With some derision for the Bush administration’s arguments, a three-judge panel said the government contended that its accusations against the detainee should be accepted as true because they had been repeated in at least three secret documents.
The court compared that to the absurd declaration of a character in the Lewis Carroll poem “The Hunting of the Snark”: “I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”
“This comes perilously close to suggesting that whatever the government says must be treated as true,” said the panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The unanimous panel overturned as invalid a Pentagon determination that the detainee, Huzaifa Parhat, a member of the ethnic Uighur Muslim minority in western China, was properly held as an enemy combatant.
The panel included one of the court’s most conservative members, the chief judge, David B. Sentelle.
Pentagon officials have claimed that the Uighurs at Guantánamo were “affiliated” with a Uighur resistance group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, and that it, in turn, was “associated” with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The court said the classified evidence supporting the Pentagon’s claims included assertions that events had “reportedly” occurred and that the connections were “said to” exist, without providing information about the source of such information.
When you lose David Sentelle on basic human rights, you are off the track. When David Sentelle signs of on a ruling that quotes Lewis Carroll, you are not only off track, you are off planet.