Guantanamo's Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr Hardcover – Mar 20 2008
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From the Inside Flap
The remarkable true story of Toronto-born Omar Khadr begins in a small Afghan town on July 27, 2002, where the 15-year-old Canadian hid in a compound under attack by U.S. special forces. When the soldiers searched through the rubble at the end of the fighting, they didn't realize anyone was still alive. The Pentagon would allege later that as the soldiers neared him, Khadr threw a grenade, fatally wounding Delta Force soldier Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer. Khadr was shot and had his serious wounds attended to at the scene. Taken into custody, he was sent to the notorious American prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has passed through puberty in U.S. detention, and his lawyers allege he has been tortured and held in isolation for months at a time.
Guantanamo's Child is a sweeping narrative that reconstructs the life of Omar Khadr, from his childhood spent traveling between a Canadian suburb and Peshawar at the height of the jihad against the Soviets, and into Afghanistan and the homes of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's elite. Based on extensive research and interviews with those connected to Khadr's case throughout Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Pakistan, as well as intensive research at Guantanamo Bay, Michelle Shephard tells the unknown stories of the lives of the U.S. soldiers whom Omar fought and those who knew him in custody. Shephard also delivers an intimate portrait of Khadr's parents and siblings, once called "Canada's First Family of Terrorism," and their escape from Kabul after the 9/11 attacks.
From a U.S. interrogator who screamed the ingredients of a cereal box to scare detainees who didn't understand English, to a ferocious Chechen commander who raised rabbits, to the Scottish-Canadian lawyer who wore cufflinks that read "Old lawyers never die," Shephard brings unprecedented intimacy and insight into the players who have helped shape history and impacted Khadr's life.
But more than just a story of a young Canadian's life, Guantanamo's Child goes behind the scenes in Washington and Ottawa to reveal how Canada has supported Khadr's detention while countries worldwide have condemned the offshore prison and demanded the repatriation of their citizens. Shephard also dissects how the United States has flouted its own and international laws to create Guantanamo's military commissions for its own singular ends.
Omar Khadr is about to make history as the youngest defendant ever to be tried for war crimes. Guantanamo's Child is an essential read for those wanting to understand how the world changed after 9/11, how fear has trumped fundamental rights, how overzealous American policies have turned alleged terrorists into victims, and why so few have cared about a Canadian teenager--perhaps until now.
From the Back Cover
An excerpt from Guantanamo's Child:
Omar had been through the drill many times before. The guards would arrive early in the morning, shackle him, and cover his eyes and ears for the drive to camp Iguana, where he would wait for his visitors while chained by the ankle to a hook bolted to the floor. that morning, he remained there for hours until Edney and Whitling were led in. the Edmonton lawyers had been fighting for Omar for four years but had never met him. They could hardly believe they were standing in front of him.
Omar smiled. His family had written to him about h is Canadian lawyers and had sent a picture they had taken during one visit, so Omar know the men before him were Dennis and Nate. But his family hadn't prepared him for Edney's accent. Omar had been exposed to many languages inside Guantanamo and had even picked up a Saudi accent, but he had never heard anything quite like Edney's Scottish brogue. Omar began laughing as Edney talked, cutting through the tension.
For two days, Edney and Whitling tried to get to know Omar. Together they ate the picnic lunch of olives, cheese, bread and candies that they had brought, Edney tussling with Omar to make sure he received his fair share of the sweets. Edney talked almost as much as he listened. He told stories about Omar's family and told him about Kareem and Abdullah. "Your sister Zaynab is always trying to bully me," Edney said and flashed a smile. Edney told Omar about his sons and showed him pictures. "You've got to have hope, Omar," Edney told him just before he left. "Without hope, we all die."
"I wont' give up on you," Omar replied, "but you'll give up on me. Everyone does."
Omar hugged them and asked Edney if he could keep a photo of Edney's son Duncan in his hockey uniform. then he gave whitling a paper origami bird and asked him to give it to his wife as a present.
"You will be shocked, saddened and in the end made angry at the story this page-turner of a book exposes. I read it straight through, and Omar Khadr's plight is one you cannot forget."
—Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York
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Top Customer Reviews
I actually didn't know these books had been written; I would have liked to have read them earlier, as I always felt there was a serious lack of solid information about him prior to this.
I think this is a well written and researched book, particularly given the author didn't have a chance to meet Khadr prior to writing the book. I think events that have played out since, are showing Omar to be the person that Shepherd, Zinck, his lawyer Dennis Edney and many other supporters him to be.
One major problem that Omar has had, is that in the eyes of the public, he has never able to distance himself from the actions and attitudes of his family. In my opinion, his very misguided family are responsible for putting him into this situation at a very young age, and then the U.S. and Canadian governments proceeded with this mishandling of him.
But I now think the tide is changing in his favour.
And as for Ezra Levant - the world is full of hatred and fear and misinformation because of the like's of him. So many things he predicted have not come true. e.g. he portrays Omar as spending most of his time in Gitmo as not interested in furthering his education. Yet his 15 Canadian tutors rate him as a top student, capable of writing insightful book reviews, highly skilled in mathematics, etc.Read more ›
Guantanamo's child is about to become Canada's child. The nearly six year old case against Omar Khadr is imploding in slow time as each new revelation exposes false information, accusations of torture and tampering. It is a legal process so appalling that the US Supreme Court, dominated by Republican appointees, declared the entire "Military Commissions" process unconstitutional in 2006. Whatever the outcome, it is becoming clearer by the day that Omar Khadr will be back in Canada in less than a year. How Canada deals with this problem when he arrives is not clear.
The newly launched book by reporter Michelle Sheppard, Guantanamo's Child, gives the reader a direct insight into Omar Khadr and how he became the world's most (in)famous child soldier. Contrary to the views of many in government agencies, the interest of Canadians is best served when national security matters are intelligently discussed in the public eye. It is ironic that in Canada, it is reporters such as Stewart Bell, Kim Bolan, Nazim Baksh, and Ian MacLeod who have the most knowledge and long term experience in critical matters such as terrorism and extremism. This work by Michelle Sheppard adds further to that body of knowledge.
The book reveals Omar Khadr's life voyage as extraordinary by any standard. From Toronto to the means streets of Jalalabad Afghanistan, and then to primitive mountain shelters in Pakistani Waziristan, Omar Khadr travelled more in his first 15 years than most people do in a lifetime. Omar Khadr has also brushed shoulders with the famous and the infamous. He met Prime Minister Chretien, lived with Osama bin Laden and worked as a translator for Abu Laith al Libi , who would become an Al Qaeda spokesman.
The question must arise.Read more ›
For most people, the story of Omar Khadr begins and ends with a firefight in Afghanistan in the summer of 2002. Both he and soldiers involved are symbols of a post-9/11 context dominated by "us" and "them". The now-famous Department of Homeland Security colour-coded National Threat Advisory does not contain a level where safety actually exists. The best you get is green for "low risk of terrorist attacks". The price for this approach - which has all too often falsely cast human rights and security as opposing concepts - has been high. From black sites, torture and indefinite detention to the intentional targeting of civilians, it's all bad. No "side" in this "war" has clean hands.
In Guantánamo's Child, the story of the Khadr family, and Omar's eventual capture and detention in Guantánamo Bay, are set in the context of history: personal histories, the decades of successive armed conflicts in South Asia, and the pre and post-9/11 national security policies of the USA and many of its allies. Also brought to life are the soldiers, lawyers, interrogators, fellow detainees, politicians, bureaucrats, and others who populate the landscape of this complex case. We see how the various players are drawn in one way or another, both willingly and unwillingly.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If you follow the CBC and the red star then read this book. If you want the real story then read: The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr.Published on March 2 2012 by S. Vodden
If you want to know how the western media can be fooled by even a 16-year old terrorist, then this is the book for you. Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2011 by John A Fairweather
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