Friday, May 11, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #56 - Part 3

Outrage of the Week: Obama administration wants to conceal evidence of torture from military tribunal

As I expect you know, five people suspected of being involved in plotting the September 11th attacks are on trial before a military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba. The best known among the five is probably Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who was waterboarded 183 times before being sent to Gitmo.

But you won't hear about that at the trial. In fact, if the government has its way you will not hear a single word about torture or other mistreatment of the five. Because the rules under which the defendants are being held are set by the commandant of the Guantánamo Bay prison, a Navy admiral who has decided that the issue of torture is of such importance to national security that lawyers for the defense are forbidden to talk about it with their clients.

It's called presumptive classification and it means that anything the detainees say that bears on the "sources and methods" of their capture and imprisonment - that is, their torture - is a state secret. The chief prosecutor claims “they can talk to their clients about anything,” which is true except that they can't make any reference to any classified document that describes or refers to what the accused were subjected to - as if the five don't already know.

At the same time that the government is making it difficult if not impossible for defense attorneys to talk with their clients about the torture they suffered, the Obama administration is moving to censor any testimony in the actual proceeding that might refer to that mistreatment.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a motion challenging that attempt, revealing as it does so that the government has proposed a “protective order" that would allow the state to suppress defendants’ statements about their detention and treatment and so prevent anyone, including the public, the press, and even trial observers from hearing them. What's more, the government wants a 40-second delay in the audio feed of the commission proceedings so that if any defendant or attorney ignores the "protective order," there is ample time to censor the record.

This should not surprise us. This is the Obama administration, remember, the same outfit that has declared the authority to kill citizens based on secret evidence with no due process, that has refused to prosecute or even investigate self-admitted war criminals, and that now looks away and whistles a tune as this lizard-brain Jose Rodriguez, the man in charge of the torture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who admitted destroying evidence of illegal CIA interrogations, appears on “60 Minutes” to smirk and preen and plug his book and go on about pleased he is with himself about his crimes against humanity.

And what gets me even more is how little outcry there is about all this. How little outrage there seems to be. How little anger there seems to be as these criminals, these moral degenerates, smugly strut about, confident they won't be touched for things that when people of other countries did them, we hung them for it. How little we seem to care as our moral core evaporates and we more and more become that which we claim to oppose.

The Outrage of the Week is us.


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