Military injustice --  02/02/06

Michael Yon is an independent journalist. He went to Iraq as an embedded journalist, providing some great reporting, clear and honest and unbiased. His reports are available on his Website. He is a photographer as well as a writer and his dispatches have pictures. One of his pictures is one of the most outstanding pictures of the war -- a young American soldier holding the body of a wounded Iraqi girl -- you've probably seen it.

The U.S. Army has stolen his photograph.

Yes, I said stolen.

They have used his picture without compensation and say that they will continue to use it as they please. They not only used and published it themselves, they distributed it to news media worldwide. They have recently come out with the most outrageous claim to justify their theft.

In order to be embedded with American troops, Yon had to sign a waiver releasing the Army of liability for any injury or loss he might suffer. The form states that he agreed to "release the (military) of any liability from and hold them harmless for any injuries I may suffer or any equipment that may be damaged as a result of my covering combat."

Alan Klein -- a government lawyer -- says "The claimant asserts he was injured by the distribution of his copyrighted works to the news media. This release absolves the Army of any liability for that injury."

You can reach that "lawyer" at Alan.klein@hqda.army.mil

I have written him to express my outrage at this situation ("Your actions are disgraceful and disgusting and dishonorable.") I also wrote to General Vincent Brooks (apparently Klein's boss) at Vincent.brooks@us.army.mil (I got an automated reply thanking me for my note.)

I am also writing to my Congressman and my Senators. I invite all of you who may also be outraged by this to write to Klein and to Brooks and to your representatives as well.

By Friday 02/03/05 the vast quantities of e-mail (plus, apparently a number of generals are readers of blogs) worked and General Brooks apparently found a higher ranking lawyer who over-ruled the previous opinion and the Army and Mr. Yon came to a mutually satisfactory agreement.

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