This bears repeating (it scrolled off last night) because it seems to be covered predominantly by Canadian news sources. (Yes, it's a risk re-posting a diary, I know, but this ought to be NOTICED!)
The "trial" of child soldier Omar Khadr in Gitmo was thrown into chaos when it was announced via an e-mail that the judge, Colonel Peter Brownback, would no longer preside over the case:
From the Globe and Mail:
Mr. Khadr's U.S. military defence lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler, said the sudden change of judge comes after a recent commission hearing in which Col. Brownback “threatened to suspend proceedings in the case of Omar Khadr if prosecutors continued to withhold key evidence from Omar's lawyers.”What's more (and see below) is that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Canadian intelligence "interviews" of Khadr that were conducted at Gitmo violated the boy's human rights and confirmed Canada's complicity in this "unlawful imprisonment."
It seems fitting that when the ship is sinking in a circumstantial case like this, that when evidence seems to indicate that the US Military got it wrong after all, that the presiding judge would either step down or be replaced in this Alice in Wonderland world of military tribunals.
The word is that Brownback is retiring, but why now? Just three months until the case actually goes to trial? (They are in discovery now).
Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler, Khadr's military defense lawyer wonders the same:
“After being with the case for a year and a half, and it being two or three months away from trial, why not just go the extra two or three months and then retire if you're the judge who's had the case and knows the issues?” he asked. “That doesn't make sense as an explanation.”This is a news item, a big one here in Canada where the issue of this child soldier is being closely followed by the media.
The CBC is also covering this: Khadr judge fired, says his military lawyer
Kuebler, Khadr's U.S. military-appointed lawyer, said he learned Brownback had been fired in an email from the chief judge of the U.S. military commissions, Col. Ralph Kohlmann. Kuebler's news release also included an email sent Wednesday by lead prosecutor Maj. Jeff Groharing, which complained of numerous delays in trial proceedings.These are fighting words, I would say, and strike at legitimacy of the entire process.
Google lists out 150 or so pieces on this subject here: Google News Canada: Omar Khadr
And seriously, an e-mail? WTF? At least fire the guy face-to-face.
For a detailed look at the Khadr Family, the CBC provides information here: CBC In Depth: Khadr.
For more on Omar Khadr, the child soldier, look here: CBC In Depth: Omar Khadr
While this news is a bit older north of the border, it shows the extent to which this case is resonating higher up in the government.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada is complicit in violating the human rights of detainees at Gitmo: From the CBC:
Friday's ruling states that the Guantanamo Bay system constitutes "a clear violation of fundamental human rights protected by international law," a finding that the court based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that the prison infringes on detainees' rights against unlawful imprisonment.
Canada became complicit in that breach of human rights when it interviewed Khadr, then handed over transcripts to the U.S., the judges say.