Beware yon Casio, it may lead to a very lean and hungry look

Friday, March 10, 2006 at 04:06 PM

"Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous"
Caesar to Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar,  Act 1, Scene 2.

Nowadays, it's Casio not Cassius causing the alarm, according to an AP report dated today, which reveals that the evidence the U.S. has cited against 8 detainees at Guantanamo include the fact that they were wearing Casio digital watches when picked up.

The report begins:
Are they bomb timers, or just time pieces? Common Casio watches, some worth less than $30, have become part of the often ambiguous web of evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The U.S. military cites the digital watches worn by prisoners when they were captured as possible evidence of terrorist ties. Casios have been used repeatedly in bombs, after all, including one used by the architect of the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam bought two to use as timers for his attack on Los Angeles International Airport before he was arrested in Washington state.

Wearing a Casio is cited among the unclassified evidence against at least eight of the detainees whose transcripts were released by the Pentagon after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Associated Press.
"I have a Casio watch due to the fact that they are inexpensive and they last a long time," the 34-year-old detainee told a tribunal. "I like my watch because it is durable. It had a calculator and was waterproof, and before prayers we have to wash up all the way to my elbows."

Like owning an automatic weapon or wearing olive drab clothing - both common in Afghanistan - the Casios have become further pieces of evidence that the U.S. tribunals are weighing in these "enemy combatant" hearings. The sessions are held partly to determine whether those held at the U.S. military prison on Cuba pose a threat to the United States.

Apparently, some the Casios allow bomb makers to use time delays of up to three years, with detonation accurate to the second, as long as the watch's battery doesn't wear down. And okay, these models have been used in several famous terror bombings.  Still....

You have to hope that there's a whole lot more evidence than that before people are arrested, whisked out of their own country to Guantanamo,  and detained for several years under very drastic circumstances.

And, once again, I have no doubt that as this news makes its way through the Muslim world, Muslims everywhere will become yet more convinced that we have no idea what we're doing, and don't much care that we don't.