There’s an interesting story by Andrew Selsky in the Associated Press on Gitmo at this link. The whole thing is worth reading, but readers of this blog will be particularly interested in this passage:
An Army nurse who said he worked at its medical facility for a year until last May wrote in a blog that he wouldn’t hesitate to kill a former detainee if he saw him in his town.
“I can tell you that if I ever saw a detainee face-to-face here in the States, I would immediately assume that I was targeted and do my best to kill them without further warning,” wrote the soldier, who would be identified only by his nickname, Stashiu.
Here’s the really weird part: the author of the AP piece, Andrew O. Selsky, commented on Stashiu’s series of posts under the handle “Ace.”
Details in the extended entry.
Ace then commented:
Shashiu3, thank you for your response. I am a reporter and cover GTMO (I was there a couple of weeks ago, and met one of your colleagues at the medcenter — she goes by Dr. K, though your tours might not have overlapped). I’d appreciate it if you could email me at the address I posted with Patterico’s blog, in the “Leave a comment” section.
Further down the thread, Ace said:
I invite you to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
As I mentioned before, I am a reporter – a print journalist. I have no agenda or axe to grind. Several posters on this good Blog have noted that your outlook has not been reported in the mainstream media. This is what I am trying to do. btw: I look forward to seeing tomorrow’s installment on the media. Best, Ace.
I have enjoyed your insightful comments and thank you for the offer. Nothing personal, but I have absolutely zero interest in mainstream media. This was not a story that I felt compelled to tell, Patterico contacted me. I’ve since tried to tell this story as best I could and trusted him to ensure that there were no mixed-messages or anything that might imply we discussed classified or confidential information. Everything I’ve said is the truth as I experienced it and what I believe. I’m not under any pressure by the military, the media, or Patterico. He has repeatedly offered to kill the story if it became problematic and I have repeatedly assured him at each step that I am ok with continuing.
I’m certain you are a stand-up guy and worthy of trust. But I am not interested in anything beyond completing what Patterico and I have worked on. I don’t want to deal with the media, I’m not writing a book, and I would never go on a TV show of any kind. I’ve got no agenda other than to tell the truth. People can accept what I say, or not. If I were ‘outed’, it wouldn’t change a thing. I will not ever talk with the mainstream media because even though you (as an individual) may be trustworthy, those whose toes were stepped on would not be. And it wouldn’t stop with you because while once can be an absolute, a second implies a third and a fourth and so on. This is a one-time thing, period.
I understood that my name becoming known was a possibility from the first time I responded to Patterico’s email. I’ve never tried very hard to be anonymous and have internet trails leading back years for anyone determined enough to ruin my life. Being a public figure is one of the worst things I can imagine happening. Like many, I’m a pretty private person who stays at home when I’m not at work. I like being with my family and it’s been a good life. I believe there is actually little danger to my family as long as I remain a private figure. To become a public figure would be like rubbing it in the face of those who hate Americans and made the threats against me and mine. Right now, I’m just not important enough to target.
One poster found me within minutes and email from media came within 24 hours. I haven’t responded and have no intention of responding. Patterico has my full permission to release any personal information, correspondence, or conversations to the military or any appropriate government agency upon their valid request. I’m not worried about that because everything that has been posted has been true and bereft of classified or confidential information. I have advised him that what I’ve told him is true and he has accepted that I am who I say, been where I say I have been, and done the job I said I had done.
So if Charlie [a leftist poster who insulted Stashiu -- Ed.], or anyone else, wants to question whether I’m the “real deal”, that means they have no faith in Patterico’s ability to establish that. If that’s the case, why read his blog? Anyone who questions my qualifications is questioning Patterico’s integrity and shouldn’t trust anything he posts. But they should keep in mind that Patterico can prove what he has done to check me out, he has that permission anytime he feels it is necessary. Because it’s his reputation on the line too, and he deserves that. He gave the outline of how he did it in the first post. And I can prove everything I’ve said if it becomes necessary. So, whether or not the mainstream media tells this story, or says something completely different, my conscience is clear. I hope you (and any other media) understand and respect this. I can’t make my reasoning any clearer.
Thank you for your candid and detailed response. My invitation remains open in case you have a change of heart later on. A wide audience would be reached. Details on your identity would be kept confidential for security reasons. I am particularly interested in exploring the psychological counseling of detainees.
Out of curiosity, I e-mailed Ace to ask him who he was and what organization he worked for. He replied that he was Andrew Selsky with the Associated Press. He said that the moniker “Ace” comes from his e-mail address, “which reflects my love of playing tennis.” I mentioned to Stashiu that I had contacted “Ace” but never told him who “Ace” was — mostly because Stashiu was completely uninterested. As Stashiu’s reply above makes clear, he had zero interest in talking to the media then and, as far as I know, still feels the same way.
Of course, you can’t prevent a reporter from quoting a blog post.
For what it’s worth, I believe Ace when he says he has no agenda. As Stashiu noted above, finding Stashiu’s real name would have been a relatively trivial matter. I’m sure Ace/Selsky could have posted Stashiu’s real name, but he chose not to, because it was unnecessary.
I just hope that Stashiu’s quote in the article comes across as the reasonable statement that it truly was in context. If Stashiu were ever to encounter a detainee in the small town where he intends to retire, the inevitable conclusion would be that one of them intended to make good on the violent threats that many of them made to him. Killing the detainee would be the logical (and indeed the only truly rational) response. I hope AP readers understand that.
P.S. I have been working on compiling a post that brings together all of the commenters’ questions to Stashiu, together with his responses. It is far more work than I realized, and is taking some time — especially with the numerous other projects I have going, many of which should interest you readers. Stay tuned, though. I’ll get it out there one of these days.
P.P.S. By the way, Ace/Selsky: November 2005 to May 2006 is only six months — not one year.
P.P.P.S. In further horribly horrific tales of horror, terrorist Hambali informs his family that he is “doing fine” at Gitmo.