Monday, June 12, 2006

the suicides at Gitmo

Three detainees at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, hanged themselves in their cells yesterday morning, the first inmates to die at the remote island prison since it opened in early 2002, according to military officials.

Guards found the three men unresponsive and not breathing in their separate cells in Camp 1 shortly after midnight yesterday, according to Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, who heads the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, and Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who commands the Guantanamo Bay prison. The detainees had apparently used their clothing and sheets to fashion makeshift nooses in what military officials believe was a coordinated suicide pact. All left suicide notes written in Arabic, the officers said.

Military officials were not releasing the names of the detainees yesterday, but said two were Saudi Arabian nationals and one was a Yemeni national. Harris described them as having close ties to terrorist organizations in the Middle East and said their suicides were "not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetric warfare against us." (WaPo)

The folks at Kos and other liberal/progressive/leftwing blogs will tell you that the suicides are just another result of the Bush administration's perceived (mis)handling of the war in Iraq in general and the horrible conditions at Guantanamo Bay in specific. There is a report that these suicides were part of an effort gain attention.
"This is a determined, intelligent, committed element," Craddock said. "They continue to do everything they can . . . to become martyrs."

More reporting on this story here, here, and here.

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