It’s OK to Torture, But Not OK to Talk About Torture


James Pohl, the Army colonel running the trial of accused 9/11-conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is not pleased. Someone—it’s not clear who, but it sure isn’t Pohl—is turning the audio feed of the hearing on and off. The feed was cut off yesterday when defense attorney David Nevin mentioned that portions of the hearing would be held in secret, and it wasn’t immediately obvious who had done it:

There was one thing that Pohl was clear about: what Nevin had been saying when he was cut off was not secret at all. That someone apparently thought it should be is likely due to its proximity to the question of torture—a subject that has distorted the proceedings profoundly, the white noise reverberating through it all, cutting off a moral as well as legal conversation.

Welcome to military commission hearings in the world’s greatest democracy, now all but impossible to hold fairly because of our history of torturing suspects. Do you feel ill yet?

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