A video protesting force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay detention camp featuring rapper/actor Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) was released earlier this month, showing the rapper undergoing the typical force-feeding procedure that hunger striking detainees at the camp must endure. The graphic footage became a sensation online, fueling cries of inhumane and degrading treatment towards the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Bey participated in the video as part of a campaign by Reprieve, a London-based prisoners’ rights group, that alleges the force-feedings are a violation of medical ethics. But Reuters reports that several U.S. medics who actually perform the procedure on the prisoners are calling it’s authenticity into question.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s 100 percent false,” said a Navy nurse known as “Ensign Lodowick,” who works at the detainee hospital. According to Reuters, journalists are not allowed to speak to any of the 166 captives held at the naval base in eastern Cuba nor are they allowed to watch as nurses insert feeding tubes into the noses and down into the stomachs of hunger strikers, who receive liquid nutrients while strapped into feeding chairs. But, through their lawyers, prisoners have described the procedure as causing “excruciating pain.”
But Reuters says that Navy doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen allege that most hunger strikers are calm and accepting of the procedure, eager to complete what is a part of their daily routine.
“Most are asking us to hurry up, make it go faster,” said Lieutenant Junior Grade “Lucentio,” another Navy nurse. Note: the staff use pseudonyms; many are drawn from Shakespearean plays.
The hunger strikes are a method by which the prisoners are protesting open-ended detention at Guantanamo, where some have been held as long as 11 years without charge.
“It’s a method of communication,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Bradley, a Navy corpsman.