Thursday, November 08, 2007

DOD Pressure On Guantanamo Judge Is On The Record

There has been a steady stream of news flowing from the military officers who are playing their roles in the military tribunal system set up at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today I saw a story by Reuters on the proceedings surrounding Omar Khadr which adds an entirely new twist to the plot from my perspective.
"The DOD people, they didn't like what I wrote," the judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback, said at the hearing.


Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, questioned Brownback about his impartiality to preside over the case. He asked the judge if he recalled telling lawyers during an October 24 conference call that he had "taken a lot of heat" for dismissing the charges, which were later reinstated.

"I may well have said something like that," Brownback said.
The difference between Judge Brownbacks testimony and all the other stories recently detailing problems with the proceedings is that this is part of the record of the tribunal itself. All of the previous stories were based upon Congressional witness testimony, officer editorials, friend of the court filings and so on. Today's news has the Judge who is conducting the trials putting it in the record of the proceedings that he was pressured and criticized from the Pentagon because of a previous ruling in the Khadr affair.

If the Judge is supposed to be a fair and impartial adjudicator of these hearings, how can the DOD be putting the heat on him to reach conclusions they find satisfactory. This is yet another example of how this tribunal system is inherently biased and geared to obtain convictions whether or not the accused is actually guilty. If the Judge doesn't rule the way the DOD likes, they put the heat on the Judge and then send him back the case for reconsideration.

Well now it is part of the official record of the tribunals, and I believe that is a significant step. It is now a part of the record that the Judge overseeing the proceedings is being pressured to reach conclusions which the military hierarchy finds satisfactory, regardless of the Judges independent thought process. What the Judge has put on record is the very definition of the term kangaroo court.

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