Ron Desantis speaks into a microphone at an event.

‘I Was Screaming … and He Was Smiling’: Reports of Ron DeSantis’ Reaction To Literal Torture Are Beyond Horrific

Ron DeSantis, is a bad person. You know this because you already have ample evidence that he is racist, actively helped Floridians die of COVID, and generally promotes really awful policies aimed at appealing to the worst that humanity has to offer. Well, now you can add literal Geneva Code violations to his long list of Republican street cred because you know the people that already admire him will only like him more once they find out about this.

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Call me Pollyanna, but as a rule, I genuinely like to believe that the majority of people are inherently good. But after reading this transcript of a conversation in Harper’s Magazine of a November conversation between Mike Prysner who is an Iraq war veteran and Mansoor Adayfi, who was held as a detainee at Guantánamo Bay for 14 years without ever being charged with a crime, I fully believe there is nothing redeemable about Ron DeSantis. This is not about politics. This is about right and wrong, and what he is accused of having witnessed and allowed to happen in his presence was morally repugnant and a blight against humanity. Per the source:

Mansoor Adayfi: As you know, Guantánamo was created out of the legal zone, out of the legal system. Torture was the mechanism of Guantánamo. Torture, abuse, and experimenting on prisoners. We went on a massive hunger strike in 2005. And there was force-feeding. It was torture.

I saw a fucking handsome person come in and he said, “I’m here to ensure that you are treated humanely.”

Mike Prysner: It was Ron DeSantis?*

*The office of Ron DeSantis did not respond to requests for comment.

This is like the beginning of a horror movie. You’re in an unsafe space. Someone comes in and tells you they’re there to make sure you’re treated as a human being. I think you know where this is headed. They turn out to be the most sadistic of all.

The interview continued:

Adayfi: […] So I was like, “Oh, this is cool. This person will raise the concerns.” But it was a piece of the game. What they were doing was looking for what hurts us more so they could use it against us. In 2006, when DeSantis was there, it was one of the worst times at Guantánamo. The administration, the guards, all of them were the worst. They cracked down on us so hard. When they came to break our hunger strike, a team came to us. The head of the team, he was a general. He said, “I have a job. I was sent here to break your fucking hunger strike. I don’t care why you are here. I don’t care who you are. My job is to make you eat. Today we are talking. Tomorrow there will be no talking.” The second day, they brought piles of Ensure and they started force-feeding us over and over again.

This is literally what they do to geese to make foie gras, and it’s banned in California. Yet Ron DeSantis allegedly watched it happen to at least one human being (and likely many more, given his position at the facility) and he is the Governor of Florida. He is probably going to run to be the f*cking President of the United States of America. What kind of dystopian hellscape are we living in?

As Prysner pointed out, this was, and remains, a violation of the Geneva Convention:

Prysner: […] A JAG lawyer at the time, he would have been well aware this was a violation of international law. There is no question that it was torture.

It. Was. Torture! The Geneva Convention Common Article 3 covers this! It’s paraphrased by Cornell Law School as:

It requires humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, without discrimination. It specifically prohibits murder, mutilation, torture, the taking of hostages, unfair trial, and cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.

This motherf*ckers entire job was to ensure this standard was being met. Instead, he reportedly gleefully participated in its desecration, and it only gets worse from here:

Prysner: So Ron DeSantis was actually supervising torture, beatings? He was supervising these force-feedings?

Adayfi: I’m telling Americans: this guy is a torturer. He is a criminal. He was laughing. And he was there to ensure we were treated humanely.

Prysner: He was laughing?

Adayfi: Yes, they were looking at us, laughing because we were shitting ourselves. I was screaming and yelling. When your stomach is full of Ensure you can’t breathe. And you are throwing up at the same time. I was screaming. I looked at him and he was actually smiling. Like someone who was enjoying it.

DeSantis also used his initial benign, “friendly” role as a way to get intel from the detainees to use against them in their torture. According to Adayfi, if they told him the cells were loud at night, he would then use that information to make the cells louder, so the environment was even more hostile. He was told the detainees didn’t eat meat, so all the food was mixed with meat. Three detainees died by suicide after the hunger strike Adayfi describes was broken. DeSantis is a sadistic f*cker. I loathe him.

He did get a little comeuppance, though:

Prysner: You told me there was a resistance tactic there, of splashing administrators? Splashing them with your own feces? But you didn’t use this tactic often?

Adayfi: Only the worst of the worst got splashed.

Prysner: DeSantis?

Adayfi: Yes.

Throwing shit at DeSantis is something I think many of us have dreamed of, and it will never make up for what these people went through, but when you have so little power in a situation like this, I’m glad they were able to claim some, if only for a brief moment. F*ck Ron DeSantis forever. I do not care who is on the Democrat ticket in 2024; every single one of us needs to be out there in 600 days and voting for the right choice because the Republican party potentially has literal Geneva Convention violators on their ticket. They are more than happy to take more power if you give it to them. Remember that.

(via Harper’s Magazine, featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.