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Immigrants Sedated With Dangerous Psychotropic Drugs Against Their Will

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Message Cheryl Abraham

In a shocking report on the latest outrage in the Bush administration’s continual cruelty against immigrants the Washington Post article by Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein, entitled, “Some Detainees Are Drugged For Deportation,” exposes yet another incredibly inhuman treatment being meted out to immigrant detainees.


The Bush regime is a regime bent on dehumanizing people and determined to obliterate human rights on every level with a systemized propaganda machine determined to brainwash the public into believing these human rights violations, these crimes against humanity, are a necessary evil to keep Americans “safe” in the wake of the September 11th attacks and the on-going and never-ending war on terrorism. We who know better, we who are awake to the horrors and the ramifications of allowing the Bush regime to continue on its destructive path unchallenged, must do all we can to expose and repudiate these crimes. The Call of World Can’t Wait says: “YOUR GOVERNMENT puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.” Incredibly, this truth in The Call has been overshadowed by even more cruel and savage behavior that we could not even have anticipated: “YOUR GOVERNMENT sedates detainees with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will.” We truly have come to the point where we are in imminent danger of being swallowed up by a horror we never imagined.


We cannot be passive in the face of this.

The Washington Post article exposes how the U.S. Government has injected hundreds of foreigners who have no history of mental illness with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will, and flippantly calling it a “pre-flight cocktail.” A crewmember described one detainee as having to be “dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose.” The article goes on to state, “Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries, where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.”

Despite the illegality of drugging deportees without cause and lawsuits pending, the article points out that, “Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 -- the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security's new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.”

One deportee, Ade, whose medical record only mentioned one medical condition: chronic nasal allergy, was forcibly drugged with Haldol and Ativan and more. It took him four days to recover. The Washington Post article states, “Internal government records show that most sedated deportees, such as Ade, received a cocktail of three drugs that included Haldol, also known as haloperidol, a medication normally used to treat schizophrenia and other acute psychotic states. Of the 53 deportees without a mental illness who were drugged in 2007, The Post's analysis found, 50 were injected with Haldol, sometimes in large amounts. They were also given Ativan, used to control anxiety, and all but three were given Cogentin, a medication that is supposed to lessen Haldol's side effects of muscle spasms and rigidity. Two of the 53 deportees received Ativan alone. One person's medications were not specified.” The article goes on to say, “Haldol gained notoriety in the Soviet Union, where it was often given to political dissidents imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals. "In the history of oppression, using haloperidol is kind of like detaining people in Abu Ghraib," the infamous prison in Iraq, said Nigel Rodley, who teaches international human rights law at the University of Essex in Britain and is a former United Nations special investigator on torture.” The article goes on to list more harsh treatment and drugging of individual detainees at the behest of the U.S. Government.

At the same time the government is committing these crimes against humanity it is actively promoting job opportunities by glamorizing Medical Escort work. "Do you ever dream of escaping to exotic, exciting locations?" said an item in an agency newsletter. "Want to get away from the office but are strapped for cash? Make your dreams come true by signing up as a Medical Escort for DIHS!"

This regime is a monstrous criminal regime in every dimension and has perpetrated countless horrors upon Iraqi and other people. A mass political movement of resistance to stop its crimes is urgently needed.

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