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Curiouser And Curiouser

curiousityshop.jpgFrom the WaPo:

Fourteen “high-value” terrorism suspects who were transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from secret CIA prisons last year have been formally offered the right to request lawyers, a move that could allow them to join other detainees in challenging their status as enemy combatants in a U.S. appellate court.

The move, confirmed by Defense Department officials, will allow the suspects their first contact with anyone other than their captors and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross since they were taken into custody.

The prisoners, who include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, have not had access to lawyers during their year at Guantanamo Bay or while they were held, for varying lengths of time, at the secret CIA sites abroad. They were entitled to military “personal representatives” to assist them during the administrative process that determined whether they are enemy combatants.

U.S. officials have argued in court papers against granting lawyers access to the high-value detainees without special security rules, fearing that attorney-client conversations could reveal classified elements of the CIA’s secret detention program and its controversial interrogation tactics.

Defense officials gave the detainees “Legal Representation Request” forms during the last week of August and the first week of September, and sources familiar with the process said at least four detainees have requested attorneys.

Why now?  Why change from prior policy now?  I want to go back to a revealing post from Balkinization:

The theory of the government’s case here is contained in the remarkable tenth paragraph of the Declaration of Marilyn Dorn (PDF), CIA Information Review Officer. Dorn writes:

Information relating to the CIA terrorist detention program has been placed in a TOP Secret/SCI program to enhance protection from unauthorized disclosure. Because Majid Khan was detained by the 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 SECRET/SCI level.

Joe Marguiles, quoted in the Post article, is right: This goes beyond Orwell into Lewis Carroll territory, topping the formidable list of jaw-dropping Bush Administration euphemisms.

Khan “came into possession” of top secret classified information, eh? And how might that have happened? Part of his job at the CIA? A leak from a rogue CIA employee? By finding a lost memo sitting around some blind alley somewhere?

Or is it, perhaps, that he “came into possession” by virtue of the fact that he is the “classified information”? That is to say, it was the CIA’s torture of Khan — sorry, its “application of alternative interrogation techniques against him” — that was how Khan “came into possession” of our most closely guarded secrets.  (emphasis Marty’s)

And again, I ask myself, why is the Bush Administration allowing them access to counsel now — after doing everything possible to prevent it for so long?  Something is up, and I want to know what it is.

(Photo via LaserGuided.)

PS — The AFL-CIO is holding a rally today in DC against the brutality going on in Burma.  Thought some of our DC-area readers would be interested.

PPS — Happy birthday Jeralyn!

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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