Fordham Law

Forced Feeding at Gitmo: Federal Court Hands are Tied

Karen Greenberg in The Halfway Pundit, July 09, 2013

Update (July 9, 2013): This is a major update. Detainees asked the courts to order their forced feeding stopped. The Federal ruling, in part is above: They cannot interfere.

Good explanation is here in this 5-minute clip: (     

Update (May 20, 2013): Story from the NY Times headlines: "Hunger Strike by detainees at Gitmo" ... a major part of the story and major concern for all of us, the story in part:

"They (the detainees some there for nearly 12 years) can’t tolerate it anymore. It is despair, in their faces. Sure, there are people who would say: They’re bad people. They deserve it. But that is not how we as Americans think about our punitive systems," says Karen J. Greenberg, American historian, professor, author, and Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law.

I say give them justice ... not more torture. Just imagine this were American soldiers held in captivity. We would be (and did so in fact) move Heaven and Earth to get them released and treated fairly, etc. Why this double standard today. Really?

The events at Gitmo, vis-à-vis force feeding nearly all the detainees there (100 of the 166 by latest count) are described in these two articles:

1.  "The practice of force-feeding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as a response to the mass hunger strike there has been increasingly criticized" (here from

2.  "It’s about three months into an ongoing Guantanamo Bay hunger strike, which began with a few detainees protesting guards’ alleged mishandling of Korans and has escalated to a larger and nearly camp-wide demonstration against the Obama administration’s failure to close the facility as promised or to free detainees it has cleared for release. Now, as attention on the hunger strike mounts, a U.S. Army public affairs unit has released photos from the camp that show hints of the hunger strike as well as the guards’ regimen for force-feeding. Some of those photos, taken by Sgt. Brian Godette in early April," are posted here from the Washington Post.

Worth reading is this article from OpenChannel at NBC News (written by Michael Isikoff, NBC News national investigative correspondent) is offered to complete this picture:

"Hunger-striking detainees at the Guantanamo detention facility are being force-fed through tubes inserted into their noses twice a day -- causing them to gag for air and vomit -- during a procedure that a U.S. military defense lawyer just returned from the U.S. base in Cuba described as brutal and agonizing."

"Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, who represents two Kuwaiti detainees at Guantanamo, told NBC News on Sunday that one of his clients described being shackled by his wrists and around his waist — while food is dumped into this throat for up to two hours at a time. His comments came as the U.S. military released new photos showing the chair (shown above) to which hunger-striking detainees are strapped, and bottles of Ensure, the nutritional supplement, that they are being fed."

The stain on our country and our values continue ... the stench will linger for decades. Stay tuned.