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Guantanamo Hearings Delayed as Legal Files Vanish 170

Posted by samzenpus
from the sieve-security dept.
houghi writes "The defense lawyers of Guantanamo prisoners have been ordered to stop using government computers for sensitive information due to security and confidentiality concerns. One News from New Zealand says 'In another case, system administrators were searching files at prosecutors' request and were able to access more than 500,000 defense files, including confidential attorney-client communications.' Due to all this, hearings were postponed."
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Guantanamo Hearings Delayed as Legal Files Vanish

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  • by quonsar (61695) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:37AM (#43446127) Homepage
    ...would use government (prosecution) computers in the first place????
    • by NettiWelho (1147351) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:43AM (#43446163)
      The ones that think that the united states is the land of the free and home of the brave, not another iteration of category ("USSR, Nazi-Germany, Cuba, North Korea, DDR")
      • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @01:13PM (#43446513) Homepage Journal

        ..in the first place. why do you think they were using government computers? thus the problem isn't really that system admins of the defense attorneys lawyers were able to access the files. of course they were. but the problem is that the prosecutors are full of bullshit and are asking them to do that. of course, the whole court situation in gitmo is fucked up in the first place which is why it's in gitmo and not even at a federal secret court and prison inside usa.

        so the problem is that the prosecuting and court handling site was not going to go about it fair and square in the first place. not that computers were used.

        • Great points and most lucidly articulated, good citizen. Just as the shyster judge has allowed a witness for the prosecution, a SEAL team member who was part of the hit team on Osama bin Laden, who was never convicted in any court of culpabability for the events of 9/11/01, and whose body was never produced after the hit on him, which renders this SEAL team witness completely hearsay in a true court of law, military or otherwise, such is proof positive America is the land of the lawless where the so-called
        • by tqk (413719)

          so the problem is that the prosecuting and court handling site was not going to go about it fair and square in the first place.

          Makes me wonder whether this is what Bradley Manning has to look forward to. Based on past actions, I'd bet yes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ajdlinux (913987)
      Because they're military defence lawyers, and thus serving members of the military?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:51PM (#43446439)

      Much like the people IN Guantanamo, you're assuming that they were given a choice in the first place. They weren't. The US decided to imprison them indefinitely without a trial, what made you think that they'd start playing fair if a trial actually came about?

      I have to wonder just how much of the military budget in that fading republic is alloted toward sheer propaganda. The fact that americans are allowing their elected officials to redefine the word "torture" so that they can commit it...it's baffling in comparison to the picture of the US I grew up with. I can only assume that whoever is doing PR for the military is a fucking legend because this kind of shit was what ended Vietnam, but now it doesn't seem like anyone cares.

    • > [What kind of moronic "defense" lawyer...] ...would use government (prosecution) computers in the first place?

      There's a pretty big clue in the second paragraph of TFA: "The breach prompted Col. Karen Mayberry, the chief military defense counsel, to order all attorneys for Guantanamo detainees to stop using Defense Department computer networks to transmit privileged or confidential information until the security of such communications is assured."

      The defense lawyers are, largely, like the prosecutors, U

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:39AM (#43446137)

    So now prosecutorial misconduct that would get any civilian prosecutor disbarred is going to indefinitely delay the release of any prisoners who happen to be innocent.

    Wow. Only in America... err... Cuba.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:47PM (#43446427) Homepage

      Well, the Obama administration has made the actual policy on Guantanamo prisoners very clear indeed several months ago: None of them will ever be released under any circumstances. Even those who are known to be innocent of any crime or terrorism. Even those who present (or at least presented before they went in) no threat whatsoever to the United States.

      The reason we know this is that they shut down the office that was in charge of arranging releases of Guantanamo prisoners. Everything else is window dressing.

      • by Mabhatter (126906) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @01:13PM (#43446511)

        It's not entirely fair to blame Obama. CONGRESS told him in no uncertain terms he could not hold civilian trials. And Congress told him he could not close a "secret base" in spite of the fact that the previous president NEVER ASKED to use Gitmo in this manner.

        For all the posturing in the media, the GOP LIKE the way things are. They LIKE the Drone bombing campaigns, they have the military ranks packed well enough all the Top brass is loyal to the GOP first because they keep funding coming.

        • by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @02:44PM (#43446905) Journal

          While the GOP certainly has created obstacles to the token efforts Obama has made toward cleaning up this mess its precisely because its in military courts we can hold the president almost completely accountable. The cynic in my thinks Obama wanted this moved into the civilian courts so he could duck responsibility .

          Whatever happens in civilian courts the president could have simply said, its a judicial matter and I can't as the executive interfere. As it is he is the Commander and Chief, its certainly is within his power to insist the military tribunals be conducted quickly and fairly, rather than let the be the kangaroo courts they have become. It is within his power to move or remove any military personnel that interfere or obstruct that agenda. In either military or civilian courts its within his power to pardon; the ones he believes to be innocent could certainly be freed if he wanted to do so.

          So I think we can conclude one more of the following is true:
          1. Obama really does not care about the issue, it was all just sound bites to help win an election.
          2. Obama does not think these victim's lives are worth the political capital it would cost him to see justice served.
          3. Obama does not want them release now because of what they may now do, now that we have 'radicalized' them.
          4. Obama does not want them release because as bad as holding people indefinitely without or with obviously sham trials does not make his and the previous administration look nearly as bad or as lawless what these folks may reveal if released.
          5. Obama believes them all to be guilty and that justice is being served; independent of the integrity of the trial process.

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            I'm going to suggest option 6: These people would prove to be very damaging witnesses to a war crimes tribunal.

          • Two, three, and four.

        • It kind of disturbs me how quickly you turn that argument around into blaming the GOP. First you say, "it's not entirely fair to blame Obama." Then you change it to blaming the GOP for everything.

          You might want to fix your cognitive biases there. Saying the GOP is bad doesn't reduce the blame from Obama at all. He is the one who expanded drone attacks, clearly he likes things the way they are too. Obama had given up trying civilian trials a year before congress passed the bill stopping it (and in any cas
          • by MickLinux (579158)

            I think he was very good at not pointing out that it was GWB who began all kinds of anti-constitutional , and yes, high treason policies as "torture is not torture", thus undermining our entire system of government.

            That said, let's simplify this: considering the rules of courts make all evidence questionable in all cases, I call for people serving as jurors to first consider whether the preponderance of evidence indicates guilt, and then consider whether there is any way that there can not be doubt far beyo

            • I literally read your post three times, and still have no idea what you said. Starting with, who is 'he?'
            • by swillden (191260)
              Personally, I stopped bothering to distinguish between Bush and Obama years ago. I call them Obushma.
        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          It's not entirely fair to blame Obama.

          Yes it is. He had an office that was handling the release of Guantanamo prisoners. He made the unilateral decision to shut that office down, knowing that there were 86 people determined to be completely innocent by the kangeroo court system they'd concocted for those prisoners. So yes, I'm going to blame Obama for doing that, because he in effect announced that innocence or guilt doesn't matter, and the people there were going to be locked up forever.

          Congress said they couldn't bring the prisoners to the ma

        • by cfalcon (779563)

          WAIT WAIT HOLD UP DAWG

          When we had a Democrat majority Congress and a Republican President, this was a REPUBLICAN problem.
          Now with a Democrat majority Senate, a Republican Majority house, and a popular two-term Democrat President.... this is a REPUBLICAN problem.

          Bull. Fucking Shit. You just want to suck blue dick because you are on team blue. Get it through your head- both sides want this. If either didn't, IT WOULD NOT BE A THING!

    • by Etherwalk (681268)

      So now prosecutorial misconduct that would get any civilian prosecutor disbarred is going to indefinitely delay the release of any prisoners who happen to be innocent.

      Wow. Only in America... err... Cuba.

      No, it's not really prosecutorial misconduct. (At least the email thing isn't.) It's more a question of technical incompetence. Prosecutorial misconduct would imply they were doing it deliberately in order to get the emails; the disclosed searches, at least, were *disclosed*--the attorneys acted ethically when they were told the IT guys had done overbroad searches.

    • Half [guardian.co.uk] of them may soon be dead anyway. With no chance of release, what good is life in prison as a PoW?

    • So now prosecutorial misconduct that would get any civilian prosecutor disbarred is going to indefinitely delay the release of any prisoners who happen to be innocent.

      Its actually not yet clear that the leakage of information (which appears to have gone both ways) was "prosecutorial misconduct" so much as poor isolation of IT systems which are used by both the prosecution and the defense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:42AM (#43446153)

    So now the prosecutors are facing jail time for contempt of court, correct?

    • and people who think like that get a code red.

    • by nomadic (141991)
      According to the story the prosecutors were the ones who informed the defense counsel that they had found the emails, and said they stopped reading once they realized what they were.
      • by mysidia (191772)

        According to the story the prosecutors were the ones who informed the defense counsel that they had found the emails, and said they stopped reading once they realized what they were.

        It seems the system administrators' procedures were broken, as they allowed the lawyers to perform discovery and access to information in a scope outside their legal authority to do so.

        It is the system administrator's duty to ensure that the scope of any search request is limited such that the data that can be retrieved w

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:01PM (#43446251)

      Where do you think you are? Some country where "do as I say don't do as I do" doesn't apply?

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:46AM (#43446175)

    If these incidents happened in the so called "third world" or even in other jurisdictions, folks in the mighty USA would be saying somethig to the effect: -

    "We're are better than them..."

    "We've got more mature credible sysytems and established procedures..."

    That's the beauty of living in a country like America..."

    Plus all the rest of the verbiage that normally follows...

    Question is: Am I wrong?

    • by deep44 (891922) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:55AM (#43446223)
      If another country treated an American citizen like this, it would be regarded as a hostage crisis.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Maudib (223520)

        If another country had been willing to claim these guys and take responsibility for the future actions, they would have been released years ago.

        Nobody wants these dudes.

        • Pakistan has repeatedly offered to take the prisoners.

      • If another country treated an American citizen like this, it would be regarded as a hostage crisis.

        They aren't hostages - you missed that completely. I'll give you a hint.

        They are Prisoners of ___.

        Three letters, starts with a "W". Any guesses?

        The Law of ___ (see above) allows prisoners to be held until the end of the conflict - no requirement for charges or trials at all.

        John McCain was held as a Prisoner of ___ for 5.5 years by North Vietnam.

        I think it is an interesting comment on your thought process that you might consider Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, plotter of 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 people and

        • by Carewolf (581105)

          They are not granted the rights of prisoners of war. The entire justification of their treatment is that the US does not consider them prisoners of war, and therefore they are not protected by the laws and treaties dealing with prisoners of war. If they had been they would be treated much much better and probably released by now.

          Not that I disagree with you. They are prisoners of war, but somehow I doubt you would be able to accept what that means.

          • by belmolis (702863)
            They are prisoners of war, but as "unlawful combatants", they are (so the US government argues), not entitled to the protections provided by the Geneva Convention. International law is not terribly clear on the status of unlawful combatants, but it seems pretty clear that, like lawful combatants, they can be held for the duration of the war without being charged with a crime.
        • by lxs (131946)

          The administration who had them rounded up in the first place created all sorts of legal fictions to make sure that they weren't treated as prisoners of war complete with the rights that accompany that classification in international law. The current administration just wants to sweep this whole embarrasment under the carpet.

    • Don't worry. The rest of the world has been saying that about the US for a long, long time now.

    • "We're are better than them..."

      Well, that certainly does sound like something that certain people from the US might say.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @11:48AM (#43446185)

    The US gov know they can not release these men. Not because of what the prisoners supposedly have done, but because of what the US gov has done to the prisoners and the effect their release and statements in free media will have.

    Non of these prisoners will be released. Gitmo can not close until the last prisoner has died in captivity, and this is the beginning of the US push to reach this end.

    • Don't worry (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Under Obama's policy, he just has to grant them citizenship, release them, then gun them down with drones.

      • That may seriously be what happens at some point in the future. They all get tossed out the back of a truck in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, right before some drones show up. A few more unnamed "suspected militants" dead around the same time wouldn't raise a single eyebrow.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:03PM (#43446267)

      What is this "free media" you talk about, and can I get them here somehow?

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      The US gov know they can not release these men. Not because of what the prisoners supposedly have done, but because of what the US gov has done to the prisoners and the effect their release and statements in free media will have.

      Non of these prisoners will be released. Gitmo can not close until the last prisoner has died in captivity, and this is the beginning of the US push to reach this end.

      But they have let some prisoners go, and those prisoners' stories have been reported in the media. But maybe not in the "free" US media?

      It's not a secret what's been going on, except apparently to most US citizens.

  • Just ask WikiLeaks for the backup.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @01:10PM (#43446491)

    So, you're the prosecution and you're trying to build a case against a defendant. As the government's counsel, you have system administrators do a search for files that relate to that defendant. ...and discover that the defense has been using the same systems.

    Do you:
    A) Ignore the discovery, take the files, and use them to help build your case...
    B) Tell the sysadmins to quietly stop searching those files, which MAY be discovered later...
    or C) Tell the sysadmins to stop searching those files and tell the defense to stop using government computer systems, as they're leaking privileged information to the prosecution.

    IMO, the ethical thing to do is C, since you want to make sure it's as fair a trial as you're capable of having, both as the defendant's rights require and to help allay issues arising in the court of public opinion. Personally I think the prosecution did the right thing in forcing the defense to take their files and go use a different system.

    Keep in mind that the specific attorneys with the prosecution may well not have finished their JD by the time these people were put in Gitmo, so don't blame them for the slow government response and delaying tactics.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      You are missing the point. You are the military and are holding hearings for people who, if guilty will get the same treatment they are getting now, and if innocent, will be great embarrassments. So you:
      A) Give them a fair trial in front of an impartial civilain judiciary?
      or B) illegally bug their interrogation rooms, snoop confidential files, and hamper the defense at all opportunities, and hold the hearings before a non-impartial military tribunal?

      Arguing what "should be" done for a detail under B is
      • They may not get the same treatment if found guilty - some could get the death penalty.

        B) illegally bug their interrogation rooms, snoop confidential files, and hamper the defense at all opportunities, and hold the hearings before a non-impartial military tribunal?

        Good grief - you really believe that BS? I'll sort it out for you. Bugging the rooms would have been done by the intelligence agencies with no feedback to the prosecution unless it was in reaction to things like this [reuters.com]. The "snooping" probably happened as described - no doubt the systems were built and manned by the lowest bidder. It is the defense that has been hampering the movement of the cases with all manner of l

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          They have confirmed bugs in the only rooms allowed for use in "private" discussions. These were bugged by the prosecution (as in the "prosecution" is the USA vs., and the people that bugged the rooms did so as an agent of the USA). I didn't indicate that the lawyers for the prosecution did it, but that the prosecuting body did it. And, they have admitted to it. They just assert that they were turned off at the time, but since they were never revealed until "discovered" by the defense, there was never an
    • C) Tell the sysadmins to stop searching those files and tell the defense to stop using government computer systems, as they're leaking privileged information to the prosecution.

      If you don't want the case thrown out of court and face charges and disbarment you do "C". Anything else is idiocy, including the other options you listed.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @02:07PM (#43446733) Homepage

    These are kangaroo courts anyway. Real Federal trials take place before real Federal judges who are members of the judiciary, not military officers who are functionaries of the executive branch.

  • ITT: People newly added to the terrorist watch list...

  • How's all this "hope and change" bullshit working for you Obama supporters? He was supposed to close Gitmo within a year of taking office. He promised. I guess he's not a different kind of politician after all.

    Now he has expanded his war on terror, crossing boarders, using more drones, signing terrible NDAA's, etc. How is this any different from Bush, other than the fact that the US media refuses to report on it? The media no longer notifies of us soldier or innocent civilian deaths. How convenient.

    Bu

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