During his tenure as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in —, Jack Goldsmith put a halt to the use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique because of serious concern over its legality, but Goldsmith's order was quickly reversed by others within the George W. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them.
Professors such as Wilson R. Huhn have also challenged the legality of waterboarding. In May , author and journalist Christopher Hitchens voluntarily underwent waterboarding and concluded that it was torture. On 22 May , radio talk show host Erich "Mancow" Muller subjected himself to waterboarding to prove that it is not torture, but changed his mind because of the experience. Sean Hannity , another commentator who claims that waterboarding is not torture and has described those who oppose waterboarding as "moral fools", had declared on 22 April that he would similarly subject himself to waterboarding to prove that it is not torture.
In an 11 May interview with Larry King , Ventura stated:. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning.
It is no good, because you—I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders. If it's done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. If it's done wrong or—it's torture, Larry.
On 15 January , U. President-elect Barack Obama 's nominee for Attorney General , Eric Holder , told his Senate confirmation hearing that waterboarding is torture and the President cannot authorize it. In covering the debate on the use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique by the U. National Public Radio 's ombudsman detailed this debate and why NPR had decided to refrain from using the word torture to describe waterboarding. Examining the four newspapers with the highest daily circulation in the country The New York Times , The Los Angeles Times , The Wall Street Journal and USA Today a student group of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy found that newspapers "almost uniformly" characterized waterboarding as torture from the s until the September 11 attacks , at which point a "significant and sudden shift" occurred.
Between , newspapers only seldom referred to waterboarding as torture. A form of torture similar to waterboarding is called toca , and more recently "Spanish water torture", to differentiate it from the better known Chinese water torture , along with garrucha or strappado and the most frequently used potro or the rack. This was used infrequently during the trial portion of the Spanish Inquisition process. In general, waterboarding seemed to be very extended in the Spanish detention centers in the s.
Books from the time explain how to treat persons in custody, and used this "light" form of torture.
Here's What Waterboarding Is Really Like, According To People Who Suffered Through It
After a specific way of beating, body, legs and arms, it was detailed how to pour 4 cuartillos approx. In Joos de Damhouder's Praxis rerum criminalium , a manual on the practice of criminal law, the chapter on torture and interrogation is illustrated with a woodcut of waterboarding, which it describes in detail.
And as they did still not obtain anything from me, to the implication of my neighbor, Master Hans took water during the entire time a cloth had lain on my face , and holding my nose shut with one hand, began to pour water on my abdomen and thence all over my breast, and into my mouth; even as one should drink when he is very thirsty.
I think that the can from which he poured out — the water held about three pints. And when I was at the end of my breath, and wanted to fetch such, I drew the water all into my body, whereupon I suffered such distress, that it would be impossible for me to relate or describe it; but the Lord be forever praised: He kept my lips. And when they could still not obtain anything from me, they caused the cord which was on my thigh to be loosed and applied to a fresh place, and wound it much tighter than before, so that I thought he would kill me, and began to shake and tremble greatly.
He then proceeded to pour water into me again, so that I think he emptied four such cans, and my body became so full of it, that twice it came out again at the throat. And thus I became so weak. And Master Hans was so busily engaged in loosing all my cords, that it seemed to me that they were concerned over me. But the Lord in a large degree took away my pain every time; whenever it became so severe that I thought it was impossible to bear it, my members became as dead.
Eternal praise, thanks, honor, and glory be to the Lord; for when it was over I thought that, by the help of the Lord, I had fought a good fight. Agents of the Dutch East India Company used a precursor to waterboarding during the Amboyna massacre of English prisoners, which took place on the island of Amboyna in the Molucca Islands in At that time, it consisted of wrapping cloth around the victim's head, after which the torturers "poured the water softly upon his head until the cloth was full, up to the mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher, so that he could not draw breath but he must suck in all the water".
An editorial in The New York Times of 6 April , and a subsequent 21 April letter to the editors documents an incidence of waterboarding, then called "showering" or "hydropathic torture", in New York's Sing Sing prison of an inmate named Henry Hagan, who, after several other forms of beating and mistreatment, had his head shaved, and "certainly three, and possibly a dozen, barrels of water were poured upon his naked scalp".
Hagan was then placed in a yoke. The head of the patient is retained in its place by means of a board clasping the neck; the effect of which is, that the water, striking upon the board, rebounds into the mouth and nostrils of the victim, almost producing strangulation. Congestion, sometimes of the heart or lungs, sometimes of the brain, not unfrequently [ sic ] ensues; and death, in due season, has released some sufferers from the further ordeal of the water cure.
As the water is administered officially, I suppose that it is not murder! Prisoners in late 19th-century Alabama, and in Mississippi in the first third of the 20th century, also suffered waterboarding. In Alabama, in lieu of or in addition to other physical punishment, a "prisoner was strapped down on his back; then 'water [was] poured in his face on the upper lip, and effectually stop[ped] his breathing as long as there [was] a constant stream'.
Testimony described the waterboarding of Tobeniano Ealdama "while supervised by Glenn Glenn Highway ". Though some reports seem to confuse Ealdama with Glenn,  Glenn was found guilty and "sentenced to a one-month suspension and a fifty-dollar fine", the leniency of the sentence due to the "circumstances" presented at the trial.
President Theodore Roosevelt privately rationalized the instances of "mild torture, the water cure" but publicly called for efforts to "prevent the occurrence of all such acts in the future". In that effort, he ordered the court-martial of General Jacob H. Smith on the island of Samar , "where some of the worst abuses had occurred". When the court-martial found only that he had acted with excessive zeal, Roosevelt disregarded the verdict and had the General dismissed from the Army.
Roosevelt soon declared victory in the Philippines, and the public lost interest in "what had, only months earlier, been alarming revelations". The use of " third degree interrogation " techniques to compel confession, ranging from "psychological duress such as prolonged confinement to extreme violence and torture", was widespread in early American policing.
Lassiter classified the water cure as "orchestrated physical abuse",  and described the police technique as a "modern day variation of the method of water torture that was popular during the Middle Ages". The technique employed by the police involved either holding the head in water until almost drowning, or laying on the back and forcing water into the mouth or nostrils. During World War II , both Japanese military personnel, especially the Kempeitai , and the officers of the Gestapo ,  the German secret police, used waterboarding as a method of torture.
This included waterboarding, by the method of binding or holding down the victim on his back, placing a cloth over his mouth and nose, and pouring water onto the cloth. In this version, interrogation continued during the torture, with the interrogators beating the victim if he did not reply and the victim swallowing water if he opened his mouth to answer or breathe.
When the victim could ingest no more water, the interrogators would beat or jump on his distended stomach. Nielsen , one of the U. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death.
The technique was also used during the Algerian War — French journalist Henri Alleg , who was subjected to waterboarding by French paratroopers in Algeria in ,  is one of only a few people to have described in writing the first-hand experience of being waterboarded.
His book La Question , published in with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre subsequently banned in France until the end of the Algerian War in ,  discusses the experience of being strapped to a plank, having his head wrapped in cloth and positioned beneath a running tap:. The rag was soaked rapidly. 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. 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. Alleg stated that he did not break under his ordeal of being waterboarded.
Waterboarding was designated as illegal by U. Based on the testimonies from more than 35, victims of the Pinochet regime , the Chilean Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture concluded that provoking a near-death experience by waterboarding is torture. The museum also has on display boards and other actual tools used for waterboarding during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Evidence shows that the British Army in the Troubles subjected prisoners in Northern Ireland to torture and waterboarding during interrogations in the s. Liam Holden was wrongfully arrested by British forces for the murder of a British soldier and became the last person in the United Kingdom to be sentenced to hang after being convicted in , largely on the basis of an unsigned confession produced by torture. On 21 June , in the light of CCRC investigations which confirmed that the methods used to extract confessions were unlawful,  Holden had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal in Belfast , at the age of The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission received testimony from Charles Zeelie and Jeffrey Benzien, officers of the South African Police under Apartheid , that they used waterboarding, referred to as "tubing", or the "wet bag technique" on political prisoners as part of a wide range of torture methods to extract information.
Until ,  all special operations units in all branches of the U. Senate's Committee on Armed Services that there are fundamental differences between SERE training and what occurs in real world settings. Ogrisseg further states that his experience is limited to SERE training, but that he did not believe waterboarding to be productive in either setting.
Jane Mayer wrote for The New Yorker:. Some of these psychologists essentially "tried to reverse-engineer " the SERE program, as the affiliate put it. However, according to a declassified Justice Department memo attempting to justify torture which references a still-classified report of the CIA Inspector General on the CIA's use of waterboarding, among other "enhanced" interrogation techniques, the CIA applied waterboarding to detainees "in a different manner" than the technique used in SERE training:.
The difference was in the manner in which the detainees' breathing was obstructed. At the SERE school and in the DoJ opinion, the subject's airflow is disrupted by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contrast, the Agency interrogator In , San Jacinto County , Texas sheriff, James Parker, and three of his deputies were convicted for conspiring to force confessions.
The complaint said they "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal to coerce confessions. Bybee , then head of the Office of Legal Counsel , described interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists or terrorist affiliates the George W. Bush administration would consider legal, was "prompted by CIA questions about what to do with a top Qaeda captive, Abu Zubaydah , who had turned uncooperative Bush's chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales , along with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and David Addington , Vice President Dick Cheney 's counsel, who discussed specific interrogation techniques", citing "a source familiar with the discussions".
Amongst the methods they found acceptable was waterboarding.
Waterboarding - Wikipedia
In November , ABC News reported that former CIA agents claimed that the CIA engaged in a modern form of waterboarding, along with five other " enhanced interrogation techniques ", against suspected members of al Qaeda. On 20 July , U. Bush signed Executive Order , banning torture during interrogation of terror suspects.
Constitution 's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Human Rights Watch said that answers about what specific techniques had been banned lay in the classified companion document and that "the people in charge of interpreting [that] document don't have a particularly good track record of reasonable legal analysis". A CIA spokesperson declined to discuss interrogation techniques, which he or she said "have been and continue to be lawful". ABC reported that waterboarding had been authorized by a Presidential finding.
On 23 February , the Justice Department revealed that its internal ethics office was investigating the department's legal approval for waterboarding of al Qaeda suspects by the CIA and was likely to make public an unclassified version of its report. On 15 October , it was reported that the Bush administration had issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in June and June explicitly endorsing waterboarding and other torture techniques against al-Qaeda suspects. Field employees in the agency believed they could easily be blamed for using the techniques without proper written permission or authority.
In December , Robert Mueller , the Director of the FBI since 5 July , had said that despite Bush Administration claims that waterboarding has "disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks", he does not believe that evidence obtained by the U. In an interview in January , Dick Cheney acknowledged the use of waterboarding to interrogate suspects and said that waterboarding had been "used with great discrimination by people who know what they're doing and has produced a lot of valuable information and intelligence".
On 1 July , the Obama administration announced that it was delaying the scheduled release of declassified portions of a report by the CIA Inspector General in response to a civil lawsuit. This was based on several George W. Bush-era Justice Department memos declassified in the Spring of by the U.
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Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded by the CIA. He was captured 28 March , in a safehouse located in a two-story apartment in Faisalabad , Pakistan. He later testified to Congress that Zubaydah was producing useful information in response to conventional interrogation methods, including the names of Sheikh Mohammed and Jose Padilla. He stopped providing accurate information in response to harsh techniques. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information you're getting is useless. In December , The Washington Post reported that there were some discrepancies regarding reports about the number of times Zubaydah was waterboarded.
Pakistani intelligence agents say Mohammed was carrying a letter from bin Laden at the time of his arrest, but there is no evidence he knew bin Laden's whereabouts. By this point, any information Mohammed had would have been years out of date. After being subjected to repeated waterboarding, Mohammed claimed participation in thirty-one terrorist plots. It recounted Mohammed's telling the CIA that he "made up stories" to stop from being tortured.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow claimed that Cheney was not referring to waterboarding, despite repeated questions refused to specify what else Cheney was referring to by a "dunk in the water", and refused to confirm that this meant waterboarding. I'd do it again to save lives. President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding and several other interrogation methods in January He reported that U.
Bush administration that discussed waterboarding. Obama opposed prosecuting CIA personnel who committed waterboarding while relying on legal advice provided by their superiors. The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized his stance. The topic was the subject of heated internal debate within the White House.
National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair has stated that "high value information" came from waterboarding certain prisoners during the George W. He also commented that he could not know for sure whether or not other interrogation methods would have caused them to talk, had they been tried. An April poll by Rasmussen Reports found that 77 percent of voters had followed the story in the media and that 58 percent believed that releasing the memos compromised American national security.
Obama detailed his view on waterboarding and torture in a press conference on 29 April The extent to which waterboarding assisted in ascertaining the whereabouts of Bin Laden is a matter of dispute. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey criticized the Obama administration for denying future missions the intelligence capability that made the raid possible: But I'm also saying, that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches, I think, is always going to be an open question. The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded times.
The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed's real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.
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In fact, the use of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti's real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture , released in December , examined in detail specifically whether torture provided information helpful in locating Osama Bin Laden, and concluded that it did not, and that the CIA deliberately misled political leaders and the public in saying it had. Attorney General Eric H. Bush has come to an end. In October , John Cantlie reported that ISIS had waterboarded prisoners, "Some of us who tried to escape were waterboarded by our captors, as Muslim prisoners are waterboarded by their American captors.
In , various Republican presidential candidates indicated their willingness to bring back waterboarding as an interrogation technique. Donald Trump the eventual winner of the election stated he believed in the effectiveness of the technique. Waterboarding and other forms of water torture have historically been used for 1 punishing, 2 forcing confessions for use in trials 3 eliciting false confessions for political purposes, and 4 obtaining factual intelligence for military purposes.
Its use principally for obtaining confessions rather than as punishment dates back to the 15th century and the Spanish Inquisition. It was also in use for the same purpose, albeit illegally, by U. During the Korean War, the North Koreans used several enhanced interrogation techniques EIT to achieve prisoner compliance and false confessions. Khalid Shaykh Muhammad fabricated stories to give his tormentors "everything they wanted to hear. Waterboarding's effectiveness as a technique for reliably obtaining truthful, useful intelligence has not been established.
This torture, including waterboarding, was intended to extract "confessions for propaganda purposes" from U. All nations that are signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture have agreed they are subject to the explicit prohibition on torture under any condition. This was affirmed by Saadi v. Italy in which the European Court of Human Rights , on 28 February , upheld the absolute nature of the torture ban by ruling that international law permits no exceptions to it. It's a clear-cut case: Waterboarding can without any reservation be labeled as torture. First, when water is forced into your lungs in this fashion, in addition to the pain you are likely to experience an immediate and extreme fear of death.
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You may even suffer a heart attack from the stress or damage to the lungs and brain from inhalation of water and oxygen deprivation. In addition the CIA's waterboarding clearly fulfills the three additional definition criteria stated in the Convention for a deed to be labeled torture, since it is 1 done intentionally, 2 for a specific purpose and 3 by a representative of a state— in this case the US. Maples , the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency , concurred by stating, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he believes waterboarding violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
In a review of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals , by Jane Mayer , The New York Times reported on 11 July , that " Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes ",  that the techniques applied to Abu Zubaydah were "categorically" torture,  and that Abu Zubaydah had told investigators that, contrary to what had been revealed previously, "he had been waterboarded at least 10 times in a single week and as many as three times in a day".
Shortly before the end of Bush's second term, news media in other countries were opining that under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the U. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment— Manfred Nowak — on 20 January , remarked on German television that, following the inauguration of Barack Obama as new President, George W. Bush has lost his head of state immunity and under international law, the U.
Alvarez-Machain , said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "does not of its own force impose obligations as a matter of international law. In , during the Yokohama War Crimes Trials , the United States prosecuted a Japanese civilian who had served in World War II as an interpreter for the Japanese military, Yukio Asano, for "Violation of the Laws and Customs of War ", asserting that he "did unlawfully take and convert to his own use Red Cross packages and supplies intended for" prisoners, but, far worse, that he also "did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and torture" prisoners of war.
The charges against Asano included "beating using hands, fists, club; kicking; water torture; burning using cigarettes; strapping on a stretcher head downward. Following the September 11 attacks , several memoranda, including the Bybee memo , were written analyzing the legal position and possibilities in the treatment of prisoners. Most actions that fall under the international definition do not fall within this new definition advocated by the U.
Department of State formally recognized "submersion of the head in water" as torture in its examination of Tunisia 's poor human rights record,  and draws parallels between the two techniques, citing the similar usage of water on the subject. On 6 September , the U. The department adopted the manual amid widespread criticism of U. The revised manual applies only to U. Bradbury , acting head of the U. There has been no determination by the Justice Department that the use of waterboarding, under any circumstances, would be lawful under current law.
In addition, both under the War Crimes Act  and international law , violators of the laws of war are criminally liable under the command responsibility doctrine, and they could still be prosecuted for war crimes. That, after all, is the teaching of United States v.
What is water boarding?
General Mukasey, just following orders is no defense! Both houses of the United States Congress approved a bill by February that would ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year As he promised, President Bush vetoed the legislation on 8 March. His veto applied to the authorization for the entire intelligence budget for the fiscal year, but he cited the waterboarding ban as the reason for the veto.
While waterboarding has been depicted in several films and demonstrated at protest gatherings, images of its actual use are scarce. The CIA allegedly destroyed all videos it made of the procedure. The Washington Post photo of a captured North Vietnamese soldier being interrogated is arguably different because instead of being strapped to a board, the prisoner is held down by two soldiers as a third pours water from a canteen over a cloth covering face. After his release in from Tuol Sleng Prison , he began to paint pictures of the abusive practices used there, including waterboarding, to let people know about them, saying of the prisoners he heard screaming for help: A cloth covers his head.
Another man pours water from a watering can over his face. A similar board and watering can are on display at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. When viewers inserted a dollar the interrogator figure would pour water onto a rag over the captive figures' nose and throat, upon which the captive figure would start convulsing. Media related to Waterboarding at Wikimedia Commons.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Wakeboarding. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States of America and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate.
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Archived from the original on 10 December Retrieved 26 June After immobilizing a prisoner by strapping him down, interrogators then tilted the gurney to a degree downward angle, with the detainee's head at the lower end. They put a black cloth over his face and poured water, or saline, from a height of 6 to 18 inches, documents show. The slant of the gurney helped drive the water more directly into the prisoner's nose and mouth. Time to Call the Bluff". Archived from the original on 20 December Retrieved 11 February The New York Times.
World News with Charles Gibson. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations". Archived from the original on 4 October Behind the 'torture memos". San Jose Mercury News. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 22 January Retrieved 25 November Gender, Narrative, Human Rights. Retrieved 10 June Retrieved 21 October Archived from the original on 2 January John McCain's complicated moral legacy on torture". Retrieved August 27, Archived from the original on 8 May Ben Soud, for unexplained reasons, is referred to as Abd al-Karim in the Senate report.
With more information about the dousing now released, detainee attorneys cast new doubt on the depiction of relatively limited waterboarding provided by the CIA. Bin Attash described the role of water-based interrogation techniques to an interviewer from the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to an account leaked in I would then be taken for interrogation.
Khan claims he was suspended from a wooden beam and submerged into a tub of ice water, and also that his captors doused his nose and mouth with water and ice from a bucket. Rahman, an Afghan, is the only detainee known to have died in CIA custody, of hypothermia. Rahman was so cold that he could barely utter his alias. According to [the on-site linguist], the entire process lasted no more than 20 minutes.
Both the CIA and the Pentagon deny the allegation. While there has been comparatively little attention paid to CIA water dousing, the few accounts that exist describe it as similar to waterboarding, and are bolstered by other non-dousing indications that waterboarding itself went further than the CIA has thus far admitted. The CIA did not ask the Justice Department for approval to use water dousing until summer , two years after the torture program began.
CIA officials did not address questions from the Guardian as to why the agency considers the difference between waterboarding and water dousing to be substantive. In carrying out that program, CIA did not always live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves and that the American people expect of us.