Anyone who thinks the Obama administration won't release the Blind Sheik needs to look at what happened early Saturday morning and then think again.
Under cover of darkness and without prior announcement convicted terrorist and murderer Omar Khadr was quietly shipped from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to an air force base in Canada. Khadr was serving an 8 year sentence for the killing of Specialist First Class Christopher Speer, a special forces medic who met up with Khadr after a firefight was already over in July 2002.
Just weeks before he was killed, Speer had been awarded a medal for saving the lives of two young Afghan children caught in a minefield. He risked his own life to save theirs and then lost his own at the hands of an avowed jihadist. Speer left behind his wife Tabitha and two young children Taryn and Tanner.
If the Obama administration will release this murderer there is a good chance they will release the Blind Sheik, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.
Khadr was transferred from Guantanamo under a long standing agreement between Canada and the United States that allows prisoners to serve out part of their sentence in their home country. Given Canada's lax justice system, liberal judges and light sentences, it is likely Khadr could be released soon despite his conviction for Speer's murder and his admission to supporting terrorism. In fact the left wing Toronto Star has already published an editorial calling for the young terrorist's swift release from prison.
It is likely that Khadr will be walking the streets of Canada within the year, joining his mother and his siblings in speaking out in favour of terrorism -- and nothing can be done about it. Given the pressure from labour unions and the left wing media to release Khadr the celebrity terrorist is unlikely to be without work for long.
If Khadr doesn't join the speaking circuit telling his story on campuses, in union halls and to all the left media for big bucks, he will certainly have no shortage of lawyers lining up to help him sue the Canadian government. The Canadian Bar Association, a lobby group for liberal lawyers, has long called for Khadr to be freed. In fact the group has issued more than 200 press releases calling for the Canadian government to do more to get the confessed murderer free.
Of course while Canada's lax sentencing will likely see the man who killed Sgt. Christopher Speer released within months, it is the deal cut with Khadr by the Obama administration which is truly the reason he will be released so soon.
The jury at Khadr's trial recommended that he be sentenced to 40 years but before deliberations had even begun the prosecution had struck its deal to see the sentence top out at 8 years with the possibility of transfer to Canada after 1 year. The jury was never told about the plea bargain.
If Obama will release Omar Khadr just before an election, he will release the Blind Sheik.
The story of Omar Khadr and his family is the story of international jihad.
Born in Toronto in 1986, Khadr's parents had already essentially moved from Canada to the Peshwar region of Pakistan but would return to Canada on an infrequent basis including to take advantage of the government funded healthcare system. Despite being described as a Canadian Khadr has spent most of his life outside of the country.
His father, an Egyptian national named Ahmed Khadr, was a financier for Al-Qaida, even reportedly moving his whole family into the Osama bin Laden compound in Afghanistan in the years before 9-11. The senior Khadr would be killed in late 2003 during a firefight with Pakistani security forces, a battle that also injured another of the Khadr sons, Abdulkareem. Two other sons, Abdullah and Abdurahman, have also been linked to terrorism.
The organized left has been pushing for Omar Khadr's release for Guantanamo for several years claiming that he was a child soldier when he was captured in July 2002. Of course that fact overlooks that neither Afghanistan where Khadr was captured nor the United States which prosecuted him had not yet signed on to the Optional Protocol raising the age of child soldiers from 15 to 18.
Brian Lilley is host of Byline on Canada's Sun News Network and a political columnist. He blogs at Lilleyspad.ca