In a bid to illustrate the absurdity of knee-jerk secrecy at Guantánamo, a Navy defense lawyer on Tuesday invoked none other than Miami Heat superstar LeBron James.
In June, an Afghan captive here sent his lawyer a short note:
“LeBron James is very bad man. He shuld apologise to the city of Cleveland,” it said. Nothing more.
Because the author, Muhammed Rahim, was previously held by the CIA , it was treated as presumptively classified, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Bogucki told the war court judge, Army Col. James Pohl, during a pre-trial hearing in the Sept. 11 capital murder trial.
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It took about two months for his lawyer, Carlos Warner, to receive it as safe for the public to see.
James let his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers run out in 2010, and announced he was taking his talents to South Beach. On June 21, James led the Heat to the NBA championship, two days after the date scrawled on the alleged terrorist’s letter.
Warner’s a federal public defender in Ohio — Akron, not Cleveland. He and Bogucki are contesting Rahim’s detention in federal court in Washington.
Rahim got to Guantánamo in March 2008 from secret CIA custody. The Defense Department said in a statement that he was “a close associate of Osama bin Laden” who “had ties to al-Qaida organizations throughout the Middle East. He became one of bin Ladin’s most trusted facilitators and procurement specialists prior to his detention.”
Warner told The Miami Herald that he took the letter, dated June 19, as an illustration of his captive client’s character.
“Afghanistan is a region known for its poverty and hardship,” he wrote the Herald in an email that provided a copy of the note.
“Families persevere through a tribal culture and a dedication to protecting their home and their neighbors’ homes above all else. Loyalty and honesty are paramount in ancient tribal law. Betrayals are not tolerated or forgiven although an honest apology from an offending peer is valued.”