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Former US Soldier Blasts Canada For Massive Payout To Ex-Gitmo Detainee Who Blinded Him
A retired U.S. Special Forces soldier accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of treason after the government of Canada issued an approximately $8 million settlement to the former al Qaeda militant who blinded him and killed another American commando during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, Fox News reports.
“I don’t see this as anything but treason,” Layne Morris, a former Army sergeant first class, told the Toronto Sun over the weekend. “It’s something a traitor would do. As far as I am concerned, Prime Minister Trudeau should be charged.”
Canadian-born Omar Khadr, 30, was 15 years old when he was captured by U.S. forces following a fierce battle at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan’s Khost Province in July 2002. The firefight left Khadr severely wounded, Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer dead, and Morris blind in one eye.
19SFG Special Forces soldier Christopher Speer being unloaded at Bagram Airbase after sustaining head injuries from a grenade thrown during a firefight in which Omar Khadr was captured.DoD photo
Khadr, who had arrived in Afghanistan with his al Qaeda fighter father, spent a decade as a detainee in Guantanamo Bay and was convicted in 2010 by a U.S. military commission of killing Speer with a grenade. After pleading guilty to several other charges, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. Morris has always maintained that Khadr threw the grenade that wounded him, as well.
In 2015, a federal judge in Utah awarded Morris and Speer’s widow, Tabitha Speer, a $103 million settlement in a lawsuit filed against Khadr, who was allowed to return to Canada two years after his conviction to serve the remainder of his sentence. Khadr was released from prison in May 2015 pending an appeal of his guilty pleas, which he contends were made under duress.
In early July, the Toronto Star reported that Khadr would receive a $8 million settlement after he sued the Canadian government for $20 million for allegedly conspiring with the U.S. to violate his constitutional rights, according to BBC.
The Canadian Supreme Court ruled twice — the first time in 2010 — that Khadr had been interrogated under “oppressive circumstances” at Guantanamo and that Canadian officials were complicit in his mistreatment. An anonymous source familiar with the case told the Canadian Press wire service that the Trudeau government wanted to “get ahead of an attempt by [Morris] and [Speer] to enforce a massive U.S. court award against Khadr in Canadian court.”
Undated family photo of Omar Khadr.Photo via Wikimedia Commons
On top of the settlement, Ottawa also issued Khadr a formal apology. “We hope that this expression, and the negotiated settlement reached with the Government, will assist him in his efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in his life with his fellow Canadians,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in a statement.
On July 8, Trudeau defended the deal during a press conference at the G-20 summit in Germany, saying, “The charter of rights and freedoms protects all Canadians, every one of us, even when it is uncomfortable. This is not about the detail of the merits of the Khadr case. When the government violates any Canadian’s charter rights, we all end up paying for it.”
In an interview with the Sun, Morris vehemently criticized the Canadian government for siding with Khadr, whom he believes is a fully radicalized terrorist, and not the reformed child soldier his defenders have long described him as.
“Is nobody concerned about where that money could end up?” Morris asked. “I mean, it’s well documented that Omar Khadr’s father was a chief fundraiser for Osama Bin Laden. I hate to be the one to ask but is anybody going to keep tabs on Omar’s movement, now that he has money? Is anybody going to track where that money is hidden?”
Khadr told The Canadian Press on July 7 that he is a different person now than he was in 2002, and that he wants to finish his education and pursue a career in the medical field. He also said he hoped the “talk about settlement or the apology does not cause people pain and if it does, you know, I’m really sorry for the pain.”
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.
The day of the Army is upon us.
The comes just a couple of months after Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley was officially nominated to take over as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
An defense official familiar with the matter confirmed to Task & Purpose that Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy will "more than likely" become Acting Army Secretary — his second time in that position.
As a Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia will also be eligible for retroactive monthly pension payments stretching back to 2004.
All Medal of Honor recipients receive a pension starting on the date they formally receive the Medal of Honor, which is currently $1,329.58 per month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But Medal of Honor recipients are also eligible for a retroactive payment for monthly stipends that technically took effect on the "date of heroism," said Gina Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A unit of UK infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty plc falsified housing maintenance records at a major U.S. military base to help it maximize fees earned from the Department of Defense, a Reuters investigation found.
At Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, the company's U.S.-based unit used a second set of books and altered records to make it appear responsive to maintenance requests, Reuters found in a review of company and Air Force emails, internal memos and other documents, as well as interviews with former workers.