Sunday, April 10, 2005

Raymond Bonner's "Australia Uneasy about U.S. Detainee Case" is buried in this morning's New York Times (seek it out)

Having just finished helping The Third Estate Sunday Review with their edition, an all nighter, I was thinking, I'll go through this morning's New York Times and won't provide links. We're probably all savy enough to locate a story at the Times' web site, right?

But then I see Raymond Bonner, not on the front page and there's just no way I can justify not linking to that story, so let's start with it.

Bonner's article is entitled "Australia Uneasy About U.S. Detainee Case" and it's on the topic that Bonner's been covering for the Times. Readers of this site know that, there have been a lot of comments about the quality of work Bonner's been doing. It's just the journalists at the Times who seem not to have noticed Bonner's work because anytime they're dealing with the topic, there's very little attention paid to his writing.

From Bonner's article:

The Australian government, which has been one of the strongest supporters of the Bush administration's policy on the detention and prosecution of people suspected of being members of Al Qaeda, is growing uneasy with the handling of the case of one its citizens who has languished in the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay for more than three years.
In late March, the Australian ambassador to Washington went to the White House and Pentagon to express concerns about the status of David Hicks, 29, who has been at Guantánamo since January 2002, Australian and American officials said.
"We are very frustrated," a senior Australian official said. "The process is taking much longer than people might reasonably have expected."

And note this:

Underlying the recent activity, and the concerns of the Australians in the Hicks case, is the case of another Australian detainee, Mamdouh Habib, who trained with Al Qaeda, was picked up in Pakistan a few weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, and was whisked away by the C.I.A. to Egypt, where he says he was tortured before being taken to Guantanamo Bay.
After promising for more than three years that it would charge Mr. Habib, the Bush administration told the Australians in January that it would not prosecute him because the C.I.A. did not want the evidence about Mr. Habib being taken to Egypt, and his allegations of torture, raised in court, Australian officials said. Mr. Habib was returned to Australia, and is now a free man, though closely monitored by Australia's domestic intelligence agency.

I could quote this entire article (were it not for Fair Use) but I hope you get the point that this is news. And it's buried inside the paper (maybe Times' writers who overlook Bonner's work only read headlines on the front page?) on A14.

If you get the print edition, you could easily miss this article. For that matter, if you go to the Times web site, you could easily miss it because it's not a big headline. But it should be. And hopefully you can make sure that people you speak to are aware of it. This is real news.

"Cardinals Hint At the Profile Of a New Pope" may be on the front page, but "hint" or not, it's not really news. It's speculation. And it will be of interest to some. (Though I think the death pageant has lost its luster at last.) But it's not front page news. (The next Pope, according to NPR, will be announced the Monday after next. Check my math, but that's eight days from now. Hopefully, we're not expected to suffer through public relations releases passing themselves off as news for the entire time, as Rebecca's noted, but who knows?)

"Charles and Camilla, Married at Last, and With Hardly a Hitch" graces the front page, as opposed to the social register. I'm holding my tongue out of respect for our UK community members (some of whom we'll wish I'd let it rip -- Camilla and Charles aren't that popular with out members). But Bonner's story isn't. Bonner's story is on A14. Maybe had one of the the detainees posed for photos wearing a floppy hat like Camilla or a dress whose bottom appeared a slight tribute to Wilma Flinstone, Bonner could have graced the front page.

But regardless of where the New York Timid places Bonner's story today, it is news. They can bury it, but it's still news. Who knows, maybe they'll pull Bonner from his beat if the Bully Boy makes the same sort of noises the Reagan administration did in the eighties?

There are other news stories in the paper (this Sunday's edition isn't as poor and news deprived as recent Sundays) and hopefully, my chocolate fix will kick in and give me the needed fuel to push on through for another entry. But we're just highlighting Bonner's article in this entry because that's how important it is.

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