On Tuesday Vice-President Dick Cheney while speaking with a conservative talk show host confirmed that terrorist detainees may have indeed been Water-boarded.
In the interview on Tuesday, Scott Hennen of WDAY Radio in Fargo, N.D., told Cheney that listeners had asked him to "let the vice president know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives."Yet again we see the Adminstration doing a fast soft shoe by using the Bybee Definition of Torture - which allows you to do everything short of inflicting permanent physical damage to a subject. This is a deliberate deceit that can not be allowed to go unrebutted.
"Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?" Hennen said.
"I do agree," Cheney replied, according to a transcript of the interview released Wednesday. "And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation."
Cheney added that Mohammed had provided "enormously valuable information about how many (al-Qaida members) there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth. We've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that."
"Would you agree that a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" asked Hennen.
"It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president `for torture.' We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in," Cheney replied. "We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that."
The intent is clearly to confuse and manipulate the American public by treating a sustained simulated drowning as being nothing more than bobbing for apples. This confusion has even managed to dupe several Republican Sponsors of the recently passed Military Commissions Act.
Republican Sens. John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have said that a law Bush signed last month prohibits water-boarding. The three are the sponsors of the Military Commissions Act, which authorized the administration to continue its interrogations of enemy combatants.It's too bad their wrong.
The law does prohibit many things that are clearly torture - including sexual abuse - but it also leaves open a huge door to all forms of treatment which are non-lethal, do not leave permenent bruses and do not cause permanent damage to a limb or organ failures.
Another older CIA Manual (KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation) was written in 1963 and lists in a section titled "Coercive Counter-Intelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources" the options ...
The techniques and technologies of torture can be grouped into three categories: hardware, software, and liveware. The term "hardware" refers to the equipment used; software refers to the techniques of torture that are taught to interrogators. Torture liveware refers to the human element of torture, typically the interrogator.
Torture hardware. Examples of torture hardware include shackles for the arms, legs, and even thumbs, whips, canes, beating devices (i.e., clubs, rubber hoses), water, electrical generators to administer electroshocks, and devices that suspend someone painfully above the ground. In fact, the list of physical harm that can be inflicted is long. Any possible route to inflict pain that can be conceived of has been used.
Machines that generate intolerable noise ("white noise") or bright pulses of ultraviolet light are sometimes used. Hardware can also have a chemical nature. Some drugs can cause physical discomfort, pain, and disruptions to the body's biochemistry. Examples include curare,
insulin, and apomorphine. Drugs such as these differ from psychoactive drugs that alter thought processes or biochemical activity in the brain. Food and water deprivation, or maintaining an uncomfortable position for a long time, can also induce biochemical changes.
Electromagnetic radiation can also be a means of torture. Studies in animals have shown that electromagnetic waves of certain wavelengths can destroy lung and brain cells. While not necessarily lethal, these effects are debilitating and can be painful. Electromagnetic stimulation can have other nonlethal effects on humans. Extreme emotions of rage, lust, and fatigue can be caused. A 1950s research program called "Operation Knockout," which was funded by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, discovered that electroshock treatments could be used to cause amnesia. Memories could be erased, and the subjects reprogrammed. This "psychic driving" is a form of torture.
The most widely used torture hardware is electro-shock. Pulses of energy, which are therapeutically useful in some medical treatments, have been adapted as a torture technique. The application of electricity stimulates muscle activity to such an extent that involuntary and painful muscular contractions occur. Longer pulses of electricity produce successively greater debilitation. For example, a five-second discharge from a cattle prod can completely immobilize someone for up to 15 minutes
Torture software. The use of intimidation, threats, harsh and comforting language, and even silence are all techniques that, when combined with the hardware of torture, can extract information from a victim.
Such interrogation techniques have become standard operating procedures for interrogators. Indeed, manuals have been written for interrogators. One example is the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, which was written by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and whose existence became known in 1997 as part of a Freedom of Information Request. A second example is the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trained interrogators until 1991. The U.S. is by no means unique in providing such training.
- Deprivations of Sensory Stimuli
- Threats and Fear
- Heightened Suggestability and Hypnosis
- Detection of Malingering
Interrogates who are withholding but feel qualms of guilt and a secret desire to yeild are likely to become intractable if made to endure pain. The reason is that they can interpret the pain as punishment and hence expiation.Apparently Cheney didn't even bother to read the manual. But some others actually have read it - or least still retain some basic common sense.
Intense pain is likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping distress. A time-consuming delay results, while an investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue.
The U.S. Army, senior Republican lawmakers, human rights experts and many experts on the laws of war, however, consider water-boarding cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that's banned by U.S. law and by international treaties that prohibit torture. Some intelligence professionals argue that it often provides false or misleading information because many subjects will tell their interrogators what they think they want to hear to make the water-boarding stop.Cheney argues that we are doing this "for the good of the Nation", "to protect Americans". Well Pol Pot felt the same way when he tortured and murdered two million people who he thought might oppose him.
This is indeed a "no-brainer" - water-boarding is torture. Torture produces unreliable results. Certainly we are not dealing with a Khmer Rouge situation since we only have 50,000 detainees in custody (Not unless you start to count the estimated 600,000 people who've directly and indirectly lost their lives as a result of the Iraq War). But this is a slippery slope that we can't afford to ride like a snowboarder. Non-lethal techniques can too easily turn deadly with resistant subjects. As I've often mentioned we've already had 26 detainee deaths in custody as a direct result of abuse - so the argument that people are getting a lot more than being "dunked in water" should be out the window.
Lives are at stake, but not just the lives of the detainees. Our lives. Inaccuarate or just plain old disinformation can be very devastating to our battle against terrorism.
It was only after viewing the videotaped confession of Ibn Sheik al-libi in detention at Gitmo that Colin Powell decided to use claims that Saddam and Al-Qeada were in "cooperation". That confession was false. Al-Libi was a Fabricator. Yet even to this very day, in the wake of a Senate Intelligence report to the contrary - Cheney and the Whitehouse refuse to accept the truth. Saddam was not linked to Zarqawi or Al-Qaeda.
This guy - the one who shot his friend in the face with birdshot - is the person we're expect to trust when it comes to protecting the United States? We're supposed to believe him when he says "we don't torture" and just ignore the moutain of evidence to the contrary?
To paraphrase the President himself on This Week - It's not a question of patriotism, it's a question fo judgement.
It's time to bring this Adminstration under control. Well past time, the bodies and skulls are already starting to pile up.