Jul 3, 2008

Drowning not waving

"You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it 'simulates' the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning" — Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair.
Watching the video you are struck by the eerie innocuousness of it all: Hitchens is led into a room, blindfolded, made to lie down, tied; towels are held firmly over his face, then someone sploshes water over his mouth from a plastic cannister, much as you might water a plant. Only once the blindfold is taken off, do you see the look of gasping asphyxia on his face. I guess this is why it's the tehcnique they're using. The psychological effects of torture on the torturer are well known ("Many young men have 'taken up the game' and have thereby passed from mental health and stability into terrifying states of decay, from which some will probably never recover," wrote Alec Mellor, in 1972, about the French use of torture in Algeria) but when someone is waterboarded, you don't hear anything, there is no blood, there is no struggle, you don't even see their face.

No comments:

Post a Comment