The U.S. finally released the names of the three suicide victims at Guantanamo on Sunday night, probably not because they wanted to, as we have a tendency not to want to humanize the casualties of war, but because the Saudis released two of the names.
The three were Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi Al-Utaybi from Saudi Arabia, Yassar Tala al-Zahrani, also, from Saudi Arabia, and Ali Abdullah Ahmen from Yemen. None of the three had ever been formally charged with any crime. Al-Utaybi had been cleared for transfer from Guantano but apparently no one told him. Al-Zahrani is listed as 21 which means that when he was apprehended he was 17.
But, buried in all the pieces in the conventional press was a really interresting fact. In May, at Guantano, the suicide attempts of two other detainees were thwarted when authorities discovered that they had "horded anti-depressant medicine" from other detainees.
Which begs the question who is prescribing anti-depressant medicine for the detainees?
Oh, I guess they really were depressed then. Maybe it wasn't an act of asymmetrical warfare, after all, as Rear Adm. Harry Harris impolitically deemed it... Or as Colleen Graffy Asst Sec of State for Public Diplomacy, (who gets the Ann Coulter award for last week-end, she really should go back to Santa Barbara) suggested, "a good PR move...an act of jihad..." Maybe, Colleen, it really was an act of desperation.
And what anti-depressant medicines are they prescribing?
Are they under the care of psychiatrists and, if they are, what exactly does that mean?
There are so many things that are wrong with Guantanamo, it's hard to know where to begin. It's a complicated issue and it's a bit like defending the wrong side. Unless you look at it from the human rights angle, as a 6th Amendment issue, not to mention the Geneva Convention... Or simply from the point of view of, "We're going to lock you up forever, we're never going to charge you with anything, no one in your family will ever know what happened to you, you'll never any contact with the outside world again but we're going to give you prozac, so, you won't mind, "