Torture Memos: Waterboarding





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Published on Apr 19, 2009


#109! For this song, I took language directly from the torture memos. Lyrics below.

the detainee is lying on a gurney
that's inclined at an angle: 10 to 15 degrees
a cloth is placed over the detainee's face
cold water is poured on the cloth

the wet cloth creates
a barrier through which
it is difficult or in some cases not possible
for the detainee to breathe

if the detainee
makes an effort to defeat the technique
by twisting his head to the side and breathing
out the corner of his mouth
the interrogator may cup his hands around
the detainees nose and mouth
in which case it would not be posible for him to breathe!

As we explained
in the Section 2340A Memorandum,
"pain and suffering"
(as used in Section 2340)
is best understood as a single concept,
not distinct concepts
of "pain" as distinguished from "suffering"...

The waterboard,
which inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever,
does not, in our view inflict "severe pain or suffering".
Even if one were to parse the statute more finely
to treat "suffering" as a distinct concept,
the waterboard could not be said to inflict severe sufering.

The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.

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