Gitmo prisoners abusing Koran

June 13, 2005

Max Boot says:

All the headlines about “Abuse of the Koran at Gitmo” are absolutely accurate. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood’s internal investigation has uncovered some shocking incidents. On at least six occasions, Korans were ripped up. They were urinated on three times, and attempts were made to flush them down the toilet at least three other times.

Why aren’t millions of Muslims rioting in response to these defilements? Because the perpetrators were prisoners, not guards. As John Hinderaker notes on, the most serious desecrations of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were committed by the Muslim inmates themselves.
Far from confirming accusations of American depravity, what the report actually shows is that Guantanamo is the first gulag in history run on the principle that no sensibility of the inmates should be offended, no matter how inadvertently.
The Hood report suggests that, for the most part, this elaborate etiquette is obeyed. The worst lapse, splashed (so to speak) across front pages around the world, occurred March 25, when a guard urinated outside an air vent and some of his urine blew into a cell and onto an inmate and his Koran. Human rights absolutists should be relieved (sorry, can’t help myself) to know that the detainee received a fresh uniform and a new Koran, and the guard was reprimanded and reassigned.

That’s the most heinous case of Koran abuse by Gitmo personnel. The four other verified incidents involved an interrogator kicking a Koran, guards accidentally getting a Koran wet with water, an interrogator (subsequently fired) stepping on a Koran and a “two-word obscenity” mysteriously appearing on the inside cover of a Koran.
More serious incidents of Koran abuse by Americans conceivably could come to light, but it is clear that anyone who did so would be acting against orders. Reading the Hood report — which is by one count the 189th (no kidding) Defense Department investigation of how prisoners in the war on terrorism are treated — I couldn’t help but think: Too bad Muslims don’t show the same exquisite concern for the sensibilities of others.

Robert in the comments of an earlier post suggests that the Newsweek report of a Koran being flushed down the toilet and implicitly other systemic abuse is “reasonably accurate.” I suppose it depends on what the meaning of “accurate” is.

In that comment Robert also says that Guantanimo has been a symbol of malintent. Perhaps that is because the mdiea reports every allegation of prisoner abuse as if it was fact and is skeptical of any claims by or for the US. Heather MacDonald notes:

It may be true that Guantanamo Bay has become synonymous with lawlessness throughout vast swathes of the Western and Muslim worlds. But no one is more responsible for that reputation than the New York Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, and other mainstream media outlets, which have never encountered a prisoner-abuse story that they didn’t find credible and worthy of broadcast.

Read the whole thing for details of the misreportage and active spin against the facility and implicitly. But the best coverage of this issue is Lileks He quotes an article in Time magazine on the “torture” at Guantanamo and comments:

The techniques Rumsfeld balked at included “use of a wet towel or dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation.” “Our Armed Forces are trained,” a Pentagon memo on the changes read, “to a standard of interrogation that reflects a tradition of restraint.” Nevertheless, the log shows that interrogators poured bottles of water on al-Qahtani’s head when he refused to drink. Interrogators called this game “Drink Water or Wear It.”

This is how articles are written, conventional wisdom chopped pressed and formed: the techniques Rumsfeld “balked at” – meaning, I assume, did not permit – did not include actual suffocation, but the use of a wet towel that would induce the misperception of an emanation of a penumbra of suffocation. NEVERTHELESS. Key word, that. Lines crossed not in fact but in spirit. He balked at fake suffocation, aye; NEVERTHELESS the climate of pain and retribution did not forbid men from freely dumping bottles of Dasani on the heads of the detainees. Why, it was a game to the interrogators. “Drink Water or Wear it.” Spiritually, it’s a first cousin to Saddam’s game, “Use Tongue Then Lose It.”

After the new measures are approved, the mood in al-Qahtani’s interrogation booth changes dramatically. The interrogation sessions lengthen. The quizzing now starts at midnight, and when Detainee 063 dozes off, interrogators rouse him by dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music.

Djinni in a bottle, no doubt.

According to the log, his handlers at one point perform a puppet show “satirizing the detainee’s involvement with al-Qaeda.”

So Doug is part of the torture crew, then. From the ever-prescient Pythons:

Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

Vercotti: He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire. He was vicious.

Lileks is incredibly funny and it is worth reading the whole thing for the humor alone, but his point is brutually clear. This is spin by the US media not any actual abuse and certainly not anything the rest of the world would otherwise recognize as abuse.

He is taken to a new interrogation booth, which is decorated with pictures of 9/11 victims, American flags and red lights. He has to stand for the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

Okay, this is torture. But only if you’re interrogating a poster on the Democratic Underground.

His head and beard are shaved. He is returned to his original interrogation booth. A picture of a 9/11 victim is taped to his trousers. Al-Qahtani repeats that he will “not talk until he is interrogated the proper way.”

Meaning what? Forced to kneel before a camera and confess you’re a Jew before your head is sawed off?

In addition to more coverage of the abuse of people, the MSM coverage also neglects coverage of the abuse of our symbols. Gateway Pundit notes:

It is interesting how the news media today will jump on a story if it denigrates our military or our country. The media may get their facts from an anonymous source and rush to print it in a major newspaper or weekly magazine. The story may turn out to be inaccurate. The original accuser may even retract his accusations. But, the damage is already done and our media moves on to their next anonymous sourced Anti-American story.

Yet, here tonight there is actual footage of Muslims burning, spitting on, and making urinals out off our American Flag. And, as US citizens we are supposed to get immuned to a lot of this. Many people believe that we even deserve this! We constantly see Muslims spit on and burn effigies of our president, threaten our country with the words (in English) on their posters, spit on the symbols of our nation, and now today, piss on our flag and our president!

Read the posts to see the imagery of these protests. He catalogs a bunch of protests that were not covered by the major media.

At the end of his post, Robert calls me to account for demanding more responsibility of Newsweek and the other MSM. He thinks I am being inconsistent or irresponsible for calling Newsweek to account for its lies. He is intent on protecting Newsweek from any sort of legal liability associated with the deaths it caused. He implicitly admits that Newsweek is guilty of its crimes even as he explicitly tries to deny it. He just suggests that the punishment should be competition from other media. I’m ok with that punishment, but then I expect explicit condemnation of newsweek’s reportage from people like Robert, not mealy mouthed defense as “reasonably accurate.” Robert when you stand up and say that people should stop subscribing to Newsweek while they are being this irresponsible with the truth, I will back down on demanding punishment.


Terrorism in Manhattan. Winer Hypocricy

May 5, 2005

From NY1

Two novelty grenades filled with gunpowder exploded outside the British Consulate in Midtown early Thursday morning, causing minor damage but no injuries. Police do not have any suspects or a motive but say there is no evidence linking the blasts to national elections underway in Britain.

Yesterday, I saw that Dave Winer had posted :

Sure we led the war effort in Iraq, but Blair was right there providing political cover for Bush, the whole way. If he hadn’t maybe Bush wouldn’t have gotten re-elected. So why wasn’t there (or was there?) an effective campaign to deny Blair re-election for what he did in the war, the lies he told? Or do the British think somehow that Bush was lying and Blair wasn’t, because if you do, I got a bridge I want to tell you about. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

So Dave is clearly angry with Bush and Blair. I’d like a better sense of what lies he thinks they told and whether or not the outcome was worth it e.g. freedom and elections in Iraq. I am curious because later on in the same set of posts he says:

Hats off to the Internet for bringing us the girl band from Afghanistan, they’re hip, they’re girls, and they wear Burkas! Wow.

So I wonder if he is willing to express any actual gratitude to Bush and Blair for toppling the Taliban and making this girl band possible. Or is it all just churlishness?

The reason why I connect the manhattan “terrorism” with Dave Winer is that the blinding anger at Bush and Blair is a characteristic feature of the left. This type of action, novelty grenades, seems less like the work of sophisticated international terrorists and more like the work of someone local with an ax to grind who wants to make a statement. Given all the left paraphenalia advocating assasinating Bush, this is perhaps an obvious next step.

Note, I am not making an accusation here. Just stating an alternative to the Al Queada theory that appears to be floating around elsewhere.

WMD Transfer To Syria?

April 27, 2005

Captain Ed says the recent ISG report says that they cannot rule the possibility that Iraqi WMD were transferred to Syria. But can’t investigate because they lack access to Syria and the Bekka valley in Lebanon. He quotes the WaTimes:

But on the question of Syria, Mr. Duelfer did not close the books. “ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war,” Mr. Duelfer said in a report posted on the CIA’s Web site Monday night.

He cited some evidence of a transfer. “Whether Syria received military items from Iraq for safekeeping or other reasons has yet to be determined,” he said. “There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was involved. In the judgment of the working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further investigation.”

But Mr. Duelfer said he was unable to complete that aspect of the probe because “the declining security situation limited and finally halted this investigation. The results remain inconclusive, but further investigation may be undertaken when circumstances on the ground improve.”

Sundries Shack quotes the WaPost

Although Syria helped Iraq evade U.N.-imposed sanctions by shipping military and other products across its borders, the investigators “found no senior policy, program, or intelligence officials who admitted any direct knowledge of such movement of WMD.” Because of the insular nature of Saddam Hussein’s government, however, the investigators were “unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials.”

If WMD end up being found in Syria or Lebanon, it will be the anti-war folks who are to blame.

Spain’s Socialists Sold WMD to Venezuela

April 12, 2005

Bacepundit points to VCrisis which notes:

During the first semester of 2004 Spain sold chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials to Venezuela worth €539.603 according to a report entitled “Spanish exports of defence materials and related products and technologies”. The report, produced by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, was revealed to Europe Press. Venezuela appeared as the twelfth buyer of such defence material to Spain for the period that saw José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero winning the vote over Partido Popular.
Report’s statistics show that Venezuela was the only country under the category “countries to which chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials were sold”. Worth noting that the said category includes “biological and nerve agents destined to chemical warfare” of which Venezuela bought €30.374.

Why does Venezuela need WMD?

Prediction of action against Syria coming true

March 22, 2005

US moving forces to confront Syria and Iran

Defend the Defenders

February 15, 2005

Josh in the comments section of a prior post insists on quoting the repeatedly discredited Juan Cole’s claim that those who advocate going to war are hypocrites unless they are willing personally to go and fight.

As I said in the comments, I believe in fighting crime, but don’t join the police. And I believe in fighting fired, but I don’t join the fire department. Josh responded:

oh, and you don’t think that imminent fires or rampant street crime is the greatest threat to the united states and freedom in general. that’s why i’m not calling you a chickenshit for not joining the fucking FIRE DEPARTMENT.

Ignoring the fact that Josh is getting too overwrought to engage in respectful discussion, I would note that if there were no police or fire departments, fire and street crime would be existential threats to our way of life. The reason why neither Iraq nor any other country is an exsitential threat to us is because we periodically fight wars BEFORE they get there. As Wolfwowitz said “we cannot wait to act until the threat is imminent. The notion that we can do so assumes that we will know when the threat is imminent.”

Josh and his ilk do not think the US can or should be the world’s police force. Perhaps they are right, but note the metaphor.

More recently, Josh posted a link to a site for sending whitefeathers to Jonah Goldberg. But, Jonah notes:

The reference is to WWI when women would give young men not in uniform feathers to shame them into enlisting. It’s a clever bit of web-bullying I suppose. But the analogy is stupid. Those women supported the war. The people reprising the role of WWI prim ladies on the homefront do not.

Perhaps Josh is on the verge of changing is mind and supporting the war. He does say:

go to iraq. sign up right now. you’re still young enough. i will support your actions utterly. i will help raise money so you have decent supplies and armor in your outfit. i’ll put a ‘support the troops’ bumper sticker on my car, proudly, and i will sing the praises of the men in iraq because THEY ARE MY FRIENDS who CHOSE TO RISK THEIR LIVES FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN.

I appreciate that he would extend me this honor. But it is telling that he refuses to extend the same honor to our fellow citizens who are already doing so.

I just learned that a junior high school classmate of mine who joined the Marines and fought in both Gulf wars is about to stand trial for the murder of two Iraqis he thought were about to attack him. If conviced he may be subject to the death penalty. His mother is raising money for his defense at DefendTheDefenders. The website is down because it has exceeded its bandwidth but you can find out more details here.

I’ve donated to the fund and so has my brother. I don’t know whether Josh will or whether he is simply blathering. Anyone who wished to defend the defenders can Paypal funds to merriko AT

Forcing Democracy

February 3, 2005

I keep hearing variants of this argument I received in email recently

it is arrogant and Pollyanna to think that we can just go forcing it on countries that are not ready or do not want it. At some point the people have to stand up and take it for themselves without help.

Countries don’t have preferences. People have preferences. The way you ascertain those preferences is via free speech and elections.

It is certainly arrogant for dictators to force their rule on subject populations too weak to resist them, but they do so nonetheless.

It is therefore morally appropriate for us to protect the weak from such oppression. It is also incredibly ironic for pro-welfare state people to make arguments such as the one I quoted. They respond very differently when people say that the poor should help themselves rather than rely on government handouts.

Josh and others argue that the cost of protecting the weak is too high in the case of Iraq. However, it is difficult to maintain this stand and simultaneously argue that we went into Iraq out of self interest rather than morality e.g. for the oil.

And, by the way, if morality and self-interest are aligned, so much the better.