The U.S. military will no longer disclose to the media and public whether prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are on hunger strike, a spokesman said Wednesday, eliminating what had long been an unofficial barometer of conditions at the secretive military outpost. ● Hunger strikes have been employed by men held at Guantanamo since shortly after the prison opened in January 2002 and the U.S. has long disclosed how many are refusing to eat and whether they meet military guidelines to be force fed. Officials have now determined it is no longer in their interest to publicly disclose the information, said Navy Cmdr. John Fiolstrat, a spokesman for the military's Joint Task Force-Guantanamo.
Fred Mazelis: US officials will no longer to provide information on Guantánamo hunger strikers ■ The latest policy and its Orwellian defense (“the welfare of the detainees!”) are in some ways the logical extension of the longstanding practice of brutal force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners, in which a nasogastric feeding tube is forced into their stomachs, causing great pain. The practice has been widely denounced as a form of torture. The American military had earlier concluded that force-feeding was necessary because it feared that deaths caused by the protests would focus greater worldwide attention on the inhuman conditions at Guantánamo, as well as the by now well-known fact that the vast majority of the detainees are guilty of nothing, even by the legally dubious standards of the US “war on terror.” Apparently the US government has now decided that it would be even more effective to pretend that the remaining 162 prisoners at Guantánamo do not exist.