With 100 of the 166 detainees at Guantanamo Bay on a hunger strike and the military force-feeding 23 of them with feeding tubes, the situation at the detention facility has captured international attention.
“This is controversial,” said Carol Rosenberg, a senior reporter for The Miami Herald and an internationally recognized Guantanamo expert, on Andrea Mitchell Reports Friday. “It has caused the world to take a look at Guantanamo again, something the president doesn’t want, and for the American public to say what are we doing down there, and are we doing it right.”
Rosenberg said that today’s Guantanamo is dramatically different than it was in President Obama’s first term, when prisoners could eat and exercise together.
“Up until this year there was kind of a detente between the majority of prisoners and the guards,” Rosenberg said. “The guards were on the outside; the captives were on the inside. They lived in communal area that charitably could be called a dorm. They each had a cell with a door open. They could pray together; they could eat together. They could play soccer together. They could watch TV together in groups of 10, maybe 20.”
“And what has happened since the first of the year, as this tension has increased, there was a shakedown. There was an episode of rubber bullets in the recreation yard. There was an allegation that they were more aggressive in searching their Qurans. And the men went on a hunger strike.”
“And in response to this hunger strike, they also covered up the cameras in their cells, blinding the guards’ ability to watch them from the outside. So what we have now is the guards have stormed the communal camp, once the showcase camp, once the place where this detente exists and locked each man into his cell, up to 22 hours a day so they can keep an eye on them to figure out who is at risk of starvation.”
“So what is going on right now is a completely different Guantanamo, Guantanamo under lockdown, like we haven’t seen frankly since the Bush years at the very beginning, when they were trying to figure out how to do this detention operation.”
Watch Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Carol Rosenberg below: