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View Diary: Abbreviated pundit roundup: Calls for closing Guantanamo grow (101 comments)

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  •  The Economist (0+ / 0-)
    Leader: It's Enough to Make You Gag

    The prison is a deeply un-American disgrace. It needs to be closed rapidly

    THE authorities at Guantánamo Bay say that prisoners have a choice. They can eat or, if they refuse to, they will have a greased tube stuffed up their noses, down their throats and into their stomachs, through which they will be fed. This can cause gagging and bleeding in a compliant patient, and is a lot nastier when done against his will. It takes up to two hours, during which time an unco-operative prisoner must be restrained to stop him pulling out the tube. Lawyers for the 23 or so men who are being subjected to this treatment report that it is deliberately being done roughly, with unsterilised tubes that are too large: those claims are denied. But even if they are false, the business clearly violates an individual’s rights; according to the president of the American Medical Association, it also breaches the “core ethical values of the medical profession”.

    Roughly 100 of the 166 detainees still in Guantánamo are now on hunger strike, and extra doctors were brought in this week to help with what the administration refuses to call force-feeding (see article). No matter what they have done, this is wrong. This newspaper has condemned Guantánamo as unjust, unwise and un-American for a decade. The spectre of prisoners denied either a fair trial or the possibility of release is Orwellian. Nothing has done more to sully America’s image in the modern world. They should be tried or set free, just as terrorist suspects are in every other civilised country.

    ...

    The oubliette: The Guantánamo hunger-strike

    A desperate protest by prisoners at Guantánamo has shamed Barack Obama

    “YOU have to hand it to some of these IRA boys,” Margaret Thatcher once remarked of the republican hunger-strikers who embarrassed her in 1981. “What a terrible waste of human life!” she said of the ten who died. Since some of the hunger-strikers at Guantánamo Bay are being force-fed through nasal tubes, Barack Obama may be spared Mrs Thatcher’s grief. But he has been shamed by their desperate gambit all the same. The protest is a reminder of one of his most glaring failures in office.

    Officials count 100 hunger-strikers; lawyers for the detainees say there are 130; on any reckoning, a majority of the 166 remaining inmates are starving themselves. Through their lawyers, detainees complain of a rougher regime since the army took over guard duties from the navy last autumn. In particular they allege that their Korans were mistreated during an inspection in February, when the hunger-strike began (prison authorities vigorously deny that). A cell-block raid by guards on April 13th (provoked by the covering up of security cameras), during which some prisoners were shot with rubber pellets, hardened rather than broke the strikers.

    But the underlying cause is simpler, and more personal. “The reason they’re willing to die”, says Carlos Warner, a federal defender who represents 11 of the detainees, “is President Obama.”

    Mr Obama said this week that Guantánamo “hurts us in terms of our international standing.” That echoed the view he espoused when, on his second day in office in January 2009, he ordered the prison to be closed within a year. Its existence since 2002, he said, had “likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained”—an opinion eventually shared by assorted veterans of George W. Bush’s administration. And yet the only Guantánamo-related closure so far has been the shutting, in January this year, of the diplomatic office charged with resettling the inmates.

    ...

    {Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.}

    by koNko on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:07:44 AM PDT

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