Bush Scandals List

278. Sami al Haj and Bilal Hussein, newsmen, held without charge

Sami al Haj was a cameraman for al Jazeera arrested in Pakistan on December 15, 2001. He was transported to Guantanamo where he has been held ever since without charge. al Jazeera has often been critical of this country’s Middle East policies. Almost all of al Haj’s interrogations have centered on establishing a putative connection between al Jazeera and al Qaeda. On May 1, 2008, al Jazeera announced that al Haj had been released from Guantanamo and was being flown to his home country Sudan.

Bilal Hussein a photographer for the AP in Iraq who won part of a 2005 Pulitzer was arrested in April 2006 although the arrest was not acknowledged until September 17, 2006. He is being held in Iraq by the US outside Iraqi jurisdiction despite the protestations of the AP. On April 7, 2008, an Iraqi judicial committee made up of a 4 judge panel ordered Hussein released as part of an amnesty program.

These two cases show to what extent the US military is willing to go after journalists who do not toe its propaganda line and bring into question the Pentagon’s story that the missile strike on April 8, 2003 on the Baghdad offices of al Jazeera in which a reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed was an accident.

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