About U.S. Seeks Silence On CIA Prisons
|November 4th, 2006||#1|
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U.S. Seeks Silence On CIA Prisons info
November 4, 2006
Court Is Asked to Bar Detainees From Talking About Interrogations
By Carol D. Leonnig and Eric Rich, Washington Post Staff Writers
The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them to talk.
The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage." Terrorists could use the information to train in counter-interrogation techniques and foil government efforts to elicit information about their methods and plots, according to government documents submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 26.
The battle over legal rights for terrorism suspects detained for years in CIA prisons centers on Majid Khan, a 26-year-old former Catonsville resident who was one of 14 high-value detainees transferred in September from the "black" sites to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many detainees at Guantanamo, is seeking emergency access to him.
The government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees, effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should never be shared with the public.
Because Khan "was detained by CIA in this program, he may have come into possession of information, including locations of detention, conditions of detention, and alternative interrogation techniques that is classified at the TOP SECRETSCI level," an affidavit from CIA Information Review Officer Marilyn A. Dorn states, using the acronym for "sensitive compartmented information."
Gitanjali Gutierrez, an attorney for Khan's family, responded in a court document yesterday that there is no evidence that Khan had top-secret information. "Rather," she said, "the executive is attempting to misuse its classification authority . . . to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct."
Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held. Kafka-esque doesn't do it justice. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.' "
Kathleen Blomquist, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said yesterday that details of the CIA program must be protected from disclosure. She said the lawyer's proposal for talking with Khan "is inadequate to protect unique and potentially highly classified information that is vital to our country's ability to fight terrorism."
Government lawyers also argue in court papers that detainees such as Khan previously held in CIA sites have no automatic right to speak to lawyers because the new Military Commissions Act, signed by President Bush last month, stripped them of access to U.S. courts. That law established separate military trials for terrorism suspects.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is considering whether Guantanamo detainees have the right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts. The government urged Walton to defer any decision on access to lawyers until the higher court rules.
The government filing expresses concern that detainee attorneys will provide their clients with information about the outside world and relay information about detainees to others. In an affidavit, Guantanamo's staff judge advocate, Cmdr. Patrick M. McCarthy, said that in one case a detainee's attorney took questions from a BBC reporter with him into a meeting with a detainee at the camp. Such indirect interviews are "inconsistent with the purpose of counsel access" at the prison, McCarthy wrote.
Dorn said in the court papers that for lawyers to speak to former CIA detainees under the security protocol used for other Guantanamo detainees "poses an unacceptable risk of disclosure." But detainee attorneys said they have followed the protocol to the letter, and none has been accused of releasing information without government clearance.
Captives who have spent time in the secret prisons, and their advocates, have said the detainees were sometimes treated harshly with techniques that included "waterboarding," which simulates drowning. Bush has declared that the administration will not tolerate the use of torture but has pressed to retain the use of unspecified "alternative" interrogation methods.
The government argues that once rules are set for the new military commissions, the high-value detainees will have military lawyers and "unprecedented" rights to challenge charges against them in that venue.
U.S. officials say Khan, a Pakistani national who lived in the United States for seven years, took orders from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the man accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Mohammed allegedly asked Khan to research poisoning U.S. reservoirs and considered him for an operation to assassinate the Pakistani president.
In a separate court document filed last night, Khan's attorneys offered declarations from Khaled al-Masri, a released detainee who said he was held with Khan in a dingy CIA prison called "the salt pit" in Afghanistan. There, prisoners slept on the floor, wore diapers and were given tainted water that made them vomit, Masri said. American interrogators treated him roughly, he said, and told him he "was in a land where there were no laws."
Khan's family did not learn of his whereabouts until Bush announced his transfer in September, more than three years after he was seized in Pakistan.
The family said Khan was staying with a brother in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2003 when men, who were not in uniform, burst into the apartment late one night and put hoods over the heads of Khan, his brother Mohammad and his brother's wife. The couple's 1-month-old son was also seized.
Another brother, Mahmood Khan, who has lived in the United States since 1989, said in an interview this week that the four were hustled into police vehicles and taken to an undisclosed location, where they were separated and held in windowless rooms. His sister-in-law and her baby remained together, he said.
According to Mahmood, Mohammad said they were questioned repeatedly by men who identified themselves as members of Pakistan's intelligence service and others who identified themselves as U.S. officials. Mohammad's wife was released after seven days, and he was released after three months, without charge. He was left on a street corner without explanation, Mahmood said.
Periodically, he said, people who identified themselves as Pakistani officials contacted Mohammad and assured him that his brother would soon be released and that they ought not contact a lawyer or speak with the news media.
"We had no way of knowing who had him or where he was," Mahmood Khan said this week at the family home outside Baltimore. He said they complied with the requests because they believed anything else could delay his brother's release.
In Maryland, Khan's family was under constant FBI surveillance from the moment of his arrest, his brother said. The FBI raided their house the day after the arrest , removing computer equipment, papers and videos. Each family member was questioned extensively and shown photographs of terrorism suspects that Mahmood Khan said none of them recognized. For much of the next year, he said, they were followed everywhere.
"Pretty much we were scared," he said. "We live in this country. We have everything here."
|November 4th, 2006||#2|
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Some would damn President Bush because of the existence of these prisons, but what they don't seem to realize is that the CIA has been around for a little longer than the President has been in office. If you want to condemn the President for having these prisons you cannot stop with President Bush, which seems to be the popular scapegoat for everything that is seen bad about the U.S. To go a step further, what are you going to do with the other Prisons around the world that are headed by other countries version of the CIA? Are they too the fault of President Bush? In all cases no. President Bush inherited the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. from previous administrations and use them as a tool just as those before him have and those after him will.
Get used to it world, there are bad guys out there that want to harm you regardless of what country you are from and the powers that be are each fighting a war to protect their own. I think it's time we get off this subject and move on to more pressing matters.
|November 4th, 2006||#3|
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I'll agree with you and say that the prisons are probably older than President Bush. I think the reason Bush is getting the blame is because the recklessness of his policy brought a hidden CIA program into the light.
The rendition of Mahrer Arar (which brought the rendition program to light) is an example of such recklessness...
"My center is giving way, my right is in retreat situation excellent. I shall attack." -Foch
I am from NYC. I fly a French flag because I work in Paris.
Last edited by mmarsh; November 4th, 2006 at 17:08..
|November 6th, 2006||#4|
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As stated in the past there is nothing new under the sun. Blaming it on someone form any one point of time is not a viable argument. There is plenty of blame to go around.
|November 6th, 2006||#5|
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When you arrest somebody on flimsy info, offer no legal aid afforded by the constitution, do not even notify the persons family, deny you even have them in custody, send them to Syria to be tortured for over a year, find out you have the wrong person, and then insist you did nothing wrong. That's pretty reckless, and Mr Arar was not the first person to be sandbagged like that.
|November 7th, 2006||#6|
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Anyone arrested for terrorism that are not American citizens have no rights under our constitution, what is done with them has no meaning to American citizens other than the fact that another terrorist is off the streets.
If you or I were arrrested as a suspected terrorist I would expect the same treatment as others have had. However; I'm sure that I would never be confused with a terrorist. I have no clue as to whether you could make the same claim, nor anyone else on this board.
If there is going to be an error made I'd rather it be in arresting someone that is innocent than to miss someone that might push the button on a dirty bomb inside our shores.
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