July 28th, 2008
The LA Times reports that the CIA’s name, or any of their activities, cannot be mentioned at the Military Commission “trials” underway at Guantanamo:
The name of the Central Intelligence Agency cannot be spoken in the war crimes trial here.
No records of the agency’s interrogations of Salim Ahmed Hamdan can be subpoenaed, and no agent can be called to testify about what he or she learned from Osama bin Laden’s former driver.
When defense attorney Harry H. Schneider Jr. attempted to demonstrate how many interrogations Hamdan had undergone in the months after his November 2001 arrest — at least 40 — he couldn’t list the CIA along with more than a dozen other agencies including the Secret Service and what was then known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The prohibition against naming the CIA came in a “protective order” issued by the court at the government’s request. The tribunal’s deputy chief prosecutor, Army Col. Bruce A. Pagel, couldn’t say which agency sought the shield or what arguments were made to justify it.
“It’s a bit absurd to go through an entire trial pretending that the CIA doesn’t exist,” said Matt Pollard, a legal advisor for Amnesty International here to monitor the proceedings.
“The CIA plays a role with the detainees at Guantanamo Bay that has never been fully acknowledged, and the bottom line is that national security should never be claimed against any evidence of torture or human-rights violations.”
Of course, one can only wonder “What are they hiding?”