Saturday, June 09, 2007


“It is immoral that adults should want children to fight their wars for them. There is simply no excuse, no acceptable argument for arming children.” -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

If Canada & other countries stood up to the Bush Regime & was more critical of their policies regarding the denial of basic human rights of detainees & the abuse & torture of detainees & the illegal 'extraordinary renditions ' of terrorist suspects etc. & were to tie these to trade relations etc. then maybe the Americans might take such criticisms seriously but like any rogue nation which acts unilaterally it is necessary to publicly & forcefully to offer such criticisms to try to shame them into improving their adherence to International policies & agreements on Human Rights & if this does not work then countries have to take more actions against such a rogue state to finally if there is no improvement to call International Sanctions against such a state whether it is China or Russia or Saudi Arabia Iran or Israel or South Africa or the United States -

The reality is that many countries conspire to support the United States Government no matter how egregious their human violations are & this support is either out of fear of US retaliation or because America is a western Christian & capitalist nation & therefore above reproach or because most of these countries themselves may talk about their belief in human rights but this is just a matter of Public Relations & that they don't really believe in protecting the human rights of everyone including Arabs & Muslims or other Non-European groups ...

It is a bit odd that Stephen Harper should be critical of the Chinese government's human rights abuses & yet does not publicly criticize the Bush Regime for its human rights violations at Guantanamo & the secret prisons operated by the US around the world or the deportation of detainees to countries where it is known that torture of prisoners is standard practice -

TORTURE IS OK WHEN AMERICANS DO IT BUT NOT WHEN THE CHINESE DO IT or when Communists or other regimes we don't approve of torture or commit other human rights violations we protest but if the regime is Capitalist or Pro-American or what have you then we look the other way ...This is part of Harper's misguided attempt to appease President Bush fearful of offending America or is Harper a 'True Believer ' who doesn't really object to the use of torture , renditions aka kidnapping & also believes the Geneva Conventions are just some quaint out-moded rules which cannot be applied to a Post 9/11 world -


Anyway here's a bit of Canadian content : terrorist suspect

Omar Khadr 15 years old when he committed his crimes

he has been abused & tortured.

Does Prime Minister Stephen Harper supports torture & detention & possible execution of a juvenile by silence or secret agreement with US government ?

Is the Canadian media & public guilty by doing nothing to protect a child-soldier & is this the New World Order we have become part of -

Is Omar Khadr such a threat to National Security -was he one of the masterminds of Al Qaeda or a child indoctrinated from birth into terrorism isn't he ,at least , in part a victim of fanatical parents ?

Though the charges have been dismissed (as of June 2007 )he is still to be held in Guantanamo prison indefinitely !!!

Is the Canadian government just inept or uncaring or does our government believe it must in most cases bow to the wishes of our American overlords as the Canadian Neocons move in the direction of making us a colony or satellite of the United States like Poland & Hungary etc. were satellites of the Soviet Union or as we once were a colony of Great Britain ...

Omar Khadr was taken into US custody when he was 15 years old. The US government has said that all detainees are "treated in a manner appropriate to their age and status". If this is true, then the case of Omar Khadr indicates that an "appropriate manner" involves torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as denial of any form of justice.

In this case as in others the Canadian Government is too fearful of some form of retaliation to stand up to American officials even in such cases where the Americans have broken International Treaties or the Geneva Conventions which the previous Canadian Government & the current Neoconservative Government of Stephen Harper seem to believe that these International Agreements & treaties are merely a matter of Public Relations & that we shouldn't take these agreements too seriously & given the reaction or lack of reaction by the Canadian & American media , politicians & public this seems to be a pervasive attitude - once someone is accused of terrorism then the detainee has no legal rights & is to be treated as harshly as possible in order to extract information or just to get our fair pound of flesh as it were ...

The treatment of Omar Khadr received from the Americans from the time of his capture including abuse & torture & denial of his basic legal rights has been well documented by Amnesty International which I quote below at length :


"Young enemy combatants are treated in a manner appropriate to their age and status." Letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Butler to Amnesty International, July 2003.

Perhaps because the USA is one of only two states that have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes that children need special safeguards and care, it feels free to trample on the human rights of juveniles in its "war on terror".

Omar Khadr is one of at least four and possibly nine of the current Guantánamo Bay detainees who were aged under 18 when detained. In April 2003 the US authorities revealed that children as young as 13 were detained in the prison. Reports of torture and attempted suicide by juvenile detainees undermine the claim by US authorities that they are receiving "special emotional and physical care". Contrary to international standards the Pentagon has defined child detainees as those aged under 16, rather than under 18.

Lieutenant Corporal Johnson, a spokesperson for the US military, stated in 2003 that, "until we ensure that they're no longer a threat, that there's no pending law enforcement against them, that they're no longer of intelligence value", the children would continue to be held.

Omar Khadr was wounded by US soldiers during a battle near Khost, Afghanistan, and taken into US custody on 27 July 2002. During his capture he was shot three times and is nearly blind in one eye as a result of his injuries. The US military says that Omar Khadr killed a US soldier, Sergeant Christopher J. Speer, in the operation.

Even though Omar Khadr was seriously injured, his interrogation started as soon as he was taken into custody. A US official stated that captured prisoners were so scared of abuse by US soldiers that they would talk without prompting. The prisoners "sometimes think we are going to cut out their livers" he said, giving Omar Khadr as an example of a prisoner "singing like a bird". Omar Khadr alleges that:

* he asked for pain medication for his wounds but was refused;
* during interrogations a bag was placed over his head and US personnel brought military dogs into the room to frighten him;
* cold water was thrown on him;
* his hands were tied above a door frame and he was forced to stand in this position for hours;
* he was not allowed to use the bathroom and was forced to urinate on himself.

On 30 August 2002 Canadian officials sent a diplomatic note to the US authorities asking for consular access to Omar Khadr while he was held in the US airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan. The US denied the request on 9 September, saying only that they would notify the Canadian government if any Canadian citizens were transferred to Guantánamo Bay.

Omar Khadr was wounded by US soldiers during a battle near Khost, Afghanistan, and taken into US custody on 27 July 2002. During his capture he was shot three times and is nearly blind in one eye as a result of his injuries. The US military says that Omar Khadr killed a US soldier, Sergeant Christopher J. Speer, in the operation.

"Your life is in my hands." Interrogator to Omar Khadr in Guantánamo.

Omar Khadr was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in October 2002. He says that as soon as he arrived he was subjected to a range of torture and ill- treatment that included:

* being short-shackled by his hands and feet to a bolt in the floor and left for five to six hours; occasionally a US officer would enter the room to laugh at him;
* being kept in extremely cold rooms;
* being lifted up by the neck while shackled, and then dropped to the floor;
* being beaten by guards;
* having a finger pressed into a pressure point in his neck, causing severe pain and inability to breathe.

He alleges that on one occasion guards left him short-shackled in an interrogation room until he urinated on himself. Guards then poured a pine scented cleaning fluid over him and used him as a "human mop" to clean up the mess. He says that he was not provided with clean clothes for several days after this degradation.

Omar Khadr says of his time in Guantanamo:

* the lights were kept on 24 hours a day and detainees were punished for trying to cover the lights with their clothes;
* the air conditioning was kept on cold, which he says "destroyed his lungs";
* he was routinely placed in isolation, sometimes for up to a month;
* he was only allowed exercise once every four or five days, and in 2005 went without exercise in daylight hours for several months.

In addition to the beatings, isolation and frequent interrogations, Omar Khadr has been threatened with transfer to Afghanistan, Jordan and other places. He understood that these were threats of transfer to places where he would be tortured. He was also told that an Egyptian soldier, known to him only as Soldier Number 9, would be sent to rape him.

In protest against his treatment and conditions at Guantánamo, Omar Khadr embarked on a hunger strike in July 2005 along with up to 200 other detainees. He went without food for 15 days, during which he was taken to the camp hospital twice to be given intravenous fluids. Omar Khadr lost 30 pounds (13.5kg) during the strike. Another detainee, Omar Deghayes, says he witnessed Omar Khadr vomiting blood.

During the hunger stirke the abuse did not stop. On one occasion, when guards were transferring him to the hospital, he was told to walk back to his cell. As he was too weak to do so, the guards allegedly lifted him off the ground and repeatedly kicked his leg.

The hunger strike ended in July when the US authorities apparently made a number of concessions to the detainees. The detainees resumed their hunger strike in August, however, because the camp authorities had not kept their promises and in response to particularly brutal abuse. One of those at the receiving end of a beating was Omar Khadr.

"Get ready for a miserable life." Interrogator to Omar Khadr in Guantánamo.

In November 2004, Omar Khadr's lawyers gave him a series of psychological tests which were sent to independent psychiatrists for evaluation. In answer to some of the questions Omar Khadr stated that he had flashbacks, difficulty sleeping and had heard voices when no one was there.
Dr Eric W. Trupin, an expert on the mental health of juveniles in correctional facilities, evaluated the tests. He said Omar Khadr's symptoms were "consistent with those exhibited by victims of torture" and called for "the immediate cessation of mental and physical abuse". He noted that the conditions in which Omar Khadr was held were particularly harmful to adolescents. He concluded that Omar Khadr had a mental disorder "including but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder" and that he was "a moderate to high risk of suicide".

(as for help from the Canadian Government it was more for public relations to quiet the " bleeding heart liberals " & in the governments ' view the misguided human rights advocates than actually to help Omar Kahadr:GORD )

"I'm not here to help you. I'm not here to do anything for you. I'm just here to get information." Canadian interrogator to Omar Khadr in Guantánamo.

Flying in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Canadian government accepted the promise of the then Secretary of State Colin Powell, who stated that "all enemy combatants at Guantánamo are treated humanely" when writing to the Canadian authorities about Omar Khadr.

The Canadian government may not simply have neglected their responsibilities towards Omar Khadr. It may also have been complicit in his detention and ill-treatment.

Omar Khadr has been interrogated several times by Canadian officials. According to papers filed in a US court, Omar Khadr was visited by Canadian officials four times in four days, starting on 27 March 2003. Rather than asking about his health or if he wanted to send a message to his family, the Canadian officials interrogated him.

Canadian lawyers for Omar Khadr filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government, arguing that the authorities had violated the Canadian Constitution by "participating in interviews or interrogations without a lawyer being present, without [Omar Khadr] being allowed access to consular representation to get advice, without him being allowed to speak to family and friends".

Another lawsuit attempted to force the Canadian government to release all its files on Omar Khadr. The government argued that doing so would "be injurious to international relations, national defense or national security". A memo of William Hooper, Assistant Director of Operations at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which was made public as a result of this case, revealed the logic of the government's neglect of the human rights of one of its citizens. It states that "any efforts to limit or fetter the service's investigative powers… will hamper the service's ability to advise the Canadian government".

The Canadian government has since written to Amnesty International stating that it has raised the allegations of abuse of Omar Khadr with the US government. It said it was engaged in "ongoing diplomatic discussions" with the US regarding his legal status and had requested an independent medical evaluation.

The US government alleges that Omar Khadr is an "al-Qa'ida fighter" and has classified him as an "enemy combatant". Despite this, it has refused to charge Omar Khadr with a recognizably criminal offence and give him a full and fair trial.

Instead, the US Department of Defense announced on 7 November 2005 that Omar Khadr is to be tried by military commission, though they will not seek the death penalty in his case. The military commissions are executive bodies with the power to hand down death sentences against which there is no right of appeal to any court. The military commissions are fundamentally flawed and cannot provide fair trials in accordance with internationally recognized standards

As James Travers in an article in the Star expresses his outrage at the lack of Canadian action in the Khadr case U.S. just won't listen on Khadr, 070607 which suggest our government is ineffectual or has no leverage with the current US administration or sees no real reason to be concerned over this case or others as for example they stumbled around in the Maher Arar case which became a public relations problem ...

Ottawa–In a capital that talks constantly, the continuing silence over Omar Khadr reflects the fears of successive Liberal and Conservative governments that public protests wouldn't help him, but would hurt Canada's critical U.S. relationship. As they have throughout Khadr's detainment at the notorious American prison at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, officials here anticipate his eventual return. But they are keenly aware of the weight of evidence against the man accused of murdering a U.S. soldier while still a boy, and worried that the American gutter press will hype the story as new proof this country is a terrorist safe haven. Labelled the "Fox Effect" after the tabloid U.S. network, that concern is so deeply rooted here that it helped persuade very different federal governments to use the same strategy. Rather than embarrass Washington with high-level protests, first Paul Martin's administration and then Stephen Harper's applied gentle diplomatic pressure in defence of Khadr's legal rights.

And as for Stephen Harper's ' Double Standard ' when it comes to Human Rigts violations for instance see the post-

Harper 'double standard 'on human rights CHINESE IN Stephen Harper might be hoisting high the human rights flag when he condemns the Chinese government for refusing Canadian diplomats to meet with Huseyin Celil, a Chinese Canadian who has been charged by China for alleged terrorism involvement. But if it's a Canadian alleged also for terrorism by the US and who was also denied of Canadian consular access, Harper chooses to remain tight-lipped. Critics say Harper is playing double standard and "human rights" is only used as a political tool to serve his own agenda. Toronto-born Omar Khadr has been jailed in US's Guantanamo Bay since 2002 at the age of 15, according to his Canadian lawyer Dennis Edney. He is accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier and injured others following a lengthy attack by U.S. forces on a suspected Al Qaeda stronghold where Khadr was the only survivor. Canadian officials have been prohibited by the US for visiting him, despite repeated request for access. The then foreign affairs minister Bill Graham told media that the US said "the rules of consular access don't apply in times of war." Omar was also denied to use Canadian lawyers, who are preferred by his family. Instead, the US appointed a 31-year-old military lawyer who "has never represented a defendant at trial in his life, even for charges of jaywalking, It would be laughable if the stakes weren't so high," according to American lawyer and law professor Muneer Ahmad. In June 2006, the US supreme court ruled the prison at Guantanamo Bay was unconstitutional and the military trials held there were illegal. Khadr has since been jailed by the US without charges. The Harper government has not since fought for Khadr's rights, accused Edney. Guantanamo Bay's chief military prosecutor made two new charges against Khadr in February 2007, attempting to re-open a military trial against him. Edney said this week that the language Harper used when he spoke up for Celil sounded like he vowed to protect all Canadians, no matter where they were. "Well, this is complete non-sense." Edney said Khadr could not access Canadian consular services, could not use lawyers of his choice, could not access an independent medical and psychological assessment, and could not see his family since his arrest. Khadr has been tortured in the prison too, Edney said. However, the Harper government was unable to fight for the basic rights Khadr should have, charged Edney. He questioned the Tory government might have some other purposes targetting China (on Celil's case), rather than for the course of human rights fight claimed by Harper. Edner said Khadr's case should receive the same, if not more, attention from Canada because he was a minor when arrested and the UN children protection protocol should apply.

And check out the following article in Rolling Stone which they descibe as " one of the most harrowing stories we’ve read all year: a blow-by-blow description of the experience of a teenage jihadist who has been tortured by Americans in Gitmo for the last four years."

The Unending Torture of Omar Khadr Oct 4, 2006 Gitmo torture Matt Groller / Rolling Stone at

And from the Globe and Mail :

U.S. terror trials in doubt after Khadr PAUL KORING Globe and Mail June 5, 2007 GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — A no-nonsense military judge lobbed a bombshell into the Bush administration's controversial terrorist tribunals, dismissing all charges against Canadian Omar Khadr Monday because prosecutors failed to label him an "unlawful" combatant. "Charges are dismissed without prejudice," Colonel Peter Brownback said brusquely, putting an abrupt end to Mr. Khadr's trial — at least for the moment. The stunning ruling won't free Mr. Khadr, 20, from his Caribbean island gulag, but it could sink the already discredited tribunals set up to try detainees like him who are accused of terrorism. In the courtroom, Mr. Khadr, with a shaggy beard and unkempt black hair, sat staring straight ahead, seemingly disdainful and perhaps deliberately uninterested in the legal drama swirling around him. He had refused to stand when the judge entered the room.

And here is an article from the CTV network pointing out that Omar Khadr was brought up in a family of Islamic Fanatics & he had no real choice in his fate & merely obeyed & respected his parents wishes as the Christian Religious Right is constantly telling us that children should respect & obey their parents no matter what since it is in their view that it is a sin to do otherwise which is just what Islamic Fundamentalist also preach - see Jesus Camp or The Battle Cry Ministries & Regent University for examples of Christian indoctrination ...

The Khadr family- Jan. 12 2006

Sarah Challands, News Staff

Omar Khadr is the only Canadian to be held at the U.S. detention centre for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The teen's pre-trial hearing on murder charges marks the latest chapter in the murky saga of the Khadr clan, who have often been referred to as Canada's 'al Qaeda family.'

Born to Arab parents who emigrated to Canada from Egypt in 1977, the six Khadr children grew up mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s and 1990s.

They were reared in an atmosphere of religious and political extremism that was hostile to Western values.

As a family, they reportedly once spent a month living in Osama bin Laden's Afghan compound and the al Qaeda mastermind even attended eldest daughter Zaynab Khadr's wedding.

The four sons also attended al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, the Khadr family fled Afghanistan when U.S. forces invaded.

Family patriach Ahmed Said Khadr, who was a reputed al Qaeda financier and friend of bin Laden, was killed in a gun battle in Pakistan in 2003.

The youngest son, Karim, was paralysed in the same attack that killed his father. He returned to Canada with his mother in April 2004 to get medical treatment.

Another son, Abdurahman, spent more than a year in U.S. custody before being allowed to return to live in Canada.

And check out this commentary by Gary Reid on " America's Ambivalence to Child Soldiers " 11/23/2005 The Other News
“It is immoral that adults should want children to fight their wars for them. There is simply no excuse, no acceptable argument for arming children.” -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The first wide-scale use of child soldiers occurred during the Iran-Iraq war, in the 1980s.Despite the sharia’s proscriptions against the practice, the Ayatollah Khomeini allowed child recruitment into the military. The children were used as cannon fodder, sent into forward positions to charge the well-armed Iraqi army in human waves. The Iraqis gassed them. Approximately 100,000 Iranian children perished in that war.

Three-quarters of all the military conflicts currently underway around the globe involve some or many children being used as soldiers. They show up in Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Turkey, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The United Nations estimates 800,000 children are presently combatants or being trained to be combatants.

...This brings us to the troubling case of Omar Kadhr, a combatant in the Afghanistan war, captured by American troops.Kadhr was indoctrinated by his family in the al-Qaeda value system from an early age. His father put him in harms’ way in Afghanistan. and then was killed in the service of al-Qaeda in a 14-hour gun battle with the Pakistani army. One of Omar’s teenage brothers was shot in the spine and crippled in the same fight.

Kadhr, now 19, is to be tried for murder by a U.S. military court. He has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for four years, and, according to Amnesty International, has been subjected to various forms of torture.

When Kadhr was in Afghanistan, he was 15, and apparently threw a grenade at American soldiers, killing one and wounding another. Kadhr was shot three times and lost an eye. He was the last survivor of a 5-hour battle that involved numerous aerial bombardments.

One wonders why the U.S. military would be prosecuting him for murder.

It was combat. They were all soldiers doing soldiers’ work -- they shot at each other, and tried to blow each other up. How does that translate into murder?

He is also a child soldier. Why would they prosecute a child soldier, period?

According to P. W. Singer, author of Children at War (Pantheon Books, New York):

“A ‘child soldier’ is generally defined (under both international law and common practice) as any person under eighteen years of age who is engaged in deadly combat or combat support as part of an armed force or group.”

The essence of the status of a child soldier is that he or she is a victim as much as a perpetrator. The obvious defense against an accusation of wrong-doing is that the child was not of an age that permitted an informed, rational decision. This is further bolstered where the child has been coerced into the conflict.

Omar Kadhr is a test case for the commitment of the United States to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

No longer are we philosophizing from a safe distance about African children killing other Africans in bush wars that do not touch our lives. Now we are staring at the face of a child soldier who killed one of us, in one of our wars.

As America continues to be involved in world conflicts, it will undoubtedly be fighting many more child soldiers. Very few professional American soldiers are comfortable killing children, even when they are wielding AK-47s and grenades.

How the U.S. military justice system handles the child soldier aspect of this case will have serious implications for the future of warfare. Given the manner in which it has dealt with Kadhr so far, the outlook is not optimistic for his trial

And also see:

The NewStandard Gitmo Detainee Allegedly Tortured at 15 to Face Tribunal by Catherine Komp March 13, 2006 With the US military moving forward with the unprecedented trial of a prisoner captured at age 15, human rights lawyers are appealing to an international body for an injunction. American University attorneys will present testimony in Washington, DC today before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in an attempt to suspend the trial before military tribunal of Omar Khadr, a Canadian-born youth held for four years at Guantánamo. Khadr’s attorneys say the trial of their client would violate international treaties to which the US is a party. They accuse the US of denying Khadr’s rights by placing him in harsh facilities with adult detainees, denying him access to lawyers for over two years, and subjecting him to humiliation and torture. "Regardless of his status – whether he was a civilian, a combatant or an unlawful combatant – the US simply isn’t respecting the minimal guarantees of due process and protection of children that it owes him," said Sheku Sheikholeslami, an AU law-clinic student and member of Khadr’s defense team. A Child Defendant After detaining Khadr since 2002, the US finally issued charges against him last November, accusing him of murder, attempted murder, aiding the enemy, and conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders. ...

..."I think the important thing not to forget is that [Khadr] may be 19 now, but he was 15 at the time of these alleged offenses, he was a child," said Julie Engel, another law student working on Khadr’s defense. The Convention on the Rights of the Child – to which the US is a signatory – instructs governments to provide "physical and psychological recovery and . . . social reintegration" to juveniles recruited or used in hostilities.
Khadr’s lawyers argue that while other children captured in the so-called "war on terror" were held in Camp Iguana – facilities that provided classes, physical activities, roommates, and better food -- Khadr was physically and psychologically abused during detention.

and also check out Canadian Blogger

Take care , GORD

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