the release of the Omar Khadr interrogation video, filmed at the infamous Guantanamo prison, has cracked the thin veneer of civility in Canadian society.
Now we can see some of the rot that lies beneath.
Khadr was seized and has been detained in the offshore US military prison since 2002.
Khadr had been taken to Afghanistan by his father.
Now 21, Khadr is accused of the death of US Sgt. First-Class Christopher Speer, a Special Forces soldier killed at an insurgent compound in Afghanistan.
The details about Speers’ death are murky.
The video shows the then-16-year-old Khadr being interrogated by Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents in the prison.
The questioning happened after the youth had been deprived of sleep and moved every three hours for 21 days.
That practice was deemed a breach of international laws against torture, by Canadian Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley.
The results of that “softening up” are now public.
The video shows a worn Khadr weeping and mumbling, repeatedly, “Kill me,” though some have suggested it was “ya ummi (Oh Mom),” though, in the context, that seems unlikely.
What is striking is how vicious some of the Canadian response has been to this disturbing video. How intolerant.
The very people who claim to defend this nation are willing, without thought, to toss away the presumption of innocence, the right to challenge detention in a court of law and the right to a fair trial that has been the bedrock of Western society.
Some samples, pulled from the Globe and Mail’s comments board:
“Are we supposed to feel sorry for (Khadr) just because he appears to be in anguish over his own actions.” Michael B., Canada.
“Pass the hat and get him a ticket ‘home’ and a nice position as a consultant at the CBC.” Robert Boyd, Windsor.
“I won’t justify America’s actions, we all know they are insane, but he did shoot at them and now he has to deal with them.” Dwayne Johnson, Canada.
“The kid is only crying because he is beaten. He was captured and must now pay for his crimes. No virgins in heaven for him.” Asterix M., Canada.
“He is faking it!!!! Everyone tries this at home to see if mom and dad will be nice. He knows the bleeding heart boomers in Canada won’t have the stomach for his suffering.” Bob London, Canada.
“Sleep deprivation is torture? Let him rot.” Bill G., Calgary.
“The kid joined terrorists, was caught fighting for terrorists. That is the only evidence required.” Stephen Green, North Saanich, BC.
“Personally, I’d hate to see my tax dollars wasted on this piece of trash.” S.L. S., Small Town, Canada.
“Why are Canadians such bleeding hearts? This sicko would have had no compunctions about killing as many Canadians and Americans as he could. He should stay where he is and be punished even further.
“He may be a Canadian, but he has no loyalty to our country and would like to bring it down. Frankly, to hell with him.” Roslyn Unhappy, Montreal.
What these people, and many more, fail to realize is that this headlong rush to abandon the legal principles upon which our society is based destroys it far more cleanly than the terrorists ever could with bullets and bombs.
In light of the information about his treatment in the military jail, Ottawa’s decision not to push for Khadr’s return to Canada to face trial is unconscionable.
And this thoughtless public acceptance of the decision is frightening. (Richard Mostyn)