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Khadr Sentenced To 40 Years By Military Tribunal


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#631 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:15 AM

Can we stop with the spam articles? One is enough.
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#632 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:24 AM

Can we stop with the spam articles? One is enough.


Quit your whining and don't read them, if they bother you so much.
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#633 GarthButcher

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:29 AM

Those are some good articles. Thanks. The international media has been alarmingly silent on this issue. Mainstream US press has reported it largely as an admission of guilt on the part of Khadr, in a 'we got him' mentality. They quote the biased sources such as the victim's family and skewed prosecutors, and lackeys for the military.

It's a sad state if the US and Canadian government can dodge this farce by simply trying to sweep it under the rug. Of course, the US populace is largely asleep at the wheel when it comes to matters of substance which its government is dealing with. But I will be outraged if the Canadian government is not held to account for openly lying about its role in the plea deal. That is insulting to the intelligence of Canadians, although that seems to be the platform the cons run on.

It's interesting what you say Jah, about the role of the integrity of the soldier in upholding the rights and wrongs in the battlefield. The challenge I have with that is, not a single family member, acquaintance or friend of mine has ever joined the military or law enforcement in Canada. The concept of wanting to kill for the state is completely foreign to me. We are raised in Canada with this rah rah military mentality (which really bothers me on Coach's Corner by the way, as I tune in for hockey news, not war propaganda) fuelled by glorious world war II stories and the like.

While I'm not going to say that all soldiers and police are in the wrong for wanting to kill for the state, it is a very foreign mentality to anything I've every known or experienced. Having spent a great deal of time in countries that have been victims of western military aggression (ie. Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, and many others), I have seen first hand the heavy price people in the countries occupied pay for generations as a result of these power games of the heads of states.

So I am predisposed to not supporting military occupations of foreign lands on the part of Canadian forces. It's not the image of Canada that I was raised to be proud of.

The Khadr case points the the inherent hypocracy of this type of activity. We send our soldiers to foreign countries to kill based on some political justification. Then we hold the locals in contempt when they fight back (although Khadr has not been proven to have committed any illegal act).

If, heaven forbid, Canada was ever invaded, most of us would run to the protection of our military. That is what they are for. Imagine how the Afghan locals feel when they have foreign troops using lethal force in their country.

Consider if the Iranian army (or any for that matter) was storming a house in Penticton, shooting the place up, and some 15 year old kid was accused of shooting back. Imagine he was taken to some third country, and accused of violating the Iranian "laws of war". Imagine how we would react to that.

That is, in effect, what has happened to poor Mr. Khadr.
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#634 GarthButcher

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:33 AM

Question to those in the know:

Will the Supreme court of Canada overturn his sentence once he arrives?

According to our laws, his rights have been trampled on. If someone were found guilty in some court in North Korea, then transferred to Canada, we wouldn't enforce the sentence would we.

But if the Cdn gov't was a party to the deal, have they agreed to enforce the sentence? Could that put the cons in trouble for violating the charter?

If that's the case, will the mainstream cdn public wake-up from the political snooze for long enough to notice?

Many questions.
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#635 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:06 AM

It's interesting what you say Jah, about the role of the integrity of the soldier in upholding the rights and wrongs in the battlefield. The challenge I have with that is, not a single family member, acquaintance or friend of mine has ever joined the military or law enforcement in Canada.The concept of wanting to kill for the state is completely foreign to me.


Actually, I don't know a single soldier who WANTS to kill. In fact, there's an interesting book, 'On Killing' written by a retired Marine Colonel (Grossman). It's about the psychological impact of killing. One of the main points he makes is that the fear that a soldier has in battle is NOT of dying, it's of killing. He explores some interesting statistics that show that in WW1 (among other more recent conflicts) the vast majority of soldiers intentionaly missed the enemy (shot above their heads or not at all for instance). It's an interesting read. As far as desire to go to war, a soldier likes war like a surgeon likes disease.

We are raised in Canada with this rah rah military mentality (which really bothers me on Coach's Corner by the way, as I tune in for hockey news, not war propaganda) fuelled by glorious world war II stories and the like.


Actually, I have found that with the exception of the Praries, Canadians were either neutral or negative towards the military, but this has changed recently.

So I am predisposed to not supporting military occupations of foreign lands on the part of Canadian forces. It's not the image of Canada that I was raised to be proud of.


As am I, but Afghanistan is not an occupation, just as Croatia, Bosnia, etc. were not occupations.

The Khadr case points the the inherent hypocracy of this type of activity. We send our soldiers to foreign countries to kill based on some political justification. Then we hold the locals in contempt when they fight back (although Khadr has not been proven to have committed any illegal act).


The locals mainly support the Karzai government, or at the very least don't support the insurgency. The group the media calls the 'Taliban' (the fighting force, not the political party) is mostly foreign. Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Chechyns, Arabs, etc make up the majority of the enemy.

If, heaven forbid, Canada was ever invaded, most of us would run to the protection of our military. That is what they are for. Imagine how the Afghan locals feel when they have foreign troops using lethal force in their country.


I have no issue with the ANA fighting the West in the first few weeks of the War. The ANA is now led by Karzai, and like it or not, they are fighting beside NATO. In fact, NATO usually plays a supporting role to ANA operations, not the other way around.

Consider if the Iranian army (or any for that matter) was storming a house in Penticton, shooting the place up, and some 15 year old kid was accused of shooting back. Imagine he was taken to some third country, and accused of violating the Iranian "laws of war". Imagine how we would react to that.

That is, in effect, what has happened to poor Mr. Khadr.


Except that Khadr was not an Afghan, was not adhering to the rules of war, and the ideology of the group he fought for is one of oppression and subjugation backed by rape, murder, mutilation, and kidnapping. BUT, what happened after he was captured is not right.
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#636 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:21 AM

Except that Khadr was not an Afghan, was not adhering to the rules of war, and the ideology of the group he fought for is one of oppression and subjugation backed by rape, murder, mutilation, and kidnapping. BUT, what happened after he was captured is not right.


At least here's one place we can find a common place of footing to both stand on and agree upon. It's a start, perhaps.
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#637 inane

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:31 AM

I love how you cling to this 'rules of war' bs. This isn't the 1800's where everyone lines up in a nice row and shoot each other after formally declaring war on each other.

No one is at war with anyone anymore. It's just 'engagements' with 'coalitions' or whatever bs terminology you want to use. The rules don't apply if you don't declare war.
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#638 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:59 AM

I love how you cling to this 'rules of war' bs. This isn't the 1800's where everyone lines up in a nice row and shoot each other after formally declaring war on each other.

No one is at war with anyone anymore. It's just 'engagements' with 'coalitions' or whatever bs terminology you want to use. The rules don't apply if you don't declare war.

So you'd prefer no rules?!

The rules are there to protect the soldiers and the civilians. Without them, an already horrific situation (armed conflict) would be exponentialy more barbaric.

The Laws of War are actually derived on the old 'Gentleman's Code' that were observed (but not written) in centuries past. As time went on, Generals found justifications for violating them in the drive to win. With the advent of weapons (and tactics to a lesser extent) that could kill with greater efficiency and range, it became possible for a relatively small force to kill 10, 100, or 1000 times it's numbers in a single engagement. Some examples are the machine gun, the fragmenting artillery bomb, concertina wire, the landmine, and at the extreme end nuclear weapons. Prior to this, a General more or less had to accept losses equal to that of his foe, and atrition limited the numbers he was willing to commit. Following WW1, where the barbarism hit new heights (lows?) and losses on all sides (military and civilian) were unacceptably high, the world leaders got together and started to formalize the rules of war that were once followed but were no longer adhered to.


This is not 'bs', despite your assertion to the contrary.

editted to add: the Laws of War apply in every armed conflict, regardless of the presence or absence of a formal declaration of war.

Edited by JAH, 04 November 2010 - 11:02 AM.

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#639 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:01 AM

At least here's one place we can find a common place of footing to both stand on and agree upon. It's a start, perhaps.

Perhaps...
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#640 inane

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:15 AM

So you'd prefer no rules?!

The rules are there to protect the soldiers and the civilians. Without them, an already horrific situation (armed conflict) would be exponentialy more barbaric.

The Laws of War are actually derived on the old 'Gentleman's Code' that were observed (but not written) in centuries past. As time went on, Generals found justifications for violating them in the drive to win. With the advent of weapons (and tactics to a lesser extent) that could kill with greater efficiency and range, it became possible for a relatively small force to kill 10, 100, or 1000 times it's numbers in a single engagement. Some examples are the machine gun, the fragmenting artillery bomb, concertina wire, the landmine, and at the extreme end nuclear weapons. Prior to this, a General more or less had to accept losses equal to that of his foe, and atrition limited the numbers he was willing to commit. Following WW1, where the barbarism hit new heights (lows?) and losses on all sides (military and civilian) were unacceptably high, the world leaders got together and started to formalize the rules of war that were once followed but were no longer adhered to.


This is not 'bs', despite your assertion to the contrary.

editted to add: the Laws of War apply in every armed conflict, regardless of the presence or absence of a formal declaration of war.


It's not what I would prefer or not, I'm saying your 'gentlemen's code' is bs. The majority of fighters aren't even members of armies anymore (private contractors). And these 'rules' apply to all wars, except when the people fighting them don't play by them, then they don't apply. Hey, it's a great theory. Everyone plays nice and we have a 'civilized' war. Reality is that's laughable.
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#641 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:19 AM

It's not what I would prefer or not, I'm saying your 'gentlemen's code' is bs.


Agreed, which is why they had to enforce the code with legislation. Isn't that what I just said?

The majority of fighters aren't even members of armies anymore (private contractors).


That is entirely inaccurate. Please post some semblance of evidence.

And these 'rules' apply to all wars, except when the people fighting them don't play by them, then they don't apply.


Oh, they apply all right. But I agree that if one side doesn't follow them, the barbarism increases. Isn't this the case with all laws?

Hey, it's a great theory. Everyone plays nice and we have a 'civilized' war. Reality is that's laughable.


War is neither civilized nor humourous.
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#642 inane

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:23 AM

Your last point is exactly it. War isn't civilized yet you try to apply civilized 'laws' to it.
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#643 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:26 AM

Your last point is exactly it. War isn't civilized yet you try to apply civilized 'laws' to it.

I actually have no say in the matter.

Again, what is your point? That war is uncivilized? Of course it is. Would you prefer no rules?
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#644 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:11 PM

I actually have no say in the matter.

Again, what is your point? That war is uncivilized? Of course it is. Would you prefer no rules?


All's fair in love and war........


And unconstitutional, international treaty skirting, military tribunals.
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#645 inane

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:14 PM

I actually have no say in the matter.

Again, what is your point? That war is uncivilized? Of course it is. Would you prefer no rules?


Like sharpshooter said, what rules.
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#646 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:19 PM

Perhaps...


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As long as one keeps trying, I suppose.
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#647 GarthButcher

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:46 PM

Yes, thanks Jah. I am aware of the findings of that study on WWI. I watched a documentary about how training methods were adapted to account for the adverse reaction to killing.

In training for Viet Nam, they replaced marksmanship practice shooting targets, to shooting silhouettes of people. They conditioned the responses so much, that when a soldier saw a person pop up, they had an unconscious response to fire.

The result was, the kill rate was increased, and rates of psychological problems (such as ptsd) rose concurrently.

The one difference I would propose, is a conflict staffed through a draft, versus a volunteer army. When you have a draft, you're obviously pulling averages Joe's off the streets and making them killers. Not everyone can handle that.

But a volunteer army is a different story. Of course, most people won't know how they will react to having to kill until they are in the situation, but isn't this at the heart of military service. Don't we have a military to kill? Isn't that their essential service?

I would never join the military voluntarily (outside of defending some invasion of my home country) because I don't want to kill people. That has to be the essential question of anyone who wants to join the military. Unless you drink the kool-aid about "being all you can be" or any of the other manipulation recruiters resort to.

While I think there are some crude rebuttals to the "laws of war" being discussed, the whole concept is tenuous. The language of "air strikes, friendly fire, insurgents, terrorists" are all used to justify and sanitize conflicts for public consumption.

It seems a little bit contradictory to say, we're coming to kill you, but let's do it nicely. In addition, tactics are decided to a great extent on the arsenal which a military has at its fingertips.

To say that predator drone strikes are "lawful" while a suicide bomber is not, is simply justifying the tactics in a biased framework.

Raining down murder from the skies, or wearing a uniform, or displaying your weapon, or the like are all forms of killing.

The distinction is mainly semantics, and it is dangerous to start classifying conflicts based on this semantic language.

BTW - Thanks to the mods for the clarification. Nice to hear somebody's listening.

Now, we can hope that once Kadr gets back to Canada, that he won't serve any longer than it takes for the supreme court to overturn his conviction. So let's hope that it's just a plea deal he's signed, and that he won't have to serve that long at all. That is unless he is actually found guilty of a crime under a legitimate legal system.
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#648 JAH

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:16 PM

In training for Viet Nam, they replaced marksmanship practice shooting targets, to shooting silhouettes of people. They conditioned the responses so much, that when a soldier saw a person pop up, they had an unconscious response to fire.


We use silhouette targets of a WW1 era german 'hun'. The odd time I have fired on a range outside of the military, I found it odd not to be shooting at a human silhouette. I would say that this retraining you mentioned pales in comparison to what's being done now with 'virtual ranges', where we fire at live action (filmed) targets...kinda like the old live action arcade games. It certainly desensitizes the shooter, but of course, that's the intent.

The difference I would propose, is a conflict staffed through a draft, versus a volunteer army. When you have a draft, you're obviously pulling averages Joe's off the streets and making them killers. Not everyone can handle that.


As a soldier, I would not want my fireteam partner to be an unwilling draftee who wasn't cunning enough to avoid service. I also really like the idea of a volunteer army anyhow. I think it's kinda neat that those that don't want to serve don't have to because those that do want to serve volunteered to take their place. It's a win-win.

Don't we have a military to kill? Isn't that their essential service?


As General Hillier said, "We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people. "

I would never join the military voluntarily (outside of defending some invasion of my home country) because I don't want to kill people. That has to be the essential question of anyone who wants to join the military. Unless you drink the kool-aid about "being all you can be" or any of the other manipulation recruiters resort to.


Canada doesn't really use those (not that you suggested otherwise) to the extent our American neighbors do, but Canadians are inundated with US pop culture, so it still has an impact on recruiting. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I do not know one CF soldier that is doing it for 'Queen and Country' or any other obscure abstract concept. That goes out the window usually by about hour 2 of your first field exercise on Basic. I remember one particularly tired lad saying in response to a quip made about the Queen, 'BS. If she were here, the only thing I'd want to know from her is, 'Can you carry my rucksack for a bit?' followed by some things that shall remain between us. ;)

While I think there are some crude rebuttals to the "laws of war" being discussed, the whole concept is tenuous. The language of "air strikes, friendly fire, insurgents, terrorists" are all used to justify and sanitize conflicts for public consumption.


It's tough for the soldier to digest the barbaric things that happen, asking the general public to digest an unfiltered view of the battlefield (while certainly admirable in the interests of transparency) is unrealistic.

It seems a little bit contradictory to say, we're coming to kill you, but let's do it nicely. In addition, tactics are decided to a great extent on the arsenal which a military has at its fingertips.


It's not so much 'do it nicely', but more 'we'll do it as humanely as possible'. This is why chemical weapons (with a few exceptions) are not allowed, why we use bullets intended to punch straight through the body rather than ricochette around, etc.

To say that predator drone strikes are "lawful" while a suicide bomber is not, is simply justifying the tactics in a biased framework.


It's not the weapon, it's how it's used (in this case). The roadside bomb is actually legal, but they are used in a way that's illegal. They are essentially landmines (still legal), but you have to mark minefields and they don't do this with roadside bombs. Also, the roadside bomb is indiscriminate to the point that innocents are just as likely (more actually) to be killed than the enemy. This is also illegal. The drone doesn't have this problem.
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#649 Sharpshooter

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:07 PM

Welcome home, Omar, sense has finally prevailed


By Jane Kearns and Nan Douglas, For The Calgary Herald November 21, 2010

Congratulations to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for finally making the right decision with respect to Omar Khadr and ensuring his return to Canada next year. We know it wasn't an easy decision to make, with many Canadians succumbing to fear and emotion in the debate, but ultimately Harper found his moral compass.

None of us know what Khadr did or didn't do, which is moot now. What we do know, and has been proven repeatedly in Canadian courts, is that his rights were violated. For those who say "who cares, he doesn't deserve rights," how exactly do we determine who is granted the rights and privileges of Canadian citizenship and who is not?

Picking and choosing who has rights based on whether we like someone (or their family) is a slippery slope, and distinctly not what this country stands for. If we take away one citizen's rights just because we feel like it, then whose are next?

How were his rights violated? It started with torture. After having been shot twice in the back and blinded in one eye by shrapnel, he was hung up and tortured by an interrogator who, two weeks later, tortured an innocent taxi driver to death. (Google and watch "Taxi to the Dark Side." Shocking. It will make you understand why someone would confess to something they haven't done). The head of interrogation at Bagram, where Khadr was interrogated, went on to run Abu Ghraib, and we all know the disgusting things that happened there.

No fewer than three Federal Court decisions have ruled that Khadr's rights have been severely violated.

Well-respected organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario), the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, agree, as does our national hero, Gen. Romeo Dallaire. Khadr's entire time in American custody reads like a continual violation of numerous international conventions to which Canada and the U.S. are signatories. Are we going to randomly decide when we abide by our judicial system and our international commitments, just as certain people would have us randomly decide who gets rights?

Parliament struck a special Commons committee in June 2008 to study the Khadr case. This committee recommended the government demand Khadr's release from U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay to the custody of Canadian law enforcement officials. Nobody was ever saying set him free, but rather deal with him under Canadian law. Parliament voted by a majority to accept that recommendation, thereby directing Harper to act to secure Khadr's release and his repatriation. Harper chose to ignore the will of Parliament, and thereby the will of the people of Canada. We didn't realize we live in a dictatorship where one person gets to make decisions and ignore the will of the electorate and our courts.

The other serious issue to be considered is the fact that, under every definition, Khadr was a child soldier. Again, opinion on this doesn't matter -- Khadr was legally considered to be a child soldier. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, states in a letter to the military commission at Guantanamo Bay that, "In every sense Omar represents the classic child soldier narrative; recruited by unscrupulous groups to undertake actions at the bidding of adults to fight battles they barely understand. That Omar was abused by his own father exacerbates the harm done to this young man."

Canada and the U.S. are signatories to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which condemns the recruitment and use of children on the battlefield. It also stipulates that while child soldiers, like Omar, should be held accountable they are also entitled to "restorative justice," which ultimately reintegrates them and turns them into productive members of society. This is what should have happened to Khadr from Day 1 of his capture. Something we often hear is that it is too dangerous to let Khadr out now that he has spent so much time in Guantanamo. Should these people not, then, have been screaming years ago for his release along with our Parliament, human rights groups and the Federal Court?

Why is it that when children are coerced into battle in other parts of the world we bend over backwards to rehabilitate them, but when it is a child with Canadian citizenship we disavow and condemn him?

Jane Kearns and Nan Douglas are Representatives of an ad hoc comm ittee in Calgary supporting justice for Omar Khadr.

© Copyright © The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryhe...l#ixzz164D440Io


Edited by Sharpshooter, 22 November 2010 - 07:09 PM.

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#650 Wetcoaster

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:19 PM

Here is a thoughtful piece by an American on Omar Khadr:

Our national debate over terrorism and the treatment of terrorist suspects tends towards the abstract. We often resort to hypothetical scenarios and argue without detail or specificity. This is inevitable, as so many key details are classified, and people with first-hand information tend to be unwilling or unable to speak to the public. Reality and consequences are lost in the shuffle.

However, a recent military tribunal verdict gave us an excellent opportunity to see the results of our “war on terror’’ policies, an object lesson on how these policies force us to compromise our values. We convicted a child soldier for war crimes. His name is Omar Khadr.

Michelle Shephard’s book “Guantanamo’s Child’’ does an excellent job establishing the details of Khadr’s childhood. Khadr, now 24, was born in Canada. When he was 4, his father took him to the Middle East for the first time, and then shuttled him back and forth frequently over the next few years, all the while indoctrinating the boy into an extremist, fringe interpretation of Islam.

In 2001, when Khadr was 14, his father left him with a Libyan militant in southern Afghanistan, where he lived in a bunker full of men who’d pledged their lives to resisting the US invasion. Omar spent several months there, until US soldiers busted the bunker in July of 2002, killing most of its inhabitants. Omar survived with shrapnel wounds to his eyes, three bullets to the back, and gaping exit wounds in his chest. However, due to questionable eyewitness testimony claiming he threw a grenade that killed an American soldier during the raid, Khadr spent the past eight years in US custody, first in Afghanistan and then at Guantanamo Bay.

In a (heavily redacted) sworn affidavit, Khadr claims he was tortured regularly during his seven-year pre-trial detainment. Believing that Khadr killed an American soldier, Khadr’s guards and interrogators allegedly denied him medical treatment as punishment, allowing his wounds to fester. He is now blind in one eye and losing his sight in the other. Six military lawyers charged with prosecuting Khadr or other Guantanamo detainees have resigned, citing ethical and legal violations in the detainees’ treatment and prosecution. Khadr’s chief interrogator was granted immunity from prosecution for any abuse of Khadr in exchange for testifying at Khadr’s trial.

On Oct. 31,, a military tribunal found Khadr guilty of war crimes, including the death of an American soldier killed in the assault on the bunker, and sentenced him to 40 years in prison. Thanks to an unusual plea agreement, Khadr will only serve another year, for a total of 8 years in prison and extralegal detention. Setting aside the years of detention, allegations of torture, enormous procedural red flags, legal questions as to how killing an enemy soldier is a war crime, and almost every other aspect of Omar’s case, his conviction sets at least one clear precedent: the US government has decided that children are culpable for violating the laws of war, that children can be soldiers, and that they are just as accountable to the law of war as any regular, adult soldier.

If we are to conform to the precedent this case sets, then, at the very least, basic consistency demands we revise our immigration policies. When people who committed war crimes as child soldiers seek refuge in the United States, as many from Africa have, we should no longer merely decide whether to deport them. Clearly, we should arrest them. We should ensure that they are prosecuted to the full extent of whatever law is available.

We should also consider lowering the minimum recruitment age for the armed forces. If Omar Khadr could legitimately be a soldier at age 15, there is no reason why we can’t make up our troop shortfalls with 15-to-17 year olds.

Most Americans, of course, would disagree with these suggestions. Most Americans would probably prefer to treat child soldiers like traumatized victims, like children, rather than enemies or monsters. Khadr’s case is far from the only example of how our piecemeal, ad hoc system for prosecuting war on terror detainees collides violently with our values — but it is certainly one of the most galling and egregious.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/11/22/a_child_soldier_interrogated_and_tried/

Edited by Wetcoaster, 22 November 2010 - 08:49 PM.

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:37 PM

That is a thoughtful piece actually. Good to see an article in a paper, like Boston . com.
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#652 Wetcoaster

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:44 PM

Here is a piece analyzing the process under which Khadr would be transferred back to Canada and when he might be eligible for parole:

Canadian Omar Khadr has been at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba since 2002, after he was captured in Afghanistan — at the age of 15 — earlier that year. After reaching a plea deal with prosecutors in October 2010, it is anticipated that he will return to Canada in one year. Then he could apply for parole.

Under the plea deal revealed during his trial at Guantanamo Bay, the 24-year-old Khadr pleaded guilty to the murder of Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer and to four other charges: attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists and spying.

There is much speculation and debate about what happens once he is back on Canadian soil, so we prepared a FAQ to help sort through this complex case.
What are the key terms of the plea deal?

In his plea agreement, Khadr agreed not to be part of any lawsuit against the U.S., or to enter the country after his transfer to Canadian custody or to profit from any publication of his story.

He agreed to a sentence of eight years, with no credit for time served, with the first year in U.S. custody.

The U.S. agrees "to support transfer of the accused" to Canadian custody if he sticks to the plea agreement.

Must Canada accept Khadr's return after he has served the first year of his sentence?


The government is not party to the plea deal, nor is it required to consent to Khadr's transfer to Canada.

However, in an exchange of diplomatic notes between the U.S. Department of State and Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs on Oct. 23, Canada said it "is inclined to favourably consider Mr. Khadr's application to be transferred to Canada."

Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon clarified the government's role when he told the House of Commons on Nov.1 that his government "will implement the agreement between Mr. Khadr and the government of the United States."

Although U.S. President Barack Obama has not delivered on his promise to close the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, his government does want to reduce the number of prisoners held there and is not likely to look favourably on Canada refusing to accept Khadr.

How would the transfer be carried out?

Canada has treaties with about 80 countries, including the U.S., for the transfer of offenders back to their own country.

Khadr first has to apply to the Canadian government for a transfer, and then the International Transfer of Offenders Act governs the process.

It's not unusual for the Canadian government to take months to approve a transfer, according to retired Canadian diplomat Gar Pardy, who may have more experience with such transfers than anyone else.

Pardy told CBC News that the directions given by the ministers involved — public safety, justice, the attorney general and the prime minister — could also affect the timing but "these are political decisions, not legal ones."

How will Omar Khadr be confined during the remainder of his sentence in Canada?

Khadr is now in maximum security at Guantanamo.

The authorities at the Canadian facility where he serves his time will determine how he is confined, in accordance with the general standards used to make such decisions.
Khadr was 15 when captured by U.S. forces. What is the impact of the Youth Criminal Justice Act on his case?

According to University of Toronto law professor Audrey Macklin, because the sentence exceeds seven years, "it cannot be regarded under the young offenders regime" and is treated as an adult sentence.

She believes Khadr's eight-year sentence was "calculated to deny him any access to being treated as a young offender."

Further complicating matters for the Canadian legal system is that Khadr was not charged with first-degree murder but a war crime of murder. Macklin notes that crime "doesn't actually exist in the international lexicon of war crimes." Khadr is the only person in the world convicted of that war crime.

When Omar Khadr, seen here when he was nine years old, lived with his family in Pakistan, his father Ahmed was being held by Pakistani authorities. Khadr met Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who was visiting Pakistan in January 1996. Chrétien asked Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to ensure Ahmed received a fair trial.

However, the Youth Criminal Justice Act could influence the transfer, in a process that requires the Canadian government to determine what the sentence is going to be prior to the transfer.

Though an administrative process, officials in the Public Safety Ministry determine what an equivalent Canadian sentence would be, according to Canadian law. The officials could look at the Criminal Code and/or the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Pardy doubts the Harper government would allow the officials to use the Youth Criminal Justice Act but sees possible grounds for Khadr's lawyers to argue in court that the act should be considered.

What is the impact of the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in the Khadr case?

In January 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that Canadian officials contributed to the violation of Khadr's rights to life, liberty and security of the person. The court concluded that bringing Khadr back to Canada would stop the violation of his rights by preventing him from facing trial.

The Supreme Court also ruled that ordering the government to demand Khadr's repatriation was not a suitable remedy because of the government's constitutional responsibility to make decisions on matters of foreign affairs.

Lawyer David Harris, a former chief of strategic planning at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), sees the ruling as offering Khadr a "significant benefit" once he is back in Canada.

The court found that Khadr's interrogation by Canadian officials "offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects."

Harris said Khadr's lawyers could argue that his guilty plea "from the perspective of Canadian constitutional law, is not to be respected." They will say that it is "fruit of a poison tree, not to be eaten by the Canadian government or our courts."

For Pardy, the Supreme Court ruling means the government can pick and choose which Canadians in distress abroad it helps. "You've got discrimination of the worst kind and they can get away with it because of that Supreme Court decision."

Does the Convention on the Rights of the Child matter once Khadr is transferred to Canada?

Canada has ratified the 1990 convention, which sets out the rights of people under 18, but the U.S. is one of very few countries that has not.

It is widely expected that Khadr's lawyers could invoke legal obligations Canada has under the convention. However, Macklin is concerned that the government may flout its international statutory or constitutional legal obligations if "it's politically expedient to do so."

At the very beginning of this case, the government did express concern about Khadr's age. That soon changed.

Just before Khadr's transfer from Afghanistan to Guantanamo in 2002, Canadian officials were directed to "claw back on the fact that he is a minor."

Those instructions not to publicly raise the age issue came from Colleen Swords, the chief legal adviser at Foreign Affairs.

In an interview Nov. 1 on CBC Radio's As it Happens, the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, Capt. John Murphy, told Carol Off that Khadr's age and his upbringing were already mitigating factors in determining his sentence.

How soon could Omar Khadr get parole in Canada?

In Canada an offender is usually eligible to apply for parole after serving one-third of a sentence. A prisoner can apply for day parole six months before full parole.

Unlike the U.S. military commissions, under Canada's International Transfer of Offenders Act any time spent in custody between arrest and sentencing counts as time served.

Because the act also says that an offender is eligible to apply for parole after "five years, if they were 14 or 15 years old at the time the offence was committed," Khadr may be applying for parole his first day back in Canada.

(Even if Khadr were eligible before his transfer, it would not matter. Under those circumstances, the act stipulates that "the day of their transfer is deemed to be their day of eligibility.")

Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ, who has handled a number of prisoner transfers, argues it would not matter in determining Khadr's equivalent Canadian sentence whether he is considered a child or an adult.

Prior to sentencing Khadr was in custody for more than eight years and Champ says "Canadian law would treat that as 24 years because you get triple time for pre-sentencing custody."

Champ says that by the time Khadr returns, "for the purposes of Canadian law, he has already served 25 years" and therefore eligible to apply for parole immediately.

However, the Transfer Act states "the National Parole Board is not required to review the case of a Canadian offender until six months after the day of their transfer."
What will determine whether Khadr's parole application is successful?

Khadr will be eligible to apply for parole, but that does not mean it will be granted.

The Parole Board of Canada will look at well-established criteria in reaching a decision. All aspects of the case and the individual are considered, including the release plan, the likelihood of recidivism and, especially, the risk to society.

If the board believed Khadr would join a terrorist group, for example, it is hard to imagine he would go anywhere until he has served the full sentence.

Release opponents could make a case similar to what the prosecution presented at Khadr's sentencing hearing. Khadr's side could present evidence that he was tortured, coerced and abused, in order to argue that the plea agreement was signed under duress, and that his family made him become a child soldier.

The government could intervene in opposition to Khadr's parole application, but Harris expects it will "stay as far as possible away from this situation" unless there is a contrary agreement.

Accepting responsibility for a crime is normally an important sign that a convict is ready for parole. Macklin said the parole board will need "to rethink that in the context of this conviction."

How might Canada's security agencies respond to Khadr's release?

Harris told CBC News that it is "difficult for me to imagine conditions under which he would be free of intimate security-intelligence interest in his doings."

Harris expects a great deal of tax revenue will be expended shadowing Khadr, but he is more concerned that a possible Khadr court victory against the government could weaken morale in Canada's security and intelligence bodies.

"We don't want our defenders to be so reticent that we would find ourselves unnecessarily exposed to the depredations of extremists."

How do previous legal cases affect Khadr's? Will it have historic importance?

One of the challenges ahead for lawyers and judges in this case is that there has been very little prior jurisprudence that is directly relevant, meaning they have few precedents to work with in the Khadr case.

Canadians may be evenly split on whether Khadr should be allowed to serve even part of his sentence in Canada, suggested an Ipsos poll conducted around the time Khadr was being sentenced.

(Whether respondents think Khadr should spend any or all of his time where he's now locked away -- Cuba -- is unknown. Instead the poll asked them about the U.S., a country the plea agreement bans Khadr from entering.)

And more than two-thirds of the adult Canadians polled told Ipsos that in their view, "Khadr probably is guilty and this plea bargain is too generous."

But for Audrey Macklin: "This will be a case that in a few years people will look back on in shame."

Macklin attended hearings in Guantanamo as an observer for Human Rights Watch.

"We will tell a story about how it was a different time, how 9/11 cast a long shadow, we were in the midst of a moral panic about terrorism; in combination with Omar Khadr's family — his father, his mother, his sister — the things they had done and said," she added.

Macklin has been involved with the Khadr case for three years and maintains a website archiving legal documents about the case. She expects that eventually "we will distance ourselves from it, and we will pretend that the past is another country."

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/11/10/f-omar-khadr-returns-faq.html#ixzz164Zoxu4e

Edited by Wetcoaster, 22 November 2010 - 09:41 PM.

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#653 Wetcoaster

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:40 PM

It seems this could be a precedent that comes back to bite the Harper government (and by extension taxpayers) as the British government is paying millions in compensation to former Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Britain has agreed to pay hefty settlements to a group of former Guantanamo Bay detainees who sued the government for alleged complicity in their torture — one of the first big pay-outs stemming from the US-led war on terrorism.
...
At least seven former detainees would receive payments and at least one man would receive more than one million pounds ($1.6-million), according to a second source who has seen details of the weekend settlement and spoke on condition of anonymity because lawyers agreed that the details would be kept confidential.

British spies have not been accused of torturing detainees themselves, but former detainees have alleged that British officials violated international law by knowing about the abuse and doing nothing to stop it.

In interviews last week, former U.S. President George Bush boasted that he authorized some techniques — which others have labeled torture — for the interrogation of suspected terrorists, and that the methods yielded intelligence that saved lives.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/uk-pays-millions-in-settlement-with-ex-guantanamo-detainees/article1800626/

It could apply to Abousfian Abdelrazik who is suing the Canadian government for complicity in his torture in Sudan and Omar Khadr who well may do so.

Britain’s decision to pay out millions rather than reveal the role its counterintelligence operatives played in the torture and interrogation of Britons held in foreign prisons and Guantanamo Bay parallels the stark political choice facing the Harper government, which is also facing claims for complicity in torture.

“There are many parallels between Abousfian Abdelrazik’s case and those of the British citizens and residents who were tortured abroad,” said Paul Champ, who represents Mr. Abdelrazik, who is suing the government for $24-million over the role of Canadian Security and Intelligence Service agents in his arrest and alleged torture in Sudan.

“Direct or indirect complicity in torture cannot be tolerated by any country that truly respects human rights. Britain has set a good example for Canada.”

Mr. Abdelrazik, ordered repatriated to Canada by a federal judge who ruled the government had violated his constitutional rights, isn’t the only Canadian seeking hefty compensation from Ottawa for its role in the U.S. “war on terror.” Omar Khadr, the Canadian who pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder at a Guantanamo war-crimes trial earlier this month, is also expected to sue the Harper government.

“Omar has a much stronger claim to compensation that the U.K. detainees,” said Nathan Whitling, one of his Canadian lawyers. Britain’s government “settled these cases in order to suppress state secrets and to avoid a legal precedent from their courts. In Omar’s case, much of the secret information has already been released and the Supreme Court of Canada has already held that this information proves the government’s complicity in Omar’s abuse,” he added.

In Britain, at least seven former Guantanamo detainees will be compensated – and some will receive more than $1-million. The detainees claim Britain violated their rights and international law by knowing of their ill treatment and failing to stop it.

London’s new Conservative-led government, determined to prevent the embarrassing and perhaps ugly details of British agents’ involvement, opted to pay out while continuing to deny culpability.

“The alternative to any payments made would have been protracted and extremely expensive litigation in an uncertain legal environment in which the government could not be certain that it would be able to defend … security and intelligence agencies without compromising national security,” British Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke said.

In Mr. Abdelrazik’s case, a Canadian government document bearing a “CSIS” stamp says he was imprisoned by Sudan’s notorious secret police “at our request.” CSIS has flatly denied the document is a CSIS document and insists its agents have never arranged for the imprisonment of Canadian citizens abroad.

Still, the secretive agency knew of Mr. Abdelrazik’s imprisonment in Khartoum before Canadian diplomats and kept it secret from his family. CSIS agents also interrogated Mr. Abdelrazik in a Sudanese prison and – according to him – threatened to make sure he never saw Canada again.

Successive Canadian governments denied him a passport and blocked his return for years.

In Mr. Khadr’s case, CSIS agents interrogated him while he was in Guantanamo and, unlike Britain and Australia, the Canadian government refused to seek his repatriation, even though he was only 15 when captured in Afghanistan.

“What remains to be determined is how Omar is to be compensated for the Canadian government’s violation of his rights,” Mr. Whitling said.

In both cases, foreign agents accused of using torture and abuse were evidently provided information and questions by Canadian counterterrorist operatives. In Mr. Khadr’s case, his admission of guilt doesn’t repudiate his allegations of torture or Canadian complicity.

The Harper government has already paid $10-million to Maher Arar, admitting that Canadian security agents falsely fingered him as a terrorist to U.S. authorities, who then sent him to Syria where he was tortured. However, in that case, political blame could be assigned to the previous Liberal government that was in office when Mr. Arar was apprehended.

By contrast, the Harper government has vigorously fought legal actions by both Mr. Abdelrazik – who has never been charged with any crime – and Mr. Khadr. Canadian courts have repeatedly ruled against the government. Yesterday a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the minister had no comment.

“In both those cases, the Harper government has done plenty of wrongs,” said Amir Attaran, a law professor at Ottawa University.

“What is clear is that the British government felt the claims were serious enough to pay out large chunks of money,” Prof. Attaran said.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/will-uk-payouts-set-precedent-for-khadr/article1805137/

Edited by Wetcoaster, 22 November 2010 - 09:41 PM.

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#654 Sharpshooter

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:07 PM

That's a really good FAQ Wet....cheers, mate.

My question, rattling around the 'ol hamster wheel, and perhaps you can assist me in answering is....Would it be legally feasable for a third party, such as a Human Rights group or our Gov't, or a private citizen to sue the U.S gov't or U.S. Army, on behalf of of Omar? As he cannot do it himself, per the plea deal.

Whaddya think? Help me suss it out.
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#655 Wetcoaster

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 12:16 AM

That's a really good FAQ Wet....cheers, mate.

My question, rattling around the 'ol hamster wheel, and perhaps you can assist me in answering is....Would it be legally feasable for a third party, such as a Human Rights group or our Gov't, or a private citizen to sue the U.S gov't or U.S. Army, on behalf of of Omar? As he cannot do it himself, per the plea deal.

Whaddya think? Help me suss it out.

It would be a sort of derivative or representative action and would depend upon the primary delict being actionable. In this case Khadr has waived his right to sue the US government, so it would seem unlikely.
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#656 Sharpshooter

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 12:53 AM

It would be a sort of derivative or representative action and would depend upon the primary delict being actionable. In this case Khadr has waived his right to sue the US government, so it would seem unlikely.


There has to be a way to proxy sue them...damages be damned...it's the principle of it and the chance for a national/international media circus and its disinfecting spotlight.

There has to be a way to fight a proxy kind of civil case. Hell, it's the U.S., you can sue for spilled milk...literally!

I wonder if a provincial or federal gov't wouldn't have the authority to sue. I don't get the actionable variables or requirements. And since Khadr is directly suing them...that's a moot point....but it's the proxy fight that intrigues me.

Come on Wet, flex those legal chops...and give me something to sink my teeth into!
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#657 Wetcoaster

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 12:58 AM

There has to be a way to proxy sue them...damages be damned...it's the principle of it and the chance for a national/international media circus and its disinfecting spotlight.

There has to be a way to fight a proxy kind of civil case. Hell, it's the U.S., you can sue for spilled milk...literally!

I wonder if a provincial or federal gov't wouldn't have the authority to sue. I don't get the actionable variables or requirements. And since Khadr is directly suing them...that's a moot point....but it's the proxy fight that intrigues me.

Come on Wet, flex those legal chops...and give me something to sink my teeth into!

As I said the proxy has no more rights than the principal actor.
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#658 Sharpshooter

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 02:45 AM

As I said the proxy has no more rights than the principal actor.


I'm going to have to suss something out about this proxy business.
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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:29 AM

As I said the proxy has no more rights than the principal actor.


Eureka! I think I've come up with it dear Watson!

Now hear me out big fella, and put that legal scholarlly cap on...and take that stupid mind reading one off!

Couldn't Khadr's parents sue the U.S. Army or U.S. gov't, retroactively, as proxies or on behalf of Omar for the torture inflicted upon him as a minor. He was 15 at the time many abuses took place and there were obvious contraventions of many laws and treaties done, with the full knowledge of the representatives of the State and military.

Couldn't this particular litigation also take place most certainly in the U.S. but also in Canada or ICC? Didn't the U.S. recently sign on...or am I mistaken and they're still holding out because of potential war crimes charges?

Anyways...what's the feasibility of Omar's mother being the front person and complainant and letting the best, pro bono and instant celebrity and notoriety making, lawyers, in the U.S. and Canada build their reputation on the backs of, what would be a massively important show trial?

What say you Sir?
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#660 Wetcoaster

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 01:49 PM

Eureka! I think I've come up with it dear Watson!

Now hear me out big fella, and put that legal scholarlly cap on...and take that stupid mind reading one off!

Couldn't Khadr's parents sue the U.S. Army or U.S. gov't, retroactively, as proxies or on behalf of Omar for the torture inflicted upon him as a minor. He was 15 at the time many abuses took place and there were obvious contraventions of many laws and treaties done, with the full knowledge of the representatives of the State and military.

Couldn't this particular litigation also take place most certainly in the U.S. but also in Canada or ICC? Didn't the U.S. recently sign on...or am I mistaken and they're still holding out because of potential war crimes charges?

Anyways...what's the feasibility of Omar's mother being the front person and complainant and letting the best, pro bono and instant celebrity and notoriety making, lawyers, in the U.S. and Canada build their reputation on the backs of, what would be a massively important show trial?

What say you Sir?

You are talking about a process akin to what is known a proceeding by a guardian ad litem for an underage (or incompetent) plaintiff.
http://www.duhaime.o...ianAdLitem.aspx

However Khadr is now an adult and the clock cannot be wound back since he now has legal capacity to sue in his own name.

As part of the plea agreement Omar Khadr gave up any and all rights he had, has or may have in future to sue the US government over his capture, detention, guilty plea and conviction. That agreement was signed when he was an adult and while he was represented by legal counsel. Additionally as basic principle any guardian ad litem,representative, proxy or agent suing on behalf of principal cannot have greater rights than that of the factual plaintiff.

The only possible way around that I can see would be to first have the guilty plea and plea agreement set aside by a US court and that would be difficult to do as I understand US law. Having it set aside in any other jurisdiction other than US would have no real effect since a US court would not recognize the jurisdiction of the foreign tribunal to bind a US tribunal or the US government.

Edited by Wetcoaster, 23 November 2010 - 01:51 PM.

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