The Guantánamo hunger strike

McClatchy reports: It’s lunchtime on the communal cellblocks for cooperative captives, and detainees dressed in tan and white camp uniforms are steadfastly refusing the guards’ offer to wheel in food carts.

Only if a prisoner pulls shut a gate to a chute called a sally port can a soldier lock it remotely and send in the meals. And one by one, every block but Delta Block refuses. Some captives call out that they don’t want the food.

Over at Charlie Block, an angular looking detainee is stubbornly ignoring his guards, sitting at an empty, stainless-steel picnic table, watching footage from Mecca on Saudi TV.

Within an hour, the guards systematically trash a lunch that looks like it could feed 100. Unopened juice bottles go in the garbage first, then Styrofoam boxes of pita bread and special dietary meals. Buffet tins of stewed tomatoes, rice and sweet-and-sour stir-fried beef follow.

It’s hunger-strike time at Guantánamo. And while the military and their captives dispute when it started and how widespread it is, it was clear from a three-day visit to the prison-camp compound this past week that the guard force is confronted with its most complex challenge in years. [Continue reading…]

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