Friday, May 07, 2010

Defense Dept. bans reporters from Gitmo

The US Dept of Defense has banned four reporters from Gitmo for divulging the names of two witnesses at Omar Khadr's kangaroo show trial. The reporters are Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star, Steven Edwards of Canwest, Paul Koring of the Globe & Mail, and Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald.

Well it's a wee bit late for that, isn't it? Michelle Shephard already published part of an interview with one of the witnesses in The Star nearly two years ago :

"Sgt. Joshua Claus was a slight, blond soldier with little experience and lots of responsibility when he became Khadr's interrogator in the cavernous U.S. prison in Bagram detainees nicknamed "The Barn."

Claus would later be convicted for his role in the death of another detainee at Bagram – an innocent Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar. Claus pleaded guilty to maltreatment and assault in return for a five-month jail sentence in 2005. The 2,000-page confidential army file on the investigation into the case, obtained by The New York Times, quotes another soldier saying that Claus twisted a hood over Dilawar's head the day he died. "I had the impression that Josh was actually holding the detainee upright by pulling on the hood."

During the only interview Claus has granted, he told the Toronto Star any allegations of Khadr's mistreatment were false. "They're trying to imply I'm beating or torturing everybody I ever talked to," Claus said.

"Omar was pretty much my first big case," Claus added. "With Omar, I spent a lot of time trying to understand who he was and what I could say to him or do for him, whether it be to bring him extra food or get a letter out to his family ... I needed to talk to him and get him to trust me."

Khadr also described his interrogations, but the U.S. Department of Defense has censored some of the details in his sworn affidavit.

"During this first interrogation, the young blond man would often (censored) if I did not give him the answers he wanted," Khadr claimed. "Several times, he forced me to (censored), which caused me (censored) due to my (censored). He did this several times to get me to answer his questions and give him the answers he wanted."

Later he writes: "I figured out right away that I would simply tell them whatever I thought they wanted to hear in order to keep them from causing me (censored)."

A week ago reporters were ordered out of this same Gitmo courtroom while 'classified' video of an interview with Khadr was shown. The reporters adjourned to the media room and watched it on youtube instead.

Skdadl's source at Empty Wheel sums up the reporter ban : "So DOD is basically saying that once a reporter agrees to go to Gitmo, they lose the ability to report on stuff they have already reported on."

No comments:

Blog Archive