Even an American military judge feels that lawyers for the accused on trial in Guantanamo Bay over the USS Cole attack in October 2000 as well as the 911 attacks are entitled to information about CIA black sites. The judge also wants disclosure of what torture the detainees were subjected to. Abd al Rahman al-Nashiri, a Saudi was water-boarded and subjected to other forms of torture. He now suffers from PTSD.
2014-06-26, 11:13 DST
A military judge at the Guantanamo Bay torture camp has ordered the US government to give defense lawyers details of the accused USS Cole bomber’s odyssey through the CIA’s secret prisons. The judge, Colonel James L Pohl, however, said in his ruling that the prosecutors may shield the identities of some agents.
The case involves Abd al Rahim al Nashiri’s four years of interrogation and detention in CIA custody. A Saudi citizen, al-Nashiri is accused of being the mastermind of al-Qaeda’s bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in October 2000. Colonel Pohl issued his 11-page ruling on June 24 after holding a three-hour closed door meeting with defense and prosecution attorneys on May 29. Another meeting the following day occurred with only the prosecutors present. Al-Nashiri was waterboarded by the CIA and subjected to a mock execution and other interrogation techniques. His defense lawyers have called this torture. The US regime denies it indulged in torture but since the election of Barack Obama as president in 2009, waterboarding has been stopped. As a consequence of undergoing prolonged torture, al-Nashiri suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The judge ordered release of details so far denied to Nashiri’s lawyers, including the names of countries where the CIA imprisoned him, how he was transported, restrained and clothed, photographs of his confinement and interrogators’ statements, logs and notes of his questioning as well as others named in the case.
The judge, however, conceded that such information can be released in classified fashion. In other words, it will not become public knowledge in order to protect the identities of agents involved in torture. Pohl is presiding over the trial of five men accused of involvement in the 911 attacks. The others have similarly been tortured including waterboarding. It is revealing that while Pohl’s ruling was sent to lawyers at 3:30 pm on June 24, a day later (June 25), there was no notation of its existence on the war court website that discloses military commissions filings.
The Pentagon does not want such information in the public domain; in fact does not even wish to acknowledge that the presiding judge has given such a ruling. The prosecution in the military court is seeking the death penalty as it is seeking for the other four persons.
The prosecution is similarly seeking to shield from defense lawyers the details of the so-called “black site” program that waterboarded the alleged mastermind of 911 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times. They were also denied access to attorneys and visits by the International Red Cross.