November 2, 2005
The Rumsfeld diet
WASHINGTON — Spurning a request by U.N. human rights investigators, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday the United States will not allow them to meet with detainees at the Guantánamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
Rumsfeld also told a Pentagon news conference that prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were staging a hunger strike that began in early August as a successful ploy to attract media attention.
… He added, “There are a number of people who go on a diet where they don’t eat for a period and then go off of it at some point. And then they rotate and other people do that.”
Of course, Guantanamo prisoners get a little encouragement to “go off it at some point,” as pointed out last week:
[U.S. District Court Judge Gladys] Kessler stated in her opinion that the detainees’ lawyers had presented “deeply troubling” allegations of forced feedings in which U.S. personnel violently shoved tubes as thick as a finger through the men’s noses and into their stomachs without anesthesia or sedatives.
“If the allegations are true – and they are all explicitly, specifically and vigorously denied by the government – they describe conduct of which the United States can hardly be proud,” the judge wrote.
Julia Tarver, a lawyer for the detainees, had told the court she learned during a visit to the base several weeks ago of force-feedings that caused prisoners to vomit blood. Tarver wrote, “When they vomited up blood, the soldiers mocked and cursed at them, and taunted them with statements like ‘look what your religion has brought you.’”
Tarver told the court that prison guards took a feeding tube from one detainee, “and with no sanitization whatsoever, reinserted it into the nose of a different detainee.”
So not exactly the South Beach Diet, then.
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