Guantánamo prison will synchronize force-feedings to Ramadan fast, for extra torture

America, fuck yeah: “The U.S. prison at Guantánamo has sufficient military medical staff to synchronize forced-feedings to the Ramadan fast and will only feed hunger strikers after sunset and before dawn,” a prison spokesman from the Navy tolld the Miami Herald. Most of the captives at Gitmo are on hunger strike. The Muslim holy month… READ THE REST

How is that “extra torture”?


As most Muslims will be fasting for Ramadan during daylight hours, it’s more–not less–appropriate for the Navy to feed them before dawn and after dusk. I am 100% sure the Muslim world will view forced feedings during daylight hours as an insult to their religion, just as if they were to feed them bacon while at it.


Where, exactly, is the “extra torture?” Prisoners hunger strike. Authorities force-feed them. In order to allow them to observe their religious custom, they only force-feed during those hours where the prisoners are permitted to eat. Is there just a script somewhere that posts any news about Guantanamo to Boing Boing with some outraged commentary?


I think Xeni may have misread what was said. Her reaction is like they’re saying they’ll feed them during the day, which would be against their Muslim faith. What they’re actually doing is complying with their faith. They’re force feeding anyway, for extra torture they’d have to feed during the day.

I’m sure it’s a simple understanding, but I feel it’s important to get these things right. Credibility is important.


Actually, force feeding of hunger strikers is not uncommon. It was also done by the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague. One would think they have a handle on international law.

They do it at federal prisons, too. At Guantanamo, it’s done using procedures approved by the Bureau of Prisons. That’s why doctors are able to do it without violating their ethics.

Here’s why its “extra torture”. You are a Muslim. You are held prisoner without charge or hope of release. Even when you are told there is no justification for your imprisonment you continue to be imprisoned. Torture. You are subject to “enhanced interrogation”. Torture. The only remaining way to express your outrage at this injustice and hopefully gain support for your cause is to go on a hunger strike. This one last desperate attempt to express your free will as a human being is thwarted by force-feeding. More torture. Ramadan arrives, where devout Muslims express their solidarity with the poor and their dedication to God through the discipline of fasting. An intimate and personal way of connecting to God. To be on a hunger strike and experience Ramadan simultaneously must be a powerful experience, a more powerful appeal to God’s mercy. Your whole being is dedicated to surrendering your life to God in hope of release, even if in death. And then, in a perverse mockery of the joyous evening meal where in past times you broke the fast with family and friends (which you have not seen for years), solders cram a tube down your nose and pump a slurry of food into your stomach. That is “Extra torture”. I wonder if the IRA hunger strikers had the wine and host of communion blended and pumped down their throats by their jailers as a sign of respect for their religion? Understand now?


Given the situation they’re in, what would be the path of least torture here?
(beyond the obvious answer of letting them out, because they’re completely innocent).

If we take as a given that they aren’t being released, or allowed to starve themselves, would force-feeding them during daylight hours be better or worse?

A few problems with that. The rough interrogation there (rougher stuff was actually elsewhere) ended in Gitmo in 2003. They are not now “subject to ‘enhanced interrogation.’”

They know why they’re there. They’ve had tribunals, annual reviews, and habeas reviews. Even those who’ve been cleared for release are only cleared if their gov’t is willing to keep an eye on them.

Most of all, there isn’t a single detainee remaining who’s willing to say through their lawyers that they oppose the insurgency. That goes for most of the ex-detainees, too. A few will say they oppose targeting of innocents, but that’s as far as it goes. Read what they say closely: They support the war against us, and the war against the elected Afghan gov’t.

So essentially, you’re saying they’re still locked up because of thought-crime, and you’re okay with that?

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They’re not locked up because of their thoughts. They’re locked up because they’re at war, and tribunals are legally sufficient to establish that.

That said, legality is not all that matters. There’s the moral issue of locking someone up until a war ends, particularly when that war is projected to last for a long, long time.

But my own moral misgivings are eased by the fact that they, themselves, support the war. They don’t like elections. They want this war to go on for a long, long time. As I said, read what they say. Pay close attention to what they don’t say.

The link to the Miami Herald article is broken – it should be

You mean repeated torture and years of confinement has neither taught them to appreciate their captor’s system of government, nor to oppose resistance to the client government it installed? Well, then, I don’t know why people would be concerned about them.

No, that doesn’t help me understand. They were already being force-fed. If force-feeding them during the “joyous evening meal” where they are permitted to eat is extra torture, then would force-feeding them during the day in violation of their religious fast be better, or would that be extra-extra torture?

They’re not going to let them starve. That’s been established. So if they’re going to force-feed them anyway, my guess is that the prisoners would prefer not to be forced to break their fast.

A “client government?”

Bear in mind that, not only was this so-called “client government” elected, the majority of the population hates the Taliban, and fears their return to power. Regardless of how the Guantanamo detainees feel about us, or the elected Afghan gov’t, you also need to consider how they feel toward the Afghan people.

As for “torture,” the detainees don’t oppose torture when their friends do it. Again, read what they say, and pay close attention to what they don’t say.

I suspect that you and I have very different definitions of ‘ethics’.

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If I shared your dubious morals, I’d be happy to see virtually the entire population of the United States imprisoned without trial for the rest of their lives.

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Really? You and the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague have a very different standard of ethics?

I’m not that big on force feeding either. I’m just saying it’s legal, and fairly standard. Had we not been force feeding them, only about two or three would be going through with it to the end. The rest would have been eating again by now.

Why the actual fuck should they have to say they oppose anything? If an American Soldier was being held, and tortured because he wouldn’t publically state he opposed his country’s presence in Afghanistan, what would you say?


Not doing something to a patient against his or her will is a fundamental principle of medical ethics. This only gets a pass because of massive pressure from the state. And once again, if your get your ethics pre-cooked from anybody, whether it be the law courts or the Hague, you don’t understand what ethics are.