Harper’s Questions Gitmo ‘Suicides’

Following a 2006 incident in which three Guantanamo detainees had apparently taken their own lives, the Pentagon responded by describing the suicides as “asymmetrical warfare” against the U.S. Here’ s how the BBC reported it at the time (6/11/06):

Rear Adm. Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair.

“They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,” he said, quoted by Reuters.

“They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

As if that weren’t sufficiently demented, a new report in Harper’s magazine suggests the three detainees may actually have been murdered by U.S. officials in what appears to have been a black site contained within the prison compound.

Citing American whistleblowers who served at Guantanamo, Scott Horton of Harper’s reports that the three detainees were moved from their cells to a secret compound only hours before their deaths.

The detailed Harper’s report emerges on the ninth anniversary of Guantanamoâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s opening and the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, who promised to quickly shutter the infamous prison.

The expose could help to spark renewed debate over Guantanamo, torture, black sites and related issues–but it won’t do that if media don’t report on it. It has received some mainstream pick up: The Associated Press published an article that has appeared in some outlets (e.g., Boston Globe) and the St. Louis Post Dispatch has even editorialized for an independent investigation. But so far neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post have deemed it newsworthy.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.