Unjustly Imprisoned Journalist Released

Originally posted by Sabotabby at Punkassblog.

After over two years, the U.S. military is finally releasing AP photographer Bilal Hussein. Hussein, guilty of practicing journalism while Arab, had been imprisoned without evidence or charges, and presumably will be released without apology.

These days, holding folks for no reason, indefinitely, is apparently no big deal. (Even if they’re journalists.) So don’t expect the countless U.S. military prisoners in Iraq and Gitmo to be as “lucky” as the unfortunate Mr. Hussein, who has had years of his life taken away with absolutely no reason.

Imprisoning or killing journalists is generally thought of (by proponents of democracy, anyway) to be one of those no-nos, even in the middle of a war. But like torture, which also used to be taboo, such crimes have their purpose. They effectively silence freedom of the press without the need to pass any laws that might make people uncomfortable. In the current context, “enemy combatant” refers not only to those on the other side of a war that we declared, but also anyone suspected of dissent or critical thought. Better stick to being an embedded reporter. You don’t want to be Tariq Ayoub, Taras Protsyuk, or Jose Couso. You don’t want your camera mistaken for an RPG, like Mazen Dana’s was.

Every so often, some well-meaning progressive cries: “Why does the press concentrate on McCain’s barbecues or Britney’s escapades? What happened to serious journalism?”

Apparently, it’s been locked away.

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