Guantanamo's asymmetric war as hunger strike continues
Jonathan Beale visits "Camp Five" where the Guantanamo hunger strike started
A hunger strike at at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, which started with a handful of prisoners, has now become a mass protest with 103 out of the 166 detainees still held here taking part. On Wednesday night, the number of those detainees being "force-fed" rose to 41 - up from 38 just 24 hours ago. The protest began in February and has been growing for almost four months. Lawyers representing detainees say it was sparked by tougher prison searches.
The US military, which runs the camp, says those searches uncovered various contraband items, including homemade weapons that have been used to attack prison guards. The detainees' lawyers claim that during those searches the Koran was mishandled - something the US military strongly deny.
"Zac", the US military's "cultural adviser" who liaises with the prisoners, says it is a familiar tactic to attract the attention of the outside world. Prisoners, many of whom have been held here for more than a decade, most without charge, do not want to be forgotten.
We were shown around empty cells and the communal areas of Camps Five and Six. On previous visits, we have been allowed to watch the detainees mingle together from a distance. Over the years, the harsh regime appeared to have been relaxed.
Journalists who visit Guantanamo are still not allowed to identify or talk to the detainees. This time, though, we were kept well away from those being held. The nearest we came was during early-morning prayers when we were able to hear, but not see, them behind their heavy cell doors.
Most prisoners are now locked up, on their own, for 22 hours a day. The old privileges of communal living are being denied to all but a few - around 20 of the so-called "compliant detainees".
Guantanamo prisoner Shackles are called "humane restraints" and force-feeding is a banned word, too It was US President George W Bush's administration that invented a new language and new rules to justify Guantanamo's existence as a camp for "unlawful enemy combatants" - without the long-established rights of "prisoners of war" .
'Enteral feeding' Though they now apply the Geneva Conventions at Guantanamo, old habits appear to die hard. So shackles used to restrain detainees are never called that. They are simply referred to as "humane restraints". Force-feeding is also a term that is avoided. Here it's called "enteral feeding".
We were shown around the medical centre where some of those prisoners are fed nutritional supplements to ensure they survive and maintain a safe body weight. As with the camp guards, the medical staff did not want to be identified.