Lawyers say that over 100 Guantanamo Bay detainees are actually refusing food now, and have been for weeks on end, but getting the Pentagon to actually admit to this is a gradual process, with officials only conceding to nine strikers last week, and a spokesman infamously declaring that refusing food “does not make a detainee a hunger striker.”
The path toward becoming formally recognized as a striker is a slow one indeed, with the decision to recognize them seemingly arbitrary. The growing complaints of the lawyers have the Pentagon admitting this weekend that they now recognize 14 strikers, and are force feeding six of them.
The semantics argument from the Pentagon centers around the notion that there is a lot of food available in the camp other than when they deliver official meals, and therefore even if someone refuses official meals, they might conceivably be snacking when the guards aren’t looking, so they can’t affirm they are hunger strikers just because they don’t seem to be eating.
The lawyers are reporting that health conditions are beginning to deteriorate rapidly, with many detainees losing large amounts of weight. Health experts say that if the strike continues, serious health problems will begin appearing in the next few weeks, with the possibility of detainee deaths shortly thereafter.
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