COMMENTARY: Since we’re on the subject of compensation
Poor Omar Khadr. Well, not exactly poor any longer. For throwing a grenade which killed a U.S. army medic and for no doubt unpleasant detention at Guantanamo prison, Khadr, who pled guilty to war crimes, then recanted, will receive an apology from the Canadian government and financial compensation from taxpayers of some $10.5 million.
Canada didn’t protect Mr. Khadr’s rights is the oft-repeated justification for the “we’re so very sorry and here’s more money than the average Canadian might expect to earn in honest toil over approximately 200 years.”
A CBC report reads “the Americans detained a horribly wounded fifteen-year-old after a four-hour firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002 in which a U.S. special forces soldier was killed.”
What isn’t mentioned is the Americans soldiers with one dead and another blinded comrade might easily have ignored Omar Khadr and let him die, or kill him on the spot. They didn’t. They followed rules. Their U.S. military rules and worked to save Khadr’s life before flying him to Bagram air base for complicated and dedicated treatment.
It is often repeated that Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in January of 2010 that Khadr’s right to life, liberty and security of the person were violated during his 2003 interrogation. That is true. What isn’t often raised is that in that ruling the Supreme Court also rejected decisions by the Federal Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal that Omar Khadr be repatriated to Canada.
The Supreme Court also rejected any suggestion the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been complicit in any allegations of torture of Mr. Khadr. What CSIS operatives had done was question Khadr and then shared the information with his American captors.
As far as any delays in returning Khadr to Canada are concerned, Omar Khadr bears significant responsibility. After serving one year at Guantanamo he was to spend the next seven years of his eight-year sentence in Canada. This was agreed to by plea deal after Khadr admitted to killing U.S. Army medic Christopher Speer.
WATCH BELOW: Mixed reaction to Omar Khadr’s government settlement
Khadr slowed down his return to this country when in August of 2011 he fired lawyers Dennis Edney and Nate Whitling. Edney and Whitling had been Omar Khadr’s lawyers for years.
The Omar Khadr story is lengthy, complicated and involves a father and family with direct ties to Osama bin Laden.
The question which now demands an answer, a satisfactory answer, is why Omar Khadr is being offered a reported $10 million.
David Milgaard spent 23 years imprisoned for a murder he did not commit and received $10 million in compensation for having the arguably best years of his life stolen. To most Canadians I spoke with on air at the time, and following many conversations with Mr. Milgaard’s mother Joyce, that settlement seemed neither unfair nor inappropriate.
$10 million for Omar Khadr strikes almost all who have communicated with me since Tuesday’s leaking of the settlement amount as outrageous. A national petition protesting the settlement showed 50,000 signatures Thursday mid-afternoon.
On my program on Saturday I will share with you what the federal government of Canada has determined to be appropriate treatment, financially and otherwise in a completely unrelated case.
I will read an e-mail I received from a Canadian victim of one of the most brutal acts of terrorism on record. The monstrous cruelty directed toward this Canadian by Ottawa will leave you deeply disturbed.
In the meantime let us pray the name Omar Khadr is never again linked to violence and terror.
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