More on Khadr

I previously linked to an article that spoke of hope for Mr. Omar Khadr, and I haven’t heard much more about the issue until recently. Just a few days ago, the Globe and Mail posted another article regarding the young prisoner, this one with another uncomfortable twist to the tale:

U.S. officials – likely from the Central Intelligence Agency – had regarded the bounty as sensitive information passed along to Canada in confidence, prompting officials to fight to keep it secret.

Marked “Top Secret,” the internal Mountie memo was addressed to former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. Its subject matter was the arrest in Pakistan of Abdullah Khadr, now 28 and jailed in Toronto, the oldest living male member of Canada’s infamous Khadr clan.

“He is deemed to be a national security threat and has a $USD 500,000 outstanding bounty for his capture,” the memo reads. “He is deemed to be a great intelligence asset due to his close relationship with Osama bin Laden and other [al-Qaeda] members.”

Although the bounty isn’t directly linked to Omar, the fact that prices were laid on the heads of Khadrs makes it an easy proposition to suggest that Omar is suffering for his family’s name, more than for his own actions.

As I argued in the previous post, the punishment is over the top for the situation, particularly given Khadr’s childhood status. Is he still imprisoned solely because of his link to other terrorists, despite the claims that it’s his “crime” that earned him a spot in Guantanamo? And is this link to a Canadian threat the reason that the Canadian government doesn’t step up to voice opposition to his imprisonment?

Honestly, this story is a blight upon our countries’ reputations, although the media has been surprisingly docile in its assessment of late. This kind of speculation — that there are biases heavily guiding the situation — is inevitable, since there’s no concrete evidence that Khadr should be imprisoned. Until the people in charge of these situations start coming clean about their motivations and bring forth some evidence, the unrelenting cry should be for Khadr to be released and rehabilitated. The more they fight that decision, the more they condemn themselves. And that sucks, from the perspective of a proud Canadian citizen.

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stephen
    May 16, 2008 @ 08:20:08

    Although the bounty isn’t directly linked to Omar, the fact that prices were laid on the heads of Khadrs makes it an easy proposition to suggest that Omar is suffering for his family’s name, more than for his own actions.

    That’s an interesting suggestion.

    I haven’t dug into this story much myself, mostly because it’s such a fruitless task to try to figure out what’s true and what’s false when it comes to secret intelligence. We are completely at the mercy of our government to disclose the facts to us.

    The Bush administration clearly plays fast and loose with the truth. And the Canadian government tries not to contradict them too brazenly, for the sake of good relations. So I share your cynicism — but it’s another thing to actually prove that either government is lying.

    My first reaction was, they paid a bounty to get Abdullah Khadr arrested in Pakistan. I can understand the need to pay up, to get cooperation from residents of Pakistan.

    But I hadn’t considered what that might say about Omar.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: