The use of waterboarding as a torture method against suspected terrorists was far more extensive in the CIA’s secret program than was previously admitted
The CIA has contended that three detainees—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abdel Rahim Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah—were the only ones who were waterboarded during interrogations. But The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported that at least 13 detainees were subjected to waterboarding-like tactics while being interrogated.
In these cases, men endured “water dousing” that, like waterboarding, could simulate a drowning sensation or chill a person’s body temperature through immersion in water, with or without the use of a board, causing them to suffer hypothermia.
Some familiar with the incidents, including one interrogator, say that water dousing versus waterboarding “a distinction without a difference,” according to The Guardian.
Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch, who has investigated torture for the group, said the CIA was being “entirely disingenuous” in claiming it waterboarded only three people, according to the British newspaper.
“First, more than three people were waterboarded,” she said. “But second, the CIA used water to torture detainees in a variety of ways that cannot escape classification as torture. Whether on a board or on the floor, they induced near suffocation using water. And whether you call it ‘waterboarding’ or ‘water dousing,’ that’s torture – plain and simple.”
A lawsuit filed last week by two former CIA prisoners, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, described the torture inflicted on the two as “a form of waterboarding.”