But theres no entry in the voluminous reports of a captives having hidden a weapon in his Quran.
Durand said the Quran searches Feb. 2 went this way in Camp 6, the communal camp where the hunger strike started: Guards collected the Qurans without touching them, in what looked like a postal box, and then turned them over to a Muslim linguist for inspection. The prison has not said whether that search yielded any contraband.
When Durand was asked for specific examples, he replied with a general statement: We always find contraband, he said in an email Wednesday morning. Every search, every time. From improvised weapons (clubs, shanks, knives, garottes) to hoarded medications to unauthorized electronics (audio/video recorders, games, etc.). Sometimes in the Quran, but every search results in something.
Long held perceptions, not always based in fact, are part of the narrative at Guantánamo where the prison is temporary, staff members come and go and talking points are passed along like urban legends.
In January 2012, for example, a Navy commander announced at Guantánamos war court that a copy of al-Qaidas Inspire magazine had gotten in, a statement that was interpreted to suggest it was found in a captives cell and used to justify troops searching some captives legal mail. The story circulated widely, until the prison camps commander retracted it two months later. Rear Adm. David Woods said that he understood that at some point prior to his stewardship he didnt know when a copy of the magazine had arrived by regular postal mail, but we caught it before it went into the camps.
Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York who has represented Guantánamo prisoners for years, pointed to the Inspire episode as a reason to be skeptical whenever the government lobs wild accusations to justify its own misconduct.
I, for one, have never heard any of my Gitmo clients ever mention anyone being disciplined for smuggling improvised weapons, period (let alone in the Quran!), he said by email.