Omar Khadr – A Case of Treason

Written by: Josh Lax and Michael Kravshik.

At what point does dissent become treason?

Any free nation requires its citizens to challenge its decisions, but where do we draw the line?

A journalist trashing the government’s newest policy is clearly part of the democratic process. However, a citizen deciding to fight for the enemy and kill our men in uniform, is undoubtedly an act of treason. Not all issues are so clear cut, and where grey areas exist we must rely on true democratic debate to determine societies will.

The case of Omar Khadr is not grey. The coverage it has received astounds us.  We’re not talking about the legal case, we’re talking about the emotional case for a convicted murderer and proud jihadi warrior.  The support he has received from the Canadian public and the fanfare he has garnered should be offensive to any sensible Canadian. Omar was born in Toronto in 1986, into the self proclaimed “al Qaeda Family,” that phrase being uttered by his older brother in a 2005 CBC interview. His mother’s view of western culture was fairly straightforward, “by the time he’s 12 or 13 he’ll be on drugs or having some homosexual relation or this and that”.  This was very clear by the family’s disjointed life between Pakistan and Canada, coming back whenever they wanted to take advantage of our healthcare or other support systems put in place for Canadian citizens.  Omar’s father, who refers to Canada as “the dirty swamp”,  started a charity raising money around Canada for what he claimed to be livestock for families left fatherless by war and artificial limbs for children left limbless from landmines.  By 1986, coincidentally the year of our fellow citizen Omar’s birth, it was clear to the Canadian intelligence community that his charities were meant to serve another purpose when his association with Ayman al-Zawahiri became known.   For those of you who are unaware, Ayman is currently the head of Al Qaeda after Osama’s very timely and overdue death.

So we know Omar’s roots, let’s talk about how he feels about his actions. Actually, we don’t need to talk, lets let him. “I felt happy when I heard I had killed an American. When I wanted to feel good in US custody I just recall the killing of Sgt. Speer and it makes me feel good.”  Omar not only fulfilled his duties as an enemy soldier and terrorist, he literally fantasized about them.  He believes “Americans are non-believers and it is justified to kill them anywhere.”  Obviously, he has chosen not to identify as a Canadian and should not be treated as one.  He is simply an enemy combatant.  If he made the decision to protest against the government or write a paper in opposition we would support his actions as acceptable discourse, but these are inexcusable.

Dr. Michael Welner, a top expert on child soldiers, was the chief psychologist on the Khadr case.  His analysis revealed the following; “Omar Khadr is not a child soldier in the manner that has afflicted so many conflicts. He was never uprooted from his family, never desensitized to violence with drugs and alcohol, never groomed into violence from a peaceful origin. He glorified violence rather than was horrified by it (as are child soldiers). Khadr was a worldly 15-year-old rather than a naive one. His family supported his violence, rather than adopting it from captors’ influence. Child soldiers seek nothing. Omar Khadr sought martyrdom.” Welners final conclusion is that, “he is highly dangerous” and that “the proudest moment of [his] life was constructing and planting IEDs.”

Omar Khadr is soon to be a free man, and is currently preparing a case against our federal government for the lofty sum of $10 million. There is no doubt in our minds that fighting against and killing Canadian soldiers, as well as the soldiers of our allies is treason in its worst form, and in return we offer this man a free walk and potentially ten million silver linings. This is a travesty and should not go unnoticed and unopposed.

Now lets compare this case with that of Conrad Black, another well known Canadian imprisoned in the United States. Unlike Khadr, Black has served his entire sentence. Also unlike Khadr, Black has never killed anyone. Yet, Black’s release and subsequent return to Canada has been protested arguably more vehemently than Khadr’s. No one would argue Black is a saint, but if given the choice of neighbours I think the decision is pretty simple. Yet, many of the same people who are arguing against Black’s return are the same people pushing for Khadr’s. How has the distinction between violent treasonous terrorist, and white collar criminal been skewed so much?

Its about time we came to terms with who Khadr really is, and treat him appropriately.

                                       

This is our opinion, what is yours?

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8 thoughts on “Omar Khadr – A Case of Treason

  1. No Canadian, no matter what criminal activities they might be accused of, should have their Charter protected rights and freedoms violated. The Supreme Court of Canada in 2010 concluded that “Canada actively participated in a process contrary to its international human rights obligations and contributed to Khadr’s ongoing detention so as to deprive him of his right to liberty and security of the person, guaranteed by s. 7 of the Charter, not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice…The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects”.

    While it might be suggested that Omar and his family detest Canada, the values our country holds and do not identify as a Canadians, such factors should not be a consideration in deciding when to enforce our fundamental rights (such as the right to due process) that form the backbone of our society and judicial system. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was written to be universally applicable to all Canadian citizens regardless of their personal feelings toward the nation. I do support Omar’s release to Canada, but that does not mean I wish to see someone accused of such heinous crimes walk free. Instead I want to see him prosecuted and punished in accordance with Canadian principles of justice.

    • Michael: Hey Courtney, Thanks for reading and your comments. I just want to respond to a couple of your points but I must say that generally I agree with you.

      We were not suggesting or supporting any past or future specific government moves. The legal issues you noted are certainly troubling and I’m sure legal minds like yourself are better at handling them than we are.

      Our issue has been with the moral ‘crusade’ so to speak that has painted Khadr as something he not. A minor correction to your point is that he is not accused of doing this, he admits and even brags about the ‘accomplishment.’ Our concern was also the recent (or at least at the time of writing this post) news that he was going to walk a free man, and even get a payout from our government to help fund his future endeavours.

      If the government has not afforded him his rights it was a mistake, but not one that should be paid for by the future victims of this unrepentant murderer. Again, I am not a legal expert, and I can only base how he will be treated once he’s back based on what I read. Therefore, if the correct legal response to this situation is setting a very well trained, and highly motivated terrorist back on our streets with some extra cash on hand for his next venture, than its my belief our legal system is in need of some amendments in that area.

      Thanks for commenting, we love to hear your thoughts

      • Hey Michael! I agree with your concerns that someone who is clearly unstable and capable of horrible crimes should not walk free. As well, the public should know who Khadr really is before deciding where they stand on the issue. I just wanted to clarify the legal perspective and explain why some support his repatriation despite the disturbing things he seems capable of and the views his family have toward Canada.

      • Michael: Absolutely, and I welcome it. In the future if you don’t mind maybe I will even consult you on such issues, neither Josh or I are lawyers. The interesting thing is, based on the medical reports of Khadr he’s actually extremely stable. He’s not insane, he’s just extremely ideologically motivated, and unfortunately well trained. I encourage checking out the rest of kraxinlogic, thanks for your interest!

    • This keeps the door open to allow our government to use foigern proxies to violate our rights abroad.Yes. There are many things wrong with the ruling. In this post I’m just focusing on something we all can and must use. Also something the Liberals, should they ever form a government, can fall back on to bring Khadr home.

  2. As per the legal concerns, they were raised by Courtney perfectly well. The Supreme Court’s decision in 2010 states it as it is. One of the reasons I would argue Canada was even in Afganistan was to support and and uphold such basic fundamental rights as those enshrined in our Charter. To then abandon them when inconvenient or a political headache is an insult to Canada and should concern most Canadians.

    That being said, your article, as you say focuses on the moral crusade of this issue, which has painted this issue with broad stroaks of confusion on either side making it difficult to know what to believe. There certainly is no consensus in Canada on who Omar Khadr is: an innocent brainwashed child soldier or an evil Jihad terrorist. Canadian’s are divided. They are divided because it’s become merely politicized, both left and right are drawing arguments based on little fact. Canadians who have never met him and know of him as much as a newspaper reporter is able to convey in 500 words seem to know exactly who he is: a treasonous hateful terrorist. The fact is we don’t know.

    Dr. Michael Welner’s statements have been highly questionable, especially based on the fact that he only spent 8 hours with Khadr and his visit was extremely politically motivated. Meanwhile, Dr. Stephen Xenakis (military staff and child psychologist), as well as guards who spent months/years with Khadr, had a very different assessment of Khadr’s personality and would characterize him very differently stating he shows remorse, and demonstrates the ability and want to integrate into society and live as normal a life as possible.

    The truth is the way this has been handled over the past decade has been terrible. Treated as a politcal instrument on both sides clouds the little truth we can find about him and his eligibility to become part of Canadian society again. For now, the closest we can get to understanding who he is as a person and his willingness to live peacefully is to talk to those who spent most time with him. Hopefully now with his repatriation, he can access the rightful due process of law and in a less politicized setting. No we should not take Al Qaida participants lightly, and real assessment of his legal and psychological state are necessary. But ignoring it for 10 years certainly isn’t helping and only harbours more hate amongst those who already posses hate for the West. His denial of education, normal social interaction and adolescent years of any normal child/youth certainly poses large questions about his ability to integrate back when his sentence is finally served.

    This is now a stain on Canadian history from a human right point of view, and now a huge headache to Harper, but both of these were earned by Canadian decision makers.

    • Michael: I totally agree in terms of the horrible fashion this issue has been dealt with. Also about how he has been treated as a political instrument by both sides. I think aside from Khadr himself, this entire fiasco will be a great situation to ponder about in terms of how, as a society, we’d like to handle similar situations in the future.

      I will note that at the time of writing this article Dr. Xenakis’s claims were not well reported on (I didn’t even hear about him until about a month or two afterwards). However, to state that somehow Welner’s judgement is politically motivated and Xenakis’s isn’t seems to be counterintuitive. Given the fact that Xenakis worked on Khadr’s defence team, its clear that if you are going to assume bias on one side, its only fair to assume it on the other as well. In addition, Welner was paid by the state, but Xenakis was paid by Khadr supporters. On top of that, Welner actually testified in court, meaning he put his name and reputation (a very large reputation at that) on his diagnosis. Xenakis didn’t. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I do wonder why that might have been? In any case, it certainly degrades the weight of his evidence. Welner spent less time with him personally, but researched hundreds of hours of video-taped documentation. I’m not a psychologist, but Welner was the guy that ‘invented the wheel’ so to speak in this area of study, and if he thought he gathered enough evidence than I have to believe he did so with all the professionality required (especially considering he testified in court).

      Xenakis, when asked by the CBC, even said that “he did not believe that Khadr has ever done anything violent.” He later justifies this argument in a roundabout way arguing that his compound was attacked. But the sheer delusion of saying that he has never done anything violent because it was somehow morally acceptable seems ridiculous. Morality does not change whether something was violent or not, and that statement seems about as politically or morally motivated as is possible for someone who I’m sure is an extremely intelligent person. This comment and others of his have raised concerns in my mind about the ‘unbiased’ nature of his diagnosis. I have found no such qualms (thus far at least) about Welner.

      I don’t know Khadr personally, and even if I did get a chance to meet him I’m sure he could impress me with his ability to act like any normal guy (whether he truly is or isn’t). All I can do is look at the evidence: his family history, his personal history, and the weight of the diagnosis of the two opposing psychologists and come up with my own opinion. If you are correct in inferring that we really do not know who he is (which I tend to disagree with), than the point of the article still stands. This moral crusade that makes him seem like he is a particular kind of person is entirely misguided, and people should look at all the facts and decide for themselves.

      I appreciate the comment man! feel free to check out the rest of the blog. We can chat about it over a beer at Mike’s Place!

  3. Ezra make good points, and every one sholud read his post. Right now the national MSM have let the CBC-Liberal push-poll go, as an issue, and are concentrating on slanting the election coverage against the Conservatives.And Ezra’s complaint about the detailed private nature of the last questions (eg., our income status, our postal code) have never been addressed by anyone. This is an important issue — yet nobody is pressing it.

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