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Want to Know How Many Guantanamo Detainees Are on Hunger Strike? Too Bad, Says Military

Want to Know How Many Guantanamo Detainees Are on Hunger Strike? Too Bad, Says Military

Written by Rebecca Leber

The U.S. military will no longer disclose how many Guantanamo detainees are participating in hunger strikes, after a summer of protests reached a peak 106 strikers out of 166 total detainees. The Miami Herald was notified that the military would not issue the figures, after nearly a year of tracking the hunger strike momentum.

The Herald reports that the military will “no longer publicly issue the number of detainees who choose not to eat as a matter of protest.” The change coincides with a new public relations director for Guantanamo, who told the paper the disclosure threatens prison operations.

“JTF-Guantánamo allows detainees to peacefully protest but will not further their protests by reporting the numbers to the public,” a spokesman said. “The release of this information serves no operational purpose and detracts from the more important issues, which are the welfare of detainees and the safety and security of our troops.”

Gitmo’s motto still reminds us it is “safe, humane, legal, transparent detention.”

The latest figures the military released showed that just over a dozen detainees were on hunger strike. At its peak, 42 of the 106 prisoners fasting were on a list to be force-fed through tubes. Lawmakers and the medical community questioned whether force-feeding consists of torture, as a painful process where a person is restrained with a tube running down his or her throat.

Detainee lawyers said at the height of the hunger strike this summer that it would end if the military released and transferred prisoners. There has been recent progress on this front: The administration has announced that it would again transfer a few low-level detainees to their home countries, a process that stalled due to tight congressional restrictions.

The United States has spent more than $5 billion housing terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, at the further expense, military leaders and experts say, of American security. Congress could save additional billions over the next 10 years if it finally allowed transfers to existing U.S. prisons and released 84 detainees already cleared to leave.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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63 comments

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7:22AM PST on Dec 12, 2013

Let them starve if they want... it is their choice. I wouldn't force feed them, nor would I release them. Many we have released have gone right back to their terrorist activities, directed against us. The ones we have left are either guilty, or have no where to go without risking their own safety.

Nor do I want them transferred to US prisons where they can influence and corrupt others to join their cause, or even worse, fidn a legal technicality to be release and stay in the US.

I also don't think they should publish anything about them on hunger strike as that publicity for them is what they want and only furthers THEIR cause.

3:25AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Put the international bankers all in Gitmo and tomorrow we will have global peace and harmony. AS these criminals are behind religions and war mongering plus they are responsible for the conditions in third world countries. its time to wake up and see the real terrorists of this world. Far too many innocents are being imprisoned to justify the lies of American presidents and their allies.

6:31AM PST on Dec 10, 2013

What's with the force-feeding? Personal choice should be honored, all actions have consequences. To publish numbers would just further their role as models for others, not acceptable.

Process them through the system and deliver the results without the endless drag. Upgrade costs and endless red tape are costly ... and DO NOT RELEASE THEM INTO OUR BACKYARDS.

7:52AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

I don't care about these terrorists going on a hunger strike, but I do care that the US has spent $5 billion housing them! If we know they are terrorists, why are we wasting our money? Kill them and get it over with all ready! Any American who thinks when these people get out of Guantanamo they won't hesitate to harm/kill us are complete idiots!!!!!!!!!!

4:45AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

I have very mixed emotions about this issue and suspect I am not in tune with the majority of users on the site on the subject.

4:31AM PST on Dec 9, 2013

I wouldn't want to know anyway. Thanks for sharing.

9:24PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

noted

5:55PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

very sad..no human rights there.

2:38PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

Thank you, George W., and your puppet-master, Cheney. You are directly to blame for this situation. By not proving whether or not these people are, indeed, terrorists PRIOR to sending them to Guantanamo, you have possibly created terrorists out of those who formerly were not. If these people, once released to their own countries, go on to commit offenses against our men and women, you should be put on trial for your own crimes against the people of the United States!

1:20PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

sadly noted

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