A Child of Jihad

Via Crooks and Liars, Rolling Stone has a very long feature article on Omar Khadr, who as I wrote here, here and here, comes from a long line of al Qaeda fighters and has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since he was 15.

As Jeanne of Body and Soul wrote a few years ago:

The problem is, Omar Khadr is as much a victim of these people as a member of the family. He's eighteen years old. When he was captured in Afghanistan, he was fifteen -- a child turned into a soldier by parents from hell. And our government's response to this victim of child abuse was to abuse him further.

Omar's American lawyer, Muneer Ahmad, has detailed his clients' torture allegations before. As the Toronto Star reported:

In February, his U.S. lawyer told reporters the teenager had been used as a human mop to clean urine on the floor and had been beaten, threatened with rape and tied up for hours in painful positions at Guantanamo Bay.

Rolling Stone describes his capture:

At Ab Khail, a sergeant later said, every U.S. soldier who walked by Omar longed to put a bullet in his head. But an American medic, working near the corpse of Sgt. Speer, saved Omar's life, and he was taken to a hospital at Bagram Air Base with a bullet-split chest and serious shrapnel wounds to the head and eye. U.S. intelligence officers began interrogating him as soon as he regained consciousness. At that moment, Omar entered the extralegal archipelago of torture chambers and detention cells that the Bush administration has erected to prosecute its War on Terror. He has remained there ever since.

Here's one incident of torture:

....An hour or two later they came back, checked the tautness of his chains and pushed him over on his stomach. Transfixed in his bonds, Omar toppled like a figurine. Again they left. Many hours had passed since Omar had been taken from his cell. He urinated on himself and on the floor. The MPs returned, mocked him for a while and then poured pine-oil solvent all over his body. Without altering his chains, they began dragging him by his feet through the mixture of urine and pine oil. Because his body had been so tightened, the new motion racked it. The MPs swung him around and around, the piss and solvent washing up into his face. The idea was to use him as a human mop. When the MPs felt they'd successfully pretended to soak up the liquid with his body, they uncuffed him and carried him back to his cell. He was not allowed a change of clothes for two days.

The torture is by design, not an aberration.

The design of Omar Khadr's life at Guantanamo Bay apparently began as a theory in the minds of Air Force researchers. After the Korean War, the Air Force created a program called SERE -- Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape -- to help captured pilots resist interrogation. SERE's founders wanted to know what kind of torture was most destructive to the human psyche so that they could train pilots to withstand it. In experiments, they held subjects in dummy POW camps and had them starved, stripped naked and partially drowned. Administrators carefully noted the subjects' reactions, often measuring the levels of stress hormones in their blood.

The most effective form of torture turned out to have two components. The first is pain and harm delivered in unpredictable, sometimes illusory environments -- an absolute denial of physical comfort and spatial-temporal orientation. The second is a removal of the inner comfort of identity -- achieved by artfully humiliating people and coercing them to commit offenses against their own religion, dignity and morality, until they become unrecognizable to and ashamed of themselves.

Omar's lawyers describe their client:

It took Omar a while to accept that his lawyers were not part of the interrogation system at Guantanamo. Their initial visits, Wilson says, were spent trying to get him to believe in them -- legal strategy was secondary. Gradually, Omar revealed himself to be very shy and curious and, in most ways, still a child, with a child's sweetness and credulous charm. Despite the rate at which his bones were lengthening, isolation and trauma seemed to have preserved him in emotional time. When he learned a new word -- his experiences had left odd gaps in his knowledge -- he tried to use it right away, and as often as possible. When Wilson and Ahmad offered to get him something to read, he asked for coloring books and car magazines and books with photographs of big animals. When they asked him what kind of juice he wanted them to bring back after a break during one meeting, he said, "Just something weird."

This is an utterly sickening but must read article that provokes the response, "Not in My Name." It has to stop.

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    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 09:58:05 AM EST
    We have gone from being a great country to a rouge state. People either turn off the news of what we are doing rather than face the fact that we have fallen into something akin to what Nazi did. Or they justify it in order to hide thier fear and bias. There needs to be an honest and open diaglog of what has happened to us and if we, America, is going to let itself turn into a whore for brutality or atone for our sins and strive to be great again.

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:42:14 AM EST
    . They had not gotten far when a wounded fighter, concealed behind a broken wall, threw a grenade, killing Special Forces Sgt. Christopher Speer. The soldiers immediately shot the fighter three times in the chest, and he collapsed. When the soldiers got close, they saw that he was just a boy. Fifteen years old
    Anybody want say something nice about Sgt Speer? Anybody??

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sailor on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:55:03 AM EST
    A child of jihad ... like these kids?
    They Cry, Pray to Bush and Wash out the Devil - Welcome to Jesus Camp
    Anybody want say something nice about Sgt Speer? Anybody??
    try to stay on topic please.

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 01:20:00 PM EST
    Jim, The Sgt.'s death was tragic, his family will suffer for the rest of their lives. But I cannot respeect your idea that this justifies our continued torture and moral vacancy. Much less of a kid who was fifteen at the time. You're afraid and your fear has gotten the better of your rational mind, and is now supporting child abuse. Would you support torturing a ten year-old who was turned into a bomber? What's your age limit? No limit? As long as we think we can get info from the child, anything goes? Peace.

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 04:51:07 PM EST
    quite simply, he is the enemy deserving of absolutely nothing. our enemy might be misguided or amoral, regardless of age. it shows the creeping social work mentality that will lead to the women on this thread eventually having to wear burkhas for fear of offending these little tikes when one sheds tears for these parasites and monsters.

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#6)
    by Sailor on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 05:39:08 PM EST
    quite simply, he is the enemy deserving of absolutely nothing.
    which is probably exactly what the folks defending their country from a US invasion feel.

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 06:42:35 AM EST
    Sailor - Stay on topic? How unaware you are. Sgt Speer's death was the cause of the capture of the terrorist that the Left sobs over. Without it, there would be no post. Please try to think logically. You know. Two follows one, night follows day... Dadler - Is your claim that I am afraid the best you can do? You are slipping old chum. Slipping badly. And note that I didn't approve of the guards alleged actions, just asked that a tiny bit of sympathy for the death of Sgt Speer be shown. Somthing no one but you has done. How many Left wingers do you think have read this post and my request since yesterday at 11:42AM? A thousand? Two thousand? Indeed, Sailor doesn't even want him mentioned, scolding me for even bringing him up. So worry less about me and think of the message the lack of comments by the Left has sent to the casual reader.

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 06:56:10 AM EST
    Sailor writes:
    which is probably exactly what the folks defending their country from a US invasion feel.
    Your attempt at moral equivalency with the US is sad. From the article we find:
    His name was Omar Khadr. Born into a fundamentalist Muslim family in Toronto, he had been prepared for jihad since he was a small boy. His parents, who were Egyptian and Palestinian, had raised him to believe that religious martyrdom was the highest achievement he could aspire to. In the Khadr family, suicide bombers were spoken of with great respect
    If you won't extend sympathy for Sgt Speer, can you at least condemn Omar's parents? Can you agree that their actions were incorrect and dispicable? Can you at least admit that a religion that is causing millions to do what this family has done has problems?

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#9)
    by Sailor on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 08:54:23 AM EST
    omar's parents' actions are the same as the christofasscists I linked to above. et al - If you venture into a war zone, don't be surprised if bad things happen,

    Re: A Child of Jihad (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 10:45:52 AM EST
    Sailor - The problem you have with your claim is that no christians are chopping off heads and flying airplanes into buildings. So, I guess I can confirm that you don't give a hoot about Sgt Speer?