Kevin Drum asks (rhetorically), Torture?:
President Bush announced yesterday that 14 “high value detainees” would be transferred from secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo Bay. ABC News describes the interrogation techniques that have been used on on them:
The first — the attention grab, involving the rough shaking of a prisoner.
Second — the attention slap, an open-handed slap to the face.
Third — belly slap, meant to cause temporary pain, but no internal injuries.
Fourth —long-term standing and sleep deprivation, 40 hours at least, described as the most effective technique.
Fifth — the cold room. Prisoners left naked in cells kept in the 50s and frequently doused with cold water.
The CIA sources say the sixth, and harshest, technique was called “water boarding,” in which a prisoner’s face was covered with cellophane, and water is poured over it (pictured above) — meant to trigger an unbearable gag reflex.
Is this torture?
I can’t see how anyone can call waterboarding anything other than torture. I’d also include some of the others on this list — even “open” or “belly” slapping prisoners sounds like a milder form of torture and, whatever you call it, is banned by both the Geneva conventions and every code of practice we use domestically.
And it’s all wrong.