Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweak and the the Toilet Paper Koran

What a sniveling bunch of gutless cowards.

Newsweek magazine is the latest media outlet to drop its pants for the Bush Cabal, bending over and spreading its cheeks for a hard, right wing ass fuck in the family tradition of pious spousal-rape proponent Dr. W. David Hager.

Scott McClellan, White house spokesninny, is now suggesting that the magazine "Work to help repair the damage that has been done," [by reporting on the Koran-as-toilet-paper incident] because "Our United States military goes out of its way to treat the holy Koran with great care and respect."

Yeah, and Jeff Gannon is a hard-hitting journalist.

Dan Rather was the most infamous victim of Rovian PSYOPS crucifixion -- after being slipped an irresistable (and bogus) document, most likely by a GOP operative, he ran with it and became the poster boy of Bush-bashing liberal journalists. Never mind that the allegations in the fake document remain undisputed, that Bush's service record was abysmal, and that the coddling he received from his superiors was highly suspect -- the clever ruse worked its magic on a dumbed down populace and a cowering press corps. Goodbye, Dan, we won't miss you -- those who refuse to stand and fight the lying bastards get no sympathy from me.

So... Newsweek was fed some information that its military sources are now conveniently unable (or unwilling) to authenticate. Big fucking deal. Even if this particular Koran/toilet incident cannot be authenticated by the magazine's unnamed Pentagon source, desecration of the Koran as a "softening-up" tactic has been asserted on scores of occasions. And it is certainly far less repulsive and humiliating than other documented abuses.

One record of the religious humiliation of prisoners in Afghanistan and Guantanamo has been on the record since early 2004, as documented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (link).

The behaviour of the guards towards our religious practices as well as the Koran was also, in my view, designed to cause us as much distress as possible. They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it. It is clear to me that the conditions in our cells and our general treatment were designed by the officers in charge of the interrogation process to “soften us up”’.

And if that isn't enough, this USA Today article points out that 65 lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court contend that American soldiers have desecrated the Koran.

And who can forget this "creatively" abusive incident -- confirmed by the Pentagon's own inquiry:

The [Pentagon] inquiry uncovered numerous instances in which female interrogators, using dye, pretended to spread menstrual blood on Muslim men, the official said. Separately, in court papers and public statements, three detainees say that women smeared them with blood.

And further:

Church's report found that interrogators used sexual tactics and harassment to shock or offend Muslim prisoners, the senior Pentagon official said. The official said that the military would not condone "sexual activity" during interrogation, but that good interrogators "take initiative and are a little creative."

Even detainee lawyers doubted that interrogators would spread menstrual blood on prisoners when a recently released British detainee first made the allegation in early 2004. A month ago, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed it had verbally reprimanded one female interrogator who, in early 2003, had smeared red dye from a marker on a detainee's shirt and told him it was blood.

In a yet-to-be-published book, former Army translator Erik Saar said he had seen a female interrogator smear red dye on a Saudi man's face, telling him it was blood. Saar's account was first reported by the Associated Press last month. One lawyer, Marc Falkoff, said in an interview that when a Yemeni client told him a few weeks ago about an incident involving menstrual blood, "I almost didn't even write it down." He said: "It seemed crazy, like something out of a horror movie or a John Waters film. Now, it doesn't seem ludicrous at all.

No, it doesn't.

It's clear that the Newsweek brouhaha is simply another clever psychological operation aimed at scapegoating the media and framing the reports of abuse as "liberal propaganda." Newsweek slinks into the shadows, its tail between its knees, the Wingnut blogs spread talk of the hideous liberal treason, and the White House -- culpable in every incident of prisoner abuse -- demands that the magazine make amends for daring to print the real truth.

Brilliant work, Karl. Another masterful coup.

One by one, the mouthpieces of the Fourth Estate have been reduced to helpless whelps sucking on their master's rancid teats.

And that's a real desecration.


Blogger Professor Pan said...

A followup:

Congressman John Conyers sent a letter to Scott McClellan (posted on Buzzflash), which addresses the Newsweak/media scapegoating PSYOP and deserves to be reprinted in its entirety:


Mr. Scott McClellan
Press Secretary
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. McClellan:

I write to express my profound disappointment and outrage about comments you made about a matter involving Newsweek magazine, which smacks of political exploitation of the deaths of innocent and a shameless attempt to intimidate reporters from critically investigating your Administration's actions. Your comments are contradicted by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and stand in stark contrast with your actions involving the "Downing Street Memo." I urge you and your counterpart at the Pentagon to immediately retract the comments made yesterday, and - at long last - provide a full accounting of the Administration's actions in the lead up to the Iraq war.

As you are aware, a May 9th Newsweek report indicated that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba flushed the Koran down a toilet as part of an interrogation. Newsweek has since retracted the story. However, as the magazine was reevaluating information received from its sources, it appears you opted to exploit the situation for partisan political gain by falsely laying blame on Newsweek for recent deaths in Afghanistan.

Specifically, at 11:23am yesterday, you declared in a public statement: "his report has had serious consequences. It has caused damage to the image of the United States abroad. It has -- people have lost their lives. It has certainly caused damage to the credibility of the media, as well, and Newsweek, itself." The Pentagon spokesman, Larry DiRita, made similar comments. Referring to Newsweek's source, he said "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said." The clear implication of these statements is that the Newsweek report had caused a loss of life in Muslim nations, presumably referring to the recent riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

First, this attempt to tie riots to the Newsweek article stands in stark contrast to the assessment of your own senior military officials. On May 12th, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff had reported on his consultations with the Senior Commander in Afghanistan about whether there was a causal relationship between the Newsweek story and the riots thusly: "[h]e thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine." The only conclusion that can be reasonably drawn is that, in contrast to career military officers, political operatives sought to score cheap political points by spreading falsehoods about Newsweek. The appropriate course of action is clear: you and Mr. DiRita should immediately retract your exploitative comments.

Second, there is - of course - a sad irony in this White House claiming that someone else's errors or misjudgments led to the loss of innocent lives. Over 1,600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives in the Iraq war, a war which your Administration justified by falsely claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. To date, your Administration has consistently blocked Congressional inquiries into whether such claims were the result of intentional manipulation of intelligence or, as you assert, a mere "failure."

Moreover, your loquacious response to this matter stands in stark contrast to your response to a recently released classified memo comprising the minutes of a July 22 meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet which calls into question the credibility of assertions made by your Administration in its drive to war. Among other things the memo indicates that Administration officials were working to ensure that "the intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy," implying that intelligence was deliberately manipulated to prop up the case for war. The memo also indicates, contrary to contemporaneous statements to the American people and the Congress that the President had already "made up his mind to take military action." When asked about this memo, you claimed that you "don't know about the specific memo" - two and one half weeks after its release and ten days after receiving a letter detailing its contents from 89 Members of Congress (which has still not been answered).

Third, the public deserves to know what precisely the White House is asserting with respect to the mistreatment of the Koran by interrogators: are such reports categorically false or are they, in the words of one publication, "manifold?" For example, a May 1st New York Times report indicated that a Koran was thrown into a pile and stepped on at the Guantanamo detention facility and "[a] former interrogator at Guantanamo, in an interview with the Times, confirmed the accounts of the hunger strikes, including the public expression of regret over the treatment of the Korans." The incident where a Koran was allegedly thrown in a toilet was also recounted by a former detainee in a March 26, 2003 article in the Washington Post, and corroborated by another detainee in a August 4, 2003 report by the Center for Constitutional Rights. The question is: are you categorically denying that the mistreatment of the Koran occurred, or are you simply denying the Newsweek report is accurate on hyper technical grounds?

Mr. McClellan, the American people have grown tired of the venomous partisanship and lack of candor on the part of this Administration. When taken to task for wrongdoing, a pattern has emerged of this Administration viciously attacking its accusers. The cornerstone of our democracy is an open and accountable government, and the American people deserve answers - not distractions -- today.


John Conyers, Jr.

Congressman Conyers represents Michigan's 14th District. Visit his web site: http://www.house.gov/conyers/

5:08 PM  

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