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Canceled Documentary Details DeSantis’ Time at Guantanamo – Rolling Stone

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Ron DeSantis has bragged about his time as a Navy lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, but in a canceled Vice documentary originally scheduled to air on Showtime, former detainees allege that he oversaw incidents they describe as “torture” and “mistreatment.”

“Officer DeSantis was one of the officers who oversaw the force-feeding and torture we were subjected to in 2006,” an unidentified former prisoner said according to a transcript of the documentary, “The Guantanamo Candidate,” obtained by The Daily Beast.

Another former detainee said in the documentary that DeSantis was “one of the officers who mistreated us” and called DeSantis “a bad person” and “a very bad officer.”

The documentary has stirred up controversy recently after news broke that Showtime’s parent company Paramount canceled its May 28 scheduled air date, possibly for political reasons. According to a Semafor report, Paramount lobbyist DeDe Lea expressed concerns about the documentary. The decision to cancel came just one day after DeSantis officially announced his presidential campaign, per The Daily Beast.

DeSantis came to Guantanamo as a 27-year-old. In the past, he has discussed the forced feedings as a response to detainees going on hunger strike. In a 2006 interview on a local CBS television station, DeSantis said a commanding officer asked him during the hunger strike, “How do I combat this?”

“Hey, you can actually force-feed,” DeSantis recalled responding. “Here’s what you can do. Here’s kind of the rules for that.”

The Pentagon authorized the force feeding, in which detainees were bound to a chair while a nurse inserted a lubricated tube down their nose and then forced the detainees to ingest nutritional supplements that were poured down the tube. Lawyers for those detained at Guantanamo argued that this practice amounted to torture. Force feeding is banned by the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Mansoor Adayfi is another former detainee appearing in the doc. In an Al-Jazeera oped published in April, Adayfi described a time in 2006 when he was force-fed, and he saw DeSantis watching it happen.

“As I tried to break free, I noticed DeSantis’s handsome face among the crowd at the other side of the chain link. He was watching me struggle. He was smiling and laughing with other officers as I screamed in pain,” Adayfi wrote.

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DeSantis denies that any detainee could recall him specifically. “Do you honestly believe that’s credible? This is 2006. I’m a junior officer. Do you honestly think they would have remembered me from Adam? Of course not,” DeSantis said at a press conference this past April when the documentary’s anchor, Seb Walker, inquired about his time at Guantanamo and the allegations. “They are just trying to get into the news because they know people like you will consume it because it fits your pre-ordained narrative that you’re trying to spin. Focus on the facts and stop worrying about the narrative.”

But according to the transcript of the Vice documentary obtained by The Daily Beast, Adayfi said of that moment, “I cannot forget when he was there watching us with the force-feeding. You cannot forget that because those people left really bad scars in your soul.”




Ron DeSantis has bragged about his time as a Navy lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, but in a canceled Vice documentary originally scheduled to air on Showtime, former detainees allege that he oversaw incidents they describe as “torture” and “mistreatment.”

“Officer DeSantis was one of the officers who oversaw the force-feeding and torture we were subjected to in 2006,” an unidentified former prisoner said according to a transcript of the documentary, “The Guantanamo Candidate,” obtained by The Daily Beast.

Another former detainee said in the documentary that DeSantis was “one of the officers who mistreated us” and called DeSantis “a bad person” and “a very bad officer.”

The documentary has stirred up controversy recently after news broke that Showtime’s parent company Paramount canceled its May 28 scheduled air date, possibly for political reasons. According to a Semafor report, Paramount lobbyist DeDe Lea expressed concerns about the documentary. The decision to cancel came just one day after DeSantis officially announced his presidential campaign, per The Daily Beast.

DeSantis came to Guantanamo as a 27-year-old. In the past, he has discussed the forced feedings as a response to detainees going on hunger strike. In a 2006 interview on a local CBS television station, DeSantis said a commanding officer asked him during the hunger strike, “How do I combat this?”

“Hey, you can actually force-feed,” DeSantis recalled responding. “Here’s what you can do. Here’s kind of the rules for that.”

The Pentagon authorized the force feeding, in which detainees were bound to a chair while a nurse inserted a lubricated tube down their nose and then forced the detainees to ingest nutritional supplements that were poured down the tube. Lawyers for those detained at Guantanamo argued that this practice amounted to torture. Force feeding is banned by the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Mansoor Adayfi is another former detainee appearing in the doc. In an Al-Jazeera oped published in April, Adayfi described a time in 2006 when he was force-fed, and he saw DeSantis watching it happen.

“As I tried to break free, I noticed DeSantis’s handsome face among the crowd at the other side of the chain link. He was watching me struggle. He was smiling and laughing with other officers as I screamed in pain,” Adayfi wrote.

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DeSantis denies that any detainee could recall him specifically. “Do you honestly believe that’s credible? This is 2006. I’m a junior officer. Do you honestly think they would have remembered me from Adam? Of course not,” DeSantis said at a press conference this past April when the documentary’s anchor, Seb Walker, inquired about his time at Guantanamo and the allegations. “They are just trying to get into the news because they know people like you will consume it because it fits your pre-ordained narrative that you’re trying to spin. Focus on the facts and stop worrying about the narrative.”

But according to the transcript of the Vice documentary obtained by The Daily Beast, Adayfi said of that moment, “I cannot forget when he was there watching us with the force-feeding. You cannot forget that because those people left really bad scars in your soul.”

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