Breaking news heard via CFRA, then linkable article from CTV:
‘An Edmonton judge has ruled that former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr will not be transferred from a federal prison to a provincial jail.…The Toronto-born Khadr pleaded guilty in 2010 to five war crime offences, including murder, for killing an American soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15.’
Read the CTV story here.
I believe that ‘five war crime offences‘ is an attempt to ‘soften’ the fact that this excuse for a human being has committed 5 war crimes!!!
My mother was visiting when we got the news and she exclaimed (and I am translating loosely here): “That criminal scum!!! Only eight years… And why didn’t that scoundrel Obama keep him? That Obama should have to pay for his upkeep – it’s the stupid Americans who sentenced him to prison instead of hanging him like they did in Nuremberg! “
Did I mention my mother had lived through WWII occupation, a communist revolution and a Soviet invasion? She has little respect for people who are soft on war criminals…
October 18, 2013 at 16:43
Khadr’s lawyer argued that if the crimes had been committed in Canada he would have been charged as a youth under the “Young Offenders Act”. Technically, this is probably true. Khadr was captured as a 15 year old in 2002, it was the following year that the Youth Criminal Justice Act came into effect replacing the Young Offenders Act. Under the old act, you had to be 16 to be tried as an adult, under the current law 14 year olds can be tried as adults if the crime and circumstances warrant it. That Khadr would have been tried as a youth for those crimes, had they occurred in Canada, demonstrates just how lousy the Young Offenders Act actually was.
October 18, 2013 at 16:52
I just cannot get over the fact that a person – regardless of age – who has committed at least 5 war crimes, can get out of jail alive!
OK, I can see taking his youth into account and only letting him serve 5 consecutive life terms, but… anything less is clearly endangering every single member of our society!
October 18, 2013 at 19:58
Obama’s fault… really.
Bush was returning these people to their home countries as well.
Unfortunately we are stuck with him. He belongs in prison and that is where he is for now.
October 18, 2013 at 22:46
Oh, trust me, I consider the Bushes (is that correct grammar?) to be just as delinquent as the Clintons and Obama on this front…and, of course, all those who put them into power!
I truly and honestly think that people have a well developed moral compass by the time they are 11 or so, regardless of how they are raised. Sure, there is time for growth and all that, and people can change their basic ‘instinctive moral feel’ through the application of intellect, but the foundation has been laid by then and short a traumatic brain event, that is not going to change.
A person who willfully commits 5 war crimes at 15 – I truly do not think any society he’ll be released into will be safe from him.
I am glad that he is in jail for now, but…
October 19, 2013 at 07:53
We still might label him a dangerous offender. Which could put him behind bars forever.
He did 12 years down in Cuba and he is going to be at least another 8 up here. So 20 years in total. That is a pretty heavy sentence. Few enemies from WW2 did 20 years.
I think we can both agree it was his father that is most responsible for his crimes.
My issue with your post is that Obama has to clean up the mess he inherited. So blaming him because he is following the rules is a little lame.
October 18, 2013 at 21:53
As I understand them, the facts of this case can be summarized as follows.
Omar Khadr and five of his countrymen were under attack by force consisting of 50 to 100 US Army personnel and Afghan militiamen, two AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships and two F-18 Hornet strike fighters.
Already hit twice in the back and blinded in one eye by shrapnel, he threw a grenade at his attackers, killing one of them.
How is this a war crime?
October 18, 2013 at 23:47
That is an oversimplification to the point of error.
Before the attack had started, the attacking soldiers gave every individual a chance to walk out. All the villagers except the jihadists left. Omar Khadr chose to stay and fight.
Omar Khadr could have acted simply as an interpreter and left, but chose to become a jihadi – a terrorist who does not display military markings or indeed belong to any formal army: think Geneva convention – it has bits in it to protect civilian populations caught in a war zone from exactly this use as human shields. It is precisely to prevent the use of civilians as human shields that international law permits people who conduct themselves in this manner to be shot on sight.
When the firefight was over, Khadr hid. It was only when Christopher Speers, the medic, came over to him in order to give him medical assistance did Omar throw a grenade at him and killed him.
Not during the battle – afterwards.
Killing a medic while he is attempting to render medical assistance to anyone – is a war crime.
Omar Khadr happily constructed IEDs which blew up anyone on the road, military or civilian, adults or children. And, he taught countless others how to do it.
His conduct makes him a war criminal under international law and under any system of morality.
And while the following is a highly personal comparison, I cannot evaluate his behaviour without a look back at my own experience.
Though I may not be happy to admit it, I’m old enough to remember the 1968 invasion – and have grown up under the subsequent military occupation, the daughter of a political dissident identified as a ‘potential leader of the people against the people’, who did a stint in the Uranium mines for having exercised his freedom of speech prior to the invasion.
I’ve been in situations when, a child, I’ve had a group of foreign soldiers point their guns at me – and I was afraid. Turned out they thought this was great entertainment and laughed at my tears…
Yet, when I was in the hospital in a bed next to a Soviet general’s son, I did everything I could to ease his suffering. I was the only one there bilingual (in Russian), and even though nobody would have known had I stayed quiet, I offered to translate for the doctors and nurses to make sure they knew where he hurt and I shared my food and flowers with him – I saw he was a terrified, hurting child so, naturally, I did all I could to comfort him. I may have been 2/3 Khadr’s age when he committed the war crimes, yet, even at that age, the moral action in that situation was crystal clear to me!
Then, to think the invader Khadr build bombs that killed kids of the natives who never harmed Khad or his family himself, just because of his ideology…just because some of the bombs might kill Americans and buy him a ticket to a paradise where he can rape to his content…morally indefensible!
Khadr is not a native of Afghanistan, he was not forced to be there, but chose to go. One of his brothers chose not to go and, to the best of my knowledge, his parents did not force him.
Once in Afghanistan, a member of an occupying force of foreign jihadists who terrorized the local populace, Omar Khadr started building IEDs that kill civilians as well as soldiers.
He was part of an invading horde of militant terrorists that uses civilians as human shields. He chose to fight instead of leave the scene (as a minor or a non-combatant translator) when he was offered the choice.
Then, he attacked and killed a medic not during the battle, but after the battle had ended and the medic was in the act of rendering medical aid – how is this NOT a war crime?
October 19, 2013 at 07:56
Because he was fighting against his own country. The US is part of NATO and any fighting against NATO is fighting against Canada. He is a traitor.
I have a big problem with that.
October 19, 2013 at 03:23
Speer was a medic, but he was not giving anyone medical assistance at the time he was fatally wounded by Khadr’s grenade. According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine),
“Unaware that Khadr and a militant had survived the bombing, the ground forces sent a team consisting of OC-1, Silver, Speer and three Delta Force soldiers through a hole in the south side of the wall, while at least two other American troops continued throwing grenades into the compound.
“The team began picking their way over dead animals and the bodies of three fighters. According to Silver’s 2007 telling of the event, he heard a sound ‘like a gunshot’, and saw the three Delta Force soldiers duck; a grenade went by them and exploded near Speer at the rear of the group.”
Further, there was no way to tell at the time that Speer was a medic. Again according to Wikipedia (emphasis mine),
“Speer, who was not wearing a helmet at the time because the mission called for indigenous clothing, suffered a head wound from a grenade and succumbed to his injuries approximately two weeks later.”
So, once again, what Khadr did was throw a grenade at attacking forces during a battle.
He did this with two bullets in his back and an a piece of shrapnel in his eye.
This makes him an enemy, but not a criminal or a coward.
October 19, 2013 at 03:27
I have always taken exception to making a distinction between “lawful combatants” and “unlawful combatants.”
A combatant is a combatant. The only meaningful distinction is between allies and enemies. And I judge that by actions, not by dress code.
“Unlawful combatant.” What does this mean? It means that when you’re being attacked by men in uniform it’s illegal to fight back unless you’re also wearing a uniform.
This is rampant statism, pure and simple. It is based on the egregiously false premise that the only legitimate violence is violence committed by the state and the only legitimate fighters are fighters who serve the state.
It is simply a legal fiction that allows the state to pretend that all its enemies must be criminals.
A similar tactic is demonizing our enemies for making IEDs. Think about it: is an IED really any worse than the M18 Claymore used by the US Army? Is it any worse than a Hellfire missile fired by a Predator drone?
No. It is not. Quite the contrary. Our enemies make IEDs because they can’t afford Claymores. Or drones.
When Obama orders a drone strike and innocent civilians are among the casualties, this is called “collateral damage.”
When the enemy deploys improvised land mines and innocent civilians are among the casualties, this is called “a war crime.”
October 19, 2013 at 15:25
Well, there is a lot here that needs tackling.
First and foremost, remember that Khadr was one of the invaders of Afghanistan.
He was not an oppressed citizen nor does he have family from there, he was one of the foreign, Saudi funded jihadists who came to impose Wahabism on Afghanistan.
I’ll respond more fully in a few days…sorry, bad headache…
October 19, 2013 at 18:32
You’re right about the Wahhabis. But they are not merely funded by the Saudis. They are the Saudis. They have no business being in Afghanistan. But neither does the US.
They are both interlopers, and both serve the same masters.
Recall that the Bush family and the bin Laden family are business partners (in the Carlyle Group and BCCI, among others).
Recall that Wahhabism, while not created outright by British MI6, was resurrected by them and its leader Abdul Aziz ibn Saud was placed on the throne in Riyadh by them, while Sharif Hussein bin Ali was given Damascus. All this happened through the covert machinations of Colonel T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and Hillary St-John Bridger Philby (Sheikh Abdullah).
Back then, the point of the exercise was to use the Arabs to bring down the Ottoman Turks. It worked. But the result was the re-creation of the Wahhabis, complete with human rights violations and terrorism. Neither would exist, had we not used and betrayed the Arabs a hundred years ago.
Today, we are using the Arabs to give us an excuse to be in the Middle East.
We have no real humanitarian reasons nor any legitimate anti-terrorist reasons for being there.
We are there because not being there would mean losing the game of thrones between Russia, China and the West. This is an obvious geopolitical reality, but for some reason we are too squeamish to admit it.
Instead of boldly engaging our enemies with candour and honour, we assume a contrived stance of false piety.
We pretend that our wars are police actions and we pretend that our enemies are criminals.
It doesn’t change anything.
All it does is make us look like cowards and weasels.
October 20, 2013 at 19:04
Wahab was Iraqi, not Saudi…but, once the Wahabis attempted to take over Saudi Arabia, the house of Saud made a deal with them, promising funding them worldwide in exchange for not putting the house of Saud out of power.
But, much of what you say I do indeed agree with.
Sorry it took me so long to moderate – still not fully over my migraine (though now I can see well enough to read for short bits of time) and having trouble processing, much less reasoning…it’ll be at least 48 hours before the meds leave my system and I can think clearly, so please, take this for what it is.
Still, I do think there is a difference between the ‘first’ (to this consideration) wave of invaders who are jihadists and those attempting to protect the population from them – regardless their motives.
OK, I’ll admit freely my source of information about what Khadr did and Speers’ role and so on is NOT the Wikipedia – but, my sources will not go public and thus I cannot argue the point beyond saying ‘I am convinced’. Thus, I cannot try to change your opinion, but I shall steadfastly hold on to my own.
October 20, 2013 at 21:58
You’re right about that.
But he wasn’t charged with treason – at least, I don’t think he was.
Oddly, I can’t find the exact charges against him anywhere on the web. Only that he was accused of unspecified “war crimes” and that he plead guilty to “murder contrary to the law of war” (whatever that is) in a plea bargain.
In the very vagueness of the accusations against him, I smell a rat.
October 22, 2013 at 19:14
Indeed, he was never charged with ‘treason’. That is why I collected signatures on a petition I presented to my MP (in parallel with a number of other patriotic Canadians) to have him charged with treason, in Canada, and have him tried under Canadian law – it will either clear him or condemn him, but it needs to happen.
October 20, 2013 at 22:31
Of course, I can’t know what isn’t published about the case, but from what I have been able to piece together, nothing Khadr did during the actual battle constituted a war crime.
Indeed, if one of our troops had done exactly the same thing, he would have gotten a Purple Heart at minimum – maybe even a Distinguished Service Cross.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I am not siding with Khadr.
It’s just that – unlike the squeamish little tinkerbells we’re raising our “men” to be these days – I have no compunction about calling him an enemy, and I have no childish need to pretend my enemy is a bad man in order to feel good about putting a bullet between his eyes.
The fact that we, as a society, feel the need for such pretence explains much of the contempt in which the world holds us.
Just ask yourself… why does the world respect Vladimir Putin and contemn Barack Obama?
That’s what my comments in this thread are about.
October 22, 2013 at 19:11