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Child soldier admits he was out to kill 'a lot of Americans'

Guantanamo's "child soldier" admitted he was a teen terrorist out to kill "a lot of Americans," jurors learn at his sentencing hearing, at which a doctor called him dangerous.
In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, Canadian Omar Khadr listens to testimony by Dr. Michael Wellner on Tuesday during his trial at the Camp Justice compound of Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.
In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, Canadian Omar Khadr listens to testimony by Dr. Michael Wellner on Tuesday during his trial at the Camp Justice compound of Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.Janet Hamlin / AP
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

A Guantanamo Bay inmate admitted he was a teen terrorist out to kill "a lot of Americans," a U.S. war tribunal learned Tuesday at his sentencing hearing.

Omar Khadr also acknowledged that after his capture, when he was angry with his U.S. jailers at the Bagram base in Afghanistan, the then-15-year-old consoled himself with the knowledge he had killed an American soldier with a grenade, which also partially blinded another soldier.

The admissions were parts of a 50-point stipulation agreement read aloud by U.S. prosecutor Jeff Groharing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a day after Khadr, now 24, pleaded guilty to five terrorist charges. The plea made him the first "child soldier" since World War Two to be convicted in a war crimes tribunal for acts committed as a juvenile.

A seven-member jury made up of U.S. military officers listened to the agreement and will recommend Khadr's sentence, which may be more lenient but not tougher than a plea deal already worked out. The plea deal reportedly capped his sentence at eight years in addition to the eight years he has already spent at the Guantanamo detention camp. After another year at Guantanamo, he may serve the rest of his term in Canada.

Besides hearing the stipulation agreement Tuesday, the jurors also heard from government-hired Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist who analyzed Khadr, that he was radical, angry and dangerous.

"He is full of rage," Welner testified.

Khadr has shown no interest in changing his radical views on Islam and has no real remorse for throwing the grenade, Welner said.

"He is very angry about being in custody," he told the jury of seven military officers.

The stipulation agreement read before Welner testified describes the life of Toronto, Canada-born Khadr, his al Qaida training and his family ties to Osama bin Laden and details of the grenade attack that killed Sgt. Christopher Speer in July 2002.

After his capture, "Khadr indicated that when he would get pissed off with the guards at Bagram, he would recall his killing of the U.S. soldier and it would make him feel good," says the agreement Khadr signed.

"During one interview, Omar Khadr indicated that following September 11, 2001, he was told about a $1500 reward placed on each American killed. Omar Khadr indicated that when he heard about the reward, he wanted to kill a lot of American[s] to get lots of money," the agreement says.

Khadr attended one-on-one private terrorist training from a member of al-Qaida. He also learned to use rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and improvised explosive devices during training in Afghanistan in June 2002.

The jury heard testimony from an FBI agent who said Khadr told him during an interrogation at Guantanamo that "the proudest moment of his life" was building and planting improvised explosive devices on a route used by U.S. military convoys in Afghanistan.

But Khadr's statement of guilt also revealed he had disclosed the bombs' location to U.S. interrogators after his capture, allowing all 10 to be removed safely.

The statement said Khadr knew all along that his late father, Ahmad Said Khadr, was a senior al Qaida member who raised money to fund weapons training camps. The Khadr family had moved between Pakistan and Afghanistan since 1995, when Omar was nine years old, often staying at al Qaida camps and visiting Osama bin Laden.

The elder Khadr arranged for his son to get basic training, then apprenticed him to a bomb-making group in Afghanistan in June 2002. Omar Khadr was captured after U.S. forces bombed and shot up the compound a month later and is the youngest among the 174 captives held at Guantanamo.

Omar Khadr said in his admission of guilt that he had considered himself a trained al Qaida terrorist who shared the group's goals of killing Americans and Jews and "plundering their money."

His statement also said that he knew he could have left the bombmakers' compound with the women and other children before U.S. troops started dropping 500-pound bombs on it, but decided instead to stay with the men and fight.

Speer's widow, Tabitha Speer, is slated to address the court, the first time she will have a chance to tell Khadr directly about the impact his crimes have had on her.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will call a total of 14 witnesses, including psychiatrists.

Defense lawyers are expected to present exculpatory evidence about the effect Khadr's youth and upbringing had on his actions.

Khadr is the second person to plead guilty in the tribunals during the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, whose efforts to close the Guantanamo detention camp have been blocked by Congress.

He is the fifth prisoner convicted since the United States established the tribunals to try foreign captives on terrorism charges after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.