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Abdullah Khadr is the brother of Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was seized at the age of 15 following a firefight in an Afghanistani village near Tora Bora and spirited away to Guantánamo. Omar’s case has stirred international controversy about the conditions and treatment of child prisoners by the United States, and U.S. authorities long sought Abdullah to help make their case against his brother, among other things. The CIA tracked Abdullah down and paid the Pakistani Interservice Intelligence (ISI) $500,000 for his capture and surrender to an undisclosed third-country detention site (potentially Guantánamo), but both the Canadian and Pakistani authorities balked at this. Instead, Abdullah got a trip home to Canada. Everyone apparently wanted to charge Abdullah, but no one seems to have had any evidence—until suddenly Abdullah began to confess.
Now a judge in a Toronto courtroom is focusing on the circumstances that led to Abdullah’s sudden stream of confessions. Was he tortured or mistreated? The Star reports:
Only the judge and lawyers could see “John” behind a large screen in a Toronto courtroom. The Canadian spy entered through a separate entrance each day last week and a “Do Not Enter. Sealed by Judge’s Order” sign hung on the door as he took his place on the hidden witness stand. While his identity may have been shielded, the agent’s testimony in the extradition case of Abdullah Khadr gave an unprecedented glimpse into the covert world of international terrorism cases.
Previously, intelligence agents were rarely called as witnesses and forced to give testimony. But since the disclosures of torture and abuse associated with the program at Guantánamo, and the revelation of Canadian intelligence’s complicity in the torture and abuse of a Canadian software engineer, Maher Arar, in the hands of U.S. Justice Department officials, Canadian courts now insist on putting the details of the intelligence service’s dealings on the record—especially when U.S. intelligence counterparts are involved. This may be a sign of what the future holds for the CIA, and it may help explain why the CIA is now struggling with such determination to keep the wraps on its extraordinary rendition and torture programs.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Ratio of the amount J. P. Morgan paid a man to fight in his place in the Civil War to what he spent on cigars in 1863:
The Food and Drug Administration asked restaurants to help Americans eat less.
Pope Francis announced that nuns could use social media, and a priest flew a hot-air balloon around the world.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”