Wednesday, May 25, 2005



Are White House spokesman Scott McClellan and Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman resigning? Or is credibility not a requirement for those jobs? These were the two who led the charge against NEWSWEEK when the magazine retracted its story-- which like the ones about Bush's outrageous personal military record were not proven to the standards on normal journalistic standards but were also not false-- about American guards at Guantanamo torturing Moslem prisoners by defacing their holy book. I'm not really that concerned, at least not personally, about religionist loons and their superstitions, be they Moslems, Hindus, Jews or Christians. These religionist fanatics have been responsible for the worst travesties mankind has ever experienced and the world be WAY better off if they all disappeared post haste. But I do have a great concern about the successful intimidation of the free press, the less-and-less-free press, by the right wing regime in control of the United States. As the Bush Regime moves in a more and more fascist and more and more totalitarian direction, they have gotten more egregiously aggressive in their tactics towards the what's left of a free mass media. Middle of the road media (or anything even remotely to the left of Josef Goebbels or Atilla the Hun's scribe) is savaged by Bush's fanatic attack dogs, and I'm talking about CNN, NPR, the NY Times, CBS and NEWSWEEK, not The Nation, The Daily Weasel and Mother Jones. Anyway, the whole brouhaha the right wing echo chamber was focusing on last week-- that NEWSWEEK was lying (recently supplanted by Bill Maher's need to resign after being accused of some KKK Congressloon from Alabama of being unpatriotic)-- is brought into focus by the Reuters report today showing that the FBI has been well aware for several years that, at the very minimum, Moslem detainees have been claiming EXACTLY what the NEWSWEEK story alleged: that U.S. guards are tormenting prisoners (illegally) by abusing the Koran and even flushing it down the toilet. I bet they find a couple of pathetic low-grade soldiers to blame this on too.

FBI Memo Reports Guantanamo Guards Flushing Koran
Reuters, May 25, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An FBI agent wrote in a 2002 document made public on Wednesday that a detainee held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had accused American jailers there of flushing the Koran down a toilet.

The release of the declassified document came the week after the Bush administration denounced as wrong a May 9 Newsweek article that stated U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down a toilet to try to make detainees talk.

The magazine retracted the article, which had triggered protests in Afghanistan in which 16 people died.

The newly released document, dated Aug. 1, 2002, contained a summary of statements made days earlier by a detainee, whose name was redacted, in two interviews with an FBI special agent, whose name also was withheld, at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects.

The American Civil Liberties Union released the memo and a series of other FBI documents it obtained from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.

"Personally, he has nothing against the United States. The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet," the FBI agent wrote.

"The guards dance around when the detainees are trying to pray. The guards still do these things," the FBI agent wrote.

The Pentagon stated last week it had received "no credible and specific allegations" that U.S. personnel at Guantanamo had put a Koran in the toilet.

The documents indicated that detainees were making allegations that they had been abused and that the Muslim holy book had been mishandled as early as April 2002, about three months after the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo.

In other documents, FBI agents stated that Guantanamo detainees also accused U.S. personnel of kicking the Koran and throwing it to the floor, and described beatings by guards. But one document cited a detainee who accused a guard of dropping a Koran, prompting an "uprising" by prisoners, when it was the prisoner himself who dropped it.

The Pentagon had no immediate comment on the documents.

The United States currently holds about 520 detainees at Guantanamo, a high-security prison it opened in January 2002 for non-U.S. citizens caught in the U.S. war on terrorism.

Former detainees and a lawyer for current prisoners previously have stated that U.S. personnel at Guantanamo had placed the Koran in a toilet, but the Pentagon last week said it did not view those allegations as credible.


"Unfortunately, one thing we've learned over the last couple of years is that detainee statements about their treatment at Guantanamo and other detention centers sometimes have turned out to be more credible than U.S. government statements," said ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer.

Jaffer said the latest documents show the U.S. government had heard detainees complain as early as 2002 about desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, including at least one mentioning it had been placed in a toilet.

In another document, written in April 2003, an FBI agent related a detainee's account of an incident involving a female U.S. interrogator.

"While the guards held him, she removed her blouse, embraced the detainee from behind and put her hand on his genitals. The interrogator was on her menstrual period and she wiped blood from her body on his face and head," the memo stated.

The U.S. military launched an inquiry after the Newsweek article was published into whether Guantanamo personnel placed the Koran in a toilet, but the review was limited to searching through official day-to-day log entries.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan last week said Newsweek "got the facts wrong." Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman last week called the article "demonstrably false."


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