"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Another 'PR stunt'...

This truly is scary. Three Guantanamo detainees take their own lives and the BBC leads with a quote from a 'top US official':

"A top US official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a "good PR move to draw attention"."

While the "camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were "committed" and had killed themselves in "an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us"."

Dear Steve Herrmann and Helen Boaden (BBC Online and News Editors),

The BBC coverage of the suicide of three Guantanamo prisoners has and continues to be appalling. While the detention centre continues to deny their detainees of their basic human rights, the BBC continues to parrot the Official US line on the issue, leading articles on the issue with headlines such as "Guantanamo suicides 'acts of war'" and "Guantanamo suicides a 'PR move'."

We are all aware that past and probably many present detainees are innocent, given that so few have been tried and found guilty. The fact there have been numerous suicide attempts since the prison opened with "some detainees trying to kill themselves by biting their own veins" would suggest to most reasonable people that the conditions in Guantanamo are harsh enough to push their guests to kill themselves.

Are you familiar with Chinese water torture? The method is designed to cause a person to go insane by holding them for an undefined period, perhaps indefinitely, with drops of water falling on their head. In essence this is exactly what Guantanamo detainees are being subjected to. They have no idea when they will be released and according to many reports, they suffer continued/constant torture and inhumane treatment. It is not beyond reason to suspect this might cause them to take their own lives.

And yet the BBC continues to assign precedence to the statements of US Officials as opposed to those of aid agencies and organisations that monitor human rights violations. The real PR stunt is being conducted by the BBC.

Yours sincerely,


"Official records show that there have been 41 suicide attempts since the prison opened in January 2002. Released prisoners say that due to a lack of appropriate instruments, some detainees have tried to kill themselves by biting their own veins, an act considered extremely desperate." [The Guardian]

Spotting PR stunts has never been one of the beeb's most successful hobbies:

"In the main square in Baghdad, a group of Iraqi men attempted to pull down a massive statue of Saddam Hussein in an unprecedented show of contempt for the Iraqi leader.

The metal plaque at the base of the statue was torn off and the statue's marble plinth attacked with a sledgehammer.

The men scaled the statue to secure a noose around its neck but were unable to pull it down. Then US troops joined in, and used an armoured vehicle to gradually pull down the statue."

In fact as we know they helped create that stunt:

"Toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein was a staged event, by U.S. soldiers, for the media. A Reuters long-shot of Firdos Square where the statue was located shows that the Square was nearly empty when Saddam was torn down. The Square was sealed off by the U.S. military. The 200 people milling about were U.S. Marines, international press and Iraqis. However, the media portrayed it as an event of the Iraqi people."

Gabriele Zamparini has been emailing the BBC in an attempt to point out the obvious...

The Cat's Blog

Update: Tom Clonan, a 'defense analyst', rebrands these suicides a little more accurately as "an act of resistance."