Yesterday evening the news broke that Omar Khadr’s only attorney, Lt Col Jon Jackson, collapsed in the Guantanamo courtroom during the beginning of the trial !
(previous diary on the trial & background history here: http://docudharma.com/diar… )
A witness posted this at Huffpo:
On Thursday afternoon I watched Omar Khadr’s sole defense lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, collapse in the Guantanamo Bay courtroom in the middle of conducting a cross-examination of a key government witness. He was taken away on a stretcher by ambulance, hooked up to an I.V. Fortunately Jackson, who’s only 39 years old, was breathing normally at the time, though as an observer in the courtroom I was stunned. It all happened so suddenly and he seemed to be in perfect health and in complete control of his questioning. I learned Friday morning that the trial has been suspended indefinitely.
This morning’s update says that Lt Col Jackson suffered a gall stone attack (after having had surgery 2 months ago) and is being evacuated from Guantanamo to a hospital in the US for medical treatment. Reporters were told by an official that the trial has been suspended for at least 30 days.
Emptywheel at FDL also has this:
There is a comment about removing one of the jurors from the case for having so called pre conceived notions
He said he thought that some earlier policies had lost America its “reputation for being a beacon of freedom.”
Asked specifically which policies had led him to this conclusion he authoritatively cited examples including; charge without trial, torture, rendition and the denial of access to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross to detainees held in secret locations. He went on to say that he believed a small number of detainees may have been killed while in American custody but added: “I don’t think my views differ from those of the President.”
By the time he had admitted that he would be “suspicious” of any evidence obtained under torture his fate was sealed.
Carol Rosenberg’s McClatchy Miami Herald
We know from her report Khadr was in the courtroom after all,
Jackson was put on “convalescent leave,” according to Broyles, a status that allows him to continue to draw a salary and not use up vacation days.
He cited privacy reasons for not releasing the lieutenant colonel’s health condition but said he was likely being airlifted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Pentagon’s premier hospital. He was on a morphine drip Thursday night at the base hospital.
Jackson, who has been on the case for about a year, became Khadr’s lone lawyer within a week of his surgery after the Toronto-born teen fired volunteer civilian attorneys Barry Coburn and Kobie Flowers from Washington D.C.
Parrish ordered the Army defender to stay on the case, but the Pentagon Defense Office provided him no additional assistance beyond two enlisted paralegals who had already been on the case.
Khadr, who sits in court with three guards behind him, leaped to his feet when his Army defender collapsed about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to Khadr family lawyer Dennis Edney, who functions in the war court only as a consultant because he is not a U.S. citizen. The guards didn’t interfere.
“We were all shocked,” Edney said.
We Should Be Embarrassed 8/13/2010
A United Nations special representative for children and armed conflict issued a statement on Aug. 9, saying “the Omar Khadr case will set a precedent that may endanger the status of child soldiers all over the world.”
“Even if Omar Khadr were to be tried in a national jurisdiction, juvenile justice standards are clear; children should not be tried before military tribunals,” the statement from Radhika Coomaraswamy explains. “The United States and Canada have led the way in creating and implementing these norms. … I urge both governments to come to a mutually acceptable solution on the future of Omar Khadr that would prevent him from being convicted of a war crime that he allegedly committed when he was a child.”
Canada’s government has ignored this, as it has ignored questions about the implications of Khadr’s age all along.
His age, though, is not the only factor that makes many observers of his trial queasy.
There is also the fact that the judge has ruled that statements Khadr made to his interrogators are admissible, even though they were, as Khadr’s defence argued, “fruit of a poisonous tree.” Khadr was, in the words of a defence submission, “asphyxiated, terrorized by dogs, doused with freezing water and left in the cold.” He was threatened with rape.
More Canadian opinion from Chantal Hébert at Toronto Star 8/11/2010
Canada’s top court described Khadr’s treatment as “. . . state conduct that violates the principles of fundamental justice.” It added: “Interrogation of a youth, to elicit statements about the most serious criminal charges while detained in these conditions and without access to counsel (. . .) offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”
About violations of Khadr’s Charter rights, the Court found that: “. . . their impact on Mr. Khadr’s liberty and security continue to this day and may redound into the future.”
Despite those prescient words, the ruling stopped short of prescribing a remedy to the federal government.
On the face of it, the absence of Supreme Court prescriptions in the Khadr case falls short of its own, recently reaffirmed, deterrence principle. In a matter that involves state abuse of the right to liberty and security of a person in a fundamental way, that absence has ultimately tipped the scale towards virtually unfettered government discretion.
Got to love our northern sisters and brothers, “unfettered government discretion” is used to describe being held without charges or legal counsel, then put on trial in a foreign country in front of a jury of military officers, apparently selected to have no pre conceived notions about whether your age was relevant years ago, or how the “confessions” or just witness statements were obtained – by shooting you in the back, first, then isolating you for years in the disgrace of Bush & Cheney’s little waterboarding gulag where you no doubt heard what happened to the prisoners who didn’t cooperate– or sometimes did.
No wonder poor Lt Col Jon Jackson might be feeling some physical stress attempting to navigate this. Kids don’t get to select their parents.