Says Army Capt. Jason Wright, the lawyer for a 30-something Camp 6 Afghan hunger striker called Obaydullah: Theres no constructive engagement in the standoff over handling of the Quran. There just appears to be a stalemate.
In years past, captives staged hunger strikes in single-occupancy cells where meals went in, containers came out and camp staff could closely monitor consumption.
This protest began in Camp 6, the place where in better times the military would boast that up to 130 cooperative captives could eat and pray in groups, play soccer and go to class and troublemakers were removed one at a time.
They pointed to perks like PlayStations, food pantries and wristwatches that helped keep the captives cooperative. The detainees were inside the cellblocks, with guards watching through cameras, and posted just outside.
Military: Hunger strikers cheating
On Wednesday, the Army captain in charge of Camp 6 since January said all the cellblocks but one had refused their food carts for around three or four weeks, and were subsisting on snacks such as pita bread and peanut butter that were stashed in their pantries or thrown over recreation yard walls from Delta Block.
The captives are still drinking water. But the communal meals ended weeks ago, complicating the calculation of how many meals in a row a particular detainee has missed.
Guards now are keeping checklists, trying to track a captive snacking or slipping into a food pantry an increasingly complex task because the commanders say the no-longer cooperative captives of Camp 6 have covered the cameras in their individual cells with empty cereal boxes, making it hard to look inside.
All they can do is watch TV and movies and play PlayStation. Its pretty boring for them now, said the Army captain, who gave his first name, John. On Wednesday, Capt. John said the pantries are getting thin Its now just beginning to be a problem.
The strike is by no means universal.
On Delta Block, a chubby, elderly prisoner closed the gate and received the lunch cart. He systematically unloaded buffet trays into Deltas designated food pantry. Minutes later, other Delta captives filed inside.
From a distance, some of the men in Camp 6 seem slim, their clothes clearly baggy as they can be seen standing on cellblock scales to check their weight. The elderly captive who unloaded the food cart at Delta Block, however, had a potbelly.
Commanders point to scraps of pita bread and used individual portions of peanut butter in trash bags otherwise filled with empty water bottles at the exits of supposedly hunger-striking cellblocks, and snicker that the captives are cheating and eating.
Still, the boycott of the popular arts and life-skills classes is total, camp commanders said. Soccer games are rare.
Camp 6 has stopped requesting items from the detention camp library. But the chief librarian, who gives his name as Milton, said four copies of the last Twilight episode are still in circulation, as well as John Madden NFL 2013 and NBA 2K13 for the PlayStation mounted inside each Camp 6 cellblock.
Defense attorneys who speak with the captives paint a far more desperate picture. They wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, saying that their clients report frequent fainting spells and some captives coughing up blood.