Saturday, June 18, 2005

The US Military Chaplain Who Cried Koran Abuse

(NOTE: I'm repeating this post that I wrote a few weeks ago because I'm tired of hearing from the right that only terrorists from al Qaeda have complained about Koran abuse. This is an abridged version of the original post: Does A US Military Chaplain Hate America?. Maybe someone else will report on this or follow-up.)

On June 3rd, the Pentagon released a report which supposedly squashed the stories that Korans had been intentionally mishandled at Guantanamo Bay. Nine incidents (seven involving guards, two involving interrogators) were substantiated as Koran abuse, but only five were confirmed and no further investigation was recommended. All cases were closed.

The official report mentions 10 other incidents, but - according to Brig. Gen. Jay Hood and his crack investigative team - those incidents "did not involve mishandling the Koran." And, although the report doesn't specifically say it, there doesn't seem to be any further investigation being undertaken on these "closed" cases either.

Seven of these mostly unreported incidents involved guards, but I'm going to focus on the three that involved interrogators.

(1) "On 28 NOV 02, during an interrogation, a detainee requested that a Koran on top of a TV set in the interrogation room be removed. It is unclear who initially placed the Koran on the TV; however, to appear less confrontational, the interrogator instructed the linguist to take the Koran off the TV. When a second interrogator learned of the detainee’s request, he returned to the interrogation room and placed two Korans on top of the TV. This act highly agitated the detainee. This incident was recorded in a memorandum dated 28 NOV 02."

According to the Pentagon News Release: "Ten of these incidents did not involve mishandling the Koran. They involved the touching of a Koran during the normal performance of duty."

So, are we to take this incident to mean that agitating the detainees by placing their Korans on top of television sets repeatedly qualifies as the "normal performance of duty"?

Guess so.

(2) "Some time between late NOV and mid DEC 02, during an interrogation, an unidentified Marine got up on a table and squatted down in front of a detainee in an aggressive manner and unintentionally squatted down over the detainee’s Koran. This provoked a visible reaction from the detainee. An officer reported this incident in a sworn statement, dated 11 Jan 05, as part of a separate investigation."

Nope. Nothing untoward in that account. It was clearly "unintentional." During the "normal performance of duty" Marines can't be expected to notice what they squat over when they hop on top of tables "in an aggressive manner."

Finally, here's the incident that led me to write this post:

(3) "During the search of the classified drive, a portion of a temporary file was discovered that mentioned an interrogator handling the Koran. The undated statement said that the Chaplain complained that an interrogator was tearing pages from the Koran during an interrogation. The author of the statement (who is a DoD contracted interrogator apparently in a supervisory position), in turn stated, that the interrogator was reading from the Koran. The interrogator forcefully turned the pages of the Koran during the interview, but did not tear any pages. It is unknown when this interrogation took place. The interrogator worked as a military and civilian interrogator at JTF-GTMO. Our scheduling records show that he participated in a series of interrogations in JUN-JUL 03."

Where do I start?

"A portion of a temporary file was discovered."


What the fuck does this mean? And why is it not being talked about?

Will Brigadier General Jay Hood be leading an investigation to determine what happened to this file? Only a portion was discovered. Where the fuck is the rest of the file and who the fuck deleted it?

"The undated statement..." "It is unknown when this interrogation took place."

Maybe that's because someone attempted to fucking delete the file and only a portion of it was found.

"...the Chaplain complained that an interrogator was tearing pages from the Koran during an interrogation."

You don't say. The Chaplain complained. Is the Chaplain one of those dastardly scoundrels who "hate America" as the President recently protested?

Did Brigadier General Jay Hood interview the Chaplain to get his side of the story?

There is no mention of that in any of the Pentagon News Releases but let's give Brigadier General Jay Hood a break. Perhaps the Chaplain's name wasn't included in the portion of the temporary file that was discovered.

But there's no need to further investigate this incident, is there? After all, a contracted interrogator who is "apparently in a supervisory position" recorded that the pages of the Koran weren't ripped when the "interrogator forcefully turned the pages."

Yep. Case closed. A US Military chaplain accuses an independent contractor of desecrating the Koran but there's no need to worry since the civilian contractor's supervisor said there was nothing to see here.

One would think that the words of a US Military Chaplain would mean something.

One would think that one newspaper in America would take the time to read this brief report and report about this incident.

One would think...or maybe I'm just that one.


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