The Boys of War

One more boy got dragged into the horror of our country’s war on terror today: Tanner Speer, the 8 or 9 year old son of Christopher Speer, whose death Omar Khadr confessed to. Tanner’s mother read a note the boy wrote for (I think) Memorial Day.

“Omar Khadr should go to jail because of the open hole he made in my family,” wrote Tanner. “Army rocks. Bad guys stink.”

Shortly thereafter, Khadr made an unsworn statement, confessing to killing Speer, but spending time too talking about his biggest dream, to get out of Gitmo, describing how he wanted to be a doctor to help heal the pain of others. He turned to Speer’s widow and apologized for the pain he caused her family; the widow shook her head no in response.

“I’m really, really sorry for the pain I’ve caused you and your family. I wish I could do something that would take this pain away from you,” he said, standing in the witness box and looking at the widow of U.S. Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer.

Also today, Josh Rogin got a copy of the memo the State Department wrote explaining why the US needed to tolerate Yemen’s recruitment of 15 year old boys–the same age Khadr was when we captured him.

Imposing the section 404(a) prohibition against Yemen at this time would harm the cooperative relationship we have begun to rebuild with Yemen at a pivotal point in the fight against terrorism and have a negative impact on U.S. national security.


Cutting off assistance would seriously jeopardize the Yemeni Government’s capability to conduct special operations and counterterrorism missions, and create a dangerous level of instability in the country and the region.

It’s not enough for the Speers apparently, for Khadr to apologize. Because that won’t fix the hole in the Speer family.

I believe that, and I am sorry for their loss.

But these boys conscripted by all sides into the war on terror are not the ones putting the holes in families.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. harpie says:

    While Khadr was in Guantanamo, he read a lot. Harry Potter; Nelson Mandela’s Walk to Freedom; Obama’s Dreams of My Father; John Grisham, Danielle Steele, The Chronicles of Narnia;

    and Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, Memories of a Boy Soldier.

    According to Michelle Shephard, the former child soldier, Ishmael Beah has advocated for Omar Khadr.

    […] Ishmael Beah is humble, articulate, with a smile that captures half his face when he flashes it. If publicists were to create the perfect spokesperson to discuss the plight of child soldiers and road to recovery, they could do no better than the real-life Beah. […]


    “But you can’t say that one person’s life is more valuable. So, if a 15-year-old kid in Sierra Leone, in Congo, in Uganda, in Liberia, if they kill somebody and shoot somebody in the war it’s fine, but as soon as that kid kills an American soldier or … they are no longer a child soldier, they are a terrorist.”

    One of today’s defense witnesses was Dr. Arlette Zinck, a professor of English at King’s University College in Edmonton. [I hope I got that right, otherwise I’ll have to put a toonie in the jar.] She and Khadr wrote letters to one another. Khadr wrote a book report about Beah’s book for Zinck to comment on; and signed one of his letters “Your future student”.

    • SLOdrive says:

      One might wonder if Omar Khadr had some concerns about WTF an American soldier was doing in his country. I suppose if I saw an Afghan soldier standing in my front yard I would be concerned.

      • MrWhy says:

        Omar Khadr is Canadian, not Afghani. His father was born in Egypt, his mother is Palestinian by birth, both emigrated to Canada in the 1970s.

  2. susiemadrak says:

    Amen. But since we’ve dropped any pretense of rehabilitation and turned our prisons into profit factories, punitive measures are cheaper and more profitable, and thus will be the prevailing mode for the foreseeable future.

  3. tearloch7 says:

    What galls me most is my Canadian government won’t stand up for this kid .. limp wristed and afraid to offend Uncle Sam .. beat the drum slowly and onward we go ..

  4. harpie says:

    Here’s the letter [at CBC News] from Radhika Coomaraswamy, United Nations Under-Secretary- General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on 10/27/10

    Dear Members of the Military Commission:

    The case of Omar Khadr before the United States Military Commission at Guantanamo Bay is of deep concern for all of us in the international community working on the issue of children and armed conflict.


    I would therefore urge the military commission members to consider international practice-practice supported by the US Government-that Omar Khadr not be subject to further incarceration but that arrangements be made for him to enter a controlled rehabilitation program in Canada. The terms of such a program can be worked out in consultation with child protection partners, psychologists and specialists in juvenile reintegration that can be agreed by the prosecution and the defense.

    Such a rehabilitation program would prepare Omar to re-integrate into his home community aware of the moral consequences of his actions which, due to his age at recruitment, we can assume he could not have fully comprehended. This approach to his reintegration would prepare him for life in the community as a productive citizen of his country.

  5. skdadl says:

    I tried to be very good yesterday through Tabitha’s testimony and her public reaction to Omar’s statement. She’s the widow; it’s awful forever to lose a partner; so I sat on hands for 24 hrs.

    But that’s my limit. Any more histrionics and teh gloves are off. Tabitha’s notions of who is a “worthy” human being and who isn’t are xenophobic, and the public display of sentimentality is pushing too many of my Scots Presbyterian buttons.

  6. harpie says:

    Carol Rosenberg:

    * Missing among observers… Amnesty Canada’s Alex Neve, @deviatar from HRF. Prosecutor, AF Cpt, Chris Eason forgot his notebook. Recess.

    *#Khadr court back in session. NGO observers dwindled to three. Tabitha Speer, soldier’s widow, and her entourage sitting behind prosecution.

  7. harpie says:


    * #Khadr’s Army lawyer is reading, from #Khadr, how he was threatened with rape in Afghanistan. “Story scared me very much and made me cry.”

    * And this interesting tidbit: Judge Parrish just said that #Khadr’s sentencing jury won’t get forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner’s report.

    * #Khadr hearing today: Lawyer will read statement from Omar. Government will submit photo as rebuttal. Closing arguments tomorrow.

    * Judge Parrish revealed that Omar #Khadr will add a written “unsworn statement” to yesterday’s oral statement of responsibility, apology.

  8. harpie says:

    I’d just like to repeat that:

    * And this interesting tidbit: Judge Parrish just said that #Khadr’s sentencing jury won’t get forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner’s report.

  9. harpie says:

    Andy Worthington [link @15]

    Explaining why Khadr accepted a plea deal, having previously refused to accept the charges against him, Edney said it was a “very, very difficult” decision, and one which he “made only because Canada agreed to repatriate him after a year,” as the Associated Press described it, adding that Edney had explained that it “came down to a choice” between an “illegal” trial “and going home — and he chose the latter.” He insisted, however, that he stood by his client’s prior protestations of innocence regarding the death of Sgt. Speer. “We have reviewed the evidence … We have looked at the circumstances and it’s our clear opinion that Mr. Khadr is an innocent man, that Mr. Khadr was put into a hellish conflict and continues to remain in this hellhole that has a record internationally of abuse,” Edney said.

    The AP link:

  10. donbacon says:

    The US military recruits boys and girls of seventeen, with parental permission, and trains them to kill Muslims. Especially Muslims. Fifteen, seventeen, what’s the big deal. They’re immature kids which is why the military wants them.

  11. Margaret says:

    Not allowing Yemen to recruit CHILD SOLDIERS will have a “negative impact on US national security”? Bullshit and Hillary, you just flushed away any future support I might have shown you. Full stop.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Oh, they have shown their true face with this. But will the left/progressives (besides Marcy and some others) hold up the mirror on this? Thanks to Foreign Policy magazine for the coverage, though I suspect the leak of the State memo was for pathetic CYA purposes, to give the Obamabots reason to say, “You see, he’s working on it pragmatically, stop being so idealistic. He’s really getting things done.”

      Yes, that’s moving forward, “if like a crab you could go backward.”

    • harpie says:

      Thank you, skdadl! That talk by Edney is inspiring…and heartening. [I haven’t seen the movie, yet, but will as soon as I can]

      The story of how he could finally connect with Khadr through a photograph of his own son resonated with me, and is a perfect image to counter what we saw yesterday [Marcy’s topic, here].

    • karenr says:

      Awesome video of Dennis Edney, very powerful. And reassuring to know this man has been giving council to Omar. thanks skidoo.

      Need a new t shirt: Got Dignity?

    • harpie says:

      A review of the film:

      Review: You Don’t Like the Truth: Four Days Inside Guantanamo; Bruce DeMara; The Star; 10/29/10

      Because of his status as a “child soldier” under United Nations rules, critics allege his incarceration amounts to a war crime. They will have more reason for outrage after watching the searing documentary, You Don’t Like The Truth: Four Days Inside Guantanamo, by Patricio Henriquez and Luc Côté. It will challenge your faith in democracy, the rule of law and justice.


      Khadr expresses a naïve hopefulness at the beginning of the ordeal, but soon the film makes the case that his interrogators want nothing more than for him to confess to the U.S. official version of events that led to his capture following a firefight that nearly killed him, even if that means lying and telling them what they want to hear.


      If this documentary doesn’t fill you with sorrow, fury and revulsion, then democracy, human rights and justice are hollow words and we belong in the same moral dead zone as fanatics who oppress and destroy in the name of faith.

  12. kidcharles says:

    So we have a child soldier on trial for the “war crime” of attacking a uniformed soldier of an invading army. We bring out the soldier’s widow and children to perform in the theater of guilt. All the while, the torturers and liars who waged aggressive war go unpunished. This is the psychological madness of an imperial nation.

  13. donbacon says:

    What kidcharles said, plus–

    If we take the reaction of the Speer family and multiply it by thousands we might understand the basis of the ‘blowback’ we experience as a result of American military teenagers killing Muslims. The families and friends affected don’t have weapons so they retaliate with simple bombs and explosive vests and we call them terrorists.

  14. harpie says:

    From Andy Worthington:

    Khadr’s statement in the edited form made available to the media.


    *In closing its defense case, #Khadr team affirmatively chose not to question two mental health expert who spent 200+ hours with Canadian

    • skdadl says:

      Yes — I’ve been wondering about that since yesterday, since Omar spoke, b/c I was expecting to hear from the defence shrink, wondered whether I’d just missed that.

      But no. He/they never testified. Dunno what that means.

  15. mikeadam says:

    How do we stop these arch-criminals that have imposed themselves as our representatives to the world?

  16. lausunu says:

    As a nation of absurdly prideful people, by our incessant acts of torture and war, and by their general acceptance and glorification, we plunge ever deeper into the seemingly bottomless pit of depravity. This scarred and contorted face of our country shocks the collective conscience of those who have one of their own. Hope gasps at breath. What is this monster of which we are possessed?

      • lausunu says:

        True enough. What I fear is that it cannot be slain without the utter collapse of our legal and economic system, which may nearly be upon us. It seems clear our political system is in the toilet.

        My tin foil hat fits quite comfortably by the way, although perhaps a tad askew.

  17. nonplussed says:

    As one with passing experience with the Military “Justice” System, it has a well deserved reputation as a kangaroo court. There has never been any fairness for the accused, in fact a ship afloat is used to be the only place in this Country where an American Citizen could be denied a trial by his or her peers.

    • nonplussed says:

      A Naval Vessel remains a place where a crew member can be denied a Courts Martial at the Commanding Officer’s whim, whether the Ship is at sea, or not. But remember, nobody surrenders any rights to “serve” in the Armed Forces, or so they are quick to tell prospective enlistees…

    • mui1 says:

      True, Agreed. I saw that blip that disappeared. Grieving families feel the need to point fingers. I’ve experienced that. I’m sure many of us have. That anger is pretty common.
      What’s not normal, is some administration manipulating that grieving family for their own purposes,and those purposes are anti logical, and anti american.
      So it’s probably best to understand how this Speers family is being manipulated, rather than point fingers at them too.

      • harpie says:

        Thanks, mui1, for explaining that now apparent non-sequiter of a comment. I should have resisited.

        I agree with you about the manipulation. I’m convinced that they are victims, even if not necessarily in the way they think they are.

      • skdadl says:

        The thing about the fines — if anyone can clarify this, I would really appreciate. At some point, Tabitha S and Layne Morris won a case (in Utah, I believe) against the estate of Khadr Sr for $10 million, but they could not collect for some reason. A contact says that some part of the Patriot Act, however, makes it possible for them to collect — something? — if they are ruled victims of terrorism. And Khadr has just been coerced into confessing that he is a terrorist, so … they collect?

        I don’t know. This is another one of those stories that used to be easier to find online than it seems to be now.

  18. harpie says:


    *Government and defense attorneys are debating with judge how much he should emphasize deterrent nature of #Khadr’s prison sentence.

    *#Khadr court back in session. Judge on the bench. Jury free for the day. Topic: What judge will tell jurors as “sentencing instructions.”

  19. karenr says:


    # There are 7 uniformed #Gitmo jurors in #Khadr case. Need 6 of them to agree for a 10+ years sentence. 1 minute ago via web

    #Guantanamo jury sentence will only matter if its less than the reported 8 years #Cdn detainee #Khadr has already accepted in plea. 3 minutes ago via web

    #Military jury can also consider 8 years #Khadr already served. Wont get credit for it, as in civilian trials. But can consider. 5 minutes ago via web

    #GTMO judge in #Khadr case will tell jury they can consider age, education, physical injuries, level of maturity in sentencing Khadr.

  20. harpie says:


    * Judge and lawyers agree: Even though war court sentence may impose fines, #Khadr’s jury form won’t provide a $$ blank. Omar held since 15.

    * Judge Parrish: #Khadr closing arguments tomorrow at 9 a.m. No time limit on how long lawyers can talk. Jackson: Defense has a prop.

    * This is interesting: A juror asked a question during testimony. The judge didn’t ask it. But prosecution wants it answered in instructions.

    • karenr says:


      won’t provide a $$ blank

      meaning what, jury wont put a dollar value on the *murder* and/or Omars 8 years torture/prison/etc?

      ? 2:

      Jackson: Defense has a prop.


      ? 3:

      A juror asked a question during testimony. The judge didn’t ask it.

      I forgot already, what was the question again?


  21. harpie says:

    I think:

    1. There will be no space for a fine on the form the jurors fill out?

    2. Defense has a proposition for how to handle closing statements?

    3. We don’t know that question, but Prosecution thinks it’s important for the jurors to know the answer?

  22. b2020 says:

    “Army rocks. Bad guys stink.”

    And perpetual war inches towards perpetuity.

    In the US, nobody wants to see the heroes die, ever. Siegerjustiz, and the war is not only not won, it looks rather lost. Ah, the wonders of modern media entertainment and its extension to the nations’ courtrooms. I suppose once the rule of law has been deemed quaint by the few and the many, those judges will have to find another way to earn their pay. Maybe Court TV is primed for a big comeback. Volksgerichtshof, too? Tried and true…

  23. harpie says:

    Khadr lawyer reads account of gang-rape threat; Colin Perkel; The Star; 10/29/10

    Sentencing submissions in the case of Omar Khadr, the first juvenile prosecuted for war crimes in six decades, ended Friday with a story of a gang-rape threat.

    In an unsworn statement, jurors heard how an American interrogator threatened the wounded 15-year-old Khadr.

    “It is hard for me to talk about,” Khadr said in the statement.

    “I know it does not change what I did, but I hope you will think about it when you punish me.” […]

  24. harpie says:


    * Should be big day at Camp Justice. Military jury to decide sentence for confessed teen killer Omar #Khadr, captured in 02 firefight.

    * State Dept observer’s also hanging around for sailor to drive him to breakfast. Only troops can eat at Camp Justice galley, just steps away.

    * 620 a.m. Camp Justice. Media-minder ratiot: 4 troops for 3 reporters. Sailor-sitters watching football to kill time, reporters at keyboards.

    #Khadr prosecution team gave a photo to the jury at the very last moment. Still no word on what it showed, why they haven’t released it.

  25. harpie says:


    *Gavel down in #Guantanamo #Khadr case at 8:30. Will be in court to watch jurors faces as they hear closing arguments. Sentence today?


    *Sketch artist, other observers moved up to tribunal building amid confusion over whether it’s 9 or 8:30 a.m. #Khadr gavel down. Stay tuned.

    * Asking yet again for copy of the photograph the prosecution put before the jury as the last piece of pre-deliberation argument evidence.

    *Media minders reflect it this way in scrawl on instructional white board: “0630 Gym 0630 CHOW 0800 MOVE to court 0830 GAVEL Down 1200 CHOW”

  26. harpie says:


    *Still no feed from #Khadr courtroom. Seems we’re back to 9 a.m. gavel down. Also watching today: Cmdr Reese, new prison camps spokeswoman.

    *More @Khadr: There’s also a State Department observer in a media badge and representative of Pentagon’s OGC working out of media center.

    *Camp Justice media count on #Khadr deliberation day: Seven Canadian media outlets (11 people) plus 7 other reporters, 1 sketch artist. more

  27. harpie says:


    *Omar #Khadr’s Guantanamo military commission is called to order. Judge is on the bench. Jury is in its box.

  28. harpie says:


    *Groharing’s telling the panel about Omar #Khadr’s “jihad.” Says: He and “his brethren don’t fight for a country. They fight for a religion.”

    *Lead prosecutor Groharing is closing for Pentagon. He’s in a black suit, red tie — not Marine major’s uniform he wore when he got the case.

  29. harpie says:


    * Groharing: Government wants #Khadr to get 25 years confinement. (That doesn’t include the eight in military custody since his 02 capture.)

    * Prosecutor Groharing says #Khadr carried out “hate crimes,” and that a life sentence for his five war crimes would be “appropriate.”

  30. harpie says:


    *Groharing to jury: “Make no mistake, the world is watching.” Says sentence sends message to US enemies who still “plot and plan.”

  31. harpie says:


    *Prosecutor Groharing on Al Qaeda: “These are terrorists. They fight for no country.” Jury being shown photo of US medics treating #Khadr.

  32. harpie says:


    *Omar #Khadr is sitting in same charcoal suit and tie at defense table, appears to be listening intently, watching Groharing speak.

    *Now prosecutor showing the military jury a picture of soldier #Khadr killed, Sgt. 1st Class Chris Speer — in civilian clothes with his kids

  33. harpie says:


    *#Khadr pleaded guilty to helping plant 10 mines in Afghanistan. Govt now showing FBI controlled explosion of a Humvee, with similar mine.

    *Now Groharing shows jury photo of Omar #Khadr as a 15 year old, kneeling on a carpet in Afghanistan, assembling an IED. He looks like a kid.

  34. harpie says:


    *Pentagon prosecutor is using visual aides to recap details of #Khadr guilty plea. Groharing’s using slides with words and pictures.

  35. harpie says:


    *Prosecutor who said #Khadr deserves a 25-year sentence just upped the ante and said “AT LEAST 25 years,” Groharing’s emphasis.

  36. skdadl says:

    We just heard that Groharing (no longer a major, we’re told, now civilian lawyer) looks like Matt Damon. Will think of a double for Khadr, who is actually quite handsome.

  37. harpie says:


    *Prosecutor says as a measure of regret #Khadr should have written letters to slain soldier’s kids, now 8 and 11, to express his remorse.

    *As prosecutor closes, the Pentagon public affairs rep just released letters from the kids of Chris Speer, soldier #Khadr killed with…

    *#Khadr prosecutor: “Athough he was an adolescent, he was mature beyond his years,” noting that 15 year old from Toronto spoke 4 languages.

  38. harpie says:


    *Groharing just revealed that not one but two prison staff lawyers –Capts McCarthy and Martin–vouched for #Khadr’s good behavior in Camp 4.

  39. skdadl says:

    Groharing lies when he says Omar has never expressed “remorse” before. He confessed to all sorts of things at Bagram and first arrival at GTMO, and prosecution has used that evidence (derived from torture). Well, they’ve got another year to torture him now; I’m sure they can make him all kinds of remorseful.

  40. harpie says:

    Khadr did apologize to the family. Nothing he could do would be enough, I guess.


    I’m really really sorry for the pain I’ve caused you and your family. I wish I could do something that would take this pain away from you. This is all I can say.

  41. harpie says:


    *Prosecutor took exception to mention that #Khadr read “Walk to Freedom.” Says, “Ladies and gentleman, the accused is no Nelson Mandela.”

  42. harpie says:


    *Now #Khadr prosecutor is recapping view of forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner, who said Canadian “has high risk of future dangerousness.”

    [And Welner is no decent person.-harpie]

  43. harpie says:

    Nelson Mandela said [parphrasing]:

    “I knew that if I could not let go of the hate I had felt for those who imprisoned me, then I would still be in prison.”

    • harpie says:

      Omar Khadr;

      During my time here, as Nelson Mandela says, in prison, the most thing you have is time to think about things. I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. I came to a conclusion that hate, first thing is, you’re not going to gain anything with hate. Second thing, it’s more destructive than it’s constructive. Third thing: I came to a conclusion that love and forgiveness are more constructive and will bring people together and will give them understanding and will solve a lot of problems …

  44. harpie says:


    *Days before #Khadr killed him, US soldier-medic waded into a minefield, saved two Afghan kids. Jury gets to see soldier’s posthumous medal.

    *Welner was first hired by Pentagon prosecutor to evaluate if #Khadr was mentally fit to stand trial, did “extensive” research on radicals.

  45. harpie says:


    *Now #Khadr’s got his head bowed as prosecutor argues. Screen is showing photo of slain soldier and kids in what looks like a pumpkin patch.

    I wonder if Khadr has his own memories of happy times with his family?

  46. harpie says:


    #Khadr prosecutor to jury: “Make no mistake. Your sentence will send a message. The press of the world are here to report it.”

    Here it is. They’re using this bogus procedure against Omar Khadr to send a message.

    • karenr says:

      “Make no mistake, the world is watching. Your stentence will send a message” to the victims, their families, to #Khadr and “our enermies”


    • harpie says:

      …a message which 10 years of war and thousands upon thousands of deaths and horrific injuries, to say nothing of any honor this country ever had, has not been able to get across.

  47. harpie says:


    *Prosecutor says length of #Khadr’s sentence will send a message to soldiers who sacrifice and another to al Qaeda: “Your jihad is over.”

  48. harpie says:


    *Prosecutor’s done. Ends after this: “Omar #Khadr is not a rock star. And he’s not a victim. He’s a murderer. Tell him with your sentence.”

  49. harpie says:

    CR [emphsis mine]:

    #Khadr court on break to let the prosecutor pick up his stuff, Defense lawyers set up theirs. Headline: Govt wants 25-year jury sentence.

    That was about 1 hour, I think.

  50. skdadl says:

    I don’t know how Jackson can do what he’s doing. I guess he has to because of Omar’s confession – they have to pretend to believe it. But this is perhaps the worst travesty of all, a defence lawyer arguing this way.

  51. harpie says:


    #Khadr’s army defender says soldiers were right to save boy. But says US soldiers in case “did the wrong thing true,” cites rape threat…

    *Ltc Jackson is arguing #Khadr’s case. Showed smiling childhood photos, then after battle with chest torn open. Says, “Al Qaeda uses kids.”

  52. harpie says:


    *In bid to cast #Khadr as a good captive, defense is giving jury a drawing of a sailboat he drew in Camp 4 and a letter signed “Art Teacher.”

    *Urges military jury to hold soldiers who did wrong “accountable” in its punishment. Says, “Omar #Khadr has rehabilitative potential.”

  53. harpie says:


    *The jury won’t know the art teacher’s name because he’s an anonymous Pentagon contractor. Picture also shows a building with bars on window.

  54. harpie says:

    Talking about Welner:


    #Khadr defender reminds jury that prosecution psychiatrist spent just two days with captive to form his “future dangerousness” analysis.

  55. karenr says:

    will Dennis Edney also argue? or just Jackson?
    (Saturday, Im somewhat distracted, will try to follow you two!)

    • skdadl says:

      No, the Canadian lawyers don’t have standing at the commish. Edney is allowed to be there sitting beside Omar, but that’s it.

      I wonder whether Bill Kuebler is following this. He did such fine work for so long, but he knew he couldn’t win, and often said so. He tried very hard to talk the Cangov into getting Omar home for precisely that reason. Hell of a spot to be in.

  56. harpie says:


    *Govt psychiatrist relied on Danish study of Muslim juvenile recidivism. Defense lawyer tells jury that Dane author called Muslms “inbred.”

    *Recapping: Prosecutor put up photos of #Khadr’s victim’s kids. Defense put up Canadian as kid, then at 15 after battle, chest torn open.

  57. harpie says:



    *#Khadr defender: Pentagon expert witness, Welner, “was biased for the government,” invoked “not one bit of science,” no forensic psychiatry.

    *Govt psychiatrist relied on Danish study of Muslim juvenile recidivism. Defense lawyer tells jury that Dane author called Muslms “inbred.”

  58. karenr says:

    glad they showed that photo of Omar at capture…. its gutwrenching to look at that pic and then hear them call him a murderer

  59. harpie says:


    *Defense has on screen its suggested sentencing factors: Rehabilition of wrongdoer. Love and Forgiveness. 8 years detention. Bagram threats.

  60. harpie says:


    *Khadr’s Army defense lawyer says soldier Canadian killed was a “hero” but cautions jury: “This is no ordinary murder case.”

  61. harpie says:


    *Defense slide on screen now declares “Dr. Welner’s testimony is useless,” as well as #Khadr was “peaceful to those who know him.”

  62. karenr says:

    Jackson asks jury whose fault it is that #Khadr has been *marinating* in “radical jihadism,” as Dr Welner said

  63. harpie says:


    *Khadr defense lawyer notes that US decided to put Canadian in #Guantanamo, offer him no “de-radicalization” program…

  64. harpie says:



    *Defender just juxtaposed govt testimony that #Khadr “marinated in jihad” at #Guantanamo for eight years with proposed 25-year sentence. …

  65. harpie says:


    *Army defender, Lt Col. Jackson: “For the next 25 years at #Guantanamo he’s going to be marinating, marinating in this jihad sauce?”

  66. harpie says:


    “He’s never had a first chance,” says Army defender, urging jury to send #Khadr “back to Canada” and not keep him at #Guantanamo.

  67. harpie says:

    Judge is talking, now.


    *Judge is telling jury they can give #Khadr up to life but can consider his age, other factors. He’s guilty of 5 crimes, get one sentence.

  68. karenr says:

    O pled Guilty to five crimes, two of which he was never even charged with to begin with but go ahead sentence him for those too. (Lost twitter….)

  69. karenr says:

    This is the #Guantanamo war court, fashioned out of old building, with no bathroom adjacent to jury room. Judge: *Sorry. Thats life.*

    …thats life … at Guantanamo.

  70. karenr says:

    Its 90 minutes into todays session and judge just told jury they have to recess formally if any one member needs to go to the bathroom.

    filibuster??? lol

  71. harpie says:

    Was just thinking I was glad not to hear anything about Tabitha, and then


    *Scene from tribunal chamber: When #Khadr defender was describing Canadian as loving, Tabitha, widow of soldier he killed, gestured “Stop.”

  72. harpie says:


    *More from tribunal chamber pool: Jury foreman, a Navy captain and Gulf War pilot, would from time to time study #Khadr during closing.

    *There are seven US officers on #Khadr’s sentencing jury, including Army major, Marine colonel. Rank doesn’t count in deliberations.

  73. harpie says:

    Is every single person who killed an American soldier going to get charged with murder and “war crimes” and be put on trial for it?

    Or is Khadr, because he is the one they caught and could coerce into telling them what they wanted to hear, going to pay the price for all of them?

    What a farce.

    I’m embarrassed for US.

    • harpie says:

      Edney asks the same question I did [@128] in first article linked @303:

      One of Khadr’s Canadian lawyers said justice had not been served, arguing that “fundamental principles of law and due process were long since abandoned in Omar’s case.”

      “We have over 1,200 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and we’ve made a 15-year-old boy pay for that,” Dennis Edney told reporters.

      Edney said Khadr reacted by saying he hadn’t expected to get justice from the Guantanamo system.

  74. harpie says:


    *Judge replied that wasn’t her concern. “Yes, sir,” she said.

    *Before jury began deliberations (at 10:48 a.m.) female military member asked if #Khadr would serve his time at #Guantanamo…

    …at least one woman on jury…

  75. karenr says:


    Before jury began deliberations (at 10:48 a.m.) female military member asked if #Khadr would serve his time at #Guantanamo…

    Judge replied that wasnt her concern. *Yes, sir,* she said.

  76. karenr says:

    well the jurists must all know that Obama wants to close GTMO (er hem) and should be able to surmise some things, no? Wonder how much they know from the past eight years of *publicity* on this case? Or if any read Shephards book.

    • skdadl says:

      I wonder who in Washington is behind the theory that getting this done quick and dirty is going to save Obama’s reputation? Is that Sunstein-think? And reputation where? The whole case never much interested most of the U.S. public, I’m sure. It has only been a concern to U.S. DFHs and then the rest of the world, and most of those people are going to go on thinking what they thought before. Maybe it’s a five-minute score for Obama a few nights on network TV, but none of the people who get their news that way are going to remember it as a score.

      Why did they think this was a good idea?

    • harpie says:

      I’m not sure about qualifications for the jury and if there is any kind of questioning about things like that before hand.

      In a similar vein, I’m wondering how much the people who offered Welner a job knew about his “work”.

  77. karenr says:

    speaking of Shephard, where is she today?

    skdadl: is this a courtroom? quote retweeted, sure aint anything like TV trials, huh? :-/

  78. harpie says:


    *Case prosecutor Jeffrey Groharing “is thinking about” whether he’ll release the script he read at closing. Defense spoke off the cuff.

  79. karenr says:

    you 2 are Canadian? I am only US person here following? well, not surprised.

    I did post in a small blog about this to share with some DFH friends, they are not micro-watching like me, but they do care and are adding it to their list of … horrors.
    heres my essay at DD posted Thursday

  80. klynn says:

    Now, what will happen to one of the youth we recruit in Yemen should one accidentally kill a US soldier in friendly fire?

    Will they be treated like a US soldier friendly fire case or like Khadr?

  81. harpie says:


    *Confusion in Camp Justice: Soldier scrambling reporters to #Khadr war court, says there may already be a verdict inside one hour.

      • karenr says:

        who will win out …. truth & justice? or power of empire?

        hubcap huh? I need to go order that new ACLU t-shirt.

      • klynn says:

        There may also be the combined guilt factor driving them. The jury may just want this over because they cannot win either way.

  82. harpie says:


    *The Pentagon’s Maj. Tanya Bradsher just said soldier who scrambled media was wrong. No verdict yet. Media will get 15 minutes notice.

  83. harpie says:


    *Maj. Bradsher says widow of soldier killed by #Khadr is still deciding whether to speak to media after sentence announced.

  84. harpie says:

    From link @149

    Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I prohibits—at any time and in anyplace—the passing of sentence when charges have not been determined, “by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people.”[1] The denial of a fair trial violates the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and Canada’s Geneva Convention Act and Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.[1].

  85. harpie says:


    *My Globe and Mail colleague Paul Koring has been crunching numbers: #Khadr has spent 3012 days in US military custody, 2919 at #Guantanamo.

  86. harpie says:


    *The #Khadr jury just broke for lunch. Deliberated 92 minutes so far. That military escort error perplexed. They’ve got a lot to read.

  87. harpie says:


    *About #Khadr’s #Guantanamo jury: Four men, three women. Junior: Army major, MI comproller. Senior: Navy captain who flew Gulf War missions.

  88. harpie says:

    Michelle Shephard [link @174]:

    Khadr has pleaded guilty to five war crimes including murder for the death of Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer.

    Here is Khadr’s confession.

    Can anyone please tell me what the five “war crimes” are?

    • harpie says:

      From the Worthington article linked @210, wrt: my question @177:

      He was also required to stay silent in the face of compelling evidence that these dubious-sounding war crimes to which he signed his name were not in fact war crimes at all, and were only invented by Congress in 2006, as former Guantánamo military defense attorney Lt. Col. David Frakt explained last summer. In addition, he also had to overlook the fact that, when the Commissions were revived last year, defense secretary Robert Gates added a new twist to the fictional war crimes so that, asLt. Col. Frakt explained in April this year, “a detainee may be convicted of murder in violation of the law of war even if they did not actually violate the law of war.

        • karenr says:

          there will be no appeals per the plea deal, and no real court either, but yeah, sure. grounds for a mis-trial or … something, IANAL. !!! Just rally obvious what a sham/e this all is.

        • harpie says:

          This is a sentencing hearing, not a trial, so, although I’m not a lawyer, I think an appeal would not be possible for that reason. But, if it would be possible, I think [as karen mentioned above] it’s been ruled out in his plea deal. See Daphne Eviatar:

          Gitmo Guilty Plea Is a Sad Day for U.S. Rule of Law; Daphne Eviatar; The Huffington Post10/25/10

          For Khadr, then, today’s guilty plea was probably the right choice. His Canadian lawyers will have grounds to challenge his sentence as unlawful as soon as he’s transferred to Canada. (The “diplomatic notes” reached between the U.S. and Canadian governments that will likely allow his transfer after a year in U.S. custody are still secret but will be released with the plea agreement after the commission members recommend their sentence.)

          For the U.S. government, the guilty plea was a way to save face. After all, the Obama administration knew that it was a political embarrassment for its first military commission trial to be of a child soldier – a contradiction of its obligations under international law to rehabilitate child soldiers rather than punish them. The administration also knew that the charges against Khadr were all legally dubious – invalid under international law and a violation of the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution. Khadr’s guilty plea allows them to rack up another “win” for the military commissions, pushing the total to a whopping five convictions in the last eight years. By contrast, U.S. civilian federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists in that same time period. This doesn’t exactly tip the balance.

          Still, no matter how you look at it, this plea makes a troubling statement about the United States’ respect for the rule of law. Although as part of his plea agreement Omar Khadr has waived his right to appeal his conviction or to sue the United States for his confinement or treatment, a dark cloud continues to shadow this case. That cloud will continue to conceal the truth about Omar Khadr’s treatment at the hands of his U.S. interrogators; and it will ensure that the validity of his conviction, and the integrity of the military commissions themselves, remain in doubt.

          The whole thing is BOGUS. See Andy Worthington:

          The Betrayal of Omar Khadr – and of American Justice; Andy Worthington; 10/26/10

          However, it remains deeply depressing that the Obama administration will be able to maintain the fiction that the Military Commissions are capable of delivering justice, and also that it now appears to be irrelevant that Khadr was a juvenile prisoner, subjected to horrific treatment, because he has conceded, in circumstances that may not have been conducive to telling the truth, that he was in fact a terrorist.

          Torture Is Finally Mentioned on the Last Day of Omar Khadr’s Sentencing Hearing at Guantánamo; Andy Worthington; 10/30/10

          As part of the Bush administration’s apparently successful rewriting of international law — facilitated by President Obama and lawmakers in Congress — Khadr was therefore obliged not only to forego further complaints about his age at the time of his capture, and the responsibility of others for indoctrinating him, but also to accept that he had been captured in circumstances in which it was impossible for him to be a legitimate combatant.

          […] He was also required to stay silent in the face of compelling evidence that these dubious-sounding war crimes to which he signed his name were not in fact war crimes at all, and were only invented by Congress in 2006, as former Guantánamo military defense attorney Lt. Col. David Frakt explained last summer. In addition, he also had to overlook the fact that, when the Commissions were revived last year, defense secretary Robert Gates added a new twist to the fictional war crimes so that, as Lt. Col. Frakt explained in April this year, “a detainee may be convicted of murder in violation of the law of war even if they did not actually violate the law of war.” […]

          • bmaz says:

            I think there are indeed avenues of collateral attack on this plea available to Khadr whether you call it an appeal, habeas petition, extraordinary writ or whatever. Yes, the government has integrated a type of adhesion clause regarding no appeal into the plea agreement. Question is whether that is valid and binding or inherently contrary to the interests of justice and therefore void. Whatever the vehicle, it may indeed be more restricted than a traditional appeal by right, but the underlying thought is there is always an available path to address something of fundamental and/or constitutional level that was wrong with the process.

            I would think a court taking a plea on crimes that did not exist legally, taking a plea on crimes never charged factually, a court that is inherently itself unconstitutional etc. might well fit into the category of things there is an avenue for appeal on if Khadr had the right counsel and was aggressive. There is a historical line of cases on whether clauses prohibiting all appeal and/or prohibiting the exercising of the civil right to sue under basic civil rights protections such as 42 USC 1983 are prohibitive adhesions clauses under duress in plea agreements. The Town of Newton case ended the view of many courts that such clauses were inherently void and provided that each cases would have to be evaluated on its own merits on a case by case basis, but the challenge is very much appropriate and available.

            The better question may be who would do it for him at this point as military counsel will likely be cut off and access effectively denied or impossibly restricted to any others. Not to mention that if he is indeed repatriated to Canada in one year, that would severely impact his standing and ability to pursue such theories.

  89. harpie says:

    From the same article [@174][emphasis added]

    “Keep this in perspective. This is not the typical murder case,” Jackson said, then repeated: “This is not the typical murder case.”

    Jackson asked the jury to consider that Khadr was caught in a battlefield during a war.

    “Omar Khadr was a lawful target but he didn’t have the right to fight back,” he said.

    What does Jackson mean by the bolded part?

  90. harpie says:

    Also from the @174 article

    Khadr’s case is historic as the first time a juvenile has been prosecuted for war crimes since World War II. He is also the only captive the Pentagon has charged with murder of the more than 5,000 U.S. service members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Bolded part echos back to my comment @128 .

  91. harpie says:


    Jury just past two-hour mark deliberating. Jury got 200 pages of reading, including affidavit from ex-Army interrogator called “monster.”

    Is that Corsetti?

    • karenr says:

      Id say Claus.

      another article Stalin wouldve been proud

      His chief interrogator at Bagram admitted to telling the teenage boy that unless he co-operated, he would be sent to a U.S. prison, where a group of black men would gang rape him to death. Ponder that for a moment.

      He was interviewed about 25 times by this interrogator, Joshua Claus. Claus was also the interrogator for an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar who was chained to the ceiling and beaten to death in Bagram in 2002; Claus pled guilty to his involvement in the affair and received a five month sentence. In a lovely Orwellian touch, the U.S. government insisted that reporters covering Khadr’s trial not name Claus, but instead refer to him as “Interrogator 1.”

      Read more:

  92. skdadl says:

    JOSHUA CLAUS. We always name him in caps, just to annoy the Pentagon, who didn’t realize we had know for two years who JOSHUA CLAUS is.

    Other ways to annoy the Pentagon: JULIAN ASSANGE. ;-)

  93. karenr says:

    from Omars *book report* of the book, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah

    After Ive finished reading a long way gone, I was struck by the simplicity truthfulness and the straight-from-the-heart fact of it.

    A Long Way Gone is the best example to what humans have reached from horrors they committed to the way they cured it and especially in the child field, a treatment that guaranteed success and cureness, a way the leaves no traces of the horrors that have scared the soul.

    Childrens hearts are like a sponge that will absorb what is around it, like wet cement, soft until it is sculptured in a certain way. A childs soul is a sacred dough that must be shaped in a holy way.

    Read more:

  94. karenr says:

    Waiting for #Khadr jury sentence in #Gitmo rainstorm. Would be fun to be in sunny DC covering #rally4sanity.

    Im not feeling terribly humorous re concept of USA & sanity today.

  95. karenr says:

    #Guantanamo weather update: Sun shower is now a downpour. Itll be good for cleansing tent city, maybe take edge off the odor at latrines.

    Some others calling it a *sunshower*. If they are anything like sun showers in Miami, they seem bizarre to northerners. Full blazing sunshine and downpour of rain simultaneous.

    Went out for groceries earlier, the live musician in store was playing/singing Cat Stevens Moodshadow while I shopped.

    Praying while waiting and doing chores. ;-)

  96. harpie says:

    Zinck to Khadr [July 2010][link @189]

    “The strongest most compelling thing you can do is react with love to everyone you encounter. This will take every ounce of strength you have but you will not be alone as you do this work. God keeps you especially close when people are mean.”

  97. karenr says:

    okay so I just peeked at the Sanity Rally post on the FP (Jane) and I see they say Cat Stevens performed? too weird.

    • harpie says:

      Link @ 200

      […] Groharing defended the testimony of Dr. Michael Welner, the forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Khadr over two days and concluded he is “highly dangerous.” Welner consulted many sources and conducted extensive research on the “deradicalization” of Muslims, Groharing noted.

      But Jackson said Welner’s entire testimony should be discounted, because of his heavy reliance on the work of Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels, who has called on Western countries to shut the door on Muslim immigrants.

      Jackson said Welner’s entire “framework” for assessing Khadr’s risk was based on a book written by Sennels called Among Criminal Muslims, based on interviews by Sennels of Muslims held at a youth prison. Welner never read the book, because it was in Danish, and instead spoke to Sennels by phone.

      Jackson showed quotes to the jury in which Sennels urges a “complete halt” to Muslim immigration, calls the Qur’an a “criminal book,” and says roughly half of Muslims are inbred.

      Jackson noted that, after reading such quotes this week, Welner said he was even more impressed by Sennels’ work. […]

    • harpie says:

      I wish I knew, karen. I should really be doing other things, too…keep putting it off, though-true to form. ;-)

  98. harpie says:

    Ha! This just in from CR:

    *And a day later same 08 #Guantanamo jury delivered Hamdan’s sentence in 70 minutes. It was a stunner: 5 1/2 months more, with time served.

    *Looking back at my stories on earlier war court deliberations. It took a jury nearly nine hours to convict Salim Hamdan in August 08…

    • harpie says:

      link @206

      Deliberations were expected to last much of the day and could continue until Sunday. The Pentagon has scheduled a flight to take home all war court participants, but Khadr, on Monday afternoon.

      • harpie says:


        #Khadr deliberations just broke. A member of his sentencing jury wants to attend church services in the morning. Resumption at noon.

  99. harpie says:


    *Calculating that the #Khadr jury has been deliberating 4 hours on sentence for the ‘child soldier’ who killed the US Army commando.

  100. harpie says:

    Worthington on Ms. Speer [[email protected]]:

    One of the few commentators to pick up on this particularly manipulative choice of witnesses was Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star, who, with reference to Tabitha Speer’s testimony, wrote in his column today, “While heart-wrenching, her testimony glided over the queerest irony of this case — that after a pitched battle between clearly delineated forces, in which soldiers on both sides killed, only one person from one side ended up accused of murder.” (Walkom ended his column by noting that, when Khadr eventually returns to Canada, the government “will ignore, as almost everyone seems to ignore, the absurdity of prosecuting a soldier for killing his enemy in battle”).

    The Toronto Star article:–walkom-omar-khadr-s-guantanamo-show-trial

  101. harpie says:

    ondelette [who knows this stuff inside out] in a comment at Glenn Greenwald’s blog:

    […]It is the United States which is committing a war crime in the Omar Khadr trial, by trying someone for an offense which was not a war crime when he committed it, in a court which is not regularly constituted, bypassing a regularly constituted court which is open and functioning, which it maintains for its own soldiers, and another which is open and functioning, which it maintains for its own civilians.

    Read the whole comment.

  102. harpie says:


    *#Khadr jurors start deliberations again at 12:27. They spent just over five hours yesterday.

    *No doubt it’s a small island: But surprised by @andreaprasow report that 4 jurors brunched near widow in #Khadr case.


    *Debating difference in definition of sequestration between civilian juries, war court. Factoring in #Guantanamo has one Sunday brunch venue.

    half a minute ago via HootSuite .Media trying to figure out who to ask about integrity of having jurors, victim seeing each other in same Navy base social setting.

    *Human Rights Watch observer spotted four #Khadr jurors and widow of soldier he killed taking brunch in same #Guantanamo dining room today.

    • harpie says:

      What does anyone think about this revelation: that the Jury and the “victim” [CR’s description] sat near each other at breakfast this morning?

      • karenr says:

        Not sure what to think of that, harpie. CarolR pointed out theres only ONE venue, so where else would they go? But it couldve been scheduled not to overlap at least. If anyone cared. As someones else tweeted, theyre not even trying to make a pretense of any kind of normal or fair.

  103. harpie says:


    *So deliberations have ceased while #Khadr jury watches the video. McCarthy testified that Canadian was well behaved, could be rehabilitated.

    *At 30 minutes into deliberation jury revisiting testimony of Capt McCarthy, the 06-08 prison staff lawyer who spoke by video from Kabul.

  104. harpie says:


    *They don’t have transcript so #GTMO judge is now re-playing a recording of his testimony for 7-member #Khadr jury from earlier this week.

    *Khadr jury in #Gitmo court. They asked for transcript of testimony of former Navy captain who testified that Khadr could be rehabilitated.

  105. harpie says:


    *So jury, #Khadr, lawyers, judge, sketch artist are all in #Guantanamo tribunal watching testimony again. (Media in CCTV feed center.)

  106. harpie says:


    * Navy CAPT McCarthy is saying #Khadr had “positive” influence in camps. “My opinion is Mr. #Khadr does have rehabilitative potential.”

    * While jury watches, we can see prosecutors Jeffrey Groharing and Michael Grant are talking to each other behind their hands. On video…

    * #Khadr’s jury is deciding his sentence for war crimes. He killed a soldier in 02 at 15. Govt wants 25 years. Defense says send him home.

    * “To my knowledge Omar #Khadr did not have any disciplinary problems in Camp 4,” says McCarthy. Govt cast #Khadr as misbehaving earlier.

    *CAPT McCarthy, now serving in Afghanistan, describes#Khadr’s transition from single, maximum to cooperative minimum security confinement.

    11 minutes ago via HootSuite .The Navy lawyer, on tape, is being questioned by AF Maj. Schwartz, from #Khadr’s defense team. Says at #Guantanamo Canadian wasn’t radical.

    *CAPT McCarthy, ex-Gitmo SJA, knew #Khadr at time he was accused, not convicted, of killing US Special Forces Sgt 1st Class Speer at age 15.

  107. harpie says:


    * Now they’re re-running part where prosecutor Murphy asks Navy lawyer when he decided #Khadr had rehab potential. Reply: Over time in 06.

  108. harpie says:


    * Chief war crimes prosecutor, in re-run, has found guards’ notation of #Khadr calling a guard “slave,” “a–hole,” “servant’ and “stupid MP

    * We’re only listening to re-run of McCarthy testimony. If it’s being broadcast on screen for the jurors, we and the lawyers can’t see it.

    * Murphy, also a Navy captain, is getting his fellow Navy captain to confirm that when he formed opinion #Khadr hadn’t admitted to murder.

  109. karenr says:

    wonder if this mornings preacher chose The Two Wolves (Cherokee) fable for sermon.

    Q: *Which wolf wins?* A: *The one you feed.*

    • skdadl says:

      And none of the NGO peeps mentioned Khadr? Cynicism, thy name is Beltway access. (Power speaks odd English — maybe that’s just officialese.)

      I should start asking around among lawyerly contacts what can be done here about the plea deal. I think it would run on the two [?] judgements already handed down by the Supreme Court (SCC) about the violation of Omar’s Charter rights, but I’m not sure the route they take to get there, or how his “confession” affects those decisions.

      The deal makes me think as well of Arar’s case. Arar has been proven innocent many times over, and yet he is still on U.S. lists, his suit against clearly criminal treatment stopped by U.S. courts (although not without eloquent dissent from a few good judges). ObamaCo must think that this deal will stop Khadr from giving them the same embarrassment — it’s an interesting note of insecurity in a deal that is supposed to be Omar’s confession — ie, they’re saying “You’re completely guilty, but hey, if it turns out you’re not, you can’t sue us anyway.”

  110. harpie says:

    Here is Michelle Shephard again:

    Jurors deliberating a sentence for convicted war criminal Omar Khadr returned to the courtroom Sunday to listen again to testimony from a Navy captain who said Khadr was a good candidate for rehabilitation. […]

    Convicted? No. There was never a trial.

    War criminal? No. None of the things he confessed to are war crimes.

  111. harpie says:

    Here’s CR:

    A military jury on Sunday began deliberating a second day the for-the-record punishment for confessed teen terrorist Omar Khadr, the Canadian convicted of war crimes in the 2002 grenade killing of a U.S. Special Forces medic in war-torn Afghanistan.

    “convicted of war crimes”

  112. karenr says:

    well bmaz, Ill ask you. Why didnt the defense have their two mental health witnesses testify? (I wonder) Is this something will might hear an explanation after its all over with? Just curious.

  113. harpie says:



    * Army official: “It was raised. It was lowered. It was given.” I’ve asked for clarification on where else that flag was used, if at all.

    * Pentagon official: Small US flag that flew over tribunal on #Khadr deliberation day belonged to a family member of a victim of the Canadian.

    * The escort doesn’t know how much was paid and for who that would’ve been flown or how often they’ve flown those.

    *Military escort says he assumes somebody bought that little flag to have it flown over the #Guantanamo war court building as a souvenir.

  114. harpie says:


    * Coming up eight hours for #Khadr jury. Past #Gitmo sentence deliberations for Australian, Yemeni and Sudanese detainees was under two hours

  115. harpie says:


    *Running to #Gitmo courthouse. #Khadr sentence coming down soon.

    *Coming up eight hours for #Khadr jury. Past #Gitmo sentence deliberations for Australian, Yemeni and Sudanese detainees was under two hours

  116. harpie says:


    * The Omar #Khadr jury has returned a sentencing verdict in slightly over 8 hours. Media scrambling to #Guantanamo war court.

  117. harpie says:


    @bryanbroyles It was flown at request of a #Khadr victim family member. Have you seen this before when war court in session? Deliberating?

  118. harpie says:


    * Omar #Khadr is standing. The sentence was announced but the jury wasn’t miked and we in #Guantanamo’s filing center didn’t hear it.

  119. harpie says:


    *Now the judge, who is miked, is explaining that #Khadr serve at most 8 years. And after a year US will OK his request to serve in Canada.

  120. harpie says:


    *There’s absolute DISMAY in the Camp Justice filing center. The Pentagon spokeswoman says jury sentence is 40 years. He serves only eight.

  121. harpie says:


    * RECAP: Omar #Khadr’s military jury returned a 40-year sentence and the judge told him, out of earshot of the panel, that he will serve 8.

      • skdadl says:

        We need to see the exchange of diplomatic memos. Saying that he “can apply” to be repatriated after one year (to serve out sentence in Canadian prison) isn’t good enough. I find it hard to believe that Edney and Whitling would have advised the deal if they weren’t sure that Cannon (Harper) had agreed, grudgingly, to take Omar back — Harper sure doesn’t want to do it on his own.

        While I’m at it, worst wishes to Hillary.

        • harpie says:

          Yes, about Hillary. Never thought I’d have to say something like that, but I DO. She will hear from me about this.

          • bmaz says:

            Why hate on Clinton for this? She merely did what she was asked to do by a craven Obama White House and lean diplomatically on the Canadians to participate in the plea agreement. As a cabinet secretary, you are saying she should have refused the orders of her President and his administration?

              • bmaz says:

                I will absolutely do so; the Nuremberg analogy is beyond absurd. There was nothing illegal about what she did. Do I agree with the underlying policy or position by the Obama Administration – definitely not – but this extension is laughably absurd.

                • skdadl says:

                  In a way you’re right, though. A Stalinist metaphor would make more sense than a fascist one. Or we could just go straight to Joe McCarthy and HUAC.

                  • bmaz says:

                    I understand and applaud your passion, but equating a Secretary of State carrying out her Administration’s orders to negotiate the diplomatic end of a plea agreement that Khadr voluntarily signed his name to is simply absurd. If you want to hate the Obama Administration and the American government for putting him in that position, I am with you. If you want to hate Clinton because, if she were President, she likely would have had the same policy, I am fine with that and would agree with that. But lashing out by equating her to the perpetrators of genocide at issue in Nuremberg for executing the duties of her office legally and properly here, as you have, is simply patently absurd.

            • Jeff Kaye says:

              She should have resigned upon hearing the military was turning thousands of prisoners over to be tortured by the Iraqis, and her boss, President Obama, countenanced this.

              Frankly, who with integrity would be a member of an administration that countenances torture and human experimentation on prisoners? That persecutes child soldiers, while countenancing the use of child soldiers by some of the most brutal armed forces on earth?

              Where does one draw the line?

  122. harpie says:


    *Tabitha Speer, #Khadr’s victim’s widow cheered at the sentence. The Toronto-born war criminal looked straight ahead.

    No need to bite our tongues, anymore skdadl!

  123. harpie says:


    #Khadr attorney: “Omar was given a choice to plead guilty or be prosecuted in an unfair process with the possibility of a life sentence.”

  124. harpie says:


    He had been held in #Guantanamo’s communal camp for cooperative detainees. Now he goes into single cell, maximum security confinement.

    • skdadl says:

      Yes, this is the scary part that I think Jeff can tell us about. The plea stipulated that Omar will now be subjected to a year’s worth of USian “interviewers,” who I suspect will want to be taking him apart and putting him back together their way.

  125. harpie says:


    More details from the tribunal chamber: #Khadr’s victim raised her hand in a sort of fist pump, cheered “Yes,” then burst into tears.

  126. harpie says:


    The 40 year #Khadr sentence unexpected. Pentagon lawyers asked for 25. Prosecutor had said, “send a message.” I’d say they sure did that.

  127. Jeff Kaye says:

    For those who felt Omar Khadr should not have taken the plea deal, consider this from Michelle Shephard:

    @shephardm Michelle Shephard
    If #Khadr had not taken the plea deal of 8 years and was instead given the jury sentence he would be 64 when released.

    • skdadl says:

      Wm Kuebler (previous JAG) said for years that Omar could not get a fair trial at the military commish, which was why Kuebler worked so hard here as well as at GTMO to convince the Cangov to press for repatriation.

      So we all kind of knew that the plea deal might be inevitable.

      I admired Kuebler so much — he gave brilliant testimony to a Commons committee three years ago, eg — and I sorrow for him today too, along with Omar and Edney and Whitling.

      Well, now I guess we have to work on Cannon, although there’s a good possibility that the Harper government won’t be in office next year.

    • skdadl says:

      Well, it’s a country that produces you and EW and bmaz, so it can’t be all bad. ;-)

      That’s what I try to remember when I feel this angry. There’s a vein of hypersensitivity to the U.S. that runs very close to the skin in Canada, and this verdict may cause a greater reaction than we’ve seen before among people who weren’t involved before.

      The WH and Pentagon just ask for that, y’know?

        • skdadl says:

          It’s so hard being in love with bmaz: He’s in AZ; I’m on the north shore of a Great Lake. He’s cranky; I’m too nice to be true (rilly!). I adore Julian Assange; JA gets under bmaz’s skin. bmaz is a lawyer; I do the Enlightenment and wish the forking law would catch up with it one day. He swears better than I do, and I’m old enough to be his mother, but then I’m old enough to be JA’s mother too. I’m old enough to be everyone’s mother.

          A match made in heaven, eh?

  128. skdadl says:

    I just remembered a wrinkle. As I recall, at the time of Boumediene (which a tweep just made me think of), Omar had already been charged and his commish set up, but another young man, Mohammed Jawad, was still being processed. Omar was told that he couldn’t have a habeas hearing until after his trial was done, whereas Jawad did have one and ended up being repatriated.

    Not that I understand this stuff, but doesn’t that mean Omar now gets a habeas hearing?

      • bmaz says:

        Theoretically the plea does not preclude a Habeas filing, but practically the plea would likely lead to summary dismissal I am afraid.

    • harpie says:

      From the Plea Agreement @305:

      g.[pg2] […]I direct my counsel to submit a motion to dismiss the petition for habeas corpus in my case currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia as well as all claims currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    • harpie says:

      From the CR link @297

      Jurors were told only that Guantánamo’s youngest captive had pleaded guilty to five war crimes, including hurling the grenade that mortally wounded Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, 28, during a July 2002 assault on an al Qaeda compound. Khadr was 15.

  129. harpie says:

    I’m not the only one to use the word “fiasco”.

    From the CR link @297

    Amnesty International Canada’s secretary general called the sentence the latest “fiasco” in the Khadr case.

    “It comes as no surprise that the sentencing phase and this stunningly punitive jury decision has so starkly highlighted the injustices of this process,” said Alex Neve, who had been a war court observer.

  130. harpie says:

    Look at this, from the DoD statement [@297]:

    After the military commission adjourns, the Office of Military Commissions finalizes the record of trial. The military judge and counsel from both sides then review the record to ensure it is accurate, after which it will be sent to the Convening Authority for Military Commissions. The Convening Authority may reduce, but not increase, Khadr’s sentence. He may also set aside the findings with respect to any charge. After reviewing the record, the Convening Authority will take final action on the findings and sentence, announcing the sentence that Khadr will serve.

    • harpie says:

      Exactly two years ago, today [from link @301]:

      George W. Bush’s term as president is coming to an end, and he has little to show by way of meting out justice for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Perhaps this is why his administration seems so desperate to score a victory on the judicial battleground of the military commissions. That its target is Omar Khadr, a child soldier at the time of the alleged offenses, makes the spectacle all the more pathetic to the observer, and tragic for Khadr.

      The charges against Khadr include “murder in violation of the laws of war,” and providing material support to the enemy. The most serious allegation against him is that on July 27, 2002 in Afghanistan, he threw a grenade that killed US soldier Sergeant Christopher Speer. Indeed, until a few months ago, the official story went unchallenged in the public domain. Thanks to an inadvertent government leak, we have since learned of evidence supporting at least two alternate scenarios, namely that another combatant might have thrown the grenade or that Sgt. Speer was killed by “friendly fire.”

  131. harpie says:

    He is required to testify in other procedings [and be “completely truthful] [They care about the truth?-who knew?- harpie]:


    While in the continued custody of the United States. submit to interviews whenever and wherever requested by United States law enforcement officials, intelligence authorities, and prosecutors. I understand the requesting parties will notify my legal counsel of the interviews. However, I waive any right I may have to my attorneys being present for the interviews. I understand I must be completely truthful during these interviews. I also agree, while in U.S. custody, to appear, cooperate, and testity truly. before any grand jury. any court. military court or hearing, military commission or any other proceeding requested by the United States Government.

  132. harpie says:

    Truth like this [[email protected]]?


    I understand that this offer. when accepted by the Convening Authority, constitutes a binding agreement. I assert that I am, in fact, guilty of the offenses to which I am offering to plead guilty, and that I have been apprised of the evidence against me and agree that the evidence could and would prove me guilty beyond a reasonable doubt ofthe offenses to which I am pleading guilty. I understand that this agreement permits the Military Commission to find me guilty for all offenses to which I plead guilty without the need for the government to present evidence that would prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I offer to plead guilty because it will be in my best interest that the Convening Authority grants me the relief set forth in this agreement. I understand that I waive my right to a trial of the facts and to be confronted by the witnesses against me, and my right to avoid seJt:incrim ination insofar as a plea ofgUilty wi II incriminate me.

  133. harpie says:

    Michelle Shephard tweet [@174]:

    #Guantanamo court sketch artist impressed by Omar #Khadr’s paintings. Here’s exclusive look at one


    It’s beautiful.

    Khadr must have done that from memory, or maybe from a photograph. I found this paragraph of one of the Canadian welfare reports even more poignant after seeing his art work:

    Report of Welfare Visits with Omar Khadr-Nov. 7 and 9, 2007 [pdf];

    7. Psychologically Omar appeared to be in much better shape than before-his lawyers made the same observation-and he ascribed this to the much better living conditions in Camp IV. But he is extremely keen to “see something different than this place, some nature views”. He likes observing the birds and iguanas that sometimes come into the camp, and said it was “great” when the green screens had to be take off the perimeter fences during Hurricane Noel. That was detainees in Camp IV could see their surroundings, the hills and ocean and “I could even see cars moving around, it was great”. He remarked that “this is really a very beautiful place”. This was the first time he had seen the camps’ surroundings.

    Khadr has lost the sight in one eye, and has a cataract in the other, as well as shrapnel. His vision gets blurry and he is often in pain because of this and has been told he may lose his eyesight all together. He has not been allowed the sun-glasses he’s requested to alleviate the pain of being outside or under glaring lights. They are considered a security risk.

    4. HEALTH: OK presented in much better physical and-to this lay-person-psychological shape than when I saw him in June [2007?]. He himself ascribed his better appearance to the much better conditions of Camp IV, access to the sun, and “almost all the exercise I want. […]

    I can’t find the report for June 2007, but here’s one from July 2006:
    Welfare Visit Omar Khadr, 13 July, 2006 (PDF)

    On page 1,

    [redacted] suggested that the Prime Minister inquire about Omar’s solitary confinement with President Bush.

    On page 3:

    11. Omar told me that he sleeps a lot but it is messed up. He sleeps during the day and is awake during the night. He still has nightmares about the events in Afghanistan and his father. He no longer has night sweats, visual or auditory hallucination. He does not remember when they stopped. He still gets them sometimes however but he ignores it. He does not share his mental problems or nightmares with the guards or medical staff. The guards are what disturbs his sleep most often.
    12. He feels that his sleep would be less disturbed if the guards would just treat him humanely. […]

    I suppose he is at this moment back in solitary confinement, looking into the endless blackness of being there 365 days.

    Will he be able to see at all when he emerges?

  134. MrWhy says:

    If Tabitha Speer would express her despair and pain eloquently to the world phrased as a condemnation of war in general, of the perils of imperialism, of the complexities of civil turmoil in Afghanistan, I could sympathize with her more. I do empathize with her, her family’s loss is real. But her vision of who is to blame for her husband’s death is distorted, perhaps by her grief.

    I find Khadr’s understanding of the situation rather clear-headed for someone who has endured what he has been through in the last decade.