'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Newsweek Retraction 

For what it's worth, here are the original stories that made the Koran desecration allegation credible in the first place. The first three appeared in the British press, the last in the Post; all are based on first hand accounts from freed former prisoners at Camp X-Ray.

From the Mirror:

"Recreation meant your legs were untied and you walked up and down a strip of gravel. In Camp X-Ray you only got five minutes but in Delta you walked for around 15 minutes."

Jamal [al-Harith] said victims of the Extreme Reaction Force were paraded in front of cells. "It was a horrible sight and it was a frequent sight."

He said one unit used force-feeding to end a hunger strike by 70 per cent of the 600 inmates. The strike started after a guard deliberately kicked a copy of the Koran.

From the Independent, picking up the Mirror's story, citing the same source:

Camp X-Ray Regime

The regime, as Mr [Jamal] Harith describes it:

o Prisoners were shackled for up to 15 hours at a time in hand and leg cuffs with links that cut into the skin

o They were kept in wire cages that were open to the elements, as well as rats, snakes and scorpions

o Psychological torture included being denied water before prayers, meaning Muslims could not wash according to their religion, and depriving one inmate of food, while the others on a block ate

o Force feeding was used to end a hunger strike by 70 per cent of the 600 inmates, which started after a guard kicked a copy of the Koran

o When carrying out an amputation, US medical staff often removed more of a limb than was necessary

o Prisoners were left malnourished by a diet of porridge and fruit. Some food was 10 years out of date

From the Observer -- probably this or the item from the Post below is the source of the Newsweek's story:

As Muslims, they were shocked when in repeated 'shakedown' searches of the sleeping tents, copies of the Koran would be trampled on by soldiers and, on one occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket. Throughout their stay at Kandahar the guards carried out head-counts every hour at night to keep the prisoners awake.

And from the Washington Post:

After a chaotic day in which it was uncertain when, or if, all the prisoners would be released from Afghan custody, 18 men wearing new American sneakers and carrying brightly colored gym bags walked out of a run-down police compound here late today. Some hugged jubilantly, while others left feeling bitter and vengeful.

The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts of how American forces treated them during interrogation and detainment. Some displayed medical records showing extensive care by American military doctors, while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them.

The men uniformly said that American forces treated them more roughly during initial interrogation and captivity in Afghanistan than during the long detainment at Guantanamo.

Newsweek just retracted a story that was probably true...

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