It just dawned on me tonight, all this talk and discussion, especially in our esteemed "press" and from our distinguished "leaders" about "harsh interrogation techniques" (i.e. torture) always concentrates on this concept of "waterboarding".
Here's one little sample, from a current (and excellent) diary by Valtin:
They were "given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk." The reported techniques are said to have included waterboarding.
I'm sick of this. Every discussion about our torturing people, whether it's the Mukasey confirmation or anything else, concentrates on this goddamn "waterboarding" to the exclusion of all the other torture techniques that we know have been used. Why, you'd think that "waterboarding" was absolutely the worst technique used!
Which is exactly what they want us to think.
How about genital mutilation? Because that's what they've been doing, and there is photographic evidence of it.
They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Maybe an inch. At first I just screamed ... I was just shocked, I wasn't expecting ... Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn't want to scream because I knew it was coming.
One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said.
They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.
Doctor No 1 carried a briefcase. "You're all right, aren't you? But I'm going to say a prayer for you." Doctor No 2 gave me an Alka-Seltzer for the pain.
Clive Stafford-Smith, the legal director of Reprieve representing Mr Mohammed, said that he also knows the identity of the agents who were present when his client was allegedly beaten and tortured. Writing to Mr Miliband, he said: "Given the opportunity, we can prove that the evidence was the fruit of torture. Indeed, we can prove that a photographic record was made of this by the CIA. Through diligent investigation we know when the CIA took pictures of Mr Mohammed's brutalised genitalia, we know the identity of the CIA agents who were present including the person who took the pictures (we know both their false identities and their true names), and we know what those pictures show."
Now I don't care if this guy, Binyam Mohammed, was Osama bin Laden himself, this is just plain wrong. We just don't treat people like this. This is, as his lawyers put it, "medieval. We didn't do this to Timothy McVeigh, we didn't do it to Jeffrey Dahmer, we simply don't do this even to the worst of criminals. But that's beside the point.
My point is that every discussion of torture in the media, or with our politicians, always revolves around this concept of "waterboarding". Not genital mutilation. They even came up with a dandy little name for what is really "simulated drowning". I mean, it sounds like a sport! "Waterboarding!" Heck, where can I get me one of them waterboards!? I'd like to try that! They've even had people in the media supposedly have it done to them, on camera, so we can all see it's really not that bad! They're going to great pains to show that there's some question as to whether or not it's unpleasant enough to be considered "torture".
And that's the key. I would like to see any of those pro-waterboard pundits, or politicians, volunteer to have their penises slashed with a razor and tell us whehter or not it feels like torture. Sean Hannity? How about you? Want to have your penis slashed? Cheney? How 'bout you? Live on national television, come on, be a man for the first time in your pathetic life! Bush? Are you game? C'mon, show us it's REALLY not that bad!
And just as a reminder, what happened at Abu Ghraib, and what probably happens elsewhere, all around the world in those secret prisons they're trying to hide from us, in those netherworldly zones of dubious nationality and allegiance, was even far worse than genital mutilation.
Let's talk about other tapes and photos that have been destroyed. The ones that showed, according to Congresspeople who saw them, rape and murder and the abuse of children, sometimes in front of their parents:
"Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."
I don't want to any more focus on "waterboarding" when it comes to torture. They're lying to us.
Even today, in a bit of theatre provided to us by ABC "news", supposedly what was on those destroyed CIA tapes was a man being waterboarded. Nothing more. Just a little waterboarding which made him confess very quickly, a virtual suppository!
They WANT us to think "waterboarding" is as bad as it gets. It is not. It is most definitely not.