Re: A moment of weakness

1

I want everyone in the WWF arrested for battery.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:06 AM
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2

I worry about what people like that think of the laws prohibiting rape.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:07 AM
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3

The world wildlife fund, Ogged? The wrestling group is WWE now.

HOW ARE YOU GENTLEMEN!!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:11 AM
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4

Oops. And that Nance piece is really good. Everyone should read it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:13 AM
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5

I saw that post, and after a year of discussions I still hadn't realized what waterboarding was. I thought that pouring water over your face somehow made you feel as if you were drowning -- the idea that your lungs really filled up with water hadn't occured to me at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:14 AM
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6

Me neither, LB.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:15 AM
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7

Isn't it nice to know?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:16 AM
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8

But to take this just a bit further: the specific techniques used are a secondary consideration: a lot of things that are innocuous when done for a short time, or under conditions known to the subject, are torture when prolonged, or at the hands of someone who might not care if you die. It just happens to be particularly stupid to claim that waterboarding isn't torture.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:19 AM
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9

A very good friend went through SERE training and seemed to me to have been radically altered as a person by the experience. I understand the point Ogged and Neil are suggesting as far as "consent," but I'd rather come down on the side of "Yes, it is fucking torture when we do it to our people, too."


Posted by: Di Kotmy | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:20 AM
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10

Keeping people awake or making them stand is torture, but I have to get up and go to work EVERY DAY!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:21 AM
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11

Right, remember the discussions of the 'Firm Shake' and the 'Belly Slap', which both sound pretty innocuous until you find out that Israeli interrogators had stopped using them because the risk of killing subjects was too high.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:21 AM
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12

It's far stupider to claim that it isn't torture because we use it to train our troops to withstand being tortured. On the other hand, it's Uncle Jimbo, so nobody should feel surprised.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:22 AM
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13

Yeah, I too had not realized that the lungs are really filling with water.

That answers my waterboarding puzzle, I think: everyone talks about how effective it is, yet why wouldn't one be able to hold out because of the knowledge that it's mere waterboarding as opposed to real drowning? Once your lungs are taking in water I imagine there's not much conscious resistance to fear.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:22 AM
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14

I'm spluttering, but not because I'm being waterboarded (yet) -- we do it to our troops BECAUSE it's torture! AAAAGH.

On preview, I notice Apo said it. I don't care, it needs saying again.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:24 AM
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15

Actually, for the pure, undistilled stupid, you should read the comments to that blackfive post. What a bunch of chest-puffing tough guys there are there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:26 AM
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16

14: but you and apo are assuming that we should be better than our enemies.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:26 AM
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17

you and apo are assuming that we should be better than our enemies

Seriously? No, I'm assuming we do it because we assume our enemies are not better than we are.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:28 AM
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No, we're just advocating calling the thing in the big box labeled SPADE, sitting in the Spade section of Home Depot, a spade.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:28 AM
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19

Re: the Nance piece, I thought 'Chinese water torture' was something else.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:28 AM
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20

16 wasn't an objection. Must run to teach; will explain in detail later if need be.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:30 AM
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I had no idea that so many people didn't get that yes, water is actually forced down the throat. "Pint after pint" would depend, I think.

If you want a demonstration with the je ne sais quoi that having it done to a naked prisoner, you can see it in "Rendition." Not a very good movie, but educational! (The actor playing the victim did an amazing job. I wish they had trusted him, & the audience, a bit more--would have been far more effective to show the aftermath, &/or interrogations where there's nothing graphic going on but you know what's coming, and let that speak for itself to a greater extent. Instead you get various subplots in which we learn that torture is bad because it creates more terrorists, and it makes handsome CIA agents sad, and it makes pregnant Reese Witherspoon cry.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:31 AM
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22

Uncle Jimbo is an idiot. I don't know if it's a persona or the way the guy actually thinks, but generally he's pretty out there. I do like the rest of the posters, and read Blackfive almost as regularly as Unfogged. Mudville Gazette is better.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:32 AM
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23

There's no way Jimbo even read the piece. Several times Nance says some variation of, "It has no justification outside of its limited role as a training demonstrator," or, "I know these techniques, if in fact they are actually being used, are not dangerous when applied in training for short periods."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:33 AM
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24

21-
"it makes handsome CIA agents sad, and it makes pregnant Reese Witherspoon cry"

god, it's so sad. i thought america was better than this.

what's next? what will our inhumane tactics lead to?
making keanu reeves emote?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:34 AM
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I had no idea that so many people didn't get that yes, water is actually forced down the throat. "Pint after pint" would depend, I think.

After seeing several dozen articles and NPR reports saying that it involves "covering the mouth with a damp cloth" and "creating the sensation of drowning", it seemed pretty clear to me that it involved somehow making people panic and think they were going to be drowned without actually putting them in danger. I'm shocked to learn that water actually enters the lungs. In that case it should be referred to as "drowning", rather than "waterboarding".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:37 AM
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26

I thought water didn't actually enter the lungs since all the descriptions go out of their way to mention that the body is inclined with the head lower than the feet. But I guess that's so the water doesn't stay in the lungs.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:39 AM
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27

Yeah, and in the current.tv demonstration, they had a rag in the victim's mouth, so it was pretty clearly not drowning but gagging and "creating the sensation" of drowning. I confess I'd kind of wondered why it was said to be so effective. Now I know!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:39 AM
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Actually, for the pure, undistilled stupid, you should read the comments to that blackfive post.

waterboarding is TORMENT, not torture

Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:39 AM
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The Nance piece was very good, but how strange for him that torture techniques are his calling. I mean, god only knows why I like water projects, but visiting them is just tourism. What if the most interesting thing I knew of, and the thing that also became my career, happened to be interrogation, including a large dose of torture and all its effects and responses? What a strange way for life to pull a decent person.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:40 AM
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30

i have also seen references to an impermeable membrane being stretched across the mouth, e.g. cling-film, a.k.a. cello-wrap.

in which case, more virginity obsessions.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:40 AM
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31

But water penetrates cloth. You use a damp cloth & keeping pouring water on it--it's not sticking a wet t-shirt in someone's mouth & leaving it there.

I guess I was confused briefly by the board underwater v. rag thing, and just reasoned it out differently from everyone else.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:42 AM
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32

28--
there's something right about that.
waterboarding is torment.
reading the wing-nut comment-threads is torture.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:42 AM
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33

it should be referred to as "drowning", rather than "waterboarding"

Yes, and Blackwater should be referred to as "mercenaries" rather than "International Peace Operations Associates," and "conservatives" should be called "radicals," and "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities" should be called "imaginary excuses for a war we're just itchin' to have so get out of our way," and ... where's that Orwell guy, again?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:42 AM
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34

Covering the mouth and inclining the head below the feet is probably using the nostrils as the main entry point while interfering with breathing through the mouth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:43 AM
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35

34: and interfering with the gag reflex.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:44 AM
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36

I guess I was confused briefly by the board underwater v. rag thing, and just reasoned it out differently from everyone else.

The phrase that everyone mentions is "creates the sensation of drowning" or equivalents. My reasoning was that they would not say this if the sensation of drowning was being evoked by the actual act of drowning. Wrong again.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:45 AM
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37

36--
creates the sensation of watching a slow-motion fascist coup.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:46 AM
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38

I've wondered for a a while what exactly waterboarding is. So I understand better, but I couldn't finish the post and am literally nauseated.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 11:55 AM
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39

hey, are people calling their Senators on Judiciary about Mukasey?

Biden, Cardin, Durbin, Feingold, Feinstein, Kennedy, Kohl, Leahy, Schumer, Whitehouse. Of which I'm least confident of Cardin, Feinstein, Kohl, & especially Schumer.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:01 PM
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40

inclining the head below the feet makes it less likely the victim will die right then or get pneumonia and die later but before they tell you what you want to hear.

That's what all the variations on simply holding someone under water until they breathe the stuff are for.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:01 PM
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Who here has seen Interrogation? (For those who haven't: it's about a cabaret singer in late-'50s Poland who goes out drinking, wakes up imprisoned and is interrogated and tortured for five years concerning a crime she knows nothing about. A great, great, but hard-to-watch film.) I had the sobering realization recently that what happens to the main character, which is very obviously torture, is not torture according to the President of the United States and his administration.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:02 PM
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42

39: Called Schumer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:23 PM
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43

What a bunch of chest-puffing tough guys there are there.

And of course, most of them are posting from Iraq. Because tough guys who care about fighting the terrorists must be over there fighting the terrorists, right?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:35 PM
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44

IA, they get alot of posts from Iraq. Chickenhawk won't fly there.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:38 PM
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45

Called Cardin. The ACLU has a fairly low-traffic heads-up email list for similar matters, though they did not flag this one.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:50 PM
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46

44: I don't know the site. But I was speaking with specific reference to the tough guy commenters in that thread. Do you think a lot of them are posting from Iraq?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:12 PM
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47

I had the same confusion as above. My idea was that somehow they introduced water into the mouth, but blocked by plastic.

So would I be right in characterizing waterboarding as "controlled shoving of water down the throat"? It sounded so sophisticated before.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:54 PM
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48

waterboarding is TORMENT

To quote from this again:

Such confessions as these, alas! a great many others of those poor wretches make, not led by a regard to truth, but compelled to it, by the exquisiteness of their torments: now, what certainty can there arise from such extorted confessions; but, suppose a person falsely accused should have so much courage, so much sense of a life after this, as, amidst the terrors of this fiery trial, (like the three young Jews of old, Dan. iii.) neither to dishonour God, nor lie to the damnation of his soul, so that the judge should hereupon pronounce him innocent: does he not with the same breath pronounce himself guilty of all that cruel punishment, which he inflicted upon such person undeservedly? And how inhuman must that law be, which does its utmost to condemn the innocent, and convict the judge of cruelty? A practice so inhuman deserves not indeed to be called a law, but the high road to hell.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:19 PM
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49

I thought in the Nance piece he specifically said that it does not "simulate" drowning but is actual drowning?


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:19 PM
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50

Yes, that's right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:24 PM
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51

yeah, i was totally under the impression that they used saran wrap to keep the water from actually going in. huh.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:10 PM
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52

So if I were to waterboard someone, just for my own private purposes, what could I be charged with? Aggressive interrogation without a license?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:23 PM
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53

jm: aggravated assault?

With "simulated drowning", I always assumed that simulated just meant: "we're not actually going to continue this until you're dead, but it sure feels like we will, doesn't it?"


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:57 PM
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54

53: That would be "actual drowning", and "simulated murder", seems to me. Drowning isn't necessarily a form of death.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:08 PM
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well, CNN should stop calling it that because it obviously confuses people. But seeing as how my interpretation seems to be accurate, I'm not sure what the semantic issue still is.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:10 PM
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56

A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

How do they get doctors willing to stand there and say, Don't worry, we're still a couple of pints away from death spiral?


Posted by: Toadmonster | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:26 PM
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My Senator (Whitehouse) has already come out against, thankfully. That piece on waterboarding ought to be read into the Congressional record.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 8:39 PM
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Holy shit. We do this to people?! Holy fucking shit. I always thought of waterboarding as "aggressive interrogation technique that goes way too far and ought properly to be considered torture". Now I realize it's just fucking torture, plain and simple.

That shouldn't be read into the Congressional record, it should be read on headline news. How is is that so many well-informed people here on this blog have followed this issue relatively closely and still been so unaware of the basic facts here?

Fuck.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 8:47 PM
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Navy doctor.
refused to monitor SERE training as a medical expert and refused to undergo the indoctrination as part of orienatation as a flight surgeon. There are no studies or texts that allow a doctor to determine "the right amount of water to enter the lungs" before pneumonia, dry land drowning or ARDS ensues. The men chosen to administer this "training" possess a disdain for humane treatment of their fellow soldiers and sailors, and employ an inexplicable rationale for harming another human being in a delusional search for the lesser evil. Oh, nice the Master Instructors always think they and only they can be trusted to administer training torture under the cover of privacy and anonymity.and those who disagree are a bunch of pathetic pussies.


Posted by: rich | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 9:04 PM
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#13 speaks for me, too. Every time I heard about waterboarding, I thought, "How hard can it be to avoid being scared by some water being poured over you?" The descriptions I'd read made it sound like the water never even entered the person's mouth.

I see this as a branding issue. If we called it "controlled drowning", people would have a better idea of what it was.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 10:01 PM
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In general, if y'all will forgive a moment on my soapbox: people should bear in mind: names for & descriptions of things like "extreme temperatures" & "stress positions" & "forced standing" & "removal of comfort items" & "sleep management" are carefully chosen to prevent you from picturing, in detail, exactly what they're talking about. I still get these moments from time to time--have to remind myself things like: for "isolation cell", read "tiny dark room with floor covered in human excrement".

WHen the details comes out--photographic evidence, autopsy reports, detailed descriptions by interrogators, a specific rendition victim testifying before Congress--people find it much harder to defend. This is why the details are classified, & why we need them investigated & unclassified to have any hope of stuffing the genie back into the bottle.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 10:20 PM
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62

Yes, waterboarding is forcing somebody to drown, I thought everybody knew this? The details of how to do this may differ, but the end result is always the same. Fear of drowning or suffocating is one of the oldest, strongest fears we have and nobody is immune to it.

The thing about torture is that you don't need to go the bad horror movie route: "just" controlling your sleeping behaviour, or forcing you to stand or sit in awkward positions, or keeping you isolated is enough, as the UK army found out in Northern Ireland. Disrupting your sleep especially: a few days of no sleep and almost everybody goes through a psychotic episode. No need for anything as gauche as hot pincers.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 2:54 AM
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62: actually, in the middle east, you don't even need that. Keep 'em in a cell for 24-48 hours on their own - a comfortable cell, with food and a bed and everything. Then take 'em out and offer them a cigarette, and they'll normally tell you everything you need to know.
Nicotine addiction's a powerful thing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 5:53 AM
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