Monday, May 16, 2005


Newsweek tries doing some reporting and gets beat up

or, around these parts, we kill the messanger

From May 9, 2005 PERISCOPE column of Newsweek, Gitmo: SouthCom Showdown:
Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. An Army spokesman confirms that 10 Gitmo interrogators have already been disciplined for mistreating prisoners.
To which, Larry DiRita of the Pentagon told CNN:
[he] blamed Newsweek's report for the unrest in Muslim countries.
"People are dying. They are burning American flags. Our forces are in danger."
Newsweek explains itself in How a Fire Broke Out:
[V]eteran investigative reporter Michael Isikoff...knew that military investigators at Southern Command (which runs the Guantánamo prison) were looking into the allegations. So he called a longtime reliable source, a senior U.S. government official who was knowledgeable about the matter. The source told Isikoff that the report would include new details that were not in the FBI e-mails, including mention of flushing the Qur'an down a toilet. NEWSWEEK National Security Correspondent John Barry, realizing the sensitivity of the story, provided a draft of the NEWSWEEK PERISCOPE item to a senior Defense official, asking, "Is this accurate or not?" The official challenged one aspect of the story: the suggestion that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, sent to Gitmo by the Pentagon in 2001 to oversee prisoner interrogation, might be held accountable for the abuses. Not true, said the official (the PERISCOPE draft was corrected to reflect that). But he was silent about the rest of the item. The official had not meant to mislead, but lacked detailed knowledge of the SouthCom report.

...Told of what the NEWSWEEK source said, DiRita exploded, "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"

From today's NYTimes, Newsweek Apologizes for Report of Koran Insult:

The magazine said that because of reports of other abuses of prisoners by guards at Guantánamo, the possibility that a Koran was flushed down the toilet did not seem that far-fetched. But it said that to Muslims, such an act was especially inflammatory.

By the end of the week, the military had completed its internal inquiry and was convinced that the allegation as reported by Newsweek never happened and that the article had played a significant role in inciting the violence in Afghanistan, Mr. Di Rita said. He informed Newsweek that its report was wrong.
Let me get this straight: Current administration has a record of torturing and abusing detainees. But after investigating itself, the military finds no wrongdoing on this charge. And to boot, it finds Newweek is to blame for the violence. And will produce a report to that effect.
Could it possiblity be that the Muslim world has seen, time after time, fellow Muslims abused and tortured, this admin investigate and never any high level culpability is found. Maybe, just maybe, the Mulsim world is just pissed off and if not this alledged abuse, the next one will lead to more riots.
We will need more than the willingness of Newsweek to be spineless to save us next time a major report of abuse against Islam surfaces. And it will surface. And whose to say Newsweek's mea culpa will be enough today to calm their passions.

If Newsweek's article was the only discussion of such abuse, Mr DiRita might have a point with his indignation. Let's review previous mentions of this sort of discecration Qur'an at Gitmo...

On March 26, 2003, The Washington Post reported:
The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts...
while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them.

On Jan. 20, 2005, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Koran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet, said Kristine Huskey, who interviewed clients late last month.

On May 2, 2005, BBCNews reported:
Badar Zaman Badar, [who] was also at Camp X-Ray... said a number of Arab prisoners had still not spoken to their investigators after three years to protest at the desecration of the Koran by guards.

See RawStory for more like this: Newsweek report on Quran confirmed by earlier accounts:

See also corrente: Flushing Newsweek:

Inspiration for this entry comes from susanhbu's diary at Booman Tribune.

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