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The Khadr quandary – Justice must be seen to be done

July 2017

There have been no shortage of opinions on the recent payment and apology to admitted terrorist Omar Khadr.

While it may be a legal reality that Khadr’s Charter rights were violated and some form of compensation is inevitable, hasn’t stopped 71% of Canadians from disagreeing with Trudeau’s decision to apologize and pay Khadr the money instead of fighting Khadr’s $20 million lawsuit.

It’s not that we are saying Charter rights don’t matter or that Khadr got what he deserved in Guantanamo.  Justice not only has to be done it has to be seen to be done and this one fails miserably.

That makes Khadr supporters, and even those who don’t necessarily support Khadr but feel this resolution was inevitable, loose their minds trying to fathom why there isn’t greater support.

How many of us were outraged that Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of sexual assault?  Legally the Crown failed to prove its case, even though it seemed a clear-cut case of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”  There was no dispute that Ghomeshi and the numerous alleged victims engaged in “rough sex”.  What was in dispute was whether it was consensual.

Khadr’s case is multi-faceted, as is Canadian’s disgust for this “deal with the Devil.”

It’s patently false to claim that Canadians simply don’t want to reward a “brown guy”, which is a default position for progressives; when you don’t have a reasonable counter-argument, call your opponent a bigot.  The anger over this issue is not as simple as that.

Khadr, who comes from an unrepentant terrorist family, was captured on film making IEDs for use against Canada and her allies in Afghanistan.

Khadr not only confessed to killing Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, he also bragged that killing him was the happiest day of his life.  Khadr is now appealing his conviction, saying he only confessed to get out of the Guantanamo Bay prison, but as of now, the conviction still stands.

Sure there is no forensic evidence or witness testimony to conclusively prove that it was Khadr who threw the fatal grenade.  We do know that Omar lived in an Afghan compound with a group of bomb-building Al-Qaeda jihadis, who planted roadside explosives, and was seen in happily making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in footage found after his capture.

We do know that this Al-Qaeda group got into a fire-fight with a U.S. Army Special Forces unit, thus making Khadr at least guilty by association, like the get-away driver for a robbery.

It’s been debated over and over as to whether Omar was willingly participating in actions as an enemy combatant or if he even understood the gravity of the actions he was taking given his young age.  It’s also debatable whether he was a “child soldier”, but both Article 4.3 of Protocol Ii of the Geneva Conventions and the 1989 UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child consider a “child soldier” to be someone under the age of 15.  The 1989 UN Convention also states that children 15 – 17 can voluntarily join up to fight.

Khadr was two months away from being 16 years old at the time.

However, as journalist and secular Muslim Tarek Fatah points out in “Canada rewards terrorists, Israel punishes them” (Toronto Sun, July 4), it’s likely that he knew perfectly well what he was doing and was a willing participant.

According to Fatah, “The Muslim boys who go to fight jihad do so not under any pressure, but for the lure of entering Paradise and meeting the opposite gender for the first time. This may sound bizarre to the non-Muslim, but trust me, this is not fiction nor propaganda.”

While the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Khadr’s rights were violated (it would appear more by the Americans than Canada), no recommendation for remedy was made other than repatriating him.  The Harper government did exactly that, unlike the Chretien/Martin governments, perhaps out of embarrassment at having come to the assistance of Khadr’s father, whom it was later discovered was an Al-Qaeda terrorist and a lieutenant of Osama Bin Laden.

One very important point of anger for Canadians is the fact that despite Trudeau promising during the last election to be more open and transparent than the Harper government, he didn’t even bother to seek advice from Canadians or at the very least, tell Canadians ahead of time that he was negotiating a deal with Khadr, thus eliminating the need for a trial.  It wasn’t until the story was leaked to the press that the Trudeau government confirmed the information, but not before fast-tracking payment of the money to firewall it against an outstanding $134.1 million default judgement (one he never defended against) against Khadr launched by Tabitha Speer, widow of Sergeant 1st Class Speer, and retired Sergeant 1st Class Layne Morris.

It’s also disingenuous of Trudeau to claim that he’s trying to save taxpayers money by saving us the cost of a full trial that, in his opinion, would have had the same outcome. That’s pretty rich coming from the guy who not only has had no problem adding over $30 billion to the national debt in the last 1.5 years, but who continues to fight veterans in court over restoring lifetime pensions and benefits to disabled veterans.

A trial would have taken it out of the political regime and and determined if Khadr bore any responsibility for what happened to him, just like a disability award for injuries sustained in a car crash can be reduced if the injured party wasn’t wearing a seatbelt or was impaired at the time.  IF the courts held $10.5 million was the right number, so be it. It was never certain Khadr would have gotten $20 million, but Trudeau still circumvented this process for political reasons and misplaced progressive virtue-signaling.

Meanwhile, Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman has been in an Indonesian prison since July 2014 on trumped-up charges of sexually abusing a kindergarten student on the campus of a prestigious international school in Jakarta.

What are you doing about him Justin?

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-khadr-quandary-justice-must-be-seen-to-be-done/

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