The Pentagon’s spokesman says, on the record, that “there hadn’t been credible allegations” of the descration of the Koran at Guantanamo. Two days later, it emerges that the Red Cross had reported such allegations in detail more than two years ago.

Larry Di Rita, official Pentagon spokesman, May 17, responding to a question about descration of the Koran:

Those types of allegations have not previously been — there’s — we’ve not previously included that in any kind of previous investigations into detainee operations, because there haven’t been credible allegations to that effect.

(Emphasis added.)

Chicago Tribune, May 19

Red Cross told U.S. of Koran incidents

By Cam Simpson and Mark Silva

Washington Bureau

Published May 19, 2005

WASHINGTONThe International Committee of the Red Cross documented what it called credible information about U.S. personnel disrespecting or mishandling Korans at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and pointed it out to the Pentagon in confidential reports during 2002 and early 2003, an ICRC spokesman said Wednesday.

Representatives of the ICRC, who have played a key role in investigating abuse allegations at the facility in Cuba and other U.S. military prisons, never witnessed such incidents firsthand during on-site visits, said Simon Schorno, an ICRC spokesman in Washington.

But ICRC delegates, who have been granted access to the secretive camp since January 2002, gathered and corroborated enough similar, independent reports from detainees to raise the issue multiple times with Guantanamo commanders and with Pentagon officials, Schorno said in an interview Wednesday.

(Emphasis added.)

Remind me again why it’s Newsweek‘s behavior that’s supposed to be the scandal?

Oh yeah, I forgot: Newsweek was reporting news that we would prefer not be true.

That, of course, is completely unforgivable.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com