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Saturday, June 04, 2005


Voice of America confirms mishandling of Koran at Guantanamo

Straight from the Horse's Mouth (VOA is the official news agency of the U.S. Government)

"US Military Gives Details of Mishandling of Koran at Guantanamo
By VOA News
04 June 2005

The U.S. military Friday released the details of five incidents in which guards mishandled the Koran at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

An investigation by the base commander, Brigadier General Jay Hood, said the incidents included a prison guard splashing a Koran inadvertently with urine, an interrogator stepping on the holy book, and an obscenity written on the inside cover of a Koran.

The U.S. military noted that more than 1,600 Korans have been given to detainees, and guards are told to avoid touching the holy books if possible. General Hood says the investigation found that mishandling the Koran was rare, and never condoned.

The military said again Friday that there is no evidence that U.S. guards or interrogators ever flushed a Koran down the toilet, as Newsweek reported in a story that the magazine has since retracted. The report sparked anti-American protests in several Islamic countries."

Amnesty International has come under fire for comparing Guantanamo to Gulag, the infamous slave labor camp in Soviet Russia. It is fair to question the choice of the term used. Amnesty's Secretary General, Irene Khan, after first attempting to defend the comparison with Gulag is now backing off. There is nothing wrong with humility when one makes an error.

President Bush forcefully said "absurd" no less than 4 times to refute Amnesty International's report during his press conference on June 2nd. Is the president going to modify his position in view of the press release by VOA? Don't bank on it.

Why should this be of concern to us, ordinary Americans?

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post said it well in his comments on the report by Amnesty International, and about the president's press conference.

"But I hope the group learns a lesson that all of Bush's opponents should also take to heart. That lesson is not to pull back from criticism or to cower before administration attacks. It's outrageous that Bush tried to dismiss all questions about practices in Guantanamo as the work of "people who hate America."

"On the contrary, it's people who love America and the liberties it espouses who are most vehement in insisting that we live up to our creed. Those who care about the fate of our men and women in uniform worry how the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib might affect what happens to Americans taken prisoner in current and future wars."


VOA - Mishandling of Koran
E.J.Dionne-Washington Post

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