RANGER AGAINST WAR: Journalism on Ice <

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Journalism on Ice

The real point is that totalitarian regimes have claimed jurisdiction over the whole person, and the whole society, and they don't at all believe that we should give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's.
--Jeane Kirkpatrick

L’État, c’est moi
! (I am the State!)
--Louis XIV

But apparently, journalists don't.

The incarceration at Guantanamo Bay of Al-Jazeera photojournalist Sami al-Hajj since 2002 is meant to cast a pall upon dissenting journalistic voices within our reach.

The military only acknowledged holding al-Hajj last April, when the Associated Press filed a FOI Act request for a list of Gitmo detainees.

The grounds for his detention are "that he transported money between 1996 and 2000 for a defunct charity that
allegedly provided money to militant groups, and that he met a 'senior al-Qaida lieutenant.'"

Alleged is a legal term necessitating proof and subsequent trial to substantiate the actuality of the allegation. It is not legal proof of guilt.

Likewise, the meeting with al-Qaida personnel. Since when has it become illegal for a journalist to meet with representatives of al-Qaida?

A meeting with an individual does not imply fraternization, nor cooperation, nor affiliation with the group represented by that individual. Didn't Ed Bradley and Dan Rather do the same? It's part of the job. You meet with some unsavory characters. Some even cover the White House beat on a daily basis.

Even assuming al-Hajj did funnel money to bad guys, the basis of all law is jurisdiction. U.S. laws do not bind the likes of al-Hajj, who as a Sudanese is operating outside of U.S. influence.

What is the basis of jurisdiction for arresting a newsman in a foreign country, as a citizen of another foreign country, and holding him without trial in another foreign country for breaking laws of another foreign country?

Where does the jurisdiction lie, and what then is the rule of law?

Ranger must agree with Lamis Andoni, Middle East analyst for al-Jazeera, who, speaking of U.S. bombings of both their Baghdad and Kabul offices, said, "When you are targeted once, it could be a mistake. But when you are bombed twice, it's something else."

Looks like our bombs are smarter than our leaders.


Anonymous m said...

It's absurd that this man was jailed. All he is accused of is giving money to a defunct charity and allegedly meeting with an "al-Qaeda official." Let's let the first charge stand for a second. It's well known that al-Jazeera correspondents DO meet with al-Qaeda officials, as well as officials of other Sunni and Shia groups. After all, it's their job to get the inside reportage.

So the U.S. is basically saying: do journalism our way. And our way is shoving "the truth" down your throat so that the facts on the ground cannot be exposed for what they are, and these fear tactics are meant to promote self-censorship. It's the worst kind of state-pushed coercion.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 7:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


With your nom de plume, I presume you're a fan of Ian Fleming's.

Thanks for your comments.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 3:15:00 PM GMT-5  

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