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Saturday, May 29, 2004

write "To date, there have been no accusations of serious prisoner abuse in connection with interrogations at Guantánamo. Most of the criticisms have generally focused on the lack of legal rights and due process and the indefinite nature of the detentions."

This is a very clear and firm statement. They do not write that there have been no accusations demonstrated valid without doubt by photographic evidence. They do not even write that there have been no credible accusations, they write there have been no accusations.

This claim does not pass the Google test. I recalled that British prisoners alleged abuse after they had been relesed and googled "release guantanamo british "
The first hit was an al Jazeera webb article which contains the assertion
Two former British detainees released from Guantanomo Bay have told Australian television about Habib's treatment.

Jamal al-Harith told the Seven Network that Habib had been subjected to beatings and four days of sleep depravation.

"Blood was coming out of his nose and out of his ears," al-Harith said.

"They were moving him out back and forth, cell to cell every two hours and he wasn't allowed to sleep. He was very tired and sometimes he complained he couldn't walk, but they'd drag him."

Al-Harith, who said he was held in a cell near Habib in Guantanamo claimed that prostitutes were used to humiliate prisoners during interrogations.

Another British former Guantanamo Bay detainee said Habib was abused by his captors.

"I could see him being dragged by chains that were attached to his feet and him screaming in agony," Tariq Dergul told Channel Seven.

Theses are clearly "accusation] of serious prisoner abuse in connection with interrogations at Guantánamo"

The simple assertion of fact made by DOUGLAS JEHL and ANDREA ELLIOTT is demonstrably false.

Elapsed time to prove a blatent falsehood was published by the New York times less than 3 minutes. Slow typing means this was posted 15 minutes after I read the claim in the New York Times.

This is supposed to be our newspaper of record. Shouldn't it take more than 3 minutes to prove that it publishes falsehoods ?

update: Dear reader. You almost certainly came here clicking on a link on Eschaton. Thanks Atrios. I am grateful but greedy so I would like to try to get you to look at more than one page. Atrides might also be interested in main, my follow up, a commenter asked where I got the phrase "sleep depravation" I reply in comments but I forgot this, my definition of subliminable,
, The suprising scoops that Bush decided not to attack Ansar al Islam dated 2002, 2003 and 2004, The Gallup likely voter anomaly, Blogging against excesses in the war on terror with one hand tied behind my back
Mark Kleiman liked this comment on his views of preventing torture, If I am right this might be a scoop if we can trust Chalabi, important news on lung cancer plus some statistical innumeracy in the NY Times I agree with Ahmad Chalabi, I wonder when Safire will denounce the accretion of acrimonious acronyms
the left blogosphere, weird headlines


Aaron said...

I guess we should feel fortunate that the only well-documented victim of excessive brutality at Guantanamo has been one of our own soldiers, and conclude like Jehl and Elliott that we would never treat a detainee in a similar manner.

Anonymous said...

Things like this are really distressing. There is simply no innocent reason for a journalist at the NYT to make such a demonstrably false statement. I'm a journalist (in the UK), many of my friends are journalists, I've read plenty of books and blogs by journalists. We're newshounds, that's why we do this job. If a story comes up in your field, you know about it. It's what we do. These allegations have been published all over the place, in UK papers and TV news as well as on Al Jazeera, which any journalist covering Iraq should be watching, whether they like its politics or not. It's simply indefensible not to know about this - they're either so incompetent they should be sacked, or they are deliberately supressing information to mislead their readers. And it's not as if the released Britons are the only people to allege torture and abuse in Gitmo. For Christ's sake, the NYT itself reported the "water boarding" of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Sack them all.

Brian said...

The Guardian has reported extensively on the abuse suffered by British citizens at Gitmo:,13743,1000982,00.html

Anonymous said...

"To date, there have been no accusations of serious prisoner abuse in connection with interrogations at Guantánamo.What are described in postings and Observer reports are certainly abuses but they are not "in connection with interrogations," and that's the out for the Times writers. The "Internal" (or by other accounts, "Extreme") Reaction Force (ERF) at GITMO exists to subdue and correct the behavior of resistant/recalcitrant prisoners, not to interrogate them. They may be beating the shite out of them and crippling them for life, when they aren't outright killing them, but it's not part of the interrogation process...

So in a parsed, Rice-ian manner, the Times reporters are perfectly correct.

/devil's advocate

Robert said...

I ThankAtrios for for the link, although I did almost faint when I saw on site meter how many hits I got today. Also thanks to all commenters. You are the 2nd through 5th people to comment on this blog who are not personal friends or my mom, not to mention the first through 4th who used bloggers comments for the masses new feater to comment on this blog.

Dear devil's advocate
I thought of the "connected with interrogations" caveat. that's why I included "Al-Harith, who said he was held in a cell near Habib in Guantanamo claimed that prostitutes were used to humiliate prisoners during interrogations."

Since the first abuse reported from Abu Ghraib was humliation and accepted a serious except by Rush Limbaugh, Zell Miller and such like, I think the idea that humiliation with prostitutes is not serious abuse would not be made by Jehl and Elliot.

I really have no idea why Jehl and Elliot wrote the clearly false sentence. The point of the article is that abuse was systematic, and Jehl generally seems well informed and tough. It can't be laziness, they clearly worked hard on the article contacting six people from the 377th before finding one willing to talk. I just don't get it.

Update 0:16 Monday May 31 Rome time: the sentence is stillll there.

Robert said...

Dear anonymous

I may be confsued but I think that Khalid Shaik Muhammad is not being held at Guantanamo. My understanding is that top al Qaeda suspects are being held in super secret CIA facilities at undisclosed locations.

I don't really have a good link but
"Right now, the Justice Department has no plans to criminally prosecute Mohammed or other top al-Qaida leaders (like Abu Zubaida) currently being held by the United States in shadowy detention facilities overseas." from
supports my vague impression from I forget where I read it and anyway might have to pay to check. Anyway, I guess Khalid Shaik Muhammad was water boarded somewhere other than Guantanamo.

The prisoners in Guantanamo are Taliban officers, lower level al Qaeda and innocent non Afghan moslems who were in Afghanistan and hence are presumed al Qaeda even if they were there with an Islamic charity which is really purely humanitarian. Of course, the criminal abuse of Guantanamo detainees is made even worse by the fact that they are known to be small fry.

Susie Dow said...

Guantánamo abuse same as Abu Ghraib, say BritonsIn an open letter to President George Bush, Britons Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal accused US military officials of deliberately misleading the public about procedures at Guantánamo. [...]

At times, detainees would be taken to the interrogation room and chained naked on the floor, the letter says.

Robert said...

Sari Kadison-Shapiro

points out a misspelling on al Jazeera's web page

> depravation

uh...that's "deprivation"

(and thanks for your insights.)


ps I promised to post comments e-mailed to before blogger enabled comments for the masses

Anonymous said...

Good catch. It'a shameful the NYT missed this, which anyone who follows this area should know. TalkLeft has gobs of stuff on this. Yes, getting linked by Atrios will greatly boost your hits. Kevin Drum, who has about half the traffic of Atrios, linked to me and I got about 1,000 extra hits out of it. Great fun.

Frederick BeatBushBlog

Anonymous said...

This is Robert from an undisclosed location.
The link from Atrios did, indeed, get me a lot of
traffic 4714 hits after 24 hours. This is only slightly less than total hits pre-Atrios in the life of this blog.

Anonymous said...

I guess it never occurred to the geniuses at the NY Slimes that prisoners at GitMo are held incommunicado, thus it stands to reason there would be no 'reports' of abuse. It just goes right over their head--coincidence they suppose--that the only two prisoners who have been released, reported gross abuses at GitMo. This is the same head in the sand bullshit 'the greatest generation' used to proclaim their ignorance of the hollocaust. After all, concentration camp detainees never wrote to complain about conditions at Auschwitz, so there was no 'documentated evidence of abuse.' Everyone could then go about their comfortable little lives, telling themselves that the Jews were having a grand old time around the camp fire at summer camp.