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Torture or interrogation?

Essential reading, part one:

Dick Cheney, US vice-president, has endorsed the use of “water boarding” for terror suspects and confirmed that the controversial interrogation technique was used on Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the senior al-Qaeda operative now being held at Guantánamo Bay… Mr Cheney was responding to a conservative radio interviewer who asked whether water boarding, which involves simulated drowning, was a “no-brainer” if the information it yielded would save American lives. “It’s a no-brainer for me,” Mr Cheney replied.

Essential reading, part two:

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.

Essential viewing (disturbing scenes).

These sources certainly don’t show the USA as a flag-waving leader of the free world, ever going to new lengths to promote freedom. They look like the works of a barbaric mediaeval dictatorship. As they say, if it has feathers and quacks like a duck…

Waterboarding and other forms of torture should be outlawed. Full stop. Whether we call them torture or not is irrelevant – stop doing them. We might be suffering Jack Bauer syndrome, but we should stop taking it out on others. It is unacceptable, and needs to stop now.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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