- From inception, most Guantanamo detainees were uncharged.
On January 5, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said:
- "....the vast majority of the men at Guantanamo
should never have been detained in the first place, and that over 550 have
been released and are peacefully rebuilding their lives." Most of
the 800 captured and brought there were lawlessly "seized in broad
sweeps and sold to the US (for) substantial bounties." From the Pentagon's
own records, "most (have) no link to terrorism."
- For over seven years, CCR "organiz(ed) and coordinat(ed)
more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country" to represent detainees,
and helped to resettle about 60 others still at Guantanamo "because
they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and
- Obama promised to close Guantanamo, yet nothing followed
up to assure it. Moreover, early in 2011, an Executive Order (EO) will
authorize indefinite detentions for longstanding uncharged detainees the
administration won't release.
- Guantanamo and other US torture prisons are blights on
democratic values and fundamental international law that prohibits all
forms of torture and abuse at all times with no allowed exceptions.
- Yet closure for none are planned, including Guantanamo,
symbolically representing the worst kind of cruel and unusual punishment.
It's prohibited under international and US law, including the Constitution's
Supremacy Clause (Article VI, clause 2), designating federal statutes and
treaties automatically "the supreme law of the land," including
international laws to which America is a signatory. Nonetheless, Washington
systematically violates them.
- Indefinitely detaining innocent prisoners (wrongfully
called too dangerous to release) exacerbates injustice, a CCR statement
saying the Obama administration may also try doing it in America. If so:
- -- "it will be difficult to hold the line at the
48 men at Guantanamo. (Obama's) proposal (would lay) the groundwork for
US prisons to become places where people from around the world are brought
and imprisoned without charge (or) trial, eroding our Constitution and
adherence to international law beyond recognition."
- In fact, that standard long ago was violated, making
the rule of law in America a mere figure of speech. A new Seton Hall University
School of Law's Center for Policy and Research (CP&R) affirms it, titled:
- "Drug Abuse: An Exploration of the Government Use
of Mefloquine at Guantanamo."
- Under Professor Mark Denbeaux's direction, CP&R published
17 "GTMO Reports," including the latest, discussed below, "documenting
the medically inappropriate use of a dangerous pharmacological treatment
- An antimalarial drug, it's known to cause "severe
neuropsychological adverse effects such as anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations,
aggression, psychotic behavior, mood changes, depression, memory impairment,
convulsions, loss of coordination (ataxia), suicidal ideation (ideas or
thoughts), and possibly suicide, particularly in patients with a history
of mental illness."
- Yet prison authorities administer it freely, at five
times the normal dose. Even a fifth that much can cause any or all of the
above side effects. Without medical need, pumping it into detainees in
excessive amounts may cause irreparable harm. "At best it represents
(gross malpractice and) monumental incompetence. At worst, it's torture."
- Guantanamo has no malaria nor does Cuba. As a result,
drug usage is solely to "specifically (induce) adverse side effects,
either as part of enhanced interrogation techniques, experimentation in
behavioral modification, or torture for some other purpose."
- Doing so, however, violates Nuremberg protections that
require voluntary consent with full disclosure of known risks and avoidance
of experimental treatments if there's reason to believe harm may result.
In addition, the Fifth Amendment protects against abusive government authority
in stating "No person shall....be deprived of life, liberty or property,
with due process of law...."
- Moreover, the Eighth Amendment prohibits "cruel
and unusual punishments." Involuntarily administering dangerous drugs
is a serious criminal offense. Yet at Guantanamo, "the US military
routinely administered doses of mefloquine to detainees" on arrival
"without medical justification" and no regard for their well-being.
- Prophylactic adult dosage is 250 mg once a week. Administering
1,250 mg (to malaria free detainees) is indicated for mild to moderate
malaria. Mefloquine is inappropriate in treating severe malaria cases,
disease not caused by P. vivax or mefloquine-susceptible P. falciparum
strains, or patients who previously used the drug.
- Moreover, the higher the dose, the severer the side effects,
yet "(v)ery few medical records have ever been released for GTMO detainees,
and those (available) are heavily redacted and may be incomplete"
to conceal the true harm done. Available documents, however, reveal over-dosing
with very likely severe, long-lasting neuropsychological side effects.
- GTMO Medical "Infection Control" SOP 021 states
1,250 mg of mefloquine will be included in "empiric therapies."
Medically it refers to administering treatment prior to a firm diagnosis,
but doing it routinely in high doses is criminal malfeasance. Omitting
medical evaluation, compounds the offense.
- "Despite professional medical/health organizations
denouncing the use of mefloquine for empiric treatment, (Pentagon authorities)
mandated that detainees receive a full (1,250 mg dose) upon arrival."
- "According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), there is no malaria in Cuba," and it doesn't threaten
Guantanamo, according to an official memorandum on the "Department
of Defense Operation Use of Mefloquine." Moreover, the Pentagon understands
its effects, doesn't administer it to US GTMO personnel, and is aware of
1950s quinolines experimentation as part of the CIA's MKULTRA, its mind
control program, addressed in an earlier article accessed through the following
- Begun in 1953, it was to perfect a truth drug for interrogating
suspected Soviet spies. It aimed to control human behavior through psychedelic
and hallucinogenic drugs, electroshock, radiation, graphology, paramilitary
techniques, and psychological/sociological/anthropological methods, among
others - a vast open-field of mind experimentation to find whatever worked,
legal or otherwise on willing and unwitting subjects. Some were so gravely
affected, they never recovered.
- Using mefloquine and other dangerous drugs indiscriminately
is willful, criminal torture. US War Crimes Act provisions make the UN
Torture Convention, Geneva, and Common Article 3 breaches illegal, including
torture, abuse, and humiliating or degrading treatment.
- Moreover, US Code, Chapter 113C: Torture states:
- "Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts
to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more
than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct
prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned
for any term of years or for life."
- Torture, genocide, slavery, and wars of aggression have
a common thread. They're all jus cogens, meaning subject to a higher or
compelling law. As a result, no country can pass laws permitting these
practices in any form for any purpose with no allowed exceptions. For decades,
however, America has used them freely, so far with impunity.
- Regarding mefloquine's use, Dr. G. Richard Olds, an internationally
respected tropical disease expert and Founding Dean of the University of
California at Riverside School of Medicine explained that:
- It's "fat soluble and as a result it does build
up in the body and has a very long half-life. This is important since a
massive dose (isn't) easily corrected and the 'side effects'....could last
for weeks or months....In my professional opinion, there is no medical
justification for giving (high doses) to an asymptomatic individual. I
also do not see the medical benefit of treating a person in Cuba"
with a clearly unneeded drug.
- According to Professor Stephen Soldz, Director of the
Center for Research, Evaluation, and Program Development, Boston Graduate
School of Psychoanalysis and President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility:
- "For years there has been an almost complete lack
of transparency regarding medical practices and procedures at Guantanamo
(and all other US torture prisons). The military has failed to provide
credible explanations for its procedures. Detainees and their attorneys
have been denied access to their own medical records, an egregious ethical
violation. All health providers should join the call for Guantanamo to
respect fundamental rules regulating medical ethics everywhere."
- Failure to do so under international and US law is illegal.
Without full access to all detainees' medical records, the Pentagon is
criminally liable, "and the potentially serious (harm to) those who
received the drug will remain hidden."
- Also culpable are congressional and administration officials
responsible for initiating, funding, and perpetuating imperial wars as
well as authorizing torture prisons like Guantanamo. Holding complicit
members accountable is crucial to achieving justice, a goal nowhere in
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.