Journalism in the Public Interest

In Gitmo Opinion, Two Versions of Reality

A judge’s opinion on Gitmo first hidden, then rewritten, reveals the secret evidence against a detainee the Obama administration wants to hold indefinitely.

A detainee walks through the recreation yard at the detention center on Sept. 15, 2010, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Update April 25, 2011: On Sunday night, a number of news outlets and WikiLeaks published a trove of classified documents on detainees at Guantanamo Bay. ProPublica has been reporting on Gitmo and the issues surrounding indefinite detention for more than two years. In October 2010, Dafna Linzer revealed how the Obama administration censored one federal judge's Gitmo decision that had questioned the government's evidence against a detainee.

This story was originally published on Oct. 8, 2010 and co-published with The National Law Journal.

When Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of a Guantánamo Bay detainee last spring, the case appeared to be a routine setback for an Obama administration that has lost a string of such cases.

Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed UthmanBut there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years. Uthman, accused by two U.S. administrations of being an al-Qaida fighter and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is among 48 detainees the Obama administration has deemed too dangerous to release but "not feasible for prosecution."

A day after his March 16 order was filed on the court's electronic docket, Kennedy's opinion vanished. Weeks later, a new ruling appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government's case against Uthman.

In his first opinion, Kennedy wrote that one government witness against Uthman had been diagnosed by military doctors as "psychotic" with a mental condition that made his allegations against other detainees "unreliable." But the opinion the public sees makes no mention of the man's health and discounts his testimony only because of its inconsistencies.

The alterations are extensive. Sentences were rewritten. Footnotes that described disputes and discrepancies in the government's case were deleted. Even the date and circumstances of Uthman's arrest were changed. In the first version, the judge said Uthman was detained on Dec. 15, 2001, in Pakistan by Pakistani authorities. Rewritten, Kennedy said in the public opinion that Uthman admitted being captured "in late 2001 in the general vicinity of Tora Bora," the cave complex where bin Laden was thought to be hiding at that time.

The creation of the additional opinion stemmed from a mishap inside the Justice Department: Kennedy's first opinion was accidentally cleared for public release before government agencies had blacked out all the classified information it cited.

While the government privately took responsibility for the error, it initially refused to correct it. Two people familiar with the discussions said prosecutors in the Justice Department's Civil Division gave Kennedy a choice: his entire decision would remain classified or he could write a new version that did not reference classified evidence.

Justice Department sources offered a different account. They said the department later relented and gave Kennedy a properly redacted version of the opinion, in which classified material had been blacked out. The sources said this opinion was meant to be published. But for reasons that remain unclear, the edited opinion became the starting point for the creation of an entirely new version.

Matthew Miller, a spokesman with the Justice Department, said "the department's practice in all of these cases is to propose release of a properly redacted opinion."

The second opinion, drafted after a contentious exchange between Kennedy and the prosecutors, did not refer to the earlier version and gave no indication material had been removed.

Legal scholars and classification experts said the drafting of a second opinion was a deception. All previous opinions in Guantánamo habeas cases have noted when material has been blacked out or removed to protect security.

Stephen Gillers, who teaches legal ethics at New York University School of Law, said Kennedy may well have had a legitimate concern about "national security issues."

"But that concern then inspired him to participate in the creation of a parallel universe that fools everyone except a small circle of judges. We don't allow the justice system to create false impressions," Gillers said.

ProPublica obtained the original version of Kennedy's opinion when it appeared briefly in the court record and conducted a line-by-line comparison with what was published five weeks later. That comparison, highlighting information that was removed, can be found here.

Reporting for this story was complicated by the fact that much of the evidence is classified, and judges, lawyers and prosecutors are barred from discussing most aspects of the litigation. But an examination of the opinions and additional documents, as well as interviews with government and intelligence officials, former military prosecutors and key players in the habeas cases, makes it possible for the first time to publicly examine the evidence against a detainee designated for indefinite detention.

To justify Uthman's incarceration, the government relied on statements from five current or former detainees who were previously discredited by judges in other cases, questioned by internal Obama administration assessments or found unreliable by military psychiatrists because they were mendacious, mentally ill or subjected to torture.

Kennedy's first opinion reveals that some of the government's evidence came from a detainee who committed suicide at Guantánamo three years ago after months of hunger strikes. In the second opinion, the detainee's name is concealed, making it impossible for the public to know he is dead.

DOJ's Miller said witness testimony is thoroughly reviewed before it is presented. "In every habeas case where we ask the court to rely upon detainee statements, we do so because we believe courts can and should consider their accounts based on the totality of the evidence," Miller said.

The Justice Department has appealed Kennedy's ruling and officials there declined to say what they might do if the government does not prevail.

Uthman, according to senior government officials, is on the secret list of 48 Guantánamo detainees who the Obama administration designated for indefinite detention and, officials said, he is the first of those men to win his habeas petition.

Further complicating matters, Uthman hails from Yemen -- a country the White House has deemed too unstable to handle such a transfer. Should he send Uthman home, President Obama risks a fierce political backlash from Republican lawmakers eager to portray the president as weak on terrorism.

Disclosure of the Uthman case comes at a pivotal moment in the government's complicated efforts to prosecute detainees and close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On Oct. 6, a federal judge in New York barred the government from using its main witness against a terrorism defendant because the information that led investigators to the witness was obtained through torture.

Botched Classification

When Kennedy, who serves on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in February that Uthman was being improperly detained, his 27-page opinion was turned over to a court security officer for classification review.

The judges themselves have very little insight into the process and no sway over what is redacted. Government security officials review filings in the habeas litigation and other cases involving classified evidence and remove sensitive information.

In the Uthman case, that clearance process took three weeks. Kennedy's decision was stamped "Redacted," by the court's security officer and returned to his chambers on March 16. The deletions were minimal. For the first 16 pages, the only word blacked out was "secret," stamped at the top and bottom of each page.

Kennedy's clerk added the document to the electronic court file late in the day. Twenty-five hours later, the security office sent out urgent notices to attorneys and the judge that the opinion had not been ready for release and needed additional deletions. The decision was promptly removed from the public docket.

In a closed hearing in his courtroom four days later, Kennedy lashed out at the government for releasing classified information. He and Justice Department attorneys then argued over what to do, according to three sources familiar with the discussion.

Kennedy insisted that the reasoning behind his first habeas ruling be made public. But the Justice Department resisted releasing it in redacted form, arguing that blacked out portions would call attention to the exact material the government wanted to conceal.

With Uthman slated for indefinite detention, the stakes were high.

During the next month, government lawyers scoured the Internet for the original decision; the legal database Westlaw was asked to remove it from archives; defense attorneys were instructed to destroy their electronic copies.

Even the court docket was altered. When the opinion was originally posted on March 16, the docket noted Kennedy's grant of the writ of habeas corpus to the petitioner. Today, the entry for March 16 simply reads: "Document Entered In Error Erroneously."

Kennedy ordered the Justice Department to explain how the information was released and to suggest solutions. In the written response, according to three people who saw it, the department took responsibility for the error. Kennedy rejected the government's initial attempt to keep the opinion classified, insisting on other options, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

One Justice Department source said the department relented, gave Kennedy a properly redacted copy of his opinion, and expected him to publish it. But two others said no such intention was conveyed to Kennedy.

Classification experts could not recall another case in which a second decision was secretly created.

"Reconstituting and replacing a judicial opinion without public notice is active deception," said Steven Aftergood, a classification expert with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington. "There is a role for classification and there are things that need to be redacted, but there is never a justification for deception in the judicial process and that's what this is," Aftergood said, after reviewing both versions of Kennedy's ruling in the Uthman case.

Two senior officials in the Obama administration and two others with direct involvement in habeas cases were surprised to learn that Kennedy's final opinion was a different version than the original.

Changing the Record

Uthman was 21 years old and traveling with about 30 other men when he was taken into custody by Pakistani police in the town of Parachinar, near the Afghan border. It was Dec. 15, 2001, and U.S. troops were in the middle of a five-day battle against an al-Qaida stronghold known as Tora Bora, where bin Laden was believed to have taken shelter. Parachinar and Tora Bora are 12 miles apart but separated by a treacherous mountain range that takes two to three days to traverse.

The government maintains that Uthman was in Afghanistan to fight for bin Laden; Uthman has claimed he went there to teach the Quran to children. Some facts of his story are not in dispute, some critical ones are. They look different depending on which of Kennedy's two opinions you read.

Kennedy's original opinion noted that Uthman was seized in Parachinar; that he reached the town after an eight-day trek from the Afghan town of Khost, nowhere near Tora Bora; and that his journey to Pakistan began around Dec. 8, 2001. Those facts make it difficult to portray Uthman as a fighter in a battle that took place between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17 at Tora Bora. Two footnotes in the original opinion note that the government does not contest that Uthman was taken into custody in Parachinar.

Both were removed in the second opinion and Kennedy substituted wording to write instead that Uthman admitted he was seized "in late 2001 in the general vicinity of Tora Bora, Afghanistan."

The intent of this editing may have been to conceal the role of the Pakistanis in capturing al-Qaida fighters although those details were long ago declassified. But the effect was to link Uthman more closely to the retreat of bin Laden and his inner circle through Tora Bora.

It is unclear precisely what restrictions or classification requests guided Kennedy's alterations. Neither the judge nor the Justice Department would say.

Gillers said such editing has an effect on public opinion, even when it doesn't change the outcome of the case.

"The ability to influence Kennedy's opinion gives the government a public relations advantage," Gillers said. "These battles are fought outside the court system as well as within it."

Another advantage has been the government's ability to largely conceal the identities of its witnesses.

In ordinary federal proceedings, from mob cases to white-collar crime, prosecutors would be loath to attempt such strategies because repeated use of a discredited witness would provide a significant opening to defense attorneys. In the habeas cases, it is difficult for defense lawyers and judges to learn of the roles played by flawed witnesses in previous cases.

The issue arose in a separate habeas case in May 2009, when Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia noted that a government witness had been diagnosed by Guantánamo medical staff as suffering from "psychosis." In a footnote, she said she was troubled that the diagnosis had come to her attention "through the diligent work" of the defense attorney "and not as a result of the government's obligation to provide" it.

Attorneys with security clearances can access classified information the government plans to raise in court at a secure facility near the Pentagon. But the material is not easy to use.

The facility is staffed by court security officers and Justice Department officials who determine what information the lawyers can remove from the facility, including, in some cases, their own notes. No classified information can be shared over the telephone or Internet, a significant burden for lawyers who reside outside the Washington area.

"It's monumentally difficult to fight these battles when the government holds all the cards," said David Remes, one of the attorneys representing Uthman. Neither Remes nor Uthman's other Washington attorneys, including William Livingston at Covington & Burling, would discuss the details of the Uthman case.

Near Total Secrecy

Although President Obama inherited many aspects of U.S. detention policy from his predecessor, Guantánamo detainees have been fighting their detentions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia almost entirely on his watch.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2008, as Obama was campaigning for president, that detainees could challenge their detentions in federal court under the constitutional doctrine of habeas corpus, which protects individuals from unlawful imprisonment by the government.

Obama, still a senator then, issued a statement calling the ruling "an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy." The first challenges were decided on Nov. 20, just three weeks after Obama's election.

Lawyers from the Justice Department's Civil Division handle the Guantánamo litigation in coordination with intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense, which acts as warden of Guantánamo. The litigation process was built around the government's assertion that the bulk of the evidence is classified, a claim that has enabled the government to operate under a cloak of near total secrecy, with judges and defense attorneys barred from publicly discussing most aspects of the litigation. Court filings that reveal details about the cases undergo classification review before they are made public.

Intelligence and military officials take the lead in determining what can be released. As this story was going to publication, the Justice Department released an unclassified version of its appeal brief in the Uthman case. A number of details that were excised from Kennedy's final opinion appear in the appeals brief.

Justice Department spokesman Miller said, "as a general matter, Justice Department litigators are not responsible for classification or declassification decisions in habeas cases."

Officials at other agencies said they had a fairly free hand in removing information supplied for the government's case. "Whenever a court security officer identifies a document slated for posting on the court's public docket as potentially containing classified information, the officer refers that document to appropriate agencies for classification review," Maj. Tanya Bradsher, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, said.

One government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity acknowledged that the classification process has been plagued with inconsistencies and that no one is coordinating the effort. In most declassified habeas filings, the names of all detainee-witnesses are removed; in others, a name or two slips past the redaction process.

Some government-ordered deletions clearly appear designed to conceal names of confidential informants, associations with foreign intelligence services and the identities of certain federal agents. But the Uthman case shows that many of the deletions go further.

"This censorship has nothing to do with protecting 'national security' and everything to do with covering up government mistakes and malfeasance," said Jonathan Hafetz, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law who has represented a number of detainees in habeas litigation. The practice, he said, allows the government to "mislead the American public on issues of profound importance to the country by skewing the perception of who really is at Guantánamo."

There have been some attempts, but with limited results, to make more of the habeas proceedings public. Nearly two years ago, as the litigation was getting under way, three media organizations -- The Associated Press, The New York Times and USA Today -- sought access to the court filings in which the government argued for holding the detainees.

The government fought the request but Judge Thomas Hogan, then the chief judge of the U.S. district court in Washington, ordered the government to release redacted, unclassified versions of its filings within 14 days.

David Schulz, a First Amendment attorney who is representing the media group, said the government is flouting Hogan's order.

"The frustrating thing about this litigation is that the judge in no uncertain terms upheld the public's constitutional right to inspect the records of the habeas proceeding and yet, nearly two years after the documents were supposed to be filed and publicly available, we are still waiting to get properly redacted filings," Schulz said.

The government is now seeking to amend Hogan's order to include six new broad categories of information that it can restrict without review by a judge unless the detainee objects. Schulz has opposed this idea. Both sides are waiting to hear from Hogan.

When the media group first fought for access, just weeks after the 2008 presidential election, the Bush administration was still in office. But Schulz said the election has had no impact on the department's position in this area.

Said Schulz: "The Obama Justice Department has fought as hard and resisted as strongly the right that the public has to see these court records."

Gregory L Young

Oct. 8, 2010, 2:28 p.m.

Decide which is more important, gathering intelligence, or seeking justice.  Do one or the other, but not both.  The rules are not the same.  Any conviction that even appears to be tainted does a dishoner to our country and the constitution, and makes us look no better than those we criticize.

Charles Sifers

Oct. 8, 2010, 3:04 p.m.

I’m not really concerned about how we"look” to others, especially Islamists.
However, I am concerned that we are prosecuting guilty individuals, and removing them as a threat by any means necessary.
Clearly, Islamists have no problems doing the same.  If this guy is truly innocent of participating in the fundamentalists Islamic jihad, then he should go free, but if not, then he should rot in prison.

Janus Daniels

Oct. 8, 2010, 4:08 p.m.

I’d suggest that intelligence gathering and justice seeking support each other.
Torture destroys both.

If a bunch of beurocrats in the DOJ can unilaterally decide what the law is on any given day then there is no law. A logical extrapolation being that America is a lawless country. The foxes are guarding the chicken coop.
Of course the human tradegy in all of this are the innocent people being held without fair trial in limbo in America’s black hole prisons around the world.
America needs to return to it’s starting point as first a nation governed by the rule of law. Anyone, and that means DOJ officials, or the President or anyone else in authority found circumventing the law needs to be charged, tried before the courts and if found guilty sentenced to the severest penalty allowed under the law. Because they are in a position of trust the penalties should be very severe indeed.
When reading this it is clear how far America has strayed from it’s Constitution and the principles upon which it was founded.
Osam Bin Laden truly has won this war, hands down. I think he got way more than even he had hoped for. America is a black sheep amoung the Western Democracies. Law enforcement at the highest levels of government are a disgrace.

My experience supports Prof. Hafetz’s point as cited by Ms. Linzer in this article.  “Classification,” which by law can only be done when the national security of the U.S. would be jeopardized, is commonly abused by being done for reasons that are “political” in the sense of serving rivalries.

This abuse is enabled by the culture of the organizations that classify—individual officers are only conforming, even when they believe they are classifying abusively, as arrogance is part of the culture.

But more commonly conformity is rational: the risk of classifying wrongly is nil while the risk of not classifying is considerable.

Pride goeth before a fall.

Eric Pendergraft

Oct. 8, 2010, 10:56 p.m.

“If this guy is truly innocent of participating in the fundamentalists Islamic jihad, then he should go free, but if not, then he should rot in prison.”

Which is why we have rules of evidence and a system of justice, to ensure that the State does not have carte blanche to lock the wrong people away and through away the key.

We still have no accountability in any of this. No accountability for the torture, rendition, black sites, war, lies, illegal detentions. We are a nation going down morally, financially, and emotionally. So much anger and hate in this country not only for outsiders but against our own citizens. Those that left this country after Bush was relelcted had it right. Love it or leave it. I cannot love a totalitarian state, even one I was born in. Time to leave, the common man has no hope when there are no checks and balances, no accountability. The sad thing about these posts, the story about Lou Dobbs has over 3000 posts, this one has now eight. That is what is telling in this country, loss of Freedom or illegal aliens doing work on Lou Dobbs property, which has the greater following is the one of lessor importance. How sad for all of us.

Detainees ... such a nice, clean, word.  We used to call them political prisoners, I think in Europe, at least the Mideast, they still do.

Call them detainees, political prisoners, or prisoners of war, the name is not relevant because the article is not about “them”, it is about us and our system of government. Here is my take:

The system of checks and balances, of three equal but separate braches of govenment, is slipping into one of collusion and conspiracy, and that threatens us more than a few, or a few thousand religious extreemists.

as the replacement struggle for the cold war, the war in afghanistan is fought purely for profit— if the made-up reasons for the billions wasted and the hundreds or thousands of lives sacrificed were ever exposed those “expenditures” would seem sad indeed—ah, but those dollars generated billions in profits for the so-called defense industry and at the same time serve to perpetrate the conditions in which new “terrorists” (pr freedom fighters when ronnie armed them against the soviets) are bred every day—wars are simply about the money and all this legal mumbo jumbo about how many “detainees” can dance the head of a drum court cannot hide it—the awfulness is just too obvious..

The US government, and its lackey judges, etc., are liars, totally corrupt…nothing new about that, and you could have summed up this document scandal in just those few words. The US is a criminal empire, a tool of the international capitalist elites, and dumb as a rock, with lots of weaponry and a brutal military to back it up. Americans are sheep, blinded by television and junk food, arrogant and proud, stumbling towards ruin.


Oct. 9, 2010, 4:25 a.m.

Great insightful truthful comments here. All of this sickens me no end. All I can say is the U.S. has become the evil monster it claims to be fighting.

Carl Kirsch, Atlanta, GA

Oct. 9, 2010, 7:13 a.m.

The Supreme Court of the United States as a co-equal branch of Government ought to declare this type of thing unconstitutional.  Every lawyer, and I am one, follows the cases of his fellows to see what path he should take to represent his clients.  I am sick to death of national security being an excuse for secrecy.

It should come as no surprise that the “law” is whatever those in power say that it is, and that the interpretation of an act as “legal” or not is largely dependent on who committed the act and not on the nature of the act itself. There is nothing special about America that makes it immune from this basic human condition, all propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding.

First, my compliments on the comprehensive and well-written article. A sheer pleasure. Secondly, a totally depressing situation for anyone who believes in the democratic process. As a lawyer, I appalled at the idea of two separate decisions for any reason. The comparisons to Kafka are facile,n but sadly true. I am sure there are real bad actors out there, but we must find ways without violating our supposed moral framework to deal with them or as may have said we are lost.

We only have these problems with terrorists who are captured alive on the battlefield. The solution to this so called problem is obvious. As of now we are being forced to suffer under esoteric, academic solutions that cause dangerous problems in the real world.

The concepts of “secrecy” and “justice” erode each other.

Yes, we must have witness protection programs with fake names etc. 

But in the end, only full disclosure of facts provides the solid bedrock on which justice can be a stable right in ours or any society.

Of what are we afraid?  Perhaps the final recognition that the previous administration put our justice system into a very difficult situation.  That’s at the minimum.

Or perhaps we’re afraid to admit that we elected someone who took our country’s justice system much more in the direction of Communist China or the former Communist Romania?

Transparency and honesty are required now, with a full measure of courage to do what accords to the principles of our constitution, erring on the side of freedom and protection of human rights and dignity.

Voted for a Clean Sweep with a New Broom; turns out We Elected an Airbrush.

One more reason to be concerned: This story has explosive implications, yet you won’t find it picked up by any of the traditional US media outlets.

AP: Nope (but a story about women who kept 77 cats in two cars made it to the home page)

Reuters: No dice (but we find that the new Harry Potter movie will not be released in 3D…)

CNN: Nothing (but from their home page you can watch a video entitled “CNN correspondents sing the hits”...)

FOX: Nada (but you can find out what the hottest pajamas are for the fall season…)

CBS: Big goose egg (but we find to our horror that a flock of geese has collided with a bus…somewhere…)

NBC/MSNBC: Zilch (but we learn that a port-a-potty shortage is threatening the Colbert and Stewart rallies in DC…)

ABC: Zero (but we can read commentary on what the Kardashians should do next…)

I guess they might be worried that they’d have to explain why it matters.

This article is really far off-the-mark and shows very little understanding of how Article III judges operate.  There are a lot of theories expressed in this piece about how federal judges interact with the Department of Justice—theories expressed without citation or quotation from sources—and they could not be further from the truth.  Talk to former clerks for federal judges—including ones who have worked on cases involving national security.  Article III judges are still in charge and make independent decisions.  They may seek to protect legitimate needs to not disclose confidential information, but they do not take marching orders from the Department of Justice.  Article III judges, with lifetime tenure, remain very much in charge of their cases.  They are constitutional officers who cannot be ordered by the Department of Justice to do anything.  Your article is way off base and fictional in attempting to explain how the federal judiciary operates.  It does a disservice to a beacon of independence in protecting the Constitution post-9/11.

@article: And yet we have two distinct versions of the Judge’s opinion, the second of which pretends to be the officially redacted version of the original, but which very clearly smooths over important inconsistencies in the government’s evidence. Are you saying that, since these judges are so “independent” and “in charge,” the judge didn’t really change the opinion that we can clearly see has been substantively altered?


Oct. 10, 2010, 2:52 a.m.

@article: Are you saying that acting in a duplicitous manner as a judge is “protecting the Constitution”?

And how does “post-9/11” alter how a judge would “protect the Constitution”?

Or “post-9/11” citizens should not attempt to identify possible corruption in the judicial system?

I guess you mean to say “post-9/11” lawlessness rules, i.e. “independent” judges can change the rules of law daily to fit with political demands due to 9/11? Or “they” are all “terrorists”, therefore “Guilty”, and can expect no due process?


Oct. 10, 2010, 12:40 p.m.


It appears to me that you’re doing the same thing you accuse the writers here of doing.  You’re preaching to us about “what Article III judges do,” without citing any source for, or specific knowledge of, what transpired in this particular case.

You offer no specific information as to why two entirely different opinions in the same case were published.

Rather, you merely assert your superiority in your knowledge that the judges in such cases are, in legal parlance, are referred to as “Article III judges” who enjoy lifetime tenure.

You continue to assert, with an abundance of naivete, that Article III judges NEVER bend under pressure from the DOJ.

Sure.  And that is the case in the same world where the federal government never violates the Constitutional rights, even during “war-time” of, let’s say, middle class white Americans.

The other lawyers here, myself included, don’t suffer such allusions.  Wake up.

@article Firstly I do not see any claims in the article that judges “take their marching orders from the DOJ” but that is perhaps an issue of tone just as the change to “in the vicinity of” is for the decision. 

Secondly, If as you contend the judge is independent, and thus chose to make this change on his own, it does not change the nature of the problem.  The new decision changes, in my opinion, crucial features such as the location to be more pro-prosecution than they were before.  And, most importantly, the new decision was issued in a way that conceals the role of redaction in the case seeking, in effect, to conceal how classified information is used, or blocked, in court. 

Whether the judge did this on his own and received criticism for it, or did it at the behest of someone else and receives criticism for that, he did it and that is the problem.

I’m reminded, to some extent, of the Eric McDavid case.  There the FBI built a case based upon a paid informant and argued at trial that she could not appear “for her own safety” thus preventing any serious cross-examination.  Yet some months later they let her give a gushing interview to Elle Magazine complete with pictures.  Clearly there the “need for security” was used inconsistently and benefited the prosecution

Andrew Oliver

Oct. 12, 2010, 9:49 a.m.

Power corrupts…

Same sh!t, different day!

I agree with Janus Daniels, we can and should have both.
Mr.Sifers I would like to remind you these Extreme Islamist and the regular Islamist have VERY long memories, they hold grudges for CENTURIES. Which means they will be willing to kill our grand kids for the invasions and mistreatment we show today.
And when a fellow is willing to die to kill you or your kids its very hard to stop him.

@ Bin: all peoples have long memories. where do you think all the picking and mistrust that often exists between neighboring countries comes from?
but that doesn’t mean that all the people of a nation will want to kill the people of another nation that has wronged them in the past. otherwise, germany would be rather empty (or at least populated by very few germans) right now.
and if you want to insinuate that just islamists hold a grudge is of course nonsense. just take the hundreds of thousands or maybe even over a million (depending on what source you look at) middle-eastern people that were killed because of about three thousand dead americans. that is not simply a grudge, that is insane.
another example would be austria. a small, predominantly catholic country whose at least right-wing inhabitants are still afraid of some secret invasion of turks, taking over the country - which they tried to do by force and obviously failed three centuries ago.

condition I./

Alteration or censorship of public documents or reporting to protect the “health” or “greater good” of the nation

condition II./

commentator Dan Davis Oct. 9, 8:04 p.m pointed out the absence of coverage in the main media of this content.


For the past 11 years I have been working within a society and a professional context where condition I./ is a common action and where condition II./ is equally common. The society I work within is the People’s Republic of China.

The experience has been enlightening to me.  The time I lived and worked in the US as well as in the EU were times where, in retrospect, I seemed blinded in believing citizen’s were paradoxically “provided” with the superior status of individual-based liberty to access any data and convert it into information, based on their own emotional and intellectual capacities, without having to resort to a delegated process of handing it over into the hands of an arbitrary and selective group (whether an censorship bureau, a security agency or other) in charge of the information-driven “health” of its subjects.

Though it should neither mean anything to a reader, I am disappointed in the symbol labeled “the USA.” Though, try to accept the plausibility commentator Charles Sifers (Oct. 8, 4:04 p.m.) when I write that “not really [being] concerned about how [the US] ‘look’ to others” is exactly at the cornerstone of many of the issues at hand.

It is exactly the lack of a reflective capacity within a larger global context by the US bureaucracy, governmental institutions and several of its complacent citizens that has brought you the dynamics of which the above court case’s edits are but one anecdote.

I truly wish you all good luck Americans, you need it.

So much for due process

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

The Detention Dilemma

The government remains uncertain what to do with its prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

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