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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Al Ahram newspaper has no agenda at all!

Remember the Koran Desecration story? Well, even though Newsweek retracted the story and said they couldn't support the claims, Al-Ahram newspaper kept putting "news" snippets day after day on its frontpage of how the Al-Azhar Sheikh is outraged at the story, and how the Egyptian Mufti said that the Koran shouldn't be desecrated and whomever did it should be punished and how a number of religious leaders kept condemning the US for the "Koran desecration Scandal". Mind you, that was all published after Newsweek retracted the story, all on different days, and all on the frontpage. It made me wonder if the Newspaper didn't get the memo that the story was retracted because they couldn't confirm it. I figured it was probably stuck in the mail somewhere. Well, to my own relief, i am glad to report that they finally seem to have gotten the memo: Today they published that the story got retracted, that its writer apologized for the damage caused by it and that it wasn't a credible story after all. They reported it on the bottom left corner of page 9. I guess it's no longer considerd frontpage news! Hmm....


At 5/25/2005 02:25:00 PM, Anonymous Karim Elsahy said...

I’m not sure how the story was so discredited in the first place. It was retracted because of faulty sources, yet the journalistic ethical standards in the states are so high that it is far from meaning it didn’t happen. As I am sure most of you agree those kinds of actions are completely in line with precedent.
That said I’m not sure why 15+ Muslims were killed in the fallout. I hate the fact that the majority of Muslims in the world die by Muslim hands; what is that? This world can be a disgusting and messed up place. We have gotten to a rotten point in humanity where atrocities need to be prioritized.
Anyway the following is the article that motivated this post…it’s fresh. I’m not sure as to the etiquette of commenting on blogs so if attaching whole articles doesn’t work for you then my apologies.

FBI Records Cite Quran Abuse Allegations

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON - Terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison told U.S. interrogators as early as April 2002, just four months after the first detainees arrived, that military guards abused them and desecrated the Quran, declassified
FBI records say.

"Their behavior is bad," one detainee is quoted as saying of his guards during an interrogation by an FBI special agent in July 2002. "About five months ago the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Quran in the toilet."

The statements about guards disrespecting the Quran echo public allegations made many months later by some detainees and their lawyers after prisoners' release from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The once-secret FBI documents show a consistency to the allegations and are the first indication that Justice and Defense department officials were aware in early 2002 that detainees were accusing their guards of mistreating the holy book.

Separately on Wednesday, Amnesty International urged the United States to shut down the prison, calling it "the gulag of our time." White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the human rights group's complaints were "unsupported by the facts" and that allegations of mistreatment were being investigated.

In its annual report, Amnesty accused the United States of failing to live up to its responsibility to set the standard for human rights protections. Rather, the group said the United States has been the biggest disappointment "after evidence came to light that the U.S. administration had sanctioned interrogation techniques that violated the U.N. Convention against Torture."

Some 540 men are being held at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of links to
Afghanistan's ousted Taliban government or the al-Qaida terror network. Some have been jailed for more than three years without charge. The Defense Department argues that the detention prevents these enemy combatants from fighting against the United States.

Pentagon officials have said recently that the public claims by released detainees were not credible and that the terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay had been trained to make such false claims.

Indeed, the FBI records cite at least one instance in which a detainee is said to have falsely claimed that a guard had dropped a Quran. "In actuality the detainee dropped the Quran and then blamed the guard. Many other detainees reacted to this claim," the FBI document said, and that sparked an uprising "on or about 19-20 July 2002."

In an April 6, 2002, FBI interrogation, one of the detainees said guards had been "pushing them around and throwing their waste bucket at them in the cell, sometimes with waste still in the bucket, and kicking the Quran."

Another detainee stated that he had been beaten unconscious at Guantanamo Bay in the spring of 2002, a period in which U.S. interrogators were pressing hard for intelligence information they believed some of the detainees held on the planning, structure and tactics of
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

The newly released FBI records do not indicate whether the allegations were investigated or substantiated.

In response to a recent Newsweek story, later retracted, that U.S. officials had confirmed allegations of Quran desecration at Guantanamo Bay, Pentagon officials have said repeatedly that they have turned up no credible, substantiated claims that U.S. military guards had deliberately treated the Muslim holy book with disrespect.

Pentagon officials had no immediate comment on the new FBI documents, which were made public Wednesday by the
American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU said it received them in response to a federal court order that directed the FBI and other agencies to comply with the organization's request under the Freedom of Information Act.

In many of the interrogations described in the FBI documents, military officers were present. Some were with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations; others were Navy and Army investigations personnel.

Large portions of the interrogation summaries were blacked out by FBI censors before being released to the ACLU.

U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for the Guantanamo Bay detention center, responded to the Newsweek story by beginning a review of written logs searching for corroborated incidents of Quran mishandling. As of Wednesday, officials had not reported finding any.

In January 2003, the military issued a three-page written guideline for handling a detainee's Quran, including a stipulation that it should be handled "as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art," and that it not be placed in "offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet or dirty/wet areas."

ACLU officials said the newly declassified documents provide new evidence that U.S. authorities at Guantanamo Bay were mistreating symbols of the detainees' religious beliefs as a tactic to force them to talk.

"The United States government continues to turn a blind eye to mounting evidence of widespread abuse of detainees held in its custody," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "If we are to truly repair America's standing in the world, the Bush administration must hold accountable high-ranking officials who allow the continuing abuse and torture of detainees."

At 5/25/2005 06:00:00 PM, Blogger chichimi said...

We can never let them go. Unless we cut the fence and let Cuba have them. This was not an Army, They were simply a bunch of thugs, who in any society would be in prison, They killed enough, No sympathy


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