As talk continues regarding closure of the controversial U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, lawyers for Canada’s only detainee there, Omar Khadr, have turned their attention to mapping out a plan on how they would rehabilitate the alleged extremist in a program lasting years.
According to the proposed repatriation and rehabilitation program filed at the military commission where Khadr is being tried, the young Toronto-born man would spend years undergoing psychological treatment, formal education and a special deradicalization program.
We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
We’d like to help you learn to help yourself.
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes,
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home.
The plan would provide him with help developing basic life skills missed out on during his past six years behind bars and seek to prevent him from falling back into extremist circles, including with his own al-Qaeda-linked family.
All other things being equal, on this I’d expect to see some comment from that freakish faction with a hate on for the heavy-handed tactics of CAS. Curiously, such, uh, libertarians seem to be the same folk who are at best ambivalent about Khadr’s future, not to mention positively mental about the YCJA.
“He was left in Guantanamo Bay, you know, chained to the floor for extended periods of time, not allowed to use the bathroom, forced to urinate on himself,” said Khadr’s defence lawyer, Cmdr. Bill Kuebler.
The 22-year-old has been held at the military prison since late 2002, months after he was captured following a four-hour bloody firefight outside Khost, Afghanistan, located near the Pakistan border.
U.S. officials allege Khadr lobbed a hand grenade that killed American army medic, Sgt. Christopher Speer, during the battle.
Psychological assessment and treatment
The first hurdle would be to determine the exact legal basis for Khadr’s return to his home country.
The Canadian government would also require some legal process to keep Khadr in check. One option would be to use a so-called “control order” under Canada’s anti-terrorism law, which is a form of house arrest that places restrictions on suspects’ movements and requires them to report daily to a police station.
Anthony Doob, a University of Toronto criminologist, says the order may include mental health treatment, restrictions on associating with certain people and instructions to obtain a certain kind of education as part of the process of re-integrating the person in Canadian society.
An order would impose incarceration on someone who violated the strict conditions, said Doob. “It is a pretty powerful set of controls that can be put on him,” said Doob.
So, with no certitude about his legal standing, as a Canadian citizen returned to his own country after incarceration in a foreign country under no legitimate charge and not convicted of any crime of any nation, Canada has to make something up on the fly. Why is this exactly?
Once Khadr was back in the country, the proposed rehabilitation program would begin, starting with six to 12 months in a secure residential facility for an evaluation of his mental state, followed by another six to 18 months in a minimum-security facility for treatment.
Dr. Howard Barbaree has offered up his institution, Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, to conduct the psychological assessment and admit Khadr for treatment, in what may be a first for the clinic.
“Never in our history, I don’t think we have done an assessment of risk for terrorist activity,” said Barbaree.
Ah, but betcha can’t wait to MacGyver-A-Team up the psych on this puppy. ‘I love it when a dubious assessment and course of therapy comes together!’
The centre’s assessment and triage unit – an inpatient unit that deals mostly with treatment of criminals – would complete the review and would keep Khadr in a secure facility with TV cameras monitoring his moves, said Barbaree.
“I think we can assure that Mr. Khadr would be safe there and the chances of escape are almost zero,” said Barbaree.
Right, so the difference between this incarceration and Cuba is that he’s not going to be forced to piss himself?
The psychological assessment would also seek to determine whether Khadr would pose a future terrorism threat.
‘Omar, tell me what you feel when you look at this picture of white guys and gals in uniform.’
Living with grandparents
Under the legal team’s proposal, Khadr would then live with his maternal grandparents in a Toronto suburb for two to three years. The document notes that the couple have never been associated with radical ideologies and have agreed to host their grandson to help him readjust to urban life.
The final stage would see Khadr on a supervised release, lasting from one to three years, and under strict conditions such as forcing him to refrain from drug use, petty crime or interacting with specific individuals.
He’ll need a drug use restriction? Has he picked up a habit somewhere?
The final stage of the proposed rehabilitation would involve a religious deradicalization program.
Other countries, such as Singapore and Saudi Arabia, already employ deradicalization programs, which keep extremists in a closed environment for several months to enhance their knowledge of their own religion, rather than cut them off from it.
Oh and they have so much to teach us about criminal justice and how to deal with those pesky radicals, like Mohammed Atta and Osama bin Laden.
“Then you can turn the discussion around on them and put the Qur’an out on the table and then say, ‘Well, look. Where in the Qur’an you find that it’s OK to kill Christians and Jews?'” said Thomas Quiggin, Islamic radicalization expert and former Canadian intelligence officer.
Catechism from the spooks! Canada is gunna fuck with a citizen’s religious and political freedom by having the kid deprogrammed by Dr. Mengele and Lt. Colonel Flagg.
Such programs would try to pinpoint the reason the person became radicalized, what the process was and identify the types of al-Qaeda themes the person is attached to. The assumption is that many Islamic radicals actually have little religious knowledge.
Quiggin believes Khadr would be a good candidate for such a program, because he is relatively young and hasn’t been “exposed to classical Islamic themes.”
If successful, such a re-indoctrination program would be a “huge victory in counter-radicalization and counterterrorism,” Quiggin said.
ALEX: You needn’t take it any further, sir. You’ve proved to me that all this ultra-violence and killing is wrong and terribly wrong. I’ve learned my lesson, sir. I see now what I’ve never seen before I’m cured, praise Bog!
DR. BRODSKY: You’re not cured yet, my boy.
DR. BRODSKY: You must take your chance boy. The choice has been all yours.
ALEX: But, Sir… Missus… I see that it’s wrong! It’s wrong because it’s like against like society. It’s wrong because everybody has the right to live and be happy without being tolchocked and knifed.
DR. BRODSKY: No, no, boy. You really must leave it to us, but be cheerful about it.
Troubled by family ties
To maximize the effectiveness of such counselling, the work would ideally involve Khadr’s entire family – a potentially difficult task due to their alleged links to al-Qaeda, but something successfully done in Saudi Arabia by engaging help from a prominent Islamic figure in the community.
To that effect, Khadr’s U.S. lawyers have requested the help of Hamid Slimi, president of the Canadian Council of Imams.
Slimi said he would assess Khadr first, then develop a strategy to overcome any challenges or “twisted ideas.”
“I would not have him in an environment where people are less educated of Islam and of Canadian values,” said Slimi. “He should be in a very balanced environment where people are proud to be Muslim.”
Slimi said he is troubled by the public statements made by family members, who live in the Greater Toronto Area, and that counselling Khadr would have to involve navigating his family ties, though not completely cutting them off.
“You can’t deprive someone meeting his mother. Still, they’re human beings and everyone needs maternal love,” said Slimi. “He’s been away from the closest person to him in this world. So definitely, he would need to see his mother.”
Hey, maybe all these people are on to something. If this works, then maybe we can snatch a bunch of Christers’ kids from Canmore to Cottage Country and lock them up with Jean Vanier and a bible.
One of the most “significant long-term” challenges identified by the defence lawyers will be Khadr’s education and skills training, since he’s been deprived of any formal education from at least the age of 11, when his father moved him to Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
… through his legally questionable incarceration from age 15. But in any case, I’m not prepared to say anything bad about the way he was home-schooled.
The lawyers’ report notes that “one promising avenue” is the Toronto District School Board because of its correspondence programs and expertise in high-school equivalency courses for refugees granted asylum.
Thereya go! It’s all worked out. Oh, one last question: what provisions will there be for his security, since this story has prompted online comments (promptly removed) such as “a bullet is way cheaper”?