FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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/

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey- The Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail