Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toilet

Here's an update to our earlier post skeptical of Newsweek's retraction of last week's Periscope item(about a military report stating that Guantanamo personnel had flushed a detainee's Koran down the toilet to get him to talk):

There are dozens of news articles referencing detainee allegations that guards threw korans in the toilet prior to the Newsweek article. Here's a sampling, all are available on lexis.com.

The Miami Herald March 9, 2005.

Yet recently declassified court documents allege that, as far back as 2002, some of Guantanamo's staff cursed Allah, threw Korans into toilets, mocked prisoners during prayers and deliberately took away prisoners' pants knowing that Muslims can't pray unless covered. Imagine a U.S. prisoner of war who is a devout Christian having his Bible tossed into the toilet or his rosary taken away. The U.S. government would rightly denounce such offenses as human-rights violations.

The Miami Herald March 6, 2005

Captives at the Guantanamo Bay prison are alleging that guards kicked and stomped on Korans and cursed Allah, and that interrogators punished them by taking away their pants, knowing that would prevent them from praying.

Three Kuwaiti captives -- Fawzi al Odah, 27, Fouad al Rabiah, 45, and Khalid al Mutairi, 29 -- separately complained to their lawyer that military police threw their Korans into the toilet, according to the notes of Kristine Huskey, a Washington attorney.

Guards also mocked captives at prayer and censored Islamic books, the captives allege. And in one incident, they say, a prison barber cut a cross-shaped patch of hair on an inmate's head. Most of the complaints come from the recently declassified notes of defense lawyers' interviews with prisoners, which Guantanamo officials initially stamped ''secret.'' Under a federal court procedure for due-process appeals by about 100 inmates, portions are now being declassified.

Philadelphia Inquirer January 20, 2005

Twelve Kuwaitis held for about three years at the detention center at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been physically and psychologically abused, their attorneys said yesterday after their first visit with the detainees. The men were "all very thin, almost emaciated," and most were being held in isolation, with 45 minutes of exercise a week, only the Koran to read, and no medical treatment, said Tom Wilner, who visited his clients last week.

Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Koran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet, said Kristine Huskey, who interviewed clients late last month. Others said that pills were hidden in their food and that people came to their cells claiming to be their attorneys, to gain information. "All have been physically abused, and, however you define the term, the treatment of these men crossed the line," Wilner said.

Hartford Courant (Connecticut) January 16, 2005

In March, the government released five British men from Guantanamo after holding them nearly three years. They had been captured in Afghanistan, where they had gone to offer humanitarian aid. Rose interviewed them the same month, two months before allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq first surfaced, and they described captivity that seems eerily similar. They said they were punched, slapped, denied sleep, had seen other prisoners sexually humiliated, had been hooded, and were forced to watch copies of the Koran being flushed down toilets. Eventually the pressure proved too much -- they gave false confessions that the British intelligence service later showed to be untrue. On their return to the United Kingdom, they were released by Scotland Yard without being charged.

Prisoners alleged the same thing happened at the jail in Kandahar in Afganistan:

BBC Monitoring International Reports December 30, 2004, Text of report by Khadija Ali Moussa entitled "Abdallah Tabarak, the former Guantanamo prisoner, gives Attajdid details of his ordeal from Kandahar to Guantanamo" and published by Moroccan Islamic movement Tawhid wal Islah daily newspaper Attajdid on 28 December.

Question: What were the detention conditions like out there?

Answer: The jail in Kandahar was like a stable surrounded by barbed wire and it had a wooden roof. It was located in a barren land where it was terribly cold. The American soldiers used to order us to lie down on our stomachs and they would start hitting our backs with rifle butts and trampling our bodies underfoot. They would place our heads in dirty bags, and when we went to sleep, lying down on our bellies, they would suddenly wake us up at about three o'clock at night. It was forbidden for us to talk, and anyone who said a single word was punished. The punishment was standing on one foot for long hours. All their treatment was violent, and every three days the tragedy recurs: burns with live electric wires all over the body and other forms of torture.

There are other forms of torture: they watched you each time you went to the toilet; the American soldiers used to tear up copies of the Koran and to throw them in the toilet; and when we were thirsty and asked for water, they would bring us one and a half litres each and they would order us to drink the whole lot up, and anyone who disobeyed was tortured. Then, after we drank all the water, we were forbidden to go and urinate. Sometimes the 60 prisoners of us used to stand up in a queue, each of us waiting for his turn to go to the toilet, and the Americans used to enjoy such a sight very much. More still: even moaning after torture sessions was prohibited.

Then, there's the Tipton Three and a lawsuit filed by released British detainees.

DAILY MAIL (London), October 28, 2004

The Tipton men have already submitted a 115-page dossier alleging they were beaten, stripped, shackled and deprived of sleep during their detention. They say guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets and tried to force them to give up their faith.

There were claims that detainees were forcibly injected with unidentified drugs and intimidated with military dogs. The men claim they eventually gave false confessions that they appeared in a video with Osama Bin Laden and Mohammed Atta, one of the September 11 hijackers, despite the fact that they could prove they were in Britain when it was made. After they were freed, the men were questioned by British police but quickly released without charge.

Detroit Free Press October 28, 2004

Four British citizens released from Guantanamo Bay filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the United States, seeking $10 million each in damages for abuse they say they suffered at the U.S. military outpost in Cuba, attorneys said Wednesday.

Shafiq Rasul, 26; Asif Iqbal, 22; Rhuhel Ahmed, 22, and Jamal Al-Harith, 37, were released to British authorities in March. They were detained in Afghanistan on Nov. 28, 2001, by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.

The lawsuit alleges that the four were chained to the floor while strobe lights and loud music were played in a room chilled by air-conditioners set at maximum levels. The men say they were subjected to the conditions for up to 14 hours at a time. They say they were also beaten while their heads were covered with hoods. The men, who were never charged while in U.S. detention, also allege that some of the guards threw the prisoners' Korans into toilets. The Pentagon denied the allegations.

The Observer, March 14, 2004, (also about Rasul, one of those who filed a lawsuit)

As Muslims, they were shocked when in repeated 'shakedown' searches of the sleeping tents, copies of the Koran would be trampled on by soldiers and, on one occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket. Throughout their stay at Kandahar the guards carried out head-counts every hour at night to keep the prisoners awake.

Does anyone really think Newsweek's retraction is real? Or that Guantanamo is anything other than an American gulag in the Caribbean?

< Newsweek: 'Never Mind' Koran Report? | Afghan Clerics Threaten Holy War Unless Flusher Turned Over >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#1)
    by Richard Aubrey on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:04 PM EST
    Do we have any sources besides prisoners who have been trained to say such things? Presumably al Q knows TLers as well as TLers know themselves. You defense attorneys are properly skeptical of testimony for the prosecution about something the defendant said when it comes from a long-time con with years ahead of him. Hell, after an abstention of, ten days to two weeks, my integrity might be on sale for a double cheese Whopper. I can imagine some guy being told he'd get two years off five. Now we find that Gitmo prisoners are unimpeachable, on account of their cause won't be forwarded by such accustaions. You probably think you can get anybody to think that. You guys. Always good for a "huh?"

    The pictures from AG fits with the stories from Gitmo. The deaths of prisoners from blunt trauma at Bagram. The renditions to countries who torture prisoners more easily than we do. Hmm... why would I believe that these sensitive guards and soldiers and interrogators would stop short of desecrating the holy book of the detainees after seeing the pictures of the detainees piled up nude, being punched, kicked, sexually humiliated, exposed to attack dogs. Is there any depravity that you can think of that doesn't appear to have been used? Have you no shame?

    I suppose the Iraqi's were trained to strip and pile on top of each other any time they got a chance and there was a camera clicking? Have you sense of common decency?

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#4)
    by Richard Aubrey on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:05 PM EST
    Conscious. Have you no sense of common?

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#5)
    by DonS on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:05 PM EST
    I suppose there are those around who still, with a straight face, believe the utterances of the US government when it comes to the matter of "torture". Not me any longer. It is all too clear that the government is about propaganda and only propaganda in the name of security because we are at war. On this business of dissing Islam, it is equally clear to those with eyes and ears that the administration wants it both ways. A wink/nod to those who disrepect Islam (e.g., the Falwells, Robertsons, etc.), because this aligns with the RW religious base. And a phoney, breathless, claim to respect all religions. To the American public, its all a matter of the pablum they are fed, directly and through intimidating the media. We good. They bad. KISS. Please, trolls, spare me a rejoinder.

    it is against the US. all I need for credibility.

    For anyone just dropping in...a quick guide to Ed and Richard and their ilk: if there are no photos they will deny it happened. If there are photos they will try to justify it.

    from The Miami Herald March 9, 2005 article (as quoted above) Imagine a U.S. prisoner of war who is a devout Christian having his Bible tossed into the toilet or his rosary taken away. The U.S. government would rightly denounce such offenses as human-rights violations. The last war, that I am aware of, where “a U.S. prisoner of war” was allowed to have a Bible or rosary, ended in 1865.

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#9)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:06 PM EST
    Soldier, nice job purposely missing the point

    For those dropping in, a quick guide to average poster here: all ills will be blamed on Bush; most posters afraid to reveal their actual enjoyment when they read of things like this-would find way to blame US if terrorists exploded nuke in NYC; only delicate religious sensibilities of Islamic world worthy of respect;

    OK...we lefties have been busted...now we must admit that Bush had nothing to do with Abu Ghraib...nothing! The fact that his personal lawyer had counseled him on the ins and outs of torture law beforehand was just a freaky coincidence.

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#12)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    The site according to Ed. Typing with one hand again.

    don't forget personally counseled Graner and England on what to do. I forgot to add relativism to my list: finds japanese internment camps comparable to Nazi death camps and would cheerfully have lost WWII to maintain smug holier than thou attitude; finds Ward Churchill and "little Eichmann" comparisons to be the height of intellectual quality.

    Yes, while relativism Ed-style inludes comparing Abu Ghraib torture to fraternity hazing. We are better than the Nazis! Yaaay!Something to celebrate in these dark times.

    the problem is this: you don't think we are better than Nazis and you really did not protest my analogy as it fits. Abu Ghraib was not a good thing. You find it comparable to head slicers and beheaders. You find it comparable to the mass graves. I will take my moral compass any day of the week. Read Christopher Hitchens-he's not my cup of tea but he at least knows the enemy.

    The enemy are the people shooting at you from behind bushes, not some dude that a pissed-off neighbor says is Al-Qaida...and that's the problem...you can't tortures "suspects" because they're just suspects...any American who says otherwise IS as bad as the Nazi's...in black and white.... As far as for this whole story, Blaghdaddy says dump'em all in the freakin' toilet... Bibles, Korans, Torahs, flush'em all and maybe people will have to find other reasons to kill other...

    Nazis/Communists/Fascists of all persuasions did find other reasons to kill each other, in the tens of millions. You need to be careful given that the mass murderers of the past century had good old secular motivations undampened by religion. Perhaps you are ignorant of history.

    No Ed, but we weren't bashing secularists, were we? So pay attention if you want to talk with the big people... Only someone who just wants to argue would dispute that religious disputes have killed millions, if not billions, since the first genius decided earth wasn't good enough and we needed something else to look forward to... So Stalin killed people...do you hear Blaghdaddy advocating dictatorships, Ed? Or are you just trying to argue? Religious nuts are as dangerous as any other nut, and they shouldn't be indulged...and that goes for Orthodox Jews, Conservative Christians and fundamentalist Muslims... What you do in your own place of worship is your business... The minute your religion interferes with Blaghdaddy's "Minding his own-business" life, there's gonna be trouble...if you're walking the streets sticking your book in Blagh's face, it's going in the gutter for sure, likely followed by you... Who on earth could think Blaghdaddy's wrong on this?

    this is how the big boys argue? there is really no comparison at the current time between ortho. jews/christians and the Islamic faith. I have yet to see hordes of jews/christians running around cutting off heads. making you uncomfortable is not an acceptable standard in my book.

    You don't? Wasn't Waco like only 12 years ago?

    Ed, if you're so high on Christianity being the "best" of the bunch, tune in and watch "Benny Hinn," "Robert Tilton" or "700 Club" once in a while... Once again, those living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#22)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    have yet to see hordes of jews/christians running around cutting off heads
    First there haven't been hordes with their heads cut off, too slow. The Christians/Jews are technically more advanced so instead of cutting off heads one at a time we drop cluster bombs on cities. Much more effective, many more killed, the only problem is all that collateral damage like children, women. But war is hell. Right guys?

    Watching them convinces you that the Islamic rioters and beheaders are superior? Do their pompadours frighten you that much? As far as being the best of the bunch, I will take the worst of them (Jim Bakker?) over any of the psychopaths regularly seen declaring Jihad or screaming death to the jews.

    No, Ed, Blaghdaddy thinks you're ALL idiots...you can't include "superior" and "religion" in the same sentence, it makes a non-sequitur... Please, people, Blaghdaddy has nothing against religion, but if you're going to believe something you hear from birth that you'd shoot someone for trying to sell you at 30, leave him out of it... Virgin births (Greek mythology) God's Son (Roman and Greek mythology) Miracles (call it the "Stone Ages", enough said). You people are nuts...

    Just one more comment before Blahg's wife kills him for not hurrying up... and you people want to tell Blagh that Arabs are insane? He's married to one, he knows...honey, put down that vest.... The last comment was about believing stuff that, to Blagh, makes absolutely no sense... The conservative Christians believe alcohol is a sin...tell that to JESUS, who turned water into wine (so say the loons) so the party wouldn't crash... The religious believe Christ raised Lazarus from the dead...Gee, anymore cool parlor tricks, JC? So GOD decided it was time for Laz to go, and because a couple of his friends missed him, God said, "What was I thinking?" Yeah.... Blagh's got more...but you'll have to wait...bye-bye everyone...

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#26)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    This story of the story will grow more appalling as the White House twists it. More on this here Oy.

    Ed, the PNAC crowd is every bit as fervently insane as a jihadist car bomber. What's worse is they have the means to blow up entire countries isntead of just half a city block.

    Heretik, the relentless tsunamis of obfuscation coming out of this administration do not fool the rest of the world...least of all those living under our military occupation. Not sure why they even bother playing this game anymore, except that perhaps this is a strategy to make the media even more docile.

    I agree with much of what you are saying, Ed. However, strife is never the way to go. I have a car, and I have some clue as to how it works, but I didn't make it and would not dare to act as if I know more than the people who did. It is interesting to find people out there like Blaghdaddy who, although they had no involvement in the creation of this earth, universe, or life, think they have all the answers. Actually, if I wasn't Christian, I would find it rather scary. However, the Bible tells me that these kind of people are out there and that Jesus died for them too. We are to pray for them because they don't know what they are doing or saying. Exurting oneself above God is a sad place to be and deserves nothing less. Blaghdaddy, you odviously don't know what Christianity is all about. You should try reading the Gospel of John sometime. You might just learn something. It's about love, not hate.

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#30)
    by Randinho on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:08 PM EST
    You should try reading the Gospel of John sometime. You might just learn something. It's about love, not hate. TJL, Your comments would be better directed at Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and Pat Robertson.

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:08 PM EST
    Why scary TJL? Things I can't explain don't necessarily scare me. Is that the reason to create a supreme being inside your mind? Fear? I can see the need for it 2000 years ago, when we couldn't explain earthquakes and floods and such, but today? Frankly, I don't feel the need to know the origins of the universe. Life doesn't need meaning, life IS meaning. Furthermore, explaining it all away with a supreme being who created the universe by twitching his nose like Samantha Stevens is just so utterly ludicrous, it boggles the mind. How can any sane human being accept such a concept on "faith". I'll never get it.

    Kdog: To think that you came from nothing and are going nowhere is an interesting concept. What does that leave inbetween? And you call my thinking ludicous? How might we catigorize your thinking? Sad, I might say.

    By the way, Kdog: What is that meaning of life between nothing and going nowhere? Tell me your purpose.

    Re: Earlier Allegations Guards Threw Koran in Toil (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:09 PM EST
    Were they conditioned to lie about being stacked on top of one another in the nude? Were they conditioned to lie about having wires connected to their genitals? No photos, no argument. Thankfully, a couple of idiots saved their photos and evidence of serious human rights violations were proven. Of course they pissed on the Quran and flushed it, they are trying to break them and since they are forbidden from physical abuse this was an easy target.

    "U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo prison had placed the Qur'an on toilet seats..." Apparently, this much is true. And that it was done SEVERAL times. This was alluded to in General Myer's press conference of May 12, 2005. [link deleted, not in html format, it skewed the site. ] GEN. MYERS: "There are several log entries that show that the Koran may have been moved to -- and the detainees became irritated about it, but never an incident where it was thrown in the toilet." Moved to? Moved to where? The restrooms?