This morning I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Hilary Homes of Amnesty International to find out where the rumoured plea deal for Omar Khadr stands. Also to help recap for my listening audience how it is that a child plucked off the battlefield at the age of 15 could end up spending 8 years in military detention and then have to face a military tribunal, which explicitly forbids the invocation of the Geneva Conventions and where the outcome is pretty much predetermined. There's also the issue of the brutal interrogation techniques Omar was subjected to by his American captors and the underhanded and possibly criminal manner in which CSIS helped to do dirty work for the US.
The interview was a good one and I'll post up a link to it later today so you can listen for yourself. Hilary is a terrific interview and the talk was informative as I knew it would be. So I get home and open up my local fishwrap to see what's there like always and maddeningly I find on page A-21 of the News Section an article entitled "Khadr has never renounced Muslim jihad, expert on evil says."
A bunch of questions spring to mind. What makes one an expert on evil? How would you quantify such a thing? Why isn't this in the Op-Ed section of my paper?
Well, it turns out that the expert in question is Dr. Michael Welner who is a renowned forensic psychiatrist which is a profession that encompasses the interface between law and psychiatry. They work with the courts to help evaluate two specific areas of interest: Competency to Stand trial (CST) and Mental State at the Time of the Offence (MSO). Dr. Welner has tried to go further by creating what he calls the 'Depravity Scale.' This mostly subjective measurement he has created incorporates forensic science, law and public input so as to distinguish crimes that warrant more severe punishment from those that do not. In effect, it's an attempt to quantify evil.
This of course does not make him an expert on evil any more than any of us, but it sounds sexier when you're writing up a newspaper opinion piece. Oh wait! This article is not in the Op-Ed section of my newspaper it's in the regular news section. So even though what's being forwarded is one man's opinion -- a man whose area of expertise is not the Middle-East or terrorism or the psychology behind child soldiers, the story is right there along with the rest of the news. A narrative to help make Omar Khadr seem less sympathetic.
So Dr. Welner who has never met Omar and who has never been to Guantanamo "discounts much cited comments by some US guards at Guantanamo that the Toronto native is a "good kid" and salvageable." He calls them shallow in their prognostic significance. Well, at least they have met him. Welner also says that Khadr has never publicly repudiated Al-Qaida and made no call to other "...radical Islamists to mature beyond their own elemental intolerance."
The sociopathy at work here from someone who should know better is stunning. There is the presumption of guilt for starters, no acknowledgement of the child's malleability, and for him to suggest that this boy should be calling on all who believe in jihad or radical Islam to renounce it is preposterous.
Another day, another lying, manipulative narrative from the MSM -- in this case from Steven Edwards of Postmedia News, courtesy of Canwest News and the Montreal Gazette.
You can help by sending a letter to the PM by going here. If you're in Montreal, Toronto or Edmonton the schedule for screening of the documentary about Omar entitled 'You Don't Like The Truth - 4 days inside Guantánamo' can be found here.
UPDATE: An anonymous reader has informed me that Dr. Welner in fact was hired by the Pentagon to be its witness and has spent seven to eight hours over two days interviewing Omar Khadr which still does not make him an expert on child soldiers, coerced confessions or anything else relating to Omar's case including Omar. He seems to have been hired strictly because he is a high-profile guy and is willing to say what the Pentagon wants him to say. Dr. Stephen Xenakis a former brigadier-general in the US military who has spent more than 100 hours meeting with the Toronto-born captive holds an opinion that is the exact opposite of Dr. Welner's. I stand by what I said originally about the "expert on evil."
Also it's worth a trip over to Peace, order and good government, eh? to read what pogge has to say on the matter. It's short and to the point!