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According to self-described "MAGA communist" Jackson Hinkle, Ron DeSantis "tortured innocent prisoners at Guantanamo Bay when he was in the military". Is this true?

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    Snopes has an analysis. It doesn't resolve the question, and it may not be possible to resolve. But the basis seems to be an allegation from a Guantanamo prisoner, who was eventually released without charge (hence "innocent"), that he was force-fed (classified as torture by UNHCR), and that DeSantis observed the force-feeding and so knew about it. The prisoner did not allege that DeSantis physically participated in the force-feeding nor that he was the one who authorized it. Commented May 29, 2023 at 8:26
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    @NateEldredge: Would you like to turn that into an answer?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 2:56
  • I don't think I will have a chance to, but anyone else is welcome to use it as the basis for an answer. Commented May 30, 2023 at 7:58
  • Nobody residing in Guantanamo bay is innocent.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 13:01
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    @NeilMeyer That is utterly false. Most Guantanamo detainees are innocent: ex-Bush official.
    – hlovdal
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 13:12

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The plain faced reading of "[Ron DesSantis] tortured innocent prisoners at Guantanamo Bay" is that Mr. DeSantis took a hands-on role in torture. There is no evidence that this is true.

By his own words, while stationed at Guantanamo as a military Lawyer, Mr. DeSantis's official duties involved advising on whether and how to perform forced feeding of detainees who were conducting hunger strikes. A reasonable case can be be made that forced feeding is torture, even if deemed legal in these circumstances. With this reading, in an indirect, administrative way, he did participate in the execution of torture.


The more specific accusation is that Mr. DeSantis was present at, and observed an incident of force-feeding a detainee; in this op-ed or @8:00 in this podcast . This is a first hand report, however the witness was under duress (being force fed) and only recognized Mr. DeSantis years after the events in question.

Mr. DeSantis was present at Guantanamo and, by his own word, served in a position that involved legal work in relation to the treatment of the detainees in general, and specifically in regards to forced-feeding, as reported in the Washington Post.

By at least some ethical standards forced feeding is torture, e.g. by the World Medical Association, so this characterization by Mr. Hinkle is not totally out of place.

So Mr. DeSantis participated in torture in the sense that he was part of the administrative apparatus that authorized and organized forced feeding of detainees. If the detainees' reports are believed, then he observed these instances first hand. However there is no reason to think that he himself laid a hand on the victims.

[Sometimes the idea is that he "ordered" the forced feeding is brought up. He has denied this in interviews. I have not found any evidence that his position while stationed there would have put him in the position that he'd have that decision to make.]

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