Free Ali Al-Timimi

August 28, 2008

Cone of Silence

Filed under: Cone of Silence — sandboxarea @ 3:46 am


Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?


Shhhh. Don’t let the defense know… or the press. This is just for you. Wink, wink. You’re special. We can trust you today and maybe tomorrow. Oh and we’ll tell you in the future that we lied to you in the past but you’ll be able to overlook that. We’re the GOVERNMENT and we decide if and when we’ll tell you the truth and which parts of it. We’re the GOVERNMENT and we control the narrative of Ali’s story, don’t we.

Most people know that the government has a bad habit of over classification… even those things that were once unclassified or declassified can get reclassified… just because. One of the consequences of this is that it enables government employees to cover up crimes, negligence, or waste. If the boss can cover up his mistakes no matter how egregious then why can’t a grunt? 

In Ali’s case, the government lawyers applied and continue to apply 3 types of control over information. Of course, we’re talking about the unethical and perhaps criminal means of information control. These tactics undermine the judicial process and consequently negate the protections of the Constitution.

The first tactic used by the government is to reclassify documents already disclosed in previous trials. As we will discuss in the post “Out of Sequence Prosecutions”, for the government to win in Ali’s case and many of the related cases, the government had to isolate the defendants into arbitrary trials so that it could deny access to information through claims of relevance. Additionally, it had to conduct the trials in an incongruent sequence so that the court, press, jury, and more importantly the defendants would always be off-balance and have to defend against wild accusations “statements of fact” that were made in previous trials in which they could not defend themselves since they were not part of those proceedings.


Here’s an example of a topic which was declassified in the Paintball trial and then reclassified in Ali’s case:



The second technique of inappropriate information control used by the government is to use broken English linguistic barriers in their responses:


After consulting a smart 5th grader, we found out that “… no information not provided…” really means: “I found stuff at the NSA but I don’t want to say so. So I’m going to try to confuse you.

This is known as the “no, not, but” dialect of American English.

A more truthful response would be: “As you know, the Appeals Court ordered me to investigate if the NSA or any other group within US Government failed to disclose information. Today I declare that the US Government failed to disclose information.” Then the court and defense would work with the government to determine if the undisclosed information was relevant. Instead the government pissed on the role of the court determined that the information was previously given to the defense during the pre-trial phase. Continuing to piss on the court Continuing its analysis, the government also qualified that the information to which it is referring only relates to “entitled” information which is also “discoverable”. The government prefers to make its own determination if evidence is “discoverable” and if the defense is “entitled” to it.

Though this invalidates 100s of years of American and British Law; in Alexandria this is known as bypassing the Court in Discovery and Entitlement or as the kids will learn this semester in Law School: Going from the “D”-to-the-“E” without starting at the “C”. 


So why would the government use this amount of obfuscation? A smarter 5th grader explained that the government presented during pre-trial only what appeared to be from a domestic source (that is, the FBI). Since the government lawyer found information at the NSA, that means that the NSA was also performing domestic monitoring of the Paintballers and Ali and maintained its own files. So, the government lawyer had to move the focus to the entitlement aspect and speak in the “no, not, but” style now famous in Alexandria.


The third technique used by the government to circumvent its legal obligation of discovery is to provide classified information to the judge directly without the government lawyers, defense lawyers, or even the court clerks having access to the information.



After using this technique and making a mockery of the US legal system for 4 years, the Court recently declared:




Of course the government also uses other techniques to hide the truth by forgetting to answer questions, answering the wrong questions, saying that other people in the future will answer the questions, etc but the above-mentioned 3 techniques seem to be the most damaging to the legal profession, the responsiblity of representing the Government of the United States, and the American way.


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