ACLU accuses GTMO court of trying to control ‘thoughts, experiences and memories’
[Human Events correspondent Kimberly Dvorak is covering the proceedings against the accused Sept. 11 attack perpetrators from the courtroom.]
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—In the Oct. 17 morning commission session, the government argued for its right to control both sides of the military tribunal in the KSM case.
At the heart of today’s hearing is “presumptive classification.”
The “presumptive classification” is a directive, which censor’s the detainees’ speech in commission proceedings to prevent dissemination to the public information pertaining to their capture, confinement, and treatment.
If the government gets its way, virtually every comment the detainees make in court will be censored, unless the government’s prosecutor deems the dialogue appropriate for the courtroom proceedings.
The Justice Department attorney, Joanna Baltes, contends it is imperative that the government retains control over speech regarding the 9-11 terrorism proceedings in an effort to protect American national security.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bogucki, Binalshibh’s military defense attorney, said he could not disagree more.
Bogucki said the government’s pleading is “a scheme” disavowing anything the U.S. government did to the detainees since they were taken into custody, “especially their time spent with the CIA.”
Following suit, the American Civil Liberties Union, Hina Shamsi, attorney gave Judge Army Col. James Pohl some alarming words to consider before he renders his ruling on this motion—“Thoughts, experiences and memories.”
Shamsi said the ACLU is asking the government if they have the power to control a person’s thoughts, experiences and memories?
In a related development, the U.K.’s Guardian reported that David Anderson “told Parliament’s joint human rights committee on Tuesday that he could not know whether America was the driving force behind the recent justice and security bill but, after a series of conversations during a visit to the U.S., he concluded: “I am quite sure they had something to do with it.”
The secret coercive interegation of a UK national by the CIA and MI-5 reportedly combined sleep deprivation; threats and inducements against him that caused him to fear being taken from American custody and simply “disappearing.”
As Justice Stevens opined in the Hamden v. Rumsfeld case [548 US 557, 637 (2006)], “The Constitution is best preserved by reliance on standards tested over time and insulated from the pressures of the moment.”
Reporter’s notes from Gitmo:
With that being said, this military tribunal is about “us” as Americans. American law is supposed to be applied equally, so why is the U.S. government ceding the “rule of law” high ground regarding the KSM military tribunal unfolding in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?
If journalists have the right to protect their sources in order to expose government excess under the First Amendment, then the government that controls both sides (defense and prosecution) by applying the “presumptive classification” standard, is, in essence, controlling the outcome of this terrorism case. The government can’t have it both ways… a free and open press must be protected from censorship to hold the government accountable for applying the “rule of law.”
The U.S. is also supposed to use objective standards that ensure a fair and equitable adherence to the law in all cases, not ones of their choosing. In law, so therefore in courtrooms, the government bears the burden of proof; the evidence must be subject to judicial and journalistic scrutiny.
Even when the country watched cases like the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the resignation of President Richard Nixon, America’s system of “Rule of Law” held-up.
Breaking news—The judge in charge of the military tribunal allowed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to speak openly in court regarding the “presumptive classification” standard. He spoke, without interruption, regarding the U.S. government’s belief that it can censor the accused under “national security” pretenses. In fact, KSM said the government uses this expression as it chooses. He further claimed that the form of censorship of his experience allows the U.S. government to kill people under “national security,” it can torture people under “national security,” it can detain under-aged children under “national security,” and the president can throw someone in the sea (Osama bin Laden) under “national security.” The alleged terrorist went on to say the U.S. President (Obama) could kill Americans using drone strikes and complained that American’s shouldn’t be affected by crocodile tears.
The judge immediately addressed the courtroom and told the defense that KSM’s comments were a one-time proposition and that he allowed him to speak without interruption this one time and Judge Pohl finished by saying this doesn’t give KSM or the other accused the right to speak again in that manner.