You’ve been water-boarded but it’s illegal to talk about it

If you need the definition of Orwellian in the American “justice” system post 9/11, here’s the perfect example (via Pro Publica):

In a motion… unsealed last week, the government proposed new ground rules for classified information in the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others charged with planning the 9/11 attacks.

The new order says the accused can’t talk about their “observations and experiences” of being held by the CIA, including “the enhanced interrogation techniques that were applied to the Accused” — that is, waterboarding and other abuse.

As we… reported earlier this year, the government maintains that many details of the CIA’s detention program are still classified, despite… widespread disclosures… and an… official acknowledgement… by President George W. Bush in 2006. “Due to these individuals’ exposure to classified sources, methods, or activities of the United States,”… an order filed in April… read, anything the men say is “presumed to contain information classified as TOP SECRET / SCI.”

That sentence would have required defense attorneys to get the approval of a security officer to disclose even mundane information such as a date of birth, if it came from the defendant.

The new protective order — which is pending a judge’s approval — eliminates the line that all statements by the accused are presumed classified. In proposing the change, the governmentwrote… it intended to “alleviate defense concerns” about the burden that presumptive classification added to their interactions with their clients. The government’s new motion says that attorneys would only need a review of information “they know or have a reason to know is classified.”

But when it comes to the CIA’s detention program, the new order states explicitly that “the term ‘information’ shall include without limitation observations and experiences of the Accused.”

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