Four reporters banned for reporting an interrogator’s name:
Two weeks’ worth of proceedings in the pre-trial hearing of Omar Khadr found an unexpected meta-conclusion this afternoon as the public affairs shop in the Office of the Secretary of Defense banned four reporters from returning to Guantanamo Bay. Their offense: reporting the name of a witness whose identity is under a protective order.
The four journalists are Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star, Steven Edwards of Canwest, Paul Koring of the Globe & Mail and Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald. They are not being thrown off the base, but, as of now, they are barred from returning.***
Those four reporters comprise much of the institutional knowledge of Guantanamo Bay and the military commissions, as their colleagues widely acknowledge. Shephard has written the most comprehensive account to date of Omar Khadr’s life and experiences in detention at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, in both her Star reporting and her book Guantanamo’s Child. Rosenberg is the single most diligent, consistent and experienced Guantanamo Bay reporter in the world, having carved out the Guantanamo beat steadily almost since the detention facility here opened in 2002 and traveled here more frequently than any other journalist. (I personally heard complaints about her from public affairs officers here five years ago — and those complaints amounted to whining about how dogged an investigator she was.) Koring and Edwards have also been invaluable resources about Khadr and Guantanamo to their colleagues these past two weeks.
I guess that is one way to make sure no one knows what the hell the government is doing down there- get rid of all the experts.
I wonder if the Politico and the stenographers in the Beltway and WH press corps will stage a protest (for once, justified) about this the way they did about not having internet access on Air Force One or rally around these actual journalists the way they did about their “sister organization” Fox News.
Ha! I kid. Drudge doesn’t give a shit about this and there are no anonymous rumors from within the WH to sex the piece up, so the stenographers won’t even notice.
*** Update ***
And just who is interrogator #1? A real saint:
Testifying remotely, a young man known to us as “Interrogator #1″ first said he never threatened a 15-year-old Omar Khadr with rape in the Bagram detention facility in Afghanistan in 2002. Then he elaborated.
“I told him a fictitious story we had invented when we were there,” Interrogator #1 said. It was something “three or four” interrogators at Bagram came up with after learning that Afghans were “terrified of getting raped and general homosexuality, things of that nature.” The story went like this:
Interrogator #1 would tell the detainee, “I know you’re lying about something.” And so, for an instruction about the consequences of lying, Khadr learned that lying “not so seriously” wouldn’t land him in a place like “Cuba” — meaning, presumably, Guantanamo Bay — but in an American prison instead. And this one time, a “poor little 20-year-old kid” sent from Afghanistan ended up in an American prison for lying to an American. “A bunch of big black guys and big Nazis noticed the little Afghan didn’t speak their language, and prayed five times a day — he’s Muslim,” Interrogator #1 said. Although the fictitious inmates were criminals, “they’re still patriotic,” and the guards “can’t be everywhere at once.”
“So this one unfortunate time, he’s in the shower by himself, and these four big black guys show up — and it’s terrible something would happen — but they caught him in the shower and raped him. And it’s terrible that these things happen, the kid got hurt and ended up dying,” Interrogator #1 said. “It’s all a fictitious story.”***
Interrogator #1 was later court-martialed and served time for detainee abuse.
So they have been banned for reporting the name of a court-martialed soldier who abused detainees and threatened teen-age detainees with rape.
They hate us for our freedoms, also.