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Guantanamo Bay Hunger Strikes
September 10, 2005 9:50 PM   Subscribe

"Guantanamo hunger strike staged," reads the BBC. Reports vary from the US military claiming only 76 of the 500 prisoners there are involved in a hunger strike to claims of more than 200 of the prison population by others. There's widespread divergence for the reasons for the strike ranging from the prisoner's demands to be tried or set free to "rumors of a violent interrogation session and two rough extractions of detainees from their cells, as well as a new incident of alleged desecration of a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book." Some of them are reported to be undergoing force feeding now. The detainees are apparently attempting to embarass the U.S. government into action. The government needn't worry since most of the U.S. main stream media isn't reporting it anyway.
posted by jperkins (23 comments total)

 
I'm not even talking about whether or not Guantanamo is just or not, how does the U.S. media not report on this story? And this has been going on for a month now, long before Katrina made the news.
posted by jperkins at 9:52 PM on September 10, 2005


"....One of the primary lessons to emerge from this second hunger strike is that the rationalist community is politically inconsequential and impotent...."

Not to be cynical here, folks, but we've seen this before. People just don't care about Declared Enemies Of The State.
posted by lalochezia at 10:00 PM on September 10, 2005


If there isn't much shock and outrage over the recent Padilla ruling, and American citizens are (seemingly) collectively content to discard their right to habeas corpus (due process), why would American citizens consume mainstream media product about how non-citizens have no right to due process? Why would mainstream media therefore bother to cover such a story? It is very simply a non-issue for most of America, and will be so even when your friends and family start to "disappear".
posted by Rothko at 10:04 PM on September 10, 2005


Anticipating talking heads response: "We have people starving in New Orleans right now and these people refuse to eat? Let them starve!"
Or words to that effect.

Why did this leap into my mind immediately?
More (wiki).

I'm sorry, force feeding? I want someone's balls on this if it's true.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:08 PM on September 10, 2005


What Rothko said. We still don't even know exactly who is there and why---and that's legal now.
posted by amberglow at 10:09 PM on September 10, 2005


Why did this leap into my mind immediately?

Aha, probably because lalochezia and I are on the same wavelength apparently.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:10 PM on September 10, 2005


Flex Plexico? How can you not open fire on a man with that name immediately? How did he survive grade school?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:12 PM on September 10, 2005


shock and outrage over the recent Padilla ruling

Washington is the place where they make the incomprehensible decrees.
posted by nervousfritz at 10:58 PM on September 10, 2005


It looks like the media is reporting on it now, at least some of them. There are now a few hundred stories on it, in any case.

Oddly, the traditionally conservative Washington Times is reporting on it, the traditionally liberal Washington Post isn't. I'm getting less and less happy with the Post as time goes on. Seems like they're becoming increasingly oblivious to the real news.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:54 AM on September 11, 2005


People just don't care about Declared Enemies Of The State.

Don't worry. I'm sure someone will find value in the story.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:02 AM on September 11, 2005


"...most of the U.S. main stream media isn't reporting it anyway."

Not quite
. Reuters, USA Today, Los Angeles Times (reg. req'd), ABC News (via AP), MSNBC etc have covered this story. And it's not exactly front page news for Al Jazeera or Indymedia.

The rather anti-US Indymedia seems to have other news priorities, such as a story about a dog shot by the police and a demonstration in Australia against the Forbes Global CEO Conference.

Regarding "force feeding", it's not this, but this.

In the case of Charles McNabb, a convicted arsonist who wanted to starve himself to death while in prison, US courts OK'd using a feeding tube to prevent death by starvation (sorry, registration may be required, try bugmenot)

The main reason this story does not get more news coverage is not self-censorship, but that hunger strikes unfortunately are rather boring and repetitive news stories, especially when there are no pictures of those on hunger strike, when their relatives are not demonstrating outside the prison, and when nobody starves to death because of feeding tubes.

By the way, Flex Plexico may have survived grade school because his actual name is Alvin Plexico.
posted by iviken at 6:09 AM on September 11, 2005


"Not quite. Reuters, USA Today, Los Angeles Times (reg. req'd), ABC News (via AP), MSNBC etc have covered this story. And it's not exactly front page news for Al Jazeera or Indymedia."

That's far more extensive coverage than I was able to find searching the news using Google. It looks like I'll be using Yahoo for those types of searches. Thanks for digging iviken.
posted by jperkins at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2005


Thanks, jperkins.

Reuters is another good place to search for news.
posted by iviken at 8:12 AM on September 11, 2005


People just don't care about Declared Enemies Of The State.

Including me. Yawn.
posted by b_thinky at 11:11 AM on September 11, 2005


Including me. Yawn.

That's because you have abandoned your loyalty to your country in favor of loyalty to a political party.

Just how it looks from where I sit.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2005


Including me. Yawn.
posted by b_thinky at 11:11 AM PST on September 11


You can't even wait until they're properly tried? Not everyone accused is guilty.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:45 AM on September 11, 2005


That's because you have abandoned your loyalty to your country in favor of loyalty to a political party.

Registered independant. I'm loyally non-committed.

You can't even wait until they're properly tried? Not everyone accused is guilty.

Never said they were, I just said I didn't really care. I'm sure many of them are innocent (but think most being held are terrorists), and I'd be pissed if I were them/their families, but I'm not, so I really don't care. I can't say I don't feel bad about it, but it's just very low on my list of things to care about. I doubt they care much about my problems either. Nor do I expect them to.
posted by b_thinky at 2:50 PM on September 11, 2005


Your empathy is a light to the people, b_thinky. I'm sure you have many solid relationships and you are not at all a sad piece of shit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:05 PM on September 11, 2005


I think b_thinky hits it as to the attitude that has brought us to where we are in the world today. Bush is banked on it, in fact, and has paid off well for him. Short term, anyway.
posted by Balisong at 3:39 PM on September 11, 2005


Alvin Plexico

Ah, cool nickname, not hippy parents.

US courts OK'd using a feeding tube to prevent death by starvation
Valid comment iviken, but I would oppose that as well. Legal is not always moral. While there are differences between slaves and prisoners, and not much horror in a simple feeding tube, etc., I very much oppose this. Complex reasons.

But the story not getting news coverage is self sustaining. The prisoners hunger strike because they want news coverage. But there is no media allowed, no one can come anywhere near the prison, and no one can actually starve because they're forced to stay alive in a situation they obviously have a problem with.

There lies your horror. It doesn't have to be violent to be horrific.

I just said I didn't really care. I'm sure many of them are innocent...
Remind me not to turn my back on him. Ever.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - MLK
And another one b_thinky probably isn't familiar with:
"I am a man, and whatever concerns humanity is of interest to me."
- Terence

Today it's them, tomorrow it can be you. But at least while your testicles are in the jewlery vice you can take comfort in the fact that some self employed super genius somewhere else, well-fed and comfortable, can't say they don't feel bad about it.

But hey, you don't care about my problems either right?
I almost lost a leg serving you and everyone else in the U.S., but what the fuck do you care? You've got your own shit to deal with and hey, you didn't ask me to serve, right?

So we just see things differently. But as a measure of how much:
If I could give my good leg - or my life - to pull ONE of those men who was truly innocent out of that pit I would.
But I don't know how. I wouldn't know where to start. I've done some of what I could, but I'm not smart enough or powerful enough to get anyone out. I know how to break things and hurt people and that's about it. I'm not MLK or a poet or a high profile person - or a self employed super genius.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:51 PM on September 11, 2005


Smedleyman: If I could give my good leg - or my life - to pull ONE of those men who was truly innocent out of that pit I would.

You seem like an OK dude. If you're really committed to fighting injustice EVERYWHERE, I applaud you. I'd like to think I'd do the same.

The truth is, I do care about the innocent people in Guantanamo. I would like the situation to be fixed. My "I don't really care" comment was mainly out of frustration towards folks who say they care about this but actually don't, and only advocate this issue as another opportunity to Bush-hate.
posted by b_thinky at 9:39 PM on September 11, 2005


My "I don't really care" comment was mainly out of frustration towards folks who say they care about this but actually don't

I bet.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:38 PM on September 11, 2005


My "I don't really care" comment was mainly out of frustration...

Fair enough. Seems we're on the same page there. Optimus Chyme seems to doubt you are in earnest, but I'm willing to take you at your word. Folks do goofy things in the face of frustration. God knows I'm one of them.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:04 PM on September 13, 2005


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