The issue that never goes away popped up again in the news today, with yet another frightful report from the Globe and Mail:
Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay – including those assigned to Canadian Omar Khadr – were encouraged to destroy handwritten notes from interview sessions to protect them from future legal action, according to newly released documents.
The revelation is another in a long line of documents, findings and events that have cast the Guantanamo Bay legal proceedings in a less than flattering light. That interrogators were instructed to destroy their handwritten notes is of particular importance to Mr. Khadr, because much of the case against him is believed to rely on what he said during some of those interrogation sessions.
“The government’s case against Omar is based almost entirely on statements interrogators extracted from him in the course of interrogations at Bagram [Afghanistan] and Guantanamo Bay,” LCdr. Kuebler said in an e-mail Sunday. “If handwritten notes were destroyed in accordance with the [Standard Operating Procedure manual], the government intentionally deprived Omar’s lawyers of key evidence with which to challenge the reliability of his statements.”
The news came shortly after the demand for the release of interview documentation.
This isn’t a hard one to guess at, really. If the case depends highly on the papers, and they had a veritable case, the papers would still exist. It’s obvious that they were afraid some revalation from the interviews would grant freedom to the prisoner, else they wouldn’t have destroyed them. It is, perhaps, a general fear of any instances arising, since Khadr’s papers were not the only ones destroyed. But that just magnifies the issue, instead of making the Khadr case one to ignore.
As I said last time: The longer our governments allow this to continue, the more foolish they look. They should just let him go and get it over with. I’m still uncertain as to what they’re fearing if they let the kid go, or at least put him into some sort of rehabilitation program. Political backlash? Can it really be as bad as this? Renewed aggression? Keep him under surveillance for a while, if you must, but surely that’s not really that high a risk unless there are more terrorists backing him even this many years later.
More likely, it’s simply a fear of phallic deflation on a national scale.