Canada stands by torture of child

I started this off in Great Debates but then I realized that if anything is pit-worthy, it’s this.


He is a Canadian citizen. He is the youngest prisoner to be held at Guantanamo and remains the only Western citizen there.

The Rolling Stone did an extensive review in 2006. Since then there has been new evidence that he was not, in fact, the only person at the scene who could have thrown the grenade that killed the soldier.

It is also apparent that he is not exactly a hardened jihadist.

It is also now evident that he has been badly mistreated / tortured (but please let us not hijack this thread in that direction), and that Canadian federal agents knew about it. Most recently a video has been released of CSIS interrogating him in 2003.

Throughout, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s position has been to “let the process work.” Last week he said

I understand things are happening behind the scenes, diplomacy, discretion, blah blah. But other Western leaders have been able to spring their citizens from that hellhole. Not only is he being mistreated (at best) but he has no hope of a fair trial.

In my opinion Harper’s attitude is beyond sickening. To stand by the torture of a former child soldier under any circumstances - particularly these - is unconscionable. I have never been so ashamed of my country.*

As upsetting as the video is, it does not show torture. (No more than the infamous Abu Ghaib photos showed torture.) They show the results of torture. The Canadian guys are not doing anything wrong with the prisoner.

How he was reduced to this blubbering mass is unknown, and creepy as hell.

I didn’t mean to imply that the video showed torture of that those Canadians are doing anything wrong. The only culpable Canadian is Stephen Harper, our “leader.”

My point is that Khadr is

(a) a child soldier
(b) being held without possibility of a fair trial
© evidently being badly mistreated / tortured

and that Harper is being a total jackass about it.

I don’t quite see how it’s evident that he’s been tortured.

How is he a soldier? Soldiers wear uniforms, answer to an identifiable chain of command, and fight according to established laws of armed conflict. I doubt you can make the case that Khadr was doing any of these things.

Calling him a soldier seems mistaken.

Not that I despise Harper any less (I do) but the Martin and Chretien admins are just as culpable in letting Khadr rot in Cuba. Harper’s tacit approval of torture and his willing role as Bush lackey are unique to his admin, though.

The key word here is “child,” not “soldier.” He was 15 at the time of his detention.

Are you defending the detention without trial of a 15 year old Canadian citizen?

I have specifically used the term mistreated/tortured to imply “mistreated and/or tortured” so as to avoid this debate. He has certainly been mistreated

U.S. treatment of Khadr may have exceeded military’s own guidelines

Is there anything other than semantic nitpickery to defend Khadr’s treatment?

Fair point. My mistake to omit the previous administration from my scorn.

Regarding Harper’s statement: “Mr. Khadr is accused of very serious things. There is a legal process in the United States,” Mr. Harper said in Japan yesterday. “He can make his arguments in that process.”

Um… he’s been there six years. What “process” is going on, exactly, in which he’s getting a chance to defend himself against the charges against him?

I’m not saying he should be released, charges dropped, brought back to Canada for a parade, or anything. The charges are pretty serious, and I don’t know the details of the case. But this whole “we’re going to hold you here forever without a trial” is kind of ridiculous.

Whadday talking? All he has to do is prove he is innocent! Of course, there are a few minor barriers to that…

While agree a trial should be done and soon. I have little sympathy for this boy and especially for his family, who we generously allow to stay in our country despite the fact they openly hate our country and joined up with our enemies to fight our allies.

In the old days that would constitute as treason n’est pas?

Maybe for the family, but they remain free, and the boy is imprisoned. What is the evidence of his own treason? Or are we satisfied with guilt by association?

Also, “we” don’t allow Canadian citizens to “stay” in “our” country, generously or otherwise. It doesn’t work that way.

And yet, it isn’t:

You just chose the definition that covers people who call themselves “soldiers” of the Lions Club or “soldiers” of the KKK. We could all be considered “soldiers” of the SDMB. Kinda disingenuous when talking about someone who was captured while fighting the U.S. Army, doncha think?

He was captured in the vicinity of people who were fighting US soldiers. That’s pretty much all we know, unless you know more?

I don’t believe that any of us “soldiers of the SDMB” has participated in an armed insurrection lately, although I could be wrong. Haven’t heard from any of our Congolese members in a while…

He is alleged to have been a member of Al Quaeda, or at least operating on their behalf; and fighting an occupying force in a sovereign state that had (or has) no standing army. How is he not a soldier?

Look, I don’t argue this for the sake of semantics - soldier has a very specific meaning. And a big reason why this is important is that soldiers are entitled to full protections of the Geneva Conventions, while unlawful combatants are entitled to only abbreviated protections of these.

Soldiers, for instance, cannot be tried for fighting their enemies, except in the very specific instance of war crimes. Unlawful combatants can be tried, however, and most of the legal wrangling these many years is exactly how we’re going to do that.

Now a teenager can shoot a gun or toss a grenade at least as well as a full grown man, so that particular point doesn’t impress me. Indeed, we try children in our own country for crimes all of the time. And while I wish this had been concluded a lot sooner, the fact is the boy wouldn’t be in Gitmo today if his family hadn’t set out to turn him into a terrorist.

So I do feel for the boy in a way - he was bound for ruin with his particularly fundamentalist family. But the fact remains that he’s hoping for aid from Canada now to save his own skin - a few years back, he was in a camp training to attack Western countries including Canada.

If he was a soldier, he would have certain rights. He has no rights, therefore, he is not a soldier. Q.E.D.

Do you think Khadr is entitled to a trial?


Give it time comrade. Give it time.