As if to mock the very concept of attorney-client privilege, military interrogators at Guantanamo prison posed as "lawyers" to trick illegally held suspects into providing them with information, according to a report in "The Catholic Worker" newspaper.
And "Newsday," the Long Island, N.Y., daily, reported a wholesale invasion of lawyer-client privilege, as when lawyers at Guantanamo are forced to turn over their interview notes to guards, who send them on to the Pentagon facility in Virginia that is the only place lawyers can go to write their motions and where the Pentagon attempts to edit out detainees' claims of mistreatment from the public record. What's more, "Newsday" reported, "The military has set up a system that delays legal correspondence (between lawyers and prisoners) for weeks," adding that "Detainees have alleged that interrogators have tried to turn them against their lawyers."
According to "Newsday," guards and interrogators peruse prisoners' private legal papers and warn them that prisoners who have lawyers will wait longer to get out! Tom Wilner, a lawyer for 12 Kuwaiti detainees, said an interrogator asked one of his clients, "Did you know your lawyers are Jews?"
The U.S. government is "not only trying to deny counsel to the prisoners, but is actively trying to remove Guantanamo from any scrutiny, legal or otherwise" as well as "marginalizing the lawyers representing the prisoners," "The Catholic Worker" said.
Placing attorney Boyle on the Terrorist Watch List is a form of punishment that is being ever more widely applied. According to "USA Today" the list grew from 288,000 names in 2005 to 1-million in March, 2009, according to an article of March 10th of that year. "People put on the watch list...can be blocked from flying, stopped at borders or subjected to other scrutiny," reporter Peter Eisler wrote.
The attorney-client privilege is the oldest such privilege enshrined in Anglo-Saxon law and was commonly respected even under the British crown during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. That it is being flouted by the U.S. government today when a constitutional lawyer occupies the White House represents an incredible stain on what remains of the fabric of American democracy.