Recently, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) went on a fact-finding mission to Guantanamo Bay to rally opposition to President Obama’s executive order demanding the closure of the prison within one year. Upon his return, Inhofe unsurprisingly argued to keep the prison open. In a Senate floor speech, he specifically praised the conditions at the prison:
INHOFE: The detainee complex at GTMO is the only complex in the world that can safely and humanely hold these individuals who pose such a grave security risk to the US.
Several other of Inhofe’s colleagues have been singing Gitmo’s praises. House Minority John Boehner (R-OH) remarked last month, “I don’t know that there’s a terrorist treated better anywhere in the world than what has happened at Guantanamo.” “Well, I agree that its gotten an image. I don’t know that that’s all completely deserved,” Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) told MSNBC on Jan 22.
But according to a Guantanamo military lawyer, detainees are still being “beaten” and are living in horrific conditions. The Guardian reports today that Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley is demanding the release of her client, who is “dying” because of his treatment:
But first, Bradley, a US military attorney for 20 years, will reveal that Mohamed, 31, is dying in his Guantánamo cell and that conditions inside the Cuban prison camp have deteriorated badly since Barack Obama took office. Fifty of its 260 detainees are on hunger strike and, say witnesses, are being strapped to chairs and force-fed, with those who resist being beaten. At least 20 are described as being so unhealthy they are on a “critical list”, according to Bradley.
The detainee told Bradley that “he is ‘very scared’ of being attacked by guards, after witnessing a savage beating for a detainee who refused to be strapped down and have a feeding tube forced into his mouth.” “Guantánamo Bay is in the grip of a mass hunger strike and the numbers are growing; things are worsening, she said.
Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) were also on Inhofe’s delegation, but none are speaking about these disturbing conditions. In fact, Burr blogged that the conditions are “well thought out and in keeping with our Nation’s highest ideals.” Burr also had this puzzling assessment:
If anyone receives mistreatment at Guantanamo, it is the guard force. They must endure frequent verbal and physical attacks from detainees while maintaining the highest standard of care for those same individuals.
It is unclear how Inhofe and his conservative colleagues failed to see 50 detainees on hunger strike, some near death, while touring the prison. Conveniently, none of the senators alerted the public to these facts upon their return.