work in progress;  torture; specifically waterboarding;  dershowitz theory;  christopher hitchens experience;  

Study these two episodes of water boarding.  We are thankful to hitchens and oliver for their experiments.   Do you consider this TORTURE when applied to hardened trained terrorists? Do you believe that 10 minutes of waterboarding even compares with the hours of sheer terror voluntarily undertaken by terrorists when engaged in the act of terrorism which IN TURN inflicts yet an extraordinary amount of terror on victims and family.  THIS IS POLTICAL CRAPOLA.  Terrrorist are trained to withstand 48 hours of torture upon capture to allow the terror network to recoup from the caputre of a member.    

Grim ... shocked Oliver is laid out on the board

  Terror ... towel is wrapped tightly round head
I'm drowning ... Oliver battled his fears, but he felt he was about to die 

by OLIVER HARVEY, Chief Feature Writer

THE fierce debate over the waterboarding interrogation technique was reignited this week when former US President George Bush revealed how terror plots in London had been foiled after its use by the CIA.

Human rights campaigners call it torture. Relatives of those who died in the 7/7 London bombings believe it can help prevent similar atrocities.

The Sun's Oliver Harvey agreed to brave the brutal process to describe what it is like.

He was filmed and you can watch the video below.

Here is his grim report.

BLINDFOLDED and wet with cold sweat, I was led by my balaclava-clad interrogator to a raised wooden board set on trestles in a farm shed.

My captor roughly pushed me down on to the tilted hard wood and quickly wrapped a white towel around my head until it was tight on my face. 

Then in my twilight world of darkness and muffled sound, the water began to trickle, then splash, into my nose and gasping mouth. I was desperate to hold my breath, to fight the sensation to gag.

My "interrogator" - acting like a CIA agent desperate to get information from a terrorist - barked somewhere to my right in the pitch dark: "Confess. Give me names, locations."

Oliver Harvey ... torture test
Oliver Harvey ... torture test
Paul Edwards

I began to fight for breath through waves of nausea. I was desperate to stay calm, desperate not to inhale.

But the water kept flooding into my nostrils and mouth and I began to choke.

Now I was entering another circle of hell. I felt I was drowning, like a huge boulder was on my chest pushing me beneath the ocean waves.

Shivering, I wanted to scream a thousand screams but nothing came out and the water kept gushing in.

I was being waterboarded.

I agreed to experience the horrors of this interrogation technique after former US president George W. Bush this week claimed that terror plots targeting London's Canary Wharf and Heathrow Airport had been averted after al-Qaeda leaders were waterboarded.

The night before my ordeal I was restless. I read on the internet in an unconfirmed report that al-Qaeda chief Khalid Sheik Mohammed - the mastermind of the 9/11 atrocities - had impressed his interrogators by holding out for around two and half minutes before cracking. Others have said they "only washed his damn face" before he talked.

I knew I could stop my waterboarding at any time, that I would always have a doctor at my side, but the fear was real.

The next morning I was taken to a remote farmhouse by my special forces contact and - with the doctor and full medical kit in place - was told to wait outside a corrugated iron outbuilding.

To make the experience seem real, I was approached from behind, my hands were suddenly yanked behind my back and a black mask was pulled over my eyes.

Then I was dragged inside and hauled on to the raised and tilted wooden board, my feet a good six inches higher than my head, with my hands trapped and held in place under my buttocks.

My "torturer" was an experienced former special forces operator who agreed to the task as long as his anonymity was preserved.

Also a military-trained medic, he told me beforehand: "As interrogation techniques go it's amazingly effective in making people talk and it doesn't leave any marks.

"You inhale water and you feel like you're drowning. It hits your basic mammalian responses.

"You want to breathe in air but it's water that's flooding in. Most crack very quickly."

Captive ... Sun man Oliver Harvey blindfolded, his hands held
Captive ... Sun man Oliver Harvey blindfolded, his hands held
Paul Edwards

Also on hand was an NHS doctor with years of experience on A&E wards. He didn't want to be named either.

In a briefing, he told me: "When the towel goes on and the water starts pouring in you might feel very nauseous.

"If you are sick please do it to the side rather than on your front. Otherwise you might choke on your vomit as well as drown from the water."

He added: "After that you will become hypoxic - that is you will get less and less oxygen to your brain which will simulate drowning. The more carbon dioxide which accumulates in the brain, then the more confused and anxious you will become.

"Then you will begin dipping in and out of consciousness."

Soon the soft texture of the towel was being wrapped around my features.

A slight pause and then the splash of water. I had resolved to remain calm, hold my breath, at least make a token resistance.

But in the few moments it took for the water to seep through the towelling I was already gagging, fighting for air, desperate for breath.

My interrogator's shouts of "confess, confess" added to the panic, the darkness of my blindfold to the disorientation.

The water was now pouring down my nostrils and into my lungs, I was choking and my mind a fog. Like a nightmare you can't wake up from, the water kept coming. And then I could stand it no more.

Bolt upright, my blindfold ripped off and coughing up liquid I wailed: "I'm drowning."

I had lasted 12 seconds of this revolting and inhumane practice.

My personal opinion?

This is no "interrogation technique" but torture pure and simple with no place in a civilised society.

I would have told my interrogator anything they wanted to hear to make it stop.






Sun security adviser

YES, waterboarding is horrendous. The sensation of drowning is overwhelming.


The trouble is, when you use the word "torture" it becomes an emotional issue.


But if you take the emotions away, waterboarding is a tool that can be effective if used right.


Putting physical pressure on somebody does work, especially if used in connection with a psychological element. You are not going to get any long-term strategic information by waterboarding.


And often the sort of captive you would use it on is fairly low-level anyway, so they would not have that information. If you take the example of the 7/7 bombings and you captured one of the bombers 24 hours before, and he had information that could save lives, would you use waterboarding to get that information?


Or would you give him the rights he expects from a society he is trying to destroy?


I know I would use it.








THE main problem of waterboarding is the threat of inhaling water.


Your nostrils fill with water so you have to breathe through your mouth in between getting intermittent mouthfuls of water.


The difficulty in breathing is enough to cause respiratory distress.


There is also a risk of infection from any water you may swallow, or even inhale, if it is not clean.


If you get water in the top of your wind-pipe it can make the airways narrow and cause difficulty in breathing.


With "dry drowning" your airway constricts as if you are drowning so you can't breathe.


Then on top of those dangers there are also the possible psychological complications.


For people with conditions like asthma - or who have anxiety problems - I would think they could get very ill and might even faint or collapse.

Brophy Wednesday 22 September 2010 - 09:12 am | | Brophy Blog

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