Military judge allows alleged 9/11 mastermind to build torture case
A military judge has ordered the prison at Guantanamo to let defense attorneys photograph scars on the ankles and wrists of the waterboarded, alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, to preserve evidence in his death-penalty case.
But Army Col. James Pohl made it clear in his ruling, unsealed on the eve of Thanksgiving, that the public may never see the images that defense lawyers consider proof that the CIA tortured him in years of secret custody where U.S. agents waterboarded Mohammed 183 times.
Prosecutors, who don't concede the men were tortured before arriving at Guantanamo, wanted Mohammed and co-defendant Walid bin Attash to pose for military photographers and have Guantanamo prison commanders control the photos.
Defense lawyers called it an intrusion into the attorney-client relationship, and Pohl agreed.
Mohammed and his four fellow defendants in the case are held in a secret prison on the Navy base at Guantanamo because the CIA program that subjected them to harsh overseas interrogations for the George W. Bush administration is classified.
Pohl didn't rule that the photos of Mohammed and bin Attash would necessarily be classified. In the event intelligence authorities don't classify the images, however, he invoked a war-court protective order he devised.