Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

  U.S. Army to prohibit water-boarding, but don't tell anybody

During the last few days in Geneva, Bush's "people" have been unusually garrulous on the theme of torture. As it turns out the U.S. Army does not ever employ such techniques, or comment on their use.

The U.S. Army will prohibit "water-boarding" - the controversial practice of submerging a prisoner's head in water in an effort to make him talk - when it issues its new interrogation manual, the State Department's legal adviser told the U.N. Committee Against Torture on Monday.

John B. Bellinger III said banning water-boarding wasn't an admission that American interrogators had used the technique on detainees during the war on terrorism.

But the Army's decision to outlaw the technique raised concerns about how widely it has been used and why the Army felt it needed to mention it in the manual. Previous versions of the manual hadn't listed it, either as an approved technique or a banned one.

Perhaps when the Army gets around to banning water-boarding, it will cease being "controversial". For the life of me, though, I can't see why the U.N. or anybody else objects to a "practice" that isn't so much as mentioned in the current Army field manual.

I do see one slight problem in the Army's protestations to the U.N. The Army plans to keep that part of the new manual on interrogation techniques classified.


  • Worth reading is this post by Spencer Ackerman on the rewriting of the army field manual.

    He quotes this passage in Eric Schmitt's profile of Steve Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

    In an effort to enhance military interrogations, Mr. Cambone is also overseeing the politically sensitive task of rewriting the Army's field manual. Just last week, he and other top Pentagon officials briefed senior senators on a Pentagon proposal to have one set of interrogation techniques for enemy prisoners of war and another, presumably more coercive, set for the suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, said Senate aides, who were granted anonymity because the discussions were confidential.

    The whole point of having standards of treatment for prisoners, is that they are standards. The point of having prohibitions of torture, is that they prohibit torture. The reason why Congress passed a bill banning abusive treatment of detainees, is that the law would ban the kinds of practices that the Bush administration has made notorious.

    Yet it seems these obvious facts are lost on the cheerleaders for torture in this government.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 5:28 PM  

  • Thank you for keeping these victims of the bush nazis in the forefront of the news.

    Didn't the very sick serial killer John Gacy use waterboarding and electric shocks to kill people - a psychologist in part of a segment I watched IIRC, said it was an ultimate power trip to kill one person ten times or something like that, can't watch more than a few minutes of those shows.

    Also I had been thinking of the former professional interogator who said in an Entertainment section since the regular news won't print much that "you torture because you want to not because it is effective." He sounded disgusted and it would be a good link on "neutral" messageboards like AOL when neocons defend torture as being necessary to keep America safe but I have forgotten this man's name. I believe that he had been in the military and was not an advisor on a TV show.

    By Blogger Tate, at 6:17 PM  

  • tate, I recall reading last year, don't recall where or by whom, a discussion of why torture is ineffectual. The piece quoted an intelligence official who said that a classic example was provided a few years ago by an interrogation unit set up by the CIA, if I recall rightly, in the Balkans (?). He claimed that no useful information came out of this torture unit, but when the government sent word out that it was to be shut down, it carried on torturing people anyhow--evidently just because the torturers got their kicks from doing it.

    I've also read several times, including from victims of torture, that torturers tend to forget that they're supposed to be extracting information. At some stage, it's said, they're prone to stop asking questions and just get on with the acts of torture for the sake of torture.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 9:59 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home