GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- The waste war is over — for now.
War on terror captives are no longer smearing their cells with feces in a stomach-wrenching power struggle with the guards at the maximum security Camp 5 lockup on this remote navy base.
“That phase stopped in the last month or so,” said Army Col. Donnie Thomas in a Sept. 13 interview, noting the protest tactic “ebbs and flows.”
Mimicking a tactic once used by hundreds of Irish Republican Army prisoners in the 1970s, an undisclosed number of captives had been smearing their own excrement into the ventilation grates of their single-occupancy cells, causing it to waft through the cellblocks. The Miami Herald first learned of the episode in June when advocates for some of the captives encountered an awful odor on a site visit.
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Then, a country fiddle player on a celebrity prison camps tour posted a blog that quoted guards as saying one prisoner in particular was jamming his feces up his nose.
“It was affecting the whole camp,” the colonel said last week, crediting the closure of that chapter to a combination of peer pressure by fellow prisoners sickened by the tactic as well as guard force persuasion.
Thomas would not specify precisely what the protesters wanted. It involved getting the guards to change their procedures, he said, but prison camp management did not relent.
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