Omar Khadr Jury Hammers the Final Nail into the Coffin of American Justice

2.11.10

On Sunday, a military jury at Guantánamo handed down a 40-year sentence to Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen who was just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan. The decision brought to an end a week of hearings that began when Khadr, now 24, accepted a plea deal giving him an eight-year sentence in exchange for agreeing that he was guilty of murder in violation of the laws of war, spying, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorism, and attempted murder, with one year to be served in Guantánamo, and the remaining seven in Canada.

Because the sentence negotiated as part of the plea deal is less than the one delivered by the military jury, the latter will stand only as a symbolic conviction, but it will be seized upon by those who have long wished to have Khadr convicted as a dangerous terrorist. In addition, the 40-year sentence confirms that, since last Monday, when Khadr accepted his plea deal at Guantánamo, two worlds — and two wildly divergent views of American justice — have coexisted unhappily.

In the first, Khadr’s acceptance that he threw the grenade that killed Delta Force Sgt. Christopher Speer, at the end of a four-hour firefight in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002, and his acceptance that he was a member of al-Qaeda and an “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent,” who did not have “any legal basis to commit any war-like acts,” was a vindication of the system of trials by Military Commission at Guantánamo that was revived last year by President Obama.

In the other, everything about the last week’s events has been a travesty of justice that heaps shame upon the United States, and convicting Khadr for being an “alien unprivileged enemy combatant,” who was not even allowed to legitimately be in any kind of combat situation whatsoever, is an almost incomprehensible farce.

Moreover, the analysis of the last week’s events as a disturbing travesty of justice is supported by the United States’ ratification, in December 2002, of the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and also by analyses of the legislation authorizing the Military Commissions, which reveals that the war crimes that Khadr agreed to committing as part of his plea deal are not war crimes at all.

Under the terms of the UN Optional Protocol, which deals with prisoners who are under 18 when their alleged crimes take place, signatories are obliged to “[r]ecogniz[e] the special needs of those children who are particularly vulnerable to recruitment or use in hostilities,” and are also called upon to ensure “the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of children who are victims of armed conflict.”

In Khadr’s case, however, his conviction in a war crimes trial under President Obama only serves to reinforce the melancholy truth that little has changed since it was revealed in 2003 that juvenile prisoners — as many as 22 in total — were being held at Guantánamo, and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld responded to reporters’ concerns with the memorable quip, “these are not children.”

As for the war crimes, even putting aside for a moment any reasonable doubts that Khadr may only have agreed to the charges in order to secure his release, the crimes in question are only recognized as war crimes by the Obama administration and by Congress, as Lt. Col. David Frakt, a law professor and the former military defense attorney for two Guantánamo prisoners, has explained.

Back in April, Lt. Col. Frakt made it clear that, when it came to the central charge of “murder in violation of the law of war,” even if Khadr did throw the grenade, “there is no evidence that he violated the law of war in doing so.”

This confusion first arose because the Bush administration wanted to find a way to ensure that “any attempt to fight Americans or coalition forces was a war crime,” and, in 2006, and, disturbingly, last year under Obama, Congress maintained this unjustifiable position by refusing to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate actions during wartime.

Lt. Col. Frakt explained that the Bush administration’s original invented charge for the Commissions — “Murder by an Unprivileged Belligerent” — was, essentially, replaced by the Congress-endorsed “Murder in Violation of the Law of War,” even though it “conflated two different concepts — unprivileged belligerents and war criminals.”

He continued:

Under Article 4 of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention, it is clear that while a member of an organized resistance movement or militia may be an unprivileged belligerent (because of not wearing a uniform or failing to carry arms openly, for example) he may still comply with the laws and customs of war, so not all hostile acts committed by unprivileged belligerents are war crimes. Attacks by unprivileged belligerents which comply with the law of war (in that they attack lawful military targets with lawful weapons) may only be tried in domestic courts. In Iraq, for example, insurgents who try to kill Americans by implanting roadside bombs are properly arrested and tried before the Central Criminal Court of Iraq as common criminals. Attacks by unprivileged belligerents which violate the law of war, such as attacks on civilians or soldiers attempting to surrender, or using prohibited weapons like poison gas, can be tried in a war crimes tribunal.

Furthermore, in a cynical attempt to overcome this glaring contradiction between legitimate and illegitimate actions in wartime, the Obama administration added the following “official comment” to the explanation of the offense of “Murder in Violation of the Law of War” in the new Military Commissions Manual:

[A]n accused may be convicted in a military commission … if the commission finds that the accused engaged in conduct traditionally triable by military commission (e.g., spying; murder committed while the accused did not meet the requirements of privileged belligerency) even if such conduct does not violate the international law of war.

As Lt. Col. Frakt commented, “Astoundingly, according to the Pentagon, 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.”

In other words, then, a former child prisoner, who should have been rehabilitated rather than punished, because the responsibility for his actions lay with his militant father, was convicted on war crimes charges that were invented by Congress, and were then reworked by the Obama administration so that the glaring contradiction between real war crimes and invented war crimes could be papered over with a veneer of legitimacy.

Small wonder then that, in the “Statement of Fact” that Khadr signed as part of his plea deal (PDF), he was also obliged to waive his right to appeal, in a passage that stated that he “does not have any legal defense to any of the offenses to which he is pleading guilty.”

With such grotesque distortions of justice taking place over the last week, it is easy to forget that the judge, Army Col. Patrick Parrish, had also prevented Khadr’s lawyers from drawing on their client’s well-chronicled reports of his torture and abuse in US custody. As a result, claims that Khadr was subjected to abusive treatment in Bagram –- and was later subjected to variations on the reverse-engineered torture techniques used in Guantánamo, and derived from the US military’s SERE program — were not even mentioned until the final day of his sentencing hearing,

In their closing comments, his lawyers managed to introduce a statement, written by Khadr, referring to the terror he felt when an interrogator, Sgt. Joshua Claus, threatened him with being sent to a US jail where he would be raped by “four big black guys.”

Claus served a five-month prison sentence for the abuse of an unidentified prisoner at Bagram, and for his part in the murder of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver who was murdered in Bagram in December 2002, but this was a relatively mild anecdote, compared to other claims made by Khadr over the years — that on one occasion in Guantánamo, for example, he was used as a human mop after urinating on himself while being held in isolation and subjected to painful short-shackling, and that he was regularly threatened with rape and with being transferred to another country where he could be raped.

In conclusion, while those who exult in the depths to which America has sunk over the last nine years, since “the gloves came off” following the 9/11 attacks, will rejoice in Khadr’s 40-year sentence (and will complain that his real sentence is only eight years), anyone who retains a shred of decency and respect for the rule of law will be more inclined to accept the words of Dennis Edney, one of Khadr’s long-term Canadian civilian lawyers, who stated after the military jury announced its sentence:

The fact that the trial of a child soldier, Omar Khadr, has ended with a guilty plea in exchange for his eventual release to Canada does not change the fact that fundamental principles of law and due process were long since abandoned in Omar’s case. Politics also played a role. To date, there have been in excess of 1,200 US troops killed in Afghanistan yet it is only Omar who has been put on trial.

Edney followed up by referring to those two polarized worlds of opinion that I mentioned at the start of this article, saying that those watching the Military Commission “may choose to believe that through his plea Omar finally came clean and accepted his involvement in a firefight when he was 15 years of age,” or, conversely, that they may have concluded that “this was one final coerced confession from a victimized young man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time because his father placed him there.”

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published exclusively on Truthout. Cross-posted on Uruknet and Cageprisoners.

For a sequence of articles dealing with the Obama administration’s response to the Military Commissions, see: Don’t Forget Guantánamo (February 2009), Who’s Running Guantánamo? (February 2009), The Talking Dog interviews Darrel Vandeveld, former Guantánamo prosecutor (February 2009), Obama’s First 100 Days: A Start On Guantánamo, But Not Enough (May 2009), Obama Returns To Bush Era On Guantánamo (May 2009), New Chief Prosecutor Appointed For Military Commissions At Guantánamo (May 2009), Pain At Guantánamo And Paralysis In Government (May 2009), My Message To Obama: Great Speech, But No Military Commissions and No “Preventive Detention” (May 2009), Guantánamo And The Many Failures Of US Politicians (May 2009), A Child At Guantánamo: The Unending Torment of Mohamed Jawad (June 2009), A Broken Circus: Guantánamo Trials Convene For One Day Of Chaos (June 2009), Obama Proposes Swift Execution of Alleged 9/11 Conspirators (June 2009), Predictable Chaos As Guantánamo Trials Resume (July 2009), David Frakt: Military Commissions “A Catastrophic Failure” (August 2009), 9/11 Trial At Guantánamo Delayed Again: Can We Have Federal Court Trials Now, Please? (September 2009), Torture And Futility: Is This The End Of The Military Commissions At Guantánamo? (September 2009), Resisting Injustice In Guantánamo: The Story Of Fayiz Al-Kandari (October 2009), Military Commissions Revived: Don’t Do It, Mr. President! (November 2009), The Logic of the 9/11 Trials, The Madness of the Military Commissions (November 2009), Rep. Jerrold Nadler and David Frakt on Obama’s Three-Tier Justice System For Guantánamo (November 2009), Guantánamo: Idealists Leave Obama’s Sinking Ship (November 2009), Chaos and Confusion: The Return of the Military Commissions (December 2009), Afghan Nobody Faces Trial by Military Commission (January 2010), Lawyers Appeal Guantánamo Trial Convictions (February 2010), When Rhetoric Trumps Good Sense: The GOP’s Counter-Productive Call for Military Commissions (March 2010), David Frakt’s Damning Verdict on the New Military Commissions Manual (May 2010), Prosecuting a Tortured Child: Obama’s Guantánamo Legacy (May 2010), The Torture of Omar Khadr, a Child in Bagram and Guantánamo (May 2010), Bin Laden Cook Accepts Plea Deal at Guantánamo Trial (July 2010), Defiance in Isolation: The Last Stand of Omar Khadr (July 2010), Omar Khadr Accepts US Military Lawyer for Forthcoming Trial by Military Commission (July 2010), A Letter from Omar Khadr in Guantánamo (July 2010), Bin Laden Cook Expected to Serve Two More Years at Guantánamo – And Some Thoughts on the Remaining Sudanese Prisoners (August 2010), Lawlessness Haunts Omar Khadr’s Blighted War Crimes Trial at Guantánamo (August 2010), No Surprise at Obama’s Guantánamo Trial Chaos (September 2010).

42 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    Here are some comments from Truthout:

    Cybernaught wrote:

    The fact that a brutal and sadistic US soldier was sentenced to just 5 months for torturing to death an innocent Afghani cab driver and that not one US official has been held to account for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that took place during the illegal and on-going invasion and occupation of Iraq, says far more about US “justice” and “rule of law” than anything else that has transpired at the Stalinist show trial we just witnessed.

    America is one truly ugly nation.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    An anonymous reader wrote:

    The United States has truly fallen into the depths of Hell.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Another anonymous reader replied:

    “The United States has truly fallen into the depths of Hell.”

    No, not yet. But it’s coming. Soon we will all be Omar Khadrs — except the plutocrats, that is.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    David wrote:

    Bad kids, bad governments. Let’s face it, this kid should not have left Canada to go kill people in some other country. He did so to kill American soldiers.Of course, American “kids” leave America and go kill people in other countries. Many of them are guilty of war crimes, but they won’t be put on trial. Instead they’re treated as heroes “defending our freedoms.” This kid (now 24) volunteered to go shed blood. So do our US soldiers. They all have blood on their hands, whether they wear a uniform or not…they are all killers. Deal with it.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Larry Glick replied:

    I agree completely with David, the previous poster. The only difference between this kid and American soldiers is this kid was only 15. Most American troops are at least 17. Our military, just like other nations’, wants them as young as possible so they can be easily indoctrinated.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Another anonymous reader wrote:

    Omar Khadr did not volunteer to leave Canada to fight in Afghanistan — he was taken there by his father at 12 or 13 years of age.

    Also, he most likely did not throw the grenade that killed Speer. Watch the documentary “U.S. vs. Omar Khadr” at http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/1221258968/ID=1233753588 and learn that the US military altered official reports to suit its purposes, and that it was probably a US grenade that killed Speer in a friendly fire incident.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Another wrote:

    My respect for American Decency and American Justice has slowly waned during the last 10 years, and now all I have is bottomless contempt.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    And another wrote:

    It’s shit like this that has made me ashamed to be an American.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    benalbanach wrote:

    Boy goes to far-off land at his fathers insistence to fight-off foreign invaders. Takes on the most powerful nation in the world. A nation that has the most advanced weaponry in the world. Gets badly shot-up (in the back), loses sight in one eye. Gets locked up for years. Tortured……
    Well now if that boy was a US citizen he’d be on Oprah and there’d be a movie made before you could say Audie Murphy.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    tiffany sullivan wrote:

    No words to describe the hypocrisy and appaling nature that has become the US. Either go by international laws and rules of engagement in a war you created out of greed and take respeonsibility or get the hell out of the war business. As a citizen of the US i am ashamed and embarrassed by the country of my birth. We are no better than nazi germany at this point.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Another reader wrote:

    The popular press reports how extravagant were the words of blame from Ms. Speer. Sympathy for her, no doubt, pressured the “jury” to refuse to allow time served for Khadr, to refuse to hear ameliorating circumstances, to refuse to consider torture, to refuse to consider comparative justice.

    If I were undergoing an attack by Delta Force and managed to take one down, I’d think myself a hero. Any Afghani would also. Who’s the aggressor in Afghanistan?

    Let Omar Kahdr begin his life outside the prison system. Give him time served. And do not gloat on his signing away his rights of redress under such onerous pressure as only Guantanamo can create.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    And another:

    There need to be protests in the streets for this! Why isn’t anyone protesting? This kid can be set free if we lend our voices! C’mon people!

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    S. Wolf Britain wrote:

    So right, everyone who has said so, this entire matter is absolutely disgusting, appalling and unconscionable. I’m sure it could be legally argued that NO ONE can legally sign away their right(s) to appeal, particularly under the duress of “Gitmo-like” conditions; in this case not just “like” Gitmo, but actually under the conditions of Gitmo itself.

    Khadr did not willingly agree to the plea negotiation without duress. There is no way it could have been without duress, especially after he’s been tortured, sexually threatened, knows that the people at Gitmo hold his very life in their hands and could very likely murder him at any moment, and has to live every day in fear that they will harm him.

    This is all the darkest periods in this world’s history rolled into one. It’s degenerating back into barbarism where all accused were treated as if they had no rights. People in sovereign countries have a right and a duty to fight off foreign invaders who are carrying out “the supreme international crime” of wars of aggression against them.

    But no, under this “new” system of (in)justice, those being held supposedly have no rights but to accept being railroaded under duress. They are people put in the position of having little or no choice, much like the “slaves” who were given no choice but to be eaten by lions in the Coliseum. They are being held in a place, under conditions that are similar, where they cannot fight back…

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    S. Wolf added:

    …I am so appalled and disgusted, that it is overflowing, just as it should be with all people of conscience. But, even having a conscience is being outlawed and called “hate crimes”, “aiding the enemy”, etc. We have entered another dimension of hell on earth that is more and more coming to know little or no bounds, and we’ve got to fight back while we can, before there is and/or are very soon no opportunities to fight back.

    We are all being turned into slaves. Omar Khadr is far from being the only one. Those who go along with their enslavement may be made “privileged slaves”, though they will remain slaves nevertheless, but those who stand up for the rights of liberty and freedom that are innate, and that they are born with, will be crushed under the jackbooted heel of a boot stomping on a human face forever. And thus corporate-fascism wins and gains ever-increasing power at the expense, and to the grave detriment, of all freedom and liberty…

    …Unless we fight back.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    notamerica wrote:

    His lawyer did him a solid by telling him to plea bargain with the US prosecutors so that he can get the hell out of the US and into Canada.

    Where he will be treated as if he were a human being.

    He will never get that in USA … never

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Bob wrote:

    As a Canadian I’m not at all sure he will be treated as he should be; remember we have a con government in power & our Liberal party is run by a man who was living in the USA at the time Bush started the Iraq war & agreed with it. We used to be a lot more humane country; the health care was better, we owned some of our own resources & industry, a quality university education could be obtained for $1500 a year but we have had the same con, cut the corporate taxes mantra, sell off the public’s property mantra. Read Naomi Klein’s s book “Shock Doctrine” if you want to know how & why the corporate kleptocracy is able to take over the world with in many cases the help of the very people they hurt & in other places where the people fight back, with brutal military force. I grieve for my country & for the hard working American people who just don’t see what is being done to them; good luck to us all, we will need it.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    fred schueler wrote:

    It will be interesting to see what happens when he’s back under Canadian jurisdiction, where the Supreme Court has ruled that he was tortured, and where the sentence imposed on him will therefore be legally of no account.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    deang wrote:

    If any of you have read Murat Kurnaz’s account of being held captive by the US in Guantanamo, a book entitled Five Years of My Life, you know exactly what sort of fear led Khadr to “admit” to crimes he likely did not commit. The US troops that we’re all supposed to worship regularly beat and tortured crippled people, octogenarians, teens like Khadr, and others, almost all of whom were innocent of any wrongdoing but were hated by the sacred troops for being Arab. Electric torture was normal, doctors and dentists amputating limbs, performing unnecessary surgeries unanesthetized, and pulling teeth out of sheer sadism and “South Park”-style humor was also normal. No wonder Khadr pled as he did. The US is indeed a hell for the world.

  19. Tweets that mention Omar Khadr Jury Hammers the Final Nail into the Coffin of American Justice | Andy Worthington -- Topsy.com says...

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elyssa Durant and Andy Worthington, Leslie SayimaDreamer. Leslie SayimaDreamer said: RT @GuantanamoAndy Khadr Jury Hammers Final Nail into Coffin of American Justice – My epitaph for US justice -Truthout http://bit.ly/dwOkIU [...]

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s a useful link from Justice’nt:

    http://www.childsoldiersglobalreport.org/preface

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    And some comments from Facebook:

    Mfso Ohio wrote:

    How could he not hate us?

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Asif Kashmiri wrote:

    I am at school. I need to go home and read it at peace. But justice has failed once again!

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Christine Casner wrote:

    More trails of tears, no miles of smiles. I am sad.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, I prefaced this posting yesterday with the following comments:
    “Here’s my epitaph on the Omar Khadr debacle, just published on Truthout, and written in a furious few hours yesterday evening after the military jury announced its 40-year sentence (commuted to 8 as part of Khadr’s convenient plea deal). Not a good reflection on either Republicans of Democrats before tomorrow’s mid-term elections. Vote as wisely as you can, my American friends!”

    Christine Casner wrote:

    Thanks for listening, Andy, and thank you, as always, for your very important work. Yours is truly a mission of passion and of the heart (same thing?).
    PS I voted as wisely as possible, my friend!
    Be well, Chris

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Anne Marie Cherigny Aboutayab wrote:

    It’s sad, very sad all this youth in jail

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Karen Martin wrote:

    I feel a great dread. Election results not many hours away. We have so many radicals running for office all over the place. We are going to lose some really good representatives, and get some of the most ignorant persons who have ever run for office, ever. God help USA, and God help the world. BTW, could someone please set up a “radio free Europe-like radio station in the U.S.”? Too few people seem able to find where to go for the truth on anything. When Bush won for the second time in 2004, there was a website to send in photos saying “SORRY WORLD”, again I say to you “sorry world”.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Christine, Anne Marie and Karen.
    And Karen, I like your idea about a radio station. Am hoping to set up something online in the not too distant future.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    And just for interest, this is how I prefaced my posting on Facebook today (of my cross-post of the article published on Truthout yesterday):

    Well, this would have been exactly the same under the Republicans, and even on “national security,” where Obama is stricken with paralysis regarding the closure of Guantanamo, and where he invokes state secrets to block accountability for torture and orders the assassination of US citizens, it would still be worse under the Republicans. Your choice, my American friends: do you vote for bad — or do you vote for even worse?

    Not hugely optimistic, I concede — but the blunt truth, I think.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Christine Casner wrote:

    ‎Karen: i know, i am so sad, also. and i am always saying sorry to the world, especially my little Afghani friends (http://ourjourneytosmile.com — check it out along with “Youth Peace Volunteers” on FB). These two places will help put a little hope back in your heart (just a little), and maybe even a few smiles. Warm Fuzzy’s, I promise. (I can’t even talk about the Dread out loud!!!)
    Chris
    PS why do we have to keep apologizing for what we (as individuals) didn’t do or authorize??? Bastards, all!

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Andy, thanks, once again. Our North American friends need to understand that this show trial was a travesty. What has now happened to Omar Khadr can happen to every one of them too. The US justice system is right down there with Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria. Everyone can get a trial like this one.

    Before voting ask your candidates if they believe this trial was fair. If they say yes, do not waste your vote on them.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Christine Casner wrote:

    Andy, keep us informed of radio station type thing when it happens! PS I re-posted (shared) this article when you posted it, w/ the following: “Who are the terrorists, again, really?” I am ashamed to be American right now, my god, my heart, I really believed all (mostly all) that crap I was spoon-fed growing up. This idea, or concept, or “experiment”, whatever this “America” thing was, has failed miserably, I dare say, and since, as I see it, the reason for what has/continues to happen (not just gitmo/torture, but oil co.’s, corp.’s. etc., …….we have been the biggest bully on the block since Hiroshima (should never have happened, either, big lie, also, btw). Maybe I can use the term “a few bad apples”, but when anyone in my gov’t uses this phrase, they are LYING, and THEY KNOW IT!! We have done our dirty work all over the world for decades, and the carrier pigeons have come home to roost. We are becoming a third-world sort of place, Arianna H. is quite correct.

    I have lived my life true to my belief in the meaning of “America”; that being inclusiveness, kindness, sharing, rooting for the underdog, baseball, friend to the world, friend to the oppressed, minorities, an open door, a hand extended to the world in friendship, dreams, a warm blanket on a cold dark night. My grampa was born in 1881 and he (& my dad) told me amazing stories of the ships coming to Ellis Island from far-away places, and that the people on the ships, when they saw, after nights and days and nights at sea, Lady Liberty on the horizon, tears would run down their cheeks all were so happy at just a chance, a CHANCE, to dream and live w/ dignity. Fuck, now I’m crying. I am SO ANGRY, and I feel so BETRAYED! It’s bullshit now, and it’s not fair, because I played by the rules, and I AM and ALWAYS WILL BE a “real” American, in terms of all that I just referenced, anyway. It’s hard to explain. I thought I was one of the “good guys”, but my name has been scarred & tarnished, permanently. The Beacon of light on the Hill has gone out. I fear for the little democracy we have left, now, as well. It’s hard to imagine that in my lifetime I should worry about what to or not to say out loud! There must be something in the water –we’ve become a nation of sociopaths! Take care, I did my best. Love across the pond, Chris

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Chris,
    Well you’re the real American to me, like all my good American friends. Thieves and liars stole your country, and too many of your fellow countryfolk are hypnotized. Or hollow. Or full of rage.
    It’s somewhat different in the UK, but many of the themes are the same. Thieves in high places. Hollow people. A cruelty just below the surface.
    But we’re the only ones carrying a light …

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Lisa Rich Whitney Barr wrote:

    Isn’t this horrendous? They just wanted to slide him into history’s dust bin along with Dr. Siddiqui.

  34. Psyche, Science, and Society » Worthington on Bush’s torture brag says...

    [...] torture. In addition, Bush’s baleful legacy lives on in the cases of the 174 men still held, in the recent show trial of Omar Khadr, and in the complacency regarding the basis for detaining prisoners of the “War on Terror” [...]

  35. Hounding a Torture Judge: A Report by Susan Harman on the Campaign to Impeach Jay S. Bybee « Eurasia Review says...

    [...] Omar Khadr was on trial, we accused him of torturing [...]

  36. The Political Prisoners of Guantánamo « Eurasia Review says...

    [...] in their tawdry history was reached in October last year, when the former child soldier Omar Khadr accepted a plea deal in which he confessed to “war crimes” invented by Congress. These purported to criminalize his [...]

  37. Guantánamo: Obama Turns Clock Back To Days Of Bush’s Kangaroo Courts « Eurasia Review says...

    [...] deals instead of a trial — in the cases of three prisoners: Ibrahim al-Qosi in July last year, Omar Khadr in October, and Noor Uthman Muhammed last month, and it seems probable that the trials of three [...]

  38. WikiLeaks and the 22 Children of Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] trial, based on charges invented by Congress. In order to secure an eight-year sentence, Khadr was obliged to agree to a disgraceful plea bargain in which he claimed responsibility for his actions aged 15, during the firefight that led to his [...]

  39. WikiLeaks And The 22 Children Of Guantanamo says...

    [...] trial, based on charges invented by Congress. In order to secure an eight-year sentence, Khadr was obliged to agree to a disgraceful plea bargain in which he claimed responsibility for his actions aged 15, during the firefight that led to his [...]

  40. A Call To Close Guantánamo On 10th Anniversary Of War In Afghanistan - OpEd says...

    [...] trial by the President’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, and three of these have been tried, and reached plea deals (one other prisoner was tried and sentenced under George W. [...]

  41. Hiding Horrific Tales of Torture: How Guantanamo Fuels Injustice (Andy Worthington) says...

    [...] invented by Congress (“Murder in Violation of the Law of War,” for example, which, as in the case of Omar Khadr — who was obliged to accept that he was an “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent” in his plea [...]

  42. ExecutedToday.com » 1916: Captain Charles Fryatt, illegal combatant says...

    [...] a merchant captain who scares off a submarine has not committed a grave crime any more than has a teen who chucks a grenade at commando firing at his home. The legal question for deliberation in Fryatt’s case was all about whether the merchant [...]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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