Friday, October 27, 2006

U.S.: Vice President Endorses Torture-Cheney Expresses Approval of the CIA's Use of Waterboarding

(Washington, DC, October 26, 2006) U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has issued the Bush administration's first clear endorsement of a form of torture known as waterboarding, or mock drowning, said Human Rights Watch today.

In a radio interview yesterday, Cheney agreed that subjecting prisoners to a dunk in water is a ´┐Żno-brainer if it could save lives. After being asked about this technique, he said that such interrogations have been a very important tool used against high-level al Qaeda detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and that they do not, in his view, constitute torture.

Cheney's comments on the legality of waterboarding contradict the views of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Defense Department, as well as fundamental principles of international law, and could come back to haunt the United States if not corrected by the Bush administration, Human Rights Watch warned.

If Iran or Syria detained an American, Cheney is saying that it would be perfectly fine for them to hold that American's head under water until he nearly drowns, if that's what they think they need to do to save Iranian or Syrian lives, said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

Waterboarding dates at least to the Spanish Inquisition, when it was known as the tormenta de toca. It has been used by some of the most cruel dictatorships in modern times, including the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In some versions of the technique, prisoners are strapped to a board, their faces covered with cloth or cellophane, and water is poured over their mouths to stimulate drowning; in others, they are dunked head-first into water.

The complete story may be found here:


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