The Harper Government™ is so determined to stall the repatriation of Omar Khadr that it's prepared to anger an ally and make itself look incompetent and duplicitous in the process.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews's request last week for a sealed video interview conducted by U.S. psychiatrist Michael Welner and a report from psychiatrist Alan Hopewell has prompted accusations that the Pentagon withheld vital information.
"Duped my ass," one Obama administration official told the Toronto Star on the condition of anonymity.
"To make an accusation like that against a close ally goes to the heart of our relationship and is unfounded," said a Pentagon source, who accused Ottawa of deliberately stalling the transfer.
The diplomatic agreement regarding Omar Khadr's eventual return to Canada was signed on Oct. 23, 2010. Michelle Shephard is reporting that a Canadian government official "with knowledge of the Khadr case" claims Canada was unaware of the report and the video at that point. So how much knowledge of the Khadr case should Canada have had? A lot more than this official is claiming:
It is a surprising assertion because the reports and video were discussed in various pre-trial hearings at Guantanamo in early 2010, where a Canadian government observer was almost always present.
Shephard also notes that three days before the agreement was signed, on Oct. 20th, the National Post ran a feature on Michael Welner. That's the same day that I drew attention to Welner and the same day that Jeff Kaye took a detailed look at Welner and the Khadr plea bargain at Firedoglake. Any government officials with responsibility for this file would have to have worked very hard to remain ignorant of Welner's involvement in the case and his views about Khadr.
But apparently that's the impression the Harper Government™ wants to give the world: on an issue that's garnered so much publicity and generated so much controversy our government doesn't know its foot from page 8 and is only now getting around to trying to find out what's going on.
In addition to all the other reasons for repatriating Khadr is this one: we made a deal. It's a mystery to me that a government that's up to its ears in negotiations on trade deals with everyone in sight wants to foster the impression that it doesn't live up to its end of a bargain.