Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bombshell: Did Cheney's Office Leak the Khadr Video?

That's what Omar Khadr's defence lawyers want to know.

According to the Globe & Mail:

Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler said he is trying to find out how a highly secret video showing Mr. Khadr in Afghanistan was leaked to the U.S. news program 60 Minutes. The video appears to show Mr. Khadr building a bomb.

The news program aired the footage last November.

Lt.-Cmdr Kuebler, Mr. Khadr's top U.S. military lawyer, said he met with Colonel Morris Davis, the previous top prosecutor of military commissions – the body that is expected to try Mr. Khadr in Guantanamo Bay later this year – last week.

At the meeting, Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler asked the Colonel where he thought the leak may have come from. In response, Lt. Cmdr. Kuebler said, Col. Davis offered the opinion that the Vice-President's office may have been involved.

Col. Davis resigned as chief prosecutor in October of last year, saying political pressure was interfering with his job.

Khadr's lawyers claim that if the leak did come from Cheney's office, it is evidence that Khadr is being held as a political prisoner.

Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler said the prosecution had wanted to play the tape in court – in view of the media – late last year, but the request was denied by a judge. A few weeks later, 60 Minutes had the report.

So, who gave it to 60 Minutes and why?

Colonel Morris Davis is certainly no friend of Omar Khadr's. And in 2006, he had this to say about Khadr's lawyers as the chief prosecutor:

In a rare appearance before the international media, Air Force Colonel Morris Davis called sympathetic portrayals of Khadr by defence lawyers "nauseating" and suggested the 19-year-old has fabricated claims of torture at the hands of his American interrogators.

"We'll see evidence when we get into the courtroom of the smiling face of Omar Khadr as he builds bombs to kill Americans," Col. Davis said on the eve of a planned pre-trial hearing here for Khadr before a special U.S. military commission.

"It isn't a great leap to figure out why we are holding him accountable."

In December, 2007 however, he wrote this op-ed in the LA Times in which he outlined his reasons for his resignation - a litany of all things wrong with the so-called military tribunals process including the use of evidence obtained by torture.

It's highly doubtful that someone of his rank would throw out a flagrant allegation of the possible involvement of someone in Cheney's office without some inkling that it might be true. We'll have to wait to see if he debunks Kuebler's account of what was said at their meeting first. If not, where there's smoke, there may be fire once again in the vice president's cocoon.


60 Minutes - "Omar Khadr: The Youngest Terrorist?"

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