Waterboarding ourselves a better world?

“We tortured some folks.”

Barack Obama

WaterboardingOn third of December 2014 the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence declassified and released a 500-page portion of their massive report confirming the use of torture by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, CIA. The incidents reported in this document took place between 2001 and 2006.

The “interrogation methods” used include death threats, stress positions, waterboarding, rectal feeding, threats to hurt detainee’s children, inducing hypothermia, mock executions, sleep deprivation and many, many more.

If anyone thinks that these things do not count as torture, they should should try a session of Waterboarding or “Humiliation Slapping” and “Face-Grabbing”.

The information released in the report is disturbing, yet not surprising. It confirms the worst things citizens of the western world have feared their authorities might be doing.

Expect the worst from your government and they will never let you down.

Here is the released document


Shorter summaries

The report is rather long. Here are some articles that will give you the main things that were revealed.


Quick memes for very busy people

If you are really busy or impatient, here are the atrocities in form of easy Internet-memes.


The doublespeak

The agency’s euphemism of choice is “Enhanced Interrogation”.
Here is more about Doublespeak and other methods of dishonest communication:

Involvement of other nations

Many European nations may have assisted CIA in their activities involving torture.


Regrettably also my country, Finland is mentioned as one of the nations facilitating the these appalling activities.

In order to restore credibility of our countries commitment to the rule of law and respect of human rights, action is needed. It is needed in Finland and in many other places. We should find out exactly which authorities in which countries have facilitated and to what extent they knew or should have known what is going on. If it turns out that the torture has been assisted knowingly, the individuals in question should be punished.

So did it work?

Not that it is really relevant, but did it?

Some would argue the torture intimidates the detainee to reveal any information he has. That it is probably true.

Others would point out that the torture does not actually provide useful intelligence, since the detainee will say whatever he assumes the torturers would like to hear. He wants the torture to end.

This is also true and may have happened here.

See footnote 857:

“The truth is that torture did work, but not the way its defenders claim.”

“So, while CIA head John Brennan now says it’s “unknowable” if torture lead to information that actually saved lives, it’s provable that torture lead to information that helped lead to war and destroyed lives.”

More reading


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