This video says about itself:
A teenage Omar Khadr sobs uncontrollably as Canadian spy agents question him at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a brief video excerpt released via the internet early Tuesday morning.
The 10-minute video posted just after 5 a.m. ET is of poor quality and the voices are often inaudible, as it was never intended to be viewed by the public. But it shows Khadr, 16 at the time, being interviewed by Canadian officials in late February 2003.
The excerpt is from five formerly classified DVDs consisting of 7.5 hours of questioning, six months after Khadr was captured following a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.
The tapes, made public under a court order obtained by Khadr’s lawyers, offer a rare glimpse of interrogations of Guantanamo detainees and of Khadr.
Khadr, now 21, has been held at the military prison for the past six years.
Shows interrogator wounds
At one point during one of the interviews, Khadr raises his orange shirt to show wounds on his back and stomach that he says he sustained during the firefight.
“I’m not a doctor, but I think you’re getting good medical care,” the interrogator responds.
Khadr cries, “I lost my eyes. I lost my feet. Everything!” in reference to how the firefight in Afghanistan affected his vision.
“No, you still have your eyes and your feet are still at the end of your legs, you know,” a man says.
Between gasping sobs, Khadr tells the agent several times, “You don’t care about me.”
As Khadr continues crying, the agent calls for a break.
‘Help me,’ Khadr chants
“Look, I want to take a few minutes. I want you to get yourself together. Relax a bit. Have a bite to eat and we’ll start again,” the interrogator says.
Then Khadr begins sobbing with his head in both his hands, chanting over and over again in a haunting voice: “Help me … Help me … Help me.”
In the next interview excerpt, Khadr sits on a blue couch looking down as he is questioned. He mumbles short answers and declines an offer of food.
The interrogator asks him a string of innocuous questions to try to warm him up.
“I want to stay in Cuba with you. Can you help me with that?” he says, commenting on how nice the weather is in the country.
He later asks, “What other interesting things do you want to tell me about?”
Khadr’s response cannot be heard.
Sessions videotaped by U.S. agents
The U.S. Defence Department granted special permission to CSIS and Canada’s Foreign Affairs ministry to question Khadr after he was brought to Guantanamo Bay, where he is still being held on charges he killed a U.S. soldier during a firefight in Afghanistan.
Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former CSIS agent, told CBC that the unprecedented release of the interrogation tapes is likely to put a damper on Canada’s relationship with the U.S. — at least in the short term.
“Anybody can logically sort of assume that the Americans will be a little bit more cautious about what they give to us or or in the context they give it to us, the Canadian authorities,” he said Monday.
In May, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that branches of the Canadian government had to hand over key evidence against Khadr to his legal team to allow a full defence of the charges against him, which include accusations by the U.S. that he spied for and provided material support to terrorists.
Several Canadian media organizations then applied for and obtained the release of the DVDs, as well as a package of documents that made headlines last week.
Disc copies of the 5-DVD collection were to be made available to the media at 1 p.m. ET at the lawyers’ offices in Edmonton.
Canada continues to persecute torture victim Omar Khadr: here.
The news that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has provided an “apology” and $10.5 million in compensation to Omar Khadr—a former child soldier, Guantanamo Bay detainee and torture victim—has provoked vicious, semi-hysterical opposition from the Conservatives and the most right-wing sections of the Canadian media: here.