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Ear to the Ground

Gitmo Hunger Strike Back On

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Posted on Apr 9, 2007

At least 20 detainees at Guantanamo Bay are taking part in a hunger strike to protest the harsh conditions of their confinement at the U.S. prison in Cuba.


L.A. Times:

The on-again, off-again action involving at least 20 prisoners over the last few months started after more than 170 of the 385 men currently detained at Guantanamo were moved to the newest and harshest facility, Camp 6.

Many of the prisoners previously had been living in 10-bunk barracks or metal-mesh cages in open rows from which they could communicate with each other, play board games across adjoining cells and exercise in a communal sports court.

Once the majority of the detainees were moved into the tougher Camps 5 and 6, some resumed a hunger strike that had lasted from late 2005 through January 2006 “in protest of their near-complete isolation,” said Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, a pro bono attorney for Bahraini prisoner Isa Murbati.

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By Bukko in Australia, April 10, 2007 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Do you realise how this force-feeding is done? The L.A. Times story doesn’t go into as much detail as the New York Times article on the same issue does, and even that sugarcoats the brutal reality of breaking a hunger strike. I know about this, because I’m a nurse, and I often insert nasogastric feeding tubes for medical reasons.

To force-feed someone, you take a yard-long, semi-stiff plastic tube, slightly smaller in diameter than a drinking straw. Then you stick it up one of the prisoners’ nostrils. You shove it deep into the nose, and from there it goes down the back of the nasal cavity, down the throat and into the stomach. Liquid food, similar to baby formula, is then pumped in with a machine or large syringe.

If you do it right, you get the tube through the oesophagous (as it’s spelt here.) If you do it wrong, the tube goes into the trachea and lungs. That produces spasms of uncontrollable coughing and often pneumonia from the germs the tube has picked up on its passage through the dirty nasal passage. Before a person can be fed, they need to get a chest X-ray to make sure the tube is not in a lung. Otherwise, you’ll fill the lung with fluid and the person will either drown from it or get a killer pneumonia.

This is uncomfortable as hell. (It’s where the “Happy Days” TV show phrase “Up your nose with a rubber hose” came from.) And if a prisoner wants to hunger-strike unto the death, they’ll rip it out. So their hands and feet have to be strapped to a chair to prevent them from doing that. And they must be sedated, guarded or both to stop them from even coughing it out.

I doubt that the military keeps people shackled down all the time, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they stick a new NG tube in for each feeding. hat better torture technique than to say “We’re going to ram a tube up your nose three times a day if you don’t cut out this hunger strike business.”

This is so wrong on so many levels. For one, it means that medical personnel are joining the side of torturers instead of being life-savers. It takes medics, X-ray technicians and doctors to do this. When I visited the Dachau concentration camp, one of the exhibits was about how Nazi doctors and nurses used their skills for perverted purposes there. U.S. medicos have joined their infamous ranks.

Second, how perverse is it to force these people to stay alive just so you can torture them some more? What’s the purpose, to keep them going so they can have a kangaroo court trial and get the death penalty? “We’re going to keep you alive so we can kill you!” Or is it just to prolong the misery of solitary confinement, unending light (or darkness), loud music at all hours? The U.S. has become a nation of sick monsters.

Finally, it’s not even allowing the prisoners to have their U.N. recognised human right to kill themslves as a political protest. Remember Bobby Sands and the Irish Republican Army prisoners who starved themselves to death in British prisons in the 1980s? The Poms allowed them to do this because they had some respect for that last right. I think the U.S. is afraid to let the prisoners show they have the courage to end their miserable lives. Say what you will about terror suspects—and many of these people are innocent, as shown byt the ones who have been released—it takes courage to choose slow death as a political act. But mainly, the U.S. doesn’t want the world to see more proof of what a savage, despicable nation it is.

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By Jeff Badura, April 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m so sick of these guys !! give em a fair trial,
send the convertible ones back to there own countries, and the hardcore jihadist: just shoot em !!

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By NathanHale, April 9, 2007 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After a trial, they ought to place the “guilty terrorists” in with some of the US supermax prisons population to let them see what a home grown US terrorist is all about.

Close Gitmo, pull out and give that base back to the Cubans.  They don’t deserve the world’s condemnation of what’s going on on their soil for which they are powerless to prevent.  It wouldn’t hurt the U.S. image one bit to get otta there.

The U.S, borrows and spends too much tax money on boondoggles like this.

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By Quy Tran, April 9, 2007 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They’re going to strike until dead and only Bush/Cheney and their slaves feel happy and victorious !

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