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Published on January 18th, 2010 | by Daniel Luban


Media Falling Down on Gitmo “Suicides”

I hope that anyone who has not already done so will read Scott Horton’s important piece in Harper’s investigating the cover-up of the 2006 deaths of three Guantanamo detainees, deaths which were publicly reported as suicides. (Or, in the Strangelovian language of the base’s commander, as acts of “asymmetrical warfare against us.”) Based on the testimony of several former Guantanamo military personnel, Horton provides strong evidence suggesting that the three detainees — none of whom had been charged with any crime — may in fact have been killed while being interrogated at a secret “black site” outside the main Guantanamo base.

It is not terribly surprising that the leading apologists for the Bush-Cheney torture regime — the likes of Marc Thiessen, Thomas Joscelyn, and so on — have refused to respond to Horton’s piece. What is more surprising, however, is that the major U.S. papers have paid little attention as well. After remaining silent all day, the New York Times and Washington Post finally posted an AP wire story on the revelations this evening, but it is nowhere to be found on their main pages. The Los Angeles Times still appears to have nothing whatsoever on the story.

By contrast, the major British papers (with the exception of Rupert Murdoch’s Times) have all followed up on Horton’s piece. It is by now a depressingly familiar pattern that the British media exhibit far more interest in the abuses of the Bush/Blair years than their American counterparts. Still, one would think that a possible triple homicide of detainees in U.S. custody, and the subsequent cover-up by both the Bush and Obama administrations, would merit some U.S. news coverage — even given the almost exclusive focus on Haiti and Massachusetts at the moment.

About the Author


Daniel Luban is a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Chicago. He was formerly a correspondent for the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.

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