Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Would we treat our prisoners this way (if the interview happened in Canada)?

There simply are no words to describe this. To be fair, it is not the US government's interrogators at Gitmo but officials from Canada's spy agency debriefing Omar Khadr; but whether or not one believes the allegations against Khadr this is no way to treat a detained suspect.

It should surprise no one that the government of PMS is taking the position they did, that since the questioning took place under a Liberal government it's not their problem. That's not how ministerial responsibility is supposed to work. The incumbent minister in charge, regardless of party and regardless of what position they held previously, steps up to the plate. By refusing to acknowledge the problem, the Harper government is in contempt of the Constitution.

If this is what showed up on tape you can only imagine what the commandants at Gitmo did behind closed doors, as detainee after detainee have alleged. There is no doubt in my mind that if Harper asked for Khadr to be released into Canada's custody so he could face a fair trial here, he would be.

It is time to heed the rising voices of Canadians. Harper may not want to listen but he will have no choice but to hear the sounds that will only get louder in the coming days and weeks.

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Unknown said...

I've been reading a lot about Omar Khadr today. Quite a story. A Canadian citizen who was brought to Pakistan & Afganistan by his father. Even if he was guilty of throwing the grenade, he was 15 at the time and under strong influence from his father. It's shocking to me that he would be treated this way, and held at Guantanamo, the prison for the worst of the worst terrorist masterminds. His family was involved with Al Queda and knew Bin Laden. But just because your father was a terrorist, doesn't make you a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

He killed a medic you moron marvin.

BlastFurnace said...

That last part underscores the point, Marvin. A lot of people on both sides of the border are already familiar with Mr. Khadr because of a documentary that aired first on The Fifth Estate and later on Frontline . There is still a lot of anger at Khadr's mother and sister who made statements during that interview that supported what happened on 9/11.

But does that mean Omar supported the attacks as well, even if he just happened to live in the same house as OBL for a while? Very speculative in my opinion.

The charges are serious -- that he threw a grenade at a US soldier while the compound he was in was under attack. In a war situation, even if it wasn't a war and it was your house under fire -- wouldn't you defend your house or your fellow occupants?

Anonymous said...

He killed a medic you moron marvin.
Anon, you must be psychic because that has not been proven and there seems to be a lot of doubt.

Nevertheless, glad to see that you approve of the torture of child soldiers. You must feel so brave inside and secure that those terrorists will not get you - moron.

Greg said...

The last poll I saw had about 38% support for the PM's position. That is the one and only thing Harper cares about.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Also, anonymous, not only is it only ALLEGED that Khadr killed a medic (and there's actually more evidence that the guy standing next to him (who was killed, like every other non-American in that firefight other than Khadr) threw that grenade) it's not entirely clear that the badly wounded Khadr would have even been CAPABLE of throwing the grenade when it was thrown.

Furthermore, the constant reference to the American soldier in question as a "medic" is pretty obviously spin. Yes, the Sergeant in question was trained as a medic, but he was also a Delta Force commando who wasn't tending to wounded when he was killed, but was actively engaged in the firefight.

Now, that doesn't make the Sergeant's death any less tragic, but to constantly refer to him as "a medic" because he had training as a medic is CLEARLY meant to conjure up images of a non combatant tending to the wounded after a battle rather than a commando actively engaged in a firefight, and in this case the latter is a much more accurate description of Sgt. Christopher Speer on the day in question than the former.

As Johnathan Kay's piece in the NP yesterday states, the U.S. government line on the incident, "reported uncritically, for the most part, by the Canadian media — is that a cowardly Khadr popped up from the rubble in the aftermath of a firefight in the Afghan hinterland, killing a U.S. medic who was looking to treat wounded survivors. In fact, the grenade that killed Speer (who was fighting as a solider, whatever his training as a medic) was thrown when the four-hour long battle was still hot — and it is far from clear who threw it: Contrary to initial accounts, there was a second jihadi still alive when the fatal grenade was thrown — and since Khadr was badly wounded at the time, the second militant (who later died) seems the more likely candidate.

(We might also dispense with the idea that Speer was on a mission of mercy: Post-battle testimony from his battlefield companions suggests they were — quite understandably — more interested in shooting the wounded than healing them.)

Anonymous said...

No, we don't treat our prisoners that way. Here, we give them a Club Med type of treatment that is light and they often get light sentences to begin with.

You are trying to make a point, but please don't allude to Canada's lax justice system. it is a friggin' joke!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that if it were Canadian soldiers involved in that exchange of gunfire, they would've just killed him.

Remember that Canadian that got killed in Sudan fighting for an Islamic militia? Neither does anyone else.

BlastFurnace said...

Anonymous #2: Just so we're clear here, I was referring to habeas corpus which SCOTUS told Dubya three times the detainees at Gitmo were entitled to, twice Dubya ignored it and the third time said he'd comply but still thought the court was wrong.

There are some aspects of our criminal law system in Canada I don't like, including the relative ease one can get promoted to minimum security. But I'd like to think that if we were attacked here, or there was a plot that was thwarted (preferably) that the accused would get a chance to answer the charges in a short period of time -- not spin in the tropical wind for six years.