Jul 15, 2009 10:20 AM
NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER
GUANTANAMO BAY – Canada’s spy service failed to take into consideration Khadr’s young age and human rights concerns when interrogating the Toronto-born captive, says an Ottawa watchdog agency.
"The time may have come for CSIS to undertake a fundamental reassessment of how it carries out its work, and to shift its operational culture to keep pace with recent political and legal developments," said Gary Filmon, Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee said in a statement this morning.
Filmon added that it is "vital for CSIS to demonstrate that it has the professionalism, experience and know-how required to make the difficult decisions that arise when conducting operations abroad — particularly if confronted with situations similar to that of Mr. Khadr."
CSIS has repeatedly claimed they did not know that the Toronto-born captive was abused by his U.S. interrogators as part of a program to "soften up" detainees before questioning.
Agents interviewed Khadr twice here in 2003, before a federal court injunction stopped any further interrogations. Canada’s Supreme Court forced the government to release a video of CSIS agents questioning Khadr in February 2003, which created a stir around the world and prompted the SIRC investigation into the spy service’s conduct.
Khadr was 15 when he was captured following a firefight with U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. The Pentagon alleges he threw a grenade during the battle that fatally wounded Delta Force soldier Christopher Speer.
When the Canadian teenager was first detained at the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan he was subjected to more than 40 days of interrogation in sessions that lasted as long as eight hours a day. He was sometimes brought to the interrogator on a stretcher due to his injuries (he had been shot at least twice in the back by U.S. Special Forces).
His interrogations continued in Guantanamo where he was transferred in October 2002. He claims he was physically abused and once left hogtied until he was forced to urinate on himself. A guard later used his body in this shackled position as a "human mop," after throwing a cleaning solvent on the floor, he alleges.
The "coercive measures" used during interrogations have since been discontinued here and a senior Pentagon official said they amounted to torture.
Khadr is expected to come before a military commission here this afternoon — his 17th appearance since charges were laid in 2005.