The Real Truth: Gitmo Held Hearing So Secret It Barred the Defendant

Abby Zimet

mantra of “grave damage to national security,” a military judge at a Gitmo hearing excluded not just the public and press but the accused himself - Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, charged with carrying out the USS Cole bombing - in the first closed session of military commission trials under Obama. Al Nashiri, 48, has been at Guantánamo since 2006; for four years before, he was held in secret CIA prisons where he was reportedly waterboarded, subject to mock executions, and tortured at the point of a revving power drill. Observers speculate the extreme secrecy about the legal proceedings - which have been underway for over a year and sometimes devolved into idiocy about notebooks - is about not what he knows, but what his treatment could reveal about U.S. torture. To date, officials have only released a transcript so heavily redacted - there isn't even a subject or title - it appears to be written by Orwell.

"The high level of secrecy surrounding the rendition and torture of detainees since September 11 cannot continue to be justified on the basis of national security…Ongoing classification of these practices serves only to conceal evidence of wrongdoing and make its repetition more likely... It also jeopardizes the public’s First Amendment right of access to those proceedings, the detainees’ right to counsel, and counsel’s First Amendment rights. - From The Constitution Project

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