Gitmo lawyer: declassify interrogation techniques

The lawyer for five Guantánamo Bay prisoners charged with plotting the September 11 attacks has asked President Barack Obama to declassify the CIA interrogation program that allegedly subjected prisoners to torture. The letter (PDF), made public on Oct. 25, calls upon Obama to make the details of the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program public. This program has been linked to certain interrogation techniques that have been said constitute torture. In the letter, the lawyer for the defendants argues:

All aspects of the RDI program with respect to our clients against whom the United States seeks to impose the death penalty. True transparency and meaningful justice can only be achieved by a faithful application of deeds to aspirational statements. … Existing classification restrictions surrounding the RDI program only facilitate further concealment of war crimes committed by agents of our government. … Restrictions further violate our domestic commitment under the Convention Against Torture and the universal prohibition against silencing victims against torture.

Essentially, the letter argues that the continued classification of this program is suppressing important evidence related to the case. Additionally, the lawyer claims that allowing the program that allegedly condoned torture to remain classified is unjust to the trial process.

From Jurist, Oct. 26. Used with permission.

  1. Military judge orders submission of Guantánamo reports
    A military judge on Nov. 6 ordered the US government to submit reports on Guantánamo Bay prison conditions and removed restrictions on communications between lawyers and detainees in a case involving five Guantanamo prisoners related to the 9-11 attack. Army Col. James Pohl  will review more than 10 years’ worth of reports by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the only human rights group that has had access to the base since it opened. Pohl will then decide whether the reports can be accessed by prosecutors or defense counsel in the case.

    The ICRC has objected to releasing its confidential records, but according to James Connell, an attorney for accused Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, the ICRC reports are the only historical record of the prisoners’ time at the Guantánamo and may provide important insight into its extremely harsh conditions. Pohl also enabled defense lawyers for the first time to communicate with the five 9-11 suspects they represent. Now Pohl, instead of prison guards, will be in charge of controlling mail.

    From Jurst, Nov. 7. Used with permission.