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CIA Used "Rectal Feeding" As Part Of Torture Program

According to the newly released Senate report on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program, detainees' hunger strikes were broken via rectal feeding.

Posted on December 9, 2014, at 12:08 p.m. ET

Detainees participate in an early morning prayer session at Camp IV at the detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base.
Staff Photographer / Via Reuters

Detainees participate in an early morning prayer session at Camp IV at the detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base.

In one of the most disturbing revelations in the newly released Senate report on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program, the CIA was found to have used "rectal feeding" and rectal rehydration to impose their will on detainees.

"CIA medical officers discussed rectal rehydration as a means of behavior control," the report reads. "As one officer wrote, '[w]hile IV infusion is safe and effective, we were impressed with the ancillary effectiveness of rectal infusion on ending the water refusal in a similar case."

In other words, while using a saline drip delivered via IV worked just as well, the CIA found that detainees were more likely to end resistance after the use of rectal rehydration.

The same officer described the procedure, writing that "regarding the rectal tube, if you place it and open up the IV tubing, the flow will self-regulate, sloshing up the large intestines."

The use of the technique for control is highlighted in the case of Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

Water wasn't the only thing provided rectally. Food and other nutritional supplements were also delivered rectally to break hunger strikes, particularly in the cases of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Majid Khan.

Further details on the use of rectal feeding against Khan also notes that he was fed via nasal tube, a process one detainee's lawyer described as like "having a razor-blade pulled down your throat."

Al-Nashiri is still on trial for his role in the bombing of the USS Cole in 1999. Khan is currently serving out a 19-year term after a plea deal with the United States government.

Aside from feeding and hydration, according to the report, CIA leadership was also warned that rectal exams were being conducted with "excessive force."

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