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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Prolonged Standing, Water Boarding, and Eminem

Posted by on September 7 at 0:16 AM

Following Dubya’s acknowledgment of secret CIA prisons comes further details on interrogation techniques reportedly authorized by top CIA officials, including prolonged standing, sleep deprivation, and the extremely controversial and horrific-sounding practice of “water boarding”. ABC News describes it:

The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

“[It is] bad interrogation,” said former CIA officer Bob BaerIt to ABC. “I mean, you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough.” “The person believes they are being killed,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch. “[A]s such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law.”

In lighter news:

The detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem’s Slim Shady album. The music was so foreign to them it made them frantic, sources said.

What’s more, it apparently drove some of them to turn into Ron Jeremy.

Full story here.

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I can't wait for the justifications start pouring in.

Let me guess: "they're out to kill us all!" "They beheaded that white guy!" "Do you think Osama wouldn't torture one of our guys?!" They killed 3000 people on 9/11! What about them?!"

Did I miss any?

Waterboarding is torture, full stop.

Using this "technique" does incalculable damage to the United States. It's much more serious and much more damaging than 9/11 OR the Iraq War. Torture is what separates civilized countries from garbage countries, and we are as a matter of official policy moving into the latter category.

Torture is wrong for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with ethics. The intelligence you get from it is tainted not only by the moral degradation of the torturer but by the fantastically high rate of "I'll say anything" lies of the tortured.

This all goes back to America's fantasyland view of the world. George Bush, and a majority of Americans, believe in the Clint Eastwood myth, that tough guys stand up to torture. The right wing blogs are currently aflame with chickenhawk attacks on those Fox reporters who failed to provide Hollywood dramatics in defying their captors. The TRUTH is, NO ONE stands up to torture; they cave IMMEDIATELY. Everyone reading this blog would, if waterboarded, immediately give up everyone you could remember the name of -- your friends, your business acquaintances, your spouse, your parents, your children -- all of them, "yes, they are guilty too".

Intelligence gathered by torture is worthless and counterproductive. The torturers know this too: for the purpose of torture isn't intelligence at all. It's the breaking of the human spirit. The purpose of torture is to destroy the personality and break the mind. It is purely punitive, and has no value whatsoever in "protecting America".

Ethically, of course, it is abhorrent to all civilized persons, and gives credence to the sick views of those who desire to destroy us.

This is not about the military. The US military is not interested in torture and has gone to great lengths to shut it down. Their rules are clear. The soft and dangerous rules are from the others, the CIA and the Administration.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld: war criminals. That's what it boils down to. They belong in prison.

I love you Fnarf.

good post, FNARF. spot on.

I guess 24 isn't fiction, then.

Being ex-military I can assure everyone that reads this that torture is necessary!!! None of our current enemies follow the Geneva Convention and since we are not at "War" as defined by congress neither should we. We need to do whatever we have to do including decapitation and the firing squad to get the information we need to finish this and finish it quickly. Just my two cents!!

So does the end, never justify the means? It appears that coerced interrogation, aka torture did prevent the London air liner hijackings.

Amen Rob. If pouring a little water over a terrorists' head, brings forth information that will prevent 100's or even 1000's of american deaths (which it has), bring on the hose!

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