Koran Inquiry Reveals Pattern of 'Respectful Handling'

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2005 – An inquiry into allegations of mishandling of the Koran by U.S. personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reveals “a consistent, documented policy of respectful handling” dating back almost two and a half years, the general who led the effort said June 3. Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, released results of his inquiry, which was launched following allegations in the media that U.S. personnel at the detention facility had flushed a Koran down the toilet.

The inquiry found no credible evidence that the flushing incident occurred, U.S. Southern Command officials said in a news release. “This matter is considered closed,” the statement said.

Hood’s extensive inquiry of documents and procedures at the detention facility related to alleged abuse of the Koran revealed “five incidents of apparent mishandling by guards or interrogators and 15 incidents of mishandling and outright desecration by detainees,” Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said June 3.

Four alleged incidents of mishandling by U.S. personnel could not be confirmed, Hood said.

The inquiry involved a review of 31,000 hard-copy and electronic documents covering 28,000 interrogations, Di Rita noted. In addition, Hood said the inquiry team reviewed 63 Habeas petitions for any incidents involving the Koran, as well as 38 press articles.

It also included a review of procedures involving the Koran. Since January 2002, Joint Task Force Guantanamo has issued more than 1,600 Korans and undergone thousands of cell moves that involved moving detainee effects, including Korans, U.S. Southern Command officials noted.

From those activities, the inquiry team identified 19 incidents in which U.S. personnel handled Korans. Ten of those incidents involved no mishandling, and simply touching of the Muslim holy book “during the normal performance of duty,” the statement said.

“With the other nine incidents, there was either intentional or unintentional mishandling of a Koran,” Hood said. He defined mishandling as “touching, holding or the treatment of a Koran in a manner inconsistent with policy or procedure.”

“We have confirmed that five of these alleged mishandling incidents took place,” Hood said. “After thoroughly investigating the four remaining alleged mishandling incidents, we cannot determine conclusively if they actually happened.”

Hood’s inquiry identified 15 incidents in which detainees mishandled the Koran. These involved using it as a pillow, ripping pages from it, attempting to flush it down a toilet, and urinating on it, SOUTHCOM officials said.

Hood called mishandling of the Koran by U.S. personnel at the Guantanamo facility “a rare occurrence” that “is never condoned.”

“When one considers the many thousands of times detainees have been moved and cells have been searched since detention operations first began here in January 2002, I think one can only conclude that respect for detainee beliefs was embedded in the culture of the JTF from the start,” Hood said.

Koran-handling procedures in force at Guantanamo Bay are “appropriate,” SOUTHCOM officials said the inquiry concluded. However, they said, “a number of recommendations for minor modifications are under review.” “SOUTHCOM’s policy of Koran handling is obviously serious, respectful and appropriate,” Di Rita said. “The Hood inquiry confirms that.”

**aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/middle_east_full_story.asp?service_id=8691

Pentagon confirms Quran desecration at Guantanamo**6/4/2005 12:30:00 PM GMT

 http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/pics/8691.jpg

http://www.aljazeera.com/ajnew/white.gif
The Pentagon confirmed U.S. soldiers desecrated the Quran.
http://www.aljazeera.com/ajnew/white.gifOn Friday the Pentagon released new details over the desecration of the Quran at Guantanamo Bay. It was confirmed that a soldier deliberately kicked the Muslim holy book while an interrogator stepped on a Quran and was later fired for “a pattern of unacceptable behaviour.”

Other confirmed acts of defilement include: a guard’s urine came through an air vent and splashed on a detainee and his Quran; water balloons thrown by prison guards caused an unspecified number of Qurans to get wet; and in a confirmed but ambiguous case, a two-word obscenity was written in English on the inside cover of a Quran.

The findings, released late Friday evening, are among the results of an investigation last month by Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, the commander of the detention centre in Cuba, triggered by a Newsweek magazine report that a U.S. soldier had flushed one Guantanamo Bay detainee’s Quran down a toilet.

The story cause worldwide controversy, and the news magazine later retracted the story following pressure from Washington, with the Bush Administration blaming Newsweek for the deadly demonstrations in Afghanistan.

Hood said in a written statement released Friday evening, along with the new details, that his investigation “revealed a consistent, documented policy of respectful handling of the Quran dating back almost 2 1/2 years.”

A spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Lawrence Di Rita, did not address the confirmed incidents of mishandling the Muslim holy book. Reached while travelling with Rumsfeld in Asia, Di Rita said that U.S. Southern Command policy calls for “serious, respectful and appropriate” handling of the Quran.

“The Hood inquiry would appear to affirm that policy,” Di Rita said.

Hood said that of nine mishandling cases that were studied in detail by reviewing thousands of pages of written records; five were confirmed to have happened. He could not determine conclusively whether the four others took place.

In one of those four unconfirmed cases, a detainee in April 2003 complained to FBI and other interrogators that guards “constantly defile the Quran.” The detainee stated that in one instance a female military guard threw a Quran into a bag of wet towels to anger another detainee.; while in another incident one guard said the Quran belonged in the toilet and that guards were ordered to do these things.

Hood said he found no other record of this detainee mentioning any Quran mishandling. The detainee has since been released.

In the most recent confirmed case, Hood said a detainee complained on March 25, 2005, of urine splashing on him and his Quran. An unidentified guard admitted at the time that “he was at fault,” the Hood report said, although it did not say whether the act was deliberate. The guard’s supervisor reprimanded him and assigned him to gate guard duty, where he had no contact with detainees for the remainder of his assignment at Guantanamo Bay.

As described in the Hood report, the guard had left his observation post and went outside to urinate. He urinated near an air vent and the wind blew his urine through the vent into the cell block. The incident was not further explained.

In another of the confirmed cases, a contract interrogator stepped on a detainee’s Quran in July 2003 and then apologized. “The interrogator was later terminated for a pattern of unacceptable behaviour, an inability to follow direct guidance and poor leadership,” the Hood report said.

Hood said last week that he found no credible evidence that a Quran was ever flushed down a toilet. He said a prisoner who was reported to have complained to an FBI agent in 2002 that a military guard threw a Quran in the toilet has since told Hood’s investigators that he never witnessed any form of Quran desecration.

However, other prisoners who have returned to their home countries after serving time at Guantanamo Bay sate that Quran desecration by U.S. guards took place, and some have said a Quran was placed in a toilet.

This whole issue is absurd. And a crucifix in a jar of urine, “P— Christ” is art appreciated by lots of these same people making this a front page issue.

Let’s note some of the un-highlighted sections for the readers at home:

Hood said in a written statement released Friday evening, along with the new details, that his investigation “revealed a consistent, documented policy of respectful handling of the Quran dating back almost 2 1/2 years.”

A spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Lawrence Di Rita, did not address the confirmed incidents of mishandling the Muslim holy book. Reached while travelling with Rumsfeld in Asia, Di Rita said that U.S. Southern Command policy calls for “serious, respectful and appropriate” handling of the Quran.

“The Hood inquiry would appear to affirm that policy,” Di Rita said.

Hmm. So, the U.S. military’s policy toward handling the Koran is “serious, respectful and appropriate,” and has generally been followed for over two years with literally hundreds of official-to-detainee contacts resulting in a handful of “mishandling cases.”

Hood said that of nine mishandling cases that were studied in detail by reviewing thousands of pages of written records; five were confirmed to have happened. He could not determine conclusively whether the four others took place.

And, as per SOP, those who were confirmed to have mishandled the Koran, whether accidentally or purposefully, were subjected to disciplinary action.

In the most recent confirmed case, Hood said a detainee complained on March 25, 2005, of urine splashing on him and his Quran. An unidentified guard admitted at the time that “he was at fault,” the Hood report said, although it did not say whether the act was deliberate. The guard’s supervisor reprimanded him and assigned him to gate guard duty, where he had no contact with detainees for the remainder of his assignment at Guantanamo Bay.

In another of the confirmed cases, a contract interrogator stepped on a detainee’s Quran in July 2003 and then apologized. “The interrogator was later terminated for a pattern of unacceptable behaviour, an inability to follow direct guidance and poor leadership,” the Hood report said.

As to the Newsweek hoopla about toilets that sparked murderous riots:

Hood said last week that he found no credible evidence that a Quran was ever flushed down a toilet. He said a prisoner who was reported to have complained to an FBI agent in 2002 that a military guard threw a Quran in the toilet has since told Hood’s investigators that he never witnessed any form of Quran desecration.

Interesting.

– Mark L. Chance.

[quote=mlchance]And, as per SOP, those who were confirmed to have mishandled the Koran, whether accidentally or purposefully, were subjected to disciplinary action.
[/quote]

I have no reason to doubt this, but it might be helpful to know the nature of the disciplinary action. Needless to say, we have a major PR problem in the Muslim world, and given the evident respect Muslims give to the Koran and the importance of masculine honor in the Muslim world, some sort of public act of contrition by the military might be appropriate. I’m thinking of the one case in which a guard’s urine somehow “inadvertently” got on a detainee and his Koran. Unspecified “disciplinary action” doesn’t cut it.

[quote=gnjsdad] I’m thinking of the one case in which a guard’s urine somehow “inadvertently” got on a detainee and his Koran. Unspecified “disciplinary action” doesn’t cut it.
[/quote]

You know the situation, right?

He peed and the wind blue his urin into an air vent were it fell on a prisoner. Apparently he didn’t do it deliberately. What would you do with him?

[quote=gnjsdad]Unspecified “disciplinary action” doesn’t cut it.
[/quote]

Reading is fundamental: “The guard’s supervisor reprimanded him and assigned him to gate guard duty, where he had no contact with detainees for the remainder of his assignment at Guantanamo Bay.”

– Mark L. Chance.

[quote=mlchance]Reading is fundamental: “The guard’s supervisor reprimanded him and assigned him to gate guard duty, where he had no contact with detainees for the remainder of his assignment at Guantanamo Bay.”

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

I still would like to know what gnjsdad would do with the soldier. Realizing it was an accident.

…probably the only thing in the wind is the spin

…don’t you love it?:thumbsup:

[quote=space ghost]…probably the only thing in the wind is the spin

…don’t you love it?:thumbsup:
[/quote]


:rolleyes:

[quote=mlchance]Reading is fundamental: “The guard’s supervisor reprimanded him and assigned him to gate guard duty, where he had no contact with detainees for the remainder of his assignment at Guantanamo Bay.”

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

When I click on the “quote” icon to respond to a post, I can’t get anything on my screen that the poster I’m responding to may have quoted.

But anyway, I probably should have remembered what you quoted, so thanks for the gratuitous slap. Hope it made you feel better.

[quote=gilliam]I still would like to know what gnjsdad would do with the soldier. Realizing it was an accident.
[/quote]

I honestly don’t know what should happen to the soldier beyond what mlchance was so gracious to inform us did happen – guard duty; no further contact with detainees.

But I still find the “accident” story suspicious, knowing the behavior prison guards have shown themselves capable of. Let’s just say that those assigned to prison guard duty are not those most likely to be imbued with the spirit of brotherly love toward those in their charge. Did the guard “accidentally” urinate down an air vent?? Maybe, but it seems like a pretty strong wind blowing through the bathroom was needed for that to happen.

By the way, no one has addressed my point about the seriousness of the PR damage all this is doing vis a vis America and the Muslim world. I don’t think the prospect of Zarqawi urinating, or worse, on American prisoners in response would be greeted with the same “aw shucks, accidents happen” attitude.

[quote=gnjsdad]Let’s just say that those assigned to prison guard duty are not those most likely to be imbued with the spirit of brotherly love toward those in their charge.
[/quote]

Empirical evidence for this, please.

[quote=gnjsdad]Did the guard “accidentally” urinate down an air vent?? Maybe, but it seems like a pretty strong wind blowing through the bathroom was needed for that to happen.
[/quote]

And everyone knows that tropical islands seldom ever experience strong winds.

– Mark L. Chance.

This is the weather at Gitmo on the date in question, 3/25/2005.

As you can see, not exactly hurricane conditions.

Daily Summary ActualAverageRecord****TemperatureMean Temperature80 °F / 26 °C - Max Temperature88 °F / 31 °C - - ()Min Temperature73 °F / 22 °C - - ()Cooling Degree Days16 Growing Degree Days30 (Base 50) MoistureDew Point67 °F / 19 °C Average Humidity70 Maximum Humidity79 Minimum Humidity57 PrecipitationPrecipitation0.00 in / 0.00 cm - - ()Sea Level PressureSea Level Pressure29.99 in / 1015 hPa WindWind Speed7 mph / 11 km/h (SE) Max Wind Speed16 mph / 26 km/h Max Gust Speed- Visibility****7 miles / 11 kilometers Events
**Key: T is trace of precipitation, MM is missing valueSource: **NWS Daily Summary

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.