Tag Archives: omar khadr

If this doesn’t make you angry ….

I know, y’all must think I’m the angriest chick on the planet.  But I read this shit and get so mad and then I come here and unleash it all on y’all.  I truly, truly hope that it makes you angry, too, and that you then share your anger with someone who shares their anger and on and on.  Maybe then something will change.

So you know we’ve talked about Guantanamo Bay and, specifically, the cases of Omar Khadr and Mohamed Jawad.  As a refresher, remember that in June the Supreme Court ruled in the Boumediene v. Bush case that Guantanamo Bay detainees do have a right to habeas corpus.  While hailed as a victory for the detainees, realists understood that the Bush administration would continue to use every possible option to keep these cases out of court.  An article in the New York Times this morning bears this out. 

According to Vijay Padmanabhan, a former State Department lawyer with responsibility for detainee issues who left in July to teach at Cardozo Law School:

The legal issues that are being raised by the administration are going to take longer than the remaining time of the administration.  It is part of a broader strategy which is not to make difficult decisions about Guantánamo and leave it to the next president.

So let’s see, the Bush administration has screwed the next administration into a massive national debt, an $800b+ economic rescue plan for a sinking economy, some sort of agreement on our long term presence in Iraq (details tba), and Gitmo.  And in the meantime, these detainees, many of whom have been there for five years or more (Khadr has been there for seven), are stuck in legal limbo, even after the Supreme Court restored their rights.  It’s pure insanity and not what we are about … or should be about … as Americans.

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Omar Khadr to Mohamed Jawad

Remember Omar Khadr?  He’s the Canadian citizen held at Guantanamo Bay, captured in Afghanistan at the age of 15 after allegedly throwing a grenade at American troops.  Only by all accounts, he’s innocent.  He has never been offered the protections of the international agreements set up for child soldiers.

Yesterday brought us some major news in the case of another child soldier, Mahamed Jawad.  Jawad was captured in Afghanistan when he was 16 or 17 for allegedly throwing a grenade and wounding two US soldiers and an Afghani interpreter.  On September 24, the prosecutor assigned to Jawad’s case, Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld resigned from the case.  An article in the Washington Post quotes from Lt Col Vandeveld’s filing with the military court:

My ethical qualms about continuing to serve as a prosecutor relate primarily to the procedures for affording defense counsel discovery.  I am highly concerned, to the point that I believe I can no longer serve as a prosecutor at the Commissions, about the slipshod, uncertain ‘procedure’ for affording defense counsel discovery.

As in Khadr’s case, there are significant questions surrounding Jawad’s guilt and, as mentioned, the US did not take any steps to protect Jawad as a child soldier.  Vandeveld was trying to ensure that the questions in Jawad’s case, including whether or not Jawad was drugged before the attack and the alleged confession of two other Afghanis, were investigated.  He was also trying to ensure that Jawad was offered rehabilitation, as guaranteed under international agreements on the treatment of child soldiers.

Both of these young men have been at Guantanamo Bay for startling long times:  Khadr for 7 years and Jawad for 5.  Both have been held without legitimate trials.  For histories and updates on both these cases, visit Andy Worthington’s outstanding work.  

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Omar Khadr

Back in July, we talked briefly about Omar Khadr, the now 22-year old Canadian citizen who was first brought to Guantanamo Bay at 15.  Andy Worthington at Alternet.org and AndyWorthington.co.uk has been keeping track of all kinds of things going on at Gitmo and has paid very close attention to Kahdr’s case. 

In short, Khadr is accused of throwing a grenade which killed an American soldier in Afghanistan.  The only problem is that reports essentially indicate that he didn’t.  The US Government has not abided by international protections set up for child soldiers and has denied Khadr treatment and aid for several injuries and medical conditions.  He has also, of course, been subjected to interrogation, torture, and solitary confinement, even after his case was thrown out and he should have been released. 

This is just a brief summary of Khadr’s situation.  There are many, many disturbing details and a review of his case history is enlightening and frightening.  If you care at all about the abuses our Constitution is taking, the frightening Military Commissions Act, and the “war on terror,” which cannot be helped by our actions at Gitmo, please go read Worthington’s latest piece at Alternet.org and then study his blog.

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Sorry this took so long

OK, y’all, this is so late.  I should have sent you to this link over a month ago.  But, honestly, it took me until just a few minutes ago to finish reading all of it because it makes me so _ damn _ mad.  Let’s all harken back to how I feel about the Military Commissions Act and understand that Gitmo was opened so that we could have somewhere to torture people.  Please go read Naomi Wolf for background here.  Now, once you have all of that under you for support, go to the Post and read this:  General Accuses White House of War Crimes.  Take some time, y’all.  This is five pages of tough, honest reporting about how we’ve gotten to the place where we routinely torture sixteen year olds.  The arrogance and non-chalance of some of the characters in this report is revolting.  The only thing left to say is that everyone needs to read, learn, and then use his or her vote wisely.  This is no joke, y’all.

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Remember that neo-fascism thing?

Go check out these two pieces:

From the AP:  Lawyer:  Gitmo interrogators told to trash notes

From Alternet.org:  Pentagon Manual:  OK to Destroy Gitmo Interrogation Notes

The first is AP’s factual reporting of the situation.  The second is Alternet’s discussion of the implications, including some excerpts of reporting on the same story from CanWest News Service. 

Essentially, there was a Pentagon directive that interrogators could (should?) destory their handwritten notes taken during interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.  Later, sanatized typed reports were created of said interrogations.  The defense attorney for Omad Khadr, currently on trial in a case already making news for the replacement of the trail attorney, says that this practice prevents him from challenging any alleged confessions and he will use this to request dismissal of the charges against his client.

This all ties up neatly in a bow with my neo-fascism post below with the pending Supreme Court case regarding the denial of habeas corpus under the Military Commissions Act.

I’m not going to argue whether or not Khadr threw the grenade that killed the American soldier he is accused of killing, when he was 15 years old in Afghanistan, even though the Pentagon isn’t quite sure.  I’m not going to argue whether or not he should have been deported, at age 15, against the normal standards of international extradition, to Gitmo.  What I will argue is that we are America, and whether or not he is guilty of the crime for which he is accused, he should have had his rights upheld.  He should have had the right to not be tortured.  He should have had the right to a fair and just and timely trial, not waiting six years to face the kind of backward justice of which all Americans should be ashamed and alarmed.

Khadr is Canadian.  Canadian.  That’s pretty close to home, don’t you think?  He is now 21 years old.  No one can prove that he did what we say he did and yet we’ve held him for six years trying.  Sure, he was fighting for the the other side.  But this is war, folks, that’s what happens.  Are we going to arrest everyone fighting for the other side? 

The thing we all need to realize is that the Military Commissions act allows the President to declare anyone an enemy combatant:  anyone.  That’s you, that’s me, that’s my Mom, that’s your kids, that’s your neighbors, your children’s teacher, the nice lady who works at the local grocery.  And once one is declared an enemy combatant, the flood gates open and anyone can be treated just like we have treated Khadr.  That’s why Gitmo exists.  And if John McCain, who supports this Act, is elected, this will not change.  Do your homework and use your vote.      

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