Is Waterboarding okay for movie criminals, action heroes and C.I.A operatives but not terrorists?
Water boarding is a torture technique that in its most general sense simulates the sensation of drowning. The Obama administration has rendered this torture technique illegal and many consider its use during the Bush administration as being illegal by international law. "In 2007 it was reported that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was using waterboarding on extrajudicial prisoners and that the Department of Justice had authorized the procedure, even though the United States government hanged Japanese soldiers for waterboarding US prisoners of war in World War II. The CIA confirms using waterboarding on three Al-Qaeda suspects" "In January 2009 President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding. In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense refused to say whether waterboarding is still used for training (e.g. SERE) purposes"
My conclusion: In sum, unlike military persons, C.I.A operatives and actors, prisoners are in 'real danger' of injury and death, and are as such undergoing a 'mock execution' which is and has been illicit as per international law.
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Extreme vs light
"Although a variety of specific techniques are used in waterboarding, the captive's face is usually covered with cloth or some other thin material, and the subject is immobilized on his/her back. Water is then poured onto the face over the breathing passages, causing an almost immediate gag reflex and creating the sensation that the captive is drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage and death."
The water-boarding in Hollywood firstly is not real, pretending to be gagged and being gagged are separate things. Secondly when water boarding was last featured in a Hollywood film it was very much legal. "In 2007 it was reported that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was using waterboarding on extrajudicial prisoners and that the Department of Justice had authorized the procedure." And last but not least you never see people's heads wrapped up in cellophane, having water poured down their nose and throat while they're lying on their back in the movies. It's almost always someone dunking someone else's head in the water very briefly. The movie version is very different from real life. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding#cite_note-HRW_open_letter_WB-3]]
Even dunking someone's head in water and then pulling it out when they begin to choke should not be acceptable in films or real life. People can and do choke to death.
No real danger in film
Actors know that they will be in a scene where their face will be underwater for a period of time. They are always dunked face down, water is no dripped through a cloth up their breathing passages and gravity is on their side when they are pulled up and when they are pushed down. Actors do not feel as though their life is threatened, they are nt really being interrogated and any sense of danger the audience perceives is not real.
There is also a sense of security and assurance when CIA operatives or military persons undergo water boarding for themselves. They know that when they can't handle it any more they won't have to. You as a soldier are not scared of dying. There's no struggle, thus no danger of breaking bones and no psychological damage coming from the prospect of death and self-inflicted beatings. [[http://goo.gl/Fx49W]]
There may not be a sense of danger but there still is danger. Terrorists should be afraid when being interrogated how else will they cooperate? How many people have died because of water-boarding? Compare that with the number of people who are dead as a result of other (still legal) torture/interrogation techniques.
"The CIA sources described a list of six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002 and used, they said, on a dozen top al Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe. According to the sources, only a handful of CIA interrogators are trained and authorized to use the techniques:
1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.
2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.
4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.
5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.
6. Water Boarding: 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. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess."
Mock execution illegal under international law
In the movies nobody undergoes a mock execution, there is no sense of being murdered and there is no fear of fatality. In real life the fear of death prompts false confessions, near-fatal/fatal injuries and other resultant physical/mental health problems.
"Dr. Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, has treated "a number of people" who had been subjected to forms of near-asphyxiation, including waterboarding. In an interview for The New Yorker, he argued that "it was indeed torture. 'Some victims were still traumatized years later', he said. One patient couldn't take showers, and panicked when it rained. 'The fear of being killed is a terrifying experience', he said". Keller also stated in his testimony before the Senate" [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding#Mental_and_physical_effects]]
Calling it a mock execution is a matter of perception. It 'was' used as an interrogation technique and prisoners were aware that the torture would stop once they spilled the beans. A mock execution does not permit a way out, if this were a mock execution then all methods of interrogation are mock executions, because when you are being interrogated your motivation to speak 'is' fear of reprisal either in the shape of death or torture and so on.
The difference between a mock execution and an interrogation technique , is that an interrogation technique offers a way out.
Ineffective as an interrogation technique on alleged terrorists or terror suspects
"Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques "appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention," the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.
It is "bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture's bad enough," said former CIA officer Bob Baer"
In the movies, watching someone get water boarded can be entertaining in that it offers cheap thrills. Even in films these techniques has resulted in false confessions, lies and a heroic resistance from the star of the movie.
In real life cheap thrills are not the interrogator's goal (or should not be) the goal is to acquire legitimate information, this can be done under hypnosis, with truth detectors and so on. The use of water boarding or other forms of physical/psychological torture is archaic, outmoded and simply ineffective.
Counterargument: Would you lie to save your life? Let us not ignore the fact that there are unspoken pointed questions when a terror 'suspect' is under scrutiny, an innocent man will lie through his teeth to save his life.
""This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear," one source said.
However, sources said, al Libbi does not appear to have sought to intentionally misinform investigators, as at least one account has stated. The distinction in this murky world is nonetheless an important one. Al Libbi sought to please his investigators, not lead them down a false path, two sources with firsthand knowledge of the statements said."
Would you risk lying if you thought you were going to die for it?
False confessions, disinformation and the war in Iraq
"However, ABC News was told that at least three CIA officers declined to be trained in the techniques before a cadre of 14 were selected to use them on a dozen top al Qaeda suspects in order to obtain critical information. In at least one instance, ABC News was told that the techniques led to questionable information aimed at pleasing the interrogators and that this information had a significant impact on U.S. actions in Iraq."
False confessions do not only translate into trouble for innocent prisoners but innocent civilians as well. Bad interrogation & disinformation is a perfect formula for misguided foreign policy as witnessed in the Bush era. [[http://goo.gl/oXz4a]]
""One argument in favor of their use: time. In the early days of al Qaeda captures, it was hoped that speeding confessions would result in the development of important operational knowledge in a timely fashion."
Unlike movies the victim 'is' drowning there is no 'simulation'
"Having been subjected to this technique, I can say: It is risky but not entirely dangerous when applied in training for a very short period. However, when performed on an unsuspecting prisoner, waterboarding is a torture technique - without a doubt. There is no way to sugarcoat it.
In the media, waterboarding is called "simulated drowning," but that's a misnomer. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning.
Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word."
In sum, unlike military persons, C.I.A operatives and actors, prisoners are in 'real danger' of injury and death, and as such are undergoing a 'mock execution' illicit as per international law.
But why should this be all right in film? Why can't prisoners be treated the same way as trainees/C.I.A-operatives or U.S soldiers?
When something is depicted as all right in film questions have to be raised on why that thing is not A-okay in reality, especially since the good guys do it in film.
Again soldiers claim that since they've experienced a light form of water-boarding during training it is justified for prisoners.
if the dogooders had there way we'd all be watching care bears
if the dogooders had there way we'd all be watching care bears and my little pony.......no thanks i quite like an action film with a bit violence, sex, and torture but thats the thing a movie is just a story, not real life unless based on true events however terrorists arnt exactly gonna disclose any info that could potentially save inocent lives by being treated nicely now are they, think about the victims of real terror attacks, people who died for no reason because some nutter hates westerners, info should be extracted by any means to save lives
What do you think?