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Kathy Shaidle

Journalists: traitors, or just morons?

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Posted on January 22 2010 2:32 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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More than any other subject, journalists like reporting on… journalism. Earlier this week, two journalists had a little chat online about their work and how wonderful the Miami Herald is.

Here’s how it started:

…though the debate about Guantanamo has raged on for eight years, in all that time we’ve almost never seen the faces of the detainees at the center of it. That’s because the military prohibits photos that show detainees’ faces, under a Geneva Conventions policy against parading prisoners.

But some of these men are faceless no more. Last year, The Miami Herald learned that the military had allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross to photograph the prisoners. In the pictures, the detainees are casual. They’re smiling and posing for relatives back home whom, in many cases, hadn’t seen their family member for years.

Can an expert on international law enlighten me: did the Miami Herald just violate the Geneva Convention by “parading” these prisoners on their web site?

Yes, the editors obviously got the families’ permission. But so what? Does that make printing these private, Red Cross photos legal or ethical?

We’re informed that in these photos, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, “the alleged mastermind behind the attacks of 9/11″ (…)  “just looks so doe-eyed and innocent. And, you know, I don’t know whether that reveals anything about him or reveals why the military didn’t want these pictures out there, to begin with. (…)”

“You mentioned that several of the detainees looked ordinary and pious. You know, there’s another word I might throw in there, and that is serene. Some of them looked just plain happy, you know, big toothy grins and so forth.

“It’s such cognitive dissonance, especially if claims of torture are true.

Hey, ya think?

Maybe this will inspire the Miami Herald to finally investigate the real conditions in Gitmo (where detainees are interrogated in Laz-E-Boy chairs and enjoy the services of a Ramadan pastry chef, btw.)

Yeah, I know: bwa ha ha ha ha!

Seriously, though:

So: the Miami Herald printed photos they’d been forbidden by the military, and international law, from taking.

Meanwhile, the average Gitmo detainee gains 18 pounds in custody, and smiles serenely in said photos.

Who will turn out to be guilty of more violations of the Geneva Convention? The U.S. Army — or the Miami Herald?

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