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  • The McCain Amendment

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on December 16th, 2005 (All posts by )

    With all the coverage about the McCain Amendment, has anyone bothered to read the text? The news media only describe it as outlawing torture. The actual bill outlaws “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” which is a good deal broader. In fact, here is how the bill defines it:

    (d) CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED.–In this section, the term ”cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.

    Leaving aside the UN convention for the moment, the Eighth Amendment is enough to seriously hamper the treatment of terrorist prisoners. Domestic interpretations of the Eighth Amendment have led to the release of convicted prisoners and those held for bail because of overcrowded conditions. For example, the old Charles Street Jail in Boston was condemned and converted to private housing because of successful legal action citing the Eighth Amendment. Inadequate toilet facilities, insufficient access to mental and physical health treatment, and solitary confinement have been found to be violations of Eighth Amendment rights. Boston Review has a very good overview of Eighth Amendment issues by Joan Dayan. The McCain Amendment bestows the same rights on terror suspects held anywhere by the US. Also, by granting these rights with reference to the US Constitution, it will be impossible to exclude lawsuits by detainees from the US court system. Brace yourselves for a Ramsey Clark extravaganza.

     

    22 Responses to “The McCain Amendment”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Im glad to see this debate was won on both principle and common sense. On principle, the constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment for good reason, since it lowers the moral baseline for how everyone in our society is treated and how our government is required to behave in the excercise of its power. On common sense, Ive never been persuaded that information gained under torture is useful or in any way reliable. John McCain, of all people in our government, should know this well.

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      If McCain’s measure passes, the Geneva Convention and all associated conventions governing warfare will at long last be truly dead. We will enter an era of legally recognized total war were the most vile will compete to outdo each other’s atrocities, secure in the knowledge that they will never pay any price for doing so.

      The Geneva convention as been dying since the 60′s when the world-wide Left stopped having any interest in truly enforcing it as a type of law and began to view purely as an anti-Free world propaganda tool. Now McCain will destroy the convention’s central enforcement mechanism, reciprocity and make it nothing but a hollow shell.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Michael Hiteshew,

      Your post nicely encapsulates everything wrong about so many peoples approach to terrorism.

      (1) The belief that terrorism and especially mass-casuality terrorism presents the same practical challenges and can be addressed using the same tools as ordinary civilian crime.

      (2) The belief that terrorist and their supporters are impressed in any positive way by compassion or legalism.

      (3) The belief that “torture” means doing anything to anybody that would be done to US civilian criminal suspect.

      (4) A complete lack of understanding of any interrogation techniques or their success. I don’t suppose you have ask yourself the question of why, if military interrogation does not produce any useful information, those responsible for gathering information would continue to use it given the huge political liability in doing so? After nearly 5 years we have not, according to you, garnered any useful information from military interrogations so why should they burn any political capital by continuing to use them? Why do you think they do that? Sheer stubbornness?

    4. Mitch Says:

      My point (if I have one) is that McCain goes too far. I have no objections to outlawing the rack, drawing and quartering, fake executions, and other obvious abuses. This will outlaw placing any kind of physical or emotional stress on a prisoner with the intention of getting information. Waterboarding is out, and so are too-hot and too-cold cells, extended solitary confinement, and slapping or shaking.

      I didn’t go into it b/c I’m not a lawyer, but which venue is competent to hear appeals based on the UN convention? It may be the US courts, or it may be foreign ones. Perhaps it is the International Court of Justice. Has anyone thought this through past the sound-bite level?

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Okay, we’ve got to Mitchs here. Y’all need to differentiate yourselves so I know who to be mad at and about what.

    6. Mitch Says:

      No, Shannon, it’s all me. No evil twins.

    7. TM Lutas Says:

      There are three alternative futures as the McCain amendment passes.

      1. As predicted in the article, terrorist prisoners are treated as gently as present day US civilian criminals
      2. The Eighth amendment et al is adjusted downward after the next terrorist attack and civil liberties suffer across the board for those accused and convicted of ordinary crimes.
      3. All of the above with a meeting in the middle.

      I think it important to ask the anti-torture side, again and again in every forum possible. We are obligated by the Geneva Conventions to punish terrorists for committing war crimes sufficiently so that their command structure orders a policy of substantively following the customary laws of war. We are manifestly failing to do that harshly enough. How would you correct it.

      I have yet to receive a coherent answer, or even very many incoherent answers. This line of questioning seems to hit a nerve. I encourage all to adopt it.

    8. Don Says:

      I look upon torture as West Virgina, in that even though the Constitution specifically forbids “…no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State…” we still have an instance of that actually happening. I’m sure all the great legal minds have been able to rationalize what happened [depends on what the meaning of is is], but in plain post-colonial english we understand that is exactly what happened. It is rare and in the perspective we have accepted it has occured. We don’t encourage it and do not seek it. However, it’s done.

    9. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Shannon,

      Your response nicely encapsulates the sort of rationalizations that lead to a police state.

      (1) The belief that terrorism and especially mass-casuality terrorism presents the same practical challenges and can be addressed using the same tools as ordinary civilian crime.

      Don’t put words in my mouth. When we have actionable information I’m perfectly willing to call in special forces to put bullets in their heads or call in air strikes on the bad guys. However, when we have POW’s, I want them treated as POW’s in a civilized way, fully in accordance with the Geneva Conventions:

      Art. 13. Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated.

      Art. 14. Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour.

      Art. 17. Every prisoner of war, when questioned on the subject, is bound to give only his surname, first names and rank, date of birth, and army, regimental, personal or serial number, or failing this, equivalent information…No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.

      No winks and nods, no “we’ll just torture ‘em a little bit”, none of that.

      No doubt, someone will now argue that because these folks are not in uniform, lack military structures, etc. that the Geneva Conventions no longer apply. Again, this isn’t impressing them with our largesse, it’s about honoring our own principles of behavior. It’s about setting and maintaining standards for civilization. Al Queda and their ilk are passing phenomenons, our standards stay with us and influence us from generation to generation. It’s about what we expect from ourselves, not what we expect from them.

      (2) The belief that terrorist and their supporters are impressed in any positive way by compassion or legalism.

      This isn’t about impressing terrorists. It’s about protecting ourselves from ourselves. There are certain principles and standards we as a society are pledged to, among them are the constitution and the treaties of behavior we’ve signed. In the same way that freedom of speech is only meaningful when it applies not to those whose speech you agree with but to those whose words you detest, honoring our Geneva treaty obligations against torturing POW’s applies regardless of whether we believe them to be terrorists or not. It’s a standard of behavior we’ve set for ourselves as civilized people.

      (3) The belief that “torture” means doing anything to anybody that would be done to US civilian criminal suspect.

      It means torture as defined in the Conventions.

      (4) A complete lack of understanding of any interrogation techniques or their success.

      You assume a lot. I know enough to understand what antiterrorist units and special forces are trained to withstand as simulations of enemy torture. Similar in many respects to the techniques we’ve been employing.

      I hear your arguments but remain completely unpersuaded. The idea that we just can’t win the WOT without torturing prisoners on a routine basis strikes me as another rationalization on your part, less grounded in fact than your personal beliefs or anecdotal reading.

      I would, however, be willing to grant exceptions on a case by case basis. For example, were there good reason to believe a WMD had been planted somewhere and good reason to believe a certain individual had specific knowledge, I would accept a presidential directive for that person to be tortured. But that should give an idea of how rare and exceptional I believe it should be.

    10. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I think it important to ask the anti-torture side, again and again in every forum possible. We are obligated by the Geneva Conventions to punish terrorists for committing war crimes sufficiently so that their command structure orders a policy of substantively following the customary laws of war. We are manifestly failing to do that harshly enough. How would you correct it.

      TM, the idea that torturing folks is going to turn them from the path of terrorism or teach them to fight in a more civilized way is a little hard to swallow.

      Terrorism is asymmetrical warfare pure and simple. They fight that way because they can’t field an army against a far superior opponent. Torturing them is not going to change that judgement on balance of forces. Terrorism is defeated when the local population stops enabling and supporting it.

    11. Boo Says:

      We have gained a lot of bad intelligence through torture, including the claim that Al Qaeda operated terrorist camps in Iraq (part of the “bad intelligence” Bush finally admitted to). This type of bad intelligence results in making the unwinnable war in Iraq even more unwinnable through the exposure of its illegitimate justifications. It also distracts law enforcement and intelligence agencies from pursuing good intelligence. Craig Murray the former ambassador to Uzbekistan says that intelligence gathered through rendering to torture states (where prisoners are boiled alive among other things) is then laundered and fed to foreign intelligence by the CIA, with no mention of its dubious origin, and that this has been an enormous distraction and hindrance to the British WOT.

      We are obligated by the Geneva Conventions to punish terrorists for committing war crimes sufficiently so that their command structure orders a policy of substantively following the customary laws of war. We are manifestly failing to do that harshly enough. How would you correct it.

      Terrorist leaders are not impressed by compassion, but they gain recruits by the increasingly plausible perception among Muslims that America is engaged in a ruthless war against Islam.

      You assume that because we have failed to stop terrorism it is because we have not been “harsh enough.” This is the fallacy that makes terrorism work. Terrorism’s function is to attract new recruits. It relies on the states it targets to overreact and harm innocents in its blind attempts to catch the “evildoers.” These innocents perceive that they were targeted because of their race, class, ethnicity, etc. and they and their friends and family and coreligionists become the new recruits.

      The militia movement in America was at its peak after Waco and Ruby Ridge (two government overreactions that harmed women and children). After the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI had evidence of a broader conspiracy involving the Militia movement, and could have swept in and rounded up every person with a confederate flag or a crewcut, raided militia headquarters, imposed martial law, declared a “war on militias” etc. But they didn’t. They treated it as a law enforcement matter and targeted the single individuals responsible. As a result the militia movement lost “soft members” who were horrified by the carnage at Oklahoma. It created no new martyrs that would attract new recruits and the militia movement went into a dramatic decline as a result.

      You can’t frame a conflict in terms of good guys versus “evildoers” and then engage in an act that is almost universally recognized as the height of evil.

    12. LotharBot Says:

      “this isn’t impressing them with our largesse, it’s about honoring our own principles of behavior. It’s about setting and maintaining standards for civilization.”

      No, it’s not. The Geneva conventions are, and have always been, about establishing a uniform standard of behavior for warfare between nations. What’s going on here is not warfare between nations (or, at least, some nations won’t admit it *COUGH* IRAN *COUGH* SYRIA *COUGH*) Part of the reason for the specific guidelines for the treatment of captured uniformed combatants is to establish for all parties involved that their combatants should be uniformed. Failure to live up to the conventions by making your troops wear uniforms means they won’t be protected by the conventions when captured.

      If some particular nation will own up and say “these combatants are our troops” I’d be more than happy to see them treated like normal POW’s while the US and allies manhandle that nation’s government. But as long as they’re fighting out of uniform and without a clearly identified command structure, they’ve forfeited their right to be treated well.

      Boo: what makes you think the war in Iraq is “unwinnable”? The Iraqis sure seem to think it’s being won…

    13. dick Says:

      Michael Hiteshaw,

      I reject the idea that this is about protecting ourselves from ourselves. The whole concept of this is to protect our country. If you are not willing to do that, then just what are you willing to do. You are talking about prisoners of war. These are not prisoners of war. They are not identifiable to any set nation that we are fighting. We are fighting a part of a religious group that wants to destroy us totally and kill anyone who will not convert to their beliefs. Are you so insecure in your beliefs that you will let them do that so you can pat yourself on the back and say you did not descend to their level?

      My other main problem is that they do not define just what torture is. Cruel and inhumane treatment is a moving target. What is cruel and inhumane to you may not be cruel and inhumane to the guys on the ground. Are you then going to say that your definition is better than theirs when you were not there to see the circumstances? You are setting yourself up as a Monday morning quarterback when you do that and I personally thing our troops are worth more than being put in that situation. After all a slight holding back at the wrong time and they are dead. Are you then going to say that the system worked because the prisoner was OK even though the troops died? After all remember that young Marine that Kevin Sites wrote about. What if he had been right and the guy he shot was alive. Then the Marine and all his fellow Marines and Kevin Sites would be dead. That is why I do not think this is the right legislation to be passing at this time.

    14. Shannon Love Says:

      Michael Hiteshew,

      Okay, so you say we should reject the standards laid down by the Geneva convention and automatically grant the full protections granted to US civil criminals to anyone captured under any circumstances by the military or intelligence services?

      I would remind you that the Geneva convention makes a sharp distinction between lawful and unlawful combatants for highly pragmatic reasons. Under the convention, anyone caught in arms who has not made at least the most minimal attempts at differentiate themselves from non-combants can be treated as “spies and saboteurs” and face summary execution. Without that distinction the convention has no actual means of enforcing humane behavior.

      In 1947, when the current convention was ratified, there was no substantial disagreement over the fate of those who did not follow the rules of humane warfare. We are having this debate today because in our contemporary oh-so-sophisticated mindset we find ourselves actually debating whether intentionally targeting civilians, using civilians for cover or disguising soldiers as civilians to carry out attacks are in fact legitimate ruses of war which should not draw sanction. In 1947, every one would have assumed that the people whose treatment we are now debating over would have been executed shortly after capture.

      So in truth it is I who is following both the letter and the spirit of the Geneva Convention and it is you who wish to destroy it. You would reduce the GC and all other attempts to ameliorate the horrors of war by law mere words on paper waved in the air by the sanctimonious.

    15. Shannon Love Says:

      Boo,

      “You can’t frame a conflict in terms of good guys versus “evildoers” and then engage in an act that is almost universally recognized as the height of evil.”

      So l:

      (1) Keeping someone uncomfortably but not dangerously hot or cold is the height of evil.
      (2) Forcing someone to sit or stand in an uncomfortable but not physically harmful position for extended periods is the height of evil?
      (3) Depriving someone of sleep for up to 48 hours is the height of evil?
      (4) Exposing someone to their phobias but not actually endangering them is the height of evil?
      (5) Inducing the sensation of drowning but not actually putting the individual in danger of drowning is the height of evil?

      I think your “height” of evil is something of a molehill.

    16. Markee Sad Says:

      No need to get worked up! That the good folks continue to use a form of torture that is claimed not to elicit good results does not mean that the use of such techniques is wrong. It simply means that many working for govt or in the military are creatures of habit. And dumb.

      The govt (ie, the military et al) will always find ways to circumvent whatever rules are on the books, as we have discovered when Pres Bush was found to toss aside court approvals for spying (via NSA) on American citizens, and then told the publid that it was for their own good. Question: if the FBI, which is allowed legally to spy on citizens needed in thepast to have court approval for wiretaps, do they no longer need this, since they too are in the Stop Terror Game? Just asking.

    17. Shannon Love Says:

      Markee Sad,

      The NSA has the legal authority to monitor international communications of all kinds without warrant. The current “scandal” with the NSA is based on misunderstanding of the law. FISA warrants are only required for communications that occur exclusively within the US.

      People like yourself are destroying institutions like the Geneva convention and search oversight because you cannot be bothered to educate yourself on both their theory and practice. You simply bleat along behind the last sound bite.

    18. Boo Says:

      FISA warrants are only required for communications that occur exclusively within the US.

      Huh?

      (1)Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that
      (A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at

      (i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or
      (ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;

      (B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party; and
      (C) the proposed minimization procedures with respect to such surveillance meet the definition of minimization procedures under section 1801 (h) of this title; and

    19. Boo Says:

      Shannon Love:
      (5) Inducing the sensation of drowning but not actually putting the individual in danger of drowning is the height of evil?

      Uh, yes. CIA officers and Navy Seals who were being trained to resist torture lasted an average of 14 seconds with this technique before begging to confess. Y’all are big fans of Orwell; his definition in 1984 of the worst torture was to exploit a person’s phobias. Manipulating a person’s circadian rythms is well-documented to induce psychosis. Even the Justice Department’s retracted slimy definition of torture says that things likely to induce PTSD and OCD would constitute torture by any standard and it’s clear from the reports of Guantanamo’s psych wards and the number of suicide attempts that the interrogations are resulting in this. Just because the military is choosing the methods least likely to leave physical scars doesn’t mean that it’s not torture. Psychological torture is more effective and its effects often more disabling than physical torture because people can blot out pain, and it still leads to the person saying whatever they perceive their torturer wants to hear.

      You say these techniques aren’t dangerous but detainees have died from hypothermia and smothering and from “stress positions,” which was also one of the ways John McCain was tortured. We have no way of knowing how many may have suffered permanent physical harm or psychiatric harm because there is no transparency.

      And bear in mind, none of these people has been convicted of a crime; some of them are not even suspected of participating or plotting violence; they are suspected of knowing something useful. There are well documented cases of mistaken identities (Masri) and the government admitted to paying warlords for “foreign fighters” which in many cases just meant foreigners. If you had a relative whom the government decided might know something useful about terrorism and they wanted to apply these techniques to them, would you give them carte blanche for the “good of the country?” If you say yes, I don’t believe you. Rather it’s OK because you are relatively certain that this will never happen to you or anyone you care about.

      The government has argued (in response to hypotheticals posed by the judge) that it should have the right to seize “a little old lady in Switzerland” who unknowingly gives money to a charity that is a front for Al Qaeda or a teacher in Ireland who tutors the son of an Al Qaeda member, and hold them as enemy combatants. They have claimed the right to hold American citizens as enemy combatants. They have never said they will only use “harsh interrogation” methods on people they know to have committed violent acts. This administration has refused oversight or transparency at every turn and you want to give them the right to torture too.

      Torture does not help the WOT; it hinders it. In a democracy, a war must have public support to succeed. Just look at the consequences of torture in Chicago: Chicago police torture confessions out of suspects; public scrutiny reveals that 12 of Illinois death row inmates were convicted based on torture-induced confessions; the death penalty loses public credibility; a weakened and embarrassed Republican Governor is forced to commute the sentences of all the inmates on death row and the anti-death penalty movement gains valuable momentum, leading to among other things: the supreme court senses a “changing public standard” and rules accordingly.

    20. Shannon Love Says:

      Boo,

      “Uh, yes. CIA officers and Navy Seals who were being trained to resist torture lasted an average of 14 seconds…”

      I think you meant 14 minutes. Virtually anyone can stand 14 seconds of simulated suffocation. From my readings most motivated people can easily go for 5-10 minutes the first time and in some cases people have withstood hours of it. Once you get your mind around the idea that you are not actually suffocating, you can withstand it for extended periods. That is the entire justification for subjecting trainees to the technique in the first place.

      “Psychological torture is more effective and its effects often more disabling than physical torture…”

      Nope, not even close. It might play that way in Hollywood but real studies of torture victims have clearly shown that the degree of lasting harm is directly related to the degree of bodily injury.

      Sleep deprivation psychosis requires deprivations of more than 72 hours at a minimum. The guidelines clearly prevent this from happening. Even if a person is driven to such extremes by accident, the effects are wholly temporary. A good nights sleep will reverse the effects.

      If you had a relative whom the government decided might know something useful about terrorism and they wanted to apply these techniques to them, would you give them carte blanche for the “good of the country?”

      Actually, if I thought a relative was intentionally withholding information I would volunteer to apply the techniques personally. I would be far harsher in my judgement of someone I was responsible for than I would be for a stranger. You are free to believe this or not but my children are completely convinced that if they ever actually commit a serious crime their only hope is throw themselves onto the mercy of the authorities and hope they get lockup somewhere where I cannot get to them.

      The idea that harsh interrogation produces nothing but false information is simply not true. It may produce a lot of false info but then so does every other form of intelligence. The first rule of military intelligence is that every interaction provides information of some kind. Even the lies people tell are revealing. The major goal here is to keep people talking. Without the ability to wear people down, they simply can say nothing. Al-Quada training pre-9/11 in fact emphasized that members taken prisoner by the US had nothing to fear and should just remain mute.

      You should remember that this is a war and that innocent people are going to get hurt no matter what we do. If we forgo harsh interrogations, then people will die as a result of the lost intelligence. Hundreds, if not thousands of lives have already been saved by heading off attacks in Iraq with intelligence gathered by interrogations that definitely exceed the standards of US civilian jurisprudence.

      I would certainly prefer not to get my hands dirty. Nothing would please me more than to be able to clearly stake out a moral high ground and play the part of Dudley Doright but I simply believe that far more innocent people will be hurt by forgoing interrogation than in doing them. I feel morally impelled to make the decision that will save the most suffering and not the one that will look good.

      People like yourself have clearly never studied real-world torture. I have. Calling these techniques torture is a brutal slap in the face to the millions across the world who have been actually tortured.

    21. Anonymous Says:

      Shannon Love
      People like yourself have clearly never studied real-world torture. I have. Calling these techniques torture is a brutal slap in the face to the millions across the world who have been actually tortured.

      I’m afraid I don’t know you so I am unwilling to take you at your word. Please explain for me your credentials for having “studied real-world torture.” Does that mean you’ve read a lot about it? So have I. Do you have a degree in torture? Have you written a disertation on torture? Are you a certified counselor of torture survivors? Do you work for the CIA?

      Uh, yes. CIA officers and Navy Seals who were being trained to resist torture lasted an average of 14 seconds…”

      I think you meant 14 minutes. Virtually anyone can stand 14 seconds of simulated suffocation. From my readings most motivated people can easily go for 5-10 minutes the first time and in some cases people have withstood hours of it. Once you get your mind around the idea that you are not actually suffocating, you can withstand it for extended periods. That is the entire justification for subjecting trainees to the technique in the first place.

      No, I meant 14 seconds. I get this from numerous news sources about waterboarding, including this one which says,
      “According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.”

      Please link to your credible source on waterboarding which states “most motivated people can easily go for 5-10 minutes the first time.” Bear in mind, suffocation and drowning are not the same thing.

      And whether you call something torture or not is irrelevant. US law defines torture as:

      10 Section 2340 provides in full: As used in this chapter (1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

      (2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from

      (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (C) the threat of imminent death; or (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

      [Emphasis mine] The revised DOJ memo retracted the acrobatic definition of torture that Gonzales, Yoo, et al put forward and states of the torture statute:

      “Because the statute does not define “severe,” “we construe [the] term in accordance with its ordinary or natural meaning.”"

      They then quote several dictionary definitions of severe, including: “Hard to sustain or endure.”

      Therefore, if ABC’s claim that trained CIA operatives and Navy Seals lasted only an average of 14 seconds of waterboarding, it is, by the DOJ’s own definition, torture.

    22. IveSeenItDone Says:

      Its 14 seconds, and the reason its so bad is because you begin to gag and vomit when the water is poured up your nose.

      Because your face is wrapped in celophane, the vomit has no way to escape, so the person swallows and partially aspirates it. This makes the everything much worse. The combination of coughing, drowning and aspirating water/vomit, being completly helpless and unable to move make it very very bad for the person.

      After 1-2 of these, almost everybody caves in.