El País and NY Times on Wikileaks Guantánamo: From Casios to shwarma

You know that things are going from bad to worse when the spin coming from the newspaper of record in Franco’s country* on the newly leaked files from the U.S. concentration camp in Guantánamo, Cuba, looks like it was written up by leftists in comparison to the NY Times version.  Purely by accident I happened to read the El País version first, where I learned that some of those imprisoned at the camp were considered by their captors to have received explosives training based on nothing more than the fact that they wore Casio F91W wristwatches.

Which is absurd because the U.S. Army (the world’s original explosives trainers) knows perfectly well that real explosives experts like Posada Carriles and his fellow traveler Felix Rodríguez prefer Rolex’s, especially ones stolen from their murder victims.  And then you also have to wonder, Casio F91W’s anyone?  During the German occupation of Denmark, King Christian X was said to have responded to the German decree that all Jews wear yellow stars of David by donning one himself and encouraging all Danes to do the same.  It’s an urban legend, but the fact that Danes helped most Jews escape to Sweden is not.  The Casio F91W is an ugly little thing, but it’s cheap.

So then I went to see what the Times had to say about the Casios.  Nothing actually.  But before looking up that story, I looked over the one where the Times gloats about undercutting Julian Assange’s business by getting its leaks elsewhere.

[Wikileaks] has become such a large player in journalism that some of its secrets are no longer its own to control.

Can you imagine Times editor Bill Keller laughing maniacally while he wrote dictated that?

Since it’s a well known fact that Assange prefers not to do business with the Times I wanted to see how they referred to their new source – who naturally no-one has mentioned suffering the same fate as Bradley Manning.  As you’d expect, they were coy, but draw your own conclusions:

Unknown, at first, to the WikiLeaks partners, The Times had independently obtained the files from a source Mr. Keller would not name, and shared them with both The Guardian and NPR.

It’s true that there are only about half a million possible leakers but, State Department, anyone?

So then, on to the Times spin on the Guantánano files themselves.

Here are the first two sentences from the El País article (sorry but I’m not going to translate the whole thing):

A police and penal system without guarantees was created at Guantánamo in which only two questions mattered: how much information might be obtained from the prisoners, even though they might be innocent, and whether they might be dangerous in the future.  Elderly men with senile dementia, adolescents, severe pyschiatric cases and teachers or farmers with no connection whatsoever to jihad were taken to the prison and mixed with real terrorists, such as those responsible for 9/11.

Compare the Times version:

A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.

Not until the end of the second paragraph do we learn:

the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.

Some of the prisoners, the Times informs us, had violent thoughts!

One detainee said “he would like to tell his friends in Iraq to find the interrogator, slice him up, and make a shwarma (a type of sandwich) out of him, with the interrogator’s head sticking out of the end of the shwarma.”

Oh call me crazy, but considering that the Times preceded this revelation with another about interrogators leashing a prisoner like a dog, sexually humiliating him and forcing him to urinate on himself, a human shwarma revenge fantasy strikes me as not very unusual.  Or newsworthy really.

Speaking of which…time for lunch.

*They say Franco’s dead and Spain’s better now, but I’m not so sure.

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