FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Flushing the Koran

White House staffers scurried this past week to souse the flames sparked by Newsweek’s recent story, which revealed that an internal US military investigation had found substantial evidence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated th e Koran. Newsweek’s feature led to outrage against the US in Afghanistan and elsewhere where violent protests led to at least 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The White House damage control team has been successful, however, as Newsweek retracted their story on May 16.

But for what? The White House claims Newsweek’s story led to the preventable deaths that resulted from the protests. “People lost their lives. People are dead,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld groused. “People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do.” Are we really supposed to believe that Rumsfeld suddenly cares about dead Muslims? Not exactly. Rumsfeld is just attempting to bury the truth.

Newsweek should have never retracted their story. In fact, Newsweek wasn’t the first media outlet to report on the trashing of the holy Islamic text by US military personal at Guantanamo.

Take the August 5, 2004 report by The Independent in London, which reported that ex-Guantanamo detainees “Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul … said one inmate was threatened after being shown a video in which hooded inmates were forced to sodomise each other. Guards allegedly threw prisoners’ Korans into toilets, while others were injected with drugs, it was claimed.”

Or how about a story by James Gordon Meek and Derek Rose for the Daily News in New York published the same day as The Independent’s story, where they reported that Asif Iqbal, writing of his time at Guantanamo, lamented: “They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it.”

On March 6, 2003, Marc Kaufman and April Witt, in an article entitled “Returning Afghans Talk of Guantanamo; Out of Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment” in the Washington Post wrote, “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 … Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him by dumping the Koran in a toilet.”

There is more. The Financial Times on June 28, 2004 also reported, “Former prisoner Airat Vakhitov told ORT about alleged mistreatment while he was at Guantanamo. ‘They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet,’ Vakhitov said. ‘When people were praying, they forced their way in and put their feet on people’s heads and beat them.'”

So we shouldn’t think much of Newsweek’s cowardly retraction. They simply yanked their story after being pressured by the Bush administration. But as usual, it’s the White House’s tale that is choc full of deception and lies, not Newsweek’s.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the forthcoming book, Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, to be published by Common Courage Press. You can pre-order a copy at discounted rate at www.BrickBurner.org. Josh can be reached at: Joshua@BrickBurner.org.

 

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

March 20, 2019
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
Dean Baker
In Praise of Budget Deficits
Howard Lisnoff
Want Your Kids to Make it Big in the World of Elite Education in the U.S.?
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Foreign Policy is Based on Confrontation and Malevolence
John W. Whitehead
Pity the Nation: War Spending is Bankrupting America
Priti Gulati Cox
“Maria! Maria! It Was Maria That Destroyed Us!” The Human Story
Missy Comley Beattie
On Our Knees
Mike Garrity – Carole King
A Landscape Lewis and Clark Would Recognize is Under Threat
Robert Fantina
The Media-Created Front Runners
Tom Clifford
Bloody Sunday and the Charging of Soldier F
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail