More Media Bias Against Guantanamo Facility
By: Warner Todd Huston
This USA Today story about an AP report should be called headline abuse instead of “detainee abuse” because if one were to just read the headline and move on, you’d get the wrong impression about what the story really reveals. You’d obviously read USA Today’s headline, “Guantanamo detainees tell of abuses,” and assume the story is another abu Ghraib styled yarn about how evil US soldiers are abusing these poor, poor terrorists in the Guantanamo Bay detainment facility — after all the prevailing MSM story has been just that when the word “abuses” is used. But, if you take the time to actually read the story, there seems less of the “abuses” you’d expect to find and more of how the detainees themselves are abusing each other, themselves, and their guards. Instead of BEING abused, the detainees seem more like the abusers and this is certainly not the message that the headline imparts in today’s MSM climate. One wonders why USA Today would want to leave such a wrong conclusion with a headline that doesn’t quite seem to match the story.
After reading the headline, in light of how the prevailing usage of “abuses” in the MSM so often means the “abuses” caused at the hands of US soldiers, we find, however, that the story itself does not really detail too much “abuse” of prisoners. Even that first paragraph starts to disabuse about the “abuses.”
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) â€” Detainees flinging body waste at guards. Guards interrupting detainees at prayer. Interrogators withholding medicine. Hostility and tension between inmates and their keepers at the Guantanamo Bay prison are evident in transcripts obtained by The Associated Press.
Notice the lopsided preponderance of what might be termed “abuse?” The detainees are doing more of it both to their guards and to each other. The detainees are, in truly uncivilized fashion, “flinging body waste at guards” and causing hostility between each other. The worst that USA Today can accuse our soldiers of is “interrupting” a prayer! It turns out that the detainees here and not the guards are causing the worst â€œabusesâ€.
The rest of the article gives us the claims that interrogators have been accused of withholding medicines, though the military replies that interrogators have no power over the dissemination of medical care. So, that accusation becomes a he-said/he-said claim, not one based on proven evidence. The military categorically denies that any such withholding of medicine has occurred.
A Guantanamo spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Edward Bush, said no officials at Guantanamo had ever heard of a detainee being prevented from taking medicine.
Navy Capt. Bruce Menele, commander of the Joint Medical Group at Guantanamo, said that “interrogators have no authority over medical personnel administering medicine, or over any other aspect of detainee medical care.”
“I would be highly disturbed and feel obligated to take significant actions if I discovered that this had ever occurred,” Menele added.
USA Today also gives us the claptrap from the British medical journal Lancet ridiculously equating the Guantanamo facility to torture and abuse in prisons in South Africa circa 1977.
A letter signed by physicians and published Friday in the British medical journal Lancet compared the role of doctors at Guantanamo to the South African doctors involved in the case of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who was beaten and tortured to death in 1977 in police custody.
The letter, signed by some 260 people from 16 countries â€” most of them doctors â€” accused the U.S. medical establishment of turning a blind eye to the role of military doctors at Guantanamo.
It did not allege doctors were involved in withholding any medicine from detainees, but took serious issue with the involvement of medical personnel in force-feeding hunger strikers at Guantanamo.
What hyperbolic garbage… but, USA Today was happy to add these meaningless accusations to this story as if it were meaningful, coupling the “abuse” claims by detainees with this political agenda by anti-war activists in England.
In the end, the worst abuses in this story are at the hands of detainees, not US soldiers, even as demagogy from the anti-war movement and so-called doctors from the Lancet seem to imagine that we are mistreating these terrorists. And, naturally, the AP and USA Today seems to put more weight in the claims of terrorists than our own soldiers.
Still, the title of this piece is misleading. It should read more like: “Guantanamo detainees make claims of abuses,” which would properly impart that there is doubt about the truth of the matter. Instead their actual headline makes it seem a foregone conclusion that “detainees TELL of abuses,” as if they had, beyond doubt, really happened.
So, what is USA Today’s real motive here? To tell a story, or spin one?