Saturday, May 21, 2005

Truth and Lies

In a week of lies and half truths it can be difficult to take stock. Last week the Georgian authorities informed the media that a grenade was thrown at President Bush during his visit to Tblisi, Georgia. Then, that it was dropped or placed at the scene. Firstly it was a dud grenade, then a dummy grenade that was used in training exercises. Now, US authorities [specifically the FBI attaché at the US Embassy in Georgia] have released a statement saying that it was a real grenade after all. This nugget of ‘information’ comes in the wake of accusations in Newsweek magazine that US military personnel at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran [Qur’an]. Within days of the article being published, riots and protests had killed many in Afghanistan. The US military said they would look into the allegations and Condolizza Rice issued a statement saying that the United States “do not disrespect any holy book”. The magazine suddenly released an apology followed by a retraction of the article, saying that the source to the allegations was now “not sure” of what he had seen. All of this did little to appease the rising anger throughout the Muslim world and protests have been seen in the West Bank and in London’s Grosvenor Square outside the US Embassy. And in fresh allegations leaked to the New York Times, and published yesterday, there were harrowing stories of torture leading to the death of Afghan prisoners at Bagram airbase. According to the report, seven US soldiers are facing criminal charges. And if this were not enough to stir the hornets nest of insurgency that is becoming ever more deadly, The Sun [in Britain] published pictures of the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim, in his underwear. He was after all the reason we went to war, along with the other reasons; the weapons of mass destruction, 45 minute warnings, 9/11 links and so on! The truth may be out there but getting at it is another thing entirely. [15:39 GMT 21/05/2005]

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