Sunday, June 29, 2003

From The Tennessean.
"Federal appellate judge Gilbert S. Merritt of Nashville is in Iraq as one of 13 experts selected by the U.S. Justice Department to help rebuild Iraq's judicial system."

--This is my last story from Baghdad. The so-called Coalition Provisional Authority, or CPA, acting through its head, L. Paul Bremer, issued a ''gag'' order two days ago that says:
''Speaking To The Media. To insure the effective co-ordination of the CPA's message, any plan for a member of the CPA to talk to the media should first be coordinated with the Directorate of Strategic Communication.''
The Directorate of Strategic Communication, according to the order, was a ''recent creation designed with the intention of delivering a coherent strategic information for the CPA.'' The CPA is organized into many separate agencies covering governance, justice, transportation and communication, health, oil, police, culture, finance and several others. All persons working or helping these agencies carry out their tasks are apparently covered by the order prohibiting speaking to the press unless the speech is cleared first by the Directorate of Strategic Communication.
I have been informed that this includes any article I may write, or verbal utterance I may speak, to any members of the press, including my hometown newspaper. In my opinion, this is a clear violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution... --

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