Thursday, May 26, 2005

Newsweek Revisited

FBI files provide some vindication for Newsweek's mention of Koran desecration at Guantanamo. The FBI investigated claims of abuse and knew as early as 2002 that there were reports of Koran desecration.

The BBC reports:

"After interviewing a detainee, an unnamed FBI agent wrote on 1 August 2002: 'Personally, he has nothing against the United States. The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behaviour is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet.'"
The now retracted Newsweek article mentioned the statements in FBI emails:

"Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet...."

Newsweek claimed the FBI reports had been confirmed. The Pentagon denies there was ever any confirmation.

The International Committee of the Red Cross released records earlier also backing up Newsweek's report. It turned over a series of reports to the Defense Department in 2002 and 2003 about Koran desecration. Those reports led to reforms at the detention camp. The ICRC says after the reforms, the claims of Koran desecration stopped.

Newsweek retracted the article after the White House blamed it for riots that killed 16 people in Central Asia. But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Richard Myers and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have both said the article was not the cause of rioting. (The Statesman)

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