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Reporters from all over the globe today are setting up permanent base camps in toilets and sewers at Guantanamo, Cuba, and other prisons around the world desperately seeking evidence of Korans in those locations. Here's an update on their progress thus far.
1. Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak publishes Inside the Wire, a book about abuse of prisoners in Guantanamo. She gives coauthor credit to Eric Saar, a former military interpreter there. The book does not mention any incidents of Koran flushing, instead focusing on the use of female guards to embarrass the prisoners. However, this by no means shows that Koran abuse didn't occur. The publisher has already issued one correction/retraction to material it contains:
At pages 191-192, Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier?s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantanamo by Erik Saar and Viveca Novak, erroneously states that civilian interrogators hired through an army contract with CACI were in Guantanamo Bay. The book also describes the activities of two contract interrogators. CACI has unequivocally stated that it had no involvement in any interrogation operations at Guantanamo and that it had no relationship whatsoever with the civilian contract interrogators involved in the use of the interrogation techniques discussed in the book. The Penguin Press and the Authors acknowledge and regret the error. In addition, The Penguin Press and the Authors are taking a number of corrective actions, including inserting erratum slips in Penguin?s remaining copies of the book, providing erratum slips to Penguin?s accounts for insertion into books that have already been shipped, and advising media organizations that will be interviewing the authors of the error. Future printings will be corrected to address the error.
2. Newsweek gets the ball rolling on Koran flushing. In a brief story that also provides a plug for Novak's book the magazine claims that a US government report will confirm that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo. As riots sweep the Islamic world resulting in deaths in Afghanistan Newsweek refuses to apologize and instead publishes additional claims of Koran flushing. Claiming to have a "source" who left them dangling, within days they change their minds and retract the story.
3. Other publications leap quickly to the defense of Newsweek, publishing as many unsupported claims of Koran flushing they can find. Mostly from former inmates from Guantanamo and other prisons. (Coincidentally, a captured al-Qaeda handbook instructs them to make such claims.) The Washington Post, however, provides what seems to be more credible evidence, claiming that Erik Saar "said in interviews and in his book that he never saw a Koran flushed in a toilet but that guards routinely ignored prisoners' sensitivities by tossing it on the ground while searching their cells." Within days they were forced to retract:
A May 18 article incorrectly stated that former Army translator Erik Saar said in previous media interviews that guards at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, routinely tossed Korans on the ground. Saar has said there were "chronic problems" with the way military guards handled the Koran and failures to follow military procedures for respectfully handling the Muslim holy book when guards inspected cells, but he did not say that guards routinely tossed copies of the book.However, even the Post's retraction didn't tell the whole story, as the Washington Times reports:
In his recent book "Inside the Wire," former Army interpreter Eric Saar noted that the issue of Korans at Camp Delta was so sensitive that only soldiers of the Muslim faith were allowed into cells at the onset of searches to handle them.You can bet we haven't heard the last of this story. America's intrepid heroes of journalism won't let these many failures stop them from defining their version of truth. We here at Mudville are confident that one day in the future they might report something accurately. We have no idea how many reporters are currently in the sewers under Guantanamo eagerly awaiting updates to this story, but if a big scoop lands in their laps you can bet we'll report it here.
What can they tell us about the prisoner's diets? Is it true that many are suffering from numerous afflictions of the bowells?Posted by Dan Rather at May 22, 2005 03:45 PM
It used to be said that a roomful of monkeys, sitting at typewriters, would eventually, through sheer force of random statistical distribution, be able to reproduce the works of William Shakespeare, if given long enough to randomly type things at these machines.
Then someone actually put this theory to the test. And it appeared monkeys weren't so random after all, as they never produced a single recognizable word on paper after months of random encounters with the keyboards. In fact, they more frequently left manure on the keyboards or produced streams of the same letter across the pages, rather than produced anything remotely approaching a recognizable word.
I guess if you let the American press work on this problem, in another one or two HUNDRED years we might have a correct and accurate story on systematic US military torture methods. Or at least a recognizable facsimile of the English language.
Or maybe not.
SubsunkPosted by Subsunk at May 22, 2005 05:52 PM
I don't think that the Conservative media is helping. When they blame the riots on Islam only they are being simplistic and arrogant.
They care more about excusing the fallout of the Newsweek story in an effort to whitewash their peers at Newsweek,/i> of any and FURTHER responsibility. This protests their SHARED interests and they are more interested in what their peers in the liberal media think than what it has cost the out-of-sight, out-of-mind soldiers and marines in the area who are struggling to maintain stability in the area.
To add further insult what does this attitude tell the Muslims in our forces who are trying to help? AND the moderate Muslims who are trying to bridge the cultural divide?
Please help. I am embarrassed as to what Muslims in the military might feel about this.Posted by anon at May 22, 2005 08:23 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)