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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ALMATY1883
2005-05-18 11:32:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
US Office Almaty
Cable title:  

OUTREACH FOLLOWING NEWSWEEK'S RETRACTION OF ITS

Tags:   KPAO  KISL  PREL  KZ  POLITICAL 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS ALMATY 001883 

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

STATE FOR P, PA, SA/PPD, EUR/CACEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KISL PREL KZ POLITICAL
SUBJECT: OUTREACH FOLLOWING NEWSWEEK'S RETRACTION OF ITS
STORY ALLEGING KORAN DESECRATION AT GUANTANAMO

Ref: State 90992



1. (SBU) Post regrets delay in responding to reftel
request. Reporting in Kazakhstan's media on the erroneous
Newsweek report of Koran desecration at Guantanamo started
only on May 16, and was low-key and non-inflamatory. The
May 16 primetime news on one Kazakhstani state channel and
one independent channel reported the basic facts, and led
with the announcement that Newsweek's article about the
desecration of the Koran had turned out to be
unsubstantiated. However, a majority of Kazakhstanis watch
re-broadcasts of Russian NTV and First Channel news on
local translator stations. Those segments reported massive
demonstrations planned for May 27 in Pakistan, Egypt,
Turkey, United Kingdom and Malaysia in protest of the
alleged desecration incident, but did not mention the
Newsweek retraction.



2. (SBU) On May 18, two daily newspapers (combined
circulation of 69,000) covered the sequence of events,
noting Newsweek had retracted the story. The press office
sent a press release on May 18 using points in reftel to
provide additional information on the retraction. Most
newspapers in Kazakhstan are weeklies that are issued on
Thursday and Friday so we expect coverage based on this
release. No weeklies covered the story last week.



3. (SBU) Amantay Assylbek, a local man known for eccentric
behavior, including past demonstrations at the U.S.
Embassy, led a brief protest on May 18 in front of the
Chancery. Known for his failed campaigns for the
presidency and parliament and impromptu nationalistic
rallies, Assylbek assembled 30 supporters carrying signs
reading, "Yankees Get out of the Soviet Union" and "War is
Satan." The protesters also raised the issue of the
alleged desecration of the Koran. A municipal station and
two nationwide broadcasters taped footage of the 15-minute
action. The embassy's press officer issued a statement
from Department guidance on the erroneous Newsweek report.
Post will report via septel on coverage of the
demonstration and the embassy's statement. We will also
monitor any further reporting on the Newsweek
story/retraction.

Asquino


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