Here’s the headline adorning the AP’s latest:
Guantanamo detainees tell of abuses
I read that and thought, “Here we go again. The AP has unearthed more uncorroborated terrorist tales of abuse and is printing them as though they’re verified fact.” But I was wrong. That’s not what the AP is reporting, at all.
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.
Who is “abusing” whom in that lead paragraph? The feces-flingers or the guards accused of “interrupting detainees at prayer?”
The military has said Guantanamo is relatively calm compared to last year. But a report released by the detention center last month shows mass disturbances are up sharply over 2006 and forced removal of prisoners from cells and assaults with bodily fluids are on pace to match or exceed last year’s total.
The transcripts, obtained by the AP on Friday, illustrate the friction.
A Yemeni detainee, Mohammed Ali Em al-Zarnuki, warned his panel of three U.S. military officers that inmates would attempt suicide unless guards stop interrupting prayers, moving detainees during prayer time and whistling and creating other distractions.
I’m still not seeing any actual abuse by the guards, though the inmates sound whiny. The “assaults with bodily fluids” refers to actions by inmates, not guards, by the way.
The remainder of the article continues along the same lines. It’s clear from its thrust that the AP puts more weight on the word of the inmates than on the guards, even though the inmates are the confessed abusers.
The headline misleads, as it was intended to, on the point of who is doing the abusing.