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Waterboarding- Is it torture?

What is the historical significance of waterboarding? Is it torture? Where did it start? Besides this introductory statement none of what is written below in my own writing. Please draw your own conclusions.'

“Water boarding as it is currently described involves strapping a person to an inclined board, with his feet raised and his head lowered. The interrogators bind the person's arms and legs so he can't move at all, and they cover his face. In some descriptions, the person is gagged, and some sort of cloth covers his nose and mouth; in others, his face is wrapped in cellophane. The interrogator then repeatedly pours water onto the person's face. Depending on the exact setup, the water may or may not actually get into the person's mouth and nose; but the physical experience of being underneath a wave of water seems to be secondary to the psychological experience. The person's mind believes he is drowning, and his gag reflex kicks in as if he were choking on all that water falling on his face.” http://science.howstuffworks.com/water-boarding.htm/printable

“Its use was first documented in the 14th century, according to Ed Peters, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania. It was known variously as "water torture," the "water cure" or tormenta de toca — a phrase that refers to the thin piece of cloth placed over the victim's mouth.” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834

“A turning point for waterboarding — in any form — came around 1800. As the Enlightenment swept across Europe, many countries banned the practice and people, in general, found it "morally repugnant," Peters says. Waterboarding moved underground, but did not disappear by any means. In fact, it has experienced something of a revival in the 20th century.

The interrogation method was used by the Japanese in World War II, by U.S. troops in the Philippines and by the French in Algeria. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rogue used waterboarding against its own people. The British used it against both Arabs and Jews in occupied Palestine in the 1930s. In the 1970s, it was widely used in Latin America, particularly under the military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina (where it was known as "Asian torture.")” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834

“In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a U.S. civilian. Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834

“On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier.” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834

Is Waterboarding torture?

“Bent Sørensen, Senior Medical Consultant to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and former member of the United Nations Committee Against Torture has said:
It's a clear-cut case: Waterboarding can without any reservation be labeled as torture. It fulfils all of the four central criteria that according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) defines an act of torture. First, when water is forced into your lungs in this fashion, in addition to the pain you are likely to experience an immediate and extreme fear of death. You may even suffer a heart attack from the stress or damage to the lungs and brain from inhalation of water and oxygen deprivation. In other words there is no doubt that waterboarding causes severe physical and/or mental suffering – one central element in the UNCAT's definition of torture. In addition the CIA's waterboarding clearly fulfills the three additional definition criteria stated in the Convention for a deed to be labeled torture, since it is 1) done intentionally, 2) for a specific purpose and 3) by a representative of a state – in this case the US.
Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, concurred by stating, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he believes waterboarding violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding#International_law


Quotes about waterboarding

“Waterboarding -- that's what America does to its prisoners now. Dunking them in water until they confess. Of course, you have to remember -- we uncovered a lot of witches that way. So, credit where credit is due.” A. Whitney Brown

""I am confident he would not condone such practices. I have been briefed enough to know we are not doing that today anywhere in America's government."

John McCain, stating the United States does not use waterboarding and that Musasey would not allow the practice.

"Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak," said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.

"People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that." John McCain

Dick Cheney indicated the Bush administration doesn't regard waterboarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003323549_cheney26.html

“Waterboarding is a barbaric practice in which water is poured down the mouth and nose of a detainee, to simulate drowning. It's an ancient technique of tyrants. 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 an almost instant plea to bring the treatment to a halt. If it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right, it is controlled death.”
Senator Ted Kennedy

"...if somebody can be water-tortured six times a day, then it isn't torture." Rush Limbaugh

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
bluedressdevil
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
I heard an NPR story yesterday about the torture issue and possible prosecution of attorneys who said that certain things such as water boarding were not torture.

The reasoning on why certain things were torture was like this, first, for something to be torture it must have long lasting psychological effects. Long lasting psychological effects means PTSD or severe depression.

Second, the US knew that water boarding (and some of the other disputed methods) did not have long lasting psychological effects because there had been a US program SERE inflicted waterboarding and other methods on US military and the percentage of soldiers who suffered long term psychological effects was very small.

The SERE program was started to train military to be able to withstand things like water boarding and stress positions if captured by enemies. Specifically because of the situations that arose during the Korean War in which soldiers were captured and then forced to make statements against the US on TV.

So your reasoning is 1) let's make the definition of what constitutes torture extremely narrow 2) let's say the procedure meet that narrow definition by using the example of a program that was started based on other countries acts of torture on our soldiers 3) base our conclusions on similated acts for the purposes of training versus in a real situation despite the fact that studies show that it is not just the procedure but the lack of control that causes "long term psychological damage" ???

I feel if I made ridiculous arguments like that in my cases, the judge would hold me in contempt for wasting his time. And yet the Bush Admin thought "yea, that totally makes sense. Waterboarding for everyone!" UGH!


jellomarx
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
I assume by saying "your reasoning" you are referring to the Bush Administration.

I started to write this as a time line. I think one of the most significant aspects is the U. S. prosecuted people for doing this.
bluedressdevil
Apr. 25th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Yes the Bush Admin. Sometimes when I am angry/ frustrated I start to write everything as addressed to the general "you" this leads to confusing conversations with my husband.
qilora
Apr. 25th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
i want to hook people up to polygraph machine(ary) and then treat them to a session of waterboard'ing....

will only use people who do not think it is "torture" since i obviously do NOT want to torture anyone.

would be interesting to see what the polygraph results will tell us of the ANS responses in participants of this waterboard-experiment.
cathy_edgett
Apr. 26th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
Clearly it is torture and should never be allowed.
lux_angelis
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
I personally feel that anyone who says it isn't torture should try it out.
jellomarx
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
I posted this also in politicsforum. You should see the name calling going on.

BTW, I agree with you.
lux_angelis
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
I did stop by that site, it was very interesting...the first fellow who was saying you were biased by only using Republican sources? Interesting bloke.
I also would LOVE to see Sean Hannity water-boarded.
jellomarx
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
I can't figure out what he was getting at, but I must have pissed him off somehow. I've been doing that lately.
lux_angelis
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
So I had to take a shower so just for fun...I took a washcloth and put it over my face, then held my face up to the shower head.

It wasn't scary at all. That could have something to do with the fact that I was holding the cloth over my face and I knew I could move it whenever I wanted...it might be a little different if I was tied to a table by complete strangers who consider me their enemy and could kill me without a second thought, especially when I've heard for years about how brutal the people are and have heard/seen about places like Abu Graib...

As it was I could only do it for a few seconds before I breathed water through my nose and stopped. It's scary not being able to breathe without inhaling water.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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