[Marxism] Newsweek Got Gitmo Right

Horacio Oliveira horaciooliveira at mac.com
Tue May 17 01:29:47 MDT 2005

May 16, 2005
Newsweek Got Gitmo Right
by Calgacus*
Contrary to White House spin, the allegations of religious  
desecration at Guantanamo published by Newsweek on May 9, 2005, are  
common among ex-prisoners and have been widely reported outside the  
United States. Several former detainees at the Guantanamo and Bagram  
prisons have reported instances of their handlers sitting or standing  
on the Koran, throwing or kicking it in toilets, and urinating on it.  
Prior to the Newsweek article, the New York Times reported a  
Guantanamo insider asserting that the commander of the facility was  
compelled by prisoner protests to address the problem and issue an  

One such incident (during which the Koran was allegedly thrown in a  
pile and stepped on) prompted a hunger strike among Guantanamo  
detainees in March 2002. Regarding this, the New York Times in a May  
1, 2005, article interviewed a former detainee, Nasser Nijer Naser al- 
Mutairi, who said the protest ended with a senior officer delivering  
an apology to the entire camp. And the Times reports: "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." (Neil A. Lewis and Eric  
Schmitt, "Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantanamo Bay," New York Times,  
May 1, 2005.)

The hunger strike and apology story is also confirmed by another  
former detainee, Shafiq Rasul, interviewed by the UK Guardian in 2003  
(James Meek, "The People the Law Forgot," Dec. 3, 2003). It was also  
confirmed by former prisoner Jamal al-Harith in an interview with the  
Daily Mirror (Rosa Prince and Gary Jones, "My Hell in Camp X-Ray,"  
Daily Mirror, March 12, 2004).

The toilet incident was reported in the Washington Post in a 2003  
interview with a former detainee from Afghanistan:

"Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him  
in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him  
by dumping the Koran in a toilet. 'It was a very bad situation for  
us,' said Ehsannullah, who comes from the home region of the Taliban  
leader, Mohammad Omar. 'We cried so much and shouted, "Please do not  
do that to the Holy Koran."' (Marc Kaufman and April Witt, "Out of  
Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment," Washington Post, March 26,  

Also citing the toilet incident is testimony by Asif Iqbal, a former  
Guantanamo detainee who was released to British custody in March 2004  
and subsequently freed without charge:

"The behavior 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." (Center for Constitutional  
Rights [.pdf], Aug. 4, 2004.)

The claim that U.S. troops at Bagram prison in Afghanistan urinated  
on the Koran was made by former detainee Mohamed Mazouz, a Moroccan,  
as reported in the Moroccan newspaper, La Gazette du Maroc. (Abdelhak  
Najib, "Les Américains pissaient sur le Coran et abusaient de nous  
sexuellement," April 12, 2005.) An English translation is available  
on the Cage Prisoners site (which describes itself as a "nonsectarian  
Islamic human rights Web site").

Tarek Derghoul, another of the British detainees, similarly cites  
instances of Koran desecration in an interview with Cage Prisoners.

Desecration of the Koran was also mentioned by former Guantanamo  
detainee Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and reported by the BBC in early May  
2005. (Haroon Rashid, "Ex-Inmates Share Guantanamo Ordeal," May 2,  

*Calgacus has been employed as a researcher in the national security  
field for 20 years.

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