Déjà vu: Defense Officials Downplay Growing Guantanamo Hunger Strike With Bush-Era Talking Points

by Jason Leopold | April 1, 2013

The hunger strike that government officials say now involves 39 Guantanamo prisoners parallels one that took place in 2006. Both protests stem from the search of prisoners' Korans that Guantanamo officials suspected were used to conceal drugs.

As the Guantanamo hunger strike enters its third month, government spokespeople tasked with responding to the media about the prisoners' decision to refuse meals have dug into their archives and cited - nearly word for word - statements used during the height of another hunger strike nearly a decade ago to downplay the seriousness of the issue.

Navy Capt. Robert Durand, the Guantanamo prison spokesman, told Truthout earlier this month that the hunger strike was "specifically designed" by the prisoners to "attract media attention."

It's a familiar line of defense, one that Durand, then a Navy commander, used dozens of times back in May 2006 concerning the last high-profile hunger strike at Guantanamo of about 100 prisoners.

"The hunger strikes are really an opportunity to take advantage of a window of maximum media attention …" Durand said during an interview with an Australian radio station, rejecting as false any suggestion that the hunger strike was a response to the abusive treatment of prisoners or the fact they were indefinitely detained without charge or trial.

Read the entire article at Truth-Out.org.

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