Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Majid Khan pleads guilty-Guantanamo sketches
What a day in court it was. I was sent here to sketch at the arraignment of Majid Khan, a Pakistani who went to school and graduated from high school in Baltimore. Khan pled guilty. Now, i've been going to Guantanamo since 2006, and have never run into what I did today. After I'd finished sketching, the Pentagon official who signs off on my work took the close-ups to Majid Khan's lawyers so they could look them over. Fine. The official then returned empty-handed, and asked for the other two. He came back to me sans sketches, saying that Majid Khan did not want the sketches to be released because of some concerns, so they were not giving them back to me(!) I was able to reach our PAO who then came up and worked the phones to find someone to authorize the sketches' release... were detainees allowed to censor? No one seemed to know. The Pentagon official thought so, and unless we could prove otherwise, was not going to give them back to me. In his defense, he did eventually offer to release two, as long as I was willing to smudge Khan's face completely out. But we chose to wait and chase down an answer before I erased the only images of Khan the media would have. After nearly 4 hours, the right people were found, and approval to move the sketches was given. Talk about stress.
You just can't make this up.