A former Canadian diplomat who was present at the interrogation of a then-teenage detainee at Guantanamo Bay said he feels demonized for his fact-finding visits after footage of the interview session was released earlier this week.
Jim Gould is one of the few Canadians who have seen Omar Khadr, now 21, since his capture by US forces after a four-hour firefight in Afghanistan six years ago. He said the Department of Foreign Affairs never endorsed abuse of Omar Khadr.
“We certainly never would have asked them to do anything to him,’’ Gould said. “That’s appalling. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I thought that was the case.”
Khadr’s lawyers released video footage on Tuesday of Khadr sobbing for his mother and pleading for Canada’s help while being interrogated by Canadian officials in 2003. At one point he pleads for medical help for chest and back wounds he says have not healed six months after his capture.
He tells his interrogators about torture and abuse he says he faced at the hands of US officials.
Khadr is accused of throwing a hand grenade that killed a US medic, and is to be tried before a US military commission in October.
Gould visited Khadr twice at Guantanamo Bay — once in February of 2003 and again in April 2004. It was the only way to get first-hand information about the teenager’s mental and physical condition and had no intelligence purpose, he said.
Gould can be seen in the video at one point adjusting the air conditioner in Khadr’s cell.
“This is now being described as torture because we were changing the temperatures — making it freezing cold or burning hot,” he said. “Well, we were uncomfortable or the kid was uncomfortable. That was what that was.”
He said Khadr never showed any obvious signs of mistreatment, so it was reasonable to assume the US guards were treating the captive well.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around