I’m outraged at the Omar Khadr payout, not that he has received the money but that we had to compensate a fellow citizen for being wronged. Going back over the events of this case shows how much injustice there has been. At one point the case was dismissed because US courts had no jurisdiction, Mr Khadr was denied adequate legal counsel on several occasions, his own government denied him counselor services and failed to demand repatriation, and testimony and evidence that could clear Mr Khadr was ignored.
Evidence obtained by torture should never be admitted in court as committing an injustice can not lead to justice. If I tortured you I could get you to admit to stabbing Julius Caesar and starting the Great Toronto Fire, you’ll say anything to get the torture to stop. The evidence and testimony of the United States soldier who was there is a key fact many are glossing over. Combine that with the fact the rest of the team involved has come forward publicly for or against Mr Khadr is also, to me, suspicious. With so many firefights going on in Afghanistan why was Omar Khadr singled out for killing someone?
Another question I have but haven’t seen asked in the media is: was the medic actively engaged in the assault? It is rare for US military personnel to wear visible medical symbols and I doubt the Medic killed was wearing anything to distinguish him from his colleagues. The Geneva Conventions make it clear that a medic engaged in activities harmful to the enemy and outside of their humanitarian duties loses protected status. It is suspicious to me that a medic not engaged in hostilities would be close enough to be hit by a grenade, but I might be wrong. The Medic may have been trying to get closer to deal with the wounded, which Mr Khadr was counted amongst.
Members of the Khadr family were terrorists, Jihadists, and sympathisers with terrorists. However to say that everyone with the name Khadr is guilty is more likely founded in racism than fact. This case, combined with the global climate of hate, has brought out some very uncivilized attitudes and prejudices. They use citizens in the Canadian Forces as shields to hide behind when they invoke “think of the troops” or similar sentiments used to cover their base hate. The biggest threat I see to Canada is white supremacy in all of its guises and other extreme right groups. Canada needs to focus on a eliminating these groups rapidly. Start by purging the military and security agencies.
Another thread I’ve seen the last few days is around a fifteen year old should know better. Really? A Jihadist father willing to send teenagers to war or have his own flesh and blood trained as a suicide bomber would no doubt thoroughly beat a son who resisted the Jihadist doctrine. When the father was out of the equation there were superiors over Mr Khadr who would have killed him if he failed to act as demanded. Add to that the peer pressure all adolescents face but in an extreme and violent environment. Then add being attacked by US Soldiers hell bent on revenge for September 11th, in the chaos of a firefight there is little opportunity for reflection on right or wrong.
My fear in all of this is we have learnt nothing, especially in Canada’s security services. This will not be used as a lesson and a warning, it has happened before in Canada and it will happen again. There are plenty of Canadians who will encourage another Omar Khadr be consistently violated by the Canadian government. We are at risk of becoming a nation of bullies when we pick and choose who the Charter of Rights applies to and who it can ignore.
I hope Omar Khadr has a long life, becomes a brilliant nurse, pays taxes, finds love, and lives happily ever after. I also hope Canada evolves to the point where we can actually live up to our own hype on human rights.