Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent – 2008-04-27 23:01:56
ONDON (22 April 2008) — An American expert in torture techniques has denounced his government for allowing “waterboarding” to be practised against terror suspects, just as a graphic advertisement showing the brutal reality of the technique is unveiled to British cinema-goers.
Malcolm Nance, who trained hundreds of US servicemen and women to resist interrogation by putting them through “waterboarding” exercises, demanded an immediate end to the practice by all US personnel.
He said: “They seem to think it is worth throwing the honour of 220 years of American decency in war out of the window. Waterboarding is out-and-out torture, and I’m deeply ashamed President Bush has authorised its use and dragged the US’s reputation into the mud.”
Mr Bush faced criticism recently when he vetoed a Bill that would have outlawed such methods of “enhanced interrogation” – the White House refuses to describe it as torture.
Mr Nance said: “You have a purpose-built table with straps in a pattern so that people can be strapped and unstrapped quickly. The head is strapped down in such a way so they cannot resist the water. The head is elevated so the water goes down the oesophagus.
“The water is poured very carefully over the nose – you keep a constant pour. You are drowning in water but you don’t have the ability to hold your breath. You feel the water going in, you understand that water is filling your lungs.”
Mr Nance, who is now an independent consultant, said the technique was also futile, as well as barbaric, as the prisoner would say anything to survive – regardless of its truth.
Amnesty International is leading the campaign to persuade the US to abandon the practice – a form of torture used as long ago as the Spanish Inquisition – and is stepping up its efforts with the release of a graphic and disturbing advertisement.
The broadcast begins with images of glistening clear liquid, suggesting it could be promoting a new brand of vodka or gin. But the camera pulls back to show water is being poured over the face of a desperate man strapped to a table.
Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, said: “Our film shows you what the CIA doesn’t want you to see – the disgusting reality of half-drowning a person.
“For a few seconds, our film-makers did it for real. Even for those few seconds, it’s horrifying to watch. The reality – in a secret prison with no one to stop it – is much, much worse.”
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Making of ‘The Stuff of Life’
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Waiting For The Guards – Backstory
Waiting for the Guards is not a normal film. What you are watching is a real person going through the excruciating pain of Stress Positions over a period of 6 hours. We decided that the only way to show the horror of this “enhanced interrogation procedure” that the CIA and others use was to show you the reality of it. There is no acting from the prisoner. He is in pain. Real pain. These links take you to more info, pics and video on the making of the film.
Marc Cave, Producer:
It’s a spooky thing watching one man stood on a cardboard box stripped, hooded & handcuffed, while another man is just plain bored.
It’s easier to understand primal aggression. If the interrogator was beating the living daylights out of the detainee, you’d know where you were. When Al Pacino was tortured with a chainsaw in Scarface, it was sickening but familiar. We’re used to all that sadistic bad guy stuff.
When you see this kind of calm, casual brutalism, it takes away all the usual moral reference points. Good guys & bad guys; right & wrong. There’s a comfort in these absolutes. But the workaday office tedium of extracting a confession – now that’s a new one. You feel sick about the bloke on the box. But what kind of humanoid has the other bloke become?
“The Prisoner”, Jiva Parthipan
I work as a performance artist and a live artist. So I was excited when Marc asked me to be part of the project. Previously I used to be a dancer and am in good physical form.
When Marc suggested the stress positions, I knew it will be hard but I am pretty used to endurance based work. I thought that my body will take it for about 15 minutes before it gives in.
So I was surprised that after about 6 minutes (which was already with much difficulty) that I will be squatting involuntarily with out being able to get up unless somebody helped me out of it
Then I will have a short break, de-hoodded, stretch and repeat it all over again. The more I did the less time I was able to do it. With the mask and standing on a rickety box already dislocates the balance. I thought I will fall off the box on my face.
Stress positionBut I was lucky. I knew I could stop any time I wanted to. Also the people around me were very supportive and kind. I knew what was going to happen after the film shoot(meet friends) and definitely knew where I was.
It bears not thinking what it will be like if you were in those positions for much longer, in an undisclosed location and not knowing what was going to happen next!!!
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