August 9th, 2010
12:51 PM ET

Security Brief: Who is Omar Khadr?

The preliminary legal maneuvering in the military trial of suspected terrorist Omar Khadr serves up two starkly different images, portraying him both as a child forced into war by adults and as a committed al Qaeda fighter.

Prosecutor Jeff Groharing told the court Monday morning that Khadr was aware of al Qaeda ideology. "He embraced it and used it to justify his own activities," Groharing said.

At the same time Pentagon-appointed defense attorney, Lt. Colonel Jon Jackson, has repeatedly called Khadr a "child soldier" who was forced into fighting in Afghanistan by adults and later threatened with rape and death if he did not provide statements to U.S. interrogators.

"Tell the government they cannot and will not benefit from someone being threatened with rape and murder," Jackson asked the judge, Colonel Pat Parrish.

Lt. Colonel Jackson said the court should refuse to admit into evidence all government interrogation sessions with Khadr as well as a video shown in the courtroom today of Khadr resisting efforts to weigh him at Guantanamo.

Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan, is charged with assisting al Qaeda and of killing a U.S. Special Forces soldier. During the courtroom arguments Khadr can been seen on a closed-circuit television link provided to journalists at Guantanamo slumped in his chair, reading documents and conversing with others at the defense table. He is flanked by three uniformed guards, sitting behind him.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Security Brief
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Concerned Canadian

    Shame on Stephen Harper and Obama for washing their hands of Omar, and allowing him to be tried in this mockery of a court. It is an outrage.

    August 9, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in MD

      Shame on Omar for killing an American soldier.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another concerned Canadian

      As a concerned Canadian I am ashamed that this 'person' dares to call himself a Canadian, and that the media call him a Canadian. He is not a Canadian ... he is nowhere near being what a real Canadian is and those of us who are Canadians recognize this. Nor is his family Canadians ... they only used the kindness and generosity of our country Canada. Shameful.

      August 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    US Republican Senator John McCain confessed to various war crimes after being beaten and hung up by his arms by his interrogators. He was taped and video recorded confessing to various war crimes. Now under the same logic by the supreme hypocrite John McCain would himself be held criminally liable for his own confessions to the North Vietnamese interrogators. Certainly those tapes still exist, come on News Media, show us those John McCain confessions of his own war crimes!

    August 10, 2010 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian in MD

      Please show me the tapes showing Omar strung up and beaten, oh right, there aren't any because it never happened.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • LazyBoy Liberal

      "Interrogator Number 1" who questioned Khadr has since been found guilty by a military court of abusing detainees. But he didn't hurt Khadr right or there would be tapes right?

      August 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lorri

      You make me want to change my last name (Smith) You're an idiot!

      August 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Heliox68

    As a Canadian, I am very pleased that Khadr is going to trial. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are monsters who have no concern for humanity. The fact that many of these people use "passports of convenience" to hide behind doesn't mean they should automatically be given a free pass when they are caught. I am appalled at the number of Canadians who think that our government should have been working to free this murderer and zealot. Especially when he and his brethren have no respect for the country or values whose passport they they hide behind.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • LazyBoy Liberal

      Helioz you are on to something. If Khadr were white skinhead more right wing Canadians would be demanding his repatriation. You want to make it harder to become a Canadian fine, but once a citizen all Canadians regardless of colour deserve our government's support.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heliox68

      LazyBoy – I don't think that Canadians would be demanding his return if he was a right-wing Caucasian skinhead at all. In fact, I think that is a key element. In most Western societies (which have a liberal-democratic Judeo-Christian background), we have no tolerance for zealots who use religion as an excuse for violence. The overwhelming majority of Christians in North America abhor the Klan, or Aryan Nations or others of their ilk. Their is no similar overwhelming outrage by the supposed majority of "moderate" Muslims. Every time their is a murder or terrorist attack(or a call for murder of an author, publisher or filmmaker) in the name of Islam, there is silence from the majority of Muslims. Or if there is something, it is usually whining that this will be take out of context" against the Muslim community (as was the case when the Muslim US Army officer shoot all the people in Fort Hood. There is almost never an actual condemnation of the murderers who commit these acts. And a lack of condemnation is tacit approval. Until the supposed "moderate" Muslims take responsibility for roundly condemning the cowardly acts being committed in the name of Islam, I will have no belief that they have any desire to live in peace.

      And just for info, I am a serving Canadian Forces officer. I have served my country with honour for 25 years, serving in a military where we have a code of conduct. I just returned from 7 months in Afghanistan, where I witnessed firsthand how cowardly and uncaring the Taliban are. Numerous times I saw our own soldiers and those of our allies putting themselves at risk rather than use force if there was a chance of injuring Afghan civilians. I responded to numerous Taliban IED bomb sites where the only casualties were Afghan civilians. During my first week there they failed to get a car bomb into a foreign embassy, so they blew it up in a crowded market instead, killing mainly women and children. If you think that there is a equivalence between people who do that, and legitimate soldiers, then you have a lot to learn.

      August 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexaN

      Heliox, you couldn't have said it better.

      August 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Heliox68

    I wonder if most Canadians would be as quick to jump to the defence of this "helpless child" if instead he was a white skinhead kid who got seduced by white supremacist hogwash, and travelled to the States and committed a murder while involeth Aryan Nations or the Klan. I don't think so many comfy armchair liberals would be demanding that he be returned and given a pardon in that case.

    Or what if it was an American who came here and killed someone? Do you think the US hould be able to demand that someone be returned simply because they hold an American passport? If you don't think so, then why should we be able to say the same for Canadians? At least he will be given a trial, which is a heck of a lot more than Al Qaeda or the Taliban give their victims.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • LazyBoy Liberal

      It's called the "war" in Afghanistan right? As such Khadr should be treated as a POW, not a criminal. The "crime" was committed in Afghanistan, not the USA, so why is the trial in Guantanemo Bay Cuba? If a crime is committed against a Canadian overseas do we arrest the culprit on foreign soil, put him in an internationally condemned holding facility for 4 years, waterboard him, use stress positions, sleep deprivation before questioning and then hold a show trial? I think if we did it to an American their government would have something to say about it.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in MD

      @ lazyboy – Geneva convention does not apply in this situation. He wasn't a uniformed soldier.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • LazyBoy Liberal

      The taliban uniform is traditional Pashtun dress. To deny this man or any other Taliban/fighter basic rights as afforded to combatants under international law because of what he was or wasn't wearing is a cop-out. We are better than that Brian, you included. Geneva convention says no torture, access to red cross, no show trial for legitimate acts of war. Why would you deny that to anybody, even our worst enemy?

      August 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Heliox68

    [sorry – "involved with", not "involeth" (having some keyboard issues)]

    August 10, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Edmonton Bob

    I too am a Canadian. I am pleased he is going to trial for killing an American soldier. Hope he gets life & I only wish we could get rid of the rest of his family using Canada as a safe hideout.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Soldier

      It is unfortunate he was a child and beaten, bred and brainwashed to fight. That being said, him and his family chose to go to war against us.... nievity is dangerous... these people are dangerous. You could call pedophilia a mental disorder but it doesn't make it OK.... Who I truly feel sorry for are all the law abiding Muslims whose reputation people like this are tarnishing in the eyes of the ignorant.

      August 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff in Toronto

    It is crystal clear that the Khadr family visited our country and had a few kids while visiting. They are a self proclaimed family of terrorists and acknowledged pals with bin Laden and alQaeda, and returned to Afghanistan to join ranks with their 'brothers-in-arms'.
    My forefathers died in France (WWI) and Holland (WWII) and my brother served in the Baltics and Namibia with the UN.

    Khadr took arms with alQaeda (not the Cdn Armed Forces) and underttok to serve with the very terrorists that our civilization deplores. As our soldiers are killed in Khandahar attempting to make the lives of the Afghan people less painful, the Khadr family and friends destroy our efforts and murder police, aide workers and innocent victims in Afghanistan.

    Neither Canada nor Afghanistan are 'home' to tyrannical zealots like the Khadr family who openly denounce Canada while squeezing the life out of Afghanistan. They should not be allowed to hide behind the Charter of Rights of Canada or any other country as they forfeited all 'Rights' when they made the consious decision to embrace terrorism. Some will attempt to use the 'pity factor', 'child soldier card' due to his age (15) at the time of this incident, however the images of Omar making IEDs, yielding an AK47 and proudly displaying the severed hands of (his) victims in Afghanistan should make us feel otherwise.
    'Human Rights' (everywhere) should be reserved for those who qualify to which Omar and his family do not.
    Keep him in Gitmo ... 'cause we sure don't want this alQaeda terrorists here.

    August 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian in MD

      Thank you Jeff for pointing to the facts. I agree with your rationale 110%

      August 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • LazyBoy Liberal

      Jeff I respect the sacrifices your family has made. But I have to disagree with you on a fundamental level. You want to reserve human rights only for those you deem worthy, and that's not right. These are "fundamental" rights and apply to everyone, from paedophiles and rapists to battlefield soldiers. By taking away their rights you weaken everybody else's.

      August 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TexVet

    Who is he? Okay, I'll take a stab at it....he's an old buddy of Obama's.

    August 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Soldier

      Even though Obama is Christian.... what exactly are you saying... if he was muslim he couldn't be president or that a convert could never be "pure" enough to hold political office?

      August 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. US Soldier

    maybe if he shaved or groomed himself once in a while he wouldn't be in so much trouble. he looks like a wolfboy.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marnie

    This guy's eyebrows have their own zip code!

    August 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hothead007

    What have canadian army got to do in afghanistan & iraq, the talibans or al quaida never attacked canadians or canada? why not put the devil coward christian crusader commander the evil bush on trail, and hang him by his balls till death, for he was responsible for lying an creating this war

    August 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. reaper

    I give up, who is he?

    August 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. trut

    So what if some soldier dies!!! Its a war zone!! Does every Afghani blown to pieces from 30 000 feet get a trial to determine who killed him? Quit whining when one lousy soldier gets his brains blown up you pansies!!

    August 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. brown

    Kill the boy!

    August 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jimmy

    I say the Taliban must be losing pretty bad to use children to fight there own know that is pretty bad when a kid can kill better with gun then the Taliban can using a IED

    August 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
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