Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Watch Christopher Hitchens Get Waterboarded

Hitchens gets water-boarded and realizes that, yes, it is torture. Follow the link to watch the video. It looks pretty harmless, but he experienced as actual drowning, which no doubt is the point. Brave of him to do that.

His aftermath feelings have all the symptoms of mild PTSD, and that was after only a few seconds. Imagine months of that, with no information to give over. Who wouldn't make shit up just to make it end?

All those innocent men and boys who were turned in by their neighbors for the cash will suffer years of residual effects from this, all in the effort to find the one or two detainees who actually know something. Torture needs to be banned.

The author catches his breath after undergoing his first waterboarding session.

The author catches his breath after undergoing his first waterboarding session. Photographs by Gasper Tringale.

Believe Me, It’s Torture

What more can be added to the debate over U.S. interrogation methods, and whether waterboarding is torture? Try firsthand experience. The author undergoes the controversial drowning technique, at the hands of men who once trained American soldiers to resist—not inflict—it.

by Christopher Hitchens, August 2008

Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.

Exploring this narrow but deep distinction, on a gorgeous day last May I found myself deep in the hill country of western North Carolina, preparing to be surprised by a team of extremely hardened veterans who had confronted their country’s enemies in highly arduous terrain all over the world. They knew about everything from unarmed combat to enhanced interrogation and, in exchange for anonymity, were going to show me as nearly as possible what real waterboarding might be like.

View a video of Hitchens’s waterboarding experience.

It goes without saying that I knew I could stop the process at any time, and that when it was all over I would be released into happy daylight rather than returned to a darkened cell. But it’s been well said that cowards die many times before their deaths, and it was difficult for me to completely forget the clause in the contract of indemnification that I had signed. This document (written by one who knew) stated revealingly:

“Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.

As the agreement went on to say, there would be safeguards provided “during the ‘water boarding’ process, however, these measures may fail and even if they work properly they may not prevent Hitchens from experiencing serious injury or death.”

Read the rest of Hitchen's article.

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