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The BBC reports that someone spoke out of turn: Guantanamo suicides ‘not PR move’

The US state department has distanced itself from comments by a top official that the three suicides by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were “a good PR move”.

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.

“I would not say that it was a PR stunt,” said spokesman Sean McCormack.

Ms Graffy is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, she is part of Karen Hughes’s “charm initiative” to improve the image of the US abroad. She has rather strong views on Guantanamo, and expressed them before accepting her current position.

The BBC article notes that one of the three men who committed suicide was due for release, but hadn’t been told.  Being due for release does tend to weaken the claim of his being part of a “jihadi plot.”


1 John B. { 06.13.06 at 6:05 am }

Graffy’s idiotic remark reflects the Neocon world view that PR is everything and, like the worst of Madison Avenue, that our Government can manufacture its own truths regardless of the facts. More telling, I think, was GITMO chief Adm. Harry Harris’ statement that the suicides were “an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

As Betty The Cow notes, “There’s speculation that the dead men were victims of a genuinely Kafkaesque circumstance, and there’s speculation that the US is the victim of the dead men. The former is forbidden, the latter, apparently, required.”

Why “required”? I’ve been do some reading about the Nazi concentration camps and Stalin’s gulags. One surprise, for me, was the documented history of serious and growing concern among the fascist camp administrators over suicides, desertions, depression, and other negative actions of the camp guards. Repeat: the guards.

Being a lawless, inhumane thug can have blowback even on fascist pigs. It’s quite possible Harris, who’s had plenty of time to prepare for the long-expected news of GITMO detainee suicides, is acutely aware of this and has decided, as Heinrich Himmler did before him, to portray those who object to concentration camp horrors as victimizing the people who run them (and by extension the nation itself.) Somewhat like the rapist who blames the victim, though far worse.

I grieve for America. We have become what we long abhorred.

2 andante { 06.13.06 at 7:46 am }

If our so-called “Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy” is all about PR, and she considers suicide a “PR” event, perhaps she should give it a try.

3 Bryan { 06.13.06 at 3:13 pm }

These people are all about avoiding responsibility: blame the victims, deny mistakes, attack those who report problems.

They are borrowing the procedures of Stalin to write “history” to their own specifications.