• Never Again? DeSantis and Torture

    June 2, 2023

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: Other Ideas, Post-Constitution America

    During a press conference at the Museum of Tolerance in West Jerusalem in April, Ron DeSantis was questioned about a former detainee’s claim that as a naval attorney at Guantanamo DeSantis watched as the prisoner was force fed, something the UN regards as torture. “Do you honestly believe that’s credible? It’s 2006, I’m a junior officer, do you honestly think that they would’ve remembered me?” DeSantis responded angrily.

    Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni citizen, was held at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years, and has told news outlets that DeSantis witnessed him being force fed during a hunger strike in 2006. Adayfi in an op-ed for Al Jazeera said “As I tried to break free, I noticed DeSantis’ handsome face among the crowd at the other side of the chain link. He was watching me struggle. He was smiling and laughing with other officers as I screamed in pain.” Two former detainees, as well as defense lawyers and base officials, have told The Washington Post DeSantis had a “close up views” of disturbing incidents at the camp during his time there.

    What might DeSantis have seen? In addition to Adayfi’s account, we have Imad Abdullah Hassan’s more detailed rendition, from a man who spent twelve years in Guantanamo in a cage without ever being charged with anything. A judge cleared Hassan for release, finding there was not enough incriminating evidence to justify keeping him imprisoned (779 men were held at Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, with 12 ever charged with crimes. Only two have been convicted.) Hassan’s clearance came, yet he remained at America’s off-shore penal colony without explanation or hope of release. He went on a hunger strike in 2009 in protest (the U.S. military refers to it as a “long-term non-religious fast”), and was force-fed.

    Hassan unsuccessfully sued the president of the United States, claiming the conditions under which he is being force-fed at Guantanamo are torture. The lawsuit Hassan filed describes his treatment. His description matches Adayfi’s on key details. See if you’d remember things like this:

    Prisoners are strapped to a hospital bed or special restraint chair for feeding.

    A funnel or bag was used to channel large amounts of liquid into the tube to feed him faster. So much liquid was forced through that the second time Hassan underwent this procedure, he lost consciousness and spent two days in critical condition.

    Prisoners were simultaneously force-fed laxatives causing them to defecate on themselves as they sat in the chair being fed. “People with hemorrhoids would leave blood on the chair and the linens would not always be changed before the next feeding,” said Hassan in the lawsuit. Prisoners would be be strapped down on top of others’ stool and blood for up to two hours at a time.

    Hassan was at times forcibly sedated so he could be force-fed more easily. If Hassan vomited on himself at any time during the procedure, the force-feeding would restart from the beginning.

    Air-conditioning was sometimes turned up and detainees were deprived of a blanket. This was particularly difficult for the hunger strikers, as they felt the cold more than someone who was eating.

    Guards would bang hunger-striking prisoners’ cells every five minutes day and night to prevent sleep. Another detainee reported when he was brought back to his cell, the guards laid him on his stomach and cause him to vomit by pressing forcefully on his back.

    It was all something a young naval officer would not easily forget seeing.

    But bringing up the possibility that a young Ron DeSantis witnessed some of this is disingenuous. Whether DeSantis was present or not is only of interest given his likelihood of running for president. But if he was not present, he would have heard about the torture while at Gitmo, and issued legal opinions in line with it. But whether or not DeSantis wrote such opinions is of little consequence, given the number of military and civilian personnel who certainly not only witnessed torture but performed it. Their numbers stand shallow next to their bosses who created the torture regimes, legalized them, and promulgated them, men like Bush, Obama, Cheney, and Biden. If DeSantis supported torture in his role as naval attorney at Gitmo, he was among the smallest of wheels in a very large machine to do so.

    Not a single American has been punished for what happened at Guantanamo, and the first should not be Ron DeSantis.

    But DeSantis is not just anyone, he is one man out of hundreds of millions in the U.S. who says he wants to be president and has a decent chance of achieving just that. So instead of speculating on what DeSantis saw, let’s instead demand from him as a candidate a statement on torture itself. Knowing what he knows now, was torture the right thing post-9/11? As president, would he support torture in the future? As president, would he seek to close Guantanamo and set the thirty prisoners still there free? We know what Trump thinks about torture, know Biden as president has made no real efforts to close Gitmo or reduce its headcount. We know what a young naval officer named DeSantis did, more or less, when faced with torture by the United States of America in the name of justice for the Republic.

    Later, at various points in his career DeSantis repeatedly argued that the United States was correct in imprisoning detainees outside the legal system, and after joining Congress in 2013, he became a leading voice to keep the prison open, even though few of the detainees there were ever charged and most have been released. He has described the hunger strikes as part of a jihad against the United States, and characterized claims of abuse from detainees and their lawyers as attempts to work the system. Asked about the hunger strikes, DeSantis said in an interview in 2018 that “what I learned from that… is they are using things like detainee abuse offensively against us. It was a tactic, technique, and procedure.”

    DeSantis saw what he saw; with the passing of time does he still believe in what happened in Guantanamo? Vying to be Commander-in-Chief, “I was only following orders” will not be enough. In the name of never again, we need to know what would President DeSantis do.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Now you know why DeathSantis wont answer questions from the media during his public appearances. The guy just ain’t convincing he cares.

      06/2/23 3:33 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      DeSantis and Haspel for 24! Or: Ron and Gina will keep ‘Murikans safe.

      06/3/23 1:20 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Trump will definitely be the Repug choice and most likely a three-time popular vote loser in 2024. Would be funny though to watch Trump take the Oath of Office in handcuffs.

      America, so guilty of so many crimes, Trump in handcuffs is the loser you deserve.

      06/5/23 12:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      What would Presidense DeathSantis do? You mean something other than incredibly stupid?

      While Peter may be shocked the Florida meatball showed little regard for life in Q-ville, let US not forget Meatball Ron and Demented Don will go down as the greatest mass murderers of Americans in planting their stupid ideas about Covid in their dumbass followers. You know it is bad when even Demented makes snark remarks about the death toll of DeathSantis.

      So don’t wonder what kind of Presidense the Meatball would be. You know, we know, and if this idiot becomes Presidense, we all got it coming.

      06/7/23 9:33 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Trumped: Seven could get him Eleven

      The Don could be wearing an orange jumpsuit for the next eleven years to match his complexion if convicted on the seven counts regarding the 300 stolen classified documents: Four years for taking the classified docs and showing them to people without clearances, five years for obstruction of justice, and two years for conspiracy. Craps, Don. You lose.

      06/8/23 10:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Look on the bright side: If the Florida cesspool does not convict the Don, then Ed Snowden and every government employee who has or is thinking about stealing TIp Top Secret docs, should take up residence there. Meatball Ron will give you a pardon if he is elected.

      06/9/23 7:39 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Of course, the big problem is finding a jury of his peers. Where can you find 11 sex perverts who are racists and pathological liars to fill a jury…other than at a GOP Convention?

      06/9/23 8:29 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Don just shot himself on taking the Fifth Avenue.

      According to federal sentencing guidelines the DON doc hoarder could get from 262 to 327 months. One count of 18 USC 793(e) applying 2M3.2 (gathering National Defense Information – Top Secret) 3b1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust) 3c1.1 (Obstructing or Impeding the Administration of Justice.

      But wait, Don could bring it down by accepting responsibility to only 210 – 262 months…which is still longer than his remaining lifespan.

      06/9/23 9:11 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Great Caesar’s Ghost, Who will stab the Don in the back?

      Mark Anthony Meadows, et tu?

      Pompeo. He has the envious look.

      McConnell. He stands the most to gain.

      Pence. I come not to praise the Don, but to bury him.

      06/9/23 9:18 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      37 counts !!!!!

      “I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes,” Trump said, as recounted by the indictment, which cited how one of the attorneys had “memorialized” the conversation. “Well what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them.” Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here?” and, “Well look isn’t it better if there are no documents.”

      Donnie Trump wanted his big wall but he had a big fall.

      The End.

      06/9/23 2:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Dumb and Dumber

      DeathSantis and Trump both suffer from the same delusion that they are superior to the rest of US and can do anything without regard to the rule of law. Perhaps they will share a prison cell together.

      06/9/23 4:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Demented’s hoarding of TipTop Secret documents represents the greatest threat to our national security. The moron should be sent to Gitmo, and DeathSantis should be stationed there to see justice is served.

      06/10/23 11:45 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Trump failed in his mission to kill as many Americans as he could by spreading dangerous false information about Covid. So it makes sense he would try again by stealing Defense Dept nuclear secrets.

      06/12/23 9:59 AM | Comment Link

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