Exclusive: The secret Omar Khadr interview you’re not supposed to see

‘Get me out of this place,’ says the lone Canadian imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay

Locked away at Guantánamo Bay for the past decade, Omar Khadr is closer than ever to coming home. But one final obstacle appears to be blocking his return to Canada: a secret, videotaped interview he gave to an American psychiatrist two years ago.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews—who will ultimately decide whether Khadr can transfer to a Canadian prison—recently asked the Pentagon to hand over a copy of the 2010 interview (among other pieces of evidence), hoping it could shed some light on the “real” Omar Khadr. The tape was delivered to Ottawa earlier this month, and although many Canadians are demanding to see it, the contents have remained a secret.

Until now.

Maclean’s has viewed a transcript of this pivotal videotape and, in a world exclusive, takes readers inside the seven-hour interview. It’s a chilling glimpse into the two faces of Omar Khadr: the tearful child soldier who dreams of coming back to Toronto and the remorseless murderer who, even now, refuses to admit that his notorious father was a senior al-Qaeda terrorist. “I think he was just a normal dad,” he said. “He was just trying to raise his children the right way.”

At one point during the interview, Khadr is asked what he misses most about his former life, which famously ended, at age 15, when he was shot and captured by U.S. troops during a deadly firefight in Afghanistan. “I miss being trusted,” said Khadr, now 26. “Nobody trusts me, and they don’t trust me because of something I didn’t do or I was made to do. I was never given a chance.”

Asked about Canada, he replied: “It’s a country I can call home.”

To read more of senior writer Michael Friscolanti’s exclusive story, pick up this week’s issue of Maclean’s, on newsstands now.




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Exclusive: The secret Omar Khadr interview you’re not supposed to see

  1. Let him rot in Gitmo. Why in the world should we let him back when we don’t have to?

    • Because we believe in the rule of law. And because we don’t like terrorists. Not we don’t like THEIR terrorists but are fine with our own; no, we don’t like terrorists, period.

      • If you believe in law, don’t you believe in the International Transfer of Offender’s Act? Under that law, Toews should not let him return. What rule of law are you believing in?

        • Well, we could start with the international ones like about child soldiers and information obtained by torture, move on to the ones about being detained indefinitely without a trial, follow that one up with full and fair trial, and end with the Charter.

          • You believe made up stuff. Khadr is no child soldier, and had a fair trial and pled guilty under a plea bargain. He was never tortured – that’s in the interview! He doesn’t deny anything. Under the Charter he has both rights AND obligations. He took up arms against his own country. We call that treason. Honestly, you’ve believed the BS and don’t know the reality. Read the interview when it hits the news stands.

          • It is true I haven’t read the transcripts of an interview with a psychiatrist. You know, the interviews protected by confidentiality laws. My reading of the child soldier agreements we signed is that someone under 18 is considered a child and if they are in a battle they would be a soldier. He pled guilty in order to get out of Guantanamo and home to Canada (where we’d be able to keep an eye on him, as he pled guilty as part of the plea bargain–I’m not asserting here that this isn’t one f&cked up guy).

          • You have believed propaganda. The interview is part of his trial and in no way confidential. He offered an affirmative defence to the charges. That is to say he admits the conduct and claims his actions were justified or excused. He had the burden of proof to establish an affirmative defence and this very statement is his attempt to do so. The prosecutor need not accept his claims unchallenged and is allowed to cross-examine him and test the validity of his claims. He had to prove that he was coerced so that his actions were not of his own free will. Read the transcript. Any proof of that? Does he even claim that? He was assembling roadside bombs and killed using a grenade! Don’t 16 year old murderers face adult consequences in Canada? Or is being under 18 a catch-all excuse for anything?

          • There are special protections provided to children
            and young people under the Youth Criminal Justice Act that are referred
            to in the International Transfer of Offender’s aCt, which should be
            applicable here.

            As always, there are many laws that play
            together here that minister Toews will have to recognize. But he does
            have to take into account the fact that the Canadian government
            participated in the violation of Omar Khadr’s rights. The Supreme Court
            of Canada agreed on this fact unanimously. TWICE.

            If you are
            arguing that under the Transfer of Offender’s Act that he could
            represent a threat, I would argue that it would be more intelligent to
            let him return home now, and serve the rest of his sentence in CAnada so
            that he can be rehabilitated. There are no Canadian documents that say
            that once a Canadian citizen serves their sentence in a foreign jail,
            that they must stay in that jail or a foreign nation. In fact, most
            would return home. So if your biggest concern is Canadian safety, I
            would think that you might want to rethink your stance, and be arguing
            that he comes to a Canadian jail so that the rehabilitative process can
            be started now.

            He got his sentence. He’s facing the consequences. But he doesn’t have a life sentence. It’s not like
            he can legally be left in Guantanamo Bay forever. He’s got six years
            left to serve, and Canada is his only country of citizenship. now the
            question is: how do we rehabilitate him so that the transition is as
            smooth as possible. Putting the question of him being a child soldier
            entirely aside, since I’m assuming you don’t want to argue on that basis
            – on the basis of SECURITY – the best option is to have him come home
            now while he can seek proper counseling, psychological help and
            assessment…not in 6 years when his sentence is over and the
            Conservatives are done playing their game. And have nothing left to do.
            You might not like him – but he’s a Canadian citizen – like any other
            person you will find in prison – and just as their sentences have
            limits- so does his.

            So the question is…where do you want him to serve his sentence before he comes home?

          • There are and should be protections for youth criminals. But that standard must be objective. Khadr was not acting as a youth. He committed adult offenses and should face adult consequences. Assembling roadside bombs and murdering using a grenade after joining an enemy at war with Canada and targeting your own country? Pretty sophisticated adult conduct and hardly a childish error worthy of legal excuse. The International Transfer of Offender’s Act has many things that disqualify people from returning Khadr to Canada. Khadr fits into every single one of them. So if the law is followed, there is no justification under this law to allow him to return.

          • But as Laur stated Once his sentence is over, there is no justification for not letting him come back to Canada. What do you propose we do in 6 years if you have your way and Toews denies his transfer?

          • When his sentence is up, Khadr will still be subject to the provisions of the International Transfer of Offenders act. The law does not compel his return, it allows it under certain criteria. If he does return to Canada, I expect he will be tried for the separate offence of high treason. He most likely will never return even if he is set free by the USA.

          • In 6 years he will have served his time. He can then walk up to a Canadian border and cannot be refused entry, as he is a Canadian citizen.

          • Khadr did not have a fair trial. It was a mockery, and part of the reason Toews doesn’t want him back is he will sue the Government for not defending his rights as they were constitutionally required to do.
            And your affirmation that he was not a child soldier is weak, He wasn’t always 15. He was a child being inducted into a terrorist organization before he ‘allegedly’ threw the grenade.

          • The US Supreme Court said he got a fair trial. But hypothetically if he didn’t, what evidence could have have presented but didn’t? What exactly is his legitimate defence at his trial that he didn’t present at the last one? He pled guilty. In that guilty plea, he stated that he was waiving all his rights and admitting every element of every offence charged and that he was doing so of his own free will. The length and breadth of the rights and legal protections he was waiving was explained in lengthy and excruciating detail and he was represented by multiple lawyers who likewise swore there was a factual basis for each and every charge and that they too agree with the plea and have advised and consulted with Khadr about every detail of the plea. The propaganda breaks down pretty easily when the factual sunshine illuminates reality.

          • “Nobody trusts me, and they don’t trust me because of something I didn’t do or I was made to do. I was never given a chance.”

            That doesn’t square with this. Besides you conveniently ignore the fact he was making a plea bargain. Lord knows what he would have got if he had simply fought everything on the basis of not guilty. What would you do under similar circumstances? Go for 8 years and a chance to get out of the Guantanamo hell hole or go for broke?
            I think i’ll read it and make up my own mind thanks.

          • Hey was a child soldier who was 15 or 16 at the time, a child soldier under US, Canadian, and international law, a victim of a crime.

            Also both the US Supreme Court (In Hamndan v Rumsfeld) and the Canadian Supreme Court (in Khadr) found the military commission established for the first 6 years at Guantanmo to be unconstitutional.

            We don’t know if this regime also is, although it presumably is since it lacks the hallmarks of a tribunal established under the rule of law, but we do know that no evidence was tested and that he was convicted exclusively on his admission, which included amon other things an admission that the Geneva Conventions don’t apply to him, an agreement never to subject any of the evidence to testing, and an agreement never to appeal any of the findings in any tribunal.

            If that sounds legitimate to you, we have very different standards about the rule of law.

          • Again, this is propaganda believed by many, but untrue. Canada’s Supreme Court ordered no remedy of any kind. This issue was supposedly violating his rights by turning him over to the USA. The ruling was pure politics. Just like the people here defending Khadr don’t really care about Khadr, they hate Harper. In your ideal scenario, what evidence could Khadr have presented but didn’t? What would be his legitimate defence in a completely open and fair trial run by your standards of complete justice? Anything? Anything at all?

          • uh, no. read the cases.

          • What are you referring to? Read the Khadr case, then make some logical argument.

        • Terrorist types love people like you so soft on them that you let them kill over and over again.

          The only solution to a murdering lying scumbag like this is loaded into a gun and fired into his head, a much quicker and merciful end than he gave to others with his IED’s.

          If you love him and his like so much move to the middle east and let us be free of one more jihadist loving lefty!!!

          • Thank god you’re not a soldier and don’t actually have the opportunity to do the things you describe.

        • Doesn’t apply. neither the court of appeal or the supreme court even bothered considering it.

          • Considered what? GFMD I have NFI what you are referring to.

    • personally i think you should be shot dead.

      • The tolerant left.

    • We have to because we agreed to – unless of course you have no respect for agreements made by our government or our diplomatic relations with the US.

      • Diplomats can’t “agree” to disobey the International Transfer of Offenders Act. The diplomats exchanged letters saying Canada would “look favourably” on the request. This was done by the Liberals under Paul Martin. Hardly an enforceable agreement obligating Canada to do anything.

        • It was done under Harper, not the Liberals.

  2. My god. He says wants out of that hellhole? HE MUST BE GUILTY.

    • I am willing to bet your sarcasm went over the heads of those who vilify Omar!

  3. Fiscolanti’ refers to Khadr as a “”remorseless murderer”. That is very strong and condemning language. Khadr was a child soldier and international laws don’t condemn young persons who have been trained to fight in adult wars , Nevertheless, is he a murderer because he was on the wrong side. Does Fiscolanti think all soldiers are murderers or just Khadr.

    • For him to be a child soldier, he’d have to have been acting under coercion such that he was not acting of his own free will. Khadr has not claimed that happened. He didn’t present that defence nor are there any facts he could have presented to establish that. The transcript being published here IS his affirmative defence to the charges. He admitted the acts and his defence is the statements made in the transcript. When you offer an affirmative defence, the burden shifts to the defendant to prove his conduct is either, justified or excused. This very statement is his excuse for his trial. Read it and see if what he says justifies or excuses his conduct.

      • It is very rare for child soldiers to admitted they were being coerced. I would suggest reading the stories of some child soldiers. Many have been quoted as saying that they viewed themselves primarily as soldiers, and were seeking to kill all muslims/enemies/service workers.

        Check out Emmanuel Jal or Ishmael Beah – Ishamel Beah wrote a book about his experience as a child soldier. I think it might be enlightening.

        It was only after rehabilitation that these child soldiers were able to realize what they had done, and that they had been brainwashed. Omar Khadr has not had any rehabilitative treatment yet, but is still being treated as a criminal ten years later. How can we expect him to be able to make those claims?

        • No doubt child soldiers exist and no doubt the legitimate ones can’t be held responsible. But objectively speaking, Khadr is in no respect whatsoever a child soldier. Calling him that diminishes the meaning of that trauma. Apples and oranges Laura.

          • And what qualifies someone as a legitimate child soldier?

            The United Nations wrote a letter acknowledging him, and defining him as a child soldier in 2010, which means that the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the child should and does apply to him.

          • Under that protocol he’d have to be under age 14. These things aren’t blanket excuses for any and all conduct. Neither Khadr or his lawyers made this argument – because there is no basis for it. You believe propaganda. It’s as simple as that.

          • How does Khadr qualify as a child soldier? What is the actual evidence other than his age? Why is your default position total exoneration? Lay out the case that does not depend on belief or suspension of disbelief?

          • The United Nations wrote to the Military tribunal acknowlding that he was a Canadian child soldier in 2010. So what in your mind makes him so different that he shouldn’T be granted this status?

            And how do you propose we objectively decide who is and who isn’t a child soldier?

            I strongly suggest you read some of the writings of former child soldiers to understand the hate that they harboured for their enemies. It sounds like you have a romanticized view of child soldiers that assumes they are drugged and hating what they are doing the whole time. I have read statements from former child soldiers proclaiming death to UNICEF workers who didn’t respect the authority of them as soldiers. Those children were later rehabilitated and live normal lives.

            Do they count as child soldiers?

          • Comparing the writings of former child soldiers proves beyond all doubt that Khadr was not a child soldier by such comparison. Khadr was Canadian and grew up in Ontario and attended private school. And that’s like a little African kid living in dirt who was forced to kill his own mother to survive? Please. Just listen to yourself.

          • Still a romanticized view. It’s not as black and white as you want it to be, and there are tough questions to answer, And I hope you take time to actually research the things taht I’m suggesting to you, because they are important.

            Many child soldiers are not – in your manner of saying it “African kids living in the dirt.” This is a different topic, but don’t dismiss the whole continent of Africa as bush where there’s only war and ethnic conflict.
            Yes, if rebels come to your door, it might be “kill or be killed”. But I feel like Khadr might have felt like it was “kill or be killed” when the US military started bombing the compound. A lot of people argue that he should have left with the women and children. But we don’t know what happened behind closed doors. We don’t know how the men he was with treated him either, or what kind of repurcussions would have waited for him if he had chosen to abandon the compound.

            I will be willing to discuss this with you when you actually take a look into the other side, and actually research what some child soldiers have done, and the type of families they came from. Military recruiters do prey on the weak and vulnerable, but father’S and cousins also use family influence to get their young relatives to fight for a cause that they believe in.

            And those people, that come from wealthy backgrounds, or middle class backgrounds can still be brainwashed and deserve proper rehabilitation.

          • By your own standards Khadr isn’t a child soldier. Where is the evidence he was brain-washed? Don’t you think his total exoneration requires something in the way of evidence? What is it? You have the burden of proof here. It’s not up to me to prove every conspiracy theory wrong. You tell us what the proof is that Khadr was brainwashed and should not be held responsible for murder, treason, conspiracy, etc. He was building roadside bombs. He killed his rescuers with a grenade. He and his own lawyers aren’t even making the claims and defences you are. They can’t or they would. You simply have believed the propaganda hook line and sinker. You have been brainwashed. You believe the worst of Canada. But you have no legitimate reason to. Admit it, this is just transferred hatred of Mr. Harper isn’t it?

          • I know you read it earlier, because you replied to it, that there were child soldiers who wanted to kill UNICEF workers for not respecting them as soldiers. And tried. And they were rehabilitated. And these were rescuers that didn’t first bomb them. So how does Khadr not fit into that descriotion? After being bombed by the Americans, how could he view them as his rescuers rather than his enemies? Was he not more justified than his these other child soldiers that have been rehabilitated to see these people as his enemies rather than his – as you put it – rescuers.

            I would honestly like to see where you would have stood if their cases had come to trial. If one had killed a UNICEF worker…would he still be a child soldier?

            Khadr was, once again, recruited at 13 by his father. He didn’t join these men the day for the Americans attacked. He also would have been brought up with this mentality for years. When did he have the opportunity to choose something else for himself? Or the resources? His age is a big part of it – you are right. And it should be. As a 13 year old, and even younger, seeing his dad engage in these issues – where was his cognitive capacity to challenge his father’s authority and reason his way out of it?

            I’m am not advocating that he should be set free to run around, but I am advocating that he be allowed to serve the rest of his sentence in Canada so that he can receive proper psychological treatment and rehabilitative measures can be put in place.

            If he was tried in an open court, and these facts were proven to be true, I would leave it. But the fact is, he was tried in a military tribunal. Even his defense counsel is from the US military. The jury was US military. Documents were witheld. Certain people were not allowed to testify. It was not a fair, open trial.

            HE is the first minor to be tried with war crimes since the term war crimes was defined after the 2nd world war. He is the only person in the entire war to be tried for the murder of anyone in the entire war in Afghanistan.

            I know he is defined as an illegal enemy combattant. But how can the American or Canadian military be legally at war with that entity, and they not be at turn, legally at war with them? Special categories of people were made up to allow for the torture and mistreatment of Omar Khadr. This wasn<t something that slipped easily into the laws we have, or that was easily permissible. This had to happen off of US soil, and special categories had to be made to allow for this treatment.

            Are you also aware that our current government has been discussing laws that would allow evidence under torture to be used in court? Would that not go against our constitution?

            Canada has generally been a leader in human rights, and our own Supreme Court rules twice unanimously that our government violated Khadr's rights. Not once, but twice. Unanimously. Not another government. Not a human rights organization. Our own court. I'm not believing the worst of Canada, but believing that Canada is a nation that has encouraged rehabilitation into society after crimes – and should continue to do so.

            And I would appreciate it if you wouls stop talking about propaganda – because as much as you think I've bought into left wing propaganda, I think you've bought into Conservative party propaganda. I've read the documents. I've read the interviews. I've read Welner's report and Xenakis' report. I've read the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child, and various human rights documents.

            In the words of Colonel Morris Davis:

            US Air Force Officer and lawyer that served as 3rd Chief Prosecutor in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

            "It's not a bunch of bleeding
            hearts saying our governments need to do better in this case. I spent 25
            years in the U.S. armed forces and Senator Romeo Dallaire was a
            Canadian lieutenant-general who took on and testified against war
            criminals."

          • So the quote didn’t work…but it<S a quote by chief prosecutor SGT. Morris Davis. “And it’s not a bunch of bleeding hearts saying our governments need to
            do better in this case. I spent 25 years in the U.S. armed forces and
            Senator Romeo Dallaire was a Canadian lieutenant-general who took on and
            testified against war criminals.”

          • In a real court of law, Khadr must prove with evidence that his actions were coerced and that without such coercion he wouldn’t have acted as he did. His age mitigates things, which is why he got just eight years for murder. There just aren’t any actual facts or even claims by Khadr or his defence attorneys that his actions were against his own free will. I think you could prove it if someone was a child soldier. Khadr didn’t. And there is no evidence whatsoever that he was. Arguing over United Nations letters has no application in the real world or in a real court of law. The United Nations approved the war, but you don’t consider them the authority as far as the war’s legality but you do consider them the authority on who is a child soldier? What evidence did the United Nations provide to support the contention that Khadr is a child soldier? Why would his own defence attorneys not produce that evidence or make that argument? The reason is they can’t because none of it applies to Khadr. I realize what you believe. I’m asking you to prove with logic, reason, and evidence whether that belief is true. If something is incapable of being proven true or false – it can’t possibly be true and can only be a belief or a feeling. That’s called the rule of falsifiability.

            The burden of proof is completely on Khadr to establish the truth and applicability of an affirmative defence like this. What proof is there? Explain it. Lay it out. Make the argument. You are assuming the truth of the very thing you have the burden of proving. Hypotheticlly what document could exist and what could be in it that could prove the defence? What witness could testify and what could they hypothetically say that would establish the defence? Why wouldn’t his own lawyers tell us out of court what this evidence is if it did exist and was withheld? Why wouldn’t Khadr talk about it? Pointing to the locked closet or the secret evidence is meaningless. Even hypothetically, you can’t say what it could be, let alone what it is.

          • Once again, read the writings of a former child soldier. I am trying to give you evidence, and have even given you names, but you have not looked further into it. I can tell you haven’t, because I have read writings of former child soldiers that have been rehabilitated that state that in the moment, they were not acting against their own free will, but saw themselves as soldiers to be feared. It was after their rehabilitation was started that they realized what they had done, and where doing. Acting against your free will and being convinced to do something by authority figures that you don’t understand are two different things, but they can both be considered child soldiers…yes, largely because their age. Because an adolescent does not have the same reasoning capactiy as a 22 year old. And Khadr, need I mention again, was not recruited at 16. Not at 15. But officially recruited at 13 (I believe has been the age used) although the mentality would have been something he was likely exposed to starting as a very young child. Omar didn’t show up out of the blue one day, deciding to kill Americans. Where did this mentality come from?

            There are child soldiers that were forced to kill their family members. That’s obviously against their free will. There are also child soldiers that were recruited by older brothers, fathers, uncles, etc, and are told what to believe, and given weapons. They kill, and legitmately believe that they are soldiers. What sets them apart? Yup. Their age, and their vulnerability because of it. Their ability to be molded because of their age. That’s why child soldiers are used so frequently…they are easy to manipulate, say what you want them to, and easy to convince of things if you hold a position of authority.
            You are essentially arguing that those child soldiers are not legitimate and do not deserve protection. You keep ignoring that point that I have made over and over, and arguing in circles. The United Nations has recognized children such as this as child soldiers, including Omar Khadr. The danger with Omar Khadr’s case, is that it could have negative, long term effects on how other child soldiers are treated, because he does fall into the second category.

            I understand that you want someone to write it all to you, and prove it to you in black and white, but the fact is, it’s not. It can’t be. If you would actually read what some of the people I have suggested to you wrote, you would begin to see that.

            People asking for him to come back to Canada, aren’t asking for him not to be punished. When his sentence is done, he will have served sixteen years. Which is a hefty sentence for a 15 year old that committed murder. I thing most people under 18 don’t get more than 10.

            He received no protection as a minor, and not only was he treated like an adult, he was abused on top of that. That’s why people are crying out that it’s an injustice – not necessarily because they are trying to protest his innocence. He is serving his time. That isn’t the issue here. The issue is that he should be allowed to return to his only country of citizenship.

          • The stories of real child soldiers prove that Khadr wasn’t one. He was in no way subjected to nor were his actions anything like those of actual child soldiers. In a court of law coercion requires some kind of proof. And coercion is not a legal defence for murder either, even if it could be proven. The 8 years for murder is plenty of mitigation under the circumstances.

            He wasn’t abused or tortured. Read the actual interview where he is asked directly. There are some 1500 Canadians in foreign jails. We’re supposed to bring them all home?

            Laura, in spite of your beliefs, Khadr wasn’t brainwashed or coerced. He’s no different than any of the millions of other people just like him you see on TV every day protesting against Israel or the USA. Are we to believe that everyone else in the middle-east just spontaneously developed the Jihad fever but Khadr would not have except for being brainwashed? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. There just isn’t a scintilla of evidence to support what you believe. You are just being silly. This is anti-Harper claptrap, nothing more.

          • There is evidence that he was waterboarded and held in stress positions. The majority of those other 1500 Canadians likely aren’t.

            Also, I don’t think you’ve delved enough into the stories of child soldiers to be able to make that statement, and you still refuse to look into it. You haven’t addressed what a real child soldier is, or what it isn’t, and I would argue that you should probably do a lot more research before you try and make those claims. I’m not hear to win an argument, I legitimately want you to read the writings of those child soldiers so that you can see the parallels, because I legitimately think that there are complexities in this case that your argument totally misses.

            Yes, there is anti-US sentiment a lot in the Middle East – and there are probably children that could be classified as child soldiers in that context if a war scenario was to occur. Of course not everyone that is against the US, that believs in a fundamentalist islam is a child soldier…that’s ridiculous. But what if they are children or adolescents? Do they not get to claim that status because instead of fighting against rebels in Africa (or with rebels in Africa), and they take arms against a developed nation that their age, upbringing, or coercion used to bring them into the militia should somehow be ignored? His age IS ultimately what sets him apart. People are taking up his case BECAUSE of his age…and that does, and should matter. You can’t just toss that aside.

            And once again…it’s not about protesting his innocence. He’s been punished. But if he’s really as bad as you say he is, then why would you not want him receiving proper psychological help in the last bit of his sentence rather than staying in Guantanamo Bay. He was born in CAnada, this is his only country of citizenship. And he did not choose to leave – his parents took him.

            This isn’t about party line politics, it’s about being treated properly by your government. Chrétien and Martin left him there as well…this isn’t about Harper alone, all though his government has been mishandling the case for many years now.

            I would reccommend reading the article by Chris Selley today in The National Post as well.

          • He was not waterboarded. You just made that up and there is no such evidence. Why do you believe this? This is all very troubling that people really believe in their heart in enemy propaganda. I’m afraid you’ve become just another “useful idiot” to be exploited. Snap out of it.

            When he does set foot in Canada and get re-arrested for treason here’s a little something to look forward to. One of the punishments for treason is the loss of his rights of citizenship. Yep, Khadr after he finishes his prison term for treason will be removed as a stateless person. I’m sure he’ll go right back to terrorism. However, Canada won’t be dealing with him.

            You can make excuses and rationalize the situation all you want. It’s total BS. Canada is the government we are talking about and Canada didn’t do a GD thing. The proper remedy isn’t rewarding a terrorist in Canada.

            The punishment for treason in the USA is death by firing squad. If Khadr was a US citizen and everything happened the same way he’d be facing execution.

          • @sidneyspit: Khadr has never been IN a “real court of law.” He was tried by a military tribunal. It is not the kind of court we see in TV dramas. It does not operate under the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

      • First of all, I don’t believe you about the child soldier thing. Because the whole idea is they are brainwashed to do it, not held at knife-point to do it. That would defeat the purpose, after all, which is to get a supply of very expendable extra guns in a battle. If you have to train one gun on each extra gun, you don’t have any extra guns. Much like cult members, it is their own free will, once their free will has been corrupted.

        • Khadr and his lawyers offered no such defence. Are his lawyers subject to Stockholm syndrome too? Under no legal definition is Khadr a child soldier. There isn’t a teenager in Afghanistan that isn’t influenced by the beliefs of their parents. You could excuse every soldier of every age in Afghanistan if that were the standard. Read the interview and see if Khadr defended himself as you believe. You decide if he has provided some kind of proof or reasoning or evidence that his conduct should be excused or was legally justifiable. You have believed propaganda. If Khadr is a Canadian citizen, he is a traitor to Canada. Of that there can be no doubt whatsoever.

      • There are many child soldiers that did not initially state that they
        were remorseful for their actions. I suggest your ead the book written
        by Ishamel Beah, or read some interviews with Emmanuel Jal to understand
        more on the mentality of child soldiers.

        They both talk about
        seeing themselves as soldiers, as wanting to be respected as soldiers
        and wanted to do nothing but kill the enemy.

        The majority of
        child soldiers do not realize what they’ve done, or do not say they were
        brainwashed until they’ve been rehabilitated. It’s not like everything stopped in Guantanamo, and he had ten years to
        reflect on what he has done. HE has been sleep deprived, water boarded,
        threated with sexual abuse and humiliated. Omar Khadr has been in
        Gitmo for ten years, treated like a criminal the whole time, and has not
        been rehabilitated. How can you expect him to say that he was
        brainwashed or a child soldier when he is still in a prison that has not
        offered any such rehabilitative measures.

        • So his own lawyers were brainwashed and could not offer that defence and some kind of proof or evidence that was what happened? You believe propaganda.

      • First, the Convention does *not* require duress for a minor to be considered a child soldier. Neither under Canadian nor under US nor under international law does a minor have the capacity to agree to be a soldier and using them as one is a crime committed by his father not by the victim.

        Second, there is simply no evidence Khadr threw a grenade that killed Christopher Speer. There simply is none, which is why his plea included an admission to all allegations and gave up the right to have any evidence tested or any finding appealed.

        Third, self-defence is justification for killing under the laws of war and under Canadian and US law. Even if the allegations against him were proven he did not commit a crime by killing a US serviceperson who was engaged on an attack on the house he was visiting. That attack involved over 100 US and Afghan forces with light and heavy weapons and helicopter and A-10 air support, and the attack killed everyone there and badly wounded Khadr (who lost an eye among other things).

        His conviction was entered by an unconstitutional tribunal and serves only as evidence that the rule of law must be preserved so people are not subject to 10 years detention without trial in a torture camp then convicted on their admissions. Not even the Inquisition took 10 years to extract confessions.

        • Self-defence eh? You don’t even know what happened. A purported Canadian citizen treasonously fighting for the opposition against Canada in a war can lie in wait and toss a grenade into a room of people openly announcing their presence and looking to rescue survivors and that is self-defence? And those violent aggressors still rescue Khadr and provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical care to save his sight? Pretty unreasonable. Khadr and his lawyers didn’t make that claim — because they couldn’t. It didn’t happen as you believe. You believe propaganda.

          Khadr was not tortured. He openly bragged about what he did. Didn’t you know that?

          • Sidney-spit..let’s examine your comments “purported Canadian citizen” being born in Canada entitles a person to citizenship, unless you are making laws up yourself. “can lie in wait and toss a grenade into a room of people openly announcing their presence”…now that is quite the vivid imagination. Speer was a member of Special Delta Forces and was trained to kill. While he was also a medic by training, court documents call him a special forces soldier. They attacked the house, it was not a mission of friendly rescue. “and those violent aggressors still rescue Khadr and provide thousands of dollars of medical care”. Hahhaah…perhaps you would like to have had Khadr’s rescue–torture at Bagram, held up by his arms for hours despite his wounds, threatened with rape, held without charges in Guantanamo for several years, not allowed to sleep and moved from room to room, just to mention some of the so-called generosity of the American interrogators.

          • Khadr was not tortured. In the interview published, he makes no claim of any such thing. He’s asked specifically if he was tortured. Read what his worst “torture” consists of Helen. Again, now, after the fact in the clear sunshine, what is his legitimate defence? What is the evidence in support of his claims or your beliefs? We not just going to assume the truth of conspiracy theories.

          • Audrey Macklin, UofToronto Law Professor was present as an observer at the military commission and in her essay “Rule of Law, Force of Law and the Rule of Force ” which appeared in the book “Omar Khadr, Oh Canada” she writes at length about what transpired in that room with Judge Parrish. “The prosecution states that it intends to rely at trial solely on statements made by Omar to law enforcement interrogators, not to military intelligence interrogators.Therefore the defense does not need access to the intelligence interrogators and their evidence is irrelevant. The defense’s main response is that, before and after Omar was interrogated by FBI and CIA law enforcement officials, he was tortured and subject to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by military intelligence interrogators”
            You are clearly wrong when you say the defense never referred to his torture. Ms. Macklin goes on to say ” the proliferation of rules (set by the Military Commissions Act) had the effect of codifying the evisceration of the rule of law. In other words it was a full-scale assault of laws against law” The US government would not make available the 7 reports of the intelligence interrogators who interviewed Kahdr in Bagram and Guantanamo.
            Joshua Claus, Khadr’s interrogator who was responsible for the torture deaths of 3 detainees, referred in his testimony to the story he and other interrogators used to scare detainees by referring to the Afghan kid was was gang raped by “four big black guys” in a US prison where he ended up dying. Another military witness also heard that Omar was threatened with rape, as Macklin reports in her essay.

            I prefer to consult the legal experts, those who understand the rule of law, those who were actually there in the room to observe.Your half truths and mean spirited approach are cruel and hard to understand as Omar Khadr has done nothing to you. Perhaps he is just your scapegoat and punching bag for other frustrations. (guess you have to write under an anonymous name..are you afraid to give your name?)

          • You can’t pull a watermelon seed out of the melon without disturbing the surrounding flesh Helen. After the fact, now, today, in the sunshine – what is the proof for what you believe? Consult legal experts? About what law dispute? Where/what is the false evidence obtained by torture? Were the victims tortured to to testify as to what happened? Why years later didn’t Khadr or his lawyer tell us “the truth”? If things are as you say events would have transpired much differently.

            Just admit it. You hate Mr. Harper and all this Khadr defence stuff is your attempt to discredit him, isn’t it? How do you explain Khadr bragging about what he did and his pride in his handiwork after the fact and even today? Khadr wasn’t tortured and never even made the claim. Macklin and you are just standard “useful idiots” and Khadr would just laugh at you and giggle at the absurdity.

    • “Does Fiscolanti think all soldiers are murderers or just Khadr”……Do you mean does Ficolanti think all “terrorists” are murderers? Omar and his father were members of a terrorist organization. When US and Canadian troops answered the 9/11 attack on North American soil, Omar, supposedly a Canadian citizen was there in Afghanistan and hurled a grenade at them…..He was a never a soldier, he was always just a Canadian kid who followed in his father’s footsteps and became a terrorist.
      As for the “child solider” designations, we let Canadians quit school at 16, emancipate themselves from their parents in their mids teens and even check themselves out of the hospital WITHOUT the consent of their guardians at 14 years of age. Wake up and smell the coffee….kids Omar Khadr’s age have making their own life decisions and living on their own in this country for a good long time.

  4. Wow … this is a shamelessly sensationalized article on a very complex issue. Surprised at Macleans…

    • Er…how can you say that? Have you already read the article?

      • I’ve read the article. It says nothing new or revealing, much less “shocking”.

  5. He was trusted by no one and now his quote trying to be respectful to his dad, “I think he was just a normal dad”, makes him a ‘Remorseless Murderer’? He was/is in GITMO remember? In isolation. Gripping every element of the right to exist. Not on your confortable couch.
    And please show evidence Omar Khadr killed someone because at his trial, the militairy court in Guantanamo, they could not. There *is* evidence it was friendly fire.

    • Why did Khadr admit it then and offer no such evidence?

      • Read the plea deal, it makes both of those things very clear. 1. He wasn’t getting out else. 2. Part of the plea deal, he wasn’t allowed evidence or witnesses. Read it.

        • Just so I have this straight, you say Khadr is innocent and had witnesses and evidence to prove it but was not allowed to present those witnesses or evidence. So, he decided to lie about what he had done even though he was innocent and has since told no one the truth about what happened. His own lawyers cannot tell us what the evidence is or what the witnesses would testify to, and they decided to go to trial with the phony defence that Khadr did commit the crime but was legally justified in his actions. And when Khadr signed the plea deal, he lied. When he and his lawyers listened to the judge for 30 minutes recite all the rights he was waiving he lied and waived his rights anyway and his lawyers perjured themselves when they swore to the court there was a factual basis for the charges and that they had consulted with Khadr about all of it and consented to the plea deal — it was all a big lie to get out of jail – a complete fraud on the court. No one has broken their silence and revealed what the secret evidence is or who the secret witnesses are or what they saw? Very convincing. You people really believe this stuff?

          • lol do you honestly think that the American Army would admit wrong doing if they killed their own soldier? When someone dies everyone wants someone to be accountable it’s a natural part of how humans beings think. He was 15 years old when he was arrested, completely alone and alienated and if he tried to fight back do you honestly think they’d let him leave? Who would side with a “terrorist”? There’s no point in telling people the truth because its his word vs the American Army’s word in a US court. This is the fantastic justice system we have at work.

          • Why didn’t he use this defence and produce evidence to prove it? Instead, he made up the phony affirmative defence of “I did it” and was justified in doing so and lost at trial. Just tell us the evidence he could produce in court but didn’t and why. He has the burden of proving he shouldn’t be held accountable because of his youth. Why didn’t they even try to produce such evidence? They can’t or they would have. You assume the truth of the very thing you have the burden of proving.

            He’s in Canada now and in Gitmo for years – he could have told us the truth through his lawyers by now if there was one to tell. Why stay silent? You do realize he’s on video bragging about the crime? You do realize he today does not deny any of it. How does that comport with your skewed beliefs. What do you base your sympathy on anyway?

            Duress is an affirmative defence. Khadr must prove his actions were in involuntary. In the case of murder, duress isn’t even a legal defence, only mitigation. Any way you slice this, the Khadr defenders are naive dupes.

  6. Innocent unless proved guilty

    • He plead guilty to the tribunal

      • After the trial was finished and was sentenced by the jury to 40 years.

  7. For everyone attempting to have a logical conversation with sidneyspit, please save yourself the trouble. His mind is predetermined, nothing anyone can say will change that. He will argue that he is working off the evidence, but he views the evidence as he (and US officials) would like it to be seen. Its comical how Sidneyspit constantly repeats, ad nauseum, “you believe in propoganda”, “you believe in in propaganda”, “you believe in propaganda”; when it is he or she who believes so firmly in propaganda. I feel nothing but sorrow and pity for you Sidneyspit

    • Prove me wrong with some actual facts, logic, or evidence. What weight should we put in beliefs? No amount of belief establishes any fact. If a million people believe a stupid thing, it’s still a stupid thing.

  8. Why are you all continuing to debate with sidneyspit. Clearly his mind is made up and no amount of debate or discussion is going to change it. Leave him alone to wallow in his tiny little world of self-delusion and certainty.

    • Insulting me proves you too have not a bit of logic, reason or evidence either.

      • You bring it on yourself. I’ve never seen someone so inured to logic. I admired your energetic defense of your opinions at first, but it didn’t take long to see that you’re an idealogue more than a rationalist.

        • Name calling always works doesn’t it? You just can’t come up with something cogent. The idealogues you agree with – that’s fine I suppose. Don’t conspiracy theories require “defending”? Why do you accept them as true unquestionably, yet my “spirited ‘defence’ of my ‘opinion’ ” is a problem.

  9. I don’t want him
    You can have him
    Too jihad for me
    Too jihad for me
    Too jihad for me

  10. OK – I’m calling it – $100 says sidneyspit is a nom-de-plume for an undercover Ezra Levant honing his argumentative skills anonymously. I have read the book, seen the movie – verbage is too close to be coincidence. Go to http://disqus.com/sidneyspit/ for a recap of posts made to various media under this name. The main topics commented upon are Omar Khadr, Ethical Oil, and Human Rights Tribunals which just happen to be the topics of Ezra’s three books. I suppose an alternate hypothesis is that sidneyspit is NOT Ezra Levant but actually his ghost writer who penned Ezra’s books for him…

    • Yes, you could be right. Ranting on TV and ranting in print require the same skill sets.

    • It’s most likely a Zionist conspiracy. Or alternatively, you are insane.

  11. Since when are you still a child at 15? 15 year olds are being tryed as adults in these types of crimes. Let him rot in g-bay, or let him be tryed as a traitor and hung. I am sure nobody wants him as a neighbour. It would just be nice if countries actually took care of their own backyards first instead of poking their noses in the backyards of others. Close the borders up until Canada is fixed and fixed properly.

  12. The american government should be ashamed of themselves arresting a 15 year old boy, even if he was brought up by his parents to work as a terrorist. The american miitary went in guns-a-blazing. Did they expect the terrorists to just throw down their guns and surrender? Khadr did what his parents trained him to do. The americans interned him in a prison camp in Cuba becuase they do not have the courage of their convictions to create a prison on US soil. Since when did prisoners of war have to stand trial because they were following orders. This is no justification for the Khadr family but this kid never got a chance at any life but the one forced on him by his parents.And the US carries on the practise of using aerial drones to kill terrorists, and anyone else unlucky to be near them, without a trial and just an educated guess that they have the right person in their sights. Quite a disturbing world we live in to-day, eh?

    • I think arresting him initially was OK. It’s what happened after that’s the problem.

    • Yes Rick;
      as you say “he was brought up by his parents to work as a terrorist”.
      Well they succeeded and indeed he became a murdering bomb making terrorist with new psychiatric information that he is proud of this fact along with his mother and sister (who live in Canada on welfare) supporting him in his murderous ways.
      Leave him in Guitmo- Canada wants hard working honest immigrants not another terrorist.

    • Don’t be a “Richard,” D*ck.

      The Americans should have let the POS bleed out. Would have saved us a lot of trouble.

    • It’s much worse if you believe and accept propaganda and fail to think for yourself and form your beliefs on a reasonable basis. Everything in your message simply isn’t true. You have believed liars and never bothered to check the facts.

  13. The Americans illegally attacked here… they went in guns a blazing and they merely defended themselves… This is what you do when you are being attacked and you see your father killed. This is what a human being does regardless of age and whether you are fighting or not. He was fifteen… which makes him a child soldier… why is he is jail? That was what was reported from the very beginning.

  14. It’s time for omar khadr to come home. it’s been a long time with no real justice for him. people seem to want to blame him for everything and it’s never been clear that he did anything other than be at the wrong place at the wrong time. His father was definitely a problem and it looks like we’re punishing the son for his father’s crimes.

    • I rest my case. You Khadr bunnies are completely out of your minds.

  15. I do not trust Khadr, and I do not want him back in Canada. He is a jihadist and will be a lightning rod for for others of his ilk.

  16. He was with people carring guns, threw a grenade. Let him serve his full sentence there not in Canada, where none of his family respect the country

  17. Another “new” Canadian, who should rot where he is…why and .how did he and his father and the rest of their family immigrate to this country anyway…I watched the interview with his mother who defended her husband and son in fighting with the AL-quada. they should have deported them all and that would have saved our government from wasting time and money to get him released from prison and returned to Canada.

    • He is not a “new” Canadian. He was born in Canada. You cannot deport him.

  18. He wants to ‘come home’ to a place he can ‘call home’. Drop him from an aircraft into Pakistan — from 30,000 ft. Presumably Allah will provide the feathery landing.

  19. He is where he belongs. He is a killer like his father. When he can restore the life he took, and heal the years of suffering his victims family has suffered, then and only then let him free. Otherwise, he and the likes of him can wrot in hell. Just kill the bastard, he’s NOTCANADIAN, and I am sick and tired of us wasting our tax dollars on him. Is anyone else fed up of these animals using our country as a safe haven. Why is it we spend millions trying to identify these terrorists, and millions trying to bring them into our country. Give your head a shake Mr. Toews, Do the right thing and to hell with public pressure. HE IS A MURDERER, Forget him!

  20. This whole discussion seems to turn around whether he was a “child soldier” and its definition. The United Nation appears to define it as a child coerced by physical or psychological means (brainwashed) to participate as a combatant while there appears to be an attempt by some contributors to extend this to children who are influenced by the beliefs of their parents as extreme as they may be. If we accept the first then Omar clearly does not meet this based on his own statements (unless of course you invoke the “he doesn’t know he was coerced” theory) however if we accept the latter not only does Omar meet the “child soldier” definition but all combatants do regardless of their cause as all children are influenced by their parents. Furthermore would this required influence be limited to “immediate family” or extended family as well? And perhaps their community or government? In this particular case the actions took place when Omar was a “child” of 15 but what if he had been say 19 but was initially brainwashed or influenced at say 12 or throughout his lifetime, would his actions be excused since they are the fruit of the initial brainwash or influence? If so we now have a dilemma…

    All terrorists, who fight for unofficial armies such as Omar was, are now combatants and since their dislike, to put it lightly, for their enemies is uniformly bred into them from birth they’re all child combatants and therefore their actions are excused. So what we really need instead of armies of soldiers to combat terrorism is an army of rehabilitation specialists to help them realize, as they are unable on their own, that they have been unduly influenced by their family, friends, society and government. And of course both sides of the issue would require this as both have “suffered” the influence of their respective family, friends, society and government.

    And while this is going on what of those combatants who are captured? Do we practice a “catch and release” theory where combatants are kept for rehabilitation and released? And if so how long do we keep them for and what of those who refuse to be rehabilitated? Are they to be released in the hope they’ll break free on their own of this inbred influence or are they to be held? And do we rehabilitate only those who don’t share the captor’s ideology or only all those who are combatants since non-combatants are not a danger to society. And what of non-combatants who influence those who become combatants? Are they also to be held for rehabilitation? And if they too are the product of their upbringing are they too excused?

    In making decisions regarding the incarceration or holding of prisoners we have traditionally considered the legitimacy of not the cause but the structure and formality of the team for which they fight. This is paramount in that formal fighting forces such as a country’s army respond to instruction from a central order. If they are called back such as at the end of WWII they respond and stop fighting whereas terrorists or illegal combatants do not recognize a central order, they are lifetime combatants. Releasing them back into society is simply reinserting a combatant. If we accept as does every society that the good of the many over-rules the good of the few then holding these combatants for extremely long periods is entirely justified. If however the individual is primary and society is secondary then “catch and release” is appropriate. However in enlisting your support for one or the other one’s decision should not take refuge in the relative safety of their place of residence. Such refuge trivializes the lives of those who suffer the impact of international pressure to adhere to a given philosophy.

    Given that every human being is the product of his upbringing we could all theoretically be excused for our actions as according to the theories predicated they aren’t really our actions but those of our family, community or government. So much for personal responsibility and accountability.

    • The legal issue in the Khadr case was never about whether he met the definition in the “child soldier law”. He clearly did based on the words of the law and the UN described him as a “classic” case in a letter to the Military Commission responsible for his trial. The military judge did not dispute that fact.
      Law: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc-conflict.htm (“Child soldier law” is a nickname for this law.)
      Letter from UN to Military Commission: http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/omar-khadr-letter.pdf

      The actual issue was whether the US was justified in ignoring the intent of the “child soldier law”, and decades of international practice, by treating a 15 year old as an adult and trying him in a military court under a law that didn’t even exist when he was captured. This happened because the Bush Government believed they could ignore all US laws as well as the courts by putting their prisoners at the naval base in Cuba. They were later overruled by the Supreme Court which forced the Congress to, arguably, legalize the system after the fact, with the Military Commissions Act. All this is partly why our Supreme Court declared Canada a party to Khadr’s illegal treatment by the US, twice. The military judge was asked to decide if the Commission had jurisdiction. He didn’t even address the decision to prosecute in the first place. He said the Military Commissions Act had overtaken (superseded) the “child soldier law” because it was passed later, and it has no lower age limit.

      Judge’s decision: http://www.defense.gov/news/d20080430Motion.pdf

      The public has been misled on this issue by people like PM Harper claiming Khadr didn’t meet the definition in the “child soldier” law, based on its nickname.
      http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/01/23/a-child-but-apparently-not-a-child-soldier/

      The law doesn’t prohibit prosecution but it requires the opposite treatment to what Khadr received. Most minors involved in wars today are recruited by unlawful armed groups, like Khadr, because it’s illegal to recruit them. Unlike Khadr, many commit actual war crimes and atrocities or acts of terrorism. The legal justification for prosecuting Khadr was his status as a member of an armed group. That was used to label normal acts of war as murder, terrorism and war crimes. In effect, he was prosecuted for BEING a child soldier, for fighting on the wrong side of a war for the wrong people and for going along with his father’s beliefs.

      This paper by a former US military officer and expert in the laws explains the charges and why they aren’t war crimes and discusses the jurisdiction issue, but not the “child soldier” issue. He says Khadr was wrongly treated even for an adult and should have been tried in a regular court with normal rules, if anywhere.

      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1669946

  21. Back to the start. Child soldier. Illegally detained. Illegally tortured. Kangaroo military court. Who are the real criminals here?

    • Simple answer…Khadr. Stop with the “child soldier” canard/b.s.

  22. boohoo no one trusts him Hey terrorist.. stop with your taqiyah!!!! Your father gave you the choice just like he gave your brother the choice you chose to become a terrorist and your brother did not. Hope you rot anywhere but not in Canada!

  23. Regardless of all this he is a Canadian and when he gets home he should sue the goverment for not standing up for his rights as a Canadian

  24. To err is human. To forgive, devine.
    Funny how the judgemental crowd seems to think that they are the more holy.

  25. Why would Canada accept this person as a prisoner, taking on the responsibility, expense and threat to security it will include?

  26. Hmmm is the transcript available? Am I missing something? Is this the worst they could find: “I think he was just a normal dad,” he [Omar Khadr] said [about his father]. “He was just trying to raise his children the right way.”
    [my italics]

  27. Hi Macleans! Please publish the entire transcript!

  28. Your comment on Omar Khadr’s trial and the illegitimacy of the commission was very thoughtful and eloquent, thank you for enlightening me on many aspects of this case I was ignorant of.

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