Guantanamo Hunger Striker Tells His Story

SamirThis may be the most important report out of Gitmo ever. If it doesn’t cause Americans to seriously question the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial, what will? (Not to mention the brutal “medical” treatment at the hands of American doctors.) Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call (in Arabic, translated to English):

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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31 Comments on "Guantanamo Hunger Striker Tells His Story"

  1. I doubt that the average “american” cares of what is happening in gitmo. They never cared of what their country did as war crimes and human rights violations before gitmo in the first place! It’s like you have to be white, christian and born in US to be considered a human being in those peoples minds. That for they start to caring it should start to happen to them, like that drone strike shit! Before, the “americans” blindly supported the drone strikes, now that they realized that could happen to them suddenly everyone started going against it and realizing that the women and children they are bombing are people too!

    • I have to disagree. I think the average American is unaware of what is going on down there. remember, the average American MUST be told about something each night on his television set or he will not be aware. And if the story is not repeated every day on the news he will forget very rapidly. Such is the beauty of the programming that we have been treated to.

      And since all the major media is now owned by one of six corporate entities, the average American is likely not to hear about this.

      I really think that Americans have conveniently forgotten about the Gitmo detainees but in their defense they are a little too busy watching sports and Dancing With The Stars to notice what they don’t know.Hell, most of them don’t even know the Federal Reserve Bank is a Central Bank, or that, that was what we fought the Revolutionary War to escape.

      Truth be told, most Americans believe that anyone still in Gitmo must be guilty of something because they have a vague memory of someone implying such on the Nightly News a decade ago. In the court of public opinion a flurry of Post-911 lies have had them convicted for over a decade now.

      None of this has been perpetrated on the people of the United States by the people of the United States, but rather by the folks that actually run this country. You have mis-identified the enemy here.

      • You can say the same thing about the war in Vietnam? Iran-Contra? The two Iraq wars? North Korea war? Pakistan? Afghanistan? Central America? Operation Brother Sam? Every dictatorship that came into power thanks to US support? Every act of war, sabotage and genocide? “Americans” must have some kind of brain damage that keeps them to know the reality of stuff they inflict to the rest of the world! I mean, the list goes on and on! Each act of terrorism worst than another! And i’m not even counting every economical maneuver that damages other countries economies that US made just to make some multinational happy!

        • Easy to focus the worlds problems on America but what of the rest of the world? China, Russia, Iran, endless war in parts of Africa, child soldiers. Is the rst of the world peaceful with Zero history of inhumane killings & corruption? If you have to be White to be considered human”as you say” then why do we have a Black pres.? Why did millions of whites vote for him, or fight 4 civil rights? or continue everyday to cater to minority pampering. While actually disregarding their own race & culture

          • What elected Obama in his first election was the white guilt for the crap you people pull on the rest of the world. And in the second time i heard that most people that voted for him where non white!

        • And if you were here how would you help us bring all this to an end? If you think this is a problem you can help us with I am sure we can put together the plane ticket to get you over here immediately. And we would be happy for the help.

          I am aware of all the things you list above, but none of it did I get from the T.V. Networks, which, I will say again, is where most Americans get their information. Did you know that a No-Fly zone has been declared over the oil spill in Arkansas? What would your suggestion be there? We really would like to know. Because so far it has just been unreasoning criticism without any mention of a better course of action.

          And for those that are aware of what has been happening, many of those are entranced by Federal shill and fear monger Alex Jones. He too is long on criticism but short on ideas and tactics to produce change. No one seems to notice that he seems to keep everyone together but ineffectual. Have you gone to his site to criticize those victims yet? Because they are venomous victims there.

          So here we have the question; Most of our citizens are uninformed about what is going on in the world at the hands of our Government. Those that have been made aware are held in check by constant fear mongering, talks of FEMA camps and coffins and government experiments in mind control. We are drinking fluoridated water which makes us more manageable too and a good majority rely on food stamps to feed their families and maintain their over-extended lifestyle. What would be your first step?

          We await your advice and marching orders!

          • And who do you think that keeps voting on those types, who keeps them on power? Who keeps believing in their lies over and over? The people! US people! At least here in Brasil we fighted against the dictatorship, you people are doing nothing!

          • First let me say I have nothing but respect for the Bolivarian Movement in South America. Hugo’s death was a very sad day for me, and knowing how badly the leadership of the US wanted him dead, I am suspicious about how he contracted cancer.

            The man who educated me about the Bolivarian movement, and your President Lula was an American freelance investigative reporter named Greg Palast. I too have often said we need some of the Bolivarian movement to infect North America. It is also true that our country has been victimizing your whole continent since WWII, starting with importing NAZI’s to America del Sud, and continuing up to the present day with the IMF.

            But Mr. Palast, and Bobby Kennedy Jr. have shown us one other thing here in the US, and that is the voter fraud that the Republicans have been using since George W. Bush’s first election. Truth be told he was not voted in but was put in place by a Supreme Court decree. Both of his elections were lost by him, according to the actual vote count, but the Supreme Court is full of his father’s friends and they were only too happy to illegally ignore the voters and put junior in.

            The tactics that were employed against your people by US Corporations with the help of US Agencies for decades are just now starting to be employed here in the US, but we are still in the initial stages. Which means that the people of the US have seen their comfort bubble shrink, but it is still intact for the moment. Many citizens are now starting to get angry, but many of these are the people who were not aware that anything was wrong before. Now, these people are starting to educate themselves, and this will take time.

            So far, there have been relatively small problems with formerly public utilities gone private. Until things get really bad here – as they did down there with the electricity and the water – our citizens still have their shrinking comfort bubbles to cling to. Perhaps what the US did in South America showed them how far was too far. I don’t know. But sometimes it seems to me that the rape of South America may have been practice, or at least taught them lessons about what they could and could not get away with here in the US.

            From your last response I see that you are among those who have actually done more that complain, but do you think what is going on in the Southern Hemisphere would be going on at all if the people who did it had electricity, water, PCs, iPads and iPods, automobiles and flat screen T.V.s? probably not.

            Arduous Huxley, who wrote Brave New World, gave a speech at Berkley University in 1962. In both his book and this speech he outlined what was about to be done to the people of the United States. The interesting part starts at 5 min in to the video. Of course the white owned press has subjected your country to some of this control, but we here in the States have become one of the most medicated country’s in the world.

            Mr. Huxley says it much better though. And for good reason. His brother was one of the designers of this system of distraction we have had in place for 50+ years.


            I do admire what the people of South America have been through and accomplished. The problem is we have not been subjected to most of what you have. Our swindle has been achieved by being distracted, medicated and entertained until most of our minds are numb. This is changing, or seems to be, but the Powers That Be have made sure that it is a very, very slow process. Lately though, it seems like our leaders have been getting carried away here in the States by going too far too fast. We shall see.

            I have a roommate whose family is originally from Ecuador. She was completely unaware of what had been done to her country by our country, until she moved in to our house. Her boyfriend and I have educated her and she is now pissed. So what we do is educate who we can, and hope the Bolivarian Movement takes hold in the North, but that too is a slow process, and a process our media is working against.

      • but even if the avg. American is aware(and I believe in our heart of hearts we are aware) they feel there is little they can do about injustice and oppression perpetrated by Almighty Big Brother. The best they can do is take care of themselves and their own, and that is even a struggle. There’s little time to think about anything serious cause after a long day of work and the many personal troubles endured, how many are able to think of another’s troubles? Especially another who looks and acts different. I think most people are afraid of the strong arm of Big Brother and know that if they oppose him, they’ll be threatened w/ detention @ Gitmo or a similar fate. Or at least, they won’t be able to provide a “decent” life for their family. That is most people’s priority and its hard to blame them for it. And what will provide a “decent” life? Toeing the line.

        • Agreed, but certainly you don’t think that is a mechanism that just randomly grew into place.

          Also you have elaborated on my point. The average American is no longer in control of this country. Hasn’t been for a very long time, but only recently has the focus changed from keeping that hidden to simple damage control now that the cat is out of the bag.

          • Did the African slave ever think he was in control of this country? Did the Chinamen working on the railroads ever think he was in control? Did the children in the mines ever think they had any control? Women? Yer Average Poor American? At least not in the ballot box. If Americans ever felt empowered it surely wasn’t through the ballot box. See the I.W.W., Blac Panthers, and any other group promoting solidarity

          • I’ve read your reply several times and given it some thought and I am still not sure what your point is here.

            One thing though, you are not going back as far as I am. When I refer to our feeling in control there is a period when the voter was actually in control. Example, the re-election of Harry S. Truman. The papers printed that he lost, and some of his own Cabinet members were even working against him. Before that there was the story of Huey P. Long which I will tell every chance I get because the schools do not teach it. His wins and meteoric rise in Louisiana were phenomenal and it was a million signatures on his redistribute the wealth petition which got FDR’s attention and caused him to enact the New Deal programs. This headed off Long’s rise to the Presidency, and though it was a watered down version of Long’s program, and if it hadn’t been for the voter’s power at that point, none of it would have happened.

            Later, during the Nixon and Kennedy race the same thing happened. Everyone in the know thought Nixon would walk away with the White House. Though the intervention of the Daley machine in Chicago was what tipped the balance, it was done through the vote. Was their ballot box stuffing going on in Chicago? More than likely, but it still illustrates that the power of the vote was still valid, even if it had been sullied.

            Later still, during the Nixon and Reagan administrations first Nixon and then George H.W. Bush saw to ti that the NAZIs war criminals their mentors – Dulles Bros. and their little gang – had imported into the United States illegally were made a permanent part of the Republican Party. This was done so that these NAZIs could “get out the vote” and counter-balance the Jewish population here in the States. The Jews almost always voted Democratic and the need to counter that voting bloc shows that the vote still mattered to those at the top.

            Recently though, this has all changed and as the work of Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shows today our votes are being thrown away by the millions, and mostly minorities and blue collar votes. Today we are at a point where who they want to win, does.

            And, if you look at this last election cycle. Well, we had a very unpopular incumbent re-elected after his opponent Romney angered and scared the majority of of the voting public half to death with what seemed like really stupid moves and statements. But did any of us consider that you do not get to be a billionaire, or even a millionaire by being that stupid? Not many of us I fear. From hindsight it is clear that we as a voting public were stage managed into going for who they wanted. it seems equally clear that Mitt’s job was to get Obama re-elected by taking a dive. None of the pressing issues facing us today were discussed, instead they were sidestepped and ignored.

            So is there power in the vote? Yes, but we have lost control of it, and a big part of that is due to our loss of a free press. Now that all major media is owned by six corporate entities they can and are playing us like a fiddle. This is not to take anything away from the voter fraud or the reinstatement of the Jim Crow voting laws for voter IDs, or the manipulation of voting site placement, or the tossing out of Provisional votes, or even the two Party system. They have all played their parts and are waiting to be put into service again every four years.

            As to the groups you mentioned, of course most of these groups did not have the right to vote, or some of the groups you mentioned were granted the right to vote late, or have been allowed to vote but at every step grudgingly so. But I still do not see where that impacts this discussion.

    • BuzzCoastin | Apr 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

      to blame this on the American people
      is to completely ignore the fact
      that they live in an oligarchic dictatorship
      and have absolutely no say in what the elite government does

      that’s the thing Americans can’t acknowledge
      and that’s what they should be blamed for
      lying to the world and themselves about being free

  2. Charlie Primero | Apr 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm |

    I don’t understand hypocrisy. Americans who condone this situation would go berserk if it were imposed on a member of their family.

  3. This is the most disgusting thing I have ever read

  4. ThomasPaine | Apr 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

    If you think this guy is telling the truth about his story than you deserve to be tortured.

    • You’re sick.

    • Calypso_1 | Apr 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

      Sadly, there are those that have the right to authorize such & those who would carry out the orders that think in just this way.
      Perhaps it will come to this.

    • because the gov’t would never do that, right? Live as courageously as yer internet namesake and then tell me that.

    • BuzzCoastin | Apr 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm |

      you might want to go & reread your greatest work
      Rights of Man

      but my suspicion is
      you have no idea of anything Tom Paine wrote

      • ThomasPaine | Apr 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm |

        That comment was posted at haste upon reading the article. Raymond has posted an article, and I have done my own research and I can say with no embarrassment I am ashamed of my post.

        I think I’ll use my COMMON SENSE and keep my comments more educated and less opinionated..

  5. Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord.

  6. BuzzCoastin | Apr 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

    First they came for the…

  7. I per

  8. CompuSurge | Apr 16, 2013 at 6:36 am |

    Do you think Americans realize the element of this story that people keep skimming over? Feel you one may about the U.S. torture program (pro or con), but what about the role of the doctors here? Do you know that story?

    So, apparently, many of the doctors and psychologists are hired by the gov to serve as doctors and psychologists, but in practice are actually the implementers, facilitators and even designers of the practices being employed…and are breaching their oaths in the process. They operate under names other than their own and are even provided with defense funds in the event they become known. Quite a dimension to think about… “I’m going to save you, man… oh wait… let me see if that tube can just go a little deeper”.

    There is a new and pretty distrurbing doc making the university rounds and being shown by folks like Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, etc. It really exposes this dimension of what is certainly scandalous if nothing else. Called “Doctors of the Dark Side”, based on unclassified CIA docs on how the doctors are trained.

  9. Farley Krauss | Apr 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm |

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges … are associated with both Al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges … traveled to Afghanistan for jihad.

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges that the following detainees stayed in Al Qaeda, Taliban or other guest- or safehouses.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges … took military or terrorist training in Afghanistan.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges … fought for the Taliban.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges … were at Tora Bora.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives whose “names or aliases were found on material seized in raids on Al Qaeda safehouses and facilities.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who “The military alleges … served on Osama Bin Laden’s security detail.”

    Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel was listed as one of the captives who was an “al Qaeda operative”.

    yep, im so liberal i believe everything written by terrorists

  10. diablo135 | Apr 17, 2013 at 7:25 am |

    Well he must be telling the truth

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