Omar Khadr Trial: Window View or Shades Pulled Down?

Bumped from Saturday: There are a several excellent journalists and writers now on the ground at Guantanamo, ready to report on the military commissions trial of child soldier Omar Khadr, now 23, which is set to begin Tuesday (Hearings on motions will be held Monday. Here is the list of motions scheduled to be heard. Motions could go past Monday.)

Carol Rosenberg of McClatchy has a summary today, with an article titled "Khadr trial will be a window into America's war on terror." [More...]

I'm not expecting the juicy stuff to be played out in open court. And, I expect their reporting will be censored, or at least monitored, to make sure they aren't revealing the good stuff. I hope I'm wrong, but I think the view will be more like one from a window with the shades drawn. But I'm still glad the reporters are there.

Omar Khadr is the original child of Jihad. I've been writing about him since 2004, and all of the coverage is available here. A few to get you caught up:

On his family: Life of an al Qaida Wife;Married to the Jihad; Guantanamo's Child: The Story of Omar Khadr.

On early reports of juveniles at Gitmo: Six Juveniles Held at Guantanamo

On Omar and his lawyers' description of his torture: At 15, and "Unprivileged Belligerant"; Child of Jihad; Omar Khadr Video of Gitmo Questioning Released ; Growing Up and In Pain at Gitmo: Omar Khadr Hearings ; Omar Khadr Hearing Shows Lack of Reliability of Statements Obtained Coercively

On the murder charges filed against him in 2007, Guantanamo Juvenile Charged With Murder, Faces Military Tribunal and a few months later, Gitmo Charges Against Canadian Teenager Dismissed and three months after that, Terror Charges Reinstated Against Omar Khadr; Federal Judge Denies Relief to Guantanamo Teenage Detainee

On the pretrial proceedings: Secret Witnesses in Guantanamo Trial; Pentagon Replaces Omar Khadr Judge Who Chastised Prosecution; Omar Khadr Gitmo Trial Set for Oct 8 ; Omar Khadr Trial in Limbo
; Guantanamo Lawyers Squabble: An Embarrassment for All; Omar Khadr to Boycott Military Commission, Issues Statement

On Canada's reaction: Canadian Court Rules Canada Violated Omar Khadr's Rights; Hearing in Canada on Fate of Child Soldier Omar Khadr

On banning media from the proceedings: Four Reporters Banned from Omar Khadr Gitmo Hearings

Yesterday, I wrote about Omar's brother Abdullah Khadr, who was ordered freed from prison this week after a Canadian judge denied a U.S. extraditon request and that Omar's lawyers are seeking a good time credits of three days for every day served due to the abuse he suffered.

Now, the journalists are in place. They will report, blog and tweet as much as the government allows.

A bit of a prelude to this week -- quoting Rosenberg's article linked at the beginning of this post:

This week's session opens with mental health experts' testimony. Khadr's lawyers argue he was tortured into confessing to a crime he doesn't remember after he was captured, near dead on July 27, 2002, in a firefight near Khost, Afghanistan. He'd been shot twice in the back, blinded in one eye and was buried in the rubble from two 500-pound bombs.

...A former Army psychiatrist, retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, spent time with the adult Khadr and argues he suffered so much shock in the blasts that he only was telling his captors what they wanted to hear. The Pentagon hired Dr. Michael Welner, a high-profile forensic psychiatrist who may be best known for his use of a "Depravity Scale" to evaluate evil. Welner has testified for the government in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping trial and in the Andrea Yates child drowning case.

Will the judge Army Col. Patrick Parrishallow allow evidence of his torture?

Pre-trial testimony has shown that interrogators scared him with a tale of rape into cooperating with his captors, shackled him hooded and crying inside a Bagram cell and questioned him while he was still chained to a stretcher, probably sedated. So before the trial even begins, the judge, , has to decide first which, if any, of Khadr's incriminating statements can be brought to trial.

And perhaps the biggest unknown: Will Omar attend his trial, and if he refuses, will the judge have him brought against his will? (the "tackle and shackle" technique.)

Canadian coverage of Omar Khadr has been extensive. Here's the CBC News page . Michelle Shephard at the Toronto Star has been following the case since the beginning. The Star's page is here. Shephard's "Facts and Fallacies" is also helpful.

On Twitter, I'm following Daphne Eviatar, a lawyer and senior associate at Human Rights First who's reporting for the Washington Independent. Here's her latest at Huffington Post is here.

More details on Khadr's case, including some pleadings, are available here on the Joint Task Force Guantanamo site.

Here is the : Supplemental Defense Motion To Suppress Statements Procured Using Torture, Coercion and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment, filed in March, 2010; Defense Motion for Article 5 Status Determination and Dismissal for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction filed in April, 2010; Defense Motion to Dismiss Charge V for Lack of Jurisdiction filed in May, 2010; a Defense Brief Regarding Relevance of Pre-l June 2002 Activities, originally filed in 2008.

I really do hope we get a full view. Omar Khadr has been detained for 1/3 of his life. He shouldn't be tried in military tribunal at all, but since he is, the world deserves to see the whole process. It's called transparency.

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    Interesting Difference (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 01:40:18 AM EST
    Still, his brother Abdurahman, now 29 and free, may testify by video feed from Canada. Abdurahman also was held at Guantanamo for a time, and said he was a CIA informant. If Omar is convicted, his attorneys have him listed as a character witness -- to describe their extremist father's influence in a Sins of the Father plea for leniency.

    McClatchy Version

    Still, his brother Abdulrahman, now 30 and free, may testify by video feed from Canada. Abdulrahman also was held at Guantanamo for a time, and said he cooperated. If Omar is convicted, his attorneys have Abdulrahman listed as a character witness - to describe their extremist father's influence in a Sins of the Father plea for leniency.

    AP Miami Herald Version:

    from "Life of an Al Qaida Wife" (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 02:26:25 AM EST
    Their mother is ashamed of Abdurahman because he cooperated.

    There is one son, Abdurahman, her eldest, of whom Maha is ashamed. Read why:

        To Maha and Zaynab's horror, he now seems to be wearying with the family business of jihad. Earlier this month, he appeared on a television documentary after passing a polygraph test. He claimed that the CIA had coaxed him to spy on al-Qa'ida members in Bosnia in exchange for his release from Guantanamo Bay. On camera, he denounced his family as al-Qa'ida members and confessed that his father had groomed him to be a "loser", a suicide-bomber.

        Maha and Zaynab claim to be baffled by Abdurahman's "ugly lies". He has, says Zaynab scornfully: "... always kept bad company. He lies, he cheats, and lies some more. Now he is wacko. He is addicted to things that thrill the brain. He told us the 9/11 planes were like some stunt out of a Jackie Chan video. He is no longer part of this family, because we do not work for our enemies."

    Wow (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 12:12:33 PM EST
    Great story... Guess I missed that one....  Here is the link as your 2004 link does not lead to the story...

    Married to the jihad: the lonely world of al-Qa'ida's wives