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”.
Colleen Graffy told the BBC the deaths were part of a strategy and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause”, but taking their own lives was unnecessary.
Speaking to the BBC’s Newshour programme, Ms Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, said the three men did not value their lives nor the lives of those around them.
Detainees had access to lawyers, received mail and had the ability to write to families, so had other means of making protests, she said, and it was hard to see why the men had not protested about their situation.
But Colleen, they DID:
The number of detainees on hunger strike at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has grown and now involves 75 inmates, the US says.
Navy Cmdr Robert Durand said the new hunger strike was aimed at attracting media attention and may also be connected to a disturbance on 18 May.
Detainees started an on-off hunger strike last August to protest at their continued detention and conditions.
Rights groups have voiced concerns that the US has force-fed the strikers.
About 460 prisoners remain at Guantanamo, many of them captured in Afghanistan. Some have been held for nearly four years without charge.
Gee, Commander, you don’t think being held for four years without charges and no intention of ever going to trial, in what basically amounts to dog cages, with no dignity and much abuse, isn’t something to protest about? You agree with Ms. Graffy, then, that it’s all just PR for the jihadi cause? That by losing their lives, these prisoners somehow still stood to gain–when they wouldn’t even live to see the results of their act?
Well, let me tell you something, Commander Durand and Ms. Graffy: I certainly do see loony, committed jihadis out there who will stop at nothing to do PR for their mad, world-conquering cause. They are indeed terrorists. They are indeed murderous, and they do indeed have no regard for human life. But their names are not Arabic, and their skins are not brown, and they are not Muslims.
You have met the enemy, and it is YOU.