With the world watching, a pre-trial hearing got underway this week in the Guantánamo military commission prosecution of the five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators. Prime among the issues before the military judge was how transparent the commissions will be. The ACLU's Hina Shamsi argued our motion in support of the public's constitutional right of access to the proceedings – and against the government's unconstitutional effort to prevent the public from hearing defendants' testimony of their torture and abuse in U.S. custody.
Back in April, the government asked the military judge to enter a "protective order" contending, among other things, that because the defendants were "exposed" to the CIA's classified rendition, detention, and interrogation program, anything they said about it in court could be kept from the public. In September, the government modified its proposal to include a provision defining as "classified" the defendants' own "observations and experiences" of their illegal treatment and CIA black site detention.