It’s Justice, but not as we know it Jim… Part 2
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa al-Hawsawi were held for years in CIA in black sites and subject to what the US government euphemistically terms “enhanced interrogation methods” before being transferred to military custody at Guantanamo in September 2006.
With another choice euphemism, the government describes them as “participants in the CIA programme”. That participation exposed them to “classified sources, methods and activities”.
The challenge the government faces is how to prosecute people who have been tortured without putting the torturers and those who authorised them on trial, too. Of course, no one responsible for CIA torture has actually been put on trial, but these 9/11 defendants are a weak link in the wall of unaccountability.
If they testify or speechify about their “participation” in the CIA’s interrogation programme, then journalists and others observing the military commission might hear things that the government claims would cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security”. To avert that possibility, the government has produced a protective order to make everything the defendants say presumptively classified, pending completion of a classification review.
If the government’s order is accepted by Judge James Pohl, then every time one of the defendants speaks, the sound will be cut off to the observation booth at the back of the courtroom where journalists and observers sit and to other remote sites where the proceedings are being projected. The sound system in that courtroom is set up for a 40-second audio delay, a feature utilised at other hearings that have taken place in it, including the 2008 arraignment of these five defendants.
In this case, however, the protective order would impose not a brief delay or selective blockage, but full-scale censorship. Only those words cleared by censors would ever be heard, later. Actually, they would never be “heard”, but rather would be made available in the form of redacted transcripts. If the government prevails, observers at any of the 9/11 hearings would see, but not hear those on trial.
Lisa Hajjar – professor of sociology at the University of California
Now for a laugh – The Kid’s page on the CIA website
(I’m not spoofing)