But the development suggested that the Sept. 11 defendants may be able to someday say in public what, if any, damage the interrogation techniques caused, but not specify the technique. The Justice Department approved the techniques for use between 2002 and 2005 and they included, according to public disclosures, putting a captive in a box with “a harmless insect,” slapping, diapering, shaving, hooding, isolating, sleep depriving and forcing captives into stress positions.
In court, Connell held up a sealed envelope that he said contained Baluchi’s handwritten account of his CIA treatment to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture. The lawyer said he hadn’t read it, wouldn’t vouch for whether it contradicted or confirmed any classified information the lawyer had seen and so should be able to send it to the Rapporteur as Baluchi’s unclassified memories.
Case prosecutor Clay Trivett argued later, however, that the United States government has absolute control of U.S. captive’s CIA memories because where they were held and what was done to them is classified as “sources and methods” used by the CIA in the now defunct Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program.
Connell made the disclosure from a secret annex to his Convention on Torture legal motion after a closed session Tuesday at the war court. Judge Pohl announced Wednesday that no national security secrets were at risk and could challenge U.S. classification rules in open court.
He told the judge that nothing came of the medical professionals’ 2006 “suspected detainee maltreatment” report. Trivett a day earlier argued that the detainees need not go elsewhere to make a Convention on Torture complaint, that the U.S. military was bound to investigate any abuse claim.
While the other four accused Sept. 11 conspirators attended court, Baluchi wasn’t there. He voluntarily waived his attendance, said a prison camp lawyer, Navy Cmdr George Massucco, who told the judge he stopped by Baluchi’s cell at the secret Camp 7 complex at 5:20 a.m.
Prosecutors don’t concede anyone was tortured and argue that because the CIA program that interrogated them overseas is classified, information about the program can only be heard in closed sessions of the Guantánamo war court.
Pakistani forces captured Baluchi in April 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan, along with co-defendant Walid bin Attash “and four other suspected al-Qaida members,” according to his leaked Guantánamo prison assessment. He got to Guantánamo more than three years later, and in December 2006 was assessed to be in “good health.”
The 9/11 case is “not about torture,” Trivett told the judge Tuesday. “It’s about the summary execution of 2,976 people.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Navy defense lawyer for another man charged in the case sought and failed to stop the proceedings. Navy Lt. Cmdr Kevin Bogucki told the judge that defendant Ramzi bin al Shibh had not gotten a good night’s sleep because of disturbances at his secret prison overnight.
Bin al Shibh, 41, has complained for months that the military has systematically caused his isolation cell to vibrate and blasted noise inside at night. Over the summer, Pohl issued an order to the military to cut it out, if it was happening.
Bogucki asked the judge additionally for a court order to inspect the control room at Camp 7, Guantánamo’s secret prison for CIA captives, and to interview some of the guards. The judge didn’t issue the order and instead told the lawyer to file a motion.
Eight Sept. 11 victims are at Guantánamo this week to watch the proceedings, under escort by a Pentagon employee in a New York Fire Department uniform. None so far have agreed to tell their stories and so far the Pentagon has withheld their identities.