Right now, Isikoff and some folks at Newsweek are ordering a big glass of STFU for their critics:
An FBI agent wrote in a 2002 document made public on Wednesday that a detainee held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had accused American jailers there of flushing the Koran down a toilet.
The Pentagon said the allegation was not credible.
The declassified document’s release came the week after the Bush administration denounced as wrong a May 9 Newsweek article that stated U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down a toilet to try to make detainees talk. The magazine retracted the article, which had triggered protests in Afghanistan in which 16 people died.
The newly released document, dated Aug. 1, 2002, contained a summary of statements made days earlier by a detainee, whose name was redacted, in two interviews with an FBI special agent, whose name also was withheld, at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
The American Civil Liberties Union released the memo and other FBI documents it obtained from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.
“Personally, he has nothing against the United States. The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet,” the FBI agent wrote.
“It’s not credible,” chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said of the allegation regarding a Koran in a toilet.
I guess that means we need a talking points update:
1.) Newsweek Lied, People Died!
2.) The media hates the military.
3.) Why are they using anonymous sources?
4.) 1.) Why is the media recycling old stories?
5.) 2.) You can’t trust those terrorists.
6.) 3.) Even if it is true, you shouldn’t publish it- we are at war.
7.) 4.) You can’t trust Newsweek and the Washington Post Reuters.
5.) What about the children?
*** Update ***
I think some of you are really mistaking my position on this. Maybe this will clear things up:
I think you mistakenly believe I want this to be true. I don’t.
To be brutally honest, it wouldn’t really bother me if they flushed the Koran, as the book is essentially meaningless to me. I guess part of me would say- “Gee, you shouldn’t really do that, because many will see it as really offensive,” but that is about it.
That isn’t the way we decided to fuck this football, though. Wiser heads than mine, or at the very least, people in a position to make these decisions, chose to approach the whole Islam issue from a standpoint of extreme sensitivity. We said, from day one, that we wouldn’t violate any of these rules we had just created for religious tolerance and respect for Islamic rituals and artifacts.
Personally, I think degrading the Koran and Islam would be stupid, because it would seem to me you would want to dispel the rumors about the US being a bunch of heathens and gain their support during interrogations. I guess I have the ‘good cop’ mentality. But I don’t know the ins and outs of interrogation, either. And, the logic that this might inflame anti-American sentiments abroad does not escape me.
But, at any rate, regardless of what I thought, our position was that we would not do anything of this sort and that the military would not tolerate it. Thus, it shouldn’t happen.
But, apparently, it is. And, yes, I know that many of these people are trained to lie. Many criminals in the United States are similarly liars, and as someone who worked as a Probation Officer, I have seen it up close and personal. But, just because criminals tend to also be liars doesn’t always mean that they are lying all the time. Liars that they may be, inmates do get abused and beaten. Cops do step over the line.
And, as we have seen, so do military personnel. Right now, the overwhelming evidence is that some sort of this was and may be still going on, and it doesn’t offend me that it is happening so much out of the fact that they are doing it (the alleged and actual acts of Koran and religious abuses- not the torture. The torture infurtiates me.), but the fact that we said we would not be doing it and yet it appears to be happening anyway. In other words, we set up the rules and then went ahead and broke them.
Many of you still wish to cling to the idea that it never in any way, shape, or form, occurred. That just doesn’t fit the overwhelming evidence that some religious-type abuses did occur. That means we would have to disbelieve all of the following:
1.) The detainees and their lawyers
2.) Military personnel themselves
3.) FBI reports and experiences
4.) The ACLU
5.) The International Red Cross
6.) Amnesty International
And yes, I know the track records of all of those organizations, particularly the last three. I know that International Red Cross ambulances have been used by murderers and bomb smugglers in Israel. But, at some point, even if you have 400 known liars gathered together, when they all have the same damned story to tell, only a fool would dismiss their claims.
Add ot that all the other circumstantial evidence and facts, to include the confirmed and documented reports of actual torture and the documented other acts of abuse of religious principle (see menstrual blood and other psyops interrogation procedures that have been documented), all of which would lead a reasonable person to believe that desecrating the Koran by putting in the toilet JUST ISN’T THAT FUCKING EXTRAORDINARY A CLAIM.
Then, we have the silly mentality of those attacking the media because Isikoff, as the stories linked above show, was right about the allegations but wrong about the exact source, who lied to them. Then, that is used as a bludgeon to in effect attempt to censor the media in what really is just another saga in the age old battle of the right versus the media. It is enough to make a man insane.
A reasonable person, and all the unreasonable people overseas, are very right to suspect that this sort of religious abuse has happened. Attempting to bully the media over this is pointless and absurd, and it most certainly is not anti-military to document it and demand that it be investigated. After all, we agreed to play this game this way. Koran flushing may not necessarily offend me (and I would in no way consider it to be torture), but they do, and the government and military agreed with them that it is offensive.
Regardless, attacking the media over this is wrong and stupid, because anyway you look at it, the street is going to believe it. They have other ways of getting out the word than through the American media:
So, while they may be lying, most of the evidence would lead us to believe some level of what they are saying is true. Regardless, they are going to believe it, so attacking the damned media to attempt to cover it up or not talk openly about it is just stupid and counterproductive. And it doesn’t mean I hate the military. It doesn’t mean I believe every accusation against the United States and our boys. It does mean I have looked around and I see what I see.
So, please. Cut the crap. It isn’t unreasonable to suspect this stuff happened, and it isn’t in any way helpful to launch this petty jihad against the media. Not to mention the administration’s cynical behavior in aiding the anti-Newsweek and general anti-media cause.
And, I might add, that when it comes to defendant’s rights, many of you are aware I am a pretty limp-wristed weenie when it comes to the rights of the accused. I went along with Gitmo and everything in the beginning. But if I were in the jury box today, presented all the evidence about the alleged Korand flushing and other nonsense, I would be hard pressed not to convict. In my view of things, we are beyond a reasonable doubt.
Does that clear things up?
*** Update ***
The General in charge of Gitmo held a press conference, and provided a preliminary report on the allegations. Some abuses were found, som were not, and, most importantly, the Koran flushing was not found to be true.
Good. I was wrong to believe all those reports, but I still don’t think, given all the reports and the other actual misconduct, it was unreasonable to suspect that it had happened. At any rate, I have to ask- what did the media do wrong? I actually watched the press confernce held live in the mainstream media. It will be reported widely tomorrow thee is no factual basis for these claims.
Why is that a bad thing- dispelling rumors with clear and transparent media coverage? Why the need to villify the press, to resort to talking points when you don’t have any more facts than I did- just suspicions (which, in this case, turned out to be true).
How did the system not work? Our soldiers, far from being sullied by scurrilous reports, have been vinidcated. This is good, no?