Up to 130 of the 166 detainees left in Guantanamo are reported to be taking part in a hunger strike with at least 11 being force fed (see also this piece by Chris Hayes at MSNBC).
What is not widely reported is the brutal way that detainees have been force fed by the Guantanamo medical staff, a protocol that appears to be in use now.
As detainee lawyer Ramzi Kassen explains in Doctors of the Dark Side, detainees are strapped in a 5-point restraint chair—dubbed by some detainees the “torture” chair—and large tubes that may be left in for days are jammed down their noses without anesthesia or lubricants. When detainees resist the brutal procedure, they are forcibly extracted from their cells by soldiers in full riot gear at the direction of the medical staff.
Lawyers for the despairing detainees, of whom 86 were approved for release over two years ago, are very worried that their clients will die or be permanently injured in the hunger strike.
In San Francisco on April 7th, protesters dressed in orange prison jumpsuits demonstrated in support of the Guantanamo hunger strikers, culminating in civil disobedience and one arrest.
Health profession organizations are sending open letters of concern to President Obama and Secretary of Defense Hagel. Fasts for Justice for the hunger strikers are growing and a National Day of Action to close Guantanamo and end indefinite detention is set for April 11, 2013.
The video clip below from my film Doctors of the Dark Side shows the a recreation of US medical personnel performing the forced feeding procedure.