Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The world is watching

As Amnesty International asks, in whose best interest is it to take a 15-year old boy -- who allegedly threw a grenade in Afghanistan -- into custody and hold him in secret, incommunicado and indefinite detention, and subject him to torture?

Last night the mainstream media broadcast video of Omar Khadr, "enemy combatant," crying and describing to his interrogators ill treatment he had received. To make sure we didn't begin feeling badly about a 15-year old child being treated this way, ABC News quickly put up a photo of the soldier killed by a grenade allegedly thrown by Khadr. There are no eye witnesses to this allegation. ABC did not mention that fact. (And by the way, did it appear that Khadr had legal representation with him during the interrogation? No?)

What has the United States become, when we willingly allow our leaders to sanction torture against children?

From Amnesty International:
No existing international tribunal has ever prosecuted a child for war crimes, reflecting the wide recognition that the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is a serious abuse in itself. This does not mean that a child above the age of criminal responsibility cannot be held accountable for crimes committed in the context of armed conflict, as in any other context. Appropriate recognition must be given to the age of the child at the time of the alleged crime and the rehabilitative priority, however. In February 2007, the month that the Pentagon announced charges against Omar Khadr under the Military Commissions Act (MCA), 58 countries endorsed the Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (and another eight countries have endorsed them since). They agreed that “Children who are accused of crimes under international law allegedly committed while they were associated with armed forces or armed groups should be considered primarily as victims of offences against international law; not only as perpetrators. They must be treated in accordance with international law in a framework of restorative justice and social rehabilitation, consistent with international law which offers children special protection through numerous agreements and principles.” The MCA provides no such framework.
Omar Khadr was 15 years old when he was taken into custody by the US military in Afghanistan in 2002, and has been held at Guantanamo Bay since he was 16. He is now 21. Contact your Senators and Representatives today and tell them you -- and the rest of the world -- are watching. Again from Amnesty International:
“The US has violated international standards by refusing to recognize Omar Khadr’s status as a minor and treating him accordingly.”
hat tip to Cousin Pete for the title of this post ....

7 comments:

donald said...

i don't get it, where is the outrage from the american public on how our government has become the world largest terrorist organization, all in the name of stopping terrorism!

i have sent a message to both of my senators and my representatives.

Sue J said...

Thank you, Donald. The outrage has to start with us.

Mary Ellen said...

Americans have become complacent. Watch the news...no mention of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, except for maybe one sentence or two. But we hear hours of commentary on what a candidate was wearing at a debate, or which candidate would we rather have a beer with.

I'm still wondering where the outrage about Obama's FISA vote is. Many progressive bloggers just shrugged their shoulders and said, they'll vote for him anyway. That's it...done...rights gone.

The new American motto should be, "What I don't see, doesn't concern me." And we all know...we only see what the corporate media allows us to see.

If that boy was not a terrorist before he was captured and jailed (which it appears he may not be), he's sure to be one now. Heckuvajob USA.

Cootamundra W said...

I agree with Mary Ellen - if he was not "against us" before, he sure has reason to be now.
My heart goes out to him and to his family and friends.
I too will contact those who are supposed to represent me.

Nan said...

This case appalls me. The U.S. has no moral standing left whatsoever -- and the way the MSM reports the story without ever raising the issue of child soldiers and how the world community has agreed they should be treated is pretty damn sickening, too.

Sue J said...

Mary Ellen, see the poem below ....

Cootamundra, I think contacting our representatives is the most powerful thing we can about this.

Nan, it really is sickening. It's more important than ever to filter through the "news" that comes at us and question if we are indeed being told the whole truth ....

Sara said...

I find this deeply troubling.

put these people on trial and let them- and all of us- have justice.

justice for all...

even the children.