Whitewashing Omar Khadr
Confessed terrorist will soon walk free in Canada
By Ezra Levant ,QMI Agency
First posted: Sunday, January 29, 2012 01:11 PM EST | Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2012 01:20 PM EST
In this Pentagon-approved photograph of a sketch by artist Janet Hamlin, Omar Khadr, listens to closing arguments Oct. 30, 2010.
In a revealing new book, The Enemy Within, the Sun's Ezra Levant brings Omar Khadr's story back into the public eye. Having completed his U.S. sentence in October 2011, Omar Khadr could return to Canada at any time. He may well be released, thanks to a lenient system that will likely credit him for the time he has served awaiting trial in Guantanamo Bay. With Parliament back in session, Levant brings his razor-sharp perspective to bear on a story that is vital to our notions of citizenship and justice, and to our national security.
So, what can we expect to happen with Omar Khadr when he inevitably returns to Canada?
Unfortunately, it's not hard to guess. When Maher Arar came back to Canada after he was released from a prison in Syria, he was hailed as a hero and celebrity. Every anti-war, anti-Western activist with an axe to grind--which includes a large swath of Canada's mainstream media--turned his homecoming into a triumph. If only they treated our wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan so warmly.
If Maher Arar became a minor celebrity after his wrangle with the Syrian security system, with a secondary role played by Washington and Ottawa, it's a virtual lock that Omar Khadr--the leading man in a supposed morality play pitting the Bush administration, perennial bugbear of the left, and its Guantanamo "gulag" against a purportedly naive and pitiable "child soldier" from Canada--is set to become nothing less than a superstar.
Unlike Arar, who enjoyed only a fraction of the sympathy and media coverage, Khadr will be coming home to the built-in fan club that he's amassed since his capture. Arlette Zinck, the professor at Edmonton's King's University College who struck up a tender pen pal relationship with Khadr -- "Whenever you are lonesome, remember you have many friends who keep you in their prayers. Each morning at 9 o'clock, I include you in mine," she wrote to him in Guantanamo, referring to Khadr as "my dear student"--has led the charge in turning her campus into a factory for Khadr groupies.
Zinck actually testified in Khadr's defence, calling him a "considerate young man ... thoughtful and generous in spirit" in a sentencing hearing for a murder he himself confessed he took pleasure in reminiscing about (how considerate). In 2008, her school hosted a talk by Dennis Edney, one of Khadr's lawyers, to give a speech about how "a young Muslim man has been branded a terrorist without trial" and the failures of the Canadian government in supporting Khadr's case.
Along with a "consortium of activist groups," Zinck's students organized a rally later that year drawing seven hundred Khadr supporters to cheer for Khadr in downtown Edmonton, and Zinck herself has said she would personally recommend Omar Khadr's application to attend King's University College as a mature student.
But then he probably won't have the time. Or the need. Omar Khadr isn't likely to spend much time in prison once he applies to be released to Canadian custody in late 2011 after serving just one additional year in Gitmo (part of the plea agreement with the Obama administration). Under current Canadian law, Khadr should be able to apply for parole after serving one-third of his sentence --and his nine years in pre-trial custody means he's already done that (even statutory release kicks in after two-thirds of a sentence). A free man, he'll have a career waiting for him here in Canada as a top speaker on the anti-American lecture circuit. Every pro-Islamist campus club, every unreformed mosque, as well as conferences for the reflexively anti-American New Democratic Party and the