Sunday, January 08, 2006

Deliberating Inflicting Pain: Force-Feeding at Gitmo

Details about the kind of force-feeding currently being used by the United States at the prison camp rightwingers call "Club Gitmo" are coming out in articles such as this one, from IrelandClick:

January 11 marks the fourth anniversary of detainees being held in the US Military Detention Centre in Guantanamo Bay. . .The UN special rapporteur on torture [Manfred Nowak] has revealed that there are allegations that Guantanamo hunger strikers are being force-fed in a cruel manner. . . Denied access to a judicial process and forced to live in what human rights groups have described as 'dog kennels' that offer little protection from the elements, prisoners, some believed to be as young as 13, have in the words of Amnesty International been involved in a "travesty of justice".

. . .New Lodge man Sam Millar, the former republican prisoner, . . . said watching the scenes from the horror camp were extremely distressing.

"When I look at what is going on in Guantanamo Bay and compare it with what happened to us, the parallels are frightening. . . I think there should be absolute outrage at what's going on, but for some reason it just doesn't seem to be a big issue. The way it is portrayed as well, they make you become immune to it. . . The telephone transcripts that have been released of the prisoners on the phone would break your heart. I am afraid this will alienate ordinary Americans from the rest of the world because of what their government is doing," he said.

In recent weeks . . .chilling new reports have emerged that forced with a growing hunger strike campaign by the detainees, the military has instigated a new regime of force feeding. . . [T]he grim reality of force feeding was described in detail by Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly . . .

"They press their knuckles into your jaws and press in hard. The way they finally did force feed me was getting forceps and running them up and down my gums," he said.

"I opened my mouth, but I was able to resist after that," said the Sinn Féin man in the interview.

"Then they tried – there's a part of your nose, like a membrane and it's very tender – and they started on that. It's hard to describe the pain. It's like someone pushing a knitting needle into the side of your eye. As soon as I opened my mouth they put in this wooden bit with a hole in the middle for the tube. They rammed it between my teeth and then tied it with cord around my head.

"Then they got paraffin and forced it down the tube. The danger is that every time it happens you think you're going to die. The only things that move are your eyes.

"They get a funnel and put the stuff down."

Affidavits from the prisoners in Guantanamo describe how the torture victims vomited up "substantial amounts of blood" while being fed through their nose. The US Military has denied that torture takes place in Guantanamo Bay and says there was not truth in the allegations.

However, by admitting to force feeding prisoners for republicans like Gerry Kelly, these words will have a hollow ring to them.

Here, via RawStory, The Observer covers admissions by the chief American physician at Club Gitmo.

New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive.

They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer. . . It is painful, Edmonson admits. Although 'non-narcotic pain relievers such as ibuprofen are usually sufficient, sometimes stronger drugs,' including opiates such as morphine, have had to be administered.

Thick, 4.8mm diameter tubes tried previously to allow quicker feeding, so permitting guards to keep prisoners in their cells for more hours each day, have been abandoned, the affidavit says. The new 3mm tubes are 'soft and flexible'.

The London solicitors Allen and Overy, who represent some of the hunger strikers, have lodged a court action to be heard next week in California, where Edmondson is registered to practise. They are asking for an order that the state medical ethics board investigate him for 'unprofessional conduct' for agreeing to the force-feeding.

Edmonson's affidavit, in response to a lawsuit on behalf of detainees on hunger strike since last August, was obtained last week by The Observer, as a Guantánamo spokesman confirmed that the number of hunger strikers has almost doubled since Christmas, to 81 of the 550 detainees. Many have been held since the camp opened four years ago this month, although they not been charged with any crime, nor been allowed to see any evidence justifying their detention.

This and other Guantánamo lawsuits now face extinction. Last week, President Bush signed into law a measure removing detainees' right to file habeas corpus petitions in the US federal courts. On Friday, the administration asked the Supreme Court to make this retroactive, so nullifying about 220 cases in which prisoners have contested the basis of their detention and the legality of pending trials by military commission.

Although some prisoners have had to be tied down while being force-fed, 'only one patient' has had to be immobilised with a six-point restraint, and 'only one' passed out.' In less than 10 cases have trained medical personnel had to use four-point restraint in order to achieve insertion.' Edmondson claims the actual feeding is voluntary. During Ramadan, tube-feeding takes place before dawn.

Article 5 of the 1975 World Medical Association Tokyo Declaration, which US doctors are legally bound to observe through their membership of the American Medical Association, states that doctors must not undertake force-feeding under any circumstances. Dr David Nicholl, a consultant neurologist at Queen Elizabeth's hospital in Birmingham, is co-ordinating opposition to the Guantánamo doctors' actions from the international medical community. 'If I were to do what Edmondson describes in his statement, I would be referred to the General Medical Council and charged with assault,' he said.

The essence of this article appears at Islam On-line.

The chief doctor in the US notorious Guantanamo detention camp has testified that detainees on hunger strike were tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages, reported The Observer on Sunday, January 8.

In a court affidavit, Captain John S Edmondson, commander of Guantanamo's hospital, said the procedure, now standard practice at Guantanamo, causes the strikers to suffer bleeding and nausea.

"Experience teaches us" that such symptoms must be expected "whenever nasogastric tubes are used," he added. . .

"A Guantanamo spokesman confirmed that the number of hunger strikers has almost doubled since Christmas, to 81 of the 550 detainees.

Many have been held since the camp opened four years ago this month, although they have not been charged with any crime, nor been allowed to see any evidence justifying their detention.

Tell me again how much success Karen Hughes' trip to the Muslim world must have had in repairing the image of the United States. Or, do you suppose Muslims just might be "actions speak louder than words" kinda folks?


OORANOS said...

Have a good time

enigma4ever said...

Have a good time????WTF???

anyways...I read this- it is very concerning..some of these men might not be able to eat after this is done to them- the 4.8 lumen is a size that is used for vetinary care not humans..and the precedure that is described is very dangerous and barbaric and can cause esopahgeal tears and damage...this is really horrific...I wish Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch could do more- but I know their hands are as tied as much as Red a nurse and a mom this just infuriates the fuck out of me....this and the spying and the rendition flights- and the civl rights issues..and Katrina...I can't decide WHich is worse...oh that 's right bombing a country for dmeocracy ( shhhh oil...) that's right....UGH....impeach impeach war crimes impeach war crimes...