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07/08/2013

Guantanamo's Force-Feedings: Video

The London-based advocacy group, Reprieve, is among the most active - and creative - when it comes to grabbing international attention about Guantanamo. That's no easy feat. For more than a decade, the prison on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has quickly made headlines and then just as quickly faded from them.  

But once again Reprieve managed to get people talking Gitmo Monday by posting a disturbing video about the enteral feeding of hunger-striking detainees. (Warning: Graphic. Some may find the video difficult to watch):

 

The video features American hip hop artist Yasiin Bey, also known as Mos Def, undergoing an "enteral feeding" according to the military's "Standard Operating Procedure," which is also the name of the film. Posted on the Guardian website, the video draws attention again to Guantanamo's hunger striking detainees, almost half of whom are reportedly being fed liquid nutrients against their will through a nasal tube (shown below):

Gitmo1
                                                                                MICHELLE SHEPHARD / TORONTO STAR

Pentagon spokersperson Todd Breasseale told the Star Monday that the Department of Defense was aware of the video but "does not provide commentary on theatrical performances."

 "The bottom line remains that we will not allow detainees in our charge to commit suicide," Breasseale said in an email statement. "And, just as American courts have consistently upheld enteral feedings of some hunger striking prisoners in the national bureau of prisons as legal and justified, we remain confident that our decision to feed via an enteral means those detainees who present such a necessity will withstand legal challenges."

As of Monday, 106 detainees were on a hunger-strike, 45 of whom are being force-fed.


Michelle Shephard is the Star's National Security correspondent and author of "Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone." She is a three-time recipient of Canada's National Newspaper Award and visited the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay more than two dozen times.  Follow her on Twitter @shephardm

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