But when you don't follow the rules, everything comes into question
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A U.S. military commander altered a report on a firefight in Afghanistan to cast blame for the death of a Delta
Force commando on a Canadian youth who was captured after the shooting stopped,
a defense attorney said Thursday.
The attorney, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, made the allegation at a pretrial hearing as he argued for access to the officer, identified only as "Col. W," as well as details about interrogations that he said might help clear his client of war-crimes charges.
The U.S. military has charged Omar Khadr with murder for throwing a
grenade that killed Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during a U.S. military raid
on July 27, 2002, on an al-Qaida compound in eastern Afghanistan. Khadr's case
is on track to be the first to go to trial under a military tribunal system at
this U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
The military commander's official report the day after the raid originally said the assailant who threw the grenade was killed, which would rule out Khadr as the suspect. But the report was revised months later, under the same date, to say a U.S. fighter had only "engaged" the assailant, according to Kuebler, who said the later version was presented to him by prosecutors as an "updated" document.
Kuebler told reporters after the hearing that it appears "the government manufactured evidence to make it look like Omar was guilty."
Prosecutors did not contest Kuebler's account in court and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Khadr, who was captured when he was 15, is among roughly 80 detainees the Pentagon plans to prosecute at Guantanamo. So far, roughly a dozen
of the 275 men held at Guantanamo have been charged with war crimes.
Kuebler said the trial will likely hinge on statements that Khadr made to interrogators when he was held at a military prison at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The attorney asked to be provided with the names of the interrogators as well as what techniques they used.
His interrogators included members of a unit implicated in the December 2002 beating deaths of two Afghan detainees, named Dilawar and Habibullah, Kuebler said. The lead prosecutor, Marine Corps Maj. Jeffrey Groharing, said defense lawyers have not demonstrated that speaking with individual interrogators would benefit their case. He said the government already has provided typewritten summaries of the Bagram interrogations. Kuebler bristled at the prosecutor's decision to withhold
information it does not consider relevant to the case.
"What does he know about our case ... and what might help us prepare for trial?" he asked.
The judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback, scolded both sides for not cooperating more
closely on evidence-related issues that could delay the trial, currently
scheduled for May. He said he would rule on most of the defense motions by late
Friday. Brownback also ordered prosecutors to provide the defense with
official correspondence regarding the case between the U.S. and Canadian
The government has ZERO credibility in this case, because they refuse to follow the rules. And because of it, someone who most likely did committ a crime (although not the one of which he is accused) may go free. Plus, this behavior simply fuels terrorist recruiting efforts.