Friday, May 07, 2010

Canadian reporters banned from Gitmo

Skdadl reports that Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star, Steven Edwards of Canwest, Paul Koring of the Globe & Mail, and Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald have been banned by the US Dept. of Defense from covering any future trials at Gitmo because they divulged the names of two interrogator/witnesses at Omar Khadr's kangaroo pretrial.

Well it's a wee bit late for that, isn't it? Michelle Shephard already published the names and part of an interview with one of those 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.

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.

This ban means that the very reporters who've been providing such excellent coverage on Omar Khadr for years - Shephard has written a book on it - will not be able to report on his show trial when it finally gets underway.

Skdadl's source at Empty Wheel sums it up :
"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."
A week ago the military judge ordered reporters and spectators 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.

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