Guantanamo Detainees End Their Feces-in-the-Air-Duct Protest

Some detainees don't think hunger strikes work anymore

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Detainees at Guantanamo Bay have ended a protest that involved smearing their own feces in the ventilation grates of their cells at the facility's maximum-security Camp 5, the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg reports. Rosenberg first heard of the protest in June, and Army Col. Donnie Thomas explained that the revolting protest "ebbs and flows." A dozen detainees were on a hunger strike, a less gross and more traditional protest, but "I don't know if it's a tool that all the detainees believe in anymore," Thomas says.

Camp 5 is where four convicted war criminals (like Osama bin Laden's press secretary) are kept along with the worst misbehaving detainees. Rosenberg explains:
Rule breakers get Spartan, SuperMax style conditions inside an 8-by-12-foot cell behind a steel door, with a slot big enough for troops to pass meals and books.
During the protest, the convicts were held in the cellblock above the feces protestors, a particularly rank setting. Some lawyers complained that these captives were being subjected to collective punishment, if not unhealthy conditions.
But not all life at Guantanamo is so gross. In Camp 6, the well-behaved detainees were allowed to fashion strips of green fabric used for screening the soccer yard into tribal-style vests. "Command staff cast it as ingenuity, rather than defiance," Rosenberg writes.
President Obama promised to close the Guantanamo detention facility in the 2008 campaign, but Congress has made that very difficult. Nevertheless, Attorney General Eric Holder said this week he wants it shut down before the 2012 elections.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.