Too Hot For Gitmo: “Big Boy Pants”

A guard tower at the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention facility.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/5343896666/sizes/m/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Flickr/The National Guard</a>

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The video and audio feed from the war court at Guantanamo Bay is on a time delay so as to prevent accidental or deliberate disclosure of classified information during proceedings. As Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 plotters were being arraigned last Saturday, the feed abruptly cut out.

Reporters and observers heard only white noise for a few moments because a military security officer censored one of the defense attorneys, Air Force Capt. Michael Schwartz, after Schwartz alluded to the torture of his client. Just before the military cut the feed, Schwartz used the phrase “big boy pants” to refer to torture, mockingly adopting the euphemism employed by former CIA official Jose Rodriguez in an interview two weeks ago. The Miami Herald‘s Carol Rosenberg reports:

In the course of his statement, Schwartz said that he had replaced the court-issued headphones [Walid] bin Attash had been issued to hear the translation of the hearing because “the torture that my client was subjected to by the men and women wearing the big boy pants down at the CIA makes it impossible . . .”

The rest of the statement could not be heard because of the security officer’s action, the Pentagon said. A transcript of the bleeped-out portion showed it consisted of a 21-word exchange during which the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, cautioned Schwartz.

To the Pentagon’s credit, they released what they could in the court transcript afterwards, including the reference to Rodriguez.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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