Guide to Gitmo Force-Feeding: Shackle, Mask Detainees

Al Jazeera obtains 30-page guidelines
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2013 1:41 PM CDT
Guide to Gitmo Force-Feeding: Shackle, Mask Detainees
In this Dec. 4, 2006 file photo reviewed by a Pentagon official, a detainee peers out through the "bean hole" which is used to pass food and other items into detainee cells, at Guantanamo Bay.   (AP Photo/Brennan Llinsley)

The US process for force-feeding hunger-striking Guantanamo detainees has come to light in a new al Jazeera report. The news network obtained the guidelines for the process, which sees detainees held in a restraint chair for up to two hours. A guard "shackles detainee and a mask is placed over the detainee’s mouth to prevent spitting and biting," the manual says. A tube runs from the detainee's nostril to his stomach. After the feeding process, officials put the detainee in a "dry cell"—one without running water—and monitor him for up to an hour to ensure he doesn't vomit, the report says.

A US lawyer tells al Jazeera that the guidelines call for an "Orwellian" relationship between health workers and guards, since doctors and nurses function as "adjuncts of the security apparatus." "The clinical judgment of a doctor or a nurse is basically trumped by this policy and protocol," the lawyer says. Restraint chairs, meanwhile, are typically used at federal prisons "for inmates who are physically dangerous," notes a nonpartisan organization. The 30-page Standard Operating Procedure updates a version from 2003 that was updated in 2005; the latest version is more controversial than its predecessor, writes Jason Leopold. Click through for the full piece. (More Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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