Via Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice, secrecy takes over at Gitmo:
When the war court reconvenes this week, pretrial hearings in the case of an alleged al-Qaida bomber will be tackling a government motion that’s so secret the public can’t know its name.
It’s listed as the 92nd court filing in the death-penalty case against a Saudi man, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was waterboarded by CIA agents.
And in place of its name, the Pentagon has stamped “classified” in red.
It’s not the first classified motion in the case against the 48-year-old former millionaire from Mecca accused of orchestrating al-Qaida’s October 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole warship off Yemen. Seventeen sailors were killed in the attack, and the prosecutor proposes to execute al-Nashiri, if he’s convicted.
Also on the docket for discussion this week is a classified defense motion that asks the Army judge to order the government to reveal information “related to the arrest, detention and interrogation” of al-Nashiri. By the time he got to Guantanamo in 2006, according to declassified investigations, CIA agents had held him at secret overseas prisons for four years during which, according to declassified accounts, he was waterboarded and interrogated at the point of a revving power drill and racked pistol.
But what makes the no-name government motion so intriguing is that those who’ve read it can’t say what it’s about, and those who haven’t don’t have a clue. Not even the accused, who, unless the judge rules for the defense, is not allowed to get an unclassified explanation of it – and cannot sit in on the court session when it’s argued in secret.
The motion was so secret that al-Nashiri’s Indianapolis-based defense attorney said members of the defense team would not characterize it over the phone. “Literally, I had to fly to Washington, D.C., to read it,” said attorney Rick Kammen of Indianapolis, a career death-penalty defender whom the Pentagon pays to represent al-Nashiri.
Mr. Kafka, your table is ready.
I seriously think that the only reason Congress hasn’t let President Obama close Gitmo isn’t because they’re worried about putting terrorists in the super-max prison in Colorado where they’ll never see more daylight than if they were in a box in the bottom of a well. It’s because there’s a bunch of people in Congress and across this country who think the Constitutional protections afforded to the accused is a whole lot of left-wing terrorist-hugging namby-pamby painty-waist pablum that only serves to spread love, peace and granola and put Real Americans in harm’s way, amirite?