Daily Kos and other liberal bloggers are claiming that newly-released FBI documents confirm Newsweek’s allegations regarding Koran-flushing (see “FBI: Newsweek was right“).
It should be obvious to anyone who so much as glances at the documents being cited that the FBI was reporting the statements of detainees rather than endorsing or validating those allegations. Immediately before describing the Koran-in-the-toilet allegation, the FBI notes the detainee’s statement that “God tells Muslims to do a jihad against non-Muslims.” Does Kos expect us to believe the FBI is endorsing that statement too?
Many detainees have made allegations of serious physical abuse as well as mistreatment of the Koran. Notwithstanding the MSM’s “flood the zone” coverage, that’s neither unexpected nor particularly newsworthy.
Are the detainees’ complaints valid? Maybe some are. But the FBI documents heralded by Kos and others as evidence of abuse actually show that a significant number of detainees’ complaints were either exaggerated or completely fabricated.
One detainee who claimed to have been “beaten, spit upon and treated worse than a dog” could not provide a single detail pertaining to mistreatment by U.S. military personnel. Another detainee claimed that guards were physically abusive and told detainees that U.S. soldiers were having sex with the detainees’ mothers. Yet this detainee said he had neither seen any physical abuse nor heard these comments from the guards. Other detainees who complained about abuse of the Koran admitted they had never personally witnessed any such abuse, but one said he had heard that non-Muslim soldiers touched the Koran when searching it for contraband.
A number of detainees were concerned about relatively mundane issues such as lack of privacy, lack of bed sheets, being unwillingly photographed, the guards’ use of profanity, and bad food (like “the zoo,” said one critic). If lack of privacy or bed sheets is a detainee’s main concern, it is doubtful that the detainee is being tortured (unless the definition of “torture” is so ridiculously broad as to be meaningless).
Several detainees indicated they had not experienced any mistreatment whatsoever at Gitmo, including one detainee who claimed he was mistreated at Kandahar prior to his transfer to Cuba.
One detainee disputed claims that guards had mistreated the Koran. The detainee said that riots resulted from claims that a guard dropped the Koran. In actuality, the detainee said, a detainee dropped the Koran then blamed a guard. (This detainee is apparently more skeptical of Koran-abuse allegations than the Washington Post, which neglected to mention this tidbit.)
In one case, Gitmo interrogators apologized to a detainee for interviewing him prior to the end of Ramadan, giving lie to the MSM portrayal of guards and interrogators as Koran-dropping, Koran-kicking, Koran-flushing, Islamophobic thugs.
In the meantime, see below to see excerpts from the FBI documents that won’t be making headlines.
Update: INDC Journal reports on another prisoner-abuse scandal: “Breaking News: the entire Death Row population at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana testified, ‘that the food is terrible and I’m 110% innocent. I swear. Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have a smoke, would you?'”
Update II: Check out the new group blog “MediaSlander.com,” dedicated to highlighting “bias, rumor and falsehoods that have been creeping into military coverage under the guise of objective news.”
Update IV: It’s not just Kos. Take a look at how Big Media is covering the story:
– ABC News, “FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran”
– Reuters AlertNet, “FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran”
– Sydney Morning Herald, “US knew about abuse of Koran, papers show”
– Yahoo! News, “FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran”
– Washington Times, “FBI reports show Koran abuse at Gitmo”
I’ve come to expect these kinds of distortions from the MSM, but the Washington Times?!? Good grief.
Clarification, 7:48 pm: The headline that appeared on the Washington Times web site was selected by UPI not the Washington Times.
Update V: Tom MacGuire at Just One Minute notices that compared to the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times covered the story quite fairly.
From the New York Times:
Unlike F.B.I. documents previously disclosed in a lawsuit brought by the civil liberties union, in which agents reported that they had witnessed harsh and possibly illegal interrogation techniques, the new documents do not say the F.B.I. agents witnessed the episodes themselves. Rather, they are accounts of unsubstantiated accusations made by the prisoners during interrogation.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon dismissed the reports as containing no new evidence that abuses of the Koran had actually occurred and said that on May 14 military investigators had interviewed the prisoner who mentioned the toilet episode to the F.B.I. and that he was not able to substantiate the charge.
The accusation that soldiers had put a Koran in a toilet, which has been made by former and current inmates over the past two years, stirred violence this month that killed at least 17 people in Muslim countries after Newsweek magazine reported that a military investigation was expected to confirm that the incident had in fact occurred.
Newsweek retracted the report last week, saying it had relied on an American government official who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.
None of the documents released Wednesday indicate any such confirmation that the incident took place.
And from the LA Times:
No independent verification has been made of the prisoners’ claims. The FBI reports say that some prisoners, when asked, were not able to say that they had witnessed such abuse of the Koran, but that they had heard rumors about it.
One prisoner, the FBI notes say, “considers it his duty as a Muslim to believe the rumor until it is proven untrue.”
Update VI: Don’t mess with the Junkyard Blog.
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FBI EXCERPTS THAT WON’T MAKE THE MSM HEADLINES
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