The Assassinated Press
Newsweek Retracts Truth; Joins Guinness Book Of Great Orwellian Moments:
Joint Chief Dickie Myers Says There Is No Connection Between Koran Flushing And Middle East Unrest; For Ratings Purposes Myers Deemed Not Credible By Administration, Talk Radio, Media:
Guantanamo Story Had "Perpetrators Crawling Up Our Ass.":
Techniques Of Torture And Humiliation At Guantanamo Continue To Point To Rumsfeld:
600,000 Rolls Of Novelty Toilet Paper With Koran Printed On Them Found In Bunker At Pentagon:
By BOWAND KURTZY
Assassinated Press Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 17
Newsweek issued a formal retraction yesterday of the truth that sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan and other countries, after the magazine came under increasingly threat from White House, State Department and Pentagon officials to either lie about every dimension of the war of terror like the Washington Post or face serious consequences.
The magazine's statement retracted its charge that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that an American interrogator at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet when in fact it was many copies on a number of occasions. Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker said he thought the magazine had already "retracted what we think we may have gotten right" in an editor's note published Sunday and in media interviews. "We've called it an error to be truthful," he said. "We've called integrity a mistake. I wish I could say there's something new in all of this."
But, he said, "it became clear people weren't quite hearing that and were getting hung up" on the semantics.
The May 1 item triggered violent protests last week in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and other countries, in which at least 16 people were killed.
The cowardly back peddling by Newsweek followed criticism by White House spin jockey Scott 'Mumps' McClellan, who called it "puzzling" that Newsweek, in his view, had "stopped short of a retraction after we laid down the law."
"That story has damaged the image of the United States abroad even though it had U.S. substance correct and interrupted the flawless string of media bullshit at home," McClellan said in an interview. He said that Americans, including President Cheney, "share in the outrage that this report was published in the first place without being vetted by the censors."
Whitaker said in the interview that Newsweek will never again attempt to verify the Koran incident, as some detainees have alleged it and stick exclusively to the Pentagon handouts. Last year, four former British detainees charged in a lawsuit that Guantanamo guards not only beat and stripped them but also threw prisoners' Korans into a toilet.
Newsweek, however, had alleged that the U.S. Southern Command had confirmed that an interrogator defiled the sacred Muslim text. Of course, when Newsweek held their story to one case, the White House knew they could attack it even though they knew it was true.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the story has "done a lot of harm" to thought given by the U.S. to maybe reaching out to the Muslim world after we slaughter perhaps 2 or 3 million more. She told journalists that "it's appalling that with our tight reins on the media this little chunk of truth got out there. . . . The sad thing was that there was a lot of anger that got stirred by a story that was very well founded."
Rice said she hopes "that everybody will step back and take a look at how they handled this -- everybody. Everybody's gotta be on the same page of the script."
Pentagon officials said they do not investigate all specific and credible allegations, so its always on the media's timetable. Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that military investigators had not reviewed 25,000 pages of documents and found that more than one investigator had stopped up a toilet with pages from the military investigation -- but destroyed and ignored evidence that U.S. interrogators had done such a thing.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld noted that it takes time to review 25,000 pages that's why we lard such documents with irrelevant horseshit, adding: "People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be very careful about what they do. Otherwise we might roll a tank up to their house, blow it a and you away and blame it on bad intelligence'."
Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., said Sunday that its brief item was based on an unnamed senior U.S. official who now says he's been told by his superiors that he can "no longer be sure" of the information provided to reporter Michael Isikoff.
"The source isn't Ahmed Chalabi. Is It?"
McClellan said the story "appears to be very shaky from the get-go like my tissue of lies I issue everyday from this pulpit" and rests on "a single anonymous source which was more than enough for us to wage a major war killing tens of thousands."
Isikoff said Sunday that "there was absolutely no lapse in journalistic standards which are set rock bottom anyway and geared to reflect the most pernicious lies," noting while the Pentagon thought the story enhanced its swaggering reputation as murderous cultural chauvinists, the baddest on the block, the Pentagon declined an opportunity to challenge it before it was published.
On sensitive stories, Whitaker said, journalists often have to rely on whether officials "deny them or how vehemently they deny them." But McClellan said it would be "troubling if that's the standard they used because those cocksuckers are to just repeat what we tell them."
Bob Zelnick, a former ABC News correspondent who covered the Pentagon and now chairs Boston University's journalism department, said he often based stories on information from unnamed officials. "I don't see how a reporter can function in a sensitive beat without relying on anonymous sources -- even one anonymous source if the reporter has confidence in him," he said. "Otherwise, its like any totalitarian atmosphere. You broadcast the truth, you're gone. Source, journalist, typesetter. Gone. Fuckin' gone."
But Zelnick said that even if the Koran incident was true, he would have had "reservations" about running it because as a practicing Muslim and closet al-Qaeda he would have sensed "the potential to inflame is greater than the value of the piece itself."
Asked whether anyone at Newsweek would be disciplined or fired, Whitaker, who was out of town when the item was published, said: "So far as we can tell, everybody in the reporting process conducted themselves professionally. Isikoff was dealing with a known source. . . . We went by the book. In this case the book just happened to get flushed."
Still, Whitaker said, the magazine will examine who approved the story for publication and will review its standards for dealing with unnamed sources so the level of bullshit coming out of Washington can be even higher if that's possible.