What Is Waterboarding?

I wasn't sure what waterboarding really was, and wanted to find out. Here's a first-hand account by Henri Alleg:

The rag was soaked rapidly. Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air. I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could. But I couldn't hold on for more than a few moments. I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me. In spite of myself, all the muscles of my body struggled uselessly to save me from suffocation. In spite of myself, the fingers of both my hands shook uncontrollably. "That's it! He's going to talk," said a voice.

The water stopped running and they took away the rag. I was able to breathe. In the gloom, I saw the lieutenants and the captain, who, with a cigarette between his lips, was hitting my stomach with his fist to make me throw out the water I had swallowed.

According to the WSJ, "the CIA has only used this interrogation method against three terrorist detainees and not since 2003." Further, President Bush signed an executive order banning torture during interrogation of terror suspects in July of this year, which includes "threat of imminent death". (This should encompass waterboarding.) That said, this was already implicit in the Geneva convention, (and thus the U.S. War Crimes bill), and the need for executive order may have been redundant.

All that said, "the United States has apparently never prosecuted a person under the War Crimes Act. Perhaps as a result, there is some question concerning the act’s scope." (CRS Report for Congress) ...Indeed.

1 comment:

r_b_bergstrom said...

Huh. And all this time I thought Mukasey liked to hang-ten. Liked him better as a surfer.