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Chief Gitmo Judge Contradicts Pentagon on Replacement of Judge

Yesterday we noted that a judge for the Guantanamo Bay military commissions who had repeatedly ruled against prosecutors had been abruptly replaced. The move came less than a month after the judge, Col. Peter E. Brownback III, demanded that prosecutors in the case of Omar Khadr give defense attorneys the detainee's interrogation and medical records.

Detainees at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay. Credit: Dept. of DefenseExplaining the dismissal, a spokesman for the commission only said that Brownback's removal had been a "mutual decision" between Brownback and the Army. But Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, the chief judge at Gitmo who made the move, has issued a statement saying that isn't true. While Brownback was forced out, Kohlmann explained, it was only because of larger personnel reasons: The Army had chosen not to extend Brownback's June 29th retirement date for "manpower management considerations unrelated to the Military Commissions process," so Kolhmann was forced to replace him.

As The Miami Heraldreports, it's not clear what those considerations were or who made that decision and why. A spokesman for the commissions didn't respond to the paper's requests for elaboration.

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