Whisper_JesusI Could Have Stopped Waterboarding Before It Happened
An exclusive account from the CIA’s former top lawyer.
January 05, 2014

• Stress positions: The interrogator would have Zubaydah either sit on the floor with his legs extended in front of him and his arms raised over his head, or kneel on the floor while leaning back at a 45-degree angle. Again, the intent would be to cause discomfort or fatigue.

• Sleep deprivation: Zubaydah would be made to stay awake for up to 11 days at a time.

• Waterboarding: The interrogator would strap Zubaydah to an inclined bench, with his feet slightly elevated. A cloth would be placed over his forehead and eyes, and water would be applied to the cloth in a controlled manner—for 20 to 40 seconds from a height of 12 to 24 inches. The intention would be simulate the sensation of drowning.

• There was also another technique that I’m barred from describing that was so gruesome that the Justice Department later stopped short of approving it.

112 Replies to “Torture”

  1. also, i don’t know how jesus would feel about all those prescription drugs, JR. his gig was usually foregiveness, unless you were a heartless, usurous banker or financial type.

    he’s dead now, so anything goes, i guess.

  2. please tell us about the other “technique that I’m barred from describing that was so gruesome that the Justice Department later stopped short of approving it.

    don’t worry, we can handle it. right, NSA spies?

  3. did you know that tickling is a form of torture? (it’s best to ask this question when you have your victim in the grasp and are applying all the various techniques you were taught by your parents and siblings.)

  4. Well, I don’t condone it (or maybe I do) but the fact is that in these situations losing is not an option. Whatever path leads to victory most directly you take it. Its always messy. It cannot be made fair or nice. War is an ugly path, but once on that path, voluntarily or not, I think the winner will have used the full range of options available, suspending any and all peace-time values. This is human. Duality of man may be an unsavory concept. Kindness and cruelty. But that’s the deal that has worked for groups in our species.

  5. you know, in the case of the chinese “baby thrower” above, they could measure the man’s mass and cranial thickness, calculate the equivalent impact velocity for this head, then tie him up, and hoist him up the side of a building, bridge or tower to the required height above the impact point, no blindfold allowed, have the baby’s mother release him (if willing to pull the lever). it that torture, or just justice served?

  6. I say the rate of imbibement of coffee is inversely proportional to temperature. Ergo the guy walking around with the super-insulated coffee mug is doing fuck all but sip coffee all day.

  7. Doom,
    Let him root some gaol bitch and get her pregnant.
    Nine monthes later he must drop his own child off a balcony/whatever.
    The drop is just a ruse, newborn infant is safe and the mother gets her “get of gaol free” prize.
    Seeing his biological father pull the lever is compulsory an appropriate age – just before he visits him in the slammer on the same day there is a sudden lapse in security and the same day he receives a shiny new knife.

    …..brought to you by the “lotsa loose ends justice system”

  8. UY – Insulated coffee mugs are great for those of us who put in a lot of windshield (windscreen) time. Hey, it’s billable.

    Bif – you might get your wish about a ruthless war.

    JR – WTF

  9. I don’t wish for anything.

    I do try to understand why people do the things they do. Other than a few inklings I haven’t made much progress.

  10. because the ocean is so diverse, there are more trophic levels than on land. tuna, for example, would be the equivalent of a predator on land that hunts lions for a meal. on land, i guess that niche is taken by humans.

  11. I guess I was surprised though that a bunch of guys with sharp sticks could take out a lion with no casualties. There was probably more know-how and skill involved though than shown in the short vid. I’m sure there’s sophisticated methods and BMPs involved, like anything.

  12. reading jhk (or trying to) really makes my eyes glaze over.

    greedy bankers…mendacious politicians…clueless, lazy public…when has it not been so? and so what?

  13. maybe JHK thinks that if he writes and talks about it (whatever seems to interest him) often enough, eventually it’ll happen. meanwhile, some folks pay him to publish books and give lectures. his blog may be free, but it’s mostly about advertizing him, his books and his art.

    BTW, i like his garden, but i’ll wager that GB has him beat, hands down. JHK is just too “Green Acres” up there. when it gets interesting, some thugs will just rob and kill him for his stash of gold and guns. end of story.

    amazing that we all met long ago on his blog. now i can’t stand reading any of the comments. i think he finally cracked down on the trolls taking over his blog. that was really the end of the free speech movement there that he used to tolerate.

    i think his best figment creation is the “corn pone nazi”. i always admired his “fefe la fem” sock puppet, too. those were the daz, when JR was still alive. him and wombo.

  14. no doubt about it. but, some of the greedy monkeys want to mine that concentrated energy right here, so they can keep their party going. i note the critics have two basic retorts: (a) it’s only going to produce electricity when we have a liquid fuels crisis; (b) it’s going to take 30 years to convert all that’s going on now with fossil fules, and we don’t have that much time left.

    (a) is silly. they fail to see the amounts of cheap energy fusion can produce. (b) is a valid point. besides, we are running up against other limits and have probably irreversibly changed to climate to one that will be increasingly hostile to human civilization, and perhaps also to any humans left after it crashes.

  15. it’s like the pirranha and the cat. the cat wishes the pirranha would jump out of the tank and try all that aggresive swimming stuff in the air; the pirranha wishes the cat would jump into the tank and try that arm waving and poking at him in the water. fortunately for them both, neither will get their wish.

  16. planning on retiring near a nuke power plant? maybe not a good move.

    Gail Tverberg says:
    January 18, 2014 at 7:45 am

    There is no possible way that we will be able to “decommission” nuclear plants in the future, because of the spiral the economy is on. Part of this is the fact that the bonds and other investments that have been set aside to provide funds for this purpose will have no value. Part of the reason is that fossil fuels will simply not available. Electric power from elsewhere is likely not to be available either. I don’t know what this really means for how these plants finish their lives, but it is not what planners hoped for.

  17. sounds like the ultimate act of freedom is to opt out. i guess moving to another country, hopefully less industrial and giving up your citizenship, etc. would qualify. or pull an orlov, and acquire/live on (as in protect) a doomsday getaway craft, ready to make your move when the winds are favorable. only one problem, climate change and fallout plumes may follow you.

  18. the end of this week’s CFN entry: “I’m afraid it will take very stern leadership to reform all these current trends. When it comes around, it will look like Dolly Parton meets Hitler.”

    = corn pone nazi. you don’t suppose jimmy reads ZK? i wonder.

  19. putin went native, took off his shirt, got a rifle, shot his horse, a nag, then went fishing and caught a pair of friendly dolphins (or so he thought, those being highly-trained, counter-terrorist CIA spies). i’ve seen the photos, likely taken by the same drone in the banner photo.

  20. orlov deleted my comment to his latest post. strange, as it didn’t mention either Mad Max or Waterworld. both fine movies, IMHO. i wonder how he feels about The Postman?

  21. even after a heavy dose of self censorship i had pinheads taking offense, or trying to argue with me, as if they could. at least jh didn’t kick me off the list. eh…

  22. minus 7F. Now it starting to seem a bit like a normal winter from the years of my misspent youth. No new snow up here. Good for ice conditions on the big lakes.

  23. i didn’t make a copy of the comment, so it’s gone. the tone was to be funny in labeling yourself a dissident or resister, with examples of names i’ve used in the past, like instigator, when asked to identify my role. i think he was taking it too personally. also, in closing i made a remark about English that probabaly sounded to him like i was praising the language, which he obviously does not favor at all.

    apparentky, only dmitry is allowed to be cheeky on his blog. i used to run into this shit on CFN with JHK. JH censored me once on 2.0 because he said i was only looking for a fight with JHK. well, why not? i caught JHK being a hypocritical a-hole and was going to call him on it. there’s little justice in this world, ceptin’ for those with only one nipple on their chest.

  24. hey dave, this guy has the math behind the thermodynamics and entropy arguments for the origin of life. link here:

    life is just a manifestation of MPP. therefore, at least single cellular life should be universal, given a habitat. maybe the only real questions in this area remain: (a) how often multicellular life arises, (b) eventually gets to consceious life forms, and (c) produces some capable of building spacecraft and tapping nuclear energy before they go extinct.

  25. yeah, only skimmed the article. not sure why this guy should be getting all the credit. i’ll have to go back and read it later.

  26. dolphins have big brains and do a lot of processing. they evolved that way to take full advantage of their environment, “seeing” in murky waters, etc. dolphins don’t do space travel or, for that matter, fuck up their environment, either. humans got big brains and were doing OK as hunter-gahthers.

    then, i guess because they like sex and playing with, caring for their offspring, they overpopulated their habitat and have been playing various forms of takeover and drawdown ever since. now we see limits to those gambits. a few of them know we’re fucked, but can see no way out.

    whose the smarter mammal, dophins or humans?

  27. it’s not a matter of smarts. dolphins work within tier constraints, humans work within theirs. brains are just a sideshow. i’d say.

  28. **ZK News Bulletin First & Exclusive Report**

    Today we successfully determined 3He build in our prototype using lab air. We had no way to accurately measure the air flow, so we lit some rolled up computer paper, blew it out to make smoke, and held the smoking end below the heat plume. Looks like about one liter of air per second flow rate, glass temperature up to 200° C. Incense or mosquito punk may work better.

  29. Doom,
    “lab air” – if it’s got oxygen in it couldn’t you have used an airflow meter from a fuel injection system, y’know, Ye olde hot wire O2 sensor thingy?

  30. yup, UY. if we’re not careful, the whole thing might end up looking like the piston in a Mazda rotary engine!

    here’s the equation:

    q = total amount of material permeating a membrane = K A t (p1 – p2) / d

    K = permeation velocity constant
    A = area of membrane exposed
    t = time
    p1 = gas pressure on high side
    p2 = gas pressure on low side
    d = thickness of membrane

    ironically, a lit cigar or cigarette would have been the best smoke source, but it would have violated the new campus-wide university smoking ban. i know, as if. but i was requested by the department chair not to burn down the building when he caught me borrowing the department BBQ lighter.

  31. yeah, if you’re forcing something, through a membrane, you should be able to measure flow directly, like with the method that yara suggested. or, you could insert a piezometer, or maybe some type of control structure (venturi). maybe talk your engineering department. me’s do that kind of stuff all the time.

    i guess.

  32. thanks for the flow measurement tips. i’d like to test the pressure increase inside a closed container. glass can take a lot of pressure differential without breaking, unless you have micro-cracks. basically make a pressure cooker. if you know the container volume or it’s fixed, then P = n (RT/V).

  33. big dance weekend for me his week. blues all day and into the night on saturday, late night milonga on saturday night. more blues and swing on sunday, maybe some more tango thrown in on sunday night. there’s a football game on?

  34. Dance festival? We have one here in a couple weeks. They do a blues dance workshop, too. I was thinking of bringing a redhead but now its looks like it might be a blonde. She’s a runner, but can she dance?


    rob222 says:
    January 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

    “Gail, What do you think of Robert Hirsch’s committee review of Lawrenceville Plasma Physic’s Focus Fusion and how may that change your views?”

    Gail Tverberg says:
    January 30, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    “Our problem is a financial problem here and now. It is related to the high cost of producing liquid fuels.

    As I understand it, the Hirsch committee said that the innovative research effort level of this group “deserves a much higher level of investment . . . based on their considerable progress to date.” Even if fusion were here tomorrow, it would only give us electricity–not cheap liquid fuels. It will take a lot of fossil fuel investment to do very much. I see it as a theoretical way to perhaps stop climate change, not solve our financial problem or our need for cheap liquid fuel. It is likely too late to do much of anything.”


  36. Richard Duncan Explained:

    Gail Tverberg says:
    January 30, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    “I think that electricity in not more than a few years behind oil in failing. In fact, it may be at the same time. Part of the reason is that government is needed to keep order. If this fails, there are problems with all kinds of energy supplies. Failure can come for reasons other than “running out” of supplies. It can come from bankruptcy of important parts of the system, or lack of a financial system to pay workers, or inability of citizens to afford the electricity, or inability to repair damage after storms.”

  37. doom,

    there is no solution for the human predicament, there never has been.

    everything gets resolved, one way or another.

    take up dancing, you can be an old lech, like me.

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