Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

The War on the Media  5.27.05

In response to the recent Newsweek imbroglio, InfoTechWarPeace has compiled some of the more cogent as well as polemical pieces that reveal the extent to which the media on war has become a war on the media. Read | Discuss

Analysis  6.23.05

The Art of Deflection
Andrew Gumbel @ LaCityBeat
Where the media falls down most dramatically is in its failure to understand that its primary role is to challenge power, not to accommodate it. There is a dangerous assumption that if a U.S. government official says something, on or off the record, it must be true. 6.23.05 Read | Discuss
Clippings  6.12.05
Don't Follow the Money
Frank Rich @ NYTimes
THE morning the Deep Throat story broke, the voice on my answering machine was as raspy as Hal Holbrook's. "I just want you to remember that I wrote 'Follow the money,' " said my caller. "I want to know if anybody will give me credit. Watch for the accuracy of the media!" 6.12.05 Read | Discuss
Palestinians in Lebanon Protest Alleged Koran Desecration
Press Association @ The Scotsman
Some 100 Palestinians burned American and Israeli flags after prayers today during a protest against reports of alleged desecration of the Koran, Islam’s holy book, at a prison in northern Israel.The southern Lebanon representative of the militant Hamas group addressed the protesters in Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, near the city of Sidon. 6.10.05 Read | Discuss
Palestinians Protest Alleged Quran Abuse
Associated Press @ Newsday
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip -- Hundreds of Palestinians burned Israeli and U.S. flags Friday during a protest against the alleged desecration of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, at a prison in northern Israel. The marchers, including about 30 militants carrying rifles in one hand and Qurans in the other, demanded that Israel put the alleged perpetrators on trial and apologize. 6.10.05 Read | Discuss
Israeli Soldiers 'Desecrated Koran During Riot'
Press Association @ The Scotsman
An Israeli Arab member of parliament today claimed that Israeli soldiers desecrated the Koran, the Islamic holy book, while searching Palestinian security prisoners. An Israeli official denied the charge. 6.7.05 Read | Discuss
Documents Say Detainees Cited Koran Abuse
Neil A. Lewis @ The New York Times
WASHINGTON, May 25 - Newly released documents show that detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, complained repeatedly to F.B.I. agents about disrespectful handling of the Koran by military personnel and, in one case in 2002, said they had flushed a Koran down a toilet. The prisoners' accounts are described by the agents in detailed summaries of interrogations at Guantanamo in 2002 and 2003. 5.26.05 Read | Discuss
It's Not Cricket
Mark Steyn @ The New York Sun
"There are those who point out it's hardly Newsweek's fault that some goofy foreigners are so bananas they'll riot and kill over one rumor of one disrespectful act to one copy of one book. Christians don't riot over "Piss Christ," a work of "art" comprising a crucifix floating in the "artist's urine, or any of the other incontinent outpourings by tedious publicly funded provocateurs. Jews..." 5.23.05 Read | Discuss
It's All Newsweek's Fault
Frank Rich @ The New York Times
"Given this context, the administration's attempt to pass the entire buck to Newsweek for our ill odor among Muslims, including those Muslims who abhor jihadists committing murder, is laughable. Yet there's something weirdly self-incriminating about the language it uses to do it..." 5.22.05 Read | Discuss
Pakistani Politician Demands UN to Investigate Desecration of Quran
@ Iran News Agency
"Commenting on the latest Newsweek story that blamed Pakistan's cricket legend Imran Khan for triggering the political firestorm raging in the Islamic world against desecration of the Holy Quran, Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf Party said the story only acted as "catalyst" to release the bottled up feelings of the Muslims. "Instead of rethinking the entire strategy of war on terror that has unleashed bloodshed and unprecedented violation of human rights on a massive scale, the entire focus has been turned on finger pointing related to the Newsweek story," PTI said in a statement." 5.18.05 Read | Discuss
Newsweek isn't the Problem
Joan Walsh @ Salon
Riding high after the humbling of Dan Rather, the right clearly sees another opportunity to humiliate the so-called liberal media. The only answer for Newsweek, and the rest of the media -- old, new, broadcast, blogosphere -- is to fess up to what went wrong with the Isikoff story, and then continue to report the hell out of the scandal of American-sponsored torture and abuse of political prisoners in Guantánamo and Iraq. 5.18.05 Read | Discuss
Afghan Clerics Defer Jihad Call Against U.S.
@ The New York Times
FAIZABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A group of Afghan Islamic clerics have deferred a call for holy war against the United States over a magazine report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran after the report was retracted…The Afghan protests against the United States were the worst since U.S. forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001 for sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. 5.18.05 Read | Discuss
Desecration of Koran Had Been Reported Before
Carol D. Leonnig @ The Washington Post
American and international media have widely reported similar allegations from detainees and others of desecration of the Muslim holy book for more than two years. James Yee, a former Muslim chaplain at the prison who was investigated and cleared of charges of mishandling classified material, has asserted that guards' mishandling and mistreatment of detainees' Korans led the prisoners to launch a hunger strike in March 2002. 5.18.05 Read | Discuss
Holy Mess: US Mag Blames Imran
Chidanand Rajghatta @ Times of India
Newsweek magazine has blamed former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan for sparking off the conflagration arising from reports about the desecration of the Holy Quran in Guantanamo Bay by US interrogators. “The spark was apparently lit at a press conference held on Friday, May 6, by Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricket legend and strident critic of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf,” the magazine said. Khan's remarks, as well as the outraged comments of Muslim clerics and Pakistani government officials, were picked up on local radio and played throughout neighboring Afghanistan, it said. Islamic foes of the US-friendly regime of Hamid Karzai quickly exploited local discontent with a poor economy and the continued presence of US forces, and riots began breaking outlast week, it added. 5.16.05 Read | Discuss
Newsweek Apologizes Inaccurate Report on Koran Led to Riots
Howard Kurtz @ The Washington Post
Newsweek apologized yesterday for an inaccurate report on the treatment of detainees that triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and other countries in which at least 15 people died. The deadly consequences of the May 1 report, and its reliance on the unnamed source, have sparked considerable anger at the Pentagon. Spokesman Bryan Whitman called Newsweek's report "irresponsible" and "demonstrably false," saying the magazine "hid behind anonymous sources which by their own admission do not withstand scrutiny. 5.16.05 Read | Discuss
Newsweek Backs off Quran Desecration Story
Barbara Starr @ CNN
“WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Newsweek magazine backed away Sunday [May 15th] from a report that U.S. interrogators desecrated copies of the Quran while questioning prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base…. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita blamed Newsweek's report for the violent protests that broke out in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Muslim countries. “People are dying. They are burning American flags. Our forces are in danger,” he told CNN.” 5.16.05 Read | Discuss
Afghan Protests Spread
N.C. Aizenman and Robin Wright @ The Washington Post
QALAT, Afghanistan, May 13 -- Angry mobs ransacked government offices and relief agencies and clashed with police in several provinces Friday in a fourth day of growing anti-American demonstrations. The violence left at least eight people dead and raised the death toll since Wednesday to about 15, officials said... U.S. officials offered various interpretations of the protests. The State Department official said anti-American groups in Pakistan were exploiting the Newsweek report to "swat back" at Washington and Islamabad, but that the incident had "lit a flame under what a lot of Muslims believe -- that Americans do not respect Islam.” 5.14.05 Read | Discuss
US group says anti-Muslim crimes up
@ al Jazeera
“A leading US Islamic civil rights group has released a report that indicates anti-Muslim hate crimes in the country have increased by half in the past year. The Council on American-Islamic Relations' study - the only annual investigation of its kind - outlined 1522 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination or harassment in 2004.” 5.12.05 Read | Discuss
Guantanamo suicide tries called 'coordinated effort
Mike Mount @ CNN
WASHINGTON -- Twenty-three terror suspects tried to kill or harm themselves over nine days in 2003 at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to officials with the U.S. Southern Command. The delayed report "also points to the extreme measures the Pentagon is taking to cover up things that have happened in Guantanamo," Hodgett said. 1.24.05 Read | Discuss
Big News Media Join in Push to Limit Use of Unidentified Sources
Lorne Manly @ The New York Times
"Criticism of the media by the White House press spokesman is nothing new. What is different is how many national news organizations seem to agree with him. Concerned that they may have become too free in granting anonymity to sources, news organizations including USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, NBC News and The New York Times are trying to throttle back their use." 5.23.04 Read | Discuss
Muslims Join Cry of Doubt
Juggie Naran @ The Sunday Tribune
"South African Muslims have joined the international chorus of skepticism over the retraction by a top news magazine of a report that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Quran. "We will not be deceived by this," Islamic cleric Mulllah Sadullah Abu Aman said in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, referring to the retraction. "This is a decision by America to save itself."" 5.22.04 Read | Discuss

Artifacts  5.9.01

SouthCom Showdown
Michael Isikoff and John Barry @ Newsweek
Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell Newsweek: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. These findings, expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, could put former Gitmo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller in the hot seat. 5.9.01 Read | Discuss