FOX's Angle ignored alleged beatings in Iraqi prisons


In a report on recently released FBI memos detailing apparent abuses by U.S. military personnel of prisoners in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, FOX News senior White House correspondent Jim Angle assured viewers that "FBI agents say they never witnessed any physical assaults at Guantánamo Bay." But Angle conspicuously failed to mention that agents did witness physical assaults in Iraq, even though the documents describing these assaults were part of the same batch of memos that revealed what agents saw -- and didn't see -- in Guantánamo.

On the December 21 edition of FOX News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Angle acknowledged that the documents describing these assaults contained reports "written by FBI agents who had visited detention centers in [both] Iraq and Guantánamo Bay." But he went out of his way to note what didn't occur in Guantánamo without ever noting what did occur in Iraq. By contrast, The New York Times reported in the lead of its December 21 article: "FBI memorandums portray abuse of prisoners by American military personnel in Iraq that included detainees' being beaten." The Associated Press, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Knight Ridder also reported on the alleged beatings.

Earlier in the segment, Angle tried to cast critics of the Bush administration's detention practices as soft on terrorists. He noted that "[t]he FBI memos raised the question about whether there should be a different standard for terrorists picked up on the battlefield, than for someone arrested in the U.S. for a crime," adding: "The critics insist the standards should be the same." But the one "critic" Angle quoted said nothing of the sort. Angle showed a clip of Ron D. Daniels, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, noting that the prisoners in Iraq and Guantánamo are not all proven terrorists and suggesting that they deserve access to courts -- a position the U.S. Supreme Court recently supported in the case of Rasul v. Bush, PDF which ruled that Guantánamo detainees are entitled to challenge their detention in a court or other tribunal:

DANIELS: I'm sure people would say, so what if the people had to sit for 24 hours and defecated on himself, if he's a terrorist. But on the other hand, you're looking at situations where these [are] people who are suspected. They have not gone to a court of law.

Two detainees have been cleared for release as a result of the process ordered by the Supreme Court, which involves military tribunals set up by the Pentagon, according to an Associated Press article.

More broadly, believing that detainees deserve access to a "court of law," as Daniels apparently does, doesn't entail the further belief that they deserve the same constitutional protections afforded "someone arrested in the U.S. for a crime," since many legal regimes -- including the military tribunals designed for detainees at Guantánamo -- offer defendants fewer rights and a lower standard of evidence than in the U.S. criminal justice system.

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