This piece originally appeared at The Guardian.
When the Senate’s long delayed torture report is finally released – if the new, Republican-controlled Senate releases it at all – the international conversation will rightly focus on the CIA torture program’s stunning strategic and moral failures, and the impunity granted so far to its architects. But the findings of the report, some of which have already been disclosed, should also force a conversation about the military commissions at Guantánamo, because those commissions are designed to mask the very conduct that the report condemns.
When President Bush created the military commissions, their purpose was to ensure the conviction of detainees on the basis of evidence obtained through torture. The due process enshrined in our constitution was essentially replaced by a kangaroo court: the military obstructed defendants’ access to counsel; it restricted their ability to see the evidence against them; and prosecutors were allowed to introduce hearsay evidence as well as statements obtained through coercion and torture.
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