City of Roses
| Reuters UK: December 8, 2007
CIA Director Michael Hayden admitted on Saturday that that the CIA had made and destroyed videotapes in 2005 documenting interrogations of terrorist suspects that used techniques critics have denounced as torture, including possible waterboarding, which were made in 2002 "as part of a secret detention and interrogation program that began with the arrest of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, two suspected al-Qaeda operatives who were among the first three terror suspects to be detained and interrogated by the C.I.A. in secret prisons after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The New York Times: December 8, 2007
The New York Times: December 11, 2007
The New York Times reported the same day that White House and Justice Department officials had advised the CIA in 2003 not to destroy these hundreds of hours of videotapes. However, Jose Rodriguez Jr., the chief of the agency's clandestine service who retired earlier this year, called for their destruction in November 2005 without even informing the CIA's top lawyer, John Rizzo, who was angry about the final decision. On December 11th, the Times then reported that lawyers within the CIA pushed a written advance to destroy the tapes.
The Chicago Tribune: December 11, 2007
Also, on Tuesday, John Kiriakou, whose 14 year stint in the CIA included a role as an interrogator in Pakistan from 1998 to 2004, was involved in the capture of Abu Zubaydah and was also one of the first to interrogate him, acknowledged that waterboarding was used in the interrogations, adding that "waterboarding works, at least in the case of Abu Zubaydah." and that
it “probably saved lives.”, but also that "it is no longer necessary." and indeed "it is torture." His motive, as well as his timing, for abruptly coming out, especially considering inquiries are sprouting by the day, remains unclear, as some are arguing he's trying to preserve his legacy or provide a cover-up.
ABC News: November 2, 2007
Finally, it is important to remember that, last month, it was reported that Daniel Levin, an acting assistant attorney general in 2004 who was "charged with reworking the administration's legal position on torture in 2004", had grown so concerned with the wateeboarding technique that he personally went to a military base near Washington and waterboarded himself. After doing so, "Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning."
By December 2004, Levin released a new memo, declaring the particular praxtice as torture and declaring: "Torture is abhorrent", though he alsoincluded in a footnote that the memo was not declaring the administration's previous opinions illegal. No second memo was ever released demanding tighter regulations on interrogation practices. Despite this, ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg had reported that the Bush Administration saw Levin as "too independent" and"not someone who could be counted on to endorse White House policies.”
Bloomberg News: December 13, 2007
Roll Call: HR 2082 (Intelligence Authorization Act): December 13, 2007
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to ban CIA agents from using waterboarding during the questioning of suspected terrorists on a mostly party-line vote.
Associated Press: December 13, 2007
Yet, not surprisingly, the President has threatened to veto the bill.
Howstuffworks: November 29, 2005
What I want to know here is, WHY do some still behave and think as though there's STILL a debate on whether waterboarding is torture or not? George Ryley Scott even documented in "The History of Torture Throughout the Ages" that a form of torture similar of that to waterboarding in modern times called the tortura del agua "consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning."
Later, such practices would be condemned by the international community, whether it was agents of the Dutch East India Company doing it during the Amboyna massacre in 1623, or the Kempetai and the Gestapo using it during World War II, or French paratroopers using it in Algeria during the mid-20th century, etc. And as early as 1901, as a nation, we declared waterboarding was wrong whena US court martial convicted Major Edwin Glenn of subjecting a suspected insurgent in the Philippines to the “water cure.” during the Spanish-American War. sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for water boarding an insurgent in the Philippines.
YouTube: Senator Kit Bond's Comments On Waterboarding: December 12, 2007
Yet, it feels somehow 199 representatives in Congress have forgotten these lessons in history somehow, which one senator's comments this week, Kit Bond (R-MO) on PBS's "Newshour" with Gwen Ifill makes it feel as though we're retrograding back to pre-1901 debate mindet on waterboarding, at least in the political dimension:
GWEN IFILL: Do you think that waterboarding, as I described it, constitutes torture?
SEN. KIT BOND: There are different ways of doing it. It’s like swimming, freestyle, backstroke. The waterboarding could be used almost to define some of the techniques that our trainees are put through, but that’s beside the point. It’s not being used."
I suppose what I'm asking here simply is: "How in the world did waterboarding, which is obviously torture, become a debate again over whether it's torture or not?" And who in their right mind would dare to argue otherwise?
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"