The ongoing debate over the ethics and usefulness of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding received new fuel on Sunday night, with a New York Times report that two Al Qaeda suspects were subject to the method, which simulates drowning, a combined 266 times.
That number is higher than previously reported, and will no doubt cast a long shadow over President Obama’s first scheduled visit to CIA headquarters today, where he will publicly address employees.
…The sheer frequency with which waterboarding was apparently used on these two suspects may cast doubt on past Bush administration assertions that they were strictly obeying guidelines on the use of the practice, says the Times. It also notes that “a footnote to another 2005 Justice Department memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and with a greater volume of water than the CIA rules permitted.”
There’s nothing I can add to what’s been said since the story broke in the blogosphere over the weekend. Really.
Well, except to ask one question: What was it supposed to accomplish the 266th time that it didn’t the first time, or the tenth time, or the fiftieth time, or the hundredth time?
Certainly, any worthwhile information that might have been gained should have been gained by the 100th time, I’d imagine. (Though experts say it that harsh interrogation techniques don’t work anyway.)
I’ll just say what I usually say about some taser-taser happy police officers. After the first half a dozen times or so, you’re not doing because of the prisoner. You’re not doing in order to subdue prisoner, or to extract vital informaiton.
You’re doing it for you, because it got good to ya. It made you feel good, got your dick hard, or got your rocks off.
“Torture at Guantánamo was sanctioned by the most senior advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense, according to the international lawyer and professor of law at University College London Philippe Sands, who has conducted a forensic examination of the chain of command leading from the top of the administration to the camp at Guantánamo,” Vanity Fair will report on newstands today.
The article directly contradicts the administration’s account to Congress, which placed responsibility on military commanders and interrogators on the ground for the practices banned by the Geneva Conventions.
…Sands talks with everyone from high level members of the administration to soldiers on the ground at Guantánamo, among them: Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense, General Richard Myers, former joint chiefs chairman, and Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, who was charged with writing a document providing legal authority for harsh interrogation.
…Sands reports that Beaver, who was charged with writing a document providing legal authority for harsh interrogation, confirms new details of the crucial meeting that took place at Guantánamo, and she tells Sands she “kept minutes” at other brainstorming sessions in which new techniques were discussed. The younger men would get particularly excited, she says: “You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas.” Beaver also notes that ideas arose from other sources, such as the television show 24. Jack Bauer, the main character, had many friends at Guantánamo, says Beaver: “He gave people lots of ideas.” It was clear to Sands that Beaver believed that Washington was directly involved in the interrogations, and her account confirms what others tell Sands—that Washington’s views were being fed into the process by people physically present at Guantánamo.