Secret detention of CBS cameraman

News & Politics

Try to picture this "Kafka-esque" nightmare happening to you or your child. After being injured by US forces while filming the aftermath of a car bomb a CBS cameraman was detained by the US military "without a shred of evidence being publicly presented against him."

Since then, CBS's efforts to find out more about their cameraman's plight have been rebuffed and neither the network (i.e. our media; the government's watchdogs; the only non-governmental job explicitly mentioned in the constitution...) nor the cameraman's lawyer, nor the cameraman himself have had access to the charges or evidence despite the fact that "the military has changed its story multiple times."

Last week the cameraman's case was heard before a review board of American military officials and Iraqi authorities. They refused to prosecute but, as Arianna Huffington writes:

"Once again we see that Iraqi authorities are sovereign only as long as they agree with the Americans actually in charge. This time they didn't agree, so instead of releasing him, the military kept him in jail claiming it had access to classified information the Iraqi authorities didn't. Another hearing with the CRRB was set for September 22. But on September 12, CBS News was informed that the hearing had already been held -- without [the cameraman], his lawyer, or anyone from CBS News in attendance. Then, on Tuesday, came word that the CRRB had decided to keep Hussein locked up -- with no review of his case for another six months."
Huffington also notes that locking up a CBS cameraman is sure to have a chilling effect on an already cowed press. The cameraman's name? Abdul Amir Younes Hussein. Of course he might be guilty, that's not the point. The point is, if you have the evidence, show it and convict. Does anyone doubt the fact that American officials are taking advantage of the cameraman's name to keep him incarcerated? Would the outrage be as great were his name Tommy Simpson? (Huffington Post)

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