Friday, December 30, 2005

More "College Hazing" B.S.

Waterboarding is just getting water poured on your face, says a rightie blogger, and has the virtue of getting accurate information, since we know of one case where it did. (Well, not entirely accurate. And the info was all historical rather than the "ticking time bomb" scenario we're all waiting for, so no lives were actually saved; except for the torturee's life, since he can't be condemned to death on the basis of confessions extracted from torture.)

But if what the CIA has been doing is fairly harmless, then why would they want to quickly cremate the bodies of prisoners who die under their "care" during harmless pranks?

The CIA has stuck with its overall approaches, defending and in some cases refining them. The agency is working to establish procedures in the event a prisoner dies in custody. One proposal circulating among mid-level officers calls for rushing in a CIA pathologist to perform an autopsy and then quickly burning the body, according to two sources.

Oh, and about waterboarding:

On the 18 November 2005, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito described the CIA's "waterboarding" technique as follows in an article posted on the ABC News web site: "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. 'The person believes they[sic] are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,' said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch." [1]

Dr. Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture, has treated "a number of people" who had been subjected to forms of near-asphyxiation, including "water-boarding," in which a suspect is bound and immersed in water until he nearly drowns. An interview for the New Yorker states:

He argued that it was indeed torture. Some victims were still traumatized years later, he said. One patient couldn't take showers, and panicked when it rained. "The fear of being killed is a terrifying experience," he said. [2]

For more info on harmelss pranks:

SERE: "The 'sleeping bag technique' has been used by SERE-trained interrogators, leading for example to the death of Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush on November 26, 2003. The interrogators cited command authorization of 'stress positions' as justification for using this technique."

"Abuse Tantamount to Torture Was National Policy": "SERE techniques were created to help our servicemembers resist torture by communists; the torture techniques that were being used on our servicemembers were 'designed by communist interrogators...to control a prisoner's will rather than to extract useful intelligence.'" [sometimes they get some useful information, so it's aaaaallll oookkkkaaaayyy]

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