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Guantanamo Abuse Charges-a Personal Perspective


FROM POLITICS DAILY:

As a reporter who has covered the Guantanamo Bay prison camp story probably longer and more thoroughly than anyone else, the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg has always pushed military officials to answer her questions. It's often a tricky exchange, as the press officers try to bridge the gap between giving information and protecting the interests of their bosses.

And so there's no small irony now that she is ignoring attempts by Politics Daily and other news organizations to contact her.

Rosenberg is the story this time. A public affairs officer at Gitmo, Navy Cmdr. Jeffery Gordon, has formally charged that in her dealings with him, she crossed the line into "multiple incidents of abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature."

One example he cited in a letter to Herald's editor: "Have you ever had a red hot poker shoved up your [butt]? . . . Have you ever had a broomstick?"

In an e-mail, Rosenberg's executive editor, Anders Gyllenhaal, would only say: "We're working as quickly as we can to sort out this out. Until then, it's not appropriate to say anything about a personnel case like this."

Gordon was also unwilling to comment beyond his formal complaint, telling Politics Daily that after he spoke with the Washington Post, his superiors said he "should say nothing more because this is an administrative matter."


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At this point, it's time for one of those "full disclosures": Along with Rosenberg, I was among the first journalists at Guantanamo in 2002, just before the first detainees arrived and were put in cages at Camp X-Ray.

Where Rosenberg is described by a general in a new book ("The Least Worst Place") as the reporter who "asked questions of conscience," my actions, at one point, were called "defiant" -- but not profane.

Usually, it's unnecessary to go into "defiant" mode when dealing with the military. Public affairs personnel are, as often as not, very professional and view getting the story out as their patriotic duty. Sad to say, sometimes their efforts would be vetoed by higher-ups. But they would try. Most of them.

Two of the most conscientious, in my experience, have markedly different feelings about Rosenberg. A former top PAO at Guantanamo, who is now on duty in Baghdad and did not want to be identified, told Politics Daily, "The charges did not surprise me." He described her as "very rude . . . offensive. . . . She called one of my soldiers an 'idiot, stupid.' " He added, however, that he personally "did not encounter any comments from her of a sexual nature."

Another former top-ranking officer, who didn't want to be identified because he, too, is on active duty, had an entirely different take. He expressed "nothing but respect" for Rosenberg, saying she was "very constructive" and "very professional."

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 28, 2009 10:08 AM.

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