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Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation

This is an update to this morning's post about the ACLU's press release on the Government being aware of a detainee's claim in August, 2002 that guards flushed a Koran down the toilet.

Here is one such document, you may have to zoom in to read it. It's stamped August 1, 2002, but the interview referred to took place on July 22 and July 29, 2002. (Or you can find it among dozens on this page (pdf) at the ACLU site - scroll down to page 44 or 45.)

It's an FBI interview of a detainee, conducted with a translator present. It's document number 4136-4137, referred to here as

DETAINEES 4136-4137 Summary of FBI interview of detainee at Guantanamo Bay 07/22/02 Records detainee's responses to questions.

Scroll down to the last paragraph on the page. It says,

Prior to his capture he had no information against the United States. Personally, he had nothing against the United States. The guards at the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet.

You can also see just this quote from the page here. So the incident occurred around February, 2002.

Update: The AP reports this same quote here.

But, as TalkLeft noted here, the Miami Herald reported it on March 9, 2005 (available on Lexis.com)

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.

And on March 6, 2005:

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.

The Philadephia Inquirer on January 20, 2005:

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.

American Gulag in the Carribbean. And the press hasn't even begun to zero in on (as opposed to haphazarly mention from time to time) the abuses at Bagram in Afganistan, which I predicted, in tandem with Guantanamo, would result in George Bush leaving office as the most disgraced President in history since Richard Nixon.

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  • Not sure is this has been posted before but here is the transcript from the Laura Flanders interview with Martin Mubanga, a former prisoner:
    Laura Flanders: Did Newsweek lie about abuse of the Qu'ran? What did you see? Martin Mubanga: From my own personal experience and from what I know of what occurs in Guantanamo Bay, this is actually an ongoing thing for the past three years, so we don't need Newsweek to corroborate or substantiate these accusations. We who have been in Guantanamo Bay know that these and other things occur in degradation of our religion.


    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#2)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:20 PM EST
    Ernesto: Yep and I know OJ and Michael Jackson are guilty. No need to substantiate those allegations. I still want to see someone flush any book without stopping up the plumbing. As I said before, the plumbers on base at Gitmo are civil servant, just ask them when they got the trouble call.

    Wilie that is the best you can do? Go rip a few pages out a book and see if they flush. What a lame argument...

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#4)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:20 PM EST
    When you read the actual documents, the story is so different from what the White House would have us all believe is going on. More and more, I go straight to the documents. More on this here.

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#5)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:20 PM EST
    Ernesto - The FBI report is based on a "claim" of person who has a huge axe to grind. So why do you just keep nodding your head saying, yes, yes. Is it becaused you are biased against our position on the WOT? I'll say it again. This is a tempest in a tea pot. First we had an article that was withdrawn and then we had a claim of 15 to 17 dead in riots but no names or details. Fact is, if the Moslem world was so incensed, and this is such a big issue, then they would be rioting over Korans owned by non-believers and Korans in public libraries, both sets most likely being handled "incorrectly."

    I think there is more than one person reporting offensive handling of the Koran. It's really not on the same level as being handled inappropriately in a library or being owned by a non-believer. It has more to do with a pattern of behavior that violates the conventions and treaties we have signed and should uphold. But as Jim has previously observed, these people never had it so good.

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#7)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    et al - Just heard on ABC news that the Penagon has announced that they have questioned the detainee who made the charges, and the detainee says that they did not happen. Okay. I know. Who ya gonna believe? A retracted Newsweek article or a retracted claim by a detainee. Dog gone it. Life does get tedious.

    And which "not torture" techniques courtesy of A.G.Gonzales do you think they used on him to get him to "rethink" his claim, PPJ? And how much stock do you put in the veracity of the retraction... And PPJ, even though Newsweek has retracted its story, have you seen the FBI reports detailing the same allegations? What do you think of those?

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#9)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    Who ya gonna believe? A retracted Newsweek article or a retracted claim by a detainee.(PPJ)
    Or the Pentagon saying that the detainee recanted?

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#10)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    It seems to me the US military can do whatever they please with the books they own, Koran or not. Again, taking offense over the treatment of a ~1,300 year old fantasy novel is silly. I’m certain there is plenty of real torture at Gitmo; we needn’t get worked up over the contravention of detainee’s religious delusions.

    Blagh agrees with you, piggle, but he hopes you remember that if another 747 takes out Manhattan and the reason given is "disrespect to our Holy Books..." And if you it's outrageous, where have you been lately?

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#12)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:21 PM EST
    According to The Globe and Mail, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters that US investigators had re-interviewed the unidentified prisoner on May 14.
    Mr. Di Rita insisted on Thursday that although investigations at Guantanamo Bay are not yet complete, it appears that many of the charges are groundless. “Most of them are nonsense,” he said, referring specifically to those related to alleged desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.
    Most charges are nonsense? I wonder which ones are not? I can't resist one more quote from Mr. Di Rita who while denying everything makes sure his sorry rear end is well covered:
    Mr. Di Rita said it was not reasonable to believe that U.S. guards or interrogators would intentionally abuse the Koran. “As we understand it at the moment, we know that they have been extremely cautious, that the interrogators and the police are trained to know that this is a high-sensitivity issue so don't use it because it's too sensitive,” he said. “And then what we're trying to determine is: Are there people who violated that? And so far we haven't been able to develop any chain of indications that would suggest that.”
    For PPJ and the other groupies, notice that according to this Pentagon spokesman abusing the Koran is "a high-sensitivity issue". Not a "tempest in a teapot". You guys should get your stories straight.

    Is it becaused you are biased against our position on the WOT?
    PPJ...the guy was released without charges after almost 3 years of brutal confinement. Your position has been to defend the worst kind of prisoner abuse and the invasion of countries that had nothing to do with the "War on Terror", except how it could be exploited by Neocon policy objectives. This comes at the cost of tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. That is your position, and yes I am against it.

    Yep and I know OJ and Michael Jackson are guilty. No need to substantiate those allegations.
    Well, all we have is the prisoner allegations and these are backed up by one of our officers. No photos have turned up...yet. Are you against appointing a special counsel to investigate this? Do you want to find out the truth or just wish it away?

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#15)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    GregZ: what a lame arguement. Show me a link where one of the detainees claimed the Koran was tore up before flushed a few pages at a time. Everyone says flushed. Show me the pipes.

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#16)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    “… remember that if another 747 takes out Manhattan … ” I refuse to respect the delusions of the kind of folks that would do this; better to find and kill them.

    Pigwiggle, Nobody respects those kinds of delusions. The point is that when someone advocates or justifies the use of torture, abuse and/or humiliation of prisoners, they sink to the moral level of bin Laden and his ilk. The problem is that when any US official or soldier resorts to actions like flushing a Qur'an, a Bible, or any other holy text down a prison toilet in a prison, it is morally wrong. A civilized state never condones or tolerates such disgusting, childish behavior. That's called a moral absolute. Moral absolutes are something the rightwing has tremendous difficulty understanding today since Bush came to power, because Bush doesn't believe in any. But that doesn't mean they don't exist and the US government justifying torture is absolutely, morally unacceptable. (Note to rightwing nuts: Please spare us the bogus hollywood ticking bomb hypotheticals. Thanks)

    Yes it is, Piggle...but perhaps you don't want to be burning their holy books while you do it...Blagh isn't condemning the flushing, he doesn't worship books, and he thinks religious fanatics are all wet, but Blagh sure as "hell" wouldn't pick that little tactic while knife-weilding head-hunters were stalking his soldiers in that country...dig?

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#19)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    Its ok i am here. Big news in the counties of our enemies, in fact did bush tell the Iran news service? or did he have someone call for him? and was a white house phone used? oh yes can we flush bush down the toilet or just sand him to his friends in saudi arabia? but i see a lot of new scapegoats coming up in the future, maybe some low flying england's and can you see bush telling the searchers how to look for the little guys who need prison?..yes..yes..find me some more england's like 100 new englands, make sure all are young, half boys and half girls. got what i mean?..my boy bush the guy for the new world order, or disorder of the third world ideals.

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#20)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    “ … holy text down a prison toilet in a prison, it is morally wrong. … That's called a moral absolute ..” Man, what have I missed here? So, I guess your objection is it doesn’t jibe with your moral absolute. I get that morality is unique among individuals. It seems weird to condemn another’s absolutism in the same breath you assert yours. Well here is mine; if I can use one of your delusional beliefs to manipulate you, that’s your character flaw, not mine. If I could figure out a way to get the moral majority of my back by burning, flushing, what ever, the bible I would be on it in a second. It’s just a book; paper and ink. You might make headway with me if the book didn’t belong to the same folks destroying it.

    piggle, Blagh's with you on this...if someone sees more in a physical book made of paper with ink, they're seeing things...in fact, doesn't attacking someone over a book violate any religion's code? Shouldn't it? That said, while Blagh couldn't give the sweat off his brow to save a burning "holy" text, he's disgusted that people would advocate doing such to inflame sensibilities... Weren't Americans offended by flag-burnings and the hanging of Americans' charred corpses from bridges? Blagh would put to you: if you're offended by a burning American flag or the sight of an already-dead body being desecrated, you're feeling what Muslim detainees (none of whom have been proven guilty yet) might feel to watch their holy book being desecrated. Argue about who has more right to be offended, but the point remains that doing something so stupid while the world is watching your every move is counterproductive... And if you feel you are a moral person, the desecration of any religion's holy books for the purpose of inflaming believers should be distasteful in itself, whatever your own religious beliefs may be. "Do unto others," is the slogan, not "Do unto others unless you have a reason not to..."

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#22)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    And you wonder why they hate us:
    Sitting in for the clueless John Gibson, Judge Andrew Napolitano interviewed Fox News military analyst Bill Cowan, a retired lieutenant colonel in the marines. Discussing the possibility of eventually capturing terrorist leader al-Zarqawi, Napolitano mentioned the $25 million reward being offered for information leading to his apprehension. "Isn't that enough to shake loose some information about where he might be?" the judge asked. "You'd think so," said Cowan, "but probably a lot of these people that are thinking about $25 million have no idea what that amount of money really is. We always kid around that what we ought to be offering is a couple goats and a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser and we'd probably have a lot more response to it." In other words, according to Cowan, Iraqis are so dumb and backward, they don't understand modern concepts like money and can only relate to primitive things like goats and sheep
    LINK

    You'll never believe this, guys...just before Hannity went to break on FoxSpews, he said, "Coming up, a major terrorist leader in Iraq is reported injured...is the insurgency in Iraq losing ground? We'll be back.." Does FoxSpews watch the news or just fabricate their own? Where the hell did that question come from, in light of one of the most brutal weeks in years for terrorist attacks? WTF are they smokin' over there, Blagh wants some!!!

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#24)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:22 PM EST
    SD - Thanks for the FNC story. I am laughing so hard I can't walk. Ernesto - All the more reason to not believe him. Bag - Who cares? It worked? (See I can pass out nonsense just as well as you can.)

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#25)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:23 PM EST
    PPJ - only someone with your lack of morals and respect for humanity would think its funny. But you've exposed your utter lack of character here many times so i guess I shouldn't be surprised.

    Yes, PPJ, you certainly pass out nonsense...

    Re: Document Showing Koran Toilet Flush Allegation (none / 0) (#27)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:24 PM EST
    B- “Weren't Americans offended by flag-burnings …” Sort of. It just steeled my resolve that the US shouldn’t be handing out billions of aid to these countries; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, etc. “… and the hanging of Americans' charred corpses from bridges?” These were people not inanimate symbols. “ … is counterproductive... “ I don’t think either of us is in a position to measure the cost benefit of the pressure v. riots/bad will. You may be right, or not. But I think I am correct is typifying the position of many here that in the absence of world opinion it would still be wrong to destroy a Koran in front of a Muslim detainee. This is the point I am arguing. SD- “In other words, according to Cowan, Iraqis are so dumb and backward, they don't understand modern concepts like money and can only relate to primitive things like goats and sheep” I suppose that is one way to interpret it, although I think it says more about the interpreter. It may surprise some to find that in many parts of the world folks have no idea what the current US exchange rate is or even that ‘million’ means a hundred hundred hundreds. About 1/6 of the world lives on less than 1US dollar a day, about ˝ lives on less than 2 US dollars. The world experience of these folks doesn’t include the kinds of abstracts you may aspire to, or even education about them; it includes, and they aspire to, what you consider trivial and inane, a few farm animals and a car. I think it is a bit egocentric to expect these folks to identify or even understand what you take for granted. Hell, I’d be surprised if, when you asked folks in the US what 25million could buy, that even half were even in the ballpark. 420 Toyota landcruisers?

    piggle, you're not saying anything Blagh isn't saying...you're arguing with someone who's agreeing with you... If your position is that it is immoral to destroy a Koran in front of a Muslim, whatever the reason, then Blagh agrees with you. If you're likewise offended by the flag-burning and corpse desecration, Blagh's with you too...his point was that if someone feels justified in being offended by something, they can't shrug and offend others and say, "Big deal..." It is a big deal, and that's why you don't do it- even if it wouldn't offend you personally... Are we agreeing, or is there something else that Blagh said with which you're disagreeing? Or are we agreeing?