December 10, 2006

Canary in the mineshaft--er Gitmo

The fact that we are even mentioned in this post is troubling. I can imagine our ability to confront evil in the future. We stand up to a country that is jailing journalists without charges and we say "hey you, you can't do that. In America... nevermind." Or we look at a country that tortures to obtain "confessions" and we say "Stop that! Don't you know about the Geneva conventions? Why, in America we.... Nevermind. As you were." Just as the next time Country A invades Country B, claiming that Country B poses a threat to Country A. What are we going to say? "Hey, you can't just invade another country. What? You are invoking the Bush Doctrine? Oh. Well, don't forget that also allows you to torture and detain. It is in the same document."


Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: The company we keep: "Those four countries are followed on the list by seven other countries which have more than one journalist in custody. The U.S. is part of that group, tied with Russia. Both Russia and the U.S. are each holding two journalists without charges (that we know of). Also in that group are Algeria, Azerbajian, Burma, Burundi, and Uzbekistan. Iran did not make it into that group because it is holding only one journalist in custody, and the same is true for Vietnam (Venezuela, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are holding none).

The U.S. has in its custody Associated Press Photojournalist Blial Hussein (held eight months somewhere in Iraq without charges), and Al Jazeera Photographer Sami Muhyideen al-Haj (held for more than five years in Guantanamo). There has also been a string of violent attacks on journalists by the U.S. military over the years -- almost always journalists perceived as unfriendly -- under rather questionable circumstances, to put it mildly.

None of this is to equate the level of press freedoms in China, Cuba or Iran to the United States. They're not comparable. But that isn't the point. That the U.S. violates press freedoms less than Communist China, Iranian mullahs, and Fidel Castro mitigates nothing. For those who believe in the U.S. and the values it has long embraced (even if its adherence to those values, like all countries, has been imperfect), what is so striking and genuinely tragic is lists of this type -- from credible and essentially nonideological sources which document abuses of basic liberties around the world -- now invariably includes the U.S., because no list would be complete without it."
Where is the city upona hill?


Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen these two pretty shocking videos from Iraq yet or not (kid chasing bottle of water, car getting crushed), but both star the US Military and put it in a very negative light. I have them up on my site at ..You have to wonder what these soldiers were thinking when videotaping this stuff...

Streak said...

Thanks for the comment. To be clear, I am not trying to bash the military here. They are doing the best they can in an impossible mission. The problem we have is with our leadership, not our troops.

volfan007 said...

i guess my question for yall is....what did these reporters do to get into this trouble with the govt.?