9/11 Hearing: CIA Black Site Worker, Conflict-of-Interest, and Severance

Camp sign

The high lights of today’s (11 February 2015) 9/11 hearings at Camp Justice, Guantanamo Bay, include:

  • Opening statement by General Martins that the presence of a former CIA black site worker on a defense team “in no way resulted from any action by any agency of executive branch to gather information on any of the defense teams.” He repeated the statement twice before moving on.
  • General Martins then indicated that the interpreter’s name, appearance, and presence at Guantanamo Bay was classified information (he didn’t address that the original unofficial transcript posted on the Military Commission website included the interpreter’s name for a few hours until it was redacted)
  • On the matter of the former CIA black site worker, Judge Pohl shut down defense counsel’s attempt to present a”preview” of the motions they will be filing in response to the government’s filing and General Martins’ opening statement.
  • Defense counsel for all the teams argue that General Martins’ statement is a suggestion that defense counsel failed to adequately represent their clients because they, the defense counsel, did not discover the interpreter’s past history.
  • Defense counsel David Nevin stated he wants to find out what purpose the interpreter was put on the defense team if it was not to have him gather information.
  • Special Independent Counsel for Mr. Ramzi bin al Shibh, Lt. Col. Julie Pitvorek (USAF), stated that the defense teams can not move forward on the conflict-of-interest matter without additional information.
  • Judge Pohl denied the Special Review Team’s request for a closed meeting with Special Independent Counsel and him.
  • Defense counsel David Nevin objected at three different points to the continuation of the hearings until the interpreter issue can be investigated and resolved. His objections were overruled.
  • After a short recess, Judge Pohl took up the matter of severing Ramzi bin al Shibh and the 292 motion series.
  • Judge Pohl started by pressuring the prosecution to indicate  “how long was too long.”  In short how long would the government oppose severance knowing it would hold up the trial of the other four defendants. The government remains opposed to severance.
  • Judge Pohl called a long lunch recess to allow the lawyers to deal with the interpreter and severance issues. We will resume at 2:00 pm.

(Catherine Lemmer, 9/11 Hearings, Guantanamo Bay, February 9-13, 2015)


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