dilluns, 20 d’abril del 2009

Waterbording (sona a esport inventat a California però no ho es, sembla que l'invent és dels inquisidors espanyols)


Memo Says Prisoner Was Waterboarded 183 Times
By SCOTT SHANE 13 minutes ago
C.I.A. interrogators used the technique 183 times on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the admitted planner of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a Justice Department memorandum.
Times Topics: Waterboarding |

Updated April 17, 2009

Waterboarding is a centuries-old practice used to coerce prisoners during interrogations by using water to cut off oxygen and to create both the feeling and fear of drowning. It was approved by the Justice Department under President George W. Bush for use by the Central Intelligence Agency on so-called "high value'' terrorism suspects, then barred by President Obama on his second day in office.

During the Bush administration, waterboarding came to serve as shorthand for a broader debate about the legality of methods being used to interrogate terrorism suspects. Questions about whether the technique constituted torture played a central role in confirmation hearings in the fall of 2007 for former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, who refused to describe waterboarding as torture. By contrast, Mr. Obama's attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., flatly stated during his confirmation hearings in January 2009 that "waterboarding is torture.''

"We prosecuted our own soldiers for using it in Vietnam," he said.

The executive orders issued by Mr. Obama after taking office reversed the most disputed counterterrorism policies of the Bush administration. Among Mr. Obama's actions was to require that all interrogations follow the noncoercive methods of the Army Field Manual. He also directed his cabinet to formulate new policies on detaining and interrogating terror suspects.

The immediate practical impact of the orders was limited, in part because military interrogators have been required by law to abide by the Army Field Manual since 2005, and the C.I.A. apparently has not used waterboarding since 2003.

The goal of waterboarding, which has been used in interrogations at least since the time of the Spanish Inquisition, is to create the sensation of drowning without causing death. The subject is strapped to an inclined board, immobilized with his head positioned lower than his feet. In some cases, a piece of cloth or cellophane is placed over the subjects face and water is repeatedly poured over it, triggering a gag reflex and choking the subject. In other cases, the subject's head is submerged under water or his mouth is forced open and water is poured down his throat.

Waterboarding was one of a number of coercive interrogation techniques adapted by the C.I.A. from a military program meant to train personnel to endure brutal questioning of the kind used by the Soviet Union and its allies. Testifying before a House subcommittee on Nov. 8, 2007, Malcolm Wrightson Nance, a former Navy instructor in prisoner of war and terrorist hostage survival programs, explained that he experienced waterboarding while being trained and that he had been involved in the waterboarding of hundreds of other trainees. Mr. Nance said the experience was slow-motion suffocation with water overpowering your gag reflex. Soon, he said, the throat opens and allows pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs. Unless the subject is allowed to expel the water, the result would be death by suffocation.

After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, the Bush administration issued legal opinions that gave the C.I.A. more latitude in its interrogation methods than the military had, prohibiting only measures that could be defined as torture. A list of approved tactics included waterboarding.

In April 2009, the Obama administration released the series of opinions.The memos include what in effect are lengthy excerpts from the agency's interrogation manual, laying out with precision how each method was to be used. Waterboarding, for example, involved strapping a prisoner to a gurney inclined at an angle of "10 to 15 degrees" and pouring water over a cloth covering his nose and mouth "from a height of approximately 6 to 18 inches" for no more than 40 seconds at a time.

But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" and with "large volumes of water" rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.'s inspector general.

As the memos were released, Mr. Obama made clear that C.I.A. operatives would not be prosecuted for the use of authorized techniques. But Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the memos were further proof that a sweeping, independent investigation was needed into the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques.