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Afghanistan

Mon May 16 2005 Shooting The Messenger
Pakistani cricket legend turned politician Imran Khan shows copies of the magazine during a news con 5/16/2005: Protests over US abuses at Guantanamo have spread to Egypt, Sudan, the West Bank and Pakistan and the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and several other Muslim countries filed formal protests with Washington.

Even though there have been many reports of the use of Islam during interrogations at Guantanamo and several reports of the desecration of the Koran, Newsweek's "report" has taken most of the flak for the recent violence. Strangely Newsweek never had an article or report and what is at issue is a several word mention in a box to the side of a story merely stating that a government offical told them he saw a mention of the desecration incident in an unreleased document investigating conditions at the US prison camp. The reason for the focus on Newsweek was probably because Pakistani cricket legend turned politician Imran Khan displayed a copy of Newsweek when talking about the incident during a press conference last week. A more likely spark for the protests than an English language magazine was an interview on the BBC Urdu service earlier this month where former Guantanamo inmates reported that some Arab prisoners had still not spoken to their interrogators after three years to protest at the desecration of the Koran by guards at the camp.

Responding to pressure from the White House and Pentagon, Newsweek claims it checked with its source - a senior US official - who confirmed that he had come across references to the mistreatment of the Koran in the results of an US investigation into the mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, but he was no longer certain that they had come from the specific report he had originally named. When Newsweek offered its sympathies "to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst", the White House and much of the corporate media took this as an admission that the "story" was false and have forced Newsweek to retract its "story".

The head of Pakistan's conservative six-party Islamic alliance, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, told the BBC that Newsweek's clarification held no weight. "There have been reports by the prisoners who have been released from Guantanamo Bay of desecration of the holy Koran, and different atrocities perpetrated on them. Therefore, the clarification of Newsweek has no meaning."

The Newsweek Backtrack: Did the Right Win a Game of Chicken? | Reporting the truth | Newsweek Got Gitmo Right | Cageprisoners Publishes Quran Desecration Report

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