May 22, 2005

Newsweek continues to beat a dead soldier to death

The Qur'an Question
In 31,000 documents the Pentagon has reviewed, there are allegations—but Defense says none is substantiated. By Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff Newsweek

May 30 issue - What really happened at Guantanamo? Last week, amid the heat of the controversy over NEWSWEEK's retracted story, new details about the issue of alleged mistreatment of the Qur'an emerged.

Translated: Yea! Last week's b.s. story sold us quite a few issues! And we've got more unsubstantiated tabloid trash for you this week!
According to (Defense Department spokesman Lawrence) Di Rita, when the first prisons were built for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo in early 2002, prison guards were instructed to respect the detainees' religious rituals. The prisoners were given Qur'ans, which they hung from the walls of their cells in cotton surgical masks provided by the prison. Log entries by the guards indicate that in about a dozen cases, the detainees themselves somehow damaged their Qur'ans. In one case a prisoner allegedly ripped up a Qur'an; in another a prisoner tore the cover off his Qur'an. In three cases, detainees tried to stuff pages from their Qur'ans down their toilets, according to the Defense Department's account of what is in the guards' reports. (NEWSWEEK was not permitted to see the log items.) The log entries do not indicate why the detainees might have done this, said Di Rita, and prison commanders concluded that certain hard-core prisoners would try to agitate the other detainees by alleging disrespect for Muslim articles of faith.
Very interesting.... seems like one of those back-up statements you might add to an article to brace for the possibility it was not U.S. interrogators who flushed Qur'ans, but the detainees themselves...but that's a minor technicality.
In light of the controversy, [this is where Newsweek tries to play nice in damage-control mode--ed.] one of these incidents bears special notice. Last week, NEWSWEEK interviewed Command Sgt. John VanNatta, who served as the prison's warden from October 2002 to the fall of 2003. VanNatta recounted that in 2002, the inmates suddenly started yelling that the guards had thrown a Qur'an on or near an Asian-style squat toilet. The guards found an inmate who admitted that he had dropped his Qur'an near his toilet. According to VanNatta, the inmate then was taken cell to cell to explain this to other detainees to quell the unrest. But the incident could partly account for the multiple allegations among detainees, including one by a released British detainee in a lawsuit that claims that guards flushed Qur'ans down toilets.
What the heck do you mean, "partly account"???
Di Rita said that the Pentagon may look further into the reports found in the logs. The Pentagon is not ruling out the possibility of finding credible reports of Qur'an desecration. But so far, said Di Rita, it has not found any.
...And will more than likely find none.

Read the whole pile of dung here.

Posted by Kyer at May 22, 2005 11:35 PM