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There is now greater coverage in the Canadian press of the comments made yesterday by  Lt.-Col. Colby Vokey, the military lawyer assigned to defend Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr.

He has spoken out against the arbitrary and extra-constitutional nature of the military tribunals that the Bush administration is conducting.

He said the U.S. government has taken the position that "due process does not even apply in these proceedings. I find that very offensive."

(This is an updated version of a diary that scrolled off quickly last night)

The CBC is reporting the comments made by Khadr's lawyer here:

Khadr's military lawyer pushing for Canadian help

By the Globe and Mail here:
Khadr trial process 'offensive,' says U.S. defence lawyer

And by the Toronto Star here:
September trial date angers Khadr team

Vokey is frustrated by the arbitrary nature of the tribunal, stating to the Canadian media that

"The rules of evidence apparently don't apply, or some of them may apply," Vokey told reporters at a news conference in Toronto on Thursday.

"Some of the rules are made by the presiding officers themselves, and they can change tomorrow."


The "full fair and open" trials are characterized in this way by Khadr's military lawyer:

Vokey compared the process yesterday to being told to go play cricket (a sport he says he knows nothing about) and not given any rules or guidelines before the start of a game.

- Toronto Star

Vokey travelled to Toronto to acquaint himself with Khadr's family and his two Canadian lawyers who have been working on Khadr's case pro bono.

So, is this part of the whole anti-terror strategery coming unhinged?  Has Vokey been embolded to say what he has said in light of recent pronouncements by retired generals?  Will his comments made on Canadian soil be viewed as treasonous?

What I admire about this man is what he said:

"My first duty is to defend the constitution of the United States."


A fuller quote is provided this morning by the Globe and Mail:

Col. Vokey says he takes flak from military peers for his most outspoken views concerning Guantanamo Bay, but "my duty, first and foremost, is to defend the Constitution of the United States . . . that's above any allegiance to any officials."

-Globe and Mail

This is the bottom line.  This is what all elected officials, all military, and yes, even all citizens should be reminded of.  

Vokey is not wrapping himself in a flag, but stands on the US Constitution and appears to be waving this document in the faces of those who have been using it as a doormat and/or shredding it in recent years.

Originally posted to Gearhead on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:03 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bottom Line (7+ / 0-)

    This would be my question for any politician in an open forum:

    "What have you done today to defend and protect the Constitution?"

    I have yet to see coverage of this in the US press.  How 'bout you?

    "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused..." - Elvis

    by Gearhead on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:05:53 AM PDT

  •  Abandoning the principles of Nuremburg, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gearhead, Jesterfox

    withdrawing from Geneva Treaty and shredding the US constitution just antagonizes friends and encourages enemies.

    Why doesn't the American Way include justice anymore?

    •  When the military speak out (0+ / 0-)

      This is an example of a "friend" expressing his frustration.  Not knowing the particulars of the case, in general, one can say that the roll of a defense lawyer in any trial would be to esure that the rules are followed at the very least.  In this case, the "rules" are a moving target.  

      Remember the David Bowie song used in the movie "The Falcon and the Snowman?"  This is not America, no...

      "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused..." - Elvis

      by Gearhead on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:23:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is News!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hypersphere01, edgery

    A defense attorney actually is working to get his client a favorable ruling.  Stop the presses!! Major story.

    Colonel Vokey is acting in the finest tradition of the US military, the legal profession and the Constitution in working hard as an attorney to put forward the interests of his client as an individual with rights.  Now, it is left only to see if the Courts and case law agree with his views.

    It makes one feel proud as an American that our system works even in times of war despite the protests of some that we have evolved into a dictatorship.

    •  This is the point, really (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The hope is that we will see exactly how well this all works.  Interestingly, this is not getting coverage in the US.  If "Google News" is a radar for this, then there are as yet no blips on the screen from US sources:
      Google news search

      "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused..." - Elvis

      by Gearhead on Fri Apr 21, 2006 at 06:30:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry for the delay.. (0+ / 0-)

        in responding to your reply.  Been busy working.  

        The story was off the radar.  Bill O'Reilly did a segment on the case back when it first occurred.  He even interviewed the JAG attorney involved and was very respectful to him.  It seems only the MSM failed to cover it.

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