Newsweek’s victims

“The Left’s journalistic jihad against the War on Terror inspired the deaths of 16 Muslims, the injury of at least 100 more, the destruction of numerous Western buildings, and untold hatred for U.S. troops stationed in the Arab world – with a lie.”

Ben Johnson attacks Newsweek for reporting that torture of Guantánamo Bay detainees included the desecration of the Qur’an.

Front Page Magazine, 16 May 2005

However, in its forthcoming issue, Newsweek points out that it was “not the first to report allegations of desecrating the Qur’an. As early as last spring and summer, similar reports from released detainees started surfacing in British and Russian news reports, and in the Arab news agency Al-Jazeera; claims by other released detainees have been covered in other media since then.”

(See, for example, Al-Jazeera, 7 July 2004 or BBC News, 4 August 2004)

Reporter Evan Thomas also states that Newsweek has since contacted Marc Falkoff, a New York defence lawyer 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.”

Newsweek, 23 May 2005

So that’s alright, then. Along with other allegations of torture at Guantánamo, it’s all an Al Qaeda plot, aided and abetted by the “Left”.

For Juan Cole’s take on the Newsweek report, see Informed Comment, 16 May 2005