Suicide as PR

So, it turns out that one of the three detainees who committed suicide at Guantanamo over the weekend was due to be released but had not been told. But if that seems a poignant comment on the whole system of holding prisoners entirely beyond the reach of the law, one can’t help but notice the nonsense it makes of the spin from Karen Hughes’s office on the sorry affair: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen Graffy told the BBC that the suicides were a “good PR move to draw attention” and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause.” Don’t go believing that mushy human-rights hype about people driven to despair — after all, hard-core terrorists are more than happy to give their lives to strike a blow for the cause, aren’t they?

Nice try Colleen — you’re certainly no worse at this stuff than your boss. But do you really expect us to believe that a man who the U.S. had decided to release was also someone who would hang himself to strike a PR blow for the jihadi cause?

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8 Responses to Suicide as PR

  1. Tony:

    There’s a twisted freak in Gitmo, with the nickname “Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo.”

    About the suicides, he opined:

    “I believe this was not an act of desperation, but rather an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

    The man clearly belongs in a mental (not a military) institution. And to think that such an embarrassment to his country occupies a position of power. How low will they go?

  2. markus says:

    Both of them are displaying psychotic responses to the deaths of detainees, held illegally under international law, and clearly subject to torture during said detention. The comments are on par with former apartheid police minister Jimmy Kruger, who commented on the death of Steven Bantu Biko in police custody in 1997: “It leaves me cold”.

    The statements are sickening.

  3. Tony says:

    Wow. Markus, you’re evoking memories — although it was 1977, not 1997. I don’t think there was any single tale of violence by the regime against a black person that did more to politicize me, and set me on a path to join the ANC even as a white teenage schoolkid, then the killing of Steve Biko, particularly because a parliamentary enquiry forced every sordid detail out into the public domain. You’re right about these statements, and I can only imagine what effect they’re having out in wider world — because I don’t think it’s just in the Arab or Muslim world that there’s this revulsion; much of the international community sees this as further evidence of the administration’s contempt for international law. Even close allies, like Blair, flinch when they hear this kind of thing. I think the Bush people have done the U.S. irreparable damage on the international front, and probably hastened the decline of its global influence

  4. macsilber says:

    One wonders if it realy was suicide, or an oops on the torture table?

  5. markus says:

    Comedian on Radio 4 yesterday:
    “Rumsfeld described the suicides of guantanamo inmates as an act of war. (paus) Well I hope that he decides to retaliate”.

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