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So You’d Like to Waterboard: A Step-By-Step Manual

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Mark Benjamin at Salon reviews some CIA documents and emerges with the authoritative US Government Guide to Torture.

Some excerpts:

One of the more interesting revelations in the documents is the use of a saline solution in waterboarding. Why? Because the CIA forced such massive quantities of water into the mouths and noses of detainees, prisoners inevitably swallowed huge amounts of liquid – enough to conceivably kill them from hyponatremia, a rare but deadly condition in which ingesting enormous quantities of water results in a dangerously low concentration of sodium in the blood.

Interrogators were instructed to pour the water when a detainee had just exhaled so that he would inhale during the pour. An interrogator was also allowed to force the water down a detainee’s mouth and nose using his hands. “The interrogator may cup his hands around the detainee’s nose and mouth to dam the runoff,” the Bradbury memo notes. “In which case it would not be possible for the detainee to breathe during the application of the water.”

The CIA’s waterboarding regimen was so excruciating, the memos show, that agency officials found themselves grappling with an unexpected development: detainees simply gave up and tried to let themselves drown.

The memo also contains a last, little-noticed paragraph that may be the most disturbing of all. It seems to say that the detainees subjected to waterboarding were also guinea pigs. The language is eerily reminiscent of the very reasons the Nuremberg Code was written in the first place. That paragraph reads as follows:

“NOTE: In order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations, it is important that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented: how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso- or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”

But yeah, you know – torture is no big deal. Especially since most of these people we’re torturing are innocent anyway.

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Written by pavanvan

March 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

One Response

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  1. dang, this is nothing like our gentle experience.

    sprouts

    March 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm


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