Classical Islamic scholars will tell you that the Koran clearly forbids suicide. But in radical, twisted Wahabbist ideology that delineates the behavior of modern Islamofascist terrorists, the terror-imams have taught that suicide can be considered as a form of martyrdom, particularly if carried out against the infidel and to support jihad. It is precisely for this reason that the terrorist leaders held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center have urged some of their acolytes to commit suicide.
At least 41 suicide attempts have been logged since January 2002 when the facility was established to house the worst hardcore terrorists captured in Operation Enduring Freedom. Some have attempted suicide multiple times. Some attempts have been symbolic, “grand gestures” designed to score international opinion points through complicit attorneys who tell wild tales to a malleable, compliant media. Others have been legitimate.
Regardless, the command at Guantanamo Bay, a Joint Task Force now headed by Rear Admiral Harry B. Harris, has followed a policy of absolute interference in any perceived suicide attempt and utmost dedication to preservation of human life. Until June 10, 2006, would-be suicides had been successfully prevented, or in the case of the drug overdose suicide attempts in May of this year, undone by dedicated medical personnel.
Now the media is abuzz with stories of these three suicides, filling in large gaps of knowledge with wild speculation. They are abetted in this endeavor by a coterie of “habeas” attorneys who represent the detainees either on a pro bono basis or funded by governments or wealthy sheiks in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, and Bahrain. The attorneys have long alleged rampant torture and abuse inside the wire at Gitmo, a story lifted right out of the terrorist’s playbook. Two years ago an al-Qaeda training document was pulled off a computer hard drive by police in Manchester, England, that gave chapter and verse on how a jihadist was to behave if taken into custody. “Immediately and on every opportunity and occasion say that you have been tortured and abused by your captors,” the Manchester Manual coaches.
This ploy has been especially successful in Guantanamo, particularly since organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others have been outspoken in their condemnation of the facility, citing as fact some of the most outrageous detainee tales, none of which are substantiated. On the other hand the International Committee of the Red Cross, an organization with permanent presence at Guantanamo, meets frequently with the JTF commanders, inspects all parts of the facility with no-notice, and meets at least semi-annually one-on-one with all detainees, reported no torture and no real instances of abuse. A representative of the European Union toured the camp earlier in 2006 and reported that “these facilities are better than what our prisoners have in Belgium.” The report was met with scorn by media and anti-American activists who refuse to let hard facts interfere with their attack agenda.
What really happens inside the wire in gitmo is different than media fiction. Throughout the blocks that make up Camp Delta, itself divided into Camps I, II/III, IV, and V, (with a soon-to-be-completed Camp VI under construction), are detainee spiritual and organizational leaders, often the same individual. These are the men who have twisted Koranic teachings to suit their Islamofascist goals and objectives. One of their goals from the start has been to force closure of Gitmo, secure their release, and get back into the fight. This is exactly what one would expect from committed terrorists who have been culled from among the worst of the worst.
Of the 800 or so terrorists who were evacuated to Guantanamo Bay, fewer than 460 are still held. More than 250 have been transferred back to home countries. More than 150 are pending transfer, but this move ironically has been delayed by court actions on the part of their advocacy attorneys. Of the many who have been released outright, several have turned up back on the battlefield fighting American and Coalition forces. A few have been identified in terrorist videos; others have been killed in action.
The self-appointed leaders remaining in the camps are constantly organizing and plotting. They orchestrate hunger strikes, detainee demonstrations, and the recent riot designed to kill guards. Authorities have uncovered and thwarted schemes to kidnap guards and hold them as hostages. These internal leaders use their interpretations of the Koran as primary justification for the hold they place on their detainee underlings. Peer pressure, and detainee-to-detainee assaults are techniques used to keep detainees in line who might otherwise wish to be more compliant with authorities.
The internal camp leaders selected the men who were to be the “martyrs” and ordered them to commit suicide. They told the other detainees that they have had dreams, “visions,” that only when three of their number achieve martyrdom will they all be freed. Then they put the word out to other detainees to support and assist the selected three in this effort. In mid-May, an unknown number of detainees who had been receiving medication – largely anti-anxiety pills and anti-depressants such as Valium – had hoarded the pills and passed them to two designated “martyrs.” These were the unsuccessful attempts that were countered when guards discovered the detainees and evacuated them to the main hospital for toxicological analysis and overdose treatment. (A strange form of “torture.”)
Shortly thereafter, a disturbance erupted in Camp IV, the most “compliant” of the camps. In this incident, which I described in my article “Attack at Gitmo,” a set-piece ambush was contrived in an attempt to kill one or more guards. Now, only two weeks later, three designated suicides have been accomplished. There may be a rush to “accommodate” the detainees further by “additional cultural understanding.” This would be a huge error. Any additional concessions in the camp would increase the “visions” of the self-styled imams, and promote a greater sense of rebellion within the camps.
It is important to recognize that despite howls of protest from agenda-driven lawyers like Barbara Olshansky of the hard-Left Center for Constitutional Rights, who attributed the suicides to “incredible levels of despair” that the suicides were coldly plotted for purely political warfare purposes. Regardless of what Amnesty International terms “arbitrary and indefinite detention” there is a practical security issue on the table. If we don’t hold these men in Guantanamo then where ought they be held? And if we release them and they return to America carrying deadly bombs or flying aircraft into U.S. buildings, can we expect the self-anointed do-gooders to intervene on our behalf?
I doubt that a major prison in the world has been suicide-free. Confinement certainly breeds depression. Add to that normal stress the lure of eternal paradise brought about by martyrdom on the altar of a warped holy war against a sworn enemy, and it is amazing that there are not more suicide attempts in Guantanamo Bay. Yes, these men are confined, but no, the conditions are not unduly harsh, nor do these men suffer torture or abuse. Gitmo is a necessary battleground in the War on Terror. Our options and those of our allies are limited: execute them out of hand, release them unconditionally, or hold them pending future resolution.
As the combatant status reviews, the annual review boards, and the military commissions proceed – albeit at a snail’s pace due to external legal maneuvering – their status will ultimately be resolved. Until that time it is completely necessary for national security that they be held where they cannot harm innocents. And the best facility for accomplishing that mission is Guantanamo Bay.
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