World Bulletin/ News Desk
A U.S. military judge on Thursday ordered the government to dismantle a monitoring system that let outside censors halt the public broadcast of hearings for Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks.
The closed-circuit broadcast feed was cut for a few minutes during a pretrial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base on Monday for the self-described mastermind of attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four co-defendants.
The cutting of the feed revealed for the first time that a still unidentified entity outside the courtroom was listening in to proceedings with a finger on the kill switch.
"It is the judge that controls the courtroom," said Army Colonel James Pohl during his ruling. "This is the last time... any other third party will be permitted to unilaterally decide that the broadcast should be suspended."
The feed was cut when Mohammed's lawyer, David Nevin, mentioned a defense request to preserve the secret CIA prisons where the defendants had been detained before being transported to Guantanamo.
On Tuesday Pohl said the feed had been cut without reason as the information in question was not secret, and a transcript of the censored portion was later released.
Spectators watch tribunal hearings from behind a soundproof glass wall at the rear of the courtroom at Guantanamo. They hear the sound on a 40-second delay through a feed which also provides sound and video to journalists in the Guantanamo press center and to a couple of closed-circuit viewing sites on the U.S. East Coast.
A court security officer sitting next to the judge controls a button that muffles the feed with static and flashes a red light when secret information is disclosed.
After meeting privately with the lawyers, including prosecutors who seemed well aware of the outside monitoring, Pohl said an "original classification authority" had the ability to monitor the courtroom and cut the feed.
Pohl did not identify that authority but it would be whichever agency or officer had originally classified information about the CIA prisons as secret.
Pohl ordered that monitoring system be removed on Thursday and said emphatically that he and the court security officer were the only ones with authority to suspend the broadcast.
The chief prosecutor, Brigadier General Mark Martins, serves as the government's top-ranking representative at the trial and said his team would comply with the judge's order. He refused to say who cut the feed or where they were listening from.
The hearings adjourned as scheduled on Thursday and will resume on Feb. 11.
They will then consider an emergency request that further hearings be halted until it can be ascertained whether someone was also eavesdropping on defense attorneys' conversations among themselves and with their clients. Nevin said defense lawyers have a duty to ensure those are confidential.
Defense lawyers have long suspected their conversations were being monitored and "after this week, the paranoia level has kicked up a notch," said James Connell, who represents defendant Ali Abdul Aziz Ali.
After Thursday's hearing, another of the defense lawyers, Commander Walter Ruiz, said: "Is this a system that we can believe in? Who is pulling the strings? Who is the master of puppets?"
Abandoning Europe could mean anything from a sweeping withdrawal from EU institutions to more limited opt-outs.
Turkish Prime Minister says bloc should analyze UK's EU referendum process very well for its own future
Elections are not due in the Netherlands until next year, but since last year polls have consistently shown support for the Freedom Party (PVV) climbing on the back of the refugee crisis.
'Not just one, but many mosques are needed in Athens, just like in other European countries,' says Serif
Merkel instead said the EU is strong enough to find the “right answers” to Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.
Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, says British people 'took their country back' in deciding to quit the EU
-Scottish First Minister says it is ‘democratically unacceptable’ for her country to be taken out of EU against its will
European Council President Donald Tusk says EU is prepared for UK’s exit, remaining European countries to meet next week
As Brexit becomes campaign fodder ahead of Sunday elections, Spain's FM looks to eventual Spanish control of Gibraltar
Britain's vote to leave the EU is bad news for Europe and for Poland, says Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski on Friday
Donald Trump, currently in Scotland has said that the Brexit was 'fantastic'
The EU, feeling broken over the British vote to leave has vowed to stay united with
The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed President Jacob Zuma's leave to appeal its decision that he should face corruption charges.
German politicians say UK’s decision to leave EU would cause major damage to both sides
Today’s Brexit vote could reignite a 300-year-old fight between Britain and Spain with Span offering to share sovereingty over the island