Jason Leopold reports: Hunger striking Guantanamo prisoners who are force-fed a liquid nutritional supplement undergo a brutal and dehumanising medical procedure that requires them to wear masks over their mouths while they sit shackled in a restraint chair for as long as two hours, according to documentation obtained by Al Jazeera. The prisoners remain this way, with a 61cm – or longer – tube snaked through their nostril until a chest X-ray, or a test dose of water, confirms it has reached their stomach.
At the end of the feeding, the prisoner is removed from the restraint chair and placed into a “dry cell” with no running water. A guard then observes the detainee for 45-60 minutes “for any indications of vomiting or attempts to induce vomiting”. If the prisoner vomits he is returned to the restraint chair.
That’s just a partial description of the “chair restraint system clinical protocol” which medical personnel are instructed to follow when administering a nutritional supplement to prisoners who have been selected for force-feeding by Guantanamo Commander Rear Admiral John Smith.
Standard operating procedure
The restraint system, published here for the first time, along with the feeding procedures policy, was contained in a newly revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Guantanamo hunger strikers, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera from United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which has oversight of the joint task force that operates the prison.
The 30-page manual contains the most detailed descriptions to date pertaining to the treatment of hunger strikers and prisoners who undergo force-feedings. The SOP replaced a previous SOP issued in 2003 – revised in 2005 – which was declassified several years ago by the Pentagon, albeit with redactions. The new, unredacted policy obtained by Al Jazeera went into effect March 5 – one month after Guantanamo prisoners launched their protest over the inspection of their Qurans.
The procedure appears to have been revised and implemented in order to deal with a mass hunger strike. [Continue reading…]