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sonnylarue
06-14-2006, 11:51 AM
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Rumsfeld_expels_US_media_from_Guantanamo_0614.html

Rumsfeld expels US media from Guantanamo Bay

John Byrne
Published: Wednesday June 14, 2006


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The United States military has ordered all independent media off the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base following the suicides of three detainees, RAW STORY has learned.

Writing for the Miami Herald, journalist Carol Rosenberg stated Wednesday morning that the military had "ordered all independent news media off the base by 10 a.m. Wednesday, and had arranged a flight to Miami to expedite their departure."

"A directive from the Office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld," prompted a two-sentence email that was sent to reporters from the Herald and the Los Angeles Times, which stated: "Media currently on the island will depart on Wednesday, 14 June 2006 at 10:00 a.m. Please be prepared to depart the CBQ [quarters] at 8:00 a.m."

That was the entirety of the email, according to the Herald. An auto-reply email from Rosenberg after an inquiry from RAW STORY indicated that she was still en route from Guantanamo and could not be reached for comment, and the Herald news desk claimed that Rosenberg was the only one to receive the memo.

A Pentagon spokesman has since confirmed the order to Editor and Publisher, but has said it was not related to the journalist's news reports.

"While admitting that Gordon's piece had caused "controversy," he asserted that the move was related to other media outlets threatening to sue if they were not allowed in," Editor and Publisher wrote.

Essentially, the Pentagon says that it began receiving complaints from other news agencies who felt the Herald and the Times were getting more access than they were. Given two options -- to allow more reporters, or to remove the existing reporters -- they chose the latter.

Pentagon press officer J.D Gordon told the online trade publication that the Herald and Times reporters were invited to cover tribunals at the base but subsequently filed stories on the suicides after the tribunals were cancelled. A third journalist, a photographer for the Charlotte Observer, was on the island to produce a piece on the homegrown camp commander. After stories began appearing regarding the suicides, the Pentagon arranged the 10 a.m. flight to Miami.

"The correspondents came down to the base on Saturday to cover the aftermath of the suicides, at the invitation of the admiral in charge of the prison," Rosenberg wrote. "The Pentagon canceled the invitation Tuesday night, despite protests from the newspapers."

Jim T.
06-14-2006, 11:52 AM
I didn't even think there was media there, independent or otherwise...

sonnylarue
06-14-2006, 11:53 AM
a more credible source to back it up, from editor & publisher

UPDATE: Pentagon Orders U.S. Reporters to Exit Guantanamo

By Greg Mitchell and Joe Strupp

Published: June 14, 2006 10:55 AM ET, Updated 12:30 PM ET

NEW YORK In the aftermath of the three suicides at the controversial Guantanamo prison facility in Cuba last Saturday, reporters with the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald were ordered by the office of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to leave the island today.

A third reporter and a photographer with the Charlotte Observer were given the option of staying until Saturday but, E&P has learned, were told that their access to the prison camp was now denied. An E&P "Pressing Issues" column on Tuesday covered an eye-opening dispatch by the Observer's Michael Gordon carried widely in other papers. He had listened in, with permission, as the camp commander gave frank instructions to staff on how to respond to the suicides.

A Pentagon spokesman, J.D. Gordon, confirmed the order to leave the island this morning, but told E&P it was unrelated to the stories produced by the journalists, while admitting that Gordon's piece had caused "controversy." He asserted that the move was related to other media outlets threatening to sue if they were not allowed in. He did not say why, instead of expelling the reporters already there, the Pentagon did not simply let the others in, beyond citing new security concerns.

"All three have been screaming [about the order to leave] like it is going out of style," he said. All of the journalists, including Gordon, were reportedly en route to Miami late this morning.

A curt e-mail to reporters Carol Rosenberg of the Herald and Carol Williams of the L.A. Times mentioned a directive from the office of Rumsfeld, and stated: "Media currently on the island will depart on Wednesday, 14 June 2006 at 10:00 a.m. Please be prepared to depart the CBQ [quarters] at 8:00 a.m.''

Rich Bard, deputy world editor for the Herald, said Rosenberg is "expected to arrive later today. It was our hope that we could work out an arrangement with the Department of Defense to keep her in Guantanamo. We thought it in the best interest of our readers to have access."

J.D. Gordon, the Pentagon press officer, told E&P that Rosenberg and Williams had been invited to come to Guantanamo last weekend for the start of tribunals. Mike Gordon and Observer photographer Todd Sumlin, meanwhile, arrived to produce a profile of the camp commander, who hails from North Carolina. The suicides of the three detainees happened to occur in this time period and the tribunals were cancelled.

The reporters, with the approval of the base commander, covered the aftermath of the suicides, and interviewed attorneys who ripped the legal horrors for the inmates, few of whom have been formally charged with any crime. A lawyer who had tried to represent one of the dead men was accusing the U.S. government "of thwarting his efforts with bureaucratic maneuvers" and lamented that justice can never be done for his client now that he is dead.

Only after stories started appearing were the reporters ordered to leave, on a hastily arranged military flight to Miami, over the protests of their editors.

Tom Fiedler, the editor of the Herald, wrote to the Pentagon, "Ms. Rosenberg arrived at Guantanamo and proceeded to report on the suicides with the full support of base personnel and with the direct knowledge of Gen. John Craddock, who arrived on Sunday. At no time did anyone state or suggest that Ms. Rosenberg's presence was unauthorized or even undesired.

"Neither Ms. Rosenberg nor The Miami Herald seek to remain indefinitely at Guantanamo nor to have exclusive or special access. However, we respectfully suggest that, while aspects of the suicides remain undetermined it is in the best interest of the DOD and the public that the news media be present."

The Pentagon spokesman told E&P that Rumsfeld's office was overruling any of the permissions from military at the base.

Mike Gordon of the Charlotte Observer told E&P today he had not received the letter from Rumsfeld's office but had been told that he could leave Wednesday or stay until Saturday -- but access to the prison had been ended.

"He was doing a hometowner, a hometowner takes one day," J.D. Gordon, the Pentagon's press officer, said. "You would think that a man allowed down for a whole week would be a bit more gracious about it. Have the good grace and class to leave."

The Pentagon spokesman told E&P that recent activities surrounding the suicides of three detainees required heavier security and the removal of outside media.

"We told [the journalists] on Monday that we are in a difficult position," said Gordon, the Pentagon press officer. "We are trying to be impartial and fair." He added that pressure from other media outlets to be given similar access also forced the complete press ban. "We are between a rock and a hard place," he said.

He told E&P that Williams and Rosenberg were originally part of a 10-person media group invited to arrive Saturday to cover a military tribunal set for this week. But on Saturday, the tribunal, also known in the military as a commission, had been postponed following last week's suicides of three detainees. Press Officer Gordon said the Pentagon informed all 10 journalists on Saturday that they were not allowed to visit. All 10, including reporters from Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal, had planned to arrive via military aircraft.

But he said that Williams and Rosenberg arrived on their own, via a commercial aircraft, and were allowed to be on. Michael Gordon, who had also arrived Saturday, was allowed to remain for his story. "We didn't like it, we didn't think it was appropriate," the press officer said of their arrivals. "But it was plausible."

By Sunday, however, J.D. Gordon said he began getting complaints from other news outlets, such as Fox News, AP, CNN, and Reuters, claiming that their reporters should be allowed on the island if the three other journalists were there. "The other media started to have a mini-phone riot," he told E&P. "'Hey, why are they there?' We had a major issue on our hands for other media to 'either get them in there or we have to see you in court.'"

He would not identify which media outlets threatened legal action, but said more than a dozen news outlets called to complain between Sunday and Monday. Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of AP, said her outlet was among those who sought equal access -- but said legal action was never threatened. "We never begrudge other reporters being there as long as we can be there, too," she told E&P, adding that the military could have accomodated more reporters on the site. "The Pentagon makes lots of complicated logistical decisions that are more difficult than that one. We are not the most difficult problem for them to manage."

Still, J.D. Gordon said the decision was made that all of the media had to leave the island. But he denied any accusation that such expulsions were in reaction to any of the tough-minded reporting.

"No, totally not true," he said. "Some of the things [Gordon] wrote caused controversy, about changing detainees clothes and forced entry. But we are not into content management. The issue was that other media were threatening to take us to court."

Bard, the Herald editor, told E&P: "Our knowledge of some of the details is limited. When asked about the Pentagon's contention that other media outlets barred from the island had complained, he said that should not affect his reporters.

The Committee for Constitutional Rights in New York, which was representing the three men who committed suicide, released a statement today: "At a time when the administration must be transparent about the deaths at Guantanamo, they are pulling down a wall of secrecy and avoiding public accountability. This crackdown on the free press makes everyone ask what else they are hiding down there. This press crackdown is the administration's latest betrayal of fundamental American values. The Bush Administration is afraid of American reporters, afraid of American attorneys and afraid of American laws."



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Brad N.
06-14-2006, 11:54 AM
I didn't even think there was media there, independent or otherwise...

But, but, but Bill O'Reilly was there...wait, nevermind. You said media, not douchebags.

Ray G.
06-14-2006, 11:54 AM
It's a rather chilling effect on the freedom of the press, I'm sure, but I can see why he wouldn't want them there.

Gregory
06-14-2006, 11:55 AM
John Byrne
Published: Wednesday June 14, 2006

Whoa.

mario
06-14-2006, 11:56 AM
How Zimbabwean: kicking the media out when the heat get turned on

Ray G.
06-14-2006, 11:57 AM
How Zimbabwean: kicking the media out when the heat get turned on

Agh! Goddamnit, man, do you ever stop?

Greenville 90210
06-14-2006, 11:57 AM
It's a rather chilling effect on the freedom of the press, I'm sure, but I can see why he wouldn't want them there.

We can all see why he wouldn't want them there.

Bill?
06-14-2006, 11:58 AM
It's a rather chilling effect on the freedom of the press, I'm sure, but I can see why he wouldn't want them there.

yeah, but remember this is Cuba we're. I'm pretty sure they don't have freedom of the press there. so it's fine.

sonnylarue
06-14-2006, 12:10 PM
The Committee for Constitutional Rights in New York, which was representing the three men who committed suicide, released a statement today: "At a time when the administration must be transparent about the deaths at Guantanamo, they are pulling down a wall of secrecy and avoiding public accountability. This crackdown on the free press makes everyone ask what else they are hiding down there. This press crackdown is the administration's latest betrayal of fundamental American values. The Bush Administration is afraid of American reporters, afraid of American attorneys and afraid of American laws."

yep

The Roman Candle
06-14-2006, 12:12 PM
Whoa.

Not the same guy.

Gregory
06-14-2006, 12:12 PM
Not the same guy.

Oh, you're no fun.

The Roman Candle
06-14-2006, 12:13 PM
Oh, you're no fun.

I know. I know.

wabi-sabi
06-14-2006, 12:17 PM
yeah, but remember this is Cuba we're. I'm pretty sure they don't have freedom of the press there. so it's fine.
Actually, it is American property in Cuba. Freedom of the press is still there.

Dreg
06-14-2006, 12:25 PM
Don't worry about it. I'm sure Fox News will report campfires and S'mores within the next week.

Jim T.
06-14-2006, 12:25 PM
Actually, it is American property in Cuba. Freedom of the press is still there.

On a military base? I don't think so - those reporters were lucky to be there in the first place. I'm pretty sure Time magazine can't walk onto the grounds of Groom Lake and have a look around at the top secret aircraft being tested.

RickM
06-14-2006, 12:27 PM
If the media has been there all this time, what are they doing all day? Sitting in the visitor's lounge? I thought the job of a reporter is to really push to find out if the mountain of rumors of cruel treatment, et al, can be verified.

If the media's been on a tight leash, then Rumsfeld kicking them out doesn't really matter, other than to make him look once again like a guy with something to hide.

Bill?
06-14-2006, 12:35 PM
Actually, it is American property in Cuba. Freedom of the press is still there.

thats not what Donald Rumsfeld says.
:no:

wabi-sabi
06-14-2006, 12:45 PM
On a military base? I don't think so - those reporters were lucky to be there in the first place. I'm pretty sure Time magazine can't walk onto the grounds of Groom Lake and have a look around at the top secret aircraft being tested.
Well, that is true. But the lack of freedom of the press cannot be blamed on it being in Cuba. Plus, freedom of the press does not mean that the press can go anywhere, it means the government cannot restrict what the press writes.