By JG Vibes
March 21, 2013
Over the years the military dungeons at Guantanamo Bay have become largely forgotten by the general population back home in the US. Since the election of Barack Obama many of the people who protest wars and the inhumane acts of the military industrial complex are now silent as if nothing has ever happened.
Obama’s supporters have failed to even call him out for breaking a promise to close Guantanamo. In fact, many of them actually believe that he did close it, simply taking a politicians word at face value without even doing the research. This same fallacy has led many to believe that the war in Iraq is over, and that the US governments pillaging of the Middle East and Africa is winding down.
Hoping to raise awareness about the mistreatment and wrongful imprisonment at Guantanamo bay, some of the prisoners there are taking part in a hunger strike.
“About 24 Guantanamo prisoners involved in a hunger strike that began six weeks ago are upset by the U.S. government’s failure to close the detention camp and hope to gain publicity for their plight. The prison has 166 inmates. Nearly all have been held for 11 years without charge, and about half have been cleared for transfer or release. Many are Yemenis who the United States will not repatriate at this time because of instability in that country.
More than 50 lawyers representing the prisoners sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week urging him to help end the hunger strike, which they said began on February 6 to protest the confiscation of letters, photographs and legal mail, and the rough handling of Korans during searches of their cells. They said the participants’ health had deteriorated alarmingly, and that some had lost more than 20 or 30 pounds (9 to 14 kilograms). Kelly said the prisoners who spoke to Guantanamo staff cited other reasons for the strike.”
What is even more disturbing is that guards will further torture the prisoners by force feeding them, a practice that was condemned by more that 250 doctors from the UK, the US, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.
Back in 2006 one prisoner, Fawzi al-Odah told BBC that people who were hunger striking were strapped to a chair and force-fed through a tube three times a day.
Through his lawyer, Mr Odah described his treatment during his hunger strike.
“First they took my comfort items away from me. You know, my blanket, my towel, my long pants, then my shoes. I was put in isolation for 10 days. They came in and read out an order. It said if you refuse to eat, we will put you on the chair [for force feeding].”
He told how detainees were given “formulas” to force them to empty their bowels and were strapped to a metal chair three times a day, where a tube was inserted to administer food.
“One guy, a Saudi, told me that he had once been tortured in Saudi Arabia and that this metal chair treatment was worse than any torture he had ever endured or could imagine,” Mr Odah said.
In this particular hunger strike guards have already admitted to using this method, although it has been denied in previous years. In the Reuters article cited earlier one of the guards interviewed admitted that hunger strikers “present themselves daily, calmly, in a totally cooperative way, to be fed through a tube”.
It is a pretty sick and twisted perception to think that these people are doing anything voluntarily or cooperatively, being held against their will in a cage. These prisoners only “present themselves” because they know if they don’t they will be taken violently. While it may be true that a small percentage of these people may actually be guilty of something, it is important to remember that there was no trial for any of these people, many of them were swept up in post 9/11 fear mongering and accused of things that they had no part in.
As of now over a dozen prisoners are still on hunger strike and being force fed by guards.
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J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer, reporter for dev-test.intellihub.com and Executive Producer of the Bob Tuskin Radio Show. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com