The Gitmo 9/11 detainees took what stage they could. One knelt to pray, one was wheeled in a ‘restraint’ chair; loud complaints about prison conditions, clothing, refusal to answer questions of the court. They also expressed fear of being murdered. (My evil twin, fearing what comes next, wonders what the odds are. (May 5, Charlie Savage, New York Times)
Theater is what’s left. They know their interrogations have been well publicized. They know as well there is a precept in Islam that allows you to ‘break’ without guilt if you held out long enough and with as much Godly sincerity as you could muster. The story is told how tough KSM was, he’s covered; the same might be said for the rest.
They know what’s coming. This is the last hurrah. This is a long running dramatic series! The actual trial is still a year away according to the New York Times.
The gymnastics are familiar. Chief among them will be ‘torture’; mainly in the effort to broadly disqualify evidence presented against them. Continual charges of unfairness and lack of jurisdiction. Arguments based on ‘religious grounds’ and the infringement of religious rights as seen by the defendants. Insistence they be tried under Islamic law. Arguments based on lack of access to documents, based on security restrictions. There will be bad behavior in court. Bad behavior behind the scenes as well, as the detainees enter the realm of the public eye. They know that, here in the belly of The Great Satan, the public eye guarantees a measure of safety; they will take advantage. Not a good time to be a Military Policeman at Gitmo.
Our ‘friends’ along with rational actors will not be overly energized in criticism of legal process at Gitmo; no gain no loss. However, among those who do not fit the aforementioned categories, we lose. We lose because we have not achieved the understanding that in these matters if it’s not Islamic, it’s absent validity. If it’s not Islamic jurisprudence; the very rights or obligations of ‘others’ to judge is not recognized.
In the Islamic World, this drama will play well; heroic brothers, spitting in the eye of the Great Satan. Ladies and Gentlemen we have new heroes in waiting. We will, hopefully, be smart enough not to put them to death. Martyrdom is a powerful concept in Islam. We should guarantee them a long life spent complaining about their ‘conditions’.