|The last people you might expect to want to see the CIA’s secret torture prisons kept intact are the people who were tortured there. But the defense lawyers for the 9/11 co-conspirators are arguing that the CIA’s so-called “black sites” need to remain open, untouched and exactly as they were when top al-Qaida operatives were abused.
The CIA torture program isn’t on trial at Guantanamo Bay. The five accused 9/11 conspirators are, and they face the death penalty. But the legal maneuver brings to light an irony of post-9/11 justice: The military tribunals that remain the bane of civil libertarians might be one of the last venues to investigate torture.
On Monday at Guantanamo, Army Col. James Pohl, the judge in the 9/11 tribunal, will hear a longstanding motion filed by the defense team to “preserve any existing evidence of any overseas detention facility used to imprison any witness in this case.” The gambit, explains James Connell, a Defense Department civilian who represents defendant Ammar al-Baluchi, seeks to treat the black sites like crime scenes — something the Justice Department has been reluctant to do.
It’s not that the defendants want others taken to the black sites. It’s that, as Connell tells Danger Room, “If a site is still open, it’s evidence.”
Some of the treatment experienced at the black sites by the five defendants, which include the confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, include being doused with water for the simulated drowning known as waterboarding; being kept in contorted “stress positions”; and being deprived of sleep for extended periods, sometimes as a result of the stress positions. But the defense hasn’t been able to review any official material about what went on inside the black sites — something crucial to its legal strategy, since the military commissions are supposed to exclude evidence obtained through “the use of torture, or by cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.” [pdf]
Emphasis on supposed to. “The government has not yet provided any discovery or information about our clients’ treatment at the black sites,” Connell says. “If the trial were tomorrow, I would have no way of introducing it.” [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—New Dem Center Fights Broder's 'Independent' Extremism:
|David Broder's skewed vision of bipartisanship plays on. Today he finds comfort in the fact that his old favorites in the Gang of 14 (now down to 12) have breakfast together.
Broder waxes on and on about the "budding spirit of fellowship" among Senators, led by "Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, reelected as an independent Democrat." Broder's hero.
Now, however, you can see the independence party forming -- on both sides of the aisle. They are mobilizing to resist not only Bush but also the extremist elements in American society -- the vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left. . . . A "decent respect" begins at home, with an acknowledgment of public opinion.Broder's independence party, with McCain, Lieberman, Graham boldly standing up to Bush and the extremist elements. I hate to tell Broder this, but they are the extremist elements. For example, on the minimum wage bill, the first hike of the federal minimum wage in a decade? The extremist wing of the Gang represented by McCain and Graham, decided that mending the bipartisan fences of the Senate on this critical piece of legislation just wasn't that important. They also had little respect for the opinion of the American people and the 81 percent of them who support a minimum wage increase.
Broder, McCain, Graham, and Lieberman aren't in the coalition of moderate bipartisanship. What McCain, Lieberman and Graham, and Broder for that matter, are good at is talking about being moderate, but never actually being moderate. These are the "moderates" that will support George Bush until the bitter end.
In case you're looking for a good diary to read, A Siegel's The power of "and" ... was one I liked.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, a little more Guns N' Filibusters, this time with Greg Dworkin and Meteor Blades. But we did break from that agenda for a while today, bringing in Ian Reifowitz, author of Obama's America: A Transformative View of Our National Identity, to review the themes of the President's second inaugural address. How has the President done so far in fulfilling the vision? How can we evaluate his progress and our own? And in what ways might the work be continued after he leaves office?