Skip to comments.Waterboarding Myths and Parroted Talking Points
Posted on 05/14/2018 10:43:24 AM PDT by Starman417
I consider myself not a torture apologist so much as I am a torture denier.
As today with Gina Haspel and questions over the extent of her involvement with the CIA RDI program and whether or not she'd bring back CIA interrogations, back in 2007, President Bush's nominee for Attorney General also raised questions and concerns over one issue: Waterboarding.
Mukasey has called waterboarding personally "repugnant," but said he did not know enough about how it has been used to define it as torture.NPR then takes us on a little history ride:
The Washington debate over the simulated-drowning technique may be new, but the practice is not. It predates the Inquisition and has been used, off and on, around the world ever since.
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.There are a number of talking points that torture critics repeat like a mantra, over and over again, as if they're telling you something fresh that you haven't heard before. Among the many, these are the top 5 that I wish to address here:
At the time, using water to induce confessions was "a normal incident of law," Peters says, and people viewed it more or less as we view a cross-examination today. If anything, Peters says, the Inquisitors "were more careful about it" than others of their time.
"They were professionals," Peters says, noting that a doctor's presence was required during interrogations. Not that it made the experience any more pleasant for the victim, of course.
Leaves No Marks
"The patient strangled and gasped and suffocated and, at intervals, the toca was withdrawn and he was adjured to tell the truth. The severity of the infliction was measured by the number of jars [of water] consumed, sometimes reaching to six or eight," writes Henry Charles Lea in A History of the Inquisition of Spain.
"The thing you could not do in torture was injure the body or cause death," Peters says. That was and still is what makes waterboarding such an attractive interrogation technique, he says: It causes great physical and mental suffering, yet leaves no marks on the body.
Waterboarding actually refers to two different interrogation techniques. One involves pumping water directly into the stomach. "This creates intense pain. It feels like your organs are on fire," says Darius Rejali, a professor at Reed College in Oregon and author of a new book, Torture and Democracy.
The other technique the one more widely used today involves choking the victim by filling their throat with a steady stream of water a sort of "slow-motion drowning" that was perfected by Dutch traders in the 17th century. They used it against their British rivals in the East Indies.
Now some may think that some of the EITs as constituting torture and that could well be. The mere act of detaining someone could cause mental anguish and suffering and arise to the definition of torture If one wishes to look at it like this. People may not like where the line in the sand was drawn; but what Bush, Bush lawyers, DoJ lawyers, CIA lawyers, sought to do was figure out what they could legally and morally do in pushing the envelop so as to stop the next 9/11 scale attack and save American lives; this at a time when a great deal of intell buzz spoke of a second wave of attacks coming (KSM: "Soon you will know"). They in good faith sought to determine where that boundary line lay, so that they could walk to the edge of the precipice and not fall over- all to make sure another 9/11-scale attack never happens again on their watch. Now some may not like where that boundary was pushed to; but it was there in concrete terms as bush and CIA interrogators didnt actually want to torture anyone. If you look at the details of the OLC memo, its best described as the how not to torture memo.
Most people will respond positively to standard methods; but you are always going to find those aberrations in society who dont fit the norm.
I think fevered imaginations have watched one too many seasons of 24; Trump included.
Basically, Trump bought into the same distorted narrative as most Americans have: That the CIA tortured; and that the manner in which they administered EITs played out like a Hollywood movie. A sizable chunk of American society believes the torture narrative; but like President Trump, they are okay with it. The torture alarmists are not. Neither are correct in their perception and assumptions about how the CIA RDI program actually operated.
This is why Haspel can say, "I don't believe that torture works"; and then hesitate in how to answer in "yes" or "no" terms: "Do you think the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?"
This is why Mike Morell and Michael Hayden can defend many aspects of the CIA interrogation program while not voting for Trump; and criticizing Trump over his statements and views on waterboarding and bringing back "worse". His perception of CIA interrogations is deeply flawed and offensive like the ones the critics have about it.
Now I don't mind people who believe that a number of the EITs crossed the line and rise to the definition of "torture". But there are gradations between "walling" (in which a towel is rolled up and placed around the neck of a detainee and then the detainee is shoved hard into a "fake", flexible wall to produce a loud booming noise- walling wasn't for the purpose of causing injury- it was psychological) and drilling holes into someone.
There is so much hysteria and hyperbole; half-truths, falsehoods, context confusion, lumping together of CIA and military (each agency operated different programs with their own set of rules and restrictions); and outright myths.
I don't believe in torture. Nor did Bush. Nor did Rumsfeld (who specifically rejected waterboarding as an EIT, deeming it inappropriate for military usage). Nor the Justice Dept. legal opinions. Nor did the architects of the CIA RDI program who have stated that social influence techniques are appropriate 99% of the time. Why not 100%? Why were EIT's called up at all by military and intelligence officials?
Because in the early days of the GWoT, we knew very little about al Qaeda. This at a time in the aftermath of 9/11 when there was so much intell buzz over a second wave of attacks coming (KSM: "Soon you will know"). A number of jihadis had received interrogation resistance training and knew how to defeat common interrogation methods; like the rapport-building techniques favored by the FBI- a law enforcement agency whose primary purpose is to seek out confessions for the sake of prosecuting criminal cases. CIA's mission was to achieve actionable intell in a timely manner in order to prevent the next terror attack. The martyrdom mindset was also resistant to social influence techniques; and Zubaydah actually was insulted by Ali Soufan's offer of what amounts to Mattis' quip about "a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers" (alcohol is forbidden in Islam, btw).
I have the highest regard for Ali Soufan, btw. A great patriot and expert interrogator; but he is not the end-all-be-all to successful interrogations. He has been a media darling for the last 15 years, responsible for so much of the distorted narrative. Yes, I've read his book, The Black Banners, seen and heard his numerous interviews and Congressional testimony. But you really need to cross-reference his account and timeline with that of guys like Jose Rodriguez and James Mitchell to get another perspective.
And yes, I've read the executive summary to the highly partisan, ideologically-agenda-driven 2014 SSCI study on the CIA RDI program. Do yourselves a favor and cross-reference that to the CIA Rebuttal, Minority Views Report, and chapters from Mike Morell's book and Michael Hayden's book, respectively.
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
How many of them have said that we need to stop doing it to our troops in training?
Democrats will talk about waterboarding until the end of time.
Anyone who insists that waterboarding isn’t torture should submit themselves to the experience to prove their point.
many have- women in colleges go through waterboardign hazing rituals- apparently our women are tougher than the hardened terrorists abroad
Dear Lord, they’re waterboarding parrots?
hey- parrots may look harmless, but looks can be deceiving
BTW sleep deprivation, being forced to sleep on the ground, being subject to loud noises and abrasive language and threatening behavior are all considered torture by the progressive bleeding hearts.
We called that Basic Training.
(speed reading freerepublic headlines and posts since 1998...)
“BTW sleep deprivation, being forced to sleep on the ground, being subject to loud noises and abrasive language and threatening behavior are all considered torture by the progressive bleeding hearts.”
I called those experiences ‘living with my parents’.
Personally, I subscribe to the “desperate times require desperate measures” school of thought and I’m glad there are those who agree with me in position to take the steps necessary to protect Americans in desperate situations from those without any scruples period. Last I heard Islamofascists are not signatories to the Geneva Convention, nor are they common criminals with Miranda rights. They are indiscriminate killers of those who are not members of either their Sunni or Shia sects of Islam, a religion that is unable to integrate with Western culture or judicial values. If you’re not willing to fight fire with fire then get out of the way and let hard men protect you and yours from other hard men while you tout your moral superiority.
A list of the 13 techniques is here:
“Anyone who insists that waterboarding isnt torture should submit themselves to the experience to prove their point.”
Waterboarding IS NOT TORTURE and I was waterboarded during SERE in 1969, so I have standing to declare it not a torture.
“Waterboarding IS NOT TORTURE and I was waterboarded during SERE in 1969, so I have standing to declare it not a torture.”
Good. Now let’s waterboard the entire Democrat Congress and see what they say about it.
Many in our military have done exactly that.
It's brain dead to reject any tool that can get information out of terrorists to save innocent lives.
Even Obama's CIA director Leon Panetta admitted useful information was obtained through waterboarding from Khalid Sheik Mohammad.
We've become a nation of pussies, rejecting necessary measures to protect the innocent.
I don’t disagree about doing whatever is needed to protect America from crazed fanatics but I don’t care for the insistence that waterboarding isn’t a form of torture.
Because some idiot police department will inevitably use it if they think they can get away with it.
I’m pretty sure if you use JP5 or kerosene it isn’t waterboarding, substituting swine urine may be up for debate.....
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