“Down” the toilet? No, definitely not

· long story short

A few excerpts from The Friday Flush at the Whiskey Bar:

Talk Left notes the release (in the now standard late Friday document dump) of a Pentagon report confirming at least five different cases of Quran desecration at the Guantanamo Gulag, including kicking, stepping and pissing (supposedly by accident) on the book — but not the now notorious Newsweek allegation that it was flushed down a toilet.

There are enough fishy details in the report — such as the “accidental” urination story — to suspect that it hides far more than it reveals….

The toilet story, though, bears enough resemblance to the documented facts to reinforce the suspicion that Quran abuse was an occasional component of the “Pride and Ego Down” interrogation approach — maybe not an officially authorized component, but one winked at up and down the chain of command….

This is obviously speculative, not to mention highly paranoid, but the Pentagon’s decision to take the limited hangout road (to borrow a Deep Throat-era term) also reinforces my suspicion that the original leak to Newsweek might have been an attempt at information warfare — what the old KGB used to call dezinformatsiya — designed to discredit the Quran abuse stories before they reached critical mass in the media.

Certainly, the fact that the original leak was run past the powers that be in the Pentagon, who remained conveniently silent about the story’s alleged inaccuracy, suggests somebody up high saw a chance to turn the tables — both on the tough questions being asked about the gulags, and (as a fringe benefit) on the hated liberal media.

That doesn’t relieve Newsweek and Michael Isikoff of their responsibility for blowing the story, but it does highlight the fact that the media are dealing with more than the customary level of official mendacity these days. I doubt few “mainstream” journalists are prepared to consider — much less cope with — the possibility that the U.S. government is waging information warfare against them (and, by extension, against the American people), even though Rummy and company long ago all but declared their intention of doing just that.