to get the intel, see who was in there. Just your normal exploitation of a seized compound.
    And Omar was still alive in one of the corners and waiting with a pistol and a hand grenade. And when they got close enough, he popped up and threw the hand grenade, shot the pistol and Chris didn’t see him, didn’t see the hand grenade.
    So when he hit the ground, he just, he was too close to the hand grenade, so the shrapnel from that hand grenade got him in the head and mortally wounded him.

    SO: YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT BY THEN?

    LM: No. I was gone before the guys went into the compound. I think they were going into the compound as the Medivac helicopter was lifting off.

    SO: WITH YOU INSIDE?

    LM: With me inside. So I watched the 500 pounders hit, and soon after that, the guys went inside. So no, we thought it was over. So when I was at Bagram and got the word that it was another casualty coming in, I – I didn’t understand that. But we’ve cleared everybody off that was wounded, even the bad guys.
    So there shouldn’t be any casualties, any more casualties. So it was, you know, took me another 4 or 5 hours before I finally heard the rest of the story about what happened in the compound.

    SO: SO HOW DID YOU FIND OUT THAT STORY? DID SOMEBODY COME BACK AND TELL YOU? OR SAW OMAR KHADR THROW THE GRENADE?

    LM: The rest of my team stayed there. One of the medics that was there came with Chris and he’s the one that told me the story.

    SO: AND DID HE SEE KHADR THROW IT?

    LM: He did – he did not go in the compound.

    SO: SO DID ANYBODY SEE KHADR THROW THE GRENADE?

    LM: You know, I’ve heard a couple of guys say that they, the direction that the grenade came from was the direction that Omar was hiding. But him being the only one alive left in the compound, I think everybody just – you almost have to assume – I mean there’s nobody else in there. Who else is going to throw the hand grenade?
    So it was pretty obvious that Omar threw the hand grenade, shot the pistol and that’s why he got shot at that point. No one else was in, was – no one else in there was alive.

  • Calgary Herald January 26

    Canada may not have enough evidence to try Khadr
    Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service
    Published: Monday, January 26, 2009

    There is a growing consensus that Canada would have little chance of successfully prosecuting Omar Khadr if the Harper government brings him home, with several legal experts betting he would face rehabilitation and supervision, but avoid a trial or jail.

    While criminal charges are possible under Canada’s antiterrorism laws, cracks have emerged in recent months in the U. S. case against the young Canadian, casting doubt on whether he lobbed a grenade that killed aU. S. soldier in 2002.

    The conflicting evidence, coupled with the fact he was 15 years old at the time and, therefore, a minor under Canadian law, would leave little room for prosecutors, experts say.

    Furthermore, Khadr has al-ready spent almost seven years in hard detention at the U. S. military unit in Guantanamo Bay, so even if prosecutors pursued charges and secured a conviction, Canadian judges tend to hand out credit for time served.

    “I suspect the route to go would be one that does not favour a prosecution, but…would protect Canadian security if he is deemed a risk and at the same time arrange for rehabilitation and reintegration into society,” said Irwin Cotler, an international human rights expert and former Liberal justice minister. “The key thing is that he was a child soldier and we do not prosecute child soldiers.”

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who refuses to repatriate Khadr before finding out if the U. S. intends to drop charges, said Saturday in a Global TV interview he does not accept Khadr was a child soldier because he was not part of any army.

  • Vancouver Sun (CanWest) February 3 – by Janice Tibbits

    There is a growing consensus that Canada would have little chance of successfully prosecuting Omar Khadr if the Harper government brings him home, with several legal experts betting that he would face rehabilitation and supervision but avoid a trial or jail.

    While criminal charges are possible under Canada’s anti-terrorism laws, cracks have emerged in recent months in the case against the young Canadian, casting doubt on whether he lobbed a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in 2002.

    The conflicting evidence, coupled with the fact that he was 15 years old at the time and therefore a minor under Canadian law, would leave little room for prosecutors, experts say.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is refusing to repatriate Khadr before finding out whether the U.S. intends to drop charges, said in a Global TV interview on Saturday that he does not accept that Khadr was a child soldier because he was not a member of any army.

  • If the boy was NOT a child soldier, then why has be been incarcerated in a military prison, subject to military charges and “trial” by military tribunal?

    If he was not a child soldier, then he should be charged with whatever crime may be applicable and tried in a conventional criminal court.

    This is a very weird game of gotcha. Why does Harper have a truly bizarre need to keep this fellow imprisoned?

  • Open letter calls for PM to make immediate request for man’s return to Canada

    One hundred and eighty-five Canadian groups and individuals have signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper accusing his government of harbouring anti-Muslim sentiment for refusing to repatriate Omar Khadr from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    “We believe that your government can help change this perception by immediately asking for Omar Khadr’s return to Canada, his country of birth, where he can be rehabilitated and eventually reintegrated into society,” says the letter, written by Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations on behalf of 185 signatories.

    The latest pitch — which calls on Mr. Harper to act “without any further delay” — is one of the largest efforts yet urging the prime minister to reverse his long-standing position that he will let the United States deal with Mr. Khadr.

    “We believe that your inaction with regards to this important case, compared to your active involvement in other cases (such as the repatriation of Brenda Martin from Mexico), has been, rightly or wrongly, interpreted by the Muslim community as indicative that your government considers Canadian Muslims to be second-class citizens,” said the letter sent yesterday.

    “While we most certainly hope and expect that this does not in any way reflect reality, it is nonetheless crucial that you understand that this is a growing perception within the Muslim community.”
    More


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Canada.com

    By Steven Edwards, Canwest News ServiceFebruary 26, 2009

    Canada said Wednesday it had begun making inquiries after the Pentagon-appointed defence lawyer for Omar Khadr said he’d been barred from visiting the Toronto-born terror suspect.

    Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler is locked in a row with his boss, U.S. air force Col. Peter Masciola, who issued an order denying him access to Tuesday’s military flight to the U.S. navy base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, where Khadr is held in one of the detention camps on murder among five war crimes charges.

    While Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in Washington Tuesday Canada would not interfere with a review the U.S. is conducting of Guantanamo Bay cases, ensuring Khadr is able to see a lawyer is among minimal standards of welfare Canada expects the United States to provide.

    SNIP

    People familiar with the row say Kuebler is unhappy that Khadr’s case is wrapped up in a presumed bid by Masciola to have military lawyers represent the Guantanamo detainees in possible U.S. federal court proceedings.

    Ensuring such representation would prolong the need for Masciola’s office — even if President Barack Obama, who ordered the case review the day he was inaugurated, decides to close down the Guantanamo tribunals established by the former Bush administration.

  • Calls to repatriate Canadian born Omar Khadr back home have come from the three opposition parties, from the Governor General, from the Canadian Bar Association and from hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens across the country. Despite these determined efforts Foreign Minister, Lawrence Cannon, yesterday assured the US that Canada won’t interfere in whatever process the United States deems fit to deal with Khadr.

    What’s going on? There is ample evidence to the effect that Omar Khadr has been shamefully treated while in custody – medical treatment withheld; education withheld; force feeding; being used as a human mop to clean up urine etc. etc. – despite such abuses Harper and Cannon continue to state that Khadr is being well treated and subject to legal procedures they both find acceptable.

    Quite apart from the shocking abandonment of young Khadr by his country, the Canadian government’s stated views of what constitutes acceptable treatment of young offenders is extremely alarming and raise serious questions. I believe a full investigation into the conditions and treatment of Canada’s juvenile offenders should be commenced immediately with a particular emphasis on the treatment they receive in Canadian juvenile detention homes.

  • Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star

    In the aftermath of 9/11, when another attack on the United States was feared and war consumed Afghanistan and Iraq, the soldiers deployed to the military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay were told they were a vital part in the fight against terrorism in their role of guarding the “worst of the worst.”

    Terry Holdbrook was one of those soldiers, and one of the detainees he met soon after arriving in 2003 was Canadian Omar Khadr. Both teens – the American guard, 19, and the Canadian captive, 16 – talked easily about life.

    “He was young, you could still feel that teenaged angst in him,” Holdbrook told the Toronto Star from Phoenix, Ariz., where he works as a university enrolment counsellor.

    “I kind of look at him as I look at a lot of the other detainees that were down there. He was kind of caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

    Since U.S. President Barack Obama announced in January that the Guantanamo prison would close by next year, there has been little indication of what fate awaits Khadr.

    Now 22, Toronto-born Khadr was 15 when shot and captured in Afghanistan following a battle with U.S. troops in 2002.

    Lexis=Nexus

  • EXCERPT from Canwest – incl video transcript

    EDMONTON – It was the ultimate exercise in good-cop, bad-cop.

    For four days in 2003 at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, CSIS interrogators questioned the then 16-year-old Omar Khadr – alternately plying him with hamburgers, potato chips and soda, and grilling him with tough questions about his family’s terrorist connections and his own activities in Afghanistan.

    Sometimes, they treated Khadr like a kid brother, teasing him about being from Scarborough, joking about his love of horseback riding, and offering him chocolate. Other times, they made fun of his claims of being tortured, called him a liar and questioned his manhood.

    SNIP

    In their questioning of Khadr, the CSIS agents seemed most interested in the activities of his family in Afghanistan and Pakistan before the war – and in the whereabouts of Khadr’s relations.

    Khadr, now 21, is scheduled to be tried before a U.S. military commission in early October on five war crimes charges, including the murder of a U.S. medic in a grenade attack during a 2002 firefight when he was 15.

    The interrogator repeatedly pressured Omar to reveal the location of his mother and siblings, attempting to convince him that Canada is trying to protect the Khadr family, and repatriate them to Canada for “rehabilitation.” Otherwise, the agent suggested, his family could face torture, especially his brother Abdullah.

    “I don’t want the Pakistanis to get him, because I know how they can treat people,” the interrogator said. “I sure don’t want the Pakistanis to get him and sell him to the Egyptians, because I know what they’ll do to him, and so do you.”

    If the Pakistanis captured his mother, the interrogator warned Khadr, they would sell her to the highest bidder.

    “Our responsibility is the security for all Canadians, whether they’re here or someplace else,” said the agent.

    “If they end up in some other governments’ jails, there’s essentially nothing we can do. We only have control inside our own borders.”

    At one point during the interrogation Khadr began sobbing uncontrollably for almost 20 minutes, ripping his tunic over his head and showing the wounds he said he received as a result of torture while at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. “Help me!” he said, over and over again.

    “They look like they are healing well to me,” said the main interrogator. “I am not a doctor, but I think you are getting good medical care.”

  • Steven Edwards | New York | April 3

    Ottawa Citizen – The U.S. military Friday fired Omar Khadr’s high-profile navy lawyer from his job as chief counsel in the case, risking a potential diplomatic row with Canada, which has said Khadr should get “counsel of his choice.”

    U.S. navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler got his marching orders from air force Col. Peter Masciola, who has since the fall headed the military defence lawyers at the tribunals former president George W. Bush established in Guantanamo Bay.

    Kuebler claimed publicly in February that Masciola was involved in bureaucratic manoeuvring that he said was detrimental to Khadr’s case. He then went over the colonel’s head this week to ask for a new supervisor.

    more

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  • the terrible physical and emotional wounds inflicted on this boy by my country, but they are to no avail for it is increasingly clear that the Canadian government approves of his treatment. There will be no outcry or even a mild expression of concern about Kuebler’s removal because, from that quarter, Khadr was finally receiving some semblance of legal process. David Frum once referenced the Khadr family by coining the phrase “Canada’s First Family of Terrorism” in a phrase which relentlessly appears in nearly every “news” report about Omar Khadr. The appalling circumstances of the treatment he’s received through 7 long years of his incarceration – over one third of his lifetime – are therefore irrelevant to our decision makers. Clearly Canada does not want and has never wanted Khadr to receive a fair trial or any trial. It’s the old “sins of the father” thing morphed into government policy. Reported “diplomatic probes” notwithstanding, it must be a source of greatest irritation to a Canadian government that has always been fully empowered to aggressively intervene in his case and have never done so. Who cares if he’s guilty or innocent? They threw the boy away already. Given the apparent inadequacy of the evidence against him, Omar Khadr’s greatest offense may be that somehow, so far, he’s managed to survive.

  • Toronto Sun

    ‘I’m still locked out of my office:’ Khadr’s lawyer

    A war of wills around the military defence of Omar Khadr raged yesterday as the Canadian’s Pentagon-appointed lawyer said he remained shut out of his office and computer system even though a judge ordered him back on the Guantanamo Bay detainee’s case.

    Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler said in an interview that he had again called on the judge to ensure he could get back to his desk.

    “I’m still locked out of the office and unable to access my computer, files or staff or any of the other things that I would need to effectively represent Omar Khadr,” Kuebler said from his home in the Washington, D.C., area.

  • By Steven Edwards,Canwest News Service April 8, 2009

    NEW YORK — The Pentagon lawyer who fired Omar Khadr’s military attorney says his decision should stand because the Canadian—born terror suspect has no right to any specific Pentagon-appointed representation.

    The argument by U.S. air force Col. Peter Masciola in a military court filing appears to fly in the face of the Canadian government’s position that Khadr should have a right to “counsel of his choice.”

    If upheld, it could provoke an official Canadian reaction over the dismissal of navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, who began representing Khadr more than two years ago.

    Speculation the firing might spark a cross-border tiff emerged soon after Masciola, who has headed the military lawyers defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay since last fall, gave Kuebler his marching orders Friday.

    But the court document, filed after the judge in the Khadr case said Masciola had overstepped his authority, is the first sign Canada’s position on counsel choice is being challenged.

    In it, Masciola tells Judge Patrick Parrish, an army colonel, that the rules of the Guantanamo tribunals back his argument restricting Khadr’s appointed-counsel rights, according to people who have seen the document, which had not been publicly circulated Wednesday.

    He also says that Kuebler, too, can’t claim any right to continue to represent Khadr, before making other general claims that he did have authority to dismiss the lawyer.

    It is not believed Khadr, who faces charges of murder among five war crimes in the death of a U.S. soldier in 2002 when he was 15, has asked for Kuebler to be removed as his chief military lawyer.

    Nate Whitling, one of Khadr’s Canadian civilian lawyers, was scheduled to meet with him Wednesday after flying to the U.S. navy base in Cuba.

    Kuebler said he got the push after accusing Masciola of a conflict of interest over strategy. Masciola countered by saying Kuebler committed ethics violations and was a poor supervisor of the Khadr defence team — though one member who recently left continues to support him.

  • … and why does he favour the endless incarceration of Canadian children without trial? An article in the Ottawa Citizen, Feb 25 may hold the answer.

    SNIP

    Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler is locked in a row with his boss, U.S. air force Col. Peter Masciola, who issued an order denying him access to Tuesday’s military flight to the U.S. navy base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, where Khadr is held in one of the detention camps on murder among five war crimes charges.

    While Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in Washington Tuesday Canada would not interfere with a review the U.S. is conducting of Guantanamo Bay cases, ensuring Khadr is able to see a lawyer is among minimal standards of welfare Canada expects the United States to provide.

    “We are currently looking into reports that Mr. Kuebler, Omar Khadr’s Pentagon lawyer, has been barred from seeing him,” said Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for Cannon. “Canada has always insisted that Mr. Khadr has access to competent counsel of his choice.”

    Kuebler declined comment on the matter Wednesday after sounding an alarm the day before, suggesting in a news release that Masciola, who oversees the military defence lawyers representing the Guantanamo detainees, risked having a “conflict of interest” over the Khadr case.

    People familiar with the row say Kuebler is unhappy that Khadr’s case is wrapped up in a presumed bid by Masciola to have military lawyers represent the Guantanamo detainees in possible U.S. federal court proceedings.

    Ensuring such representation would prolong the need for Masciola’s office — even if President Barack Obama, who ordered the case review the day he was inaugurated, decides to close down the Guantanamo tribunals established by the former Bush administration.

    But for Kuebler, this conflicts with his efforts to ensure Khadr, who was 15 when taken into U.S. custody following a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, is exempted from further prosecution and is returned to Canada for rehabilitation.

    Masciola, who was on the Guantanamo-bound plane as the drama unfolded, hit back by having his deputy issue a statement that accused Kuebler of unspecified ethical violations.

  • Toronto Star

    Should Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet have the exclusive right to decide the fate of Canadians who run into legal trouble abroad? And do Canada’s courts have no oversight role in these cases?

    The Federal Court of Appeal is now weighing the matter after a hearing last week in which the federal government’s legal team made the sweeping – indeed, chilling – claim that the courts should butt out.

    Federal lawyer Doreen Mueller argued that Ottawa has no obligation under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect Omar Khadr, who is being held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay on murder charges. If so, that would mean Federal Court Justice James O’Reilly overreached on April 23 when he ordered Ottawa to ask Washington to send Khadr home.

    O’Reilly found that Ottawa was obliged at the very least to try to protect Khadr from being unlawfully detained, from being abused by his captors, and from being locked up longer than necessary.

    But Mueller countered that O’Reilly had gone too far in “telling the government of Canada how to conduct its foreign affairs” – an area that she said is the exclusive purview of the PM and cabinet.

    Whatever the appeal court may rule, it is disturbing to think that the federal government isn’t subject to judicial oversight in this area and that we forfeit our basic rights at the border.

    It was reassuring, then, to see Justices Karen Sharlow and Marc Nadon give Mueller a tough grilling. They wanted to know, for example, what harm could possibly come if Ottawa were to ask for Khadr’s return, and how Ottawa justified its reaction to the abuse he endured.

  • Harper’s visceral loathing of Khadr borders on pathology. How else to explain such utter disregard for the wish of the three opposition parties and the majority of Canadians to have Khadr repatriated and reintegrated into society.


    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

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