Hayden and “Rectal Hydration”

Via The Hill:   Ex-CIA director defends rectal rehydration

“These were medical procedures,” Hayden said during a tense interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” He added that the method was used because detainees were dehydrated, and that giving them intravenous fluids with needles would be dangerous.

 ”I’m not a doctor,” he said. “What I am told is that this is one of the ways that the body is rehydrated.”

From page 144 of the report:

After approximately three weeks, the CIA developed a more aggressive treatment regimen “without unnecessary conversation.”Majid Khan was then subjected to involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration, which included two bottles of Ensure. Later that same day, Majid Khan’s “lunch tray,” consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was “pureed” and rectally infused. Additional sessions of rectal feeding and hydration followed.

While I am not that kind of doctor, I am pretty sure that what is described above in bold does not amount to any kind of legitimate medical option. Indeed, in general the very idea of “involuntary rectal feeding” cannot possibly be an appropriate action unless, of course, the goal was to abuse a detainee to the point of creating pliancy and hopefully garnering information from that detainee. In a word : torture.  It does not sound, at all, like a “medical procedure.”

Beyond that, I am not sure that pureeing dinner is the most effective process here, either.

According to The Hill, this technique was used on five detainees.

Also:  if it is possible to subdue a person to the point that they can be treated rectally, I am pretty sure it is possible to subdue them to the point that an IV could be used.

Hayden’s detached, dismissive approach to all of this is disgusting.  And, again, simply a straight-forward defense of torture.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Quick Takes, Terrorism, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Yolo Contendere says:

    Mengele used “medical procedures” too…

  2. @Yolo Contendere: Indeed. That was my first thought upon reading that quote and then I forgot to mention it when writing the post.

  3. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Hayden suffers from optical rectalitis. He’d better cancel any plans he had to travel outside the U.S.

  4. Slugger says:

    Ockham’s razor:
    Mr. Hayden is ok with involuntary rectal insertions because he is ok with involuntary rectal insertions. I do wish he would not use my country’s safety and honor as a pretext for his kink.

  5. bill says:

    maybe he was a little kinky?!

  6. jukeboxgrad says:

    Practically every word out of Hayden’s mouth is some kind of lie. He said this (link):

    why do you presume, automatically without any further evidence, that we were doing it [rectal hydration] for interrogation purposes but it’s just and noble when being done at Guantanamo?

    There is no rectal feeding or rectal hydration “at Guantanamo.” Another lie from a serial liar.

  7. Mikey says:

    While I am not that kind of doctor, I am pretty sure that what is described above in bold does not amount to any kind of legitimate medical option.

    No doubt this was following through on a threat to “eat your food or we’ll stuff it up your ass.”

  8. jukeboxgrad says:

    And here’s some more misinformation from Hayden. He said this (link):

    the Democrats on the committee, have used one half-assed unwarranted comment in one e-mail to justify the story that you have now bought … The report, referring to one e-mail with one very bad-taste comment, has used that e-mail to make this judgement. Now, don’t you think they should have talked to someone.

    He said “e-mail” three times. No, it was not an “e-mail.” The relevant statement was made in an interview with the CIA IG. From the report (pdf; scroll to p. 108 in your pdf reader):

    Chief of Interrogations [redacted] also ordered the rectal rehydration of KSM without a determination of medical need, a procedure that the chief of interrogations would later characterize as illustrative of the interrogator’s “total control over the detainee.'”

    A footnote indicates that the source of this is an interview, “Office of the Inspector General, 27 March 2003.” A statement in an interview with CIA IG has a lot more weight than “one half-assed unwarranted comment in one e-mail.” Hayden’s “don’t you think they should have talked to someone” is an attempt to suggest that Chief of Interrogations was never interviewed and never had a chance to explain himself. But he was interviewed, and he did explain himself, and “total control over the detainee” is what he chose to say.

  9. jukeboxgrad says:

    Tapper said this:

    Let me grant you the point right now that the committee should have interviewed witnesses.

    That’s Tapper the hack stupidly regurgitating a bogus GOP talking point. He forgot to mention that the interviews didn’t need to be done again because they had already been done. Link:

    … the report did draw from existing interviews of CIA officials … the committee had access to interviews of CIA officials that had been conducted by the CIA’s inspector general … The interview reports and transcripts included former CIA director George Tenet; Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, CIA General Counsel Scott Muller; CIA Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt; CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo; CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin; and a variety of interrogators, lawyers, medical personnel, senior counterterrorism analysts and managers of the detention and interrogation program

    PDF:

    … additional interviews were not necessary because of the comprehensive nature of documents available for review, including transcripts of extensive interviews of CIA personnel conducted by the CIA’s inspector general … of particular value were the interview summaries, which included responses to many of the questions the committee would have asked had the committee been able to conduct its own interviews.

    And if she had done the interviews over again, I’m sure there would be lots of complaints about how it was wrong for her to do them over again. Heads you win, tails I lose.

  10. Hal_10000 says:

    Medical procedure? No one does this in medicine. If we need to feed anyone, we do it through an NG tube. Hayden should know this since there have been objections to forced NG tube feedings of Gitmo prisoners on hunger strike.

  11. There was a South Park episode in 2002 built around people eating things by sticking them up their rectums.

    Now we know where the CIA is getting their ideas.

  12. jukeboxgrad says:

    And here’s another example of Hayden’s dishonesty, since they are so easy to find. He said this (link, scroll to 3:04 in the video):

    When the International Committee of the Red Cross asked KSM how many times were you waterboarded, he said five. And I actually think he might be a pretty good source on this.

    No, that’s not what KSM said. What that ICRC report actually says is this (link):

    The procedure was applied during five different sessions during the first month of interrogation

    Hayden himself told Congress that a waterboard “session” could last up to two hours. He also told Congress that “one application cannot exceed 40 seconds.” Do the math. Five two-hour “sessions” is enough time for 900 waterboard ‘applications.’ So the ICRC phrase “five different sessions” tells us very little about the number of instances of waterboarding, and it doesn’t tell us that KSM was waterboarded only five “times.”

  13. anjin-san says:

    Where are all the torture enabler today?

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    Is our entire government made up at best of sociopaths and in some cases outright psychopaths?

  15. Mu says:

    Makes you wonder what kind of security a lot of the members of the old administration have to avoid being “Eichmanned” in front of an independent court.

  16. @Ron Beasley:

    Is our entire government made up at best of sociopaths and in some cases outright psychopaths?

    When performance is judged solely based on results, a more ruthless person will do better than a less ruthless person, because the more ruthless person will be able to accomplish anything the less ruthless person can, plus some additional things the less ruthless person simply refuses to do.

    This leads to the more ruthless person being seen as more effective, and over time the organization will end up entirely populated with the most ruthless people in all of the leadership positions.

  17. de stijl says:

    “involuntary rectal feeding” cannot possibly be an appropriate action unless, of course, the goal was to abuse a detainee to the point of creating pliancy and hopefully garnering information from that detainee. In a word : torture.

    Not just torture, but rape as well.

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    @anjin-san:

    Where are all the torture enabler today?

    I dunno, Joyner’s had a light posting schedule.

  19. jukeboxgrad says:

    Above I explained how Jake Tapper is promoting a bogus GOP talking point. This brings us to the supposed centrist David Gergen. Link:

    Their report was drawn up based upon millions of documents, but not a single interview with CIA agents.

    This is a lie. The report is indeed “based upon” many interviews “with CIA agents.” Those “millions of documents” include transcripts of interviews. Those interviews were done by CIA IG. Feinstein used those interviews. It is one thing to say Feinstein did not do those interviews herself. It is another to suggest that such interviews never happened. Tapper, Gergen and many others are doing the latter.

    ABC’s Jonathan Karl is another right-wing hack masquerading as a journalist. Link:

    This is the first opportunity for these former intelligence chiefs to respond to the allegations made in the report: None of them — in fact no current or former CIA officials — were interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee for their report.

    And just as with Tapper and Gergen, there is no mention of the fact that the interviews had already been done, and were used. That darn liberal media.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I don’t know what your problem is with the media. They are just complaining that the CIA was never given the chance to obfuscate, prevaricate, and well, just outright lie.

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    They are just complaining that the CIA was never given the chance to obfuscate, prevaricate, and well, just outright lie

    Well, it’s even worse than that. “Never given the chance” isn’t even true. They’re complaining that Feinstein didn’t give them an extra chance to do that, and they’re concealing the fact that she didn’t need to do so because CIA IG had already done so.

  22. Eric Florack says:

    they were, in fact, medical procedures, specifically linked to hunger strikes being staged by those the procedure was administered to.

  23. @Eric Florack: Ah yes, medical necessity.

    Later that same day, Majid Khan’s “lunch tray,” consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was “pureed” and rectally infused.

    And certainly the choice to use this technique and not an IV for rehydration or an NG tube for forced feeding is just a coin flip (nothing at all degrading or violative about anal feeding).

    This does not even get into the issue of whether force feeding a hunger striking detainee is acceptable or not.

    Choosing the anal route is hardly just some dispassionate medical option.

  24. I really never want to hear you talk about limited government or the tyranny of taxes and the like ever again.

  25. jukeboxgrad says:

    they were, in fact, medical procedures

    Fiction, as usual. Link:

    “For all practical purposes, it’s never used,” Thomas Burke, a Harvard Medical School professor and emergency physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in an interview. “No one in the United States is hydrating anybody through their rectum. Nobody is feeding anybody through their rectum. . . . That’s not a normal practice.” He added that he had polled more than a half-dozen colleagues with decades of clinical experience and that none had ever employed it.

    Link:

    “There is no such thing as rectal feeding. It can’t physiologically be done; the colon does not have a lining on it that can absorb nutrients. . . . This thing is not any kind of medical procedure, it’s purely an instrument of causing extreme pain.”

    Link:

    Rectal feeding was once considered a legitimate medical procedure. But it is far less safe and efficient than intravenous and tube systems, and so it fell out of use in medical settings in the first half of the 20th century. Nutrient enemas carry greater risks than IV support, including damage to the rectum and colon; food that rots inside the patient’s digestive tract; and an inflamed or prolapsed rectum from careless insertion of the feeding tube.

    CIA records showed at least one detainee, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, suffered from an anal fissure, chronic hemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapse after a rectal infusion. The Senate report also found that CIA leadership was notified of allegations that rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force”.

    Doctors have questioned the utility of rectal feeding for well over a century, and research performed in the late 19th and early 20th century found the practice had limited utility. While bacteria in the colon do break down some nutrients, the colon and rectum only absorb salt, glucose, a few vitamins and minerals and several minor nutrients. In 1911, Dr W Langdon Brown determined that “there is, in my opinion, no place today in therapeutics for the nutrient enema containing protein or fat.”

    In some cases the CIA rectally infused detainees with Ensure nutrition drinks, which include fats and proteins. Officers also administered a “lunch tray” enema to Majid Khan that consisted “of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins [that were] ‘pureed and rectally infused’”.

    Because the small intestine performs the vast majority of absorption of nutrients, rectal feeding can only keep a person alive for a limited time – possibly up to 10 days – unlike IV delivery, which can support a person long-term. As such, by the 1950s doctors knew that nutrients administered rectally should be pre-processed to maximize value to the patient.

    Enemas have been practiced for centuries, usually to clean the bowels and sometimes to administer drugs, and nutrient enemas were once relatively common. When President James Garfield was shot by an assassin in 1881, he was kept alive for several days with enema infusions of “fresh beef, finely minced, in 14 ounces of cold soft water”, along with egg yolk and a bit of whiskey.

    The Senate report stresses that the CIA did not have detainees’ survival as its top priority when it administered the enemas. An unnamed person in the report said the enemas helped to “clear a person’s head”, suggesting detainees would be more amenable to cooperation afterward, and a chief of interrogation in characterized the procedure as a demonstration of “total control over the detainee”.

    This reasoning has precedent. In the 1860s, a pair of German psychiatrists who ran a private asylum “recommended rectal feeding as a means of avoiding violence and injury” during the treatment of patients who refused to eat – but like rectal feeding it has long been cast aside by the medical community.

    Your turn. Cite your medical authority who claims that rectal feeding is ever a legitimate “medical procedure.”

  26. jukeboxgrad says:

    I really never want to hear you talk about limited government or the tyranny of taxes and the like ever again.

    Yup.

    See, a government that tries to enforce court orders against a scofflaw rancher is a government that is too powerful and a threat to liberty. True patriots must defend Cliven Bundy’s right to be a freeloader. Likewise for the right to not photograph a gay wedding, and the right to not pay for health insurance that covers contraception. Stand up for freedom from government tyranny! On the other hand, a government with the power to torture (and then cover it up) is not too powerful and not a threat to liberty.

    ‘Conservative’ rhetoric has so many contradictions that even the contradictions have contradictions.

    (Apologies to those who have already heard this from me.)

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    This morning Martha Raddatz interviewed Hayden on ABC’s This Week. Does she ask him to defend his absurd claim that rectal feeding is “a medical procedure?” Nope, the subject isn’t mentioned. Link. That darn liberal media again.

  28. CB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I really never want to hear you talk about limited government or the tyranny of taxes and the like ever again.

    ::stands and claps::

    That was beautiful.

  29. sam says:

    In Bithead’s defense, his head is up his ass so often he’s lost the ability to distinguish one orifice from the other.

  30. anjin-san says:

    @anjin-san:

    Where are all the torture enabler today?

    Asked and answered. Out from under the slimiest rock in the creepiest corner of OTB comes bithead.

  31. I also presume, therefore, that Florack and his allies would not mind one bit of US citizens were anally fed should they find themselves in the custody of a foreign power?

  32. anjin-san says:

    This one is going out to florack and all the other torture fanboys…

  33. Mikey says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    a chief of interrogation in characterized the procedure as a demonstration of “total control over the detainee”.

    Looks like I was right…

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Florack is into anal rape.

  35. dennis says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I really never want to hear you talk about limited government or the tyranny of taxes and the like ever again.

    Well, Eric, looks like you’ve gone and totally disgusted Steven, now. Good job, buddy.

  36. C. Clavin says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Limited Goverment and the tyranny of taxes are abstractions that mean nothing.
    You can bet that Florack isn’t about to waive his SS or Medicare benefits.
    And so it is too with anti- choice laws and torture.

  37. Barry says:

    “While I am not that kind of doctor, I am pretty sure that what is described above in bold does not amount to any kind of legitimate medical option.”

    ‘Legitimate’ is key; I’m willing to bet that a torture doctor did sign off on this.

    I’ll file this with ‘British intelligence has learned……’