DOD Allows Carol Rosenberg to Return to Gitmo Next Week

There are two pieces of good news in this McClatchy story reporting that Carol Rosenberg, one of four journalists banned from Gitmo because she published the previously reported name of Omar Khadr’s first interrogator, Joshua Claus, will be allowed to return next week rather than after August 5, as they had previously decided. The first piece of good news is that Rosenberg, easily the best and most experienced Gitmo reporter out there, will be back on the job.

The Pentagon on Thursday reversed its ban on a Miami Herald reporter from covering military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and said the reporter can return to the naval base there to cover a hearing next week.

The other piece of good news is that McClatchy appears uncowed by DOD’s efforts to intimidate. The story reports precisely the piece of news for which Rosenberg got banned in the first place!

Before a May hearing, Rosenberg and the three Canadian journalists published the name of a witness that the government had said should be identified as “Interrogator No. 1.” The name of the witness, former Army Sgt. Joshua Claus, had been known for years after he voluntarily gave a newspaper interview to one of the banned Canadian reporters denying that he had abused Khadr.

Claus also had been convicted by a U.S. court martial of abusing detainees in Afghanistan and sentenced to five months in prison. [my emphasis]

So much for DOD’s efforts to prevent readers from learning that the same guy that threatened Khadr with rape was convicted in association with Dilawar’s death.

Still, I can’t help but wonder whether DOD’s calculations about the relative benefits of press coverage have changed? As I pointed out, the earlier possible reinstatement date–August 5–was conveniently timed to occur after Khadr’s suppression hearing. Thus, the timing ensured that the best reporters would not be covering discussions of whether Khadr’s confession had anything to do with with abuse at the hands of his interrogators.

But on Wednesday, Khadr fired his American lawyers (again).

Omar Khadr, the Canadian accused of terrorism, has fired his American lawyers – throwing his war-crimes trial, scheduled for next month, into disarray and creating a political conundrum for both the Canadian and U.S. governments.

“We’re absolutely devastated and worried beyond words what will now happen to our former client,” said Barry Coburn, the now-dismissed attorney regarded as one of America’s premier defence lawyers.

Mr. Khadr’s bombshell decision could leave the Obama administration putting a child soldier on trial in Guantanamo without any defence lawyers in a war-crimes case that has attracted international attention, not least because U.S. President Barack Obama failed to shut down Guantanamo as promised within his first year in office.

This likely changes the calculations regarding the damage that full transparency will have on the perceived legitimacy of the Gitmo trials. So why not let the journalists who know Khadr’s history of firing lawyers and refusing to cooperate to cover the show?

Obviously, I don’t know if that’s a consideration. I’m happy Rosenberg’s on her way back, in any case.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    I prefer to think that they realized that their attempt to supress the information that Claus is Interrogator #1 and has already been convicted of prisoner abuse backfired and that future attempts to supress will meet the same fate.

    The collective does not like secrecy.

    Boxturtle (Wonder what the real reason DoD backed off is?)

  2. fatster says:

    Wonderful news, EW. And you’re also correct about McClatchy; they’re pretty brave.

    • phred says:

      McClatchy (and previously Knight Ridder) developed a reputation for not simply regurgitating the party line. That is one of the principal features that sets them apart from the likes of WaPo and NYT. They would be foolish to blow that. Bravery may be part of it, but it is also helpful from a business standpoint.

      Note, I am not arguing that I think this is a craven business decision on their part, not at all. My point is to suggest that WaPo’s and NYT’s stenography is likely to hurt their bottom line in the long run.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    How kind of the DoD to keep banning Michelle Shephard and her Canadian colleagues. Canada, after all, hasn’t much skin in this game.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Your observation seems to ignore my snark, but I won’t ignore that Mr. Harper desperately wishes Mr. Khadr were not Canadian and that he would just go away.

  4. Leen says:

    Good News. Just got this one on the Diane Rehm show. Sent them links to EW’s thread about Manning.

    “Bradley Manning is a hero. He released footage of Iraqi people being killed by U.s. soldiers. He released footage that should have been on our MSM news. What did our military and government learn from Vietnam…don’t show Americans the pictures or footage of what is going on in Iraq. Our media has gone along with the agenda.

    Bradley Manning did the MSM’s job. Yet few are responding to those deaths of the other hundreds of thousands dead, injured and displaced in Iraq.

  5. skdadl says:

    Next week’s hearing is suspended following Khadr’s decision to fire his U.S. lawyers.

    Instead, military judge Col. Patrick Parrish has ordered Khadr to appear in Guantanamo’s war crimes court Monday to confirm he no longer wants to be represented by his Washington attorneys and Pentagon-appointed counsel, Lt.-Col. Jon Jackson.

    Only Jackson and Khadr’s Canadian lawyers — designated “foreign attorney consultants” — are expected to be present at the brief hearing.

    No date was given as to when the hearing may resume, and it’s not clear if his trial will go ahead on Aug. 10 as scheduled.

      • skdadl says:

        Well, Judge Zinn already spiked the ball into Steve’s court last week — Steve has until Monday or Tuesday to respond to Zinn’s order that he seek a better remedy. I’m presuming Steve will appeal, o’ course. Delay delay delay — that’s the strategy so far. (There are two levels of appeal, Federal Court of Appeal and then the Supremes.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I like Zinn’s comment that the only measure he could envision complying with his order was to return Khadr to Canada. Let’s see how close Harper’s staff comes to that.

          • Petrocelli says:

            I keep hoping that our Supremes would call PBO over for a Beer, and explain to him what a good Leader’s position should be … namely, following your incredible Constitution and Bill of Rights !

  6. Garrett says:

    They are still hiding the real Abu Ghraib in this, too. Claus’s unit was intimately involved in the abuse there.

    This salon photo ties it all up.

    There was a mortar attack. Claus was involved in the beating by turns of a kid that supposedly did it. Emphasis, for Omar Khadr purposes, on kid.

    The MI crew in the photo had been brought over to participate in further festivities against guys that had supposedly done it.