21 January 2010

Three suicides at Guantanamo

The deaths of three prisoners at the Guantanamo detention facility in 2006 have been the subject of a study by faculty and students at Seton Hall University.   The study asks how prisoners kept in isolation could coordinate a simultaneous "mass suicide" by doing the following...
According to the NCIS documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.
...while under observation by personnel and cameras.  The commander of the facility announced that the deaths were not just ordinary suicides, but a form of "asymmetric warfare" against the United States.

Two of the three dead detainees were Saudis and one was Yemeni; they had been detained for years without charges; one of them was 17 years old at the time he was detained and 22 when he died; and they had participated in several of the hunger strikes at the camp to protest the brutality, torture and abuse to which they were routinely subjected.  Perversely, one of the three victims had been cleared for release earlier that month.

Obama's Department of Justice has filed a brief demanding dismissal of the case filed by the parents of the victims, effectively saying -
We can kidnap your sons from anywhere in the world, far away from any "battlefield," ship them thousands of miles away to an island-prison, abuse and torture them mercilessly, and when we either drive them to suicide or kill them, you have no right to any legal remedy or even any recourse to find out what happened.
The most extensive discussion of this situation will appear in the March issue of Harper's, but is available to read online now.

Update: More on this subject at The Daily Dish.


  1. What's really sad is how the commander ascribed the deaths to asymmetric warfare. The enemies of the US don't gain anything by the 'suicides'.


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