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See if this sounds like what the Marquis de Cheney referred to as “ a dunk in the water,” and a “well done” technique that if he “had it to do all over again,..would do exactly the same thing.” Judge for yourself if those whose memos authorized and legitimized the following methods are guilty of nothing more than using “poor judgment.” I have a question for President Obama as well. Still think we need to “look forward, not back?” From Mark Benjamin at Salon:

…[R]ecently released internal documents reveal the controversial “enhanced interrogation” practice was far more brutal on detainees than Cheney’s description sounds, and was administered with meticulous cruelty.

…The documents also lay out, in chilling detail, exactly what should occur in each two-hour waterboarding “session.” Interrogators were instructed to start pouring water right after a detainee exhaled, to ensure he inhaled water, not air, in his next breath. They could use their hands to “dam the runoff” and prevent water from spilling out of a detainee’s mouth.

They were allowed six separate 40-second “applications” of liquid in each two-hour session – and could dump water over a detainee’s nose and mouth for a total of 12 minutes a day. Finally, to keep detainees alive even if they inhaled their own vomit during a session – a not-uncommon side effect of waterboarding – the prisoners were kept on a liquid diet. The agency recommended Ensure Plus.”

And for those defenders of waterboarding who say it can’t be torture because our soldiers go through it in SERE training:

“…the documents show that the agency’s methods went far beyond anything ever done to a soldier during training. U.S. soldiers, for example, were generally waterboarded with a cloth over their face one time, never more than twice, for about 20 seconds, the CIA admits in its own documents.

“The difference was in the manner in which the detainee’s breathing was obstructed,” the document notes. In soldier training, “The interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth (on a soldier’s face) in a controlled manner,” DOJ wrote. “By contrast, the agency interrogator … continuously applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee’s mouth and nose.”

These memos show the CIA went much further than that with terror suspects, using huge and dangerous quantities of liquid over long periods of time. The CIA’s waterboarding was “different” from training for elite soldiers, according to the Justice Department document released last month.

But, the defenders also say, no matter the tactics, waterboarding worked.  It provided intelligence which “kept us safe” from future attacks, right? Wrong.

“When torture supporters would tout the value of the information Abu Zubaydah provided, they somehow failed to mention that the actionable intelligence he provided was admitted prior to his waterboarding.  After President Bush bragged about the information obtained by torturing Abu Zubaydah, the Washington Post, after reviewing case files, concluded that absolutely no credible intelligence came from Zubaydah’s interrogations that utilized torture.”

But despite all the gruesome and sadistic details contained in the documents, this is perhaps the most disturbing:

“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.”

Paging Dr. Mengele, Dr. Josef Mengele.

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