Carol J. Williams, the LA Times reporter who, along with three other journalists, was ordered out of Guantanamo Bay last week, recounted yesterday her harrowing ordeal:
IN THE BEST of times, covering Guantanamo means wrangling with a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, with logistics so nonsensical that they turn two hours of reporting into an 18-hour day, with hostile escorts who seem to think you’re in league with Al Qaeda, and with the dispiriting reality that you’re sure to encounter more iguanas than war-on-terror suspects.
In the worst of times — this past week, for example — those quotidian discomforts can be compounded by an invasion of mating crabs skittering into your dormitory, a Pentagon power play that muzzles already reluctant sources and an unceremonious expulsion to Miami on a military plane, safety-belted onto whatever seat is available. In this case, that seat was the toilet.
Limited access to the detainees! Mating crabs! Safety-belted to a toilet for the entire duration of a flight from Cuba to Miami! This woman has been through hell.
Williams also explains what she learned about Gitmo in the short time she was there:
Meanwhile, 450 others have been held for years without charges or legal recourse. Their indefinite detention to keep them off the global terrorism battlefields feels like a Muslim version of the World War II Japanese American internment.
She’s right. It feels just like that, only the prisoners at Guantanamo aren’t Americans and were captured trying to kill Americans.
The Pentagon says it booted all journalists from the island last week because it was inundated with requests from news organizations that wanted to cover the detainee suicides, and it couldn’t allow a few journalists to remain when it was turning so many others away.
Still, I’m totally shocked DOD didn’t make an exception for Williams who, after all, was just trying to show the world how the detention of about 500 terror suspects captured in Afghanistan is like “a Muslim version” of the internment of over 100,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans during WWII.