Russell Brunelle (russellb) wrote,
Russell Brunelle

My 1/24/06 diary entry

According to this ABC News article, the following is the most effective torture technique currently in official use by our CIA:

Water Boarding: 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 almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

However, here's the down side of water boarding:

According to CIA sources, Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, made statements that were designed to tell the interrogators what they wanted to hear. Sources say Al Libbi had been subjected to each of the progressively harsher techniques in turn and finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals.

His statements became part of the basis for the Bush administration claims that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biochemical weapons. Sources tell ABC that it was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment.

"This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear," one source said.

Wow, imagine that.

You know, my recollection is that we figured this out once already towards the end of the middle ages. Obviously, nobody was flying around on broomsticks or physically consorting with the Devil, no matter what they might have confessed to doing, just as the Jews who were tortured during the same period weren't using the blood of Christian infants in their rituals, no matter what they might have confessed to doing.

Given enough pain people will confess to just about anything, and we have both modern and old evidence which amply demonstrates this. And yet in our infinite wisdom we still torture people, and then of course still get bad information.

I am not impressed.

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