As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Talk About A Buried Lede

So the NYT, the WaPo and the LAT all wrote the same story about the closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, probably because it was closed-door and there was a limited amount of information. They all quoted Michael Hayden's "I know nothink" shtick, where he claimed he wasn't there when the taping of interrogations was authorized and he wasn't there when they were destroyed (except he claimed that he supported their destruction in his initial message, might want to button that up, General). They all quoted Jay Rockefeller calling the hearing "useful but incomplete" and vowing to call other witnesses. They all covered Michael Mukasey's hem and haw session, where he struck down the idea of a special prosecutor by claiming the completely compromised Justice Department can do the job. But at the end of two of the reports came a remarkable little nugget. From the NYT:

Elsewhere in Washington, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an interim order on Tuesday directing the government not to destroy any evidence of torture that lawyers for a Guantánamo Bay detainee say they believe exists.

The order came after lawyers for the detainee, Majid Khan, filed a request asserting that he had been tortured in secret C.I.A. prisons for more than three years before he was transferred to Guantánamo last year.

J. Wells Dixon, one of Mr. Khan’s lawyers, said Tuesday that he believed the judges would not have issued the order “if they did not think there was any risk” that the government might destroy evidence of torture.

The WaPo had pretty much the same item, also at the very end of the story.

Shouldn't that be its own story? You have a three-judge panel warning the government against destroying evidence that may came up at trial, evidence that would implicate them in war crimes and violations of international law. Why is that buried in the back of a completely different story?

We keep getting these little tidbits in these stories. Yesterday it was one former detainee asserting that he saw cameras filming interrogations well after the CIA claims it ended the practice. Today it's this motion from the DC Court of Appeals.

There is evidence out there. It's beyond clear. That's the cumulative effect of these nods and winks. And if it's out there, the government might as well put it out now, because there will be a release at some point.

Meanwhile, the legal adviser at Gitmo seems to think that evidence gathered by torture is admissible at trial (or whatever they call the kangaroo courts down there), and refused to answer if waterboarding would be illegal if used on an American soldier by the enemy. The previous chief prosecutor of military commissions, Morris Davis, had a categorically different view on the admissibility of torture-generated evidence. He quit, and was invited to the Senate testimony yesterday, but the Defense Department WOULDN'T LET HIM TESTIFY even though he no longer works under them.

We're so far down the rabbit hole we can see ourselves on the other side. It's almost time to stick a fork in this democracy.

UPDATE: You can view an excellent timeline of the torture tapes at TPM Muckraker.

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