Victim of Teen Terrorist Khadr Rips Plea Deal

November 6th, 2010 at 9:51 am | 21 Comments |

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Omar Khadr, the teen terrorist at Guantanamo Bay, recently plea bargained a deal with the Obama Administration.  Speaking with FrumForum, Layne Morris, a Special Forces soldier blinded in the right eye in a firefight with Khadr and the Taliban, criticized the deal and emphasized that Khadr has yet to renounce his terrorist violence.

As part of the plea, Khadr pled guilty to a number of war crimes including the murder of an Army medic.  He will be imprisoned at Gitmo for at least one more year and probably serve out his remaining seven years in Canada where he maintains citizenship.  But Canada’s parole laws could see him released in as soon as two years.

Layne Morris was part of the special forces unit sent to an Afghan village to rescue women and children held captive by Al Qaeda operatives in July of 2002.  In the operation, two Afghan interpreters were killed, Morris was blinded, and Christopher Speer, an army medic, was murdered by Khadr.  Omar Khadr was fifteen at the time.  In the firefight, Khadr was shot but saved by another American medic.

Morris stressed that Americans need to understand that Khadr was not an innocent child but a ruthless terrorist who fought for Al Qaeda.  There were a number of times during the battle when Khadr could have chosen to lay down his weapons: when the woman and children had escaped and after the firefight was over.  In his interview with FrumForum, Morris emphasized that when the shooting had stopped Khadr, the only terrorist left, decided to restart the battle by making a

careful and deliberate decision to shoot and throw a grenade that ended up killing Christopher Speer.  He acted, on that day, with the maturity, reasoning, and determination far beyond the years of a typical teenager.

Morris added that during the course of his trial Khadr showed no remorse; he called himself a political prisoner, and laughed after being sentenced.  All the evidence shows him to be an unrepentant terrorist.  A psychiatrist testified at the trial that he is a bigger threat today than he was eight years ago.  Never did he renounce violence or jihadism.  Khadr is also known as a member of the ‘first family of terrorism in Canada.’ His father was accused of being an al-Qaeda financier and Khadr’s own brother was paralyzed in a raid by Pakistani security forces.

Morris is outraged with the plea bargain.  He believes that:

the Obama Administration jammed the plea deal down the prosecutor’s throats.  For as long as I have known the prosecutor he has insisted that there was not going to be a deal since they had a great case.

According to Morris and others, Hillary Clinton negotiated a deal with the Canadian government whereby Khadr would admit his guilt and be given a maximum sentence of eight years.  The deal included a ridiculous provision where the jury would not be informed about the deal, and if they sentenced him to less than eight years he would be given the lesser of the two sentences. In other words Khadr could roll the dice and get the better of the two sentences.  At the sentencing the prosecutor had asked for Omar to be incarcerated for sixteen years, but did not get his request.  Instead, the jury which heard all the evidence went beyond the prosecutor’s request and sentenced him to forty years.

Why did the Obama Administration bend over backwards to grant Omar Khadr such a short sentence since he is obviously a threat to America’s national security? Thomas Joscelyn, a terrorist expert, felt that this was all about political correctness since “the PR far outweighed the reality of what he did and who he is.”  Joscelyn added:

It is not who he targets but who he works for.  He works for an organization that makes a whole career out of circumventing and the violating the rules of law. He is part of a global terrorist campaign.

There are those on the Left who argue that Khadr should not be given a long sentence since he was a “child soldier.”  Yet, on U.S. soil another teenager was convicted of an adult crime and was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.  There was not much outcry and there were no plea deals for the “beltway sniper”, Lee Boyd Malvo.

Looking at all the evidence and using Malvo as a precedent Morris regards the plea deal as a mockery of the American legal system.  Morris also sees the plea agreement as

a reflection of the complete distrust, disdain, and lack of respect for the military commission process by the Obama Administration.  After all, the Military Commission Act was passed in 2009 by one of the most liberal Congress’ and signed by one of the most liberal Presidents, Obama.

Morris will need to live with the injuries inflicted by Khadr and the Taliban for the rest of his life.  Khadr though could be out of prison in as soon as two years.

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • dante

    No offence, but that word, “terrorist”… I do not think that it means what you think it means.

  • TerryF98

    A cop kills a black on a station platform in cold blood and gets 2 years and Elise Cooper does not bat and eyelid.

    A kid is held for 8 years without trial, probably tortured then gets another 8 years making 16 years and she freaks out.

  • canadaman

    If there was such a strong case, then why couldn’t they hold a trial in the criminal courts? Oh yeah. Confessions made under threat (and experience) of torture would be ruled inadmissible.

    This kind of thing is why I can’t take conservatives seriously when they go on a rant about protecting individual liberties. They’ll bail the first time a shiny object or strange noise is present.

  • Kevin B

    Morris will need to live with the injuries inflicted by Khadr and the Taliban for the rest of his life. Khadr though could be out of prison in as soon as two years.Khadr, blinded in one eye, and with large wounds in his chest from being shot in the back during a military action, may be out after spending only ten years behind bars.

  • baw1064

    using Malvo as a precedent

    WTF? A Special Forces soldier fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan post 9/11 might reasonably expect that his adversaries might start shooting at him. Someone shopping at Home Depot or putting gas in their car in the DC area, not so much.

    In any event, we were under no obligation to capture Khadr alive. A couple more shots and the entire issue could have been easily avoided. Of course then we wouldn’t have gotten any information from him.

  • blowtorch_bob

    In a related story an Afghan wedding party was ripped to shreds when a NATO drone attack mistakenly took it for an El Queda hideout.

    When asked to comment a NATO spokesperson said, “Opps.”

  • drdredel

    I would have rephrased that last line:

    Morris will need to live with the injuries inflicted by the Bush administration for the rest of his life. The Bushes though could be out of Government in as soon as two years (and making millions on the consultation circuit).

  • easton

    Truly an idiotic article. A child soldier, brainwashed after years of indoctrination, shoots at his perceived enemy in the heat of a firefight, and that makes him a terrorist. Cooper, terrorists target civilians in peacetime surroundings, targeting soldiers in war doesn’t make you a terrorist. You are an absolute idiot if you think it does. Your definition means that every American irregular fighting in the Revolutionary war was a terrorist.

    As to what to do with him, I truly don’t know. Hopefully after another number of years he will get his act together, many prisoners never do in the states either but we don’t keep that locked up forever and I am sure it is frustrating for many prison guards as they watch some punk walk out the door knowing it is just a matter of time before he is back. Such is life. If Khadr goes back over to Afghanistan to fight, he will likely soon die a violent and wasted death.

    As to Layne Morris, I am sympathetic to him, but he doesn’t decide. This is what separates us from barbarians, we don’t engage in victim’s justice. If it did I am sure Adultery would lead to male castration, theft to cutting off of hands, and due to the rage he is exhibiting I imagine Morris would boil Khadr alive and feel great doing so (and I wouldn’t blame him)

    I recognize this dark streak of revenge (in fact, as a society we do) yet Elise Cooper seems utterly unaware of it, which makes Cooper essentially a barbarian.

  • Jamie

    From the National Post:

    “International law instruments define an underage fighter as any soldier under 18. Mr. Khadr was a child when he fought in Afghanistan, and he is a form of soldier. But let’s not be blindly formalist about our choice of words.
    The special terminology of “child soldier” was coined in African conflicts where children are abducted from their homes in order to serve some warring group, and then often made to perpetrate violence against their village and family. That is not Omar Khadr, whose own father brought him into the battlefield. His situation is more reminiscent of a teenager raised by an underworld crime family who is charged with being a hit man. That would be a young offender who gets special procedures from the justice system, but who would not be exonerated as would a child abducted in Sierra Leone, Liberia, or northern Uganda.
    Canadian legal values say that everyone, including those held at Guantanamo, deserves due process, and that anyone under 18 should get special treatment as a young offender. But to confuse Omar Khadr with the horrific story of African child soldiers by using the same terminology is unfair to those children from African conflicts and their families.”

    -Professor Ed Morgan, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law.

    Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/07/17/todays-letters-just-show-is-a-child-soldier/#ixzz14XfP6eaV

  • ktward

    The special terminology of “child soldier” was coined in African conflicts where children are abducted from their homes in order to serve some warring group, and then often made to perpetrate violence against their village and family. That is not Omar Khadr, whose own father brought him into the battlefield.

    Indeed. That his own father indoctrinated him into a life of fear and terrorist activity certainly makes his actions even more prosecutable.

    Who, exactly, buys into this kind of bullshit argument?
    Children, by the very lack of critical development by which adults are typically held accountable, are exempt. Period.

    To parse which violent acts are inherently ‘worse’ — as a result of abduction by strangers, or abusive parental indoctrination — is a crime unto itself.

  • Jamie

    “Children, by the very lack of critical development by which adults are typically held accountable, are exempt. Period.”

    I can understand an argument that centers on the fact that an 8 year old doesn’t have the capacity to appreciate what is morally wrong and what is not. However, a 15 year old is not a child in this sense. Most liberal democracies understand this fact when dealing with juvenile offenders who commit serious crimes. At the end of the day, Khadr was exposed to both Canadian life and the life of radicalism. He made an informed choice, knowing fully what his father and his associates were trying to accomplish. His brother Abdurahman was exposed to this radicalism in much the same way, yet he made the opposite choice. Was Omar’s choice heavily influenced by his surroundings? Of course it was, but to deny that a 15 year old is capable of making decisions like these is unrealistic. Liberals using the term “child soldier” to describe this case are typically doing so because of the shocking rhetorical weight this term holds, not because it is an accurate application of the true meaning of the term. To me, this is reprehensible.

  • Kevin B

    The fifteen-year-old boy is a victim plain and simple. He’s too young to make this kind of informed decision. He was obviously coerced.

    The nineteen-year-old blogger who had sex with him is the real villain in this case.

  • ktward

    Jamie.

    What we’ve long known intuitively we know scientifically today: a 15yo’s brain is not fully developed. Specific to this conversation, the prefrontal cortex which, among other functions, underlies judgment. Your point revolves around the ‘choice’ argument. I don’t deny he had a choice, however informed. But a 15yo’s brain is simply not capable of the judgment we rightfully expect from an adult.

  • jakester

    They attacked his compound, he shot back, nothing too dishonorable or terroristic about that. It is far different from cruising around in an old car taking sneaky pot shots at random civilians. Sorry, but soldiers sign on with the knowledge that death and serious wounds may result because the people they attack often fight back.

  • llbroo49

    I agrre that this is a silly article. What to do with enemy combatants in the war on terrorissim is a complex issue. But distinctions should be made from individuals fighting America’s armed forces versus individuals that are planning or have engaged in activities against American civillians. Those that attack civillians are terrorist (as they have clearly committed crimes against humanity. But individuals captured fighting American forces should be treated as POWs. For years we have bemoaned the cowardice of terrorist for attacking innocent civillians, but now that we find individuals willing to fight our troops, we want to treat them all the same.

    I can sympathize with the American soldier that was wounded- who wouldn’t want someone to pay for what he has gone through? But, I think that the sentence handed down was a fair resolution to a difficult situation.

  • drdredel

    @Jamie

    Liberals using the term “child soldier” to describe this case are typically doing so because of the shocking rhetorical weight this term holds

    See… this is why I’ve been arguing that his age should not be a factor. It just opens up the door to these sorts of arguments…. “who’s a child, what can children really understand, at what point is someone ready to tie their shoes but not ready to have sex… etc. etc.”.

    The guy is a soldier in the enemy’s army. There are clear cut rules about how to treat people of that designation.

  • advocatusdiaboli

    If we continue to sympathize with foreign perpetrators more than our own citizen protectors because of a lack of resolve or honor or commitment why then should we be surprised that fewer people want to volunteer to put themselves n harms way to protect ideals we don’t back up? Why should we be surprised when loyalty is up for sale–just like our commitment to our people for their sacrifice was for sale or trade? IF the political realities were such that we’d have these challenges, then why did we commitment to a theater of action that required such compromises when it didn’t protect us. The only answer is that we view our soldiers as low-value pawns. And, as Vietnam veteran, I find that disgusting.

  • jreb

    The argument that attempts to paint Omar Khadr as an innocent “child soldier” rings hollow since the father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was a key al Qaeda terrorist fund raiser and facilitator. Three members of the Khadr family klan camped out at al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Further following her brother’s capture, Omar Khadr’s sister said the death of Sgt. Christopher Speer at the hands of Omar Khadr was no big deal and Khadr’s mother said she would rather see her sons at al Qaeda training camps than “be on drugs or having some homosexual relation” in Canada which did not endear the Khadr family in the minds of Canadiens. A video training film showing Khadr making and planting IEDs certainly does not lend credence to the portrait of an innocent “child soldier”.
    Omar Khadr agreed to the charges lodged against him and agreed that he was an “alien, unprivileged, enemy belligerent”, unqualified to shoot back or engage in combat hostilities with U.S. or coalition forces and admitted that he was quilty of murder in violation of the laws of war as a member of al Qaeda. Rather than decrying the injustice of prosecuting this terrorist, perhaps the miscarriage of justice is that this unrepentant terrorist was offered a plea deal in exchange for a light sentence for the murder of Sgt. Speer and the untold injuries and murder of U.S. and coalition forces inflicted by the IEDs he proudly constructed and planted.

  • ktward

    drdredel: See… this is why I’ve been arguing that his age should not be a factor.

    I must have missed those arguments on other threads. Bummer. (Seriously. I appreciate your insights.)

    There exists good reason why, both societally and legally, we allow for the unique vulnerabilities of children, developmentally speaking. I realize that, in the minds of many, 15 seems prosecutable while 8 doesn’t. Current neuroscience doesn’t actually support such a blanket stand, but I get the bottom line: 8yos are cute; 15yos, not so much.

    I’m part of a professional community that recognizes that no one, given rehabilitative factors, is ever beyond the bounds of ‘redemption’. (no religious context) Especially indoctrinated children.

    That said, I’ve no illusions.
    This young man, as is, remains a viable threat to be taken seriously.

    But he’s a Canadian citizen. He’s their problem.
    If Guantanamo has taught us anything, it’s that we are not equipped on any level to be the world’s go-to detaining system. Our own justice system is uniquely and controversially at odds with such a role.

  • Kevin B

    Omar Khadr agreed to the charges lodged against him and agreed that he was an “alien, unprivileged, enemy belligerent”, unqualified to shoot back or engage in combat hostilities with U.S. or coalition forces and admitted that he was quilty of murder in violation of the laws of war as a member of al Qaeda.My understanding is that he “admitted” to these things after years of brutal, inhuman enhanced interrogation, and as part of his plea deal.

    No one but you is saying that “child soldier” equals “innocent.”

    If he made a plea deal, then he is by law guilty of the crimes to which he admitted, and subject to the punishment terms of the plea deal. If he had refused to make the deal, and had been found not guilty, then he would have been not guilty under the law.

    The meme that he is getting off scott free after only two years is a dishonest one, since it assumes he will be getting out in two years, and because it ignores the brutal treatment he has received for the past eight, and the blindness in one eye from the bombs that were dropped on him, and the chest wounds he received from being shot in the back.

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