U.S. forcibly injected Gitmo detainees with ‘mind altering drugs’
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
In a recently declassified Pentagon Inspector General report (embedded below) obtained originally by Truthout via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, It was revealed that detainees at Guantanamo Bay were forced to take “mind altering drugs.”
Unfortunately, this is not the only horror story which has emerged from the Guantanamo Bay military detention center. One of the more disturbing cases involved the alleged suicide of three detainees which became highly questionable after a soldier came forward with testimony completely contradicting the Pentagon’s story.
However, this latest report, which was originally published on September 23, 2009 and just obtained on June 28, 2012, portrays some truly disturbing practices like making prisoners take psychoactive drugs without even being told what they were given.
Only one drug was explicitly named in the report: Haldol, the actual name of which is Haloperidol. Haldol is an anti-psychotic drug originally put on the market in 1967 to treat schizophrenia, severe psychotic states and delirium.
Interestingly, it seems that the interrogators over at Guantanamo Bay might have taken a page out of the Soviet “punitive psychiatry” handbook in choosing to use this drug in their military detention facility.
In fact, medical staff and Soviet dissidents have reported multiple times that Haloperidol was used on detainees either as a punitive measure or in an attempt to “break” the prisoners.
My guess is that attempts to deny such a similarity, apologists might point to the Interrogation Plans section of the report. This section states, “No interrogation plans were noted which mentioned drugging, medicating, or threatening to drug or medicate a detainee to facilitate interrogation.”
As this section in the Wikipedia article on Haloperidol points out, the drug has also been used by the U.S.’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to sedate undocumented immigrants during deportation. This practice is only continued if medical personnel recommend it and there is a court order after lawsuits were filed over the 356 deportees sedated with Haldol from 2002-2008.
The most offensive aspect of using this drug on detainees is the long list of side effects, not the least of which is potential brain damage and reduction of brain volume as soon as two hours after injection.
Other side effects can include suicidal thoughts and behavior, depression, long-term movement disorders, heart problems resulting in sudden death and severe neurological disorders.
One alleged victim of this practice was Abu Zubaydah, the man who the Los Angeles Times referred to as “the man justice has forgotten” since he was, “Arrested in 2002 and tortured repeatedly, he was never charged, and the U.S. no longer believes he was even a member of Al Qaeda. But he remains in prison.”
Zubaydah was reportedly waterboarded 83 times in a single month and, according to Brent Mickum, one of Zubaydah’s attorney’s, Zubaydah was also treated with Haldol.
Since Zubaydah was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, he “has suffered upwards of 250 seizures due to the fact that he was treated and overdosed with Haldol. On two occasions I went down there to meet with him he was in no position to talk to me,” said Mickum to Truthout in 2010.
Others who were given the drug, according to the inspector general report, included Adel al-Nusairi – who was forced to accept injections after being diagnosed as “schizophrenic and psychotic with borderline personality disorder” – and other allegedly “uncooperative” detainees.
According to the report, one anonymous detainee revealed to the inspector general that in 2002 he was given unidentified red and blue pills en route to Guantanamo Bay from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
The report states that the detainee “stated that during an interrogation at Bagram he was given pills; green and red ones. ‘After I ate like three of them, my tongue started getting heavier. After that I woke up and they (interrogators) said thank you very much, we’ve got what we need. After I ate the stuff, it was like a state of delusion.’”
“It took like three-four days (to feel normal again), I was not normal until I came to Cuba and then I started to feel my mind back. It was a state of delusion. Like everything was a dream. My sensation was not great,” he said, according to the report.
“At the time they said it was some candy,” the unnamed detainee said. After eating what he was told was candy, he reported that he felt like he was in a “state of delusion” for days.
Unsurprisingly, after an investigation, the investigator general “concluded that we could not substantiate [the unnamed detainee’s] allegation.”
Even when speaking of Jose Padilla being tricked into thinking a regular flu shot was a “truth serum” when he was injected with it during an interrogation, Georgetown University law professor and health policy specialist Gregg Bloche told Truthout that it is a “serious breach of medical ethics.”
“It undermines trust in military physicians and it’s an unfair insult to the integrity of the vast majority of military doctors, who quite rightly believe that this sort of thing is contrary to their professional obligation,” Bloche added.
However, Bloche concluded, “The ‘headline’ here is that there’s no evidence of any organized, systematic [Department of Defense] effort to use drugs for interrogation purposes.”
“Can isolated cases of drug use for interrogation purposes be absolutely ruled out? No – as the report acknowledges, there are gaps in evidence available to the [inspector general]. But if there were such cases, they were likely few and far between,” Bloche said.
While the report cites statements from the former medical commander of Guantanamo bay claiming that the drugs were given “to help control serious mental illnesses,” it does conclude that it was very likely that the detainees were under the effects of the drugs during interrogation.
As per usual, a spokesman for the Pentagon refused to comment to Truthout, claiming that “doing so might not only compromise security,” while still adding that the operating procedures used by the military “are ‘living’ documents, subject to regular change and updating.”
Let’s just hope that these operating procedures don’t look much like those of the military police in times of civil unrest or the military’s internment/resettlement operations.
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