NBC News felt compelled to report on the “agonizing and brutal” process of force-feeding hunger-striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, as told by a defense attorney for two of the prisoners.
In case you were inclined to feel sympathetic to those starving themselves at Gitmo, 23 inmates are now being force-fed the nutritional supplement, Ensure, through a tube inserted in the nose that causes them to “gag for air and vomit.”
Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, an attorney defending two prisoners, told NBC News one of his client’s said the process is agonizing. The report said:
[O]ne of his clients described being shackled by his wrists and around his waist —while food is “dumped into this throat” for up to two hours at a time.
When that tube goes up your nose, your eyes begin to water, as it passes through the back of your skull. As it passes through your throat, you begin to gag and you begin to suck for air until it’s passed into your stomach,” Wingard said. “It’s agony,” according to my client.
The more times that you’ve been force-fed this way, the more your nose gets inflamed, the more your esophagus begins to burn, the more your stomach begins to burn.
Interestingly, the American Medical Association has a problem with the force-feeding of Gitmo prisoners and said so in a letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The physicians wrote that when a prisoner makes a “rational decision to refuse food,” force-feeding “violates core ethical values of the medical profession,” NBC said.
So, why in the world is the U.S. even bothering? Because we have an obligation to keep the Gtimo prisoners alive, the spokesman for U.S. Southern Command, Ronald Flanders, said.
“We have an obligation to keep these folks safe,” Flanders told NBC, adding that force-feeding is a “’legally approved procedure’ used by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Though President Obama started saying last week he was again committed to closing the prison, Wingard said his clients have been hearing that for 11 ½ years. “They’re not going to be brutalized into submission, and I think the net result will be some of them will die,” Wingard told NBC.
A shout out to the guards who are forced to force-feed Gitmo detainees.
Watch the NBC News report here: