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May 15, 2007


It's depression day at ObWi! Hooray!

i bet Lileks would know what to say to those ungrateful terrorists.

I know i'm beating a dead horse here, but don't miss the bigger picture set out in the last four paragraphs of the Herald excerpt. Our military tried really hard to be nice, but those prisoners got nasty and hanged themselves. After that, our leadership woke up to just how mean the prisoners can be, killing themselves to embarrass their captors. So they decide that conditions are too good.

Our military will be centuries washing away the stain. If the top few levels of leadership, of course including Rumsfeld and Bush, don't spend the rest of their lives in prison then I don't think we can have any self-respect as a nation after this.

Ah yes. The one year anniversary of the "acts of asymmetric warfare" is approaching.

Harris' insanity aside, I remember thinking that the human rights community wasn't being totally accurate either. There are people at Guantanamo who are simply depressed and suicidal and despairing; some of them have made repeated suicide attempts. But the coordination of these particular suicides
suggested that they were a protest, intended to mobilize public opposition against the camp. A combination of despair (the belief that they personally were not going to get out alive) and lack of despair (the belief that their deaths could contribute to other prisoners getting out).

The Arab "cultural advisor" has said something similar:

The advisor, who cannot be identified because of military rules and concerns for his family's safety, attributes the suicides to a misguided rumor that an act of martyrdom would result in the rest of Guantanamo's prisoners being freed.

"They thought they were doing good, that they were sacrificing themselves," he said. "They thought there would be planes lined up to take the others away."

Since the suicides had no effect, "I don't think it will happen again," he said. "The world didn't respond the way they thought it would."

There were also reports of one of the prisoners having what he believed to be a prophetic dream, about how it would take three prisoners' deaths to close the camp.

I remember, when I edited Margulies' chapter about "manipulative self-injurious behavior", "hanging gestures" and the hunger strikes, thinking that you couldn't get any less powerless than that....locked in a prison where your only recourse was to try to starve yourself to death or commit suicide. But it is in fact possible to physically prevent people from continuing a hunger strike and from killing themselves. And in order to commit suicide as an act of political protest as opposed to an expression of personal despair, you probably have to believe someone's going to care. They're less common in totalitarian countries than in the West, I think.

The three who killed themselves probably thought their deaths would improve things for the other prisoners; instead it led us to conclude that they were hardened terrorists ungratefully engaging in "assymmetric warfare". It helped make Camp Six into what it is.

In a way, they overestimated us.

OT, but highly interesting. Former Deputy Attorney General's testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the efforts to keep the domestic surveillence program afloat over DoJ objections to the point of threatened mass resignations.

The funny thing is, the only thing that surprises me even a little about that is that we're finding out.

Huzzah for subpoena power; best use of it so far.

Dangit Dantheman, there's an open thread for that. ;-)


Sorry to step on your scoop.

No worries DTM. Thinkprogress has a full transcript here

OT: Jerry Falwell has died

Cleek, if that is true we can only hope that his stated beliefs were wrong or he will find himself in very unpleasant place (and not be the one in charge).

And we gave them lemon chicken!

Which is itself a lie:

In any event, all of my clients were very, very hungry. Each day, I would bring each food. I have never seen men eat with such reverence. Whatever I brought them—pizza, sandwiches, dates, chips, pastry, candy-- not a crumb was wasted. It was a very poignant experience watching men, who had been deprived for so long, eat. The government insists that it serves the prisoners dishes like rice pilaf and lemon chicken. Like everything else the military says, it is an arrant lie. I remember telling Bisher the story. He laughed, telling me that he could state definitively that he had never even tasted lemon the entire time he had been in Guantanamo.

That's Brent Mickum, a lawyer for Guantanamo prisoners, two now released and one still held. Another in the now substantial series of interviews by Seth Farber, the Talking Dog, of lawyers and others involved in the defense of those held by the U.S. government as part of the "war on terror," which can be found linked at the bottom of the post in my link above.

So, basically, this "most violent period the prison camps had ever seen" consisted almost entirely of people trying to kill themselves and one coordinated uprising that amounted to nothing. It's hardly the stuff of wingnut nightmares, is it?

It doesn't take much to give wingnuts nightmares when Muslims are involved.

Thanks, Hilzoy, although you did forget to mention the two kinds of fruit we gave them.

Two kinds of fruit!

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