‘Torture’ Team Arrives at Gitmo; Obama Reiterates His Vow to Close

Ian Becker

The US military has confirmed that a team of 40 medical reinforcements arrived this week at Guantánamo Bay, where a hunger strike among detainees has been ongoing since early February. There are now over 100 detainees refusing food, with 21 approved for "force feeding," says The Guardian:  US authorities said on Monday that the decision to bring in a back-up medical team was made as increasing numbers of inmates began to refuse food. "We will not allow a detainee to starve themselves to death and we will continue to treat each person humanely," a Guantánamo Bay spokesman, Lt Col Samuel House, said.   He added: "Detainees have the right to peacefully protest, but we have the responsibility to ensure that they conduct their protest safely and humanely." As Col. Lawrence Wilkinson, the former chief of staff to Colin Powell, pointed out on All In with Chris Hayes last Thursday, the practice of "force-feeding" is far from safe, and constitutes a recognized form of torture. Wilkinson said: Those people are still being tortured. Some of them "force-fed" at least twice a day, and if you've never seen a demonstration of force-feeding, where you're shackled to a chair, and a tube is stuck down your throat all the way to your stomach, you know that's torture. So it's still going on, and the residue of these decisions are going to be around for a long time. Meanwhile, the fate of the detainees, who are being held without trial as prisoners of war, remains in limbo. Today, President Obama reiterated his call for the detainees to be moved to U.S. prisons, a plan that has been thwarted by NIMBY-ism in Congress.

For a limited time:

Donate $20 or more to In These Times and we'll send you a copy of Let This Radicalize You.

In this new book, longtime organizers and movement educators Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes examine the political lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, including the convergence of mass protest and mass formations of mutual aid. Let This Radicalize You answers the urgent question: What fuels and sustains activism and organizing when it feels like our worlds are collapsing?

We've partnered with the publisher, Haymarket Books, and 100% of your donation will go towards supporting In These Times.

Get 10 issues for $19.95

Subscribe to the print magazine.