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US Launches Diplomatic Offensive After Newsweek Retraction


The U.S. State Department has instructed its diplomatic missions around the world to inform the public that the United States has found no evidence the Koran was desecrated at U.S. military prisons.

The State Department says it sent a cable to U.S. missions instructing them to make it clear to foreign governments and media organizations that the United States respects the religion of inmates held at its military prisons.

The announcement, Tuesday, came less than 24 hours after Newsweek magazine retracted an article that appeared in its May ninth issue.

The article quoted a U.S. official as saying U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet in a bid to get terror suspects to talk.

That report sparked violent protests in several Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, where at least 17 people were killed.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Bush Administration appreciates Newsweek's decision to retract the story. He said Newsweek should help repair the damage done by the article by writing about how it got the story wrong. But he denied that the White House is trying to tell the media what to write.

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