Secret Prisons, Top Secret Interrogations

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

It’s a tremendous responsibility that has been thrust on those who are imprisoned by George Bush. They have, albeit it unwittingly, become our allies in the war on terror. They remain incarcerated indefinitely thus protecting the rest of us (who have not yet been incarcerated) from the likes of them (even if they are not terrorists) and while incarcerated, pose no threat to those of us who remain free They have now been told that while incarcerated Mr. Bush was willing to entrust to them information that has been designated TOP SECRET. We would not have learned this important piece of information but for Majid Khan.

Mr. Khan is a Pakistani who recently moved from what was a non-existent secret prison run by the C.I.A. in a far-off country to the Guantánamo Detention camp in Cuba. Mr. Khan now has a lawyer. The government doesn’t want Mr. Khan to tell his lawyer, what kinds of interrogation methods were being used on him (and therefore, shared with him) while he was in the secret prison. That is because conditions at Guantánamo are only adequate for handling information classified as secret. Kathleen Blomquist, a Justice Department Spokeswoman explains:

"information regarding the former C.I.A. detainees [like Mr. Khan] was classified as top secret. She said the information he shares with his counsel should "be appropriately tailored to accommodate a higher security level."

Why that should be is something of a mystery. Readers will recall that in the statement accompanying legislation George Bush sent Congress that authorized military tribunals for terror suspects and set rules to protect U.S. military personnel from facing prosecution for war crimes, he said, although not in these words, that the United States uses "alternative" interrogation methods that help the people being questioned remember things they might otherwise forget. Those procedures "were tough, and they were safe and lawful and necessary."

Ms. Blomquist’s comments tell us that although the prisoners thought they were being tortured (Mr. Bush’s assurances to the contrary notwithstanding) they were at the same time being given TOP SECRET INFORMATION. (Anyone wanting to get an idea of the kind of top-secret information Mr. Khan has can Google Mamdouh Habib and find the torture affidavit that was released by the Federal District Court in Washington on January 5, 2005. It describes the top-secret information (such as standing on tiptoes in water up to his chin for hours) that was entrusted to Mr. Habib while in prison. Mr. Khan’s experience may well have been no different from that. An uninformed reader of the affidavit might consider the techniques torture but for the fact that Mr. Bush doesn’t do torture.)

In November the Central Intelligence Agency told a federal district court in Washington D.C. that al Qaeda suspects should not be permitted to describe publicly the "alternative interrogation methods" the CIA used on them while holding them in the secret prisons. The D.I.A. told the court that if Mr. Khan told just any person what the procedures were, it would cause "extremely grave damage to the national security." Marilyn A. Dorn, an official at the National Clandestine Service that is part of the C.I.A. told the court that "If specific alternative techniques were disclosed, it would permit terrorist organizations to adapt their training to counter the tactics that C.I.A. can employ in interrogations."

It seems safe to say that if the prisoners knew when being interrogated that they were being entrusted with "top secret" information they would feel quite differently about the process. They would take pride in having been permitted to participate in this very important process. They would not be any the less proud knowing that the only reason the C.I.A. shares this top secret information with them is that it hopes that in the process of sharing the information those being questioned will feel compelled to furnish additional information to their interrogators.

So long as Mr. Khan remains in prison the government can count on him to keep the secret he and the C.I.A. enjoy sharing. The obvious question is if Mr. Khan gets out of prison can the government count on him to keep his secret? Thanks to Mr. Bush’s foresight in having Congress give him broad new powers, if it looks like Mr. Khan might get out of prison either before or after a trial, Mr. Bush can designate him an enemy combatant and keep him in prison forever. That may seem harsh, but if it is the only way the secret can be kept, then it is in everyone’s best interest that Mr. Khan remain in jail the rest of his life. That way the secret will be preserved and we will all be safer-even Mr. Khan. He, however, will have to enjoy his safety in a jail cell.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. Visit his website: http://hraos.com/




 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington