Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Court Allows Criminal Gitmo Torture Footage To Remain Secret

2014/09/03 0 284 Views

Court says CIA and other agencies can keep footage secret for ‘national security’ reasons
Nadia Prupis
The government can withhold photographs and videotapes—some of which may contain footage of torture and mistreatment—of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Though never tried nor convicted of any specific crime, the government has accused al-Qahtani of being the “20th 9/11 hijacker” after he was refused entry to the country just weeks prior to the attack. He was later apprehended in Pakistan and taken to the American offshore prison where he has remained ever since.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in 2012 filed a FOIA lawsuit (PDF) against the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the CIA, arguing that the release of photographs and video footage of al-Qahtani’s interrogation and imprisonment would serve the public interest. The government previously admitted to possessing six mugshots of al-Qahtani, 53 videotapes of him in his cell, two videotapes showing intelligence briefings, and one video showing two “forced cell extractions.”
But the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that publishing images of al-Qahtani “could logically and plausibly be used by anti-American extremists as propaganda to recruit members and incite violence against American interests at home and abroad.” The decision upheld a previous ruling by the District Court, which said that the government had “met its burden” of proving that photos and video footage of al-Qahtani could be kept secret “in the interest of ‘national defense or foreign policy.’”