Fact Check: Torstar and CBC Wrong/Misleading

[Media caught revising history and getting away with it]


Omar Khadr making roadside bombs. How many Canadian military personnel were killed by Khadr???
Omar Khadr making roadside bombs. How many Canadian military personnel were killed by Khadr???

Toronto Star story writer, Michelle Sheppard and CBC news reader Daniel Swartz have never served in the Canadian military nor has either of them ever lived in dread that their children serving in places like Afghanistan would run into a creature such as Omar Khadr.

There is a concerted effort by these two individuals to essentially make a “silk purse out of a sow’s ears”.  Last evening , the CBC presented a fanciful depiction of the life and times of the Khadr clan.  Extremely biased, the show and the accompanying article by Sheppard  (and her, “Guantanamo’s Child: the Untold Story of Omar Khadr”) show how pathetic media can be as it attempts to use sensation (instead of fact) to sell papers or air time.

As far as I know, neither Swartz nor Sheppard were present when Khadr’s father allegedly  handed his son (Omar) over to the Taliban (around 2001) nor were either of these supposed reporters actually “reporting facts” when they pretended to know what took place in the hours up to Omar Khadr’s  fire fight with a detachment of USA Special Forces troops on July 27, 2002 in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan.  The date and time ARE facts.  The military is of the habit of keeping very precise records of such incidents.  Jihadists such as Omar Khadr place much lower value on human life and pay little attention to the details of when and where they are presented opportunity to murder or maim.

During the CBC interview it was pretty obvious that Omar Khadr did  not have clear memory of what did take place in Ayub Kheyl in July 2002.  In normal balanced journalism, the person being interviewed would get caught in his own contradictions given that a huge number of times during the interview, Omar Khadr was allowed to correct statements that serve to incriminate him.  When those contradictions took place in the course of the same interview, one is left with a sense that journalistic bias (rather than reporting of fact) is standard operating practice employed by the likes of Sheppard and Swartz.

In the case of Sheppard, she went a step further in alleging that Omar Khadr was misidentified as a “war criminal”.  She makes this statement by adding the words “George Bush” in the hope that invoking Bush’s name would create disdain scorn from the audience. 

I would respectfully suggest that IF Michelle Sheppard had invested even an equal amount of time getting her “facts” straight as she invested in make-up room prior to making the bush comment, she might have been a lot more credible. George Bush served two terms as President of USA from 2001 through 2009. 

Sheppard failed miserably in her attempt to invoke sensationalism and dislike for Bush by claiming that Bush had created law banning attacks on medical personnel. Article 8(2)(b)(ix) and (xxiv) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court states that it IS a “war crime to make medical or religious personnel, medical units or medical transports the object of attack.”  That international law came into effect almost 100 years before Bush came into office as President of USA.  In fact, the same International law was in force a full sixty years before Bush was even born. American Sgt. Christopher James Speer was a Combat Medic.  He died as a direct result of Omar Khadr tossing a hand grenade in his direction during the “fire fight” on July 27, 2002 in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan. When the fight ended, Khadr was seriously wounded, was found next to his AK-47 and received life saving medical treatment from medical corps men who were colleagues of Sgt. Speer.

What exactly took place at the village of Ayub Kheyl in July 2002 cannot be described by Omar Khadr.  To cover off or excuse as numerous earlier contradictions, Omar Khadr stated at one point in the CBC story that his own memory is foggy. 

The story tellers (Sheppard and Swartz) lobbed only softball questions at Khadr letting him off easy numerous times.  Almost laughable was any attempt to determine regret or contrition from Omar Khadr.  As example: it is known that Khadr’s mother and sister are on record as making some very strident jihadist comments.  Instead questioning Omar Khadr about inflammatory and radical comments made by two close family members, Sheppard permitted Omar Khadr a free pass by permitting him to describe such remarks unfortunate, not very smart or beneficial to his attempts  to get a release from jail.

We suffer badly as a society when slip-shod journalism passes itself off as balanced and factual reporting.

Michelle Sheppard showed that she was capable of attempting to ferret out fact when she wrote several articles (2014) attacking then Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto.

Copyright   Thunderbird Rising 2015

 The above article is copyrighted.  You may use, copy or distribute this article conditional on attributing your source (Thunderbird Rising) and the author (Lloyd Fournier)


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