“Adopt a Terrorist” by Canadian Minister of Defense Gordon O’Connor-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Canadian Minister of Defense Gordon O’Connor wrote a letter to concerned citizen about the country’s Adopt a Terrorist initiative, also known as the Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers (LARK) program, for those concerned about the treatment of terrorist suspects.
Canada doesn’t actually have an Adopt a Terrorist program, and widely circulated letter supposedly written by Canadian Minister of Defense Gordon O’Connor about it appears to be a joke.
The letter, which began circulating in late 2005 or early 2006, is often circulated with a simple set up: A Canadian woman wrote to Gordon O’Connor to voice concerns about the mistreatment of suspected Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists being held in Canadian prisons.
The Canadian Minister of Defense, the story goes, responded to the letter by thanking the woman for voicing her concerns and informing her that he’s found a solution to the problem: the Adopt a Terrorist program, otherwise known as Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers. Gordon O’Connor (supposedly explained):
In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists and place them in homes of concerned citizens such as yourself, around the country, under those citizens personal care.
Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.
Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.
Gordon O’Connor’s Adopt a Terrorist letter appears to be a joke at the expense of those who were concerned with widespread reports about the mistreatment of terrorists held in Canadian prisons in the mid-2000s. The real author of the letter is unknown, but Canada has never had an Adopt a Terrorist or Liberals Accept Responsibility of Killers (LARK) program — and no letters have been written by government officials about them.
Gordon O’Connor served as Canada’s Minister of Defense from February 2006 to August 2008, when O’Connor was forced from the position over the same accusations of mistreatment of detainees that the Adopt a Terrorist letter pokes fun at, Britannica reports:
Defense Minister Gordon O’Connor found himself embroiled in a scandal in April when the national media reported claims of torture from prisoners who were detained by Canadian forces and were being held by Afghan security forces. Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons in May 2006, O’Connor had stated that the International Committee of the Red Cross had signed an agreement with Canada to examine prison conditions and to report any inhumane or illegal treatment. In March, however, the Red Cross disputed that such a deal had ever existed. The scandal deepened when a national newspaper published excerpts from a heavily censored internal government document that warned of the potential for trouble in Afghan-run prisons. O’Connor apologized for misleading Parliament and announced that a new deal with the Afghan government had been signed, but in August he was demoted to minister of national revenue in a cabinet shuffle. Foreign Affairs Minister MacKay replaced O’Connor at the Defense Ministry, and Maxime Bernier took over as foreign minister.
After servings as Secretary of Revenue, Gordon O’Connor served a brief stint in Parliament before apparently retiring from public office.
In the end, Gordon O’Connor didn’t write the Adopt a Terrorist letter, and that program never existed in Canada. The Adopt a Terrorist letter likely won’t stop circulating any time soon, however.