During the week of September 24th I went to visit my client Mr. Al-Ghizzawi at Guantanamo again. It is clear to me that our visits are nearing the end... Mr. Al-Ghizzawi won't be with the living much longer. Mr. Al-Ghizzawi knows his days are limited, not only can he barely walk but he sat at our meeting doubled over in pain. For the first time in our two year attorney-client relationship Mr. Al-Ghizzawi shared with me pictures of his little girl... she is now almost six years old and he has not seen her since she was a few months old. She is a beautiful little girl with big green eyes and a mischievous grin. Mr. Al-Ghizzawi lamented the fact that he will never see his little girl again and that his little girl will not even have a picture of him to remember her father by.
Mr. Al-Ghizzawi wanted to share something else with me before he died. He wanted to share with me some of the torture that he has been subjected to over his now almost six years of captivity. He handed me a letter that he had been working on since July... it was a six page letter... he asked me to mark each page so that when I received it I would know if I was receiving the correct pages. I put my initials on the pages and I handed the letter over to my escort so that the military could send it to me... after "reviewing" it first for "secret information."
I have only had one letter held over these more than two years because it contained "secret" information. On that occasion I flew to DC, hired an interpreter with the "secret clearance" and went to the "secret place" to read the mysterious letter. As you might have suspected there was nothing mysterious in the letter... the interpreter first read the letter to me and after I expressed my dismay he typed out the translation... I resubmitted the letter in English and it was approved without so much as a mention of the previous "secret" designation... It was an expensive letter.
So now I have had a second letter withheld... well actually only half of a second letter...The government has designated three pages of Mr. Al-Ghizzawi's six page letter as "secret." It seems that the three pages that discuss recent issues that Mr. Al-Ghizzawi experienced while at Gitmo are ok .... It is the three pages that talk about what happened at the hands of the US while he was still in Afghanistan and his early days at Guantanamo that needs to be kept secret... and I don't blame them one bit for trying...it is ugly. ... really ugly. So there you have it, the ugliest facts are classified as "secret" to protect... I'm sorry, what is it again that we are protecting here?