Barack Obama Politics The Opinionsphere

Orwellian Tactics

According to an article in the GuardianClive Stafford Smith and his colleague Ahmed Ghappour wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to reconsider the American stance on releasing information related to their client’s detainment at Guantanamo. Smith, who has some level of American security clearance, attached a memo to this letter which included some information which he had gleaned due to his security clearance – and so he submitted the memo to a privilege review team at America’s Department of Defense for clearance. 


[T]he memo was redacted to just the title, leaving the president unable to read it. Stafford Smith included the redacted copy of the memo in his letter to illustrate the extent to which it had been censored. He described it as a “bizarre reality”. “You, as commander in chief, are being denied access to material that would help prove that crimes have been committed by US personnel. This decision is being made by the very people who you command.”

The privilege team argue that by releasing the redacted memo Reprieve has breached the rules that govern Guantánamo lawyers and have made a complaint to the court of “unprofessional conduct”.


The Guardian has posted the full letter here (pdf).

If the privilege review team is successful in pressing their complaint, Stafford Smith will be receive a six-month prison sentence. Unfortunately, the privilege review team has not yet identified what rule was supposedly breached.

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