Gitmo's Chief Defense Counsel to Lawyers: Defy Letter-Reading Rule

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
01/17/2012
       
Gitmo's Chief Defense Counsel to Lawyers: Defy Letter-Reading Rule

On Sunday, the head of the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel for Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, Colonel J.P. Colwell, sent an e-mail ordering all lawyers under his command to defy rules authorizing and requiring officials at the naval facility’s detention center to open and read all correspondence between lawyers and the five detainees suspected of involvement in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

On Sunday, the head of the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel for Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, Colonel J.P. Colwell, sent an e-mail ordering all lawyers under his command to defy rules authorizing and requiring officials at the naval facility’s detention center to open and read all correspondence between lawyers and the five detainees suspected of involvement in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

As was reported in The New American last December,

The commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Rear Admiral David Woods, has suggested a fundamental rule change regarding the military’s right to access and review written communication exchanged between Gitmo prisoners suspected of being co-conspirators in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the attorneys representing them.

According to details of the rules published by the Associated Press, all the covered correspondence sent back and forth between any of the five detainees categorized as 9/11 co-conspirators and their legal counsel would be thoroughly reviewed by law enforcement and Department of Defense personnel.

In the memo, Colonel Colwell justified his command to refuse to comply with the new rules by citing several applicable provisions of military regulations dealing with members of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps.

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