National Security Brief: 25 Guantanamo Detainees Quit Hunger Strike

(Credit: AP)

The U.S. military said on Monday that 81 detainees at Guantanamo Bay are no longer on hunger strike, down from the peak of 106 last week before the start of Ramadan last week. However the number of those being force-fed has remained unchanged at 45.

Those 45 detainees on the so-called “enteral feed list” are given a choice, either drink a nutritional supplement voluntarily or get force-fed through a tube. A military spokesperson said some detainees on the list choose the forced tube feeding, a process that was recently documented by American actor and hip-hop artist Mos Def.

It’s unclear why the 25 detainees have quit their hunger strike. The military has suggested that it’s because they’ve allowed those who quit the protest to return to communal living, but according to the Miami Herald, a Gitmo spokesperson “described a Ramadan break-fast meal of lamb and rice as an apparent turning point at the prison.”

David Remes, an attorney representing a number of detainees on hunger strike said last week that it’s unclear why the detainees have decided to quit their protest.

“It could either mean that the men have some sense that the authorities are relenting and moving in the right direction,” he told ThinkProgress. “Or it could be that the military is playing with the numbers through manipulation of the definition of a hunger striker; or it could mean that the military has succeeded in breaking the will of some of the men, you just can’t tell by looking at the bare numbers.”

“There are still other ways to read the numbers,” he added in an email to the New York Times. “Until we speak with our clients, we can only speculate.”

In other news:

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  • The New York Times reports: [T]he [Obama] administration’s plans to use the C.I.A. to covertly train and arm the rebels could take months to have any impact on a chaotic battlefield. Many officials believe the assistance is unlikely to bolster the rebellion enough to push President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to the negotiating table.