In the Wall Street Journal, Debra Burlingame and Thomas Joscelyn ask the question “Doesn’t the public have a right to know?”
On the evening of Jan. 26, 2006, military guards at Guantanamo Bay made an alarming discovery during a routine cell check. Lying on the bed of a Saudi detainee was an 18-page color brochure. The cover consisted of the now famous photograph of newly-arrived detainees dressed in orange jumpsuits — masked, bound and kneeling on the ground at Camp X-Ray — just four months after 9/11. Written entirely in Arabic, it also included pictures of what appeared to be detainee operations in Iraq. Major General Jay W. Hood, then the commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, concurred with the guards that this represented a serious breach of security.
Maj. Gen. Hood asked his Islamic cultural adviser to translate. The cover read: “Cruel. Inhuman. Degrades Us All: Stop Torture and Ill-Treatment in the ‘War on Terror.'” It was published by Amnesty International in the United Kingdom and portrayed America and its allies as waging a campaign of torture against Muslims around the globe.
“One thread that runs through many of the testimonies from prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq, and from Guantanamo,” the brochure read, “is that of anti-Arab, anti-Islamic, and other racist abuse.”
How did the detainee get it? More importantly, who gave it to him?
Majeed Abdullah Al Joudi, the detainee in whose cell the brochure was first found, told guards he received the brochure from his lawyer. An investigation by JTF-GTMO personnel revealed that Julia Tarver Mason, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, had sent it to Al Joudi and eight of the firm’s other detainee clients through “legal mail” — a designation for privileged lawyer-client communications that are exempt from screening by security personnel. Worse, the investigation showed that Ms. Mason’s clients passed it to other detainees not represented by Paul, Weiss lawyers. In all, more than a dozen detainees received a copy. … READ THE REST
Those lawyers who formerly worked for Republican administrations and that are criticizing Keep America Safe for calling al Qaeda’s lawyers what they are, i.e. al Qaeda’s lawyers, ought to read it two or three times. This is far from the first time Debra Burlingame has written or spoken out about the lawyers waging lawfare upon our Nation, the one al Qaeda continues to attack.
Many of the lawyers who freely took on the task of defending al Qaeda’s killers or advocating on their behalf not only undermined the legal underpinnings for detaining their clients, but also endangered our troops in combat against them abroad. Some call that indefensible; I call it treason.