Allegations raised by former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks that he was drugged as a form of torture by US staff have been substantiated by documents uncovered in recent legal action in the US.
Detainees were allegedly drugged by US military personnel before interrogation sessions and before they had their charges read to them.
The information came to light due to evidence that was being amassed for a legal action against Hicks designed to stop him from benefiting from the proceeds of his book about his experiences in Guantanamo from 2001 to 2007. The Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the case on July 24, but not before more evidence of drug-based torture was uncovered.
The Sydney Morning Herald said on September 15: “Former Guantanamo guard Brandon Neely also supplied an affidavit for the trial saying that detainees were regularly beaten for refusing to take the medications.”
The SMH also reported information uncovered by independent news site Truthout in July, which found “psychoactive medication was administered to detainees for mental health purposes and that these injections were sometimes forced with uncooperative detainees'' and that “chemical restraints were used on detainees that posed a threat to themselves''.
Antimalarial drug mefloquine was administered to Guantanamo detainees with no evidence of malarial infection.
The SMH said the US Food and Drug Administration says mefloquine can cause mental health problems, such as anxiety, hallucinations and depression. The FDA has linked it to brain injuries, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety. The CIA allegedly used the drug in the 1950s as part of mind control experiments codenamed MK ULTRA.
Hicks told in the September 15 SMH: “Preparing for the case brought back memories of my ordeal in Guantanamo and interfered with my life terribly. But I am disappointed that the case was dropped because it was the first time I could have my day in court and the Australian people could have heard what actually went on.”
Greens Senator Penny Wright raised the issue on September 18 and called for an independent inquiry.
ALP Senator Joe Ludwig defended the support that the Australian government gave Hicks. He replied to Wright, saying: "Examination of medical records and other documents concerning the detention of Mr Hicks revealed no evidence of mistreatment or abuse while in US Department of Defense custody.”