Saturday, June 04, 2005

Quran abuse confirmed

The Drudge report has broken the story about reported abuses of the Quran at Gitmo detainee camp in Guantanamo Bay. According to a pentagon source there were indeed some reports of Quran abuse by some guards there. But the surprising part of this story is that it appears the Quran was abused by the detainees themselves much more often than by the guards. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, the commander of the detention center in Cuba, said in a written statement released with the new details that his investigation "revealed a consistent, documented policy of respectful handling of the Quran dating back almost 2 1/2 years." He also stated, that of nine mishandling cases that were studied in detail by reviewing thousands of pages of written records, five were confirmed. He could not determine conclusively whether the other four took place.

In one of the unconfirmed cases, a detainee in April 2003 complained to FBI and other interrogators that guards "constantly defile the Quran." The detainee alleged that in one instance a female military guard threw a Quran into a bag of wet towels to anger another detainee, and he also alleged that another guard said the Quran belonged in the toilet and that guards were ordered to do these things.

Hood said he found no other record of this detainee mentioning any Quran mishandling. The detainee has since been released. Hood said last week he found no credible evidence that a Quran was ever flushed down a toilet. He said a prisoner who was reported to have complained to an FBI agent in 2002 that a military guard threw a Quran in the toilet has since told Hood's investigators that he never witnessed any form of Quran desecration.

Other prisoners who were returned to their home countries after serving time at Guantanamo Bay as terror suspects have alleged Quran desecration by U.S. guards, and some have said a Quran was placed in a toilet.

There are about 540 detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Some have been there more than three years without being charged with a crime. Most were captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 and were sent to Guantanamo Bay in hope of extracting useful intelligence about the al-Qaida terrorist network.

...........Keep in mind that these are DETAINEES making these allegations. It has been reported that, when an Al Quaida training manual was discovered, that among the other instructions for Al Quaida training procedures, they are instructed to report false abuses if in custody. With all that we now know about these alleged abuses, I hardly think that it compares with the Russian dictator Stalin's gulags, as was asserted in a release by Amnesty International. In the Gulags in Russia, I understand, more than 20,000,000 Russian citizens were brutally tortured and murdered during Stalin's reign of terror. But I don't mean to minimize the alleged abuses at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. I just think that Amnesty International's comparison is ludicrous at best. Surely they could have found a more appropriate comparison.

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