Reporters, Photographer Expelled from Guantanamo
The Pentagon ordered three U.S. newspaper reporters and a photographer to leave Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Wednesday, newspaper industry trade magazine "Editor & Publisher" exclusively reported.
Carol Rosenberg of the "Miami Herald", Carol Williams of the "L.A. Times", Mike Gordon of the "Charlotte (N.C.) Observer" and his photographer Todd Sumlin boarded a plane for Miami Wednesday morning and arrived back in the U.S. at 12:30 p.m. EST.
Rosenberg and Williams, who along with Gordon and Sumlin had been at the U.S. prison camp since Saturday, recieved an e-mail notifying them of the eviction, ordered by Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld's office, the magazine reported.
"Media currently on the island will depart on Wednesday, 14 June 2006 at 10:00 a.m.," the message stated. "Please be prepared to depart the CBQ (quarters) at 8:00 a.m."
Gordon and Sumlin were given the choice to stay on the island through Saturday, but their access to the prison camp would be denied, "E&P" said.
Pentagon press officer J.D. Gordon told "E&P" the move to evict the journalists was not made due to the stories filed by the journalists but rather complaints made by other media organizations (including Fox News, The Associated Press, CNN and Reuters) claiming they should also be allowed at the prison camp. Some threatened to sue if they were not granted access to the island.
"The other media started to have a mini-phone riot," Gordon said. "'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.'"
The Pentagon's move is yet another blow to the now so-called free press in our country. If officials at Gitmo have nothing to hide (though, after the prison abuse scandal last year and the suicides of three detainees last weekend, that's doubtful) then why can't we get a first-hand account of life at the camp?
Rosenberg, Williams, Gordon and Sumlin had every right to be at Gitmo. We have the right to be informed of the happenings at a U.S.-RUN PRISON (which should have never been opened in the first place.)
But, apparently, as has been unfortunately proven time and time before, that's too much to ask.
Link to "E&P" story on journalists' expulsions: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002687978
Link to "E&P" story on editors' reactions to the expulsions: