The Daily Bork

May 17, 2005

Newsweek lied, People died. TT spins.

Well the blogosphere is alive with Flushgate, or how Newsweek jumped the gun and got a few people killed (but it's OK, because it wasn't in Iraq or done by the USMC). So how is the retraction of the whole load of lies dealt with by TT, the Swedish news service? Let's see over at Göteborgs-Posten...


Newsweek denies Koran desecration

KABUL

After harsh criticism from the White House, Newsweek has now backed down and denies information that insulting of the Koran took place in the Guantanamo prison on Cuba.

"With respect yo what we now know, we deny [retract?] our original article claiming that an internal military investigation revealed insulting of the Koran at Guantanamo," write cheif editor Mark Whitaker in a one-line release. Yesterday the newspaper made an apology after it was admitted that facts in the article were untrue.

"I find it notable that Newsweek admits that the facts were wrong and that they refuse to publish a retraction," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan earlier on Monday. In the controversy that followed Newsweek's article on May 9 around the Muslim world at least 16 people have died and over 100 been wounded.

Sunday's notice that the details were perhaps not correct were greeted with scepticism.

"We won't be deceived by this," commented Mullah Sadullah Abu Aman in the North Afghan province of Badakhshan.
"This is a decision which the USA has taken to save itself... it is understandable even to normal farmers who can't read."
Mullah Aman leads the Afghan Koran teachers who on Sunday threatened the USA with holy war - Jihad - in three days if the military leaders who it is claimed have violated the Koran are not handed over. The Jihad threat stands, they said earlier today.

A number of the British who were detained in Guantanamo on Cuba came forward on Monday and said that they had seen many times how the guards put copies of the Koran in the toilet and threw the holy book on the ground.

One of the previous prisoners, Moazzam Begg, said that it is ridiculous of Newsweek to retract the article.


No mention that the article was in fact based on (now withdrawn) claims from a sole source, or the fact that the paper agreed during the 2004 presidential campaign to withhold any information damaging to Kerry. The spin above seems to be that the story would stand, except for pressure from the White House. Somehow the threat of Jihad from a bunch of Afghan whackjobs is also relevant to the whether or not the story is true (even the "normal farmers" who can't read can see it is true). Also, a bunch of former inmates has come forward to say they saw it, honest guv, but somehow didn't feel like reporting it earlier.


Original:


Newsweek dementerar Koranskändning

KABUL

Efter hård kritik från Vita huset backar nu tidskriften Newsweek och dementerar uppgifterna om att skymfning av Koranen ska ha ägt rum i USA:s fångläger Guantanamo på Kuba.

- Med utgångspunkt för vad vi nu vet dementerar vi vår ursprungliga artikel om att en intern militär utredning avslöjat skymfning av Koranen vid Guantanamo, skrev chefredaktören Mark Whitaker i ett enradigt uttalande.
I går bad tidskriften om ursäkt sedan man erkänt att visa faktauppgifter i artikeln inte stämde.

- Jag finner det märkligt att Newsweek medger att faktauppgifterna var fel och att de vägrar publicera en dementi, sade Vita husets talesman Scott McClellan tidigare under måndagen.
I de kravaller som följt på Newsweeks artikel den 9 maj runtom i den muslimska världen har minst 16 människor dödats och över 100 skadats.

Söndagens besked om att uppgifterna kanske inte var korrekta mottogs med skepsis.

- Vi låter oss inte luras av detta, kommenterade mulla Sadullah Abu Aman i den nordafghanska provinsen Badakhshan.
- Det här är ett beslut som USA har tagit för att rädda sig självt. . . det begriper till och med vanliga bönder som inte kan läsa.
Mulla Aman ledde de afghanska koranlärda som i söndags hotade USA med heligt krig - jihad - om tre dagar om de militära förhörsledare som påstås ha kränkt Koranen inte lämnas ut. Jihad-hotet står fast, sade tidigare i dag.

Flera britter som suttit i Guantanamolägret på Kuba trädde på måndagen fram och sade att de själva sett flera gånger hur vakter lagt in exemplar av Koranen på toaletterna och slängt den heliga boken på marken.

En av de före detta fångarna, Moazzam Begg, sade att det är löjligt av Newsweek att dra tillbaka sina uppgifter.

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