Administration Approved Repeated Almost-Drowning as a Non-Torture Interrogation Method

Meanwhile, back at torture… USATODAY.com – Memo lists acceptable 'aggressive' interrogation methods. In an as yet-unreleased August 2002 legal memo, the administration approved the CIA repeatedly dunking detainees under water, for periods long enough to make them think they might drown, in order to make them talk:

The techniques discussed were “aggressive” but “lawful,” the former official said. A current Justice official who knows the memo's contents said it specifically authorized the CIA to use “waterboarding,” in which a prisoner is made to believe he is suffocating.

Initially, the Office of Legal Counsel was assigned the task of approving specific interrogation techniques, but high-ranking Justice Department officials intercepted the CIA request, and the matter was handled by top officials in the deputy attorney general's office and Justice's criminal division.

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales said the thrust of the publicly released documents was that President Bush insisted on humane treatment of all prisoners, even though legal opinions from Justice and the Pentagon said there was wide latitude in wartime within the limits of anti-torture laws and treaties.

Well if the way Bush governs is “compassionate” I guess it is no less Orwellian to call repeated near-drowning “humane”.

A vote for Bush is a vote for waterboarding.

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7 Responses to Administration Approved Repeated Almost-Drowning as a Non-Torture Interrogation Method

  1. charles says:

    I remember seeing a full-color animation with a narration of this waterboarding technique, on one of the major netowrks news stations a while back (5-26 or so). I woke later that night realizing how much manpower had to have gone into the creation of such an artifact, and wondered, who ordered it? who paid for it? who saw it? and that sort of thing. my weak googling skills turned up nothing. But it does exist and it is public.
    I for one would like to see some more serious inquiry on these specifics, but don’t have the skills. anyone care t take up the hunt?

  2. Evelyn Blaine says:

    The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about the torture memos. A few years ago, he came close to drowning in a swimming accident, and he told me that for months afterward he would have terrifying nightmares about feeling the water entering his lungs and being unable to breathe; for quite a while beyond that he was on Xanax, and he still refuses to go near any body of water larger than a hot tub. And this happened to him once, lasting only for a minute or two. But of course doing this *repeatedly* is “aggressive” but “lawful”, not torture or anything like that, no, no … to hell with reasoned legal analysis, I have no desire right now to do anything but rage. And I want to see people behind bars for this. Soon.

  3. JC says:

    Almost drowning. Unbelievable. UnAmerican.

    I seem to recall in the book “1984” that the government preyed on folks’ worst fears, like rats. Drowning has to be right up there.

  4. Mark Bahner says:

    “A vote for Bush is a vote for waterboarding.”

    A vote for anyone but Michael Badnarik is a vote against the Constitution. As Mr. Badnarik says, “The Constitution: It’s not just a good idea, it’s The Law.”

    http://www.badnarik.org

  5. Chris says:

    “Prime Minister Allawi, as head of a sovereign government, may decide he has to take tough measures to deal with a brutal cold-blooded killer,” said President Bush yesterday…

    Looks to me like Bush has just given the A-OK to the new Iraqi government to take over where we left off on the subject of waterboarding and other dubious interrogation practices. God, what a mess.

  6. Chris says:

    Can I predict the future, or what? (see my post above, from 29 June)

    The latest TomDispatch reported the media whitewashing of a story where Allawi apparently murdered six suspected Iraqi insurgents in a police station. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2004/August/opinion_August7.xml§ion=opinion&col=

    I’ll dig around for more on this, but this tidbit combined with the better known story on the Oregon National Guard trying to protect detainees from their Iraqi allies’ tender mercies can only mean that Allawi’s reading Bush the same way I did. I don’t know whether Bush was simply posturing as a tough guy for the media (and didn’t realize the implications of his words) or whether he had a design. Either way, the treatment of detainees by the Iraqis sure looks to have been abetted, intentionally or not, from the very top of our own government.

  7. NOGG3R5 says:

    Seems like just normal George bush, OTT real american politics to me. Always got to do everything ibgger and better than every other country!

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