Posts Tagged ‘torture’

Three Takes on the OLC Torture Memos

April 21, 2009

Take One

Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine an adversary of the United States has captured one of our soldiers. Imagine that our enemy keeps this soldier awake for over 48 hours “standing and . . . handcuffed, [with] the handcuffs . . . attached by a length of chain to the ceiling. The detainee’s hands are shackled in front of his body, so that the detainee has approximately a two- to three-foot diameter of movement. The detainee’s feet are shackled to a bolt in the floor.”

Imagine now that adversary captures one of our sailors. While in captivity, the sailor “is bound securely to an inclined bench, which is approximately four feet by seven feet. The individual’s feet are generally elevated. A cloth is placed over the forehead and eyes. Water is then applied to the cloth in a controlled manner. As this is done, the cloth is lowered until it covers both the nose and mouth. Once the cloth is saturated and completely covers the mouth and nose, air flow is slightly restricted for 20 to 40 seconds due to the presence of the cloth. This causes an increase in carbon dioxide level in the individual’s blood. This increase in the carbon dioxide level stimulates increased effort to breathe. This effort plus the cloth produces the perception of ‘suffocation and incipient panic,’ i.e., the perception of drowning.”

Here’s my question: Do you think these service people have been tortured? Did it take you more than a nanosecond to answer that question?

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The New Torture Memos

April 21, 2009

Last Thursday, the Obama Administration ended the internal dispute about the release of additional memos regarding enhanced interrogation techniques by making public lightly redacted versions of four Office of Legal Counsel memoranda, one issued in 2002, the other three in May of 2005.  Here is a highly selective summary of some of their more salient features. (more…)