Thursday, May 26, 2005

Contrasting Headlines on Koran story; A good news source for the Balkans

Headline contrast:
The New York Times says, "Documents Say Detainees Cited Abuse of Koran by Guards." Let's note that the documents in question are FBI documents. Isn't it interesting that the word FBI doesn't appear in the story until you get to the second sentence. Then, the Times makes sure to say that the accusations are "unsubstantiated statements made by prisoners during the interrogation."
Fox's headline is "Govt: Still No Credible Koran-Flush Claims"
They say: Asked why he felt certain that this detainee did not affirm his allegation out of fear of retaliation, Di Rita said, "It's a judgment call, and I trust the judgment of the commanders more than I trust the judgment of Al Qaeda."....Di Rita also said that the terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay had been trained to make such false claims — adding that there are guard log entries of numerous incidents in which detainees themselves have abused the Koran or made allegations of abuse in order to get other detainees agitated. Aren't you glad that Fox is giving idiot right-wingers something to spout?
In direct contrast to what Fox and Di Rita say, what we know from a recent release of several detainees identified as innocent of terrorist charges, is that they were warned NOT to talk about the abuses they suffered.

Another story story based on the same report by Pentagon PR flak, Di Rita, suggests that he actually blames the abuse allegations on inadvertant actions by guards. However, let's not blame Fox's reporters for this one, since the DoD's own version of the story is both constantly changing and also just not true.
To me the issue here is that DiRita's description of detainees "trained to lie" and willfully desecrating the Koran is part of the general pro-torture rhetorical strategy of referring to the people in Guantanamo as "terrorists" and "jihadists." Fox and Rumsfeld agree on the basic notion that anyone in prison, simply by virtue of being there, must be guilty. I went to the "newshounds" website and found this transcript of a Bill O'Reilly interview with law professor, Rosa Brooks. At the end of the of the transcript, there's a copy of the DoD memo that Brooks keeps mentioning. If you want a tidy location for a bunch of memos and whitehouse doublespeak, go findlaw, here.
Meanwhile, in Baku.....
If that doesn't aggravate you, check this out. There's a new pipeline project going straight from Baku (in Azerbaijan) bypassing Russia, and bringing oil into the mediterranean markets. According to Bush, this deal "advances the cause of freedom" while cozying up to such charmers as Ilham Aliyev. Who is Aliyev? He's the son of the previous Azerbaijani president, Heydar Aliyev, who is not a democrat by any stretch of the definition of that word, but rather a relic of the Stalinist world. By the way, you can find a great "behind-the-scenes" account of Bush's visit to Georgia by Paul Rimple on the same website:

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