Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Blogger was interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison

The Washington Post is running an article by Ellen McCarthy that reports that since January, an ex-military interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison maintained a blog called Joe Ryan's Iraq Diary.

"Joe Ryan", who now works for Arlington, Va.-based military contractor CACI International Inc., posted entries to the blog, hosted at St. Paul, Minn. radio station KSTP-AM.

The blog has been removed from the Web site, but the last month of entries to Joe Ryan Iraq Diary is archived in Google's cache.


"I'll not be sending my diary out any more because of the allegations being spread through the media. I will keep my diary and maybe someday the truth of what is and has gone on here will surface," Ryan wrote in an e-mail, according to Ethan McIntosh, a producer at KSTP.


The blog refers to a Steve Stefanowicz who works with Joe Ryan at Abu Ghraib prison, who may be the same Steven Stephanowicz -- a CACI employee named in Seymour Hersh's article as one of the people military investigators said are "directly or indirectly responsible" for abuses and torture at the prison.

This is an excellent example of the value of blogs to journalists. Finding a primary source who was in the prison -- and who likely witnessed much of the horror that is said to have been inflicted on Iraqi prisoners, given that he appears to know a key figure in the scandal -- would normally require a lot of legwork, deep contacts or a lucky break.

Thanks to this blog, journalists -- and the public -- can gain a kind of access to a source of information that might otherwise never come to light.



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