Last night on Countdown with Keith Olbermann spent 7 minutes elaborating on a concept first REPORTED here at Daily Kos in a RecList diary last Friday- Although Olbermann did not cite the diary, it was a near-perfect paraphrase:
- In 2002, The Department of Justice OLC found that waterboarding is harmless ("No water enters the lungs").
- The waterboarding actually used on detainees fit the 2002 OLC definition of torture. (It causes spasms of the lungs, requiring medical intervention to prevent death)
- When the 2002 memos were rescinded, the OLC simply redefined torture to allow the waterboarding that fit the previous definition of torture.
(They mandated that a medical doctor with surgical tools be present during waterboarding to prevent death.)
The circumstances surrounding the legal approval of waterboarding are shameful. Marcy Wheeler is currently doing incredible work to show that the Bush Administration designed the torture program without any legal input. After initial implementation, the DOD and CIA went to the OLC to get the green light.
It is now evident that the CIA and OLC worked together to put together a fairy tale about how waterboarding was "harmless", which allowed John Yoo and Jay Bybee at the OLC to give the green light.
But in truth, waterboarding was anything but harmless, and it is now evident from reading the recently released "2005 Bradbury Memo" that at least one detainee, Abu Zubaydah and/or alleged Cole mastermind al-Nashiri, was waterboarded to the point of near death.
Since in 2002, Yoo and Bybee had defined TORTURE as any technique that is "likely to result in permanent and serious physical damage in the absence of immediate medical treatment" (See ""2002 Torture Definition Memo" (PDF)"), the CIA was stuck with the unfortunate fact that their real-world waterboarding was in fact, TORTURE.
So instead of stopping TORTURE, they just changed the definition and required a doctor with surgical tools to be present in the room where waterboarding took place (See "2005 Bradbury Memo"):
...a detainee could suffer spasms of the larynx that would prevent him from breathing even when the application of water is stopped and the detainee is returned to an upright position. In the event of such spasms, a qualified physician would immediately intervene to address the problem, and, if necessary, the intervening physician would perform a tracheotomy.... we are informed that the necessary emergency medical equipment is always present- although not visible to the detainee- during any application of the waterboard.
A tracheotomy is a surgery in which a physician cuts into a patient's neck, slicing through the skin and into the airway (trachea). Then a tube is inserted into the hole to provide an airway to the lungs. A Tracheotomy Kit is a collection of surgical tools to complete this emergency operation:
Watch Olbermann and Jonathan Turley hammer the concepts home in this Countdown Segment (which I am too technologically inept to imbed (Where's Jed?)):
My apologies to Keith OLBERMANN and readers for misspelling Mr. Olbermann's name in the title and text of earlier versions of the diary. It was not intentional. I hope my corrections will keep readers from being distracted from the point that we "did it here first." dKos is helping drive the media!
Again, I am sorry for the mistakes.