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From: Bart (
Subject:         Things That Are Not Torture
Date: November 18, 2007 at 9:21 am PST

Things That Are Not Torture

Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 08:05:25 AM PST

For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession...

-- United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

President Bush's nominee for attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he does not know whether waterboarding is illegal. He pledged to study the matter and to reverse any Justice Department finding that endorses a practice that violates the law or the Constitution.

-- AP, October 30th, 2007

The first step is to firmly bind the prisoner to the table.

The ropes or straps should be tight enough to prevent any struggling that could injure either interrogators or the prisoner himself: arms, legs and torso should all be restrained. In addition to ropes or straps, it may also be desirable for several interrogators to physically restrain the prisoner using their own weight; use caution to prevent accidental suffocation, however. Proper restraint of the head is essential. The prisoner's head must be kept facing forward and immobile, using either bindings or physical effort by interrogators.

The table should be inclined backwards, so that the prisoner's head is below the level of his chest. In addition to allowing water to properly pool in the subject's throat and sinuses, and allowing water to be inhaled into, then drained from the lungs, this position enhances the sense of disorientation during the process. Ideally, it should be possible to quickly level the table and/or release the subject's head from restraints in the event that the prisoner vomits or aspirates excessive amounts of water.

Consider the setting: the interrogation should be done in a location chosen to elicit maximum fear from the prisoner. For some prisoners, a sterile, medical-like environment will create the greatest sense of terror; for others, a damp and dimly lit basement room will prove more alarming and disorienting. Interrogators may wish to wear hoods or masks, in order to increase this feeling and to prevent the prisoner from identifying his captors. The object of this technique is to strike irresistible panic into the prisoner, in order to best solicit information from the otherwise hostile subject: the more that sense of terror can be instilled before the physical process begins, the more quickly the prisoner will respond to the physical trauma, therefore lessening the duration of the technique, and in turn lessening the chances of physical damage or death. Creating an environment of extreme emotional stress and terror, then, is doing a distinct favor to your prisoner, sparing him from as much physical injury as possible.

At this point, it is important to note that, properly done, this technique is not torture. It has been carefully reviewed by the highest levels of the United States government, and found to be neither cruel or unusual, nor in violation of international law, but a reasonable "enhancement" of modern interrogation techniques.

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