Arnon Grunberg



No Trump, De Santis for a change – From a November discussion on the Eyes Left podcast, between Mike Prysner, an Iraq War veteran, and Mansoor Adayfi, a former detainee at Guantánamo Bay. (Readings, Harper’s)

‘mansoor adayfi: As you know, Guantánamo was created out of the legal zone, out of the legal system. Torture was the mechanism of Guantánamo. Torture, abuse, and experimenting on prisoners. We went on a massive hunger strike in 2005. And there was force-feeding. It was torture.
I saw a fucking handsome person come in and he said, “I’m here to ensure that you are treated humanely.”

mike prysner: It was Ron DeSantis?*

adayfi: Yes. And, “If you have any problems, if you have any concerns, just talk to me.” We were drowning in that place. So I was like, “Oh, this is cool. This person will raise the concerns.” But it was a piece of the game. What they were doing was looking for what hurts us more so they could use it against us. In 2006, when DeSantis was there, it was one of the worst times at Guantánamo. The administration, the guards, all of them were the worst. They cracked down on us so hard. When they came to break our hunger strike, a team came to us. The head of the team, he was a general. He said, “I have a job. I was sent here to break your fucking hunger strike. I don’t care why you are here. I don’t care who you are. My job is to make you eat. Today we are talking. Tomorrow there will be no talking.” The second day, they brought piles of Ensure and they started force-feeding us over and over again.

prysner: For those who don’t know, Ensure is a thick milky nutritional shake mainly marketed on daytime television to elderly people. It is very hard to drink.’

adayfi: Yes, and Ron DeSantis was there watching us. We were crying, screaming. We were tied to the feeding chair. And he was watching. He was laughing. Our stomachs could not hold this amount of Ensure. They poured one can after another. So when he approached me, I said, “This is the way we are treated!” He said, “You should eat.” I threw up in his face. Literally on his face.


‘adayfi: They used to restrain us in that feeding chair. They tied our head, our shoulders, our wrists, our thighs, and our legs. They put some kind of laxative in the feeding liquid. We were shitting ourselves all the time. Then we were moved to solitary confinement—really cold cells. It was like five times a day. It wasn’t feeding. It was just torture. Five times a day. You can’t possibly handle it. They just kept pouring the Ensure. In one week, they broke all the hunger strikers. And he was there. All of them were watching. They also used to beat us. And if we screamed or were bleeding out of our nose and mouth, they were like, “Eat.” The only word they told you was “eat.” We were beaten all day long. Whatever you were doing—they just beat you. Pepper spray, beating, sleep deprivation. That continued for three months. And he was there. He was one of the people that supervised the torture, the abuses, the beatings. All the time at Guantánamo.

prysner: So Ron DeSantis was actually supervising torture, beatings? He was supervising these force-feedings?

adayfi: I’m telling Americans: this guy is a torturer. He is a criminal. He was laughing. And he was there to ensure we were treated humanely.’

*The office of Ron DeSantis did not respond to requests for comment.

Read the article here.

I visited Gitmo in 2007. See here.

And here’s an excerpt from my book ‘Chambermaids and soldiers’, in which I also write about my visit to Gitmo:

‘“Is it true that some doctors have refused to force-feed the inmates because they felt it was inconsistent with the oath they swore?” asks Damien.
"That's right," says Dr. K. "These doctors have been transferred. And they were not punished for their refusal.” According to reports in The New Yorker, among others, doctors have also been involved in the interrogations. In any case, it is highly probable that the interrogators had access to the prisoners' medical records.
Dr. K. explains that the hunger strikers are also visited by psychologists and that every day they have the choice to eat normally. Twice a day they can choose between food and the tube, which I still hold in my hand.
“Are the psychologists trying to convince the prisoners to end the hunger strike?” I inquire.
Dr. K. wants to answer but he doesn't get the chance. A senior officer shuts him up and says, “It is not our job to convince the prisoners of anything. It is our job to keep the prisoners alive in a safe and humane way.”’

It's good to remember that Gitmo is still open. If it’s not already, it soon will be an old people’s home. Sort of.

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