The Latest Kangaroo Court Leak Investigation

Omar Khadr has been imprisoned in Guantanamo since he was 15-years-old.

Omar Khadr has been imprisoned in Guantanamo since he was 15-years-old.

Omar Khadr has been imprisoned in Guantanamo since he was 15-years-old.[/caption]Just yesterday, the government found a way to move beyond the FBI’s investigation of Gitmo detainee Ramzi bin al-Shibh’s defense team by splitting his prosecution from the other 9/11 defendants.

But it appears Gitmo has already found another defense team — that of former teen detainee Omar Khadr — with prosecution. The clerk of the Military Court of Review, to which Khadr’s attorneys are appealing his plea deal in light of recent court decisions limiting law of war prosecutions, has accused Khadr’s defense of leaking documents to Lawfare blog and potentially to The Canadian Press.

Documents already filed with the Court of Military Commission Review include, for example, the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner’s reasons for having his conviction for five war crimes quashed. The court has yet to release the brief, filed last November, although The Canadian Press obtained a copy at the time and reported on its contents.

The matter came to a head earlier this month when Clerk of Court, Mark Harvey, essentially accused the lawyers of giving a defence filing and government response to the U.S.-based blog Lawfare in apparent violation of security procedures he had implemented.

While it’s not clear who did turn over the material which The Canadian Press also received, court documents show Harvey wrote to Khadr’s lawyer, Sam Morison, to warn that such a violation could “result in the loss of access to classified and sensitive information.”

Loss of security clearance would effectively preclude a lawyer from doing any government work.

The defence says under Harvey’s system, documents must go to the Office of the Military Commission — which prosecuted Khadr and is a litigant in his appeal — for vetting, clearance and release to the media.

So far, the commission has made public only four of 19 defence documents, but seven of 12 government filings. The numbers are “decidedly skewed” in the government’s favour, the defence argues.

While GItmo is not threatening Khadr’s lawyers with prosecution, it is threatening to strip their security clearances.

Just days earlier, Canadian journalists filed a court challenge for the right to interview Khadr, who is being held in a jail in Edmonton. The journalists argue Canadians have the right to know Khadr’s story from him directly.

It seems neither the US nor Canada want their citizens to know the story of this young man, who has been imprisoned since he was a 15-year-old boy.

About Marcy Wheeler

Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler writes the "Right to Know" column for ExposeFacts. She is best known for providing in-depth analysis of legal documents related to "war on terrorism" programs and civil liberties. Wheeler blogs at emptywheel.net and publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon and the Progressive. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy. Wheeler won the 2009 Hillman Award for blog journalism.