Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsweek to Apologize for Koran Story....Sort Of......

Newsweek is backing down on its May 9 story of investigations into a US soldier at Guantanamo Bay flushing a Qur'an down a toilet. Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker has written an explanatory account explaining how they may have erred. Among other things he states,
Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we. But we regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst.
Meanwhile, in the upcoming issue of Newsweek, assistant managing editor Evan Thomas (quoted at Powerline) has written an even longer and more detailed explanation of what went wrong with their reporting. Unfortunately, instead of throwing water on the firestorm of rioting, demonstrations and death in several Islamic countries, Thomas ends up by tossing gasoline instead. Using an even more unreliable source Thomas describes more unsubstantiated and unconfirmed "reports" of Koran desecration:

In the meantime, as part of his ongoing reporting on the detainee-abuse story, Isikoff had contacted a New York defense lawyer, Marc Falkoff, who is representing 13 Yemeni detainees at Guantánamo. According to Falkoff's declassified notes, a mass-suicide attempt, when 23 detainees tried to hang or strangle themselves in August 2003, was triggered by a guard's dropping a Qur'an and stomping on it. One of Falkoff's clients told him, "Another detainee tried to kill himself after the guard took his Qur'an and threw it in the toilet." A U.S. military spokesman, Army Col. Brad Blackner, dismissed the claims as unbelievable. "If you read the Al Qaeda training manual, they are trained to make allegations against the infidels," he said.
Oh, and by the way, in case he hasn't poured enough gasoline on the fire Thomas adds a few more pieces of firewood to keep it burning:

More allegations, credible or not, are sure to come. Bader Zaman Bader, a 35-year-old former editor of a fundamentalist English-language magazine in Peshawar, was released from more than two years' lockup in Guantánamo seven months ago. Arrested by Pakistani security as a suspected Qaeda militant in November 2001, he was handed over to the U.S. military and held at a tent at the Kandahar airfield. One day, Bader claims, as the inmates' latrines were being emptied, a U.S. soldier threw in a Qur'an. After the inmates screamed and protested, a U.S. commander apologized. Bader says he still has nightmares about the incident.

Such stories may spark more trouble...

Such stories may spark more trouble? How can Newsweek continue to justify the printing of such inflammatory innuendo and rumor?

When told that the anonymous "reliable" source who provided the original story has also now backed away from it, Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DeRita exploded, "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"

Shakespeare quoted Lady Macbeth as she looked at her hands, metaphorically stained with the blood of the murdered King Duncan, "Out damned spot....who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?....Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. O, O, O!"

Substitute "Newsweek" for "Lady Macbeth", "Muslims" for "old man" and "them" for "him" and you will get a fairly good literary description of what is taking place. Fifteen+ dead.....and still counting.......

Note: Captain Ed, Mudville Gazette and others have much to say about this...
Update May 16: LaShawn Barber compiles many more blogger posts