Talk:Waterboarding/Archive 7

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RfC: Is waterboarding a form of torture, based on sources?

See Talk:Waterboarding/Definition for the discussion and place your comments there.

  • Of course. The extremely few dissenting voices barely qualify even as a fringe. Claiming anything else is simply politically motivated dissembling. That we have to have this discussion reflects bad on "western civilization" (ref. Gandhi)--Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "Politically motivated dissembling" is exactly right. There needs to be some way that we can bring this to an end, because it seems like on hot-potato articles like this, there is a (perhaps unconscious) tactic of extending discussion to an interminable length until people stop watching, and then a "consensus" is established in favor of a decidedly non-encyclopedic characterization of the subject. --Akhilleus (talk) 21:47, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Eject them based upon what policy? --Blue Tie (talk) 10:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • (ec) Is water wet? Do planes fly? Agree with the above comments by Stephan, Akhilleus and Jehochman. Briefly, R. Baley (talk) 22:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Based on the extensive sourcing research and discussion, unless you have a watery bag over your head, I can't imagine not seeing it as torture. No pun intended, and I mean this in all seriousness. Functionally speaking, based on sourcing, only individuals who are somewhat politically conservative in the American sense are actually arguing against the torture definition in their extremely minority sourcing. The political views of less than 50% of the registered political population of one nation out of hundreds in the world should not be used to discount historical evidence, and all other wider accepted consensus views of what something is: Waterboarding is a form of torture. Lawrence Cohen 22:07, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I can do considerably more than conceive of it being torture even without a bag over my head, and have no problems considering it perhaps not to be torture with or without a bag. Are you really reading the discussion? htom (talk) 23:07, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I suspect that he isn't. The charge of "politically motivated dissembling" doesn't stick. Andrew C. McCarthy and Mary Jo White are Democrats, both of them say "waterboarding may not be torture," they would be saying "waterboarding is torture" to gain an advantage for the democratic Party if they were politically motivated, and this is about the fourth time that fact has been pointed out for the "waterboarding is torture" crowd. Please stop misrepresenting the evidence. Neutral Good (talk) 00:59, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Nonsense. They may believe that showing toughness is good for their party ("the softies are voting democratic anyways"), they may believe it's good for their political career (and damn the party line), they may put what they think is their county's interest above what you think is their party's interest, they may think "protecting our guys in the field is more important than party politics", they may think that appearing to protect "our guys in the field" is good politics. Anyways, they are part of a marginal fringe group and have no significant weight of opinion compared to all the other sources. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, do you have a source for the claim that Andrew C. McCarthy is a Democrat? Likewise, I cannot find any party affiliation for White - and neither of them is a career politician, anyways. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:47, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Both were appointed to their Justice department positions by Democrat Bill Clinton. We are known by the company we keep. Neutral Good (talk) 03:07, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
That's not evidence that McCarthy and White are Democrats. Believe it or not, a President can select people of the opposite party for appointed positions. As for "the company we keep", McCarthy's Wikipedia article says that he "has served as an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, and is also a conservative opinion columnist who writes for National Review and Commentary." Do many Democrats write for those publications? Oh, and why do your recent edits pertaining to McCarthy's position leave out the quote "waterboarding is close enough to torture that reasonable minds can differ on whether it is torture", found in the Wikipedia article about him? --Akhilleus (talk) 03:28, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
You say his Wikipedia article says that? Are you aware that even Jimmy Wales admits that Wikipedia articles aren't necessarily reliable? Neutral Good (talk) 03:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
That's not the answer of a person who's engaging in reasonable discussion. You already know that Andrew C. McCarthy has written for National Review--you did bother to read the articles you're citing in this article, right? You can also easily determine whether Andrew C. McCarthy has written for Commentary and worked for Giuliani--shall I point out that you are the one who started talking about his employment history? And, once again, why did you leave out the quote where McCarthy says "waterboarding is close enough to torture that reasonable minds can differ on whether it is torture"? --Akhilleus (talk) 03:43, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Ignoring points when proven wrong is a hallmark of trying to prolong a losing debate, or one with no factual standing. Lawrence Cohen 03:53, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, it's torture. Based on the references, I can't believe it's even up for debate. This seems like a classic example of undue weight, and it seems there's something going on to keep this page at an impasse. Snowfire51 (talk) 04:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It was considered torture up until 2001. I see no new medical or scientific evidence since then that would overturn the consensus, only political bickering. Having said that, I'm also happy to go with some wording similar to my suggested lead[1] which points out the historic classification as torture (looking back, I would also add the Khmer Rouge) but avoids saying it is actually torture, since that has been the main point of contention here. I would also be happy to go with only historical or peer-reviewed papers for the definition itself, in which case it would be described as torture. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 14:39, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • THAT'S IT! The magic formula with which no one can possibly disagree:

"Waterboarding was a method of torture from the time of the Spanish Inquisition until 2001, when President George W. Bush legalized it by executive order."

How about that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably a joke, but judging from the arguments that "we can't say waterboarding is torture" on the Arbitration Evidence page we may well end up with some kind of bizarre compromise lead that does indeed state that waterboarding was universally regarded as torture throughout history, until 2001 when its legal status in the United States was changed by Executive Order of President Bush. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 14:06, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding, a word-of-the-year nomination for 2006

By the American Dialect Society

waterboarding: an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning; reported to be used by U.S. interrogators against terrorism detainees.

htom (talk) 20:07, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Clapping. Now, how reliable is that source? Jehochman Talk 20:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't know how WP establishes a source as "reliable"; the heading (which might be faked) says
     2006 Word of the Year Nominations
  American Dialect Society, Jan. 5, 2007
           Benjamin Zimmer
     Editor, American Dictionaries
       Oxford University Press
I found it via the self-published page at their home page; they claim to have been around since 1889:

Founded in 1889, the American Dialect Society is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it. Our members include academics and amateurs, professionals and dilettantes, teachers and writers.

Now that's long before the establishment of the internet, presumably there's some WPian who has access to the Duke library?
And am I the only one who sometimes seems to be losing signatures? (I like the signbot, but.) htom (talk) 21:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Heres their wikipedia stub American Dialect Society but its been a stub for atleast 3 years. (Hypnosadist) 00:27, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Words of the year going back to 1990, and duke university press will sell you back issues of PADS going back to 1944 so that says these people are notable and an RS. (Hypnosadist) 00:35, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
But we don't know anything about how these definitions are created. Are they submitted by amateurs and dilettantes? Are they subject to any editorial control? --Akhilleus (talk) 04:14, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Lots of info available on their website including;

American Speech Editorial Board Editor: Michael Adams, Indiana University at Bloomington Senior Associate Editor: Michael B. Montgomery, University of South Carolina Associate Editor for Book Reviews: Allison Burkette, University of Mississippi Managing Editor: Charles E. Carson, Duke University Press

As i say, sure looks like an RS to me but have a look around its website or take it to the RS noticeboard. (Hypnosadist) 04:24, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
That's the board for the journal; did the board exert any control over the definitions? --Akhilleus (talk) 04:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

It appears to have been nominated by Grant Barrett

Submitted by Grant Barrett, co-host of the language-related public radio show, A Way With Words, Grant is also editor of the online Double-Tongued Dictionary,, and a vice president of the American Dialect Society,

in this pdf :

waterboarding An interrogation technique that simulates drowning. Though much-discussed as part of the nomination hearings of Attorney General Michael Mukasey, first widespread reports of the technique's existence were made in 2004.

With the results in the category "Most Euphemistic"

Most Euphemistic

WINNER waterboarding: an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized
and doused with water to simulate drowning; reported to be used by U.S.
interrogators against terrorism detainees.
RUN-OFF: surge 31, waterboarding 65
lancing: the forced public outing of a closeted gay celebrity, after ‘N Sync singer Lance
Bass. 23
lyric malfunction: obscenities scrubbed from the Rolling Stones’ Super Bowl performance.
waterboarding 46
surge: an increase in troop strength. 26

(btw, "plutoed" was the 2006 overall winner) htom (talk) 05:18, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The ADS is obviously an RS by wikipedia standards, if we use a very short definition of waterboarding used in a press release as a source in this article is another thing. (Hypnosadist) 05:27, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

For fun, informed but not official: Announcement for 2006 htom (talk) 05:28, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Then it should not be used. (Hypnosadist) 05:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I was unaware that informed fun precluded reliability. htom (talk) 05:46, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
We are not writing a "fun" encyclopedia, what do want this source to say in the article and how much weight are you intending to try to give it. (Hypnosadist) 05:56, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
This may not be a "fun" encyclopedia, but I am (usually) having fun contributing. That's how I took the description, which I'll quote:

Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of the Year. In addition to an overall Word of the Year, words will be chosen in a number of categories. The categories are determined each year, but they generally include Most Useful, Most Creative, Most Unnecessary, Most Outrageous, Most Euphemistic, Most Likely to Succeed, and Least Likely to Succeed.

The vote is fully informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 117-year-old organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and not in any official capacity of inducting words into the English language.

How much weight to give to their definition of "waterboarding" I leave to the concensous. htom (talk) 19:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • REAL WATERBOARDING Waterboarding is an extreme sport popular among surfers on Middle Eastern beaches. Only recommended for experienced wandsurfers, this sport requires a long, narrow, wedge-shaped board. Practitioners secure themselves to the waterboard and ride, face-down, on the slightest currents. The tide off the Gaza strip is perfect for this sport in summer. Waterboarding was invented in 2004 by American troops protecting the Gaza strip. Being in service there, the Americans had no surf-boards or boxer shorts. So they did what any bored serviceman would do: they took all their clothes off and made do with the crude planks from pirate ships in that area. Hence, the American military is the father of the sport we know today as waterboarding. Inertia Tensor (talk) 12:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Obviously a reference to the earlier use of the towed-watersport form of waterboarding, and not useful here. htom (talk) 19:14, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Waterboarding at the DoubleTongue dictionary site: ;

this citation confounds watercure and waterboarding (flood) and waterboarding (immersion.)

There’s what I call the WaterHood, also known as “water boarding’ or the “watercure,” where interrogators shove a prisoner’s head in abarrel of water and make him think he’s drowning. Actually, heis drowning; they just save him from death at the lastsecond (if all goes well). ; waterboarding(immersion?)

In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technique known as “water boarding,” in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.

htom (talk) 19:20, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

From the website "This catchword has yet to be researched." so again i don't think its an RS. (Hypnosadist) 04:12, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


I mentioned this idea above and in the RFC, but I thought I would get a formal vote on this since many people did not actually debate it or voice their opinion. How would everyone feel about changing the lead to state "Waterboarding is a form of torture (see classification as torture)..." The advantages of this approach is that it allows those to quickly access the debate about this issue if they want to find it (as I think many of the internet traffic does), it does not push any POV and simply links to later in the page, and it links to the area that provides full support as well as details the intricacies related to the statement "waterboarding is a form of torture". Remember (talk) 14:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Votes to support

  1. Remember (talk) 14:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. I would agree. This links to the place in the article where more information and references can be found. That helps. The intricacies can be explained at that location. Jehochman Talk 14:57, 4 January 2008 (UTC) I no longer agree. Jehochman Talk 20:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
  3. A good lead should be non-weaselly and non-inflammatory. I'm not sure if this is possible at all, but this is the closest one so far, IMO. GregorB (talk) 15:21, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  4. Not a bad proposal. henriktalk 15:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  5. Support. Factually accurate, and can be used to draw attention to limited in scope domestic US controversy. Lawrence Cohen 15:24, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  6. Support: seems like a reasonable compromise. Personally, I'd also want to link the first use of torture in that sentence, but I think that is very much a second-order thing. -- The Anome (talk) 16:21, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  7. I think this is a fine proposal. The main issue with regard to the term torture is that it carries the connotation that "the current US administration used methods of torture". It automatically does so, and we cannot totally avoid this. But qualifying the use of the term with regard to the ongoing media controversy is probably our best shot at avoiding POV. Dorfklatsch 22:03, January 4, 2008
  8. Support: We are not here to adopt doublespeak and newspeak, even when advanced by the US. Clearly experts overwhelmingly agree it is torture so to ignore that merely because public opinion within the US is influenced by its administration is a logical fallacy. Nowhere does public opinion trump expert opinion! Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 13:23, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Votes to oppose

  • Oppose - I oppose this because it continues to push a POV. Adding a link does nothing to remove or mitigate the POV-pushing. The first six words of the article are vitally important. They cannot show even the slightest sign of bias. In America, the place where more than half of the world's native speakers of English reside, this entry in Wikipedia will be perceived as biased. This affects the credibility of the entire project. (talk) 15:23, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
So do you object to the addition or just feel that the addition doesn't do anything to allay your concerns about the statement "waterboarding is a form of torture" as the intro to the article? If it is the later, then isn't your vote neutral to the addition I proposed but an objection to the whole lead sentence? Remember (talk) 18:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
To be fair, only three of the first six words are critical. :) Jame§ugrono 06:15, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I an US born US resident and I would find any implication _other_ than it being torture to be biased. Please don't read into the whole American psyche. There is nobody who questions if it is torture except people that have a political motive. This can be tested by checking if US soldiers can be acceptably waterboarded by other nations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The section linked to (entitled "Classification as torture") should logically describe the historical definition of this practice as torture, not simply one vague introductory sentence about pre-2001 definitions, then the rest of the entire section about the views of a single administration of a single nation. Badagnani (talk) 22:25, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
So do you oppose the addition of the link in the lead or are you just suggesting that the linked section should be more informative regarding the classification of waterboarding as torture? If you just object to the informative nature of the linked section, could you please change your vote to neutral on link for lead and oppose the current status of the Classification as torture section (which currently cannot be improved due to the article protection). I think this would more accurately describe your vote. Remember (talk) 22:33, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The rest of the article could definitely use improvement, that is true, and this could let us focus on something other than the lead for a change. Why not give it a chance? henriktalk 23:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Because the first six words of the article are an "in your face" violation of WP:NPOV. This violation cannot and must not be ignored. Thanks. (talk) 15:49, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
But this isn't a debate about the first six words. This is a debate about adding the link. How do you feel about adding the link? Remember (talk) 15:54, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Any reason?Remember (talk) 23:10, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The real problem is not addressed. Neutral Good (talk) 00:28, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, doesn't that mean that you are neutral to the addition, but you think there are other major problems with the article that need fixing? The question is do you specifically object to the addition of a link in the lead and if so why? Remember (talk) 00:37, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I do not see this as particularly different than the current lead. The problem of flagrant violations of WP:NPOV remain (or are even worse) and I do not believe wikipedia should express opinions as facts. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:00, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, doesn't that mean that you are neutral to the addition, but you think there are other major problems with the lead that need fixing? I'm not asking you to support the current lead. I asking you for your opinion on the minor addition of the link to the lead. If you object to this please state so and why? Remember (talk) 17:04, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Good point, but No. I consider the addition to increase the intensity of the already bad NPOV problem by further reinforcing the impression that it is a fact that the Waterboarding is Torture, when in fact that is disputed. That is the way I see it. Furthermore you did not ask just about the addition but about the whole lead -- which is what I responded to. --Blue Tie (talk) 03:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - This argument of inclusion of such a link is a step (but only one step of many) in the right direction, but completely misses the problem that needs to be solved and still leaves the primary issue unsolved. Furthermore, you cannot separate the first six words of this article from the link you are proposing. "Waterboarding is a form of torture..." unequivocally states that it is a form of torture when its status is disputed. Making a conclusion (that either it is or isn't torture) is disingenuous and does not present NPOV. Furthermore, this issue is being decided at ArbCom and such a discussion here without their guidance is liable to be either an exercise in futility or an unnecessary duplication of efforts. I highly recommend putting in feedback there. — BQZip01 — talk 19:49, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


  • Reply to Local politics, and feeling related to them, are not Wikipedia's concerns. Our mission is our own, and we don't take into account political implications or national feelings based on reporting information from outside sources. Lawrence Cohen 15:26, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


I am going to add the link to the lead right now. There is roughly 2-to-1 votes to support the proposal and most of the opposition votes oppose the use of the words "Waterboarding is a form of torture" rather than really opposing the link. If people feel adverse to this, please feel free to voice your opinions below. Please do not revert without some discussion first. I am not intent on pushing this without consensus, but I feel that we have as much consensus for this proposal as we will for anything else on this page at the moment. Remember (talk) 22:53, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Interesting new source

The opinion of Gary Solis Adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center and former Marine Corps judge advocate and military judge. [2] (Hypnosadist) 14:48, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

This is written like an opinion piece. The author repeatedly asks rhetorical questions. However, the article is interesting because it identifies a number of historical incidents that we can research to find additional sources. Jehochman Talk 14:51, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
It is an opinion piece but in a notable online journal and he is someone qualified to have an opinion on the subject. This should not be used as a source on its own because of its strong POV but with others, also i've not run into many pinko-commie Marine Corps judge advocates. Thats important as it shows how fringe the "not-torture" view is. (Hypnosadist) 15:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
To quote from the article: "It remains amazing that, in 2007, any intelligent person can have any question that waterboarding constitutes torture, morally and ethically wrong, and contrary to U.S. law, U.S.-ratified multi-national treaties, and international criminal law." I couldn't agree more. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:33, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Interestingly the new NDI recently stated quite clearly he regarded waterboarding as torture. Wolf Blitzer showed Mitt Romney the clip, and asked him for a response yesterday on CNN. Geo Swan (talk) 16:20, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Here is a link. And there is video too. Geo Swan (talk) 16:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

This is good stuff. Check the articles for extra footnotes that can lead back to other sources, as well. I found a fountain of sources doing that on another article, Bezhin Meadow, recently. Lawrence Cohen 22:19, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

He starts with a probably bad assumption: "By now, most of us know what the interrogation technique of waterboarding is." Then he demonstrates that maybe that is not true. Because he uses analogies of experiences that are by him but not by contemporaries, described as waterboarding and at least some of them do not appear to match to waterboarding. In short, his evidences are not so good and since his logic is based upon them, his logic fails. I am surprised that someone who is supposedly a jurist would express his opinion so poorly.--Blue Tie (talk) 01:23, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
There is no "Nice CIA method" so can we stop claiming some minor variation in style of waterboarding makes it OK. (Hypnosadist) 06:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

"Shower-bath" torture of black inmates in NY state prison in 1858

Source links to a 1858 digital archived press report of a black man being tortured to death.[3] The original source is "Harper's Weekly". Also see the NY Times 1852[4] and an article on Auburn prison which mentions the "shower-bath" torture in the context of waterboarding.[5][6] A History of Torture (Scott 1940), p.243, calls this "an amplification" of strapping someone down and pouring water over the face with a watering-can. (It also talks about the use of the "wet cloth" water torture in conjunction with the rack: for some reason I can't access the appropriate page on gbooks at the moment, but it sounds like a combination of waterboarding and the rack). A description from the Warden's report describes its use "produced a suffocation; this is continued for some time, the operator either increasing or slackening the torrent at his pleasure."[7] I am wondering if this information should be added to this article. I am also wondering if the indictment of Hissene Habre by Belgian authorities for water tortures[8] is appropriate in this article; it looks to me like dunking, but there are some references out there that call it waterboarding. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 21:03, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I never learned about such in American History class, either in high school or college. I thought the U.S. Constitution outlawed this? In any case, there are elements different from the general definition of "conventional" waterboarding here, most prominently the seated position and bowl under the chin. Badagnani (talk) 21:54, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
This does not seem to me to be waterboarding to me, Torture and the United States is probably the place to send it. (Hypnosadist) 06:36, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

The Constitution does outlaw it. That's why the current executive branch is using Newspeak words for torture.Reinoe (talk) 22:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

In theory the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution makes torture for the purpose of confession pointless, and the United States Bill of Rights prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. In practice, up until around 1910 it was standard police practice to beat and torture confessions out of people. Around that time some courts began to deny forced confessions, and the "liberal media" of the time highlighted a lot of the obvious injustices, which led to a fall in beatings, burning tortures, etc. and the rise of water tortures and others that leave no physical marks. Around 1930 there was a lot of public discontent regarding crime, and the Wickersham Commission wrote its "Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement" which basically said that one of the major causes of crime was the fact that innocent people were tortured to confess and went to jail, while the guilty walked free. It was easier to torture a random person into confessing than to do proper detective work. After that more serious efforts were made to eliminate such practices. So, the theory was sound, but it took a while to get put into practice. [9] from 1852 is an interesting read - they make the point that around 1750 the English had sentenced one senior prison warden to death for torturing prisoners, and the U.S. was supposed to better than that because of the Constitution, and yet 100 years later U.S. prison guards were still committing acts of torture. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 23:09, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I am of the opinion that we are dealing with a serious conflation of waterboarding and other things in the press. Its a problem. --Blue Tie (talk) 01:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC) Can we all agree not to use this source, as a concensus building exercise? (Hypnosadist) 09:36, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Recent news

FYI: United States National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell's views to the US Congress — BQZip01 — talk 05:23, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Keep in mind that one rule of politics is Cover your ass. Politicians are not reliable sources for anything except their own opinions. Jehochman Talk 09:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Especially when facing a lifetime retirement in the hague as murderous war criminals. Wee bit of self interest, CWA in this. UNDUE WEIGHT Inertia Tensor (talk) 12:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
No one is a reliable source for anything but their own opinions, this includes the people who write the stuff that we call "reliable sources". In this case, testimony before Congress by a legal official of the executive branch is a good reliable source -- for whatever it was he said, and probably as more than his personal opinion. These speculations about war crimes are inappropriate discussion for this page and unhelpful in editing.--Blue Tie (talk) 01:11, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Look, he's an involved party in a massive news story, growing bigger even as we discuss this dispute (hint: we should unprotect the article so we can update it). He's much more involved than any reporter. There is a material difference. Jehochman Talk 01:14, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I am not commenting about the protection of the article issue but I do not think he is a bad source. That he is involved might make him a great source... better than many who are not involved. But I am far more concerned about the issue of "What is Waterboarding?". I do not think it is everything that is being called waterboarding but our article has a problem. But on this matter, I think he is a far more reliable source than news reporters who conflate waterboarding with water cure.--Blue Tie (talk) 01:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Interesting story i have some points. 1)"Michael McConnell, told students at St. Mary's College in Maryland." we don't know what was said to congress as that session was behind closed doors. 2)This source is good enough to say " Michael McConnell says about waterboarding "It has saved lives. And so from my point of view, we've accomplished the mission within the bounds of U.S. law"" But is nowhere near good enough to say much more on the subject of the legality of waterboarding. 3)The warcrimes charges that 30+ americans currently face in europe and the posibility of more (going all the way to POTUS) is what hangs over this whole article and others like it on wikipedia, and most people charged with a crime say "it wasn't me" so it does stretch the credability and reliabilty of Michael McConnell as a source. (Hypnosadist) 04:10, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Also this is about the legality of waterboarding not that it is not torture. (Hypnosadist) 06:40, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Could you provide a link or a cite for the warcrimes charges? Where were they filed and what court is hearing them?--Blue Tie (talk) 13:47, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, there are multiple problems with this. First it has nothing to do with waterboarding, Second, the charges were dismissed in Federal German Court and so, they do not exist any more. (Anyone can file charges in court you know, but making them go forward is the trick). Are these 22 arrest warrants cited in some way and are they related to waterboarding? If not, then why are we discussing this unrelated matter? Why is it brought up?--Blue Tie (talk) 08:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

another story

This story [10] from the BBC talks about a canadian training manual that names the USA as a torturer. This is not enough yet to use as a source but could be later if we know more and if this becomes a big issue. (Hypnosadist) 06:38, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Canada removes U.S., Israel from torture watchlist

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's foreign ministry, responding to pressure from close allies, said on Saturday it would remove the United States and Israel from a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured.

Both nations expressed unhappiness after it emerged they had been listed in a document that formed part of a training course manual on torture awareness given to Canadian diplomats.

Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said he regretted the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of the manual, which also classified some U.S. interrogation techniques as torture.

"It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten," Bernier said in a statement.

"The manual is neither a policy document nor a statement of policy. As such, it does not convey the government's views or positions."

The document -- made available to Reuters and other media outlets -- embarrassed the minority Conservative government, which is a staunch ally of both the United States and Israel.

U.S. ambassador David Wilkins said the listing was absurd, while the Israeli envoy said he wanted his country removed.

Asked why the two countries had been put on the list, a spokesman for Bernier said: "The training manual purposely raised public issues to stimulate discussion and debate in the classroom."

The government mistakenly gave the document to Amnesty International as part of a court case the rights organization has launched against Ottawa over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.


—Preceding unsigned comment added by OtterSmith (talkcontribs) 00:09, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Lexis-Nexis search

The question of whether waterboarding is torture is in part a legal one, and on legal topics one of the first things that should be done is a Lexis-Nexis search, so that we see what law review articles (as well as case law) say about the topic. I searched US/Canadian law reviews for "waterboarding or water-boarding" and got 95 results. A good number of articles unequivocally say that waterboarding is torture, and I've placed quotes from those articles above. Only one article questioned whether waterboarding is torture--but this article doesn't say that waterboarding isn't torture, it says that he's not sure whether waterboarding is torture or not. I placed a quote from this letter above also.

I found no articles that said that waterboarding isn't torture. Most of the articles from the search don't yield a directly quotable section that says "waterboarding is torture", but rather focus on the question of whether waterboarding and the other CIA "extreme" interrogation techniques violates US law and UNCAT. Saying that the techniques are illegal isn't quite the same thing as saying they're torture, but it's pretty darn close. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:41, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

That is amazing research. So all these 21 legal authorities are saying that waterboarding is torture. Lawrence Cohen 20:14, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but they don't. The first, for example, says "Waterboarding entails many different methods of torture." It does not say, "All waterboarding methods are torture." This is a subtle but important distinction. The fourth describes it as a "coercive interrogation technique," not as torture. The fifth describes it, not as torture, but "exactly what Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention prohibits"; reading Article 17 reveals that it prohibits many other things besides torture. The sixth doesn't call it torture; instead it says, "There is little doubt that this technique represents torture." Another subtle but important distinction. The eighth is Evan Wallach, who has already been counted elsewhere. The author of the tenth, Jamie Meyerfield, signed the open letter to Attorney General Gonzales and therefore has already been counted elsewhere.
There's much about the presentation of sources from the "waterboarding is torture" advocates that is disingenuous at best: glossing over subtle but important distinctions in some sources, counting other sources that have already been counted elsewhere, and counting one astroturfed source as 115. I stopped checking these 21 alleged new "waterboarding is torture" sources after the tenth. A very casual, ten-minute Google search of the first ten "new sources" on the list reveals six that are not "new sources" for the "waterboarding is torture" advocates. They're either "old sources" or they shouldn't be counted as "waterboarding is torture" sources at all. Devoting the same amount of time and professional Lexis/Nexis resources that Akhilleus has devoted would no doubt disqualify even more; some of them probably work for Human Rights Watch or the Jewish human rights group, which have already been counted. Neutral Good (talk) 22:15, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
That is truly an amazing amount of nitpicking. To disagree in your own terms, the distinctions may have been subtle but seem rather unimportant, and certainly not sufficient to disqualify them. Snowfire51 (talk) 22:20, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
John Yoo, and other sources presented by the "Waterboarding may not be torture" advocates, have been subjected to the same level of nitpicking scrutiny, exquisitely careful dissection and disqualification by the "Waterboarding is torture" advocates. This is only fair. Neutral Good (talk) 22:21, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Neutral Good's response is hardly surprising, but it's mistaken on several points. NG seems to think that "sources" means people, and thus claims that some of these sources have been counted already. That's wrong: for the purposes of Wikipedia, "sources" means publications--each article is a source. This is the case even if a person writes two or more articles (as authors usually do)--each article is a separate source. Claiming that the Meyerfield article is not a new source because he signed the open letter to Gonzales is simply wrong--his article is a source, the open letter is a source. If Meyerfield writes a piece for the Washington Post, that will be another source.
The value of the sources I've provided here is that they appear in peer-reviewed publications; exactly the kind of expert literature that Wikipedia is supposed to be based on. A clear message to draw from the sources I've found is that the academic legal community overwhelmingly feels that the "extreme" CIA techniques are illegal and the legal reasoning used to allow their use is severely flawed. Considering that these articles appear in law reviews, an argument that the administration has acted illegally is probably more damning than a statement that waterboarding is torture.
Not that we lack such statements. In NG's response, he notes that the fifth source (Bassiouni) says that waterboarding is "exactly what Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention prohibits," and contends that Bassiouni isn't saying that waterboarding is torture, because the Geneva Convention prevents more things than torture. True, but not particularly relevant, because Bassaouni continues: "The Administration's legal advisors preposterously claimed that the infliction of severe pain and suffering, as defined in Article 1 of the CAT, '[M]ust be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death" in order to constitute torture.'" Bassiouni is clearly saying that the administration's reasoning is ridiculous, and that waterboarding (and the other techniques listed) are torture. This should be plain to any editor who is willing to read the whole quote, without a predisposition towards tendentious nitpicking. And really, that's the most apt description of NG's comment above--tendentious nitpicking. --Akhilleus (talk) 01:54, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I see no problem with any of these sources as being statements of opinion. However they are not legal rulings. They cannot be construed as law. They can only be construed as opinions about the law -- by people not in power to actually do anything about it except vote. Things do not enter the area of law until there is a ruling from a court (and it must stand above appeal) or when things have been legislated upon. There is a quasi area of law known as regulation as well and currently only regulations and the UCMJ have reviewed waterboarding as far as I can tell. In this regard, waterboarding (specifically) is illegal for US Military personnel, but is (specifically) not illegal for non-military personnel. --Blue Tie (talk) 02:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

For the final time, stop bringing up this legal angle--it's a non-argument because Wikipedia does not care about the legal status. We aren't a legal guide and never will be. Opinions are fine to establish facts. If you don't like it: fork to another pedia. This constant fake argument is now disruptive. Stop. Lawrence Cohen 05:30, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe you are wrong. The legal status is reportable. You should not be running around issuing instructions to other editors based upon your personal beliefs. --Blue Tie (talk) 18:16, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe you are editing to support a US POV. US legal status has zero relevance to anything in this article's definition of waterboarding as torture, period, full stop. The US is one source only. A single government will get no special treatment by us. The United States government is subservient to NPOV here. Lawrence Cohen 18:19, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
You are incorrect and you are starting to be disruptive in your efforts to violate WP:AGF with other editors... something you have proposed as a policy in the ARBCOM page.--Blue Tie (talk) 18:25, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Go and start Legal issues in the USA around waterboarding if you want to, the current US administration's legal defence is not enough to say waterboarding is not torture. Please stop bringing it up. (Hypnosadist) 03:52, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

If legal issues in the United States are so unimportant why do 115 left-wing American law professors figure so prominently in your list of sources? (talk) 14:19, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
If this is just a partisan political issue where are the 115 right-wing law professors saying its not torture? (Hypnosadist) 03:21, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Because some editors believe that if POTUS says its OK then its not torture, or that if CIA does it their lawyers have "proved" that its not illegal (because the CIA never does anything illegal), thats why! I'd have no mention of the USA except in the history section saying you have used this technique many times in different wars. And absolutly no mention of the legallity in just one country.(Hypnosadist) 01:38, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Mu. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Brain scans for signs of cerebral hypoxia?

I haven't yet found any obvious sign that anyone has done brain scans of waterboarding survivors - have they really not done so? Even sleep apnea supposedly can cause chronic cerebral hypoxia to the point of creating foci visible on a magnetic resonance imaging scan, though some signs of this type may be regarded as normal for people of a certain age. Furthermore the changes (visible reduction in size of certain areas of actual brain tissue after the damage is suffered) develop over a period of weeks to months[11], so I would expect that by doing a brain scan on a newly extracted waterboarding survivor and repeating it a few months later, it could be proved that the recent trauma was to blame. Wnt (talk) 20:30, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I doubt it has been done. There does not appear to be much in the way of scientific research uncovered by editors here. Mostly it is opinions.--Blue Tie (talk) 01:41, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't be silly we have loads of medical evidence and literally infinitely more evidence than the fringe view that its not torture. (Hypnosadist) 03:10, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I am not being silly. We do not have one single peer reviewed, medical or scientific source on the effects, specifically, of waterboarding. What this person has proposed is that such a study be referenced. It does not exist as far as I know. Please refrain from personal attacks.--Blue Tie (talk) 17:40, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
"It does not exist as far as I know" Exactly as the US government does not allow independant medical reviews of its "guests". Many ex-prisoners have been treated for the injuries they have recieved, including the psychological injuries, as none of these mention waterboarding (just other forms of torture and CID that are used). I would like the medical exams Wnt speaks of carried out but as it is very unlikely its not worth talking about. (Hypnosadist) 02:41, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Some thorough medical and psychiatric examinations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaidah, searching specifically for signs that their waterboarding episodes might have physically or emotionally damaged them in any way. That would be helpful. Instead, we have opinions and speculation based on political predispositions. Left-wing law professors, Democrats in Congress, and Physicians for Human Rights claim that it's torture, and that's very predictable. Republicans claim that it isn't, or that it may not be torture in all cases, or that they aren't sure, and that's also predictable. Neutral Good (talk) 02:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
All this is only relevant (barely) to the United States subsection only. The stances in the US have no bearing on the rest of the article. The US is just one country, and not that important in the end here. Lawrence Cohen 06:05, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
A peer reviewed medical source would be relevant to the whole article. Not just to a US Section.
Unfortunately there's nothing in PubMed yet, but it's worth keeping an eye out for new results or preliminary reports. Wnt (talk) 01:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Original research

Our gathering lists of references is helpful, because it can demonstrate the relative prominence that different views should receive in the article. The reference lists can be used as citations for specific statements. However, we are not in the business of weighing the references and pronouncing The Truth®. That would be Original research.

What this means is that we should say, "Legal scholars, international organizations, {drop in everybody else} state that waterboarding is torture. {Drop in list of citations} Begining in {drop in year} the US Government Bush Administration officials, such as {drop in list of names}, and political commentators such as {drop in names of notable people} have suggested that waterboarding may not be torture in all cases."

This would be the most precise and neutral way to state things. Rather than telling the reader what to think, we can give them all the information, and they can be as informed about this subject as we are.

I still prefer to start the article with a specific description of the waterboarding process and the effects on the subject. The second paragraph can cover its status as torture. The third paragraph should explain the huge political controversy caused by waterboarding. The term was obscure until this controversy created worldwide headlines. Jehochman Talk 18:38, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

We weigh the references and produce an article where the majority and minority are given proportional weight not equal weight. This is still not proportional to the amount of sources. --neonwhite user page talk 20:40, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose. This is most unsuitable for an encyclopedic article. If you insist on this change for this article, you must also change the lead in the article regarding the age of the earth, the origin of species, etc. Suffocation of a bound prisoner is a form of torture, as the sources (except in the public statements of two Republican politicians and two conservative opinion columnists), and the article should describe it as such. Again, I respectfully request that you *read the talk page archives straight through* before commenting or proposing here further. The idea of a simple description in the lead has been proposed several times, and rejected, for reasons already stated. Again, as already stated, the politically motivated hammering of recent months does not seek to redefine waterboarding, but simply to shed doubt that it is torture. This idea of "giving in" to this politically motivated agenda is very, very misguided. Please read the discussion archives straight through, thanks. Badagnani (talk) 18:53, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose. Waterboarding is torture, the use of torture here is a descriptive term - it explains what it is, and vital for an inclusive description of what waterboarding is. Inertia Tensor (talk) 20:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
m:VotingIsEvil. There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that waterboarding is torture. Why are we letting the fringe modify our behavior? We do we need to state the obvious? By showing who says waterboarding is torture, and who says it isn't, we can educate the savvy reader. Jehochman Talk 20:47, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly support. Let's move forward. Present the facts, don't take sides or make judgments, and let the facts speak for themselves. Neutral Good (talk) 01:31, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with what Jehochman has said. I believe it is entirely consistent with wikipedia practice and policy. --Blue Tie (talk) 02:49, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • This proposal is incorrect on policy. No original research doesn't mean we check our critical judgment at the door; it's impossible to write a decent encyclopedia article without determining the quality and reliability of different sources. At its most trivial, this means that we can and should give different weight to articles from the New York Times and the National Enquirer. For this article, that means that we can observe that the overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed sources and expert opinion (not to mention pre-2001 jurisprudence) say that waterboarding is a form of torture. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm tired of saying exactly that, the problem is with a handful of editors who refuse to accept that that is what is meant by a neutral point of view and continually misrepresent the policy as 'no point of view'. --neonwhite user page talk 16:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you, however, as a practical matter, if we can establish consensus and get the page unprotected by adopting a very strict version of neutrality, that will be good for Wikipedia. The description of waterboarding that we have, and will hopefully continue to have, will demonstrate to all but the most partisan reader that waterboarding is torture beyond any doubt. By highlighting who says it is, and who says it isn't, we will show the relative strengths of the arguments and identify who may be covering their ass. Jehochman Talk 16:26, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
It wouldn't be 'adopting a very strict version of neutrality', it would be adopting an incorrect misinterpretation of the policy, one that is specifically outlined as incorrect in the policy. This is no help in achieving a good article. We simply cannot just list hundreds of sources in the lead of an article. They can be listed within the article and lead is a summary of the article. --neonwhite user page talk 22:08, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Point of order

All, please remember that this is supposed to be a discussion. As it is now, any ideas to move forward are shot down immediately. This obviously isn't working. If we could avoid bold "opposes" for a while too, that'd be great.

This has been proposed before, but how about we give the lead a rest? There has been a continuous argument for over two months about the lead now, going all the way to arbcom. Is there any chance we could declare a temporary cease fire, try working on the rest of the article, and come back refreshed and duke it out later on the lead?

I think that everyone who are truly interested in improving this article, as opposed to fighting over the lead, should try to improve a section. You can write a draft in a subpage, then post the proposal here for discussion and implementation. henriktalk 21:30, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

The first six words of the article are a glaring violation of WP:NPOV and Jehochman is trying to work constructively to cure that problem. Props to Jehochman. Henrik, working on other sections of the article would be like receiving a patient in the emergency ward who's pumping out his blood from multiple gunshot wounds, ignoring the gunshot wounds, and providing medical treatment for his psoriasis. Neutral Good (talk) 01:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
This has been pointed out time and time again NPOV means representing the majority point of view not fringe views. The lead is in complete compliance with the policy. Shouting the same tired argument that has been answered many times is just disrupting the discussion. --neonwhite user page talk 02:22, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Metaphor aside, it's actually suggested by wikipedia that when there's conflict on a page, good faith can be gained by working together to improve other parts of the article. Once everyone is working together, then maybe the hotbutton issue can be revisited with new cooperation and results. Snowfire51 (talk) 02:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
*sigh* Hyperbole like that is exactly why we are at arbcom now instead of constructively editing. henriktalk 08:22, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
The first six words are not a violation of NPOV. They are simply starting out in an unnatural way by denying a fringe view that should not need to be denied. By the definition presented, it is obvious that waterboarding is torture by the common meaning of the word "torture". We can use "torture" as shorthand for the well-sourced statements: "immobilizing a person on his or her back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages", "the subject experiences the process of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent", and "it carries the risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries (including broken bones) due to struggling against restraints, and even death". I prefer to avoid redundancy by stating the specifics. Later on we will explain the high-profile and historically significant political battle surrounding the status of waterboarding as torture. We should say why it is torture, who says so, and also identify those who deny the common meaning of the word, and why they do so, as substantiated by the numerous sources we have found. Jehochman Talk 19:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we can say it is 'historically significant' at the current time. It may be in the news now but could well be forgetten later. --neonwhite user page talk 20:19, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh no. Do a Google news search for waterboarding. The number of high profile search results indicates that this is permanently notable. It's like Watergate or Irangate or Monica Lewinsky. Jehochman Talk 20:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You cannot say anything has long term singificance based on current hits. There is no evidence yet that it will be as remember as any of those. --neonwhite user page talk 20:37, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding should be redirected here. There are many ridiculous claims about waterboarding. I think if it's not classified as torture then it should be classified as an extreme sport as the article suggests.Reinoe (talk) 20:13, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

while i dont believe that htis technique can even remotely be considere d "torture" it hardhly should be continued to be considered as "torture" unless a cited sources claims that someone notable has said that it is or if there is a notable source cliaming that is has been practised as a sport somewhere in the world. Smith Jones (talk) 00:17, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Read the sources at the top of the page Smith Jones then you will find literally hundreds of of notable and reliable sources as well as expert medical opinion that its torture. (Hypnosadist) 04:06, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
i understand there is a lot of controversy relaiting to that claim and it seem sto me like both sides of the issue culd be valid. you can get experts saying almost anything these days and i think that wikipeida should only present the majority and significant minority views and avoid giving undue weight to radical spin-doctoring.
Fringe is exactly why the extreme minority opinion that waterboarding is not torture should only get a passing mention. (Hypnosadist) 19:01, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
that odesnt seem right to me. there is a LOT of debate and controversy and a lot of political thinkers ahve expressed opposing opinions regardless of thes and it seems like a better idea to present both sides equally rather htan using wikipedia to promote pundit talking points. Smith Jones (talk) 21:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Check the "definitions" page linked at the top of this page. There are only four individuals stating their opinion that waterboarding is not a form of torture: two Republican politicians from the U.S. and two American conservative opinion columnists (one not particularly notable). Badagnani (talk) 21:11, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Neutral POV policy demands that views are represented in proportion to the weight of sources; to quote ...fairly, proportionately and without bias This means that each view gets mentioned without suggesting either is correct but it doesn't mean they get equal prominence in the article. --neonwhite user page talk 16:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
politicains are notable, and just because they happen to hold an disagreeing point of view with you rdoesnt mean that they're opinions are somehow worth less than that of the more left-wing pundits. again, its easy to find a bunch of sources attacking waterboarding as an interogation technique, but that doesnt prove that those opinions have more real world weight than that of anyone who disagres. after all, the US is not the only country to have been accused of practicing enhanced interrogation and it doesnt make sense to only portray the controversy from an American or even a North American perspective. it makes sense for me to just write the article normaly and if it turns out that the anti-waterboarding crowd has more people then the article will go that way on its own. there is no need to artificially slanted the debate towards anti-waterboarding instead of letting it develop that way through a fair and encyclopedic process. Smith Jones (talk) 21:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Just a quick question: have you read the discussion archives for this discussion page straight through? I ask that you please do so before commenting further here. If you had done so, you will see that there is no objection to including information about these four individuals in the article; however, as with the age of the earth (or the definition of "torture," which is well understood, and does include suffocation by use of water, which waterboarding is), it's not appropriate to include such a fringe opinion in the lead of the article. Badagnani (talk) 21:23, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I know that, User:Badagnoni and i have no objection with the pro-waterboarding information not being in the lead of the article. i am only saying that it should be addressed and the that controversy not be burhsed aside or buried under a bunch of rules. the fact of the matter is that ive read this entire discussion (although i havent even looked for any archives yet -- those tned to be irrelevent flamewars and arguments awnay) and i see no reason put forth as to why the controversy should be minimized or censored. the whole point is to let the reader decide for himself what is true and to avoid giving undue weight to the fringe theores to avoid confusion. i can see why giving pro-waterboarding a large role in the article is a bad idea, but to make it seem lik ea wild fringe theory held by almost no-one is inacurate and unfair to the extreme. Smith Jones (talk) 21:28, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
You might think it is unfair, that's your opinion, but the lack of decent sources and obvious polictical motivation of them is far more important in determining this as a fringe theory. --neonwhite user page talk 16:18, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Read the discussion archives and your questions will be answered. Your argument that the archives are irrelevant, and yet somehow this discussion page isn't, is bizarre given that the archives are just copies of this discussion page. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 23:43, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Read the sources and read the archives. (Hypnosadist) 07:03, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposed edits to Talk:Waterboarding/FAQ

Which experts consider waterboarding to be torture?

a)The doctors.

The formost expert is Dr. Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture [12] (Hypnosadist) 08:54, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

This expert medical opinion is backed up by the work of Physicians for Human Rights in this report [13] that includes references to multiple medical journals on the long term physical and mental effects of waterboarding. (Hypnosadist) 08:57, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

b)The victims.

Malcolm Wrightson Nance, a counterterrorism specialist who taught at the Navy's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school in California said "As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured". [14] (Hypnosadist) 09:06, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Henri Alleg. French journalist who supported Algerian independence from France. He was arrested by French paratroopers in Algeria and interrogated and subjected to waterboarding in the 50's. "Well, I have described the waterboarding I was submitted to. And no one can say, having passed through it, that this was not torture, especially when he has endured other types of torture—burning, electricity and beating, and so on." [15] (Hypnosadist) 09:11, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, that is very useful. I've posted the first part to the FAQ, I'd like some more opinions on whether the victims can be considered "experts" in the reliable source sense before posting that. Thoughts on that anyone? henriktalk 09:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I would suggest that these two particular victims are experts - the one as a specialist on counterterrorism, the other as a published author and journalist whose reports have stood up to 50 years of scrutiny. I also think that Alleg is a very good antidote to recentism. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:27, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Alleg is also a good antidote to anti-amercanism as america is not mentioned in his book. (Hypnosadist) 09:40, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
How about a section Legal findings? The point would be to focus on actual court findings, not the hypothetical "what might happen" in the future WP:CRYSTAL stuff. Would include: Evan Wallach "Historical analysis demonstrates U.S. courts have consistently held artificial drowning interrogation is torture which, by its nature, violates U.S. statutory prohibitions." Also could include prosecutions of Japanese, US soldiers and police etc. already listed at Talk:Waterboarding/Definition Chris Bainbridge (talk) 11:08, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I have added an initial suggestion based on Mr. Wallach's writings and the open letter to Mr. Gonzales by the U.S. law professors, which I perceive to be the strongest sources. Comments? henriktalk 15:31, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
How about historians/historical opinions? Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews by James Carrol describes the 'toca' used by the spanish inquisition. [16] also describes the technique but calls it the 'water cure'. Also [17] quotes a cambodian surviver and Richard Armitage, the former US deputy secretary of state, describing it as such. --neonwhite user page talk 16:33, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Error in Reference Citation

The following is an excerpt from the reference section (#1):

Eban, Katherine. "Rorschach and Awe", Vanity Fair, July 17, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-17. "It was terrifying," military psychologist Bryce Lefever is quoted as saying, "'re strapped to an inclined gurney and you're in four-point restraint, your head is almost immobilized, and they pour water between your nose and your mouth, so if you're likely to breathe, you're going to get a lot of water. You go into an oxygen panic."

The quotation, referenced above is not found in the cited article "Rorschach and Awe." It is a clear error. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is. I suspect you did not notice that the article has 4 pages. The quote is on page 2, at --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:28, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Legal status of torture and Wikipedia policy

Please cite the exact policy that *supports* your repeated statement that sources are only allowable to say waterboarding is torture as some form of legal status. I am officially tasking anyone who asserts this to demonstrate where we can only use legal rulings: show me the Wikipedia policy that backs this claim up. If you cannot, you (all of you) need to stop disrupting this page immediately. Link to the specific passage of policy that supports this idea that we can only call it torture if a legal ruling calls it that. Now. This game has gone on long enough; consensus does not and never needs to be "unanimous" on any Wikipedia page or process. Link the policy.

And please stop referencing legal status in the United States. Simply put, no one cares, because the US is one country and no more important in anything on Wikipedia than any other country: the US is just a name and a body to us. The legal status or lack thereof there will not be used to gauge the overall statements of is/isn't torture on this page. Lawrence Cohen 05:35, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Lawrence, It is inappropriate to tell someone to stop referencing something saying "no one cares" when it is focused on the topic of the article. It is also inappropriate for you to declare unilaterally what will or will not be used as though you alone judge such things. --Blue Tie (talk) 18:15, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
What I am doing is calling on the editors here to quash disruptive tenditious editing. Consensus does not require unanimous support, and I think now that people took AGF to truly absurd lengths to induldge nationalist editors. Time to stop and do the right thing for the 'pedia, rather than the USA. Lawrence Cohen 18:21, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
The legal status of waterboarding under the US Constitution, UNCAT, ECHR and GC's is important and should be noted on wikipedia, given that we have RS to do this. But you are right in that "no court case since 9/11 has called waterboarding torture" is not reason enough to say waterboarding is not torture. (Hypnosadist) 08:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Anything related to International Law should be noted as "International Law". And, in fact, there are no court cases, world-wide, as far as I can tell, that are related to waterboarding. Legality and torture are two different things. Something may be legal but still be torture. Something may also be illegal but not torture. The two are not necessarily the same thing. In the United States, however, there are five things that work together: 1) Representatives of the US Government have affirmed repeatedly under oath, that they do not torture. 2) Representatives of the US Government (sometimes the same as in item 1) have affirmed that the US authorizes waterboarding to be conducted and this is confirmed by published documents from the Government. 3). Representatives (again, sometimes the same as #1) have issued regulatory rulings (which have the force of law when statute and court decisions do not exist) that permit waterboarding. 4). Legal authorities, tasked with interpreting the law for the executive branch have ruled that waterboarding is legal. (this is not the same a court ruling) 5). Some individuals have reported, (in reliable ways) that waterboarding has been conducted under the aegis of US authority. These all indicate that in the US, waterboarding may be legal under certain circumstances. I would note, also that the US signs many international treaties with specific stipulations that these treaties are subordinate in the US to the US Constitution. This is deemed necessary because by default, the US Constitution actually suggests that treaties are equal to it and ratification in the Senate would not occur without that stipulation. As a result, US agreement with treaties that define international almost never includes submitting to authorities or interpretations outside of the US. That is not a topic for this article, but it may inform some of the editors here regarding legality. --Blue Tie (talk) 17:57, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Legal status in the US is irrelevant to the definition of waterboarding as torture. We are not a legal guide, and do not care about outside ramifications of this article to the US government. The United States government is subservient to NPOV here. Lawrence Cohen 18:20, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe you are in violation of one of your own proposed statements of policy on the arbitration page. --Blue Tie (talk) 18:22, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
And which would that be? Lawrence Cohen 18:23, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Blue tie go and start Legal issues in the USA around waterboarding if you want to, the current US administration's legal defence is not enough to say waterboarding is not torture. Please stop bringing it up. (Hypnosadist) 03:49, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

For some reason you have confused me with someone else. I have never brought this up. But it is inappropriate to ask me to stop bringing up something that I think is right to bring up. Just as it would be inappropriate for me to ask you to do that. --Blue Tie (talk) 04:31, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

What the CIA does

Just an FYI since people keep mistakenly saying what the CIA does may or may not be "waterboarding", have we all forgotten John Kiriakou already, the CIA agent that detailed the CIA technique? The one that matches our article description? Lawrence § t/e 14:18, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Blue Tie's Proposed topic on Talk:Waterboarding/FAQ

  • Question: When did the term "Waterboarding", first make its appearance?
  • Question: Is any sort of water involved torture the same as waterboarding or is there a difference between waterboarding and other procedures?
  • Question: How is Waterboarding conducted?

--Blue Tie (talk) 22:30, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

The answer to Q1 could be incorporated under "What is the history of waterboarding?" and likewise the Q3 answer is a good fit under the existing "How is waterboarding done?" (I guess the title could be renamed though, I like "conducted" a bit better). But I'm afraid I don't entirely understand Q2, would you care to expand what you intended there? henriktalk 22:50, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I have not done enough research, but after reviewing work by htom, I am concerned about conflation of waterboarding with things. I do not know, but I suspect the following may be happening:
1. Waterboarding is a term (neologism) that the Bush Administration used for a specific procedure which has not been clearly defined.
2. Other activities that look like they might be waterboarding (as discussed above) have been identified as being waterboarding, when they were previously known as something else and perhaps should continue to be known by those labels.
3. Separately, there may be an issue of severity. If I look at a rainbow, when does the color exactly change from red to orange? When does waterboarding change to something else.
Through all of this, I am concerned about Original Research -- assuming something is waterboarding, without actually, clearly identifying it as such. In part, I have not seen an actual, authoritative definition of waterboarding. The article suffers because of this lack of information.
Conflation between various tortures may be happening widely both in the press and here on wikipedia. I have seen things as diverse as "locked in an evacuated airlock" to "dunking disobedient housewives" to stuff that is clearly not the same thing but which was conducted in the Spanish inquisition being called waterboarding. This is a problem for the article. It is a deep problem. htom identified it as a problem back in November and he was right.
I would discourage you from including Q1 as part of "What is the history of waterboarding? because it is possible that the answer to that question defines the start of the history of waterboarding. It is a major separate concern for me. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:13, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Discussion on sources

Blue Tie, you appear to be accusing secondary sources of committing original research. If this is the case, your understanding of the no original research policy is seriously flawed. You appear to be using your own original research--that is, your worries about the definition of waterboarding and the supposed "conflation" committed by seconary sources--to rule out sources that you don't approve of. Let's be clear about this: your own notions of the proper definition of waterboarding do not trump what reliable sources say. If we have peer-reviewed, expert sources that say that waterboarding was used in the Spanish Inquisition, the Philippine-American War, the Second World War, by the Khmer Rouge, the Chilean junta of the '70s, and so on, the opinions of Wikipedia editors fall by the wayside. We go by what reliable sources say, not Wikipedia editors. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Though it may appear that I am accusing secondary sources of committing WP:OR, that would not be exactly correct. They are unable to commit that error, because they are not wikipedia, and OR is a wikipedia rule. So, since that is not my objection, you do not need to be concerned about it on that score.
However, I am not positive that we are using very good sources ... sources that actually can comment, though they claim to be able to. I am not done with research yet and I have not presented any logic yet. Be patient. And please do not "be clear" in presumptuously instructing me when you do not understand what I am talking about. It is a very poor way to show good faith.
Incidentally, your implications about the quality of our sources is not borne out by an examination of them or how we are using them. --Blue Tie (talk) 04:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Peer-reviewed articles in law reviews are high-quality sources, and two of them (the articles by Cristian Correa and Evan Wallach listed above) discuss historical instances of waterboarding. Your comments so far strongly suggest that you think Correa and Wallach are wrong in saying that waterboarding took place before 2001, and it looks like you want to argue that we can't use such sources. If I'm getting your argument wrong, then perhaps you can actually present your argument, rather than hinting at it in fits and starts. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:35, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Is the article by Evan Wallach published by anyone but himself yet? Has it been peer reviewed? Have you actually read it?
I will present my argument when I have done my research and I have time. Some of it must be in Arbcom. I am doing it here at the behest of JeHochman. I suspect I will spend money and time for nothing because there are fewer people interested in the article as an objective piece of information than about making sure it sends the right message. --Blue Tie (talk) 04:41, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Um, now who's not assuming good faith? I'm quite concerned about this article being accurate--so much so that I spent quite a bit of time with Lexis-Nexis finding law review articles, and reading said articles. I listed quite a few of my results near the top of this page, with full citations and ample quotes, so anyone with access to a research library (or the appropriate internet resources) can verify them. If I say that a peer-reviewed article has been published in a law review, I'm not lying.
Moreover, if the questions you've just asked about the Wallach article are any indication, you seem to be criticizing sources without actually bothering to check them first--not exactly a great research method, hm?
If you'd like to say what databases or other resources you're considering spending money on are, I can see if I have access to them, and run whatever searches or queries you'd like. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:47, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I have checked the Wallach article to the best of my ability, based upon links provided by those who advocate it. Based upon that reading and review, it looked to me like it has not been published, not peer reviewed and it has internal consistency problems. I notice you have not answered my questions. The databases I am thinking of running on are found on dialog. --Blue Tie (talk) 05:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Blue Tie, are you having problems reading my list near the top of the page? The citation is: Evan Wallach, "Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Water Torture in U.S. Courts," Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 45 (2007) 468ff. (That's a humanities-style citation, rather than the format common in law.) The article was published in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, and I read the whole thing. I have to say, that I rather resent your implication that I was making things up.
As for your statement that the article "has internal consistency problems," this is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about when I said that the opinions of Wikipedia editors aren't important in comparison to what reliable sources say. Especially when the author is someone like Evan Wallach. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I did not see your citation. I guess you could say I am having problems reading it. I saw a different citation, where I downloaded it. Thanks for the reference. Some heat could have been avoided if you had answered my questions or pointed that reference out earlier. It would have been a simple and easy thing.
I never implied you made things up. If you actually want to resent things, I suppose it helps to imagine things to be resentful of, but I will only take credit for things I actually say or imply. And implying you lied is not in there, so I take no credit for that and I cannot help you with your resentment. --Blue Tie (talk) 06:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Blue Tie, in my second comment in this section I pointed out that the Wallach article was published in a law review, and I provided a wikilink to the list of citations above. Apparently you missed it, and instead of accepting my word that it was published in a peer-reviewed source, you asked, "Is the article by Evan Wallach published by anyone but himself yet? Has it been peer reviewed? Have you actually read it?" In my response, I noted that I had listed my Lexis-Nexis results at the top of the page so that other editors could verify them, and said "If I say that a peer-reviewed article has been published in a law review, I'm not lying." You responded by saying that you still thought the Wallach article hadn't been published. No, I suppose you weren't implying that I was making things up--you just didn't see that I had directed you to the citation several times, and you didn't trust me when I said that the article had been published in a law review. --Akhilleus (talk) 07:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes you pointed to the article. Yes you provided a wikilink. I did not miss it but I thought that it was a repeat of what I had already seen. Yes, I asked questions. That is how I find things out quite a bit. I think you mischaracterize my response. I said that I looked at it to the best of my ability and did not see that it was published or peer reviewed. That is not a statement that you lied .. it is a statement of what I did and saw. It was also not a statement that the article was not peer reviewed or published. It was just a statement of what I had done -- and did not see. Think of it as me saying "Here is what I saw" And then it was followed by my observation that you did not answer my questions. And to my eye, you didn't. Perhaps you didn't think it necessary. Either way, I did not judge you for it, I just noticed that you didn't answer them. By saying that I was trying to bring that to your attention without being confrontational. Think of it as me saying "What did you see?" I was not saying you were lying. I was not saying that there were no answers... or that there were no good answers. I was not even implying it. I was just saying you had not answered. That is all.
Please do not be upset. It only leads to misinterpretations. I have not impugned your honesty. I have not judged you. You are imagining all sorts of bad things -- none of them true. That I did not see your citation is not the same thing as an evil. Perhaps this should help you: When I type, I generally am typing in a calm and respectful tone. I also speak rather matter-of-factly, very litterally and tend, in short snips, to focus on things that are proven. Usually, if I ask questions, I am really asking them, not trying to make a point. If you read my words as being matter of fact, calm and respectful, maybe you will not read all sorts of evils in them. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:46, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

The article does have internal consistency problems -- and no, it is not the same thing you are talking about. It is different. In this source, he discusses waterboarding, watercure and water torture. So, it might be a good source, except that he makes no distinction between these. But there is a distinction. With that kind of confusion, this may not be such a good source after all. (And you are wrong in one sense about the opinions of wikipedia editors, but we shall get to that another time).
More importantly, this all gets to one of my other questions: What constitutes "Waterboarding"? Where is the definition? Where do we have ANY source that AUTHORITATIVELY says "This is what waterboarding really is"? I do not see ANY. There are just assumptions that "we know what it is".
This is more serious than just an issue with the article you have provided. It is a fundamental part of the problem with the article. htom determined this a couple of months back, but I am just now starting to understand the point he made some time ago and has continued to make. Without a good definition, this article can never be correctly resolved. This is not the only article that suffers from this problem but it is acute here. --Blue Tie (talk) 06:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


Blue Tie, you said: "In this source, he discusses waterboarding, watercure and water torture. So, it might be a good source, except that he makes no distinction between these. But there is a distinction." Perhaps you think so. But Wallach is an expert source, and if he equates water torture, the "water cure", and waterboarding, he knows what he's talking about. He is an authoritative source about "what waterboarding really is." He is certainly more authoritative than anonymous Wikipedia editors. We cannot decide, on our own, without any secondary sources to support us, that waterboarding is a different phenomenon from the "water cure" and then exclude sources on that basis. But it looks like you're trying to do that. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
You say that Wallach is an expert source. I agree. He is an expert on the law. However, when did he become an expert on waterboarding? When was his training? What courses did he take that give him expert knowledge in the techniques and methods and procedures? Does he claim to have any such background? There is no doubt in my mind that he is an expert on legal matters. There are other experts on legal matters who do not agree with him. That is the way it is with opinions. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I realized that I should have made myself a bit more clear. I consider Wallach's article to be an excellent source for his opinion about water torture and the law. I do not consider it to be a great source on actual law and waterboarding -- even when he quotes legal sources and opinions. Because a great source for that would be the actual case rulings, not his partial quotes or paraphrase. So... I should not exactly say it is not a good source, it is just not a good source for much more than his opinion. His opinion, however, is that of an educated and experienced person so it should be given credit in that regard. But it is not the law. --Blue Tie (talk) 06:53, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm struggling to understand why this is relevant. When a legal authority writes an article about how waterboarding has historically been treated in the courts, that seems like a pretty good source about the law. It's exactly the kind of source we should use to write articles. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
It is relevant because you are bringing this source to the article. Certainly he is an expert on the subject, but that does not make his opinion authoritative. It makes it opinion. Opinions are important but they are not authoritative until they pass through the processes that turn them into laws. For example, The Supreme Court of the US may rule 5 to 4 on some issue. People on both sides are experts. And people on both sides are authorities. But until the vote, the matter was not settled law and the opinions of either side were only opinions. After the ruling, 5 people's opinions became law and 4 people's opinions did not. In this case, Wallach does not even have the appropriate juridstiction to make a ruling on the matter. He can only offer his opinion. Yes, an expert opinion, but it is not the law. As an aside, I have a verifiable, reliable source that declares there there are no judicial rulings on waterboarding. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:30, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
For the 1,500th time: US-specific legal policy in regards to Waterboarding means nothing to us, as the USA government. doesn't get to define the status of waterboarding as torture for our purposes. Also, we're not a legal guide. Why do you keep bringing up absolutely rejected and irrelevant arguments? Lawrence § t/e 00:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You seem frustrated. Please note that I have not made any arguments that are specifically related to the USA. (Not yet anyway.) So please, do not imagine that I have done something I have not done. However, when you say the US Govt does not get to decide the status of waterboarding as torture... I ask you: Who does? And who says that they have that power? As an adjunct to that, do we have any sources of legislation or judicial ruling anywhere that uses the term "Waterboarding" in the designation of law? --Blue Tie (talk) 01:08, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I initially shared Blue Tie's concern that the definition was sloppy. I guess I like precise definitions. However, in attempting to resolve this I came to the realisation that I was in fact doing original research. If a peer-reviewed article in a reputable journal says something is waterboarding, then that is what Wikipedia should report. If another article in a similar journal disagrees with the first article, then we include that too. That is how other articles have resolved this problem - don't think too hard, just repeat what the reliable sources are saying. See WP:RS#Scholarship. I accept that this may ultimately mean merging the water cure and waterboarding articles, as they may end up containing much the same content.
As for the claim that Wallach is just stating his opinion - this is an article by an expert in the law of war, in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. It is not just an opinion piece in some trashy newspaper. It is one of the most reliable types of source there is; to quote WP:SOURCES: "Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available". Chris Bainbridge (talk) 19:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I entirely agree that it is a fantasic source... for an opinion. But it is not a source for what is law. Things are laws based upon: 1). Legistlation, 2). Regulation 3). Judicial Interpretation in a case. An opinion -- even if expressed by God, would not be law unless either God was the King/Dictator or God's opinion had been solidified in legislation, regulation or a judicial interpretation from the bench on a case. Note that I am not arguing that God would be wrong. By the same token I am not (at this point) arguing that Wallach is wrong. Only that his opinion, as wonderful as it is, is only an opinion. It is not law. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The question of if Waterboarding is torture is not a legal one for our purposes. The current legal stance in the USA is irrelevant to us to making a determination, and has no more value. The USA is one country of many, and is not a special place. Lawrence § t/e 00:46, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I entirely agree... the question of if Waterboarding is torture is not a legal one for our purposes. I do not agree that the current legal stance in the USA is irrelvant to this article. But what I most object to (in your statement above) is the notion that ANYTHING can be relevant to "us to make a determination". We cannot make a determination. It is not our job. And this is at the heart of some of the editing problems. People want wikipedia to determine that it is torture, when wikipedia cannot do that.--Blue Tie (talk) 01:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, what we determine is what reliable sources say. Reliable sources say with an extremely high degree of unanimity, and across a surprisingly large spectrum of legal, medical, historical and even military experts, that waterboarding is a form of torture. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:29, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

According to Physicians for Human Rights "In the form of waterboarding reportedly authorized for use by the CIA, “the prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane or a towel is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him to simulate drowning" what is wrong with that deffinition. (Hypnosadist) 07:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

That is great. But how is Physicians for Human Rights a reliable source about what waterboarding is or what the CIA does (which may be two different things). Mind you, I am not arguing with what PHR said is waterboarding... I am asking how they are a reliable source for this matter, especially since they are an advocacy group. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:21, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Why wouldn't this report be a reliable source? Why is calling PHR an "advocacy group" meaningful on this question? --Akhilleus (talk) 16:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
They might not be a reliable source because they appear to have a partisan agenda and because they have no first hand knowledge of what waterboarding is. So, now I ask again: How is PHR a reliable source for the definition of waterboarding? Notice I am not asking if they are a reliable source for the opinion of PHR. Nor am I even questioning whether they are a reliable source for general medical information. I am not impugning their general quality. But.. how would they know what waterboarding is and why would they .... of all entities... be the arbiters of what waterboarding is? --Blue Tie (talk) 00:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
They rely, like all of us, on the common knowledge, as e.g. reflected in the 8 sources I listed above. They actually list their reviewers, contributors, and sources in the report. Surprisingly, you don't need to know every irrelevant detail to evaluate something. "I'm no murderer unless you know which kind of socks I wore when strangling my wife" is not a strong defense. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:00, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, you suppose they rely on some common knowledge. But perhaps they have some special knowledge that would make them experts. That is the idea, isn't it? Or are you arguing that ordinary knowledge is sufficient for the designation of "expert"? --Blue Tie (talk) 01:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm saying that the amount of knowledge about waterboarding available to any serious researcher who already has a good grounding in the legal, medical, or historical background of torture and law is enough to make an informed determination. Peer reviewed articles in medical and law journals, as well as expert synthesis reports like the PHR report are certainly good and, especially in sum, sufficient sources for this determination. As I understand you, only an actual trained torturer CIA enhanced interrogation specialist who also happens to be an MD, a JD, and an appellate judge is competent to make this determination? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:24, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. I have not proposed any test of expertise. --Blue Tie (talk) 02:29, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. I inferred that from your comments so far. You have so far avoided any positive statement - would you care to make one? My current impression is that you are not engaged in a constructive dialog, but in a combination of stonewalling and smoke and mirrors. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:26, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Your impression is incorrect. The fact that I do not know what to do is not the same thing as not wanting to do it. I am frankly perplexed by problems of sourcing and OR. Every time I come up with a solution, I immediately think of a problem. So, while I am not trying to be a problem, my comments reflect my own inner concerns that I think are flaws in this article and in trying to write it. I have previously said "The problems are so profound that I would have a problem writing it even by myself". But I have said to myself, how would I do it if I did it myself. My solution so far, is two fold:
  • Use only truly superb sources
  • Be very conservative about Original Research
But I am not sure that these make the problems go away. Sometimes, I mentally imagine a situation where we seek and make an exception to the OR rule, but I see a slippery slope in that solution and so I have not proposed it. I hope my explanation will help you assume good faith.--Blue Tie (talk) 14:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
This discussion is amusing, but not likely to be fruitful. I don't find any of Blue Tie's questions compelling, or a reason to doubt that the PHR report is a good source. The idea that someone needs to have first hand experience with waterboarding to be considered an expert is quite funny, really. That would knock out almost everything cited on this talk page and in the article. Perhaps we should try to see if John McCain will write the article for us. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:09, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I support writing this article with people with first hand experience of waterboarding; French Journalist Henri Alleg, United States Senator John McCain and John Kiriakou. And that article would say Waterboarding is Torture, so come on blue tie lets write this article with your interpretation of experts please! (Hypnosadist) 09:07, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I also support writing this article with people with first hand knowledge or experience or reason to know about waterboarding. Question: Where does Alleg identify his experience as "Waterboarding"? If he does that, it might be a strong source. While he is not the final arbiter of what waterboarding is, he may be a strong source. Did he call it "Waterboarding"?--Blue Tie (talk) 14:11, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Answer: At the time he did NOT call it waterboarding, but in retrospect, he DOES: "Well, I have described the waterboarding I was submitted to."--Blue Tie (talk) 14:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Well then, let me ask you... what expertise is appropriate for someone to define what waterboarding is? Suppose the term is a neologism ... which it might well be given that it came out of the Bush Administration as far as I can tell. If it is a neologism to describe some treatment that is done by the CIA or other agencies... who has the expertise to define it? Let's suppose it is not a neologism.. that it is an older term for some specific action. What Pre-2001 comprehensive dictionary could we quote or use to show a long-standing definition of waterboarding? --Blue Tie (talk) 02:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Negroponte confirms U.S. use of waterboarding

Ambassador John Negroponte obliquely confirmed the use of waterboarding in an interview with the National Journal:

I get concerned that we're too retrospective and tend to look in the rearview mirror too often at things that happened four or even six years ago. We've taken steps to address the issue of interrogations, for instance, and waterboarding has not been used in years. It wasn't used when I was director of national intelligence, nor even for a few years before that. We've also taken significant steps to improve Guantanamo. People will tell you now that it is a world-class detention facility. But if you want to highlight and accent the negative, you can resurface these issues constantly to keep them alive. I would rather focus on what we need to do going forward.

That is a recent article. "Years" could be "two" or perhaps "twenty". I wish he had been more specific. Oh well, its probably a good cite as a footnote to some statement that As of 2008 waterboarding has been discontinued by the US. --Blue Tie (talk) 03:55, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
No just "John Negroponte claims that waterboarding has not been used in years, and it was not when he was director of national intelligence." (Hypnosadist) 08:31, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Maybe you are right. I am not sure. The question devolves to this: Does he have the expertise, position and information to be a good source on what has happened since he was National Intelligence Director? However, I believe that he would be a very good source to say that it was not done by the US Govt during his years in position. I think he is a good source for that. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:38, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

NPOV proposal #43

The previous round of comments revealed many helpful suggestions. In response, I propose:

Waterboarding is the practice of immobilizing a person on his or her back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages.[1] Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the sensations of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent.[2] In contrast to merely submerging the head face-forward, waterboarding almost immediately elicits the gag reflex.[3] Waterboarding carries the risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries (including broken bones) due to struggling against restraints, and even death.[4] The psychological effects on victims of waterboarding can last for years after the procedure.[5]

This would be followed by historical perspectives on waterboarding, and then a summary of the current controversy in the United States which is making headlines around the word.

See: Zabarenko, Deborah. "Waterboarding would be torture to me: U.S. spy chief". Retrieved 2008-01-14.  Text " Reuters " ignored (help)

Comments? Jehochman Talk 08:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose - The current form of the lead is fine and, again, the conspicuous avoidance of "is a form of torture" when the sources state that it is, is again an effort to accommodate a fringe effort at redefinition of this well understood term (a form of suffocation using water against a bound prisoner). Badagnani (talk) 08:24, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I am not trying to accommodate a fringe. I am trying to improve neutrality. Please do not ascribe motives to other editors. What here is factually inaccurate? The description is precise and subsumes the definition of torture ("To intentionally force someone to experience agony."). Rather than give the conclusion, I think we do better by providing the rationale. The word torture is going to show up in the next two paragraphs anyways. Jehochman Talk 08:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I ask again that you please read the discussion archives straight through before commenting or proposing further changes to the lead (which is factual, well written, and NPOV at present). Whether you believe you are doing this or not, your proposal (conspicuously removing "torture" from the lead sentence, where it clearly belongs, according to the sources) privileges the politically motivated hammering that has occurred over the past months, where no such privileging is warranted. Badagnani (talk) 08:57, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Why does "torture" clearly belong? The definition I proposed subsumes the entire definition of torture, and more. Why repeat ourselves with extra words? At Holocaust the first paragraph does not include the words "murder" or "genocide", even though those would clearly be accurate. Jehochman Talk 09:26, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
In Armenian Genocide it's in the title because, like with holocaust the majority consider it a genocide and only a fringe disagree the same as this article. What the article contains is not really relevant as it could easily be described as a genocide without being non-neutral. --neonwhite user page talk 18:00, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but that's not a good analogy, as that article clearly deals with the murder of people, and 99.9% of people coming to that article will already know this. Even if the proposed lead does subsume the definition of torture, it is not immediately obvious to the uninformed reader that it does so. At the very least, it should mention that the vast majority of reliable sources consider the practice to be torture. BLACKKITE 09:41, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
If you look at the definition of wikt:torture, the proposal I have made unquestionably qualifies as torture. Explaining is better than labeling. "Torture" is a label that may not have clear meaning. "Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the sensations of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent" leaves no room for doubt that this treatment, done in anger, would constitute torture. Jehochman Talk 14:23, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, I ask that you read the discussion archives straight through before commenting or proposing here. It really is important. Regarding "why do we have to call it torture" in the first sentence, we would not begin the Saxophone article by stating that the saxophone is "a curved tube of brass with keys and a reed"; we would say, "The saxophone is a musical instrument..." Badagnani (talk) 18:29, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Can't we say "waterboarding has consistently been found to be torture under both U.S. and international law.[18]". That way, we are stating who states the "fact" (courts of law), and it uses the most reliable source we have (a journal published paper from a former JAG/current Judge who has written extensively about post-WWII prosecutions). There can be few objections, since there are no reliable sources stating that U.S. or international courts have found waterboarding to not be torture. This way we can eliminate the whole idea of including some persons "opinion", or even any mention of the US controversy, from the lead, and only include absolutely verifiable statements regarding historic use, and not the current controversy. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 10:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, I do not think that banning the t word from the lead will solve the actual problem. The edit-warring and disagreement will just be shifted a couple of paragraphs down. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 10:36, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Your proposed wording certainly could appear in the second or third paragraphs about the history of waterboarding and the current controversy. Having "torture" in the definition (first paragraph) creates the appearance that we have a political bent. If there were no political dispute, why would we need to say something so obvious? It's like saying "Water is a wet substance composed of hydrogen and oxygen" when the natural statement would be "Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen." We should certainly mention "torture" within the historical context, because waterboarding was primarily used for torture. We should also mention "torture" in the third paragraph about the current controversy, because that's what the controversy is about. Jehochman Talk 14:16, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, it creates the impression that editors have analysed the sources available and made conclusion based on them. Again it seems like i need to point out that a neutral point of view is not 'no point of view'. You are simply giving far too much importance and weight to the recent controversy. --neonwhite user page talk 18:04, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
What you seem to fail to realize, User:Jehochman (probably from not having read the discussion archives straight through), is that the intent to sanitize the lead by excising the very term that is the definition of what this practice is what is politically motivated. In an effort to "get this dispute over with, already," you are exactly following the dictates of this tiny but extremely vocal minority (including several SPAs and socks) in their politically motivated hammering (whose sole focus seems to have been removing this word from the lead). It's very, very important that you carefully read the discussion archives straight through--it will take time, but is really extremely important that you do so. Badagnani (talk) 18:33, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree, creating an ambiguous lead does not reflect the weight of opinion on the subject, it creates the impression of a wide dispute when, in fact, there isn't one. It shouldn't read more like a political speech than an encyclopedic entry. --neonwhite user page talk 18:01, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Jehochman, I would change "breathing passages" into "nose, mouth, and throat", because I think of breathing passages as being the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles. Other than that, I kinda like it. htom (talk) 18:25, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Agree with Badagnani. The "controversy" here is similar to global warming, where there is a robust consensus among experts, but dispute among politicians, pundits, and the public at large. But our encyclopedia entries are supposed to be based on expert opinion. --Akhilleus (talk) 21:17, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Speaking as a Finnishman, The status of waterboarding as torture is indisputed where it hasn't been made into a political issue. If a fair portion of discussion seems to say that it isn't -- well, I suggest a broader check of international media. --Kizor 10:39, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Please bring sources from international media. Shibumi2 (talk) 01:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Those appear to be nothing more than news reports, repeating what's been going on in the American press. Oh, there's a blog too. I don't see any expert opinions, or any official position statements by governments. Neutral Good (talk) 01:34, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • You might want to actually read them. Of course they discuss the US events, but they all call waterboarding torture. Heise Telepolis is one of the major online news services. Die Zeit is the most respected German weekly newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel is the leading Berlin daily newspaper, and Der Spiegel is the leading weekly newsjournal. The "blog" is an official comment by the head of the most respected and widely viewed German TV newsbroadcast (written in his official capacity) and discussing if the short except of a waterboarding video in this news broadcast has been too shocking and brutal for the 8 pm main news broadcast (and viewer reactions to it). Your moving of the goalposts is noted.--Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:22, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Based on cogent, and heavily supported, previous argument, this proposal does indeed support a fringe group (whether intending to do so is not relevant) rather than expressing clearly and accurately that waterboarding is torture. I also urge you to take the time to read all preceding arguments, not just the previous round, before tendering what I see as a repetitive proposal to remove the appropriate term "torture" from the lead paragraph. -Quartermaster (talk) 13:31, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. After reviewing the wiki list of torture methods and devices it seems in general that acts solely used for "torture" are defined as "torture" in the article. To standardize the articles water boarding should be defined as torture, otherwise all other articles defining acts or methods should have the act of torture removed from the definition or said act/method. (CrazyivanMA (talk) 19:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC))
  • Oppose. Every relevant source cites waterboarding as torture. (Basilicum 00:39, 31 January 2008 (GMT))

important report

This [24] report Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality by Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights First has a section on waterboarding and the long term effects of torture as well as the legal aspects of torture. Discuss! (Hypnosadist) 09:15, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Looks like an excellent source to me. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:21, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
It is not a peer reviewed scientific source. Nor is it a particularly good legal source. But it does look like a good source for the opinion of an advocacy group. I do not think that, in the writing of this article or the problems we are facing, the opinions of an advocacy group are important to the article. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:44, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Blue tie look at their sources for the medical effect of waterboarding and you will see its high quality peer reviewed medical sources;

Dorte Reff Olsen et al., Prevalent pain and pain level among torture survivors, 53 Danish Med Bull. 210-14 (2006), For details on the study,see note 92.

147 C. Bouwer & D. J. Stein, Association of panic disorder with a historyof traumatic suffocation, 154 Am. J. Psychiatry 1566 (1997), Recent research suggests that panic disorder results from a false suffocation alarm. Bouwer and Stein found that there was a significantly higher incidence of traumatic suffocation experiences (e.g., near-drowning and near-choking) in panic disorder patients (N = 176) than in psychiatric controls (N = 60), and that panic disorder patients with a history of traumatic suffocation were significantly more likely to have predominantly respiratory symptoms than those without such a history. In the majority of patients who had experienced traumatic suffocation this had been during accidental near drowning (N = 25). However, a smaller number of patients had experienced traumatic suffocation during deliberate torture (N = 8) or during rape (N = 1). In a case reported by the authors a 31 year old man with panic attacks characterized by predominantly respiratory symptoms reported that he had been tortured at the age of 18. A wet bag had been placed over his head repeatedly, leading to choking feelings, hyperventilation, and panic. At about age 20 the patient began to experience spontaneous panic attacks.

148 C. Bouwer & D. J. Stein, Panic disorder following torture by suffocationis associated with predominantly respiratory symptoms, 29 Psychological Med. 233 (1999), The authors examined whether a near-suffocation experienced in certain kinds of torture is associated with the development of predominantly respiratory panic attacks. A sample of 14 South African patients who had experienced torture, were questioned about symptoms of panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Patients with a history of torture by suffocation (N=8) were more likely than other patients to complain of predominantly respiratory symptoms during panic attacks (N=6). These patients also demonstrated higher levels of depressive symptoms. The authors noted that torture by suffocation is possibly associated with a specific symptomatic profile.

149 H. P. Kapfhammer et al., Posttraumatic stress disorder and healthrelated quality of life in long-term survivors of acute respiratory distress.

See what i mean. (Hypnosadist) 14:41, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Blue tie have you got any medical sources that challenge what the Physicians for human rights doctors say? (Hypnosadist) 07:58, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. Of course part of that is my fault. I misspoke by saying it was not important to the article. I meant, given our problems right now it was not important to the article right now. I could see a place for the opinions of an advocacy group at some point. But that is not the biggest issue right now.
However, as a source of scientific information it is not a reliable source. Go ahead. Read the guideline on Reliable Sources and see. It is however, an excellent source on the opinions of an advocacy group. And this is true if I do or do not have other medical or scientific opinions. --Blue Tie (talk) 08:19, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
It is important to note that any organisation that is trying to insist on the rule of law, and mentioning human rights abuse, by definition gets labelled as advocacy group. By the same token we should describe those denouncing the rule of law as tyrannical groups. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 13:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
It is not important to the article to mention this. Perhaps it is important to you in a personal way but that does not mean it is appropriate to the article. --Blue Tie (talk) 08:19, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

OK i've started a discussion at about the usability of this source. Please comment there. (Hypnosadist) 09:13, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Added to my list of good sources as per discusion. (Hypnosadist) 08:49, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I hope that when you add it as a good source you include the sense that it is only a good source for the opinion of an advocacy group. It was not determined to be a good scientific source for waterboarding. --Blue Tie (talk) 18:21, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

More than good enough to quote those medical journals, again if you had sources that counter these, your arguments might have a bit more weight. The thing is those sources do not exists, as you well know. (Hypnosadist) 02:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Hypnosadist, you're getting these sources from the footnotes of the Physicians for Human Rights, aren't you? You've never actually read these sources, have you? In fact, you cut and pasted these synopses of the peer-reviewed sources from the footnotes of the PHR advocacy group's report, didn't you? And the synopsis of each peer-reviewed article is subject to their advocacy and spin-doctoring, isn't it?
Furthermore, the short summary on the page you linked says, "the authorization of these enhanced interrogation techniques, whether practiced alone or in combination, may constitute torture." It does not say that "the authorization of these ... techniques ... constitutes torture." Another subtle but important distinction that's being glossed over, as Neutral Good would say. Be sure to put this source in the "unsure" section of sources, rather than the "waterboarding is torture" section. These are sources about suffocation, not drowning. Do you have any additional sources about interrogative techniques that simulate drowning? And have you read them yourself, rather than accepting without question what a political advocacy group had to say about them? (talk) 14:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

"Hypnosadist, you're getting these sources from the footnotes of the Physicians for Human Rights, aren't you?" YES i am, if you read what i said as oposed to just looking for something to complain about you would have read "Blue tie look at their sources for the medical effect of waterboarding and you will see its high quality peer reviewed medical sources" just before my cut and paste of those footnotes (hence the numbers infront of them). As for the OR "These are sources about suffocation, not drowning" what do you think drowning is death by breathing too much? But that is why we have a notable secondary source (the many doctors and profs at Physicians for Human Rights) to say the primary source (the medical journals quoted) say happens to the victims of torture. These sources are in total agreement with the medical evidence given to congress about the effects of waterboarding. But the final thing is this source has been vetted by the RS notice board and they say its good, END OF ARGUMENT. (Hypnosadist) 01:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

PS If its not clear i intend to use this source to show the long term effects of waterboarding, not to partisipate in a semantic discussion about "is waterboarding torture". (Hypnosadist) 01:43, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

PPS I see there are still no sources that dispute the medical evidence given in these and other sources, that will be becuase they don't exist. (Hypnosadist) 01:57, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, none of these sources is about waterboarding. They do not pertain to this article on their own. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
You are living in another reality than I do. I hope you enjoy your pleasant dreams. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 00:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Personal attacks are not permitted on wikipedia. Please refactor your comments. And, if you believe that some of those sources address waterboarding, please tell me which ones do. --Blue Tie (talk) 04:36, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
No personal attack was intended. From your comments, I deduce that you live in a world where waterboarding was invented out of the blue in 200X by the CIA, which is hence the sole source of information about this technique and which has not made an official statement about the details of the procedure. This apparently makes all other sources unreliable. In my world, waterboarding has a history that goes back at least decades and has been described and discussed over and over again with a high degree of consistency in reliable sources[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32].It consists of immobilizing a victim on his back, preferably head slightly down, covering his breathing passages with some semi-permeable material, and pouring water over it, with the effect that the gag reflex makes breathing impossible. It is, in other words, a technique of slow, controlled asphyxiation. Minor variations are possible in how the victim is immobilized, what material is used (and if it only covers the face, is wrapped around the head, or even partially inserted into the mouth) and what synonyms are used (where "water cure" is also used for an unrelated technique and "water torture" is a very generic term). Nevertheless, in my world the basics are quite clear, despite all attempts at obfuscation. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:57, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate that no attack was intended, but it was there nevertheless. And I notice that you did not refactor. Perhaps unintentionally, you are still being uncivil. Would you like for me to quote the specific policy examples I am thinking of so you can understand what I mean? In fact, I live in the same world where you do, and in that world there is wikipedia. Wikipedia functions according to certain rules including No Original Research. Because this article is very contentious it should follow rules very tightly. I do not agree that my position is that "all other sources are unreliable". Quite the contrary, I am eager for good reliable sources. However, this is an article that is very contentious and so I think that truly excellent sources should be used -- nothing the least bit marginal -- and wikipedia policies such as No Original Research should be followed very strictly. I happen to agree with your definition of what waterboarding is... except that I think a "board" probably is involved -- but note, that my agreement is based upon Original Research. --Blue Tie (talk) 14:37, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Please illustrate why you think my above comment is both incivil and constitutes a personal attack.
Back to the issue under discussion. You completely misrepresent WP:V, WP:RS, and WP:NOR. Citing reliable sources is not original research. Above I cited 8 mainstream press reports - including The Times, the BBC, ABC, the New York Times, The Independent - that all agree on the definition of waterboarding. This is indeed exceptional evidence for a rather unexceptional definition. Coming up with them took about 10 minutes with Google. But what is more, we have about 30 or so peer-reviewed articles that also agree with the definition.
I have another question. Given that you personally believe that my summary was accurate (including "It is, in other words, a technique of slow, controlled asphyxiation"), would you agree that a technique like that, applied to an involuntary victim to force compliance, is a form of torture? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:36, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It seems obvious to me (with and without sourcing) that people have been tortured with water for centuries (well, I doubt that any single person has been tortured for centuries, you know what I meant) and both they and others have reliably described their ordeals (and deaths.) We have, already, other articles about water tortures in Wikipedia. The term "waterboarding" as a reference to one, some, or all of these tortures, as well as who-knows-what-else, if anything, however, seems to have come into existence in the early 2000 or 2001 timeframe. While references to the activities seem to be found since the 1400s, uses of the word waterboarding to describe the acts (torturous or not) do not seem to be found prior to 2000. Some -- not all -- of the acts now being defined or described as being or being part of waterboarding were previously defined or described as other water tortures or harsh treatments. Has anyone found any use of the term "waterboarding" (in this context, the various water skiing, surfing, ... sports don't count) prior to 2000? There is no question that the activity may have occurred, I'm asking about the word. htom (talk) 06:00, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


As we've seen, the discussions here have repeatedly involved the same arguments over and over. In fact, the discussions on this page alone and the most recent RfC consists of over 300 000 words. If we keep this up for a couple of more months, we'll soon beat the bible weighing in at 780 000 words. As much as we would like, it isn't really realistic to expect every user to read through a fair sized book before commenting.

My suggestion is that we use the time the article is protected and arbcom is deliberating to write an FAQ that as succinctly as possible summarizes the main points in the discussion and the main arguments for and against the positions.

For this purpose, I have set up Talk:Waterboarding/FAQ. Please discuss what should be added and how to express it. The rules regarding uncooperative editing that were tried for the main article at the previous attempt of unprotection are in force for this FAQ. henriktalk 22:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Questions "Which experts....". The answer is perhaps long, would be directly copied from Talk:Waterboarding/Definition, and depends on the definition of "expert". The question on the history is going to be long as well. And the question of the public; which public? Chris Bainbridge (talk) 23:39, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I do not intend the answers to the questions to be more than a paragraph or two long.
I know that these questions have been discussed at length in the archives and RFC, the point is to summarize them into something digestible. For the "experts" questions, for example, not every source needs to be listed - only the most prominent and important. The public answer could for example be "We have data from XX which expressed YY. From other places, there have been no opinion polls that we know of".
I am however certainly open to constructive suggestions on how the questions should be rephrased/altered/added or removed. For example, you implicitly suggest one additional question in your comment: "Who is an expert on this subject?" henriktalk 23:49, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I thought thats why we had the list of sources at the top of the page. (Hypnosadist) 07:08, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
An FAQ is usually fairly successful in reducing repeated argumentation and is a useful place to point people to instead of asking them to read 300 000 words of archive. For an example how this has been done in other articles, see Talk:Muhammad/FAQ. henriktalk 07:17, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Done, but i see no reason why editors have to do more work because some noob can't be bothered to read the article. (Hypnosadist) 07:25, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Your additions were frankly not very helpful. Please make a good faith effort to explain why there are hundreds of thousands of words of debate for a new, but well intentioned editor that want to contribute. As I've said earlier, I'm open to changing the initial questions I suggested. Do you have any constructive ideas for better ones? henriktalk 07:33, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
We've already been listing such information in the original talk page and the "Definitions" page. No need to split yet again. The article itself and supplements in the discussion archives and "Definitions" section do quite well--if editors actually read them before opining. Badagnani (talk) 07:35, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there is definitely a problem that the list of sources has been split into two separate pages now with some only in one section. They should be merged into a single bibliography page or section, if anyone is up for it. But an FAQ is not a list of sources however, it should just summarize the main highlights. henriktalk 07:40, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Those are the answers to the questions, your owning of the article is noted. (Hypnosadist) 08:28, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, until it is no longer necessary I will act as a moderator for the FAQ. Cooperative editing has clearly broken down on this article, so new things will be tried. henriktalk 08:35, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
What has clearly broken down is your good faith, i'll post my propsed edits here so you can "moderate" me as you deem appropriate. (Hypnosadist) 08:50, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Tom Tancredo is not an EXPERT, he is good source for his political opinion but not an expert. (Hypnosadist) 07:06, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

The view of a member of a legislative body should be considered in what is, at least partly, a legal question. I'll draw the line at pundits though, their view is not an expert opinion unless they have some other qualification that makes them experts on this issue. henriktalk 07:15, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not saying his view should not be considered just he is not an expert, hes just another politician, i can find loads of politicians of the same rank who say it is torture, are all those going to be added to the FAQ? (Hypnosadist) 07:31, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, no, because the other side already has much more qualitative expert opinions making that unnecessary. I agree that it is somewhat weak, but it is the best I've found. Help tracking down more expert opinions would be appreciated. henriktalk 07:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

"Well, no, because the other side already has much more qualitative expert opinions making that unnecessary." Thats my point, your making this guy an equal with much superior sources by claiming hes an expert, notable yes, expert no! (Hypnosadist) 08:01, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Hypnosadist. I just looked at the FAQ and my first question was - why is this guy an expert? As far as I can see, he has no legal training? Chris Bainbridge (talk) 17:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok, until I hear convincing arguments otherwise I've commented out the congressman as an expert source. henriktalk 17:24, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Can i also suggest adding the JAG's as sources to the FAQ. They are the deffinition of experts on military law, also it is hard to claim multiple 20+ year veterans of the US military are Anti-American or giving thier views for political benifit. (Hypnosadist) 11:15, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

New source the APA

Reaffirmation of the American Psychological Association Position Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Its Application to Individuals Defined in the United States Code as “Enemy Combatants” [33].

BE IT RESOLVED that this unequivocal condemnation includes all techniques defined as torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under the 2006 Resolution Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the Geneva Convention. This unequivocal condemnation includes, but is by no means limited to, an absolute prohibition for psychologists against direct or indirect participation in interrogations or in any other detainee-related operations in mock executions, water-boarding or any other form of simulated drowning or suffocation, sexual humiliation, rape, cultural or religious humiliation, exploitation of phobias or psychopathology, induced hypothermia, the use of psychotropic drugs or mind-altering substances used for the purpose of eliciting information;

This is a very good source in my opinion, discuss. (Hypnosadist) 11:09, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Here is their FAQ on interrogation [34]. (Hypnosadist) 11:20, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that this is a good source affirming that the APA is against waterboarding and calls it torture. In particular they mention waterboarding and any other form of simulated drowning, which, regardless of who waterboarding is defined pretty much covers the full spectrum.--Blue Tie (talk) 13:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Speaking as advocatus diaboli, I guess: yes, this is a very good source given the reputation of the APA, but it would be even better if it actually said that waterboarding is torture - and it doesn't. It is unclear whether it describes waterboarding as "torture" or "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment". Note that mistreating POWs violates international conventions (Geneva Conventions, that is) and is as such illegal in many jurisdictions, but it is possible to mistreat POWs without actually torturing them. Understandably, this doesn't make a big difference for the APA: their stance is that psychologists should not take part in actions that are clearly illegal. Unfortunately, it's quite a big difference for us at the moment: "being torture" vs. "being illegal". GregorB (talk) 20:33, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Again i did not post this to win a semantic arguement, this is APA's position on waterboarding, that it is illegal and un-ethical for psychologists to be involved with in any way. (Hypnosadist) 20:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Mukasey does not speak up again

Interesting and somewhat confusing comments here. I notice the author of the article gives a reason as to why the government is taking this stand, but does not say where that information comes from -- which would make it more solid to my eye. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

In this article, he said it would be a form of torture if done to him (but did not comment if it would be if done to others). Badagnani (talk) 22:24, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Input needed for FAQ question

I've just added the question "Is the viewpoint that waterboarding should not be described as torture a fringe view?" to the FAQ and would like to hear some of the arguments pro and con. This gets very close to the heart of the conflict, but lets please try to keep the discussion constructive. Please don't debate each other in the arguments section, just post what you feel is the strongest argument for an affirmative or negative answer to the question. If you think the question itself should be phrased differently, please let me know on my talk page and I'll take your input into account. henriktalk 22:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


  • No pre-2001 sources say waterboarding is not torture. (Hypnosadist) 22:37, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • No non-american sources say waterboarding is not torture. (Hypnosadist) 22:41, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • No medical sources say waterboarding is not torture. (Hypnosadist) 22:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • No left-wing or centerist sources say waterboarding is not torture. (Hypnosadist) 22:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • No case law says waterboaring is not torture/illegal. (Hypnosadist) 22:46, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Accoridng to WP:FRINGE, fringe theories are those which 'depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view'. In this case i believe it is the direct opposite to the mainstream view, considering the clear evidence that not only the current mainstream view but the mainstream view historically is that this is torture. --neonwhite user page talk 22:52, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The 'fringe' sources are very much opinion pieces rather than reliable independent sources.
  • The theory is 'a novel interpretation of history', if you consider the ignoring of past precedence in US and international law. --neonwhite user page talk 22:52, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
to clarify the point, the world and the US considered it torture in world war 2 and vietnam and i believe tried several people for it as a war crime. Now there seems to be a reversal adding weight to the fringe angle. --neonwhite user page talk 03:21, 29 January 2008 (UTC)


  • I find wikipedia is even debating this repugnant. Of course water boarding is torture. As User:Neon white mentions, often the US has supported international law, treaties, and conventions as long as those agreements supported US policy. When those agreements conflict with US policy, they are disregarded. These violations are then quickly forgotten and American civil religious dogma quickly returns. Trav (talk) 00:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe that there are no pre-2001 sources that ever mention the term waterboarding as we are using it here. That is why no pre-2001 sources would declare that it is not torture. None declare that it is. It is not discussed prior to 2001. In fact, I have a challenge: Find a source prior to 2001 that uses the term "waterboarding" (not surfing). I have taken that challenge myself and I am trying to find one. I searched one database of newspapers and did not find any references to waterboarding prior to 2001. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:52, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think this is particularly relevant, since we have reliable sources that tell us that waterboarding did happen before 2001. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:10, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think so. We have sources that say it happened. I am not so sure how reliable they are, if the term is not well defined or is conflated with other things. --Blue Tie (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 02:22, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, Blue Tie, this is exactly what we've been discussing above. Why should we value your opinion over that of people like Evan Wallach and Cristian Correa? They have demonstrable expertise in legal subjects, whereas all we know about you is that you're an anonymous Wikipedia editor. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:25, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You should value my opinion as another editor of wikipedia. I have not suggested anything but that. I do not see any reason for you to imagine that I have said something else. Where have I said that my opinion of Waterboarding should be above that of Evan Wallach? I cannot imagine such a thing. --Blue Tie (talk) 02:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Blue Tie, as you've already noted, Wallach equates the "water cure" and waterboarding. You have argued that this is a mistake, and you have just said that you are unsure how reliable Wallach's article because waterboarding is "conflated with other things." In other words, you are using your own judgement (and your own original research) to say that Wallach's opinion is mistaken. Since you have no apparent expertise in the subject, why should I value your argument over Wallach's? --Akhilleus (talk) 02:38, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You are entirely mischaracterizing my position. I am not holding my opinion or original research to be say that Wallach's opinion is mistake. How could I? It is impossible since it is my opinion that he is NOT mistaken... he is right. So your assessment is as far off as it can possibly be.
I believe in "No Original Research" as the wikipedia rule for articles, but "No original research" doesn't mean we check our critical judgment at the door. it is entirely reasonable to evalute the quality and reliability of various sources. In this case, I observe a legal opinion paper that has an intent of showing that waterboarding is ... or should be... illegal. It is not intended to define what waterboarding is. It is not intended to explore technical differences. It is intended to put them all together as you would put together robbery of a car and safe-cracking as crimes. Not that there are not very significant differences between the nature of those crimes but they are both criminal acts. We would not use a legal document arguing that car-jacking and safe-cracking are both crimes to say car-jacking = safe-cracking.
And so, using the normal critical thinking skills of a wikipedian editor, not doing original research but simply evaluating the source, I do not see this as a good source for defining waterboarding. In fact, it is a particularly bad source for that because it is intentionally conflating various things all in the name of torture... or illegality... to make a point.
However, I do consider it an excellent source for a legal scholar's opinion that waterboardng is torture and should be illegal. --Blue Tie (talk) 02:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Your "critical thinking" is a tendentious misreading of Wallach's article. It's not an "opinion paper", it's an analysis of legal history. Wallach says that waterboarding has been found to be torture in U.S. courts for over a century, since the time of the Philippine-American War. He makes it quite clear that the current technique is not appreciably different than that used by the U.S. in the Philippines and Vietnam, or by the Japanese in the Second World War. Another article by Wallach in the Washington Post makes the point plainly: "One such set of questions relates to 'waterboarding.' That term is used to describe several interrogation techniques. The victim may be immersed in water, have water forced into the nose and mouth, or have water poured onto material placed over the face so that the liquid is inhaled or swallowed...After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war..." and so on.
(The cited article was published on the opinion pages. htom (talk) 06:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC))
That may apply to the Washington Post article, but it doesn't apply to the article in the Coumbia Journal of Transnational Law'. --Akhilleus (talk) 06:20, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Volume 45, Number 2, where it was an "essay", not an "article"; not being a lawyer, I have no idea what that distinction means, but they made it. htom (talk) 06:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
That's interesting. Other law reviews make a similar distinction, but at the moment I can't figure out what it signifies. I'll try to figure it out later; maybe we should ask a lawyer. --Akhilleus (talk) 06:48, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I think essays are simply shorter pieces than articles, based on this page. I might be wrong about this, of course... --Akhilleus (talk) 06:53, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You don't agree with Wallach's argument, which you're cetainly entitled to do, but that doesn't justify distorting what Wallach says, nor to use your own definition of waterboarding to conclude that Wallach's article isn't a good source. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:30, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I could say that your failure to recognize an opinion paper by calling it an "analysis" is tendentious misreading. But such things do not promote good feelings. Try a little kindness. And if you find yourself unable to do that, then at least ordinary good faith and courtesy.
Meanwhile, let me point out that Wallach's statements are not the only ones on the matter... and a lawyer who actually practices in this specific area (Wallach does not) is on record as saying that there is no case law on waterboarding. Again, Wallach's paper is a good source of a legal expert's opinion, but it is not intended to specifically define waterboarding. To use it for a purpose beyond its intent is a real misreading of the source. This is true even if I agree with the way that paper defines it.
And because you evidently missed it before, let me repeat again, but this time in bold I happen to agree with Wallach. Also, since you have missed it let me repeat, again in bold: I believe it is a good source. I just happen to characterize what it is good for differently than you do. I would have more confidence that you were giving my words due consideration if you actually read them with comprehension. I would also appreciate it if you would not get upset and make things personal and insulting. Can you try? --Blue Tie (talk) 03:52, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Pointing out that you're misreading sources is not uncivil. And really, that's what you're doing. What is your tortured, and incoherent, argument about Wallach's "intent" for, if not to deny that his central point is that waterboarding has been found illegal in U.S. courts for over a century? Or am I misunderstanding you, and you agree with Wallach that Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for waterboarding after the Second World War? Because, despite your saying just now that you think Wallach's article is a "good source", you've limited that to being a good source for his "opinion that waterboarding is torture and should be illegal." As far as I can tell, you don't think the article is a good source about the history of waterboarding. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I did not say that pointing out that misreading sources was uncivil. I say it is you who is misreading sources -- did you notice that? And I try not to be uncivil -- so I do not consider that uncivil behavior.
I consider Wallach's intent to be clear based upon the title of the article. His intent was to describe the legal history of water torture in the US. He clearly believes that waterboarding is one of these tortures. His expertise is law, particularly international laws, so his opinion should not be viewed lightly. I do not agree that the Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for Waterboarding. The existence of treatment that to me (and apparently to Wallach) looks like waterboarding but not called waterboarding (It was specifically called something else) was part of the evidence against them for torture, but they were not prosecuted or convicted on charges of waterboarding. I do not think the article is a good source for the history of waterboarding. But, I think it is a good source for the US History of Legal Decisions (Apologies to Lawrence for US focus) on using Water for Torture -- as that is its intent and it is written by a competent expert in the field. --Blue Tie (talk) 14:04, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
If waterboarding is new Blue tie, what happened to French Journalist Henri Alleg. Is he lieing about what the paratroopers of his own nation did to him? (Hypnosadist) 08:48, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Certainly he is not lying. Does Alleg say that he was "Waterboarded"?--Blue Tie (talk) 14:04, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't forget the picture of waterboarding that got the american squady convicted of waterboarding, if thats not waterboarding what is it? (Hypnosadist) 08:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I do not know what it is. It looks to me to be something close to waterboarding. But if it is not labeled "Waterboarding" in the original article, it is original research for us to label it as waterboarding. --Blue Tie (talk) 14:04, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
And of course the painting of waterboarding in Vann Nath re-education camp Cambodia, did that not happen Blue tie? (Hypnosadist) 08:56, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Question: Is the painting titled "Waterboarding" by the painter? --Blue Tie (talk) 14:04, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Its from this blog [35]

Below are photographs taken by Jonah Blank last month at Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The prison is now a museum that documents Khymer Rouge atrocities. Blank, an anthropologist and former Senior Editor of US News & World Report, is author of the books Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God and Mullahs on the Mainframe. He is a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and has taught at Harvard and Georgetown. He currently is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic staff in the Senate, but the views expressed here are his own observations. His photos show one of the actual waterboards used by the Khymer Rouge.

So yes it is about waterboarding though i think we should ask them for the pictures of the actual waterboards used by the Khymer Rouge. (Hypnosadist) 14:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Aren't blogs generally considered unreliable sources? --Blue Tie (talk) 15:05, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The BBC is reliable. [36]. --neonwhite user page talk 18:03, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Normally I would agree. Not in this case. That article is awful in its conflation and lack of precision. I actually find the blog to be better than that article. --Blue Tie (talk) 05:54, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
The article is well written and verifiable, you're personal opinion of it's content does not change that. It clear states that Water-boarding was used by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and describes the image It was a naive drawing of a man strapped to a plank, a board, if you like, with another man pouring water over his face with a metal watering can. The kind you use for watering flowers. The face of the man lying down was covered in a blue cloth. The painting looked fairly comical, as if someone was irrigating a human face. There is nothing whatsoever unclear or ambiguous about that. --neonwhite user page talk 19:14, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Depends what they say or in this case show, are you seriously going to contest these pictures do not show a picture painted by victim of water boarding and the actual waterboard and blue watering-can. You can but at that point i'm going to stop assuming any good faith toward you. (Hypnosadist) 15:17, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It is impossible, by wikipedia standards, to just look at that painting and declare "This is waterboarding". To do so is a violation of original research. If you cannot assume good faith toward me because I want to adhere to wikipedia policies, you are in violation of WP:AGF for a terribly poor reason. --Blue Tie (talk) 05:54, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Read wp:nor

Pictures have enjoyed a broad exception from this policy, in that Wikipedia editors are encouraged to take photographs or draw pictures or diagrams and upload them, releasing them under the GFDL or another free license, to illustrate articles. This is welcomed because images generally do not propose unpublished ideas or arguments, the core reason behind the NOR policy.

How is attacking this long standing part of the article useful in creating the FAQ, answer its not its just another front that can be opened in the war on this article. (Hypnosadist) 09:53, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Note that pictures are given exception because editors are encouraged to produce their own pictures. This is not something that is produced by an editor. Also the exception to policy indicates that it is related to things unexceptional non-controversial matters. In this case, an OR interpretation of a picture from a discouraged source (a blog) is marginal. I am not attacking this part of the article. I am concerned about other things... Namely that in an article with lots of contention, we should stick with excellent sources. (As an aside, I also do not like the picture because of the glare in it, but that is entirely not a factor in my thinking. Indeed I was thinking of photoshopping the glare out, previously.)
But your statement appears to lack good faith. Are you unable to exercise good faith toward me?--13:29, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
"Are you unable to exercise good faith toward me?" I said if you challenge this picture i would stop assuming you were acting in good faith, and i ment it. There is no way any reasonable person can doubt what is depicted in that picture is waterboarding (and saying so is not OR because it is so obvious), you are now engaged in wikilawyering to get rid of it and i do not think that is to make the encyclopedia better. Begin to edit constructively, such as providing new sources or pictures for the article and i may have my faith restored. (Hypnosadist) 14:57, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok, so you are unable to exercise good faith toward me. However, in your failure to exercise good faith you made some false allegations. I am not wikilawyering. I am not trying to get rid of it. And I do want to make the encyclopedia better. Seeking to have policy applied very carefully and fully is not a bad thing. However, since you have declared that you are not able to have good faith toward me, I will not be responding to your questions or issues in the future since it would be pointless; you would simply assume I am doing something evil. --Blue Tie (talk) 23:49, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
This guideline (WP:AGF) does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary --neonwhite user page talk 19:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Lets not pretend this picture is going away, because it never will if you're the only person advocating it. Blogs are acceptable sources if the author is of expert quality on a given relevant subject, and especially for trivial things. David Corn is absolutely a very notable expert. Lawrence § t/e 14:32, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Blank is an authoritative source who has published widely, and in this circumstance his blog should probably be considered reliable. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I note that WP:SPS applies. It says that the use of such sources is really discouraged. I believe that in the case of a highly disputed article, only the very best sources should be used, not sources that are marginal. --Blue Tie (talk) 05:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Blue tie some searching has shown that our waterboarding painting is by Vann Nath and our painting would be a nice primary source. 14,000 people went into camp S-21, seven made it out and Vann was one of them. (Hypnosadist) 21:11, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the article clearly covers the 'toca' used by the spanish inquisition which certainly wasn't identical everytime it was used. However they all had the same purpose so to characterise them differently based on political views in ridiculous. --neonwhite user page talk 03:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

At the risk of repeating myself, the Wallach paper is not an opinion piece - it is in fact one of the best sources available to Wikipedia. It is entirely apppropriate to quote from it as fact, unless the information has been superceded or disputed by new publications of similar esteem. That means "United States has historically regarded waterboarding as torture.{citeWallach}" and not "Wallach thinks X". Chris Bainbridge (talk) 09:46, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

There is no doubt it is an opinion piece. That is what judges do... they write OPINIONS. Within these opinions they often express facts, but they do not limit themselves to facts, they also use other people's opinions and their own along the way. I think that using this article one should say "The United States has historically considered Water Torture to be illegal and Evan Wallach believes Waterboarding is included in the definitions of Water Torture". --Blue Tie (talk) 14:19, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually it would be "U.S. courts have consistently held artificial drowning interrogation is torture, which, by its nature, violates U.S. statutory prohibitions.{citeEW}" Since no expert has disputed this statement in any reliable source of similar esteem, the statement stands. If some follow-up paper appears in a legal journal that disputes Wallach, then that can of course be included too. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 17:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I do not agree with that wording. I would say, if this is used, the wording should be something like "Evan Wallach has argued that US courts consistently rule that Water Torture is illegal and he asserts that waterboarding is a form of water torture previously covered by U.S. Courts". I think that would be a more precise wording of what he found and it also places the paper in the area of opinion -- which is what it is. I do not like to clutter articles with titles of people who are quoted, and his current (last 12 years) title is not very good for this purpose but his expertise should somehow be recognized, if nowhere else, at least in the footnote. That is, if this is used. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:17, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
When this is used, we should use the long title Wallach is most known for, the one you don't care for. It demonstrates and asserts his status as an expert authority on the subject. Lawrence § t/e 14:25, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
His current title is not particularly relevant to this article and it does not particularly lend weight to his opinion. It is his past positions that make him something of an expert on this matter. That is why I do not care for his current title... but it is what it is. --Blue Tie (talk) 23:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Re the words Alleg used. First he wrote about his torture in a book, which I can't find online but it's available from Editions Minuit for 9 euros. Of course he wrote in French so he would not have used the term "waterboarding". Recently he has been interviewed by US news media and if he wanted to draw a distinction between how he was treated and the practice known as "waterboarding" he had a chance to do that. Therefore we can assume that he regards one of the tortures that he underwent as essentially the same as "waterboarding". Itsmejudith (talk) 14:27, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
What did he say in his recent interview? We cannot imagine what he meant, we can only use what he said.--Blue Tie (talk) 14:39, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Here you go. [37] (Hypnosadist) 14:45, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I think he did not call it waterboarding originally but it is clear that he does now describe it as waterboarding: "Well, I have described the waterboarding I was submitted to." I believe Alleg is a strong source in many regards. Maybe not 100% but more than 90%. --Blue Tie (talk) 15:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Of course he did not call it waterboarding, the book was writen in french! (Hypnosadist) 09:55, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

So it seems no arguments have even been put forward against the view that "waterboarding is not torture" in not the height of FRINGE thinking. (Hypnosadist) 10:08, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

They have previously been put forward. There is no reason to re-state them. One of the problems mentioned in the Arbcom case is that people are posting the same argument over and over again. That does not bother me actually but it bothers other people. Since that is so, I do not think it is appropriate to ask people to post again what has already been posted. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:20, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
"They have previously been put forward" then post a link to the section of the talk page/archive. (Hypnosadist) 15:08, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem is, though, that people need to be able to defend their viewpoints if challenged. To do otherwise is to undermine our entire method, which is a Foundation issue and non-negotiable no matter how distasteful. Circular arguments are different--people being pointless stubborn and arguing on the RFAR that they don't like things for personal reasons, not policy. Personal reasons worthless on Wikipedia. That was the problem on the RFAR. In regards to articles, if challenged on your points, you must defend them. Way it works. Lawrence § t/e 14:28, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Creating a FAQ does entail revisiting previous arguments, but hopefully for the last time. I would strongly urge those who feel that the arguments above doesn't represent all opinions to amend the list of arguments. henriktalk 15:17, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

So it seems no arguments have even been put forward against the view that "waterboarding is not torture" in not the height of FRINGE thinking. Are any people who profess the "waterboarding is not torture" view going to put forward thier arguments or can we put this issue to bed? (Hypnosadist) 12:41, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Poll: Please participate

Yes, voting is evil. No one needs to flay the dead horse again here. Simple poll:

  • Legal status of waterboarding in any legal jurisdiction: does this carry any extra special value for us, over "opinions" of experts? This is specific to the is/isn't torture question, which is not going to go away until we have a consensus that is acceptable to the bulk of the editors here.
  1. If the law specifically mentions "Waterboarding". Otherwise it may not apply. Perhaps... if it does not use the term waterboarding but describes the process as illegal, that might be ok, though at that point our use of it is Original Research. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:55, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. If the law has been applied to convict someone of waterboaring then it is appropriate. (Hypnosadist) 08:26, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Such as japanese in the second world war (check) and american troops in vietnam (check). (Hypnosadist) 08:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Such as its explicitly banned for all US military personel to do it as its torture. Of course its been banned in europe since the late seventies (violation of the ECHR). (Hypnosadist) 08:51, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  1. Lawrence § t/e 00:51, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. Our statement that waterboarding is a form of torture should be based on the ordinary meaning of the word. We are a general encyclopedia, not a law journal. The legal status in various countries, where we have sourced information on it, should be noted in an appropriate section in the body of the text. That a country wishing to use waterboarding might attempt to twist its legal definition of torture to exclude waterboarding has no bearing on what we call it. The discovery of a 1991 GAO document, noted below, that shows both the General Accounting Office and the Defense Department routinely used the word torture in connection with waterboarding should end this discussion once and for all.--agr (talk) 21:59, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Complex answer
  1. It depends. A verdict by a competent court, one way or the other, would certainly carry some weight. But the lack of such a verdict does not mean that we have to discard all other evidence. The notion that "nothing is real until a court in my country has determined it" is entirely fallacious, not to say stupid, and is certainly not even acknowledged as a legal fiction in any jurisdiction. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 00:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. Also wp:weight means if waterboaring was legal in one country but illegal everywhere else the vast majority should be given vastly more space and time. (Hypnosadist) 09:10, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
    I don't disagree, but I want to again point out that the question of the classification of waterboarding as torture and its legality are two distinct issues. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:41, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you the classification of torture is a semantic and medical (there are proceedures to measure and quantify if torture has happened to your patient). (Hypnosadist) 11:09, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  1. The question is indeed complex. Controversial articles should ideally rely on secondary sources written by experts. Written laws, although relevant, are a primary source, and ideally should be interpreted by expert secondary sources. However, it is appropriate to quote a primary source to illustrate issues identified by a secondary source. (This is my current understanding of Wikipedia sourcing - if I'm wrong, please enlighten me.) Chris Bainbridge (talk) 09:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. I doubt if there are enough sources for the article to cover the question of the legality of waterboarding in different jurisdictions. Virtually all jurisdictions have a ban on torture (whether adhered to or not), therefore waterboading is illegal if it is to be defined as torture, however the question has never have been submitted to legal judgement in that jurisdiction. The United States is the exception; there the legality of waterboarding has been raised but the question appears to be still open to debate. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:53, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I would also suggest that it is likely that waterboarding is not illegal in some countries. These may not be countries we would prefer to live in, but they exist. In these countries laws may not be so well codified that they can be reviewed and analyzed either. And, I should also point out that the issues of waterboarding being torture and being illegal are not exactly synonymous. It may be considered torture, but legal (like in those countries I just talked about). So, legality is not exactly a statement that it is not torture in at least some cases.--Blue Tie (talk) 06:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
If you believe waterboarding is not illegal in some countries then find sources to that effect. (Hypnosadist) 10:12, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it works the other way around. In order to assert something, it must be established. If it is illegal in a certain country the laws of that country should be cited. That would be either Legislation, Regulation (or Decree) and/or Judicial Ruling. But you are missing my point by looking for sources. I was not suggesting this be added to the article. --Blue Tie (talk) 13:09, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
We don't need to cite to specific laws. Other RS that discuss the matter in question are 100% acceptable. Laws are primary sources and not preferred. Lawrence § t/e 14:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I do not agree. --Blue Tie (talk) 23:26, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. But your stance is not supported by history, precedent, practice, or consensus. Lawrence § t/e 23:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Suggested minor and non-controversial improvements

  • Spell term consistently as "waterboarding" throughout. In two places forms of the term are spelled with a hyphen: "water-boarding" and "water-boarded". Elsewhere it is an open compound "water boarding".
  • Under "Technique", in the third paragraph "According to some experts, information retrieved from waterboarding may not be reliable..." the "according to some experts" seems like weasel words and unnecessary, although the overall sentence is supported by a citation from Human Rights Watch. I suggest replacing these four words with "As with any method of torture,". There is no point in confining the information as to reliability of supposed confessions to one particular method of torure. All coerced information-gathering would face the same problem.
  • Under "Contemporary use and the United States," fourth paragraph, "answer" should be pluralized.
  • Under the section "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed", there is a messy sentence where his name is being pressed into too much service: "This is disputed by two former CIA officers who are reportedly friends with one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed interrogators called this bravado, and who claimed that he was waterboarded only once." I suggest it be replaced with: "This is disputed by two former CIA officers who are reportedly friends with one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's interrogators. The officers called this 'bravado' and claimed that he was waterboarded only once."
  • In the section "Abu Zubaida", his name is once spelled as "Abu Zubaydah". The third paragraph has the phrase "some discrepancies regarding reports about the amount of times Zubaida was waterboarded." Because the times are countable, the word should be "number of times," not "amount of times".
  • Under "Controversy in the United States", fourth paragraph, the word "respondents" is once misspelled as "respondants".
  • Under "As a political issue in the 2008 presidential election," there is a confused sentence: "For example, Rudolph Giuliani stated in response to a direct question of whether he considered waterboarding to be torture, he stated ..." That should read: "For example, in response to a direct question of whether he considered waterboarding to be torture, Rudolph Giuliani stated:"
  • Add "Category:Torture devices" to end of article.
    Objectivesea (talk) 10:36, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I'll support that good hard work, nice improvements Objectivesea. (Hypnosadist) 11:07, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
If no one has any objections, I'll start implementing these suggestions. henriktalk 06:45, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Go for it. Lawrence § t/e 06:51, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Could i suggest one extra edit; (Hypnosadist) 15:44, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

  • On the discription of the picture of waterboarding could Vann Nath be wikilinked to his article.
 Done. (When "water boarding" or "water-boarding" were used in direct quotations I did not change them) henriktalk 19:40, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Could i suggest yet another minor edit; (Hypnosadist) 14:30, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques exists as a wikipedia article, could a wikilink be added to following text in the forth section (Contemporary use and the United States).

    In November 2005, ABC News reported that former CIA agents claimed that the CIA engaged in a modern form of waterboarding, along with five other "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", against suspected members of al Qaeda.

 Done henriktalk 14:48, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

New sources

A primary source from the DoD that they use waterboarding. [38] (Hypnosadist) 12:12, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

And here is the story mentioned at the start of the above article about the simularities between the SERE tecniques and what happens in iraq and gitmo. [39] (Hypnosadist) 12:20, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Reminder on consensus

Consensus absolutely does not and will never require unanimous support. Lawrence § t/e 00:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I sort of wish you had felt that way in November. --Blue Tie (talk) 23:27, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Back in October and November, before we had collected over two hundred sources and viewpoints on Waterboarding, I bent over backwards in organizing so that all views would be considered at least on talk here. Once I saw the body of evidence and RS were incredibly solidly to one side, I made a decision in my mind that would be best for Wikipedia in direct opposite to my own personal beliefs. And I personally stand by that to this day. And I've never believed consensus had to be unanimous, because the idea is insane. Any one person, or five, could filibuster progress anywhere on Wikipedia then. It would be a very stupid idea. Lawrence § t/e 23:34, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
You did a great job. And.. you had a consensus version of the lede, which you then compromised in order to get ... what you supposed.. would have been unanimity. In trying to get unanimity you pushed the lede too far in one direction and it fell over. --Blue Tie (talk) 00:42, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
That sounds about right, Blue Tie. Neutral Good (talk) 04:53, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

First use of Waterboarding, pre-2000

Has anyone found a use of the term "waterboarding" (or "water boarding" or "water-boarding" (or waterboard, water-board, or water board)) in any reference about interrogation or torture prior to 2000?

I ask about the use of the term waterboarding, not of the act. I am convinced that the act -- whatever it is and was, whether or not it was, is, or will be torture, in several if not many variations -- was done prior to 2000, but I am beginning to have doubts that the act was ever called waterboarding before 2000. What it was called prior to 2000 would be interesting (especially if reliably sourced) but it's not really relevant.

I want, please, a citation to someone using the term "waterboarding" (or variants as above) in this context before 2000.

An article written in 2002 describing acts in 1994, 1944, or 1444 as "waterboarding" does not qualify. An article written in 1994 would.

Thank you. htom (talk) 20:56, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

At this point, I think you can assume that people have looked for pre-9/11 uses of the word and haven't found any. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
The "Roosevelt was right" source says it was called the “water cure” or “Chinese water torture.” in the 1902 congressional hearings. (Hypnosadist) 21:20, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
If you really want to find pre-2001 sources then i think that it will be hitting the books time. (Hypnosadist) 21:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I did a search of a newspaper archive and did not find anything. However, I do not think the database (71 million articles) was that good. So I am trying a database that I believe is comprehensive. --Blue Tie (talk) 23:25, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
So far the oldest article I can find is dated May 13, 2004. In searching though, I found two sources that will be very interesting for this article. One source says that Waterboarding comes from "The dirty war" in Argentina where it was called "el submarino". The other source details the discussions in the US Administration over its interrogation techniques and.. I THINK ... it has a complete official description of what waterboarding is.  !!!! --Blue Tie (talk) 00:38, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Here are some pre-2001 sources:

Navy Training Safety: High-risk Training Can be Safer : by United States General Accounting Office, Toby Roth - 1991

"The GAO reported that the Chinese water board torture is not an official part of the curriculum and some special Naval warfare personnel indicated that the exercise has no place in this training course"

Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower - William Blum, 2000

".. tiger cages"—hooded and placed in a 16-cubic-foot box for 22 hours with a coffee can for their excrement—and a torture device called the "water board": ..."

So yes, "water board torture" is not exactly a new term, though was usually referred to as "water torture". The "ing" may be new. I assume that the "waterboarding" phrase was preferred in 2001+, to avoid the word "torture".

I tried to start a similar discussion before. See:

Nospam150 (talk) 04:45, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I missed your previous effort but this is great. You deserve some sort of barnstar. For other editors the link to the oldest reference identified - the 1991 GAO report calls it the "Chinese Water Board". Here is the link: [40] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Blue Tie (talkcontribs) 12:43, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the GAO report calls it the "Chinese Water Board Torture" and uses the word torture every time it is mentioned (4 times). The report describes it as follows: "During this exercise, a student is placed on an inclined board with a rag over his face while an instructor pours water over the rag-causing a coughing/ drowning sensation. The purpose of the exercise is to simulate prisoner of war treatment. " The Department of Defense response to the report, on p.53, refers to it as the "Chinese water torture board."--agr (talk) 13:08, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Great work Nospam150! (Hypnosadist) 15:40, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
The books and newspaper articles about the Vietnam War usually call it "the water treatment." Badagnani (talk) 05:55, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I assume the the term "Water board torture" was not invented in 1991 either. I hope that we can find earlier references.

On this subject, as Waterboard-ING seems to be a relatively new term, I think we should add some "also known as" clauses to make this article more historically correct. Note, the "Painting of Waterboarding" image predates any use of this exact word.

"Waterboarding (also known as Water board torture or Water torture) is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on his or her back, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages."


  • It is called "Water torture" in 1969/1970.
  • It is called [Chinese] "Water board torture" in 1991
  • It is called torture using a "Water board" in 2000.
  • It is called "Waterboarding" in 2001.

You could add Water Treatment too, if that was used in newspapers at the time of Vietnam. I only saw the 1997 book with this. Nospam150 (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 16:28, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I do not think it is appropriate to call it water torture -- even recognizing the sources, because I believe they are identifying it as a type of water torture, but not as the only thing that is water torture. There are a variety of tortures with water. Also, I have not seen a source say it is called "Waterboarding" in 2001, and it is original research to say it is called "Water Torture" in 1969/1970. --Blue Tie (talk) 01:19, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - This makes no sense. It is as if we should state that the piano did not exist in the early 1700s, because it was called a gravicembalo at that time. Suffocation with water, of a prisoner bound to a board, is, by definition, a form of torture now, and was during the Vietnam War when it was called "the water treatment," during the Khmer Rouge regime, when it was called by whatever Khmer term was used--the practice and definitions are the same. Badagnani (talk) 01:25, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Here is how I think it make sense. If A is a subset of "Alphabet", it is incorrect to say "A is the Alphabet". If a 3-wheel Isetta is a type of Car (some may debate that), it does not mean that Isetta = Car. Isetta may be a type of car (depending), but not all cars are Isettas.--Blue Tie (talk) 01:51, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - This makes no sense. The opening paragraph does not state, "Waterboarding is torture which consists of the suffocation, by the use of water, on a prisoner who is strapped to a board"; it (properly) states that "Waterboarding is a form of torture..."--by definition, the way an apple is a form of fruit or football is a form of sport. Badagnani (talk) 02:03, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Question:How does it make no sense? Your comment makes no sense to me. --Blue Tie (talk) 07:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
(conflict)The question was, in your context, when the word "piano" was first used to describe a hammered string instrument worked by keys. That the piano was previously called the gravicembalo does not establish when it was first called the piano; it was also called the fortepiano and the pianoforte (and going on about the differences between them is going to show that you're missing the point, I asked about first use of the word to describe the method, not first use of the method.)
  • resuming htom (talk) 02:00, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

"Water treatment" I heard in the late 1960's, to as the name of the activity described below as "Chinese water board torture" and I suspect that it occurs in some of the autobiographical writing of those who served in Vietnam. Good find, Nospam150, and thank you.

Looking at the entire paragraph devoted to Chinese water board torture in the GAO report, I am inclined to think that the authors are being very careful to distinguish between "Chinese water board torture" (which was not authorized, was discontinued, and is described) and something else (marked in bold, below) which is similar but neither named nor described by them:

The Chinese water board torture demonstration is another potentially

dangerous exercise that has been conducted during IsIJD/S training in the past, even though it was not an official part of the curriculum. During this exercise, a student is placed on an inclined board with a rag over his face while an instructor pours water over the rag-causing a coughing/ drowning sensation. The purpose of the exercise is to simulate prisoner of war treatment. Some experienced special warfare personnel told us the exercise has no place in HID/S training-training that is specifically designed to provide the basic physical and technical skills essential for a career in naval special warfare. An exercise similar to Chinese water board torture is a part of an advanced survival course where, according to special warfare professionals we interviewed, it more appropriately belongs. In the advanced course, the drill is conducted with a psychologist

present at all times to monitor both the instructors and the students.

I am inclined to think that the distinction that the authors are making may be (eventually) be found to be significant. (And that the undescribed similar exercise is what the government calls "waterboarding"; how different it is we don't know.) htom (talk) 19:10, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Your interpretation is pure speculation. The paragraph you quote describes the "Chinese water board torture" exactly the way recent press reports that discuss CIA interrogation describe waterboarding. And there is nothing in the quoted text that suggests the "similar" exercise given in the advanced survival course is not torture; on the contrary, we are told it is "conducted with a psychologist present at all times to monitor both the instructors and the students." That hardly suggests it is more benign.--agr (talk) 22:13, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, actually htom, has a point. To say that "Chinese Water Board Torture" = "Waterboarding" is actually original research now that I think about it. Though I would agree, it seems to be the same thing, that agreement is Original Research. --Blue Tie (talk) 01:23, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Blue tie read wp:nor it says;

For that reason, anyone—without specialist knowledge—who reads the primary source should be able to verify that the Wikipedia passage agrees with the primary source

the GAO report says;

The Chinese water board torture demonstration is another potentially dangerous exercise that has been conducted during IsIJD/S training in the past, even though it was not an official part of the curriculum. During this exercise, a student is placed on an inclined board with a rag over his face while an instructor pours water over the rag-causing a coughing/drowning sensation. The purpose of the exercise is to simulate prisoner of war treatment.

our article on waterboarding says;

Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on his or her back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning in a controlled environment and is made to believe that death is imminent

i say without specialist knowledge;

"Chinese Water Board Torture" = "Waterboarding"

hope that helps you understand wp:nor. (Hypnosadist) 13:24, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

The same argument applies to this source [41] which has waterboarding called the “water cure” or “Chinese water torture.”. It says about the chinese water torture;

“A man is thrown down on his back and three or four men sit on his arms and legs and hold him down, and either a gun barrel or a rifle barrel or a carbine barrel or a stick as big as a belaying pin ... is simply thrust into his jaws, ... and then water is poured onto his face, down his throat and nose, ... until the man gives some sign of giving in or becomes unconscious. ... His suffering must be that of a man who is drowning but who cannot drown

Note of course blue tie that this is a secondary source that says that the “water cure” or “Chinese water torture.” is waterboarding so no chance of OR anyway. (Hypnosadist) 13:38, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Not Torture

How about this for an opening paragraph?:

"Waterboarding is an enhanced form of interrogation that consists of immobilizing a person on his or her back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. The subject may experience the sensation of suffocation and some incidental inhalation of water, the subject imagines the feeling of drowning in a controlled environment and is made to believe that death is imminent, though he or she is in fact completely safe.In contrast to merely submerging the head face-forward, waterboarding almost immediately elicits the gag reflex. Although waterboarding is performed in ways that leave no lasting physical or psychological damage, it carries the risks of temporary discomfort. The psychological effects on participants in waterboarding have generally been found to be minor to non-existant," - (talk) 06:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose - "enhanced form of interrogation" is a euphemism recently promulgated by a regime using this torture technique. Most of the rest of the statements run counter to the actual sources we've been considering for the past few months. Have you read the discussion archives? Badagnani (talk) 07:01, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Don't feed the troll.--Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:15, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
you believe this to be a sock puppet? --neonwhite user page talk 14:36, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Apparently a vandal. --Blue Tie (talk) 17:55, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
How? the page is protected? --neonwhite user page talk 18:47, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I think that BlueTie refers to the previous edit history of the proposer. I am inclined to oppose because I am very unsure of the "safety" of the described method; a little study of a drawing of the internals of the human neck shows that face down may less likely to damage the breathing passages (and be less likely to induce the gag reflex.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by OtterSmith (talkcontribs) 00:56, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I would normally Support, but since the proposer is clearly an SPA vandal, I will Abstain. Neutral Good (talk) 04:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Dispute resolution

It is evident from the proposed decision at ArbCom that they will not resolve this content dispute for us. We are expected to resolve it outselves. I suggest WP:RFM. I would be willing to accept any result that arises from such a process if it will stop the bickering. Neutral Good (talk) 05:18, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Sure, but it's probably best to wait until after the arbitration concludes. Surprising things can happen during the voting process. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:21, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Its official "CIA admits waterboarding inmates"

This story from the BBC ->[42] and on super tuesday, what a coincidence. (Hypnosadist) 01:01, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Not terribly shocking. Interesting passage from that article, and keep in mind the BBC is an exemplary reliable source, so we're certainly going to use this:
"Waterboarding, condemned as torture by rights groups and many governments, is an interrogation method that puts the the detainee in fear of drowning."
Very critical wording there. Lawrence § t/e 14:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, so this passage, and possibly a number of others (I admit I haven't read this article too closely) should probably be updated to reflect this admission: "Many reports say that intelligence officers of the United States used waterboarding to interrogate prisoners captured in its War on Terrorism.". I figure that part is for example now sort of redundant as CIA themselves have admitted to using this interrogation technique. — Northgrove 18:21, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Some more sources:

An article in the February 7 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald under the headline US admits water torture. Note that this article reports that three (named) people have been subjected to waterboarding, and the confirmation came in hearings before the US Senate by CIA Director General Michael Hayden. Hayden banned the practice in 2006, but it is still permitted with the approval of the AG and the President.
A similar report from the February 7 edition of The New York Times under the hedline Spy Chief Confirms Three Waterboardings. This article uses more guarded language, but does directly quote Hayden's testimony.
It was preceded by a more detailed Reuters report Bush Approved CIA Disclosure on Waterboarding.

Based on these relaiable sources, it seems to me that the article section Waterboarding#Contemporary_use_and_the_United_States can be substantially shortened and re-written in a definitive way. There is no doubt that the CIA has used waterboarding. Jay*Jay (talk) 04:02, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

2004 "Waterboarding" vs 1991 "Water board torture"

Is the "Chinese Water Board Torture" referred to by the 1991 US GAO report the same as what is referred to as "Waterboarding" in 2004. If they are not the same, how are the acts different, and how are the two terms related?

Should the opening line be:

Waterboarding (also known as "Water board torture") is ...


Waterboarding is a CIA interrogation technique similar to "Chinese water board torture" in which ...

Either "Waterboarding" is another name for "Water board torture" which is very similar to the Inquisition Toca torture,

Or "Waterboarding" was invented by some creative CIA agents with too much time on their hands and any resemblance to previous torture techniques is coincidental.

Nospam150 (talk) 17:22, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I think an etymology section at the start of the history section would be better, or starting each paragraph in the history section with what it was called in that time period. (Hypnosadist) 17:44, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

article on CIA's view of waterboarding - thinks its legality is questionable

Interesting article on Hayden's recent testimony - [43]. Money quote - ""It is not included in the current program, and in my own view, the view of my lawyers and the Department of Justice, it is not certain that that technique would be considered to be lawful under current statute," Hayden said. Though now legally questionable, Hayden said waterboarding was legal in 2002 and 2003, a time period when the technique was used to interrogate Al-Qaida detainees. "All the techniques that we've used have been deemed to be lawful," he said." This information (or at least a link to the article to reflect the CIA's view) should be added to the article. Remember (talk) 20:15, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak: U.S.'s defense of waterboarding "absolutely unacceptable"

See article. Badagnani (talk) 21:38, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

LA Times reports WH says waterboarding is legal

Here's a link to the article. Finally a statement from the administration on the practice [44]. Remember (talk) 22:12, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding torturers saying it is legal - so...., the question is whether it is or is not torture. criminals do not get to define crimes. Inertia Tensor (talk) 06:35, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I included this link not to point out that it is legal, just to point out a source to add to the article that shows that Bush administration's definitive statement on waterboarding. Remember (talk) 13:41, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

CIA allowing contractors to use Waterboarding

Just wondering if you have seen this article yet from the Wall Street Journal, which says: "CIA Likely Let Contractors Perform Waterboarding"

"The CIA's secret interrogation program has made extensive use of outside contractors, whose role likely included the waterboarding of terrorist suspects, according to testimony yesterday from the CIA director and two other people familiar with the program.

Many of the contractors involved aren't large corporate entities but rather individuals who are often former agency or military officers. However, large corporations also are involved, current and former officials said. Their identities couldn't be learned.

"The broader involvement of contractors, and the likelihood they partook in waterboarding, raises new legal questions about the Central Intelligence Agency's use of the practice, ..."' Thanks.Giovanni33 (talk) 23:08, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


This article is way to American-centric. ~ UBeR (talk) 16:35, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree, considering that technique has been used for a long time and in many different circumstances. Could we consider using WP:SS to reduce the undue weight given to current US practices (which are only one example of many) once this is unprotected? Calliopejen1 (talk) 20:44, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't see how WP:SS would help. We do have zillions of extremely good recent sources, and rather fewer old ones. This is not an issue of undue weight, but if anything of systeic bias (and is this case, of systemic bias in the sources). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:10, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
It's undue weight because in historical perspective this is just one example. I don't disagree that we have more sources on it; that's obviously true. But when we are trying to present a picture of waterboarding as a general practice it does not make sense to have more than half of the article be examples from the last five years about the US military. Much of the merit of summary style is that it allows basic articles to be balanced and anyone who wants more current information see it as well. Calliopejen1 (talk) 22:03, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
It's inevitable that most of this article is going to be about the recent use of waterboarding by the U.S. against certain people and the political controversy that resulted. But the level of detail in a lot of the article can be reduced--the quotes are too extensive, we don't need to say much about KSM/Abu Zubaida other than that the U.S. gov't. has acknowledged using waterboarding on them, the presidental campaign section can be reduced, etc. --Akhilleus (talk) 22:11, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Akhilleus there is no reason to delete accurate sourced info, i still say the way to remove the US bias is to split the US section of to US waterboarding controversy and leave this article to cover the method, effects and history of waterboarding. At the same time we could do the much needed re-write of the US section now the CIA says it has waterboarded. (Hypnosadist) 15:12, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that. --neonwhite user page talk 20:26, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with User:Hypnosadist. There should be a separate article on the issue in the United States. I've only heard press coverage about the US regarding this issue, not any other country. SpencerT♦C 15:21, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Look, this article doesn't need to tell the story of how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was interrogated; he's got his own article, where that information can be found. All this article needs to do is note that "the U.S. has acknowledged using waterboarding against three suspected terrorists after September 2001: KSM, Abu Zubaida, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri." As for "deleting sourced information", do you really think that having a 10-sentence quote from Rudolph Giuliani is essential to the article? There are an excessive number of quotes and the quotes are excessively long. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:34, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
"All this article needs to do is note that "the U.S. has acknowledged using waterboarding against three suspected terrorists after September 2001: KSM, Abu Zubaida, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri."" Thats just not true, it does not give any context to those statements.
"do you really think that having a 10-sentence quote from Rudolph Giuliani is essential to the article?" To this current article, No. To the article US waterboarding controversy they would be very notable quotes as part of the Presidential Race of 08. There is just no need to delete when a split would enhance the encyclopedia. (Hypnosadist) 18:43, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Errors in opening paragraph.

Although waterboarding can be performed in ways that leave no lasting physical damage, it carries the risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries (including broken bones) due to struggling against restraints, and even death.[4] The psychological effects on victims of waterboarding can last for years after the procedure.[5]

Lung and brain damage is lasting physical damage. The inhalation of water and later respiratory ailments that can arise are lasting physical damage. Broken bones are deemed lasting physical damage due to the fact that breaks remain prominant and complications can occur with them for many decades after the injury is occured. Psychological effects may be deemed 'physical damage' under almost all legislation in common law countries as well as most codified countries.

Today it is considered to be torture by a wide range of authorities, including legal experts,[4][7] politicians,[8] war veterans,[9][10] intelligence officials,[11] military judges,[12] and human rights organizations.[13][14]

Any interrogation method that involves applying physical force to a prisoner, restraining them and asphyxiating them especially, would be deemed torture by any sensible educated person. The contention of whether or not it is torture, in my opinion, is merely indicative that there have been trolls present claiming it's a legitimate interrogation method. The fact of the matter is, if there were a census to be held and we were to vote on whether it is torture or not, there would be an overwhelming majority affirmation that it is.

Thus, I suggest someone edit these passages to remove all weaselism, or we'll get straight to the voting. (talk) 10:28, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Please read the discussions above and in the archives. Wikipedia is not a democracy. --neonwhite user page talk 15:56, 10 February 2008 (UTC)


I am stunned that the clear fact that 'Waterboarding' is torture is even being debated. The problem here is that Wikipedia is so very US oriented. It makes Wiki unbalanced and frankly, it sometimes make it look very stupid. It is probably symptomatic of a wider isolation of many in the US from world opinion. If these were U.S. citizens being tortured there would be an outcry of (Justifiably) indignant rage. 'Only in America' as the saying goes. This hypocrisy is at the very heart of the plummeting reputation of the U.S.A. around the world. 'Practice what you preach' and 'Do unto others as you would be done to yourself' also come to mind. Anyone on this website who argues that 'Waterboarding is not clearly and blatantly torture, is very, very stupid almost beyond words. All this myopic hypocrisy will come back to haunt the U.S.A, especially when it come to preaching down to other countries about Human Rights and the Environment. A store of problems for the US and American citizens in the future....... So sad, and so utterly, mind-bendingly stupid. PP. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:46, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Born in the USA, live in the USA, and I agree. I'm afraid the melting pot is distilling itself. --Mbilitatu (talk) 18:00, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
This is not a forum for discussing morality issues. --neonwhite user page talk 19:14, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry to burst your bubble 'Neon White', this is clearly and unequivocally NOT a 'morality' issue, it about fact and logic. Misplaced loyalty and patriotism should not blind anyone into accepting the unacceptable. Their is a lot of waffle on this page about what it was called and when this practice started and when it was called this or that. All, frankly, of little in any relevance. Any procedure that is physical, and causes pain or discomfort or fear of imminent death in the subject are torture. Simple isn't it? The fact that a few yahoos think that the current conflicts justify it's use is irrelevant. I might add that it also makes a mockery of the U.S. Constitution, putting the U.S. into the same category as Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. This is clearly not a moral issue, it is most blatantly a factual one. Expending pages of diatribe one what something was called at what date is a total red herring. Unless this Wiki page truthfully and accurately describes 'Waterboarding' as a form of torture, it is holding up the whole principle of Wiki' being of any relevance as a useful source of information. Morality doesn't enter into this issue. PP. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:04, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Again this is not a forum for dicsussing personal views on the subject, talk pages are for discussing edits to the article. --neonwhite user page talk 22:38, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Where to start? Wikipedia is about verifiable statements, not true ones. Your definition of torture is rather sloppy; not providing supper on Tuesdays may make a prisoner feel discomfort, but it's not reasonably considered to be torture. What you dismiss as waffle and of little relevance is what makes an encyclopedia reliable: the grains of reliable fact are sorted from the blizzard of opinion and guess. You "know" what waterboarding is; we're trying to discover and verify from reliable sources what it is. Your conclusion may be correct, but we are not supposed to jump after it. htom (talk) 15:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the issues here are factual or moral. There isn't a huge debate on the procedure. The debate is on what we label it ... torture (with all that comes with that label) or "enhanced interrogation technique". These are perceptual issues, conceptual issues. What is being debated here is which perspective to choose, which label to choose. I imagine that the bulk of the world thinks that this perceptual argument is as silly as debating whether or not The rack is torture or an "enhanced interrogation technique".--Mbilitatu (talk) 17:36, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Eeesh...There is plenty of sloppy and inaccurate crap on Wikipedia for sure. However, some facts are clear and obvious enough that any reasonable adult accepts them as clear facts. We aren't talking about minor points of academic interest here. We are talking about an issue that is seen as typical of 'Western Hypocrisy' by the Arab world, - quite correctly too as it happens. It's as corrosive as the sort of stupidity we saw at Abu-Graib. It's for the idiotic yahoos who think that it is NOT clearly torture to come up with something concrete to the contrary. Perhaps they might like to volunteer to try the experience.....? Perceptual/conceptual....are you crazy..? Crucifixion....perceptual...??? I think there are a few people in here that need a severe reality check and perhaps a break from the keyboard into the daylight. There is no real issue about what this procedure entails (It's an old procedure, just given a typically stupid euphemistic modern name.), just an issue about the absurd denial that it is not torture... If it's so acceptable, perhaps it should be introduced as a standard induction procedure for all Wiki editors..... PP.
I think you misunderstood my point. I agree it is obvious beyond all doubt that waterboarding is torture. Be that as it may, this debate exists. And I think it exists because interested factions are trying to control the perception by trying to influence the label. Thus, I think this Talk page is mostly arguing over the perception of waterboarding. I don't think there is any reasonable debate to be had over waterboarding itself. Sorry about the confusing post.--Mbilitatu (talk) 03:40, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
That's a refief...! I think that what clearly needs to happen here is for the burden of 'Proof' to shift to those who are seeking to suggest that the obvious facts should be re-interpreted to fit their politically slanted views. PP —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:38, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

"Politicians" -> Carter

On two occasions, I believe, an interview with Jimmy Carter on CNN is used for the argument that "water boarding is considered torture by various politicians" or something to that respect. The source, the interview with Carter, however, makes no mention whatsoever of waterboarding. That source therefore makes it inappropriate for that statement in the article. I would suggest if you would like to keep "politicians" in that you use perhaps something McCain has said about waterboarding. ~ UBeR (talk) 03:38, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree but due to the attacks on this article its still protected. (Hypnosadist) 13:21, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
If there is clear consensus, I or any other admin can edit the protected article accordingly. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:47, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm still trying to get concensus on a split (see section above) and then this could be delt with in more detail. Meanwhile this story from newsweek is mentioned above as a source for McCain's views [45] and the ref could be added to make "politicians" mean more than one politician. (Hypnosadist) 14:21, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Another article by someone who experience waterboarding

Recent article by a person who was waterboarded in a controlled setting calling it torture. [46] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Remember (talkcontribs) 13:47, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Great source! (Hypnosadist) 14:24, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Also helps with the etymology of waterboarding as well. (Hypnosadist) 14:27, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

proposed addition

I can't figure out if my addition is related to the supposed content dispute under arbitration, so I'll leave my submission here in the hopes that it is integrated by a more knowledgeable admin. I propose placing it before the last paragraph on opinion polls in the section "Controversy in the United States".

Numerous military authorities have decried the use of waterboarding. In 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the senior uniformed lawyers of the four armed services for written commentary on waterboarding; all four stated that the practice was inhumane and illegal. They were subsequently supported by several retired colleagues.[6] Similarly, in December 2007 twenty-eight retired generals and admirals wrote an open letter to the House and Senate intelligence committees urging them to prohibit the CIA from engaging in harsh interrogation techniques.[7] The same month, the Armed Forces Journal wrote an editorial declaring, "Waterboarding is a torture technique that has its history rooted in the Spanish Inquisition. ... And as with all torture techniques, it is, therefore, an inherently flawed method for gaining reliable information. In short, it doesn’t work."[8]

Thanks, BanyanTree 12:24, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Question about legality

I noticed this piece in the Vietnam War section of the article: "Waterboarding was designated as illegal by U.S. generals in the Vietnam War."

Sadly, the resulting link is not more detailed. Where these generals talking about internal Department of Defense policy, or was there a law at the time making waterboarding illegal? Certainly, generals don't make laws.

There was also a mention on The Daily Show about illegality in WW2. Apparently, there was a case where interrogators using waterboarding were sentenced to death under US law. It aired sometime in the past week or so and [47] would have the clip. It's obviously not a very good reference, but it might be a good starting to point to find that information, which may be helpful in the article. The-Bus (talk) 14:33, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Apparently the U.S. soldier from the famous Vietnam waterboardin photo was court martialled, found guilty and thrown out of the army. He would've been subject to US military law, and as far as I know Judge Advocate General's Corps officers are partly responsible for both drafting new laws and amendments, and also advising on the practice and applicability of existing laws. Of course, it would be good to have more information on this specific case, so feel free to investigate further. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 21:06, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I just came across HILAO v MARCOS, which states, "In the next round of interrogation, all of his limbs were shackled to a cot and a towel was placed over his nose and mouth; his interrogators then poured water down his nostrils so that he felt as though he were drowning. This lasted for approximately six hours, during which time the interrogators threatened Sison with electric shock and death. At the end of this water torture, Sison was left shackled to the cot for the following three days, during which time he was repeatedly interrogated." I, of course, found this through the 2004 memo by Daniel Levin. But I really doubt the United State's stance here is important for the lead's definition of waterboarding. Various United Nations officials, particularly those involved with human rights and torture, have unambiguously stated waterboarding is torture, I think there is more validity to what they say than what the U.S. Attorney General does. ~ UBeR (talk) 23:32, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Edit please

{{editprotected}} The following paragraph is being requested for placement in section 6.1 "United States" as the last paragraph. It is current news, pertinent, simply stated and referenced.

President Bush of the United States has defended the use of waterboarding for interrogation in an interview aired by the BBC February 14 2008. He stated, "We'll make sure professionals have the tools necessary to do their job within the law," suggesting that waterboarding is legal.[9] On the same day however, Stephen Bradbury, a justice department official gave evidence to a congressional committee regarding waterboarding. He stated, "Let me be clear, though: There has been no determination by the justice department that the use of waterboarding, under any circumstances, would be lawful under current law."[10]

- Steve3849 talk 00:50, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but I don't see this as uncontroversial. Especially the sentence "suggesting that waterboarding is legal" is a deduction, not something he actually said. And the source is insufficiently complete to fully support that deduction. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:09, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Heres the transcript from the BBC. [48] (Hypnosadist) 01:25, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Frei: The Senate yesterday passed a bill outlawing water-boarding. You, I believe, have said that you will veto that bill.
Mr Bush: That's not -
Frei: Does that not send the wrong signal...
Mr Bush: No, look... that's not the reason I'm vetoing the bill. The reason I'm vetoing the bill - first of all, we have said that whatever we do... will be legal. Secondly, they are imposing a set of standards on our intelligence communities in terms of interrogating prisoners that our people will think will be ineffective. And, you know, to the critics, I ask them this: when we, within the law, interrogate and get information that protects ourselves and possibly others in other nations to prevent attacks, which attack would they have hoped that we wouldn't have prevented? And so, the United States will act within the law. We'll make sure professionals have the tools necessary to do their job within the law. Now, I recognise some say that these - terrorists - really aren't that big a threat to the United States anymore. I fully disagree. And I think the president must give his professionals within the law the necessary tools to protect us. So, we're not having a debate not only how you interrogate people. We're having a debate in America on whether or not we ought to be listening' to terrorists making' phone calls in the United States. And the answer is darn right we ought to be.
Frei: But, given Guantanamo Bay, given also Abu Ghraib, given renditions, does this not send the wrong signal to the world?
Mr Bush: It should send a signal that America is going to respect law. But, it's gonna take actions necessary to protect ourselves and find information that may protect others. Unless, of course, people say, "Well, there's no threat. They're just making up the threat. These people aren't problematic." But, I don't see how you can say that in Great Britain after people came and, you know, blew up bombs in subways. I suspect the families of those victims are - understand the nature of killers. And, so, what people gotta understand is that we'll make decisions based upon law. We're a nation of law. Take Guantanamo. Look, I'd like it to be empty. On the other hand, there's some people there that need to be tried. And there will be a trial. And they'll have their day in court. Unlike what they did to other people. Now, there's great concern about, you know, and I can understand this. That these people be given rights. The - what - they're not willing' to grant the same rights to others. They'll murder. But, you gotta understand, they're getting rights. And I'm comfortable with the decisions we've made. And I'm comfortable with recognising this is still a dangerous world.
Thats the relivent bit. (Hypnosadist) 01:35, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
And indeed, Bush does not make a clear statement about waterboarding and its legality (or even his belief of its legality). The bill in question would outlaw waterboarding and other techniques, and Bush is only talking about "the tools". I find Bush stupid and scary, but we should stick to verifiable facts. BTW, I find Lieberman outright unbelievable: "We have to allow the president to allow the toughest measures to be used when there is an imminent threat to our country" - so either he is way more stupid than I would expect, or there is at least one US senator who is fine with electroshocks, the rack, and the blowtorch. Of course only if the president thinks there might be "an imminent threat to our country".... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:53, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
I've considered your points and see their validity. So anyway, let me attempt once more: the quote by the Chief and Commander is not being misconstrued here. The CIA has publically admitted to waterboarding[11] and the President is saying in reply to a waterboarding question that the United States is within the law. To say this requires deduction is a long stretch. The referenced news article itself is reasonable enough. To suggest that there is an issue of deduction in the reference material gives the President the grace of not having answered the question. Yet, he did. He makes controversial statements regularly, but I contest although his statements themselves are controversial there is not necessarily a matter of dispute in my edit. This section is about the United States and waterboarding. Who better to quote than the current President and the head of the justice department office of legal counsel? I still think my edit is both neutral and relevant. The following is my new edit, please reconsider:

President Bush of the United States has defended the use of waterboarding for interrogation in an interview aired by the BBC February 14 2008. He was asked a question regarding waterboarding. In reply he proposed that one question whether information that has been received in interrogations has been valuable and stated that "the United States will act within the law." He also stated, "We'll make sure professionals have the tools necessary to do their job within the law."[12] Also on February 14 2008, Stephen Bradbury, a justice department official gave evidence to a congressional committee regarding waterboarding. He stated, "There has been no determination by the justice department that the use of waterboarding, under any circumstances, would be lawful under current law."[13] The CIA has admitted to using waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay in interrogations in 2002 and 2003.[14]

Admittedly my knowledge is novice and perhaps naive. I won't be pressing further. Maybe someone else can pick up the ball if they find it worth doing so. - Steve3849 talk 04:01, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

N Declined. No clear consensus. The article is already far too much focused on waterboarding as a contemporary US political issue, IMHO (see WP:RECENT). Sandstein (talk) 22:56, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
The article was no longer protected. The edit request didn't get removed promptly. My apologies, but thank you for the additional feedback. - Steve3849 talk 23:44, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding probation - ALL editors are now restricted, please read

See: Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Waterboarding#Article probation. All editors are bound and restricted by this, indefinitely. Will someone please add the appropriate templates here? Lawrence § t/e 14:47, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

The ArbCom having come to a conclusion, and having instated remedies (other than keeping the article protected over a long period of time), I have requested unprotection of the waterboarding article, at the protecting admin's talk page: [49] --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:42, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Note: I have removed the warning template from the article page because this template has been traditionally used on the talk page only. There is a comment at the top of the article warning about the probation. Jehochman Talk 18:45, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Concerning the Proposal to Delete the Waterboarding Image

If I was the subjected to waterboarding, I would consider it torture.

Furthermore, the image makes the subject more concrete than abstract words. The image alone immediately grabs the attention as extreme -- much faster than words could ever do. Deleting the image makes the discussion too abstract; it divorces the reader from the reality of the extremity of the practice.

Truth should not be suppressed just because it is uncomfortable to think about.

Mclaypool (talk) 00:54, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the support please go to to register your point of view formally (As should anyone else who has an opinion). (Hypnosadist) 16:35, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Question regarding intro.

The lead states, "Waterboarding gained recent attention and notoriety in the United States when the press reported that the CIA had used waterboarding in the interrogation of certain extrajudicial prisoners," and provides this source. However, I do not see that source as a very supportive one in that it doesn't claim waterboarding gained attention because of the media's outing of this secret. The Newsweek article from June 21, 2004, does seem to be among the first major news sources to discuss the waterboarding issue in the United States. Based upon that, however, I think the sentence is sort of implying that investigative media persons revealed and uncovered a big secret, when really it looks like the White House was putting it out there and especially when the CIA themselves revealed they used waterboarding. So I think more realistically the notoriety did not come from the media reporting the CIA, but rather the CIA reporting what they themselves did.[50] ~ UBeR (talk) 20:21, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

How about "Waterboarding gained attention and notoriety in the United States when it was reported that the CIA had used the technique in interrogating certain extrajudicial prisoners"? Avoids the question of who reported this. Although I do think that there were press reports of waterboarding before government sources acknowledged it, I don't have any citations right now. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:25, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. ~ UBeR (talk) 22:34, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Stories about waterboarding at gitmo surfaced around 2003, these were unconfirmed reports that were denighed or ignored by the whitehouse. One source in the list at the top of the page is from late 2005 [51] but there will be older ones. It has only just been confirmed by the CIA. (Hypnosadist) 22:43, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Two new newspaper articles

  • A Washington Post article writes about the testimony of Steven G. Bradbury, acting chief of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, to a U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee subcommittee. Bradbury wrote two secret memos in 2005 that purported to authorize waterboarding; in the testimony he attempts to distinguish United States use of such torture from similar methods employed during the Spanish Inquisition and subsequently - Dan Eggen, "Justice Official Defends Rough CIA Interrogations: Only 'Severe, Lasting Pain' is Torture, He Says"] in Washington Post, 16 February 2008
  • A New York Times op-ed article by a United States Air Force colonel who was chief prosecutor of the "military commissions" at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007, argues that the use of torture by United States armed forces and CIA agents lowers the world standing of the United States, jeopardizes U.S. soldiers and hampers legitimate judicial efforts which must reject unreliable and illegally obtained evidence - Morris Davis, "Unforgivable Behavior, Inadmissible Evidence"], New York Times Op-Ed Contributor, 17 February 2008

Objectivesea (talk) 20:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Great sources. (Hypnosadist) 22:21, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Regarding liability

Some nice articles discussing the torture thingy and possibility of prosecution.[52][53][54][55][56][57] Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 09:34, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Legality of Waterboarding under the UDHR

This is a small point that I don't think requires debate. The United States Supreme court in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692 (2004) said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "does not of its own force impose obligations as a matter of international law." That deserves mention in this article because the article is unclear whether the US is bound to follow the UDHR.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 17:37, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

We need a secondary source that mentions this case, but it certainly seems relivent to the application of the UDHR to waterboarding. (Hypnosadist) 13:27, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I bumped this down to the US section, as it's only relevant to the United States. See edit. Lawrence § t/e 05:16, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Continuing to write the article

I think the following should be added to the article in the history section between Colonial times and World War 2;

After the Spanish-American War of 1898

After the Spanish American War of 1898 in the Philippines, the US Army used waterboarding which was called the “water cure” or “Chinese water torture.” President Theodore Roosevelt ordered the court-martial of the American General on the island of Samar for allowing his troops to waterboard, when the court-martial found only that he had acted with excessive zeal Roosevelt disregarded the verdict and had the General dismissed from the Army. [58]

I'm not bothered about the wording but i think this set of events is important to this article and the current US debate. (Hypnosadist) 13:56, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Anyone got any suggestions to improve the above proposed section, or any objections? (Hypnosadist) 15:25, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Adding this now article is unprotected. (Hypnosadist) 16:14, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Looks good. Lawrence § t/e 05:16, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Subdividing this Article

As this article is now over 64 KB in size, it is now twice the sugested maximum length for articles. Some of the talk about the article concerns its apparent US-centredness. Arguments are made that this is a distorted focus; arguments are also made that such a focus is legitimate, given the current use by the U.S. government and the current arguments about its use by a modern democracy which in most other ways respects human rights. I suggest that the article be divided into two -- the main Waterboarding article and a new article: Use of Waterboarding by the United States (or some similar title). The main article could briefly summarize the U.S. usage in a single paragraph with a link to the new article: For a fuller discussion of this, see also Use of Waterboarding by the United States
Objectivesea (talk) 20:30, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Split I support this, also will help with the modern US undue weight. (Hypnosadist) 21:06, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Support Conditionally, of course. The US sub-article will I presume be subject to the existing probation, as a related page, and will need to be tightly monitored to not advance any fringe theories or viewpoints. It can't be just a POV fork. Lawrence § t/e 22:40, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Oppose Waterboarding use by the CIA is not "current." It stopped in 2005, which is three years ago. If the article is too long, trim out the repetitive chanting of every "waterboarding is torture" source under the sun, and select a few that are representative with links to the rest. Neutral Good (talk) 23:46, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
"Waterboarding use by the CIA is not "current." It stopped in 2005" Thats only if we believe them, don't forget they said there were no secret jails in eastern europe but there were, etc etc iran/contra etc etc. (Hypnosadist) 01:03, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I'll take my evidence over your speculation any day of the week. Neutral Good (talk) 01:23, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Support In its current form there is undue weight toward the US. Calliopejen1 (talk) 00:08, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Alleg quote/edit by Randy

Here. Why is this being qualified, that it could not be verified? We simply are not allowed to do this--it's original research. We report what sources say, and regurgitate their outside views without changing them or qualifying them to our own moral or ideological views. Doing so is to compromise article integrity and break Wikipedia. Just as importantly, the bit put into the article was a copyvio, word-for-word off page two of the source.[59] Lawrence § t/e 23:53, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

That first part doesn't really matter now that I think about it. I actually like it better without the note about verification.
The rest of it does indeed matter. The reader needs to know that this source is extremely biased. WP editors aren't supposed to limit the article to that which fits their own POV without alerting the reader.
This was in no way a copyvio. The quote is small enough that it easily fits within WP:FAIRUSE guidelines.
I'll leave it up to the rest of you consider whether this should be part of a section on the reliability of waterboarding. After all, if people really want to believe Alleg, he may be the only man who never cracked under waterboarding.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 00:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Alleg has his own wikipage, add the info there. (Hypnosadist) 00:45, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I've been gathering information for that. It'll be a while.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 01:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The comment from the Time review is entirely off-topic here. This is an article from 1958, at the time of the coldest cold war. The reviewer is using guilt by association for a weirdly inconsistent ad hominem. The quote is also very much taken out of context, as the reviewer is in no way casting any doubt on the veracity of Alleg, he only invites the reader to speculate on his moral standing on the issue. This is entirely pointless in this article - it might make a footnote in Alleg's. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:02, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
It's guilt by association only in the same way that being a member of the KKK is guilt by association.
That doesn't change the fact that Alleg was used here as if he is a credible source. He's not. Readers need to know that.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 01:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
You may not be aware of the fact that "communist" is not synonymous with "Stalinist menace to world freedom". There have been and are democratic communist parties around in Europe, and they have been part of several governments e.g. in Italy and France. I'm not aware of a KKK chapter that does not consist of racist assholes, on the other hand. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 02:05, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Randy, constant attempts to discredit or label people negatively for being "communists" by comparing them to the Klu Klux Klan is not acceptable. Consider this (sorry, man) an official warning, and you can get sanctioned under both BLP, as Henri Alleg is a living person, and on the waterboarding probation. You can't go around inferring people are racist. Communists are not automatically Bad People. Please stop. Lawrence § t/e 05:05, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with adding the info that Alleg is a communist to the section, he says its why he was in Algeria, he probably still is a communist as they still poll around 5% in France (more in Italy). But there is no need for a "reds under the bed" piece from 1958. (Hypnosadist) 01:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sticking around to argue this out. You can all make this article as biased as you like. If you want to use an interview with a left-wing extremist on a site like DemocracyNow, and not warn the reader, then go right ahead.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 01:11, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Democracy Now! is a political advocacy site, there is no evidence to suggest it is extremist in any way. --neonwhite user page talk 14:23, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The DemocracyNow source was only used when Bluetie started claiming that alleg wasn't waterboarded as we understand the term, this is a post waterboarding controversy interview in which he says what happened in algeria is as we know waterboarding today. (Hypnosadist) 01:52, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
There are plenty of other reliable sources that call Alleg's torture waterboarding, if this is an issue: [60][61][62][63] Chris Bainbridge (talk) 10:55, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Appropriate place for "waterboarding is not torture"

Having read the same arguments hashed over ad nauseum for months, with overwhelming references to large numbers of sources clearly and unambiguously calling waterboarding torture, I suggest in all sincerity that such adherents to this fringe view seriously consider turning their efforts to the more appropriate venue of the waterboarding entry in Conservapedia. I do not suggest this as snark or as an insult. I'm simply observing that such passionate defense of waterboarding as "not torture" has a natural home in Conservapedia. The problem with Wikipedia, and this article in particular, is best expressed by Stephen Colbert: "Facts have a well known liberal bias." -Quartermaster (talk) 13:53, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

ROFL, Quartermaster be careful as this article is under Probation and as such comments like the above could easily be seen as snarky. (Hypnosadist) 14:55, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Even more funny is Consevapedia has some sources we don't have, which i'm going to use to improve the article, LOLS. (Hypnosadist) 14:58, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Done. (Hypnosadist) 15:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

the article I would like to add to your list is one that explains that (b)Waterboarding was a technique used by the CIA on 3 people for a combined total of less than 5 minutes and all before 2003.

It seems to me that the whole issue needs some perspective. After all, willing volunteer participants have endured Waterboarding for longer than those 3 men did just in the interest of gaining journalistic experience. Noahs SUV (talk) 02:52, 19 February 2008 (UTC)NS

Found nothing about Michael Hayden in the story. (Hypnosadist) 03:07, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
The National Review article is an opinion piece, not a reliable source. If we can find a reliable source on who made the 5 minutes claim, we can add the information to the US section. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:25, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Is torture defined by how long it takes? I don't think so. ~ UBeR (talk) 17:08, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry I should have referenced a seperate article.Somehow I merged the two bits of information in my memory as being from the same place. I'm going to delete that original sentence about Michael Hayden so that it's not an inaccurate statement anymore. The article that includes his statement can be found at

Editors again attempting to delete Vann Nath painting from Wikipedia

See [64]. Badagnani (talk) 19:04, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Can no one draw a picture of waterboarding?

I was the original nominator of the Van Nath image, but at this point I don't really mind whether it gets deleted or not--its historical significance (at least w/r/t the Khmer Rouge section) is at least arguable. What I do mind, though, is the lack of a free image in this article. It is frustrating is how this image is being used as a crutch not to generate free content, which is what Wikipedia is all about. Everyone is investing tons of effort complaining about this image's possible deletion, but no one is willing to just draw a picture that could go at the top of the article, so this could be moved next to the Khmer Rouge section where it belongs. Please, someone just draw a picture. Calliopejen1 (talk) 00:12, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I can't. Can you? Maybe no one can. Maybe it's not about using it as a crutch. ~ UBeR (talk) 00:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Why don't you invest some time trying to contact Vann Nath as he painted these pictures so these crimes could be documented, and gave them to a museum for that reason. Yes i did try myself. (Hypnosadist) 00:34, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not the one who should be investing the effort because I'm not the one who wants to keep them. Regardless, before I commented apparently no one had ever thought of asking any capable Wikipedian artist to help out. And what has been done to attempt to contact Vann Nath? Have you emailed the address on this page? See WP:COPYREQ for instructions. Calliopejen1 (talk) 01:17, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
"Regardless, before I commented apparently no one had ever thought of asking any capable Wikipedian artist to help out" No we had, then we dismissed it as a bad idea. The wikipedian has no real knowledge of waterboarding is and is probably just going to copy this picture or even worse imagine what waterboarding looks like. Many editors have explained to you why this picture is infinitely better than any a wikipedian could draw. You don't accept these reasons, thats fine.
"Have you emailed the address on this page?" I'll email in twelve hours as i'm off to bed, if someone else wants to do it leave a message here so i don't send a second email. (Hypnosadist) 02:23, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
"It's a better image" is a non-argument. My neighbor's BMW is better than my Pinto, but that doesn't mean I get to drive it. Is this illustration of the citric acid cycle original research, or is it just plagiarized from a textbook? ➪HiDrNick! 02:36, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
"Better" doesn't simply mean "visually more appealing," as seems to be lost on you no matter how carefully this is explained. It has to do with authenticity. Nath painted this not for fame and fortune, but to document the atrocities he saw conducted on a daily basis for a number of years. Waterboarding is typically conducted in secret and thus the image of this painting is irreplaceable and of immeasurable value to our article and project. Further, it appears you haven't yet actually read the text on the photo's page, as you were asked earlier, because even the photographer said it was fine for us to use his image, and undoubtedly Nath would agree as well, as the very reason he painted it was so that these tortures (which appear so hellish that no human could have devised them, let alone implemented them on tens of thousands of people) would be known to his countrymen as well as the wider world. It's clear now that, despite WP:SNOW, you don't wish to lose an argument. That's fine; we'll all adjourn and move on to actually improving our encyclopedia. Badagnani (talk) 03:04, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
"Nath painted this not for fame and fortune, but to document the atrocities he saw conducted on a daily basis for a number of years." If his intention is to share his experiences with the world, he can very well release the image into the public domain. Without a release of that sort, you are just speculating about his intentions, i.e., "my neighbor wants me to drive his BMW." "Waterboarding is typically conducted in secret and thus the image of this painting is irreplaceable and of immeasurable value to our article and project." Again, just because something is extremely useful to us doesn't mean we get to steal it. "Further, it appears you haven't yet actually read the text on the photo's page, as you were asked earlier, because even the photographer said it was fine for us to use his image..." That's completely irrelevant, which is why I did not bother to respond to it earlier. The photographer holds no copyright to the image. It is a faithful reproduction of a 2-D artwork, and the artist's copyright interest is the only concern here. "...Undoubtedly Nath would agree as well, as the very reason he painted it was so that these tortures (which appear so hellish that no human could have devised them, let alone implemented them on tens of thousands of people) would be known to his countrymen as well as the wider world." I'm sure that Nath's favorite color was hot pink, and that he loves tea and biscuits and wants nothing more than for all of his art to be exhibited wherever anyone might desire to. The fact of the matter is that you don't speak for the artist, and we cannot assume that he wants his image to be public domain just because it suits us. "It's clear now that, despite WP:SNOW, you don't wish to lose an argument." I find your lack of assuming good-faith disturbing; I also think it would not hurt to familiarize yourself with some of our fair use policies before commenting further. I have no personal vendetta against the image; indeed, if it is public domain after all (and it may very well be, in light of some of the constructive arguments made at DRV), it would be great to have for the article. But it simply is not fair use, plain as day, and WP:100 people !voting to keep the image does not make it so. ➪HiDrNick! 03:26, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Dr. Nick, welcome to Talk:Waterboarding. I see that you've already met the Welcoming Committee. As you can see, if you disagree with them about any of their efforts to stuff as much negative material as possible into this article (in this case, a painting), your motives are immediately questioned. If they can find an excuse to call you a sockpuppet and drag you over to WP:ANI, they will. I hope you've got a thick skin and that you wore your fireproof underwear today. Cheers. Neutral Good (talk) 03:40, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
[65] Reported to ANI, probation violation after repeated warnings. Lawrence § t/e 06:01, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

This question is being addressed at Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2008_February_19#Image:NonFreeImageRemoved.svg. I don't see how it is helpful to have the same argument in two places. --agr (talk) 03:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I have set a copyrequest to an appropriate email should hope to hear back soon. (Hypnosadist) 19:11, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Seems to me we run in to the same issue with the Nath picture that we have with the ongoing "torture? not torture!" arguments endlessly cycling. Either Nath failed to put in a Teddy Bear showing how innocuous the practice really is, or Nath failed to put in barbed spears stabbed through the skull showing how absolutely horrible the practice really is. My point is that in a lot of ways the debate over the Nath picture reflects the general debate (and I must weigh in that the large majority of debaters calling waterboarding "torture" cite historical precedent and extensive numbers of competent authority, and those arguing otherwise cite Rush Limbaugh et al. Hey, I report, you decide.). Is this a picture of waterboarding or not? That's the real issue. Those wanting to include Teddy Bears gently held by the waterboarding recipients are urged to find those alternative depictions and I propose they add those alternative visual depictions to the article in order to underscore their desire for NPOV in order to display "both" sides of the argument. In this case, the argument is visual. I know. I am SO busted. -Quartermaster (talk) 20:55, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I think you're missing the point. I, for one, just really like the free part of our free encyclopedia, and want to make sure that any non-free media that we use is done so correctly. I think the depiction of the practice in the image is accurate and horrible. I know that some people want the image deleted for partisan reasons; in fact, I never thought I'd agree with Neutral Good about anything, but there you have it. ➪HiDrNick! 22:57, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Question on an image

Anyone know the status of this one, and who owns copyright? Lawrence § t/e 00:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

It's a United Press International photo. The details were published in a recent Washington Post article: "On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post published a front-page photograph of a U.S. soldier supervising the questioning of a captured North Vietnamese soldier who is being held down as water was poured on his face while his nose and mouth were covered by a cloth. The picture, taken four days earlier near Da Nang, had a caption that said the technique induced 'a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk.'"

Badagnani (talk) 00:16, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Projects (?)

Why is this article part of the military history project when it is about an interrigation method, something not in and of itself military related? Also, why hasn't it been rated as to its relative importance if it has already recieved all this official Wikipedia administration attention? (talk) 03:25, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm a member of that project,i can only give you my answer which is waterboarding is part of the War on Terror thus it is part of the military history project. As to why no-one has rated it i'd say ask at the project page. (Hypnosadist) 03:32, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I would ask there except that I'm afraid the importance rating may generate a whole new edit war between the side thinking its "mid" and the side thinking its "low" (which is my own opinion). I'm not trying to ABF of anyone here: I just think that a relative "outsider" who's also a longtime registered user should be one giving the rating if it's given out. Perhaps it's best to just leave that blank, then? (talk) 03:48, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, it has been utilized in military campaigns throughout history. See this article, e.g. This war is no exception. The Army, which does interrogation as well, mentions it in its interrogation field manual. ~ UBeR (talk) 03:56, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Legality + Classification as torture sections

I've added this to each:

We need to globalize these. The US views and opinions are only a small part of what matters in the world, and we need to accurately report a global view. Lawrence § t/e 14:44, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

  • The best thing to do is to place all the court cases in this section under the respective countries, i.e. Norway for the Gestapo, US for the Philipines, et cetera. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 19:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Intent of "Torture" as a distinguishing feature

The underlying problem is that the way the opening statement of this page stands, it does not acknowledge possible use of waterboarding as something that is not "torture". Instead it exclaims that all uses of waterboarding are torture. There is at least an argument that this is not true. Waterboarding was used for US NAVY SEAL SERE training before it was adapted into an interrogation technique for use on "unlawful enemy combatants". (I don't remember where I heard this, I'm afraid, but I did see the movie G.I. Jane). In that form, it did not contain the mens rea element that wikipedia and the UN use to define torture: for "such purposes as obtaining ... information or a confession, punishing ..., or intimidating or coercing ..., or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind." Instead, the mens rea for the waterboarding that the SEALs used was to learn to withstand harsh treatment, not to actually get information. I know it's a subtle distinction, and you could certainly make the argument that even in that situation, it should have been classified as torture, (in G.I. Jane it was used for discriminatory purposes) but that's an opinion that should be acknowledged.

Yes, but it was done willingly. If you submit to it willingly, without the knowledge of imminent punishment if you don't, it's really not torture. You enlist in the Navy, you are willingly submitting to what goes with it. (talk) 16:59, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I also think that this article has turned into a competition between a US centric view of wikipedia and an International view, which is unfortunate because it's been an excuse for US bashing which a lot of American users take offense to, and which is counterproductive.

I have a small suggestion. Why don't we just say "Waterboarding, as an act within the definitions of torture of the UN, has been acknowledged by most governments of the world, including the United States, to been used as a form of torture"? This last part is a reference to the Asano case, mentioned in the article, although it would be good to get some more details about what exactly was the "water torture" that was used in that case. --Cdogsimmons (talk) 18:11, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

"I also think that this article has turned into a competition between a US centric view of wikipedia and an International view, which is unfortunate because it's been an excuse for US bashing which a lot of American users take offense to, and which is counterproductive." How very perceptive of you. (talk) 15:20, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I call 'em like I see 'em.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 16:05, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
The rack could possibly be used for BDSM as well, but it would still be understood and described, by definition, as a form of torture. Waterboarding has been part of SERE training (as verified by Malcolm Nance, who used to be the instructor for this) so that U.S. personnel know what this torture feels like, so that they are better able to withstand it if ever subjected to it in the course of their duties (although, of course, it is banned by international law in the first place, as a form of torture). In this light, your hair-splitting recommendation, relying on the premise that since waterboarding is used in such training, and thus may not be a form of torture in this context, isn't valid. The idea of this training use actually changing the definition of what waterboarding is (a form of torture involving the suffocation with water of a restrained, inclined prisoner) has been proposed, and dismissed earlier in this discussion. Have you read all the discussion archives? I recommend that you do so before commenting further, thanks. Badagnani (talk) 18:44, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
One small point Badagnani. You are quite right to have made the assumption that I have not read all of the archived discussions. I also don't think I should have to spend three days doing so before I comment on what I perceive to be a current flaw on the page. If you have a point to make that is covered within the archive, please refer me to it specifically. Otherwise I will assume that your comment is attempting to obstruct me in making a comment. I've also noticed that you've repeatedly told others on this talkboard who you disagree with not to comment before they've undertaken this laborious task, and I find your efforts to be disingenuous and not in the spirit of achieving a fair and balanced discussion.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 14:01, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that implicit in the definition of torture (and perhaps it should be made explicit) is that the victim's participation in the torture is non-consensual (which is slightly different than involuntary.) Branding a victim, and even the serious threat thereof, would be considered torture by almost all legal and moral standards, but if I was to go to the local body mod shop (you know, the place that does tattoos, piercings, ... and brandings), asked for a brand of the EGA on my right shoulder, got exactly the brand I'd asked for ... would you think it was reasonable for me to then complain that I'd been tortured by the shop owner? Now if someone was to drag me off the street and inflict the identical brand on my shoulder, without my consent, my complaint would probably receive considerably more attention; even if it was ordered by a court, I think I'd have a reasonable complaint. Note that the intent here is of the victim, not the doer. People undergoing SERE are volunteers and consent to such training before they undergo that training. htom (talk) 19:31, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
This is really splitting hairs. The current version is entirely sufficient, and supported by many reliable sources. However, I would agree to "is a torture technique" (which removes that particular hair, as not every application of a torture technique has to be torture). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:34, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
It would seem, at first glance, that the phraseology "form of torture" is very similar to "torture technique," although the latter seems to carry the implication that there's some sort of art/skill involved in doing it. Badagnani (talk) 19:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Quite frankly this seems utterly irrelevant to this article. --neonwhite user page talk 22:34, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you reread my comments.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 18:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
It's more accurate to call the rack a torture device rather than a form of torture. (Wikipedia's page doesn't call it a form of torture but does refer to the rack being used to torture.) If one is using a rack for BDSM, then you are not technically torturing someone (or yourself), but I take your point Badagnani, that generally, the rack is used as a torture device, because it can obviously be used to torture people. The situation surrounding waterboarding isn't so clear. Is a board a torture device? Not generally. I guess I think that wikipedia should not make such assumptions without establishing facts, especially when those assumptions carry political consequences, and in this case, intent is one of the necessary elements to establish the presence of torture. If you assume that all forms of waterboarding are by definition torture, and the SERE training program is an anomaly, then what's the SERE technique? A training technique that uses something other than waterboarding? It sounds like you are making a community standards argument like with obscenity: If most people think it's obscene then it must be. If most people think the rack's a torture device, it's a torture device. If most people think waterboarding is torture, that's what we'll call it. It sounds convincing, especially since the article doesn't mention the use of it in SERE training, which is odd. Stephan Schulz and htom sum up my point nicely. --Cdogsimmons (talk) 22:48, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The term "waterboarding" describes the act; following this logic the object used to strap the prisoner to would presumably be called a "waterboard." The U.S. military is free to expose its members-in-training to any forms of torture they see fit; what such training does not do, however, is change the actual definition of these forms of torture. Cigarette burns would most likely not be used in such training because they produce marks, though waterboarding (which has been favored historically by some regimes because it does not leave marks on the body) and perhaps other similar forms of torture such as electric shocks may be used in such training. If I put a coffee cup on my stereo, it doesn't become a "coffee table"; similarly, the exposure of military members-in-training to torture techniques does not change the well-understood definition of the action to which they are submitted. Badagnani (talk) 23:06, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
"If you assume that all forms of waterboarding are by definition torture, and the SERE training program is an anomaly, then what's the SERE technique?" Torture, just in a consenting setting.
"wikipedia should not make such assumptions without establishing facts" We don't, read the many many many sources in the article and at the top of this page. You will see doctors who are world specialists in the treatment of torture who say its torture as well as victims of waterboarding from the three continents and three different wars. Take the hint Waterboarding=Torture. (Hypnosadist) 23:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
So by that reasoning, does Torture=Waterboarding?--Cdogsimmons (talk) 14:14, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Simple logic games=loss of good faith. (Hypnosadist) 14:43, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Considering that you accused htom of colaborating with the CIA, I don't think I really aspire to be within your conception of good faith. You sound kind of paranoid. However, to counter your somewhat nonsensical comment, I maintain that I am operating within logical limitations.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 18:20, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
"Considering that you accused htom of colaborating with the CIA" No i accused him working in a way that would acheve the CIA's objectives, not the same thing, anyway I WAS WRONG, SORRY HTOM!. But now you have read the archives i don't have answer your questions as they have been all answered before. (Hypnosadist) 12:35, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Collaboration I'll take the shouting and tardiness for sincerity and say "thank you", even though I'm not sure that that's there. htom (talk) 22:02, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
That is very interesting. I wonder if he was admitting to committing war crimes when waterboarding was being applied to consenting US military personel, or whether he was saying that waterboarding could be classified as torture when used on non-consenting individuals. htom's comment is on point. Intent matters. The UN doesn't punish people for being into BDSM or getting freaky branding tattoos. --Cdogsimmons (talk) 00:33, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - Again specious; Nance states that--in the context of his training--"As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.", "as a torture instrument, waterboarding is a terrifying, painful and humiliating tool" and "waterboarding is a torture technique – period". Badagnani (talk) 00:35, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Specious? I'm curious as to what exactly I've said is specious. I just said that intent matters. I guess in your opinion, BDSM is a form of torture that should be punished by the UN? Or what? You just want to shoot down an argument that presents a possibility that defining waterboarding unconditionally as torture should be qualified? I understand your concern. The topic is sensitive. And I appreciate your zealous arguments. They are in fact quite convincing in the sense that Nance is probably a good authority on the matter. But Nance's opinion is not a legally binding definition of torture which is what I'm talking about. (As a small aside I will note that the UN has some sway, although probably not enough to get those poor bastards in Guantanamo a fair trial. The definition of torture and waterboarding we should be worrying about is the one that's most relevant at the moment and that's the definition adopted by the US Attorney General and the US Congress. They are the ones who write and interpret the law as applied to the people who possibly are or have actually been waterboarded. That's why we're having this discussion, not because of some academic interest in how POWs were given water torture during WWII. And, no offense, your opinion that my argument is specious without explaining yourself, isn't going to convince them.) You haven't answered my real point: That the intent of the torturer is a necessary component in defining torture, and so the intent of person waterboarding someone is a necessary component of defining waterboarding as torture. That necessary element is not mentioned in this article and so it gives the wrong impression. That's my point. I am NOT saying that waterboarding cannot be used as a form of torture.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 03:35, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I also just have to clarify, that although I agree with htom that the intent of an individual in subjecting himself to "torture" may create an affirmative defense for that torture, the definitional issue of the crime of torture involves the intent of the supposed torturer. Therefore, even if G.I Jane allows herself to be tortured, this could still qualify as torture under the UN definition assuming that she was tortured for an illegitimate reason (discrimination), but the intent of the torturer remains the operative intent element, the mens rea, of the crime. It is also necessary in defining the crime.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 04:00, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
What is the point of this logic game? What are you proposing to make this article better or is this more chaff? (Hypnosadist) 08:07, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I think that the first sentence should be modified to say that waterboarding can be used as a form of torture, not that it is a form of torture.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 13:49, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
"waterboarding can be used as a form of torture" What else is it used for? (Hypnosadist) 14:48, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Apart from SERE where is used to replicate being tortured by the enemy, by being tortured by your peers. (Hypnosadist) 14:51, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
It's unclear whether voluntarily subjecting yourself waterboarding can accurately be legally classified as torture within the meaning of the US or UN definitions of torture but I doubt it. The SERE example is an example where that's taken place, but you seem to dismiss its existence so easily. I can also think of Daniel Levin who was writing a White House memo about waterboarding before he got the axe who subjected himself to it. I doubt that the UN could reasonably prosecute the people who supervised that test for torture.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 16:32, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. The first sentence should define the subject. Compare "A hammer is a tool meant to deliver blows to an object" vs "A hammer can be used to drive nails" (but then so can a stone, the blunt side of an axe, an in a pinch, a robust piece of hard wood). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I think a more apt comparison would be to a noun that describes an action. For example murder. It's more accurate to say, "Murder is a form of unlawful killing of a human person that requires premeditation," rather than just "Murder is a form of unlawfully killing people." The intent of the actor is important to defining the issue. Without premeditation, unlawfully killing someone might not in fact be murder at all. It could be manslaughter. I do not dispute that waterboarding can be defined as torture. I just think that we need to explain why it can be defined as torture.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 15:28, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
A better analogy would be "cutting a living person's head off is a form of homicide." There may be situations where doing so is lawful, say as a form of execution or when it happens during wartime combat using swords, but it is always homicide. Similarly there may be situations where waterboarding is lawful, as in training to prepare soldiers for possible torture if captured, but is is always torture. --agr (talk) 16:17, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Homicide does not have a required intent element. Torture does. That is not a better analogy.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 16:35, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Just to clarify in case people missed it, the intent element (the mens rea) of torture under the UN's definition in the United Nations Convention Against Torture is: for "such purposes as obtaining ... information or a confession, punishing ..., or intimidating or coercing ..., or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind." Under the US's definition in 18 USC 2340, it is: "to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control."--Cdogsimmons (talk) 16:44, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Just to clarify in case cdog missed it, we use a standard english definition of torture, and SERE waterboarding is torture. If you want to say the SERE training is not torture then find a source, we have sources that say it is torture. (Hypnosadist) 17:36, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Hypnosadist, are you referring to English law's definition of torture (as in the United Kingdom's laws)? Or the English language's definition of torture? I propose that you are wrong on both counts. First, I'm not currently aware what the status of torture is under English law, but I seriously doubt it lacks a mens rea element. I invite you to prove me wrong. Second, if you are referring to the English language's definition of torture I seriously doubt you actually mean that because the English language's definition of torture is vague and without a non-vague legally binding definition of torture, there cannot be an application of law, and I assume that's what you're about right? Stopping unlawful torture? At least I hope you are. (Also, it would be nice if you quoted a source rather than just deciding for the rest of us what torture means without telling us.) Anyway, let's just say for argument's sake that the commonly used English understanding of torture is what the torture law refers to. I'll take a standard definition of torture. Say Websters, which can be found here. There are three definitions it gives for torture.
1 a. anguish of body or mind ; agony b. something that causes agony or pain
2. the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure
3. distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument
Under definitions 1 and 3, this argument alone by your reasoning would get us in trouble with the UN (because it's causing an anguish of mind, my mind; and of course this entire argument is a huge overrefinement, as in, you are torturing this argument). The other definition contains a mens rea element: "to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure". That's the intent element that is necessary to define the action of torturing someone. Without it, there would just be an "infliction of intense pain", which would not fully qualify as torture. (We don't prosecute people who inflict intense pain for torture. Think of an injury caused by a motor vehicle accident.) So unless you think that you and I should be punished by the UN for the coversation we've just had, I urge you to actually consider the points that I am making with some seriousness instead of coming at me like an attack dog. I would be interested in seeing any sources you have that say the instances of SERE waterboarding were instances of legal torture that are prosecutable.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 18:01, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
"Or the English language's definition of torture?" Yes thats right, wikipedia is not a legal dictionary. (Hypnosadist) 12:17, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
"I would be interested in seeing any sources you have that say the instances of SERE waterboarding were instances of legal torture that are prosecutable" Never said i had any legal sources about SERE. You got any sources that support you? (Hypnosadist) 12:39, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Certainly torture involves the intentional infliction of torment, but the procedure of waterboarding is enough to establish that intent. There is no other plausible explanation of why you tied the victim to a board, covered his mouth with a cloth and poured water over his head. It is analogous to tying someone up, putting his head under the guillotine and releasing the rope holding up the blade: there would be no question you intended to cut the person's head off.--agr (talk) 01:49, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I think I've explained why I think this page should be altered. It promotes a definition that does not acknowledge that the intent of the "waterboarder" alters whether or not waterboarding is torture, (and torture is vaguely defined in general and not defined at all on the page). I think it's misleading. I also think that politics are starting to get in the way of what should instead be a quest to create the most hosnest definition. I know I have certainly been influenced by my own disgust at my government's acknowledged use of the practice, and I hope those resposible are prosecuted to the full extent of the law for what I consider to be a reprehensible crime. But that's beside the point. I'm afraid that this will be my last edit on this page (for at least a while). It's distracting me from school. You have my opinion.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 02:53, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
You haven't suggested any plausible intent for the act of waterboarding other than torture. In addition, you would have to provide reliable sources that make this supposed distinction and these would have to be of sufficient weight to compare with the numerous sources we have that do not split this hair. --agr (talk) 04:21, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

If the intent is to gain needed information that will save lives of your own people, and not merely for the sadistic pleasure/personal revenge, then the moral questions seem clear. A person who is waterboarded is still alive afterwards. His information can be verified by other means. The information gotten from the waterboardee may save lives. So, if ten men are waterboarded, only one has the information and gives it up, and a life is saved, that is better than no one waterboarded and one man killed. ``` —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, of course the same argument holds for electroshocks, or even for gouging out eyes. Benjamin Franklin, that liberal socialistic menace to the Fatherland, has said "it is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer." Your ratio seems to be at least 1 to 10 against. You have come far indeed since the time of Paine, Jefferson, and Franklin. Anyways, this has no bearing on wether waterboarding is torture. The Spanish inquisition happily tortured with the intention of saving immortal souls from eternal damnation. That does not mean that strappado is not a torture technique. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 03:22, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

German use of waterboarding?

The "Unterseeboot" sentence should really be deleted, as the information seems to come from out of nowhere expect for this article itself.

Sourcing the statement that the Gestapo used waterboarding is somewhat hard. It has been mentioned by The Daily Mail and The Independent in passing. Ironically, some souces say that the Nazis offically banned the process. But, of course, the Nazis didn't actually obey their own laws. The current wording as well the Gestapo, the German secret police, used waterboarding as a method of torture should probably be kept with the Daily Mail article or another article added as a source.

Thoughts? (talk) 03:19, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

The harpers source points to this article, is this source reliable? (Hypnosadist) 03:28, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Hmm. No, it's not. It's just a blog statement by a poltical commentator. I do think that Senator Chris Dodd's statement may be a reliable source, but he only made the Gestapo reference in passing... I'm wary about quote mining.
I see from viewing Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Waterboarding that the users here are somewhat paranoid about anons (most likely for good reasons, or not... whatever. I have no intention of looking through the pages and pages of talk archives to find out). There's no point blank "no more anon editing" statement made in the RFA, though. (talk) 03:38, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I only have a problem with floating ip's and sock puppets, good editors like you 24 are more than welcome. I've had a little chance to look at this more closely and this entry is on the website of a notable magazine The Atlantic Monthly by a writer who gets the cover. So i'm going to send this to the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. (Hypnosadist) 01:51, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Created this thread to help us decide. (Hypnosadist) 01:57, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This thread has produced these sources; White House nears completion of new torture guidelines Bush’s torturers follow where the Nazis led

These should be useful. (Hypnosadist) 05:42, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This is the primary source for the 1948 death penalities for waterboarding et al and i think this should be added to the WWII section. (Hypnosadist) 05:45, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Those sources don't seem to say specifically that the Nazis used waterboarding. Am I missing something? --Akhilleus (talk) 06:02, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

From the Times

So is “enhanced interrogation” torture? One way to answer this question is to examine history. The phrase has a lineage. Versch�rfte Verneh-mung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the “third degree”. It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.

The United States prosecuted it as a war crime in Norway in 1948. The victims were not in uniform – they were part of the Norwegian insurgency against the German occupation – and the Nazis argued, just as Cheney has done, that this put them outside base-line protections (subsequently formalised by the Geneva conventions).

Though i do prefer the Atlantic monthly source as its much more detailed. (Hypnosadist) 06:48, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Sources mentioning Verschärfte Vernehmung[67][68][69][70] and the link with Carl Schmitt[15] Most notably the legal opinions offered by John Yoo et al. justifying controversial policies -such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Conventions,[16] enhanced interrogation techniques, NSA electronic surveillance program, unitary executive theory- in the war on terror mimic his writings.[15] Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 13:47, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ Eban, Katherine (July 17 2007). "Rorschach and Awe". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2007-12-17. It was terrifying," military psychologist Bryce Lefever is quoted as saying, "'re strapped to an inclined gurney and you're in four-point restraint, your head is almost immobilized, and they pour water between your nose and your mouth, so if you're likely to breathe, you're going to get a lot of water. You go into an oxygen panic.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ White, Josh (November 8 2007). "Waterboarding Is Torture, Says Ex-Navy Instructor". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-17. As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Ross, Brian; Esposito, Richard (November 8 2007). "CIA's Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described". ABC News. Retrieved 2007-12-17. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Various (April 5, 2006). "Open Letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales". Human Rights News. Retrieved 2007-12-18.  In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales more than 100 United States law professors stated unequivocally that waterboarding is torture, and the use of the [practice is a criminal felony punishable under the U.S. federal criminal code.
  5. ^ Mayer, Jane (2005-02-14). "Outsourcing Torture". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2007-12-18. Dr. Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture, told me that he had treated a number of people who had been subjected to such forms of near-asphyxiation, and he argued that it was indeed torture. Some victims were still traumatized years later, he said. 
  6. ^ "Ambiguity That Dishonors America, Letter to the Editor by Judge Advocate General of the Navy Thomas Romig and Judge Advocate General of the Navy Donald Guter, The Washington Post, November 8, 2007. See also "Retired Judge Advocates General Write To Leahy Condemning Waterboarding", hosted by liberal Center for American Progress
  7. ^ "CIA Chief: Hill Should Have Been Told More" by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, December 13, 2007
  8. ^ "To Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey", editorial, Armed Forces Journal, December 2007
  9. ^ Bush references London attacks to defend waterboarding Ewen MacAskill,, February 15 2008 Retrieved February 14 2008
  10. ^ US official admits waterboarding presently illegal Elana Schor,, February 14 2008 Retrieved February 14 2008
  11. ^ CIA director: Waterboarding necessary, but potentially illegal Terry Frieden,, February 7 2008, Retrieved February 14 2008
  12. ^ Bush references London attacks to defend waterboarding Ewen MacAskill,, February 15 2008 Retrieved February 14 2008
  13. ^ US official admits waterboarding presently illegal Elana Schor,, February 14 2008 Retrieved February 14 2008
  14. ^ CIA director: Waterboarding necessary, but potentially illegal Terry Frieden,, February 7 2008, Retrieved February 14 2008
  15. ^ a b Legal justification
  16. ^ War crimes warning

More history[71][72] Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 19:09, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Are you sure that Thomas Romig and Donald Guter should have their own Wikipedia pages? They don't seem particularly notable to me. (talk) 23:34, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that these articles don't specifically say that the Nazis used waterboarding. This Wikipedia article currently says that, explicity. I'm still not too sure about whether or not a bloggish-style opinion piece by [{Andrew Sullivan]] is a RS. Even if it is, I would really prefer a straight news source (pun not intended) or a historical article for the reference about Nazi waterboarding.
It may seem like a ludicrous arguement to make: But was that form of waterboarding similar to the American one? Did it involve the same methods, or was it something like water cure with the retrospective label of waterboarding added to it? (talk) 23:45, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Having had a chance read the Andrew Sullivan source it just mentions waterboarding in passing, saying it was banned for the gestapo to use it, but they broke there own rules. Has anyone got a source for the Gestapo waterboarding, i'm going to fact tag the article. (Hypnosadist) 15:09, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Please consider this:
"Those same Nazis who claimed it was acceptable in times of war to use stress positions, environmental adjustments, hypothermia, water boarding, long forced standing as well as claiming that a lack of uniform allows for the most brutal of “techniques,” were themselves found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death. The clever men and women of the Bush regime, who thought they could legalize torture by calling it “enhanced interrogation techniques” will hopefully be taught this simple lesson: torture is torture and by any other name is still illegal."[73]
Respectfully Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 15:27, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi Nescio, that unfortunately is an even worse source, its writen in very polemic terms and it uses Andrew Sullivan as its basis. I'm off to ask at the military history project about the Gestapo. (Hypnosadist) 19:10, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Thread started here; —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hypnosadist (talkcontribs) 19:17, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Not sure why H. Candace Gorman would fail as RS. She is an expert, represents detainees and writes on the subject. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 19:15, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
She's an RS in lots of areas, the history of WWII is not one of them and she quotes Andrew Sullivan as her source for this information. (Hypnosadist) 19:20, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Why is that a problem? He is a notable commentator and as such can be used. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 19:30, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
He is and i think it is ok to use the Atlantic source but i'd like a more authoritive source if i can find it. (Hypnosadist) 19:56, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
A lot of poltical op-ed pieces have been mentioned as potential sources, but there should be third-party historical evidence for the sentence. This article shouldn't just limit itself to online articles. I also agree with Hypo that, just because someone is quoted as an RS on one subject, that doesn't means thee should be quoted on a different subject that they don't know about. (talk) 21:23, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Added source: Delarue, Jacques, The Gestapo: A History of Horror (1964), p.234, Morrow. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:36, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Perfect! Thanks for that Jossi. (Hypnosadist) 22:29, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Article Neutrality

"Some would call it torture but it is only reserved for the most evil of terrorists. It is an effective means of quickly getting information from a terrorist without doing any lasting physical damage."
should not be in here, plain and simple

Unfortunately, without proper sourcing, and respect for our rules on neutrality, this is completely incompatible with how we do things. Lawrence § t/e 07:36, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
for the same reasons i would leave it as "interrogation" instead of torture (in the first sentence) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:38, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
We have well over a hundred (I think 170 now?) sources and authorities, from all over the world, that identify the practice as torture, with records of it as torture dating back centuries. Only modern American viewpoints of a generally single political demographic (the minority demographic in the United States, in addition, by percentage of population I believe--American Conservatives are a minority in their own nation) have tried to re-brand waterboarding as "interrogation" or "not torture". Giving their viewpoints unearned weight on an article in an international encyclopedia on a global historical topic would be inappropriate. American views are not of special value in this case. Lawrence § t/e 22:30, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
By definition, interrogation consists of questioning an individual who is under detention. Typically, they are sitting in a chair and the interrogator is also sitting in a chair, or else standing. In waterboarding, however, a captive is bound to an inclined table, with his/her head and mouth covered with a cloth, which is not conducive to the interrogator hearing his/her responses. If waterboarding is to be construed as an interrogation method, then so must all other forms of torture--as any activities that cause great suffering may interspersed into an interrogation session. Thus, there would not be any forms of torture we could continue to call by the term "torture," as they would all be redefined as "interrogation methods." This is illogical and seems motivated solely by a frantic, after-the-fact attempt by certain elements in the United States to change the actual definition of this well-described and -understood practice in the public eye (using Wikipedia as a tool, or battleground to do so, as the eighth most visited Internet site), as it has now been admitted it has been conducted by agents of that nation's government. Badagnani (talk) 22:42, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I think all good editors would agree that less vague an article is the more use it is. --neonwhite user page talk 04:00, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Public opinion - expand?

The most recent- in 2007- poll says that forty percent of Americans support waterboarding's use. This one poll states that 32 of Americans "regard the use of torture against people suspected of involvement in terrorism as an acceptable part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism". Another poll from that same source says that it's more like 38%. A 2005 Newsweek poll (same source) on torture broke it down like this: Often Justified - 17, Sometimes Justified - 27, Rarely Justified - 18, Never Justified - 33. 5% were unsure. (talk) 22:14, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

We should limit the use of public opinion polls, in general, as the public is not a reliable source. There is room for this, in some form, but it needs to be balanced vs. international polls and the like. In any event, this should not be used in any section by US-specific ones, as the polls appear to have zero bearing on the rest of the planet's views. Lawrence § t/e 22:27, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I personally think that these polls have nothing to do with the 500 year long history of waterboarding, and should not be used at all. (Hypnosadist) 23:13, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I could go either way between minimal use and none, but I will defer to whatever wide consensus forms here as always. Lawrence § t/e 23:16, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm more in staunch agreement with Hypnosadist on this one. My familiarity with cognitive dissonance would lead me to predict US polls showing that waterboarding is not torture (or is ok) precisely because, a) we are Americans, b) Americans don't torture, thus c) waterboarding can't be torture NO MATTER WHAT. In fact, those societies, cultures, countries, and groups that knowingly practice waterboarding will more naturally selectively filter their beliefs to dampen the dissonance. Or, to quote the wikipedia article itself:
"In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what one already believes, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce one's beliefs."
I actually think placing such polls in this article serves to dampen the cognitive dissonance of those arguing that waterboarding is not torture. Notice how the overwhelming number of citations from a variety of sources defining waterboarding as torture can be easily ignored (i.e., selectively filtered). These polls are more of peripheral interest, rather than inherent to a generic, NPOV Wikipedia entry on waterboarding. I think such polls might be best used as an example of cognitive dissonance in that article. -- Quartermaster (talk) 22:19, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Mediation request and results of sockpuppet investigation

A mediation request has been made here. The results of the third sockpuppet investigation in the history of this content dispute may be found here. In addition to confirming all previous results, here are the new findings: two  Unrelated, two  Unlikely and one  Inconclusive. I hope that this will finally resolve the matter and that we can address the content dispute through mediation in a constructive, good faith manner. Please participate. Thank you. Neutral Good (talk) 00:11, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

You omitted the part where I said the findings "do NOT EXONERATE anyone" as well as the part where I said "I will look very unfavorably on any misquoting of these findings"... How do you plan to correct that? ++Lar: t/c 05:43, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
You've already done a fine job of correcting it, Lar. But I did link your complete findings and recommendations 9in my original edit. Now could we all please end the false accusations, the drama and disruption right here and now, and move forward to resolve the content dispute? Neutral Good (talk) 02:42, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Strangely, you are not summarizing everything that Lar said. Interested parties should make sure to read Wikipedia:Requests_for_checkuser/Case/BryanFromPalatine#results in full. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:17, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Emoji u1f52e.svg CheckUser is not a crystal ball No, it does not finally resolve the matter. Jehochman Talk 00:22, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
So what would finally resolve the matter, Jehochman? Besides my departure from Wikipedia? Neutral Good (talk) 00:36, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
What would finally resolve the matter would be if we stopped seeing new users that strangely seem to know lots about inner workings of minutia and past history of certain hot topics, and who seemed pretty good at wikilawyering, but even more strangely, didn't seem to grasp basic principles of the project such as reliable sources, neutral point of view, not pushing agendas, civility, respect for other views, and so forth. ++Lar: t/c 05:43, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

New interesting sources

  • [74] This is about the legality of the Legal opinions given by John Yoo et al. Might of use for the article at the moment but definately this story will be on this page. (Hypnosadist) 19:27, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
  • [75] This one by Professor Bent Sørensen, Senior Medical Consultant to the IRCT and former member of the United Nations Committee against Torture i'm going to put in now. (Hypnosadist) 19:32, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Use of "torture"

User:Neutral Good made a large edit, without discussing it here first, with the edit summary "This article contained 69 uses of the word "torture." Someone has been making a WP:POINT. I have reduced them." I reverted his changes, with a snarky edit summary: [76]. NG may have a point that the word "torture" is repeated too many times in the article, but some of his edits have changed the meaning of the article. For instance, NG changed

A form of torture similar to waterboarding called toca, along with garrucha (or strappado) and the most frequently used potro (or the rack), was used (though infrequently) during the trial portion of the Spanish Inquisition process. "The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning." One source has claimed that the use of water as a form of torture also had profound religious significance to the Inquisitors.


A form of interrogation similar to waterboarding called toca, along with garrucha (or strappado) and the most frequently used potro (or the rack), was used (though infrequently) during the trial portion of the Spanish Inquisition process. "The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning." One source has claimed that the use of water in interrogative techniques also had profound religious significance to the Inquisitors.

Nice to see that the Spanish Inquisition didn't use torture, but "interrogation techniques". Or "interrogative techniques" (I didn't even know the word "interrogative" existed). --Akhilleus (talk) 03:42, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Hopefully the arbitration committee will deal with this swiftly. --neonwhite user page talk 04:02, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Just roll it back without further discussion would be my advice. Totally unhelpful edit. See also this topic ban suggestion ++Lar: t/c 13:29, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Lar, you're probably right that I should have rolled it back without discussion, but unless an edit is obviously vandalism, I try to explain on the talk page why I'm reverting an edit--that seems especially necessary when the article is on probation. NG's edit was so obviously unhelpful that I suppose I didn't need to post an explanation. --Akhilleus (talk) 21:02, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
You say, "NG may have a point that the word 'torture' is repeated too many times in the article." I say that Neutral Good certainly has a point. The word "torture" is repeated too many times in the article. It is almost like a chant. WP:POINT is the policy that applies here. What should we do about it? I suggest a rewrite. There are enough mentions of the word "torture" in quotations and cited titles of magazine articles without adding more and more. I would like to rewrite article in Sandbox and offer it for consensus. Do you agree? Shibumi2 (talk) 22:42, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
For example:

A technique similar to waterboarding called toca, along with garrucha (or strappado) and the most frequently used potro (or the rack), was used (though infrequently) during the trial portion of the Spanish Inquisition process. "The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning." One source has claimed that the use of water in such techniques also had profound religious significance to the Inquisitors.

This uses strictly neutral encyclopedic language. Shibumi2 (talk) 22:46, 25 February 2008 (UTC)


conflict -- (assuming you want discussion here) Toca does not appear to be waterboarding; from my reading, it's a variation of watercure where the water is ingested. htom (talk) 23:40, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

It is described as such by sources. Henry Kamen, a respected historian, described waterboarding in his book, "The Spanish Inquisition."

"He was tied down on a rack. His mouth was kept forcibly open and a toca or linen cloth was put down his throat to conduct water poured slowly from a jar. The severity of the torture varied with the number of jars of water used."

The Inquisition used torture in about 20 percent of the cases, Gitlitz told me. It was not used more often because even in those times "there was debate about whether testimony elicited under duress was credible," Gitlitz said.[77] --neonwhite user page talk 00:54, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

might be a good source. not sure if it is already mentioned. Henry Kamen - The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. New Haven: Yale University Press (1998)

If you read further in the description, you'll find that the subject is beaten to expel the water that he has swallowed. htom (talk) 01:14, 26 February 2008 (UTC)


That's silly. When I said that NG might have a point, I was referring to a possible problem with prose style--it's bad writing to repeat a word too many times in a paragraph. You, on the other hand, seem to have a problem with the meaning of the word torture. Your proposed rewrite of this passage is silly; the inquisitors themselves called what they were doing torture. What do you think "tortura del agua" means? --Akhilleus (talk) 23:36, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, my Spanish is very poor; "tortura del aqua" looks like water torture to me. htom (talk) 23:57, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Does this imply that we should consider changing "tortura del agua" into "interragatorio del agua" or "pregunta del agua" ("water interrogation" or "water questioning")? -- Quartermaster (talk) 13:35, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe it implies that what Spanish Inquisition did was not waterboarding. Instead it was water torture or water cure. Therefore this Spanish Inquisition section needs work to clarify this. This cloth down throat of victim "forcing them to ingest water" is not like any other technique discussed in this article. It is different act altogether. Consider remove this entire section. I also agree with Akhilleus that it is bad writing to repeat a word too many times in a paragraph or in an article. I am working on refactoring entire article in Sandbox to remove this bad writing by reducing repetition of this word "torture." I will offer it for consensus when it is ready. Shibumi2 (talk) 23:19, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

I think this process would not be best. Could you please work through the article paragraph by paragraph, developing consensus along the way. A major rewrite will be unnecessarily controversial. Jehochman Talk 03:26, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Waterboarding is a modern development of other water tortures such as water cure (only difference is the inversion). As such, it is entirely appropriate to include it. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:33, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
As such, inclusion would be synthesis, original research, or both. htom (talk) 14:07, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Whether or not Shibumi2 is correct under policy we as editors are not allowed to correct what sources say. Please reread what is said about verifiability Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 07:12, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

This is the ultimate problem for Shimbumi2's endeavor. Style guides and the like are irrelevant and not even secondary to content policies. Lawrence § t/e 07:17, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I just provided a source above that specifically says it was waterboarding [[78]]. Remember this page is on probation. WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT applies. --neonwhite user page talk 15:34, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

David B Offer is the executive editor of MaineToday, and this is one of his columns; it's unlikely to be a reliable source. htom (talk) 20:24, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
It's an article published in a verifiable source, who wrote it is irrelevant. I don't think there is even a question about it. The suggestion that a newspaper would invent a quote by Professor David Gitilitz, Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Rhode Island and misquote Henry Kamen's book, itself a reliable source, is ludicrous. --neonwhite user page talk 23:42, 27 February 2008 (UTC) Since it's a column, that usually means it's an opinion piece, not a facts piece. Quotations can correct and far removed from context. htom (talk) 03:58, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

i will repeat it

If Mukasey does not know what waterboarding is, it's because he has not tried to find out.

Records show that the Inquisition used three methods of torture: The prisoner could be hung by his wrists from a pulley, repeatedly hoisted and dropped. He could be tied to a rack and stretched.

Or he could be waterboarded.

"The Spanish Inquisition didn't invent any of these systems of torture but they systematized them," Gitlitz said.

Waterboarding was used in medieval times and was used by the Inquisition for more than 350 years -- from about 1478 to 1834 -- both in Spain and Mexico.

Henry Kamen, a respected historian, described waterboarding in his book, "The Spanish Inquisition."

"He was tied down on a rack. His mouth was kept forcibly open and a toca or linen cloth was put down his throat to conduct water poured slowly from a jar. The severity of the torture varied with the number of jars of water used."

The Inquisition used torture in about 20 percent of the cases, Gitlitz told me. It was not used more often because even in those times "there was debate about whether testimony elicited under duress was credible," Gitlitz said.

Boring stylistic item for discussion

I found it puzzling why some of the items in the See also section were there, necessitating a click even to get a rough idea what they were. I added brief descriptions to each, which I think is an improvement to the article. I've done this and seen it done in numerous other articles. However, the addition was reverted. I have looked in WP:MOS and not found anything covering this. Opinions? -Pete (talk) 04:39, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Your changes don't seem objectionable to me, but I haven't seen this done in too many of the "See also" sections I've looked at. I don't have a strong opinion whether they should stay or go. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:47, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Adding descriptions to see also section is unusual. See Wikipedia:See_also ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:55, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
It's interesting; I've never seen it (the section) used like this before that I recall. Basically, we're treating See also here how we would a disambiguation page. It's different, but I have to admit that having the links in some context is nice. I'm tempted to add this to a few of my other articles I've built up, to see if it sticks. Newness aside, what do you all think of this alternate way to do it? I know this isn't the forum for that, but I'm curious. Lawrence § t/e 07:26, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
It's done that way from time to time. Not the normal way, but if it doesn't come across as too unnecessary, lengthy, or overly didactic, I think it should probably be fine. Badagnani (talk) 08:42, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it's somewhat unusual, but I still believe it's an improvement -- some of the items are fairly obscure without context. Also, the guideline cited above says nothing about the addition of such comments. Based on the discussion above, I'm restoring what I put in. Perhaps the context doesn't need to be there for every single item, or can be tightened up; I won't oppose efforts in that direction. -Pete (talk) 16:47, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
As long as they're short, this is actually an improvement over the bare link, IMAO. htom (talk) 18:55, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
I like the addition, it helps the user understand why they would like to read these articles. (Hypnosadist) 20:33, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion, Pete, that's a nice touch. I'm constantly clicking on links to find out why I should click on them (and often finding out it wasn't relevant). Done lightly, like you did, I think I'll be judiciously adopting your approach in other entries. -- Quartermaster (talk) 20:40, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the good words! -Pete (talk) 17:38, 26 February 2008 (UTC)



Definition from Webster online dictionary

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle French, from Old French, from Late Latin tortura, from Latin tortus, past participle of torquēre to twist; probably akin to Old High German drāhsil turner, Greek atraktos spindle

1 a: anguish of body or mind : agony b: something that causes agony or pain

2: the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure

3: distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : straining

While this definition shows that waterboarding could be seen as torture, if it is then the same classification would have to be extended to all interrogation techniques or even police questionings. This is simply because even the smallest of stress inducing questioning sessions could cause "mental anguish." ProtektYaNutz (talk) 19:00, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

  • The Debate is not closed so long as the truth is being buried. ProtektYaNutz (talk) 17:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The debate is not a debate; it's based exclusively on what reliable external sources say. We are not here to report truth, per our policies, we are here to report verifiable facts from reliable sources on notable topics. Your use of wording is also confusing--what exactly are you arguing is wrong with the article? Lawrence § t/e 18:13, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Here's a notable source who disagrees with you ProtektYaNutz its Professor Bent Sørensen, Senior Medical Consultant to the IRCT and former member of the United Nations Committee against Torture, who says;

It’s a clear-cut case: Waterboarding can without any reservation be labelled as torture”, says Prof. Sørensen. “It fulfils all of the four central criteria that according to the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) defines an act of torture.” He explains:

“First, when water is forced into your lungs in this fashion, in addition to the pain you are likely to experience an immediate and extreme fear of death. You may even suffer a heart attack from the stress or damage to the lungs and brain from inhalation of water and oxygen deprivation. In other words there is no doubt that waterboarding causes severe physical and/or mental suffering – one central element in the UNCAT’s definition of torture”.

“In addition,” he continues, “the CIA’s waterboarding clearly fulfils the three additional definition criteria stated in the Convention for a deed to be labelled torture, since it is 1) done intentionally, 2) for a specific purpose and 3) by a representative of a state – in this case the US.”

hope that answers your questions. (Hypnosadist) 18:48, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Don't get me wrong. I completely recognize that the common consensus is that waterboarding is torture. I am no person to contest that. The common consensus is, however, still peoples POINTS OF VIEW. I am not asking that the word torture be taken out of the article, just merely placed in a section just under the definition. Here is a (very) rough diagram of what I am talking about.

  • Waterboarding
  • Neutral definition
  • Table of contents
  • Classification as torture

While almost everyone's opinion is that waterboarding is torture, it is still their OPINION. ProtektYaNutz (talk) 19:11, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

This is incorrect for our purposes. We report things in exactly the way you describe, and this is our acceptable way of life here. If you wish to change that, this is the wrong page to even do so. You want to go post on WP:V I believe. We live by and follow established policy on articles. Please try to also use common formatting, as we do on pages (you can click Edit on any section to see this). Lawrence § t/e 19:15, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
You have my apologies for the formatting issues, but the fact remains that you do not have things reported the way you speak of in this article. ProtektYaNutz (talk) 19:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
What in this article conflicts with our established and written policies on content? Please provide me examples. Lawrence § t/e 19:21, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Please move on, ProtektYaNutz. Read the archives in which has already been discussed, and take some time to read WP:V, and WP:NPOV. The overwhelming number of sources calls this "interrogation technique" as torture, and one of the worst kinds. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:24, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on their back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages.[1] Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent.[2] In contrast to merely submerging the head face-forward, waterboarding almost immediately elicits the gag reflex.[3] Although waterboarding does not always cause lasting physical damage, it carries the risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries (including broken bones) due to struggling against restraints, and even death.[4]
To make this NPOV, it would have to say:
Waterboarding consists of immobilizing a person on their back, with the head inclined downward, and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages.[1] Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent.[2] In contrast to merely submerging the head face-forward, waterboarding almost immediately elicits the gag reflex.[3] Although waterboarding does not always cause lasting physical damage, it carries the risks of extreme pain, damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries (including broken bones) due to struggling against restraints, and even death.[4]
The torture issue would, of course, be clearly addressed in its appropriate section, but it has no place here. ProtektYaNutz (talk) 19:27, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Nonsense. It is torture as per the overwhelming number of sources saying that it is. We can mention somwhere that there are some people that say it is not, as per WP:NPOV#Undue, but that is it. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:31, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
How about this; if an overwhelming number of people think scientology is completely nuts, that should still not be included in the opening statement of the article. Overwhelming opinion is an archaic way of thinking and I am surprised that obviously educated people would think that way. You must surely know from your history classes the kind of damage that overwhelming opinion has done in the past.ProtektYaNutz (talk) 19:39, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
This discussion has to do with the definition of torture (which is vague) and should be continued on that page's discussion board. I have started one there. Please don't let this disuade you from discussing whether or not waterboarding is a priori torture here.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 21:14, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
The analogy that some people may believe Scientology is "completely nuts" is inapplicable, a red herring. A more appropriate analogy would be that many people believe Scientology is a form of religion, the violin is a musical instrument, or that waterboarding is a form of torture. All are verifiably such, by definition. A fringe attempt at redefinition of a well-understood subject, which is politically motivated, will simply not fly here. Badagnani (talk) 22:04, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
There is no "red herring" here, only the opinions of the majority being passed off as truth while stomping on the opinions of the minority. ProtektYaNutz (talk) 22:20, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Please read policy on verifiability, nothing in wikipedia is claimed to be an absolute truth. Policy dictates that opinions are represented in proportion to the weight they carry. The minority view is clearly represented in the article but anymore would be undue weight. --neonwhite user page talk 23:47, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
See evolution and AIDS for articles where "the opinions of the majority being passed off as truth." Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 22:28, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Quite right. Again Protekt, please read WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE. EJF (talk) 22:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I already addressed the Undue Weight issue if you read up a little further. As for "Fringe" this reference is completely irrelevant as it is not just a fringe that sees this article as not being NPOV. I am not saying to put in the article that waterboarding is great, but to simply make the article neutral. ProtektYaSelf (talk) 22:53, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I think that you misunderstand WP:NPOV. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:06, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
What is there to misunderstand about Non Point Of View? ProtektYaSelf (talk) 23:09, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
For one, that it is "Neutral point of view", not "No point of view". The neutral position is to follow that vast majority of published reliable sources and experts, not to adopt a self-serving propaganda euphemism. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:23, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

<<< Not exactly... This is what NPOV means All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. , which we are doing in this article ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:59, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

ProtectYoNutz and Neutral Good blocked indef for sockpuppetry abuse

ProtektYaSelf (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log) has been indefinitely blocked as a sockpuppet of Neutral Good (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log), who was indef banned for abusive sockpuppetry and violating his 6-month ban on Waterboarding related pages per this discussion. Lawrence § t/e 00:01, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Not just these two, but all of the others seem to have gone since that date. Does this mean that at least some of them were the same person? Badagnani (talk) 08:48, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Possibly. They also could be different people who realize that shenanigans will no longer be tolerated around this article. Jehochman Talk 12:00, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Another recent source

Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency stated the following, when Carl Levin (D-MI) asked, "General, do you believe that waterboarding is consistent with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions?" Maples replied, "No, sir, I don’t.""Do you think it’s humane?" Levin asked. Maples replied, "No, sir, I think it would go beyond that bound." From [79]. I thought someone might want to incorporate this. Remember (talk) 21:20, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding as an employee motivation tool. Yes, I'm serious.

--BenBurch (talk) 01:55, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Parent category

I removed category torture per WP:CAT. Thanks, -- (talk) 16:05, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I have restored. There is an overwhelming number of sources that describe this practice as torture. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:06, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I know its torture. I have removed since it is listed under the category torture devices which has torture as its parent category. Please see WP:CAT. Thanks, -- (talk) 16:10, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I will not revert again, how rude of edits to revert without proper edit summaries or taking the issue to the talk page. Too bad. -- (talk) 16:14, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
It is not a "device", but a practice. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:15, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Looks better, thank you. -- (talk) 16:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I have pointed out on your talk page that this is considered a controversial topic with a distinct history of vandalism and edit warring and that any edits should be discussed first and a consensus gained. This was why your edits were reverted. --neonwhite user page talk 16:19, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that they were reverted on the spot without an edit summary of any detail. I was removing a category that was redundant because it was already there per a sub category. I was not saying that this practice is not torture, because I believe it is. I took it to the talk page and was still sumarially reverted until Jossi was nice enough to remove the wrong category and post in here. Is this drama over for now? Thank you. -- (talk) 18:11, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
The article is currently in Category:Physical torture techniques, which seems to me to be the correct category. That category is itself a subcategory of Category:Torture. -- The Anome (talk) 11:59, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:CAT, the main category should then be removed. -- (talk) 14:23, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Does the removal of duplication affect the reader, making it hard to browse through subjects or spot their target easily? If the answer is yes, you should not remove the duplication. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 14:32, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
What is your point here? -- (talk) 14:39, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Per Wikipedia:Categorization and subcategories and common sense we can leave it as-is in both categories unless a consensus forms to do otherwise. Lawrence § t/e 14:33, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
You agree with what? -- (talk) 14:39, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

<outdent> As an aside, should cat:Psychological torture techniques be added to this article? -- (talk) 14:49, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with 70.109 that cat:Psychological torture techniques should be added butit looked like a redlink under preview, the way waterboarding induces hydrophobia is one of its most powerful ways it tortures. (Hypnosadist) 19:37, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I will try to add it. Do you have an opinion about whether the parent category torture should be included against guidelines or not? -- (talk) 19:43, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I actually removed Category:Psychological torture techniques because it says this cat is for forms of torture that do not do physical harm which is obviously not the case here. -- (talk) 19:47, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I removed it again per that categories description. --nyc171 (talk) 20:27, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it does not meet that categories description. Parent categories should not be pressent when a sub-cat is there, thats how i've always understood it and see no special reasons not to do that here. (Hypnosadist) 20:49, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Why was Law of wars readded? It is a parent category and the article sticks out there like a sore thrumb. It is too bad that the owners of this article just brainlessly revert without using the talk page. --nyc171 (talk) 00:13, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I removed this category. If you actually look at that category page, this article sticks out one, and two, it is already listed under War crimes that is a sub category of Law of wars. Is this some good reason to include this cat?--nyc171 (talk) 00:49, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Why not go for GA?

Editors here, this article is now really good, at least that is my impression on coming back to it after a gap of several weeks. It is pithy and to the point, impeccably referenced, well structured. I'd say it's time to move beyond the POV-dispute acrimony and seriously think about working it up to GA and even to FA. I'm not committing myself to anything, but actually I don't think there's a lot required to do. Best wishes. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:34, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I haven't read it all the way through, but I generally agree. Only one concern, article stability is one of the GA criteria. It seems that POV edit warring has died down, but as long as this is an important news story, it's likely to crop back up. Anyway, I'd say go ahead and nominate if you feel the urge! I'll try to respond to suggestions in the process, for what that's worth. -Pete (talk) 23:01, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words, a lot of editors have worked hard here. I do agree with pete though, this article has not been stable long and new bits are added often as legal process goes on mostly in america. Lets leave it for one month then if its still stable send it for GA. (Hypnosadist) 23:23, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a good idea to go for GA/FA status: if the article gets there, it would show that the ArbCom-imposed probation helped the quality of the encyclopedia. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:07, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Template footer

Should the War on Terror footer be included at the bottom of this article? What do people think? The template is below. Remember (talk) 23:07, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

First things first, I think the topic of "torture" should first be incorporated into the navbox. -Pete (talk) 23:15, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes and waterboarding added to the template. (Hypnosadist) 23:20, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Disagree, this technique is not limited to the US invention known as War on Terror. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 23:25, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand. Nobody's said it is. There are two proposals, (1) to add the navbox to the bottom of this article, and (2) to add torture and/or waterboarding to the navbox itself. Which are you disagreeing with? And, can you expand on your reasons? -Pete (talk) 23:28, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I'd be against the navbox. For one, "War on Terror" is hardly an NPOV term (but that's probably neither here not there), but, for another waterboarding is not limited to the "War on Terror", and the "War on Terror" does not seriously depend on waterboarding. We don't add the template to M16 rifle or to C-5 Galaxy or to Arabic language, although all of these play some role in the event. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:41, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
True, but I would bet that 99% of what has been written on this topic has been written due to its use against suspects in Bush's War on Terror. That is why I thought it was relevant. I am not saying it clearly should appear on the page, but I thought that there might be an argument that it should be on the page. Remember (talk) 03:26, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I dont think you can say the article is linked enough soley to that one subject to include it. What if there is a foot for the Khmer Rouge, Algerian Civil War or Spanish Inquisition? we could end up with several. --neonwhite user page talk 05:33, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Nescio you are right but Agent Orange is now forever linked with vietnam. As for a POV name, it is the name virtually all sides call it (no matter how much they may disagree with the name), if its not the "war on Terror" what is it called? (Hypnosadist) 05:01, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

<- The addition of a navbox should happen if the links are likely to help the users. Waterboarding's notability is almost totally due to the War on Terror. This page's traffic is mainly driven by people looking for information on the current controversy. As such, this nav template would be helpful to many users. If a few years from now this controversy ends, the nav template can be removed. Jehochman Talk 12:04, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I disagree that it's notability is due to that, it would have notablility regardless. --neonwhite user page talk 16:53, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Waterboard editors you don't like!

Please forgive me if I'm out of line here and if I'm repeating something that's already been said. I tried looking through the archives and what's above and started feeling like I was drowning in a sea of controversy. But it appears that Wikipedia editors are expected to be able to foretell the future, and if they fail to do so and someone reverts their edit, they will be blocked. Hopefully, I'm reading this whole thing wrong. I just made an edit that seems pretty safe to me (gave a source and info that President Bush plans to veto a bill outlawing the use of waterboarding by the CIA), but if it's reverted, will I be blocked?

As to torture, I'm not going to argue about whether I think it's torture or not. But is it appropriate for Wikipedia to say either that it is torture, or that it is not torture? Unless we have a clear-cut definition of "torture" that any educated reader can agree with, I think it's inappropriate for Wikipedia to take sides one way or the other.

If I'm out of line here, please just tell me and don't block me! Wakedream (talk) 04:35, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it's appropriate. Have you read the archives? Badagnani (talk) 05:31, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for responding. I have looked through the archives as I stated above, but admit I haven't read everything there. However, in the U.S. at least we have some of the most prominent people in the country on both sides of the torture/not torture issue (as just one example, Republican President George W. Bush says it's not torture, whereas the Republican presidential nominee John McCain says it is). Can Wikipedia say Bush is right and McCain is wrong, or visa versa? Is that NPOV? Wakedream (talk) 06:03, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
There are four individuals who have stated their belief that it's not torture (two Republican politicians and two conservative columnists). But it is torture by definition, and has been considered as such for hundreds of years. The definition of torture may be found here. Try reading the archives some more; this was one of the main subjects covered, at some length. Badagnani (talk) 06:08, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe Bush has said waterboarding is not a form of torture. He simply said something like "We don't torture." If I'm wrong, please put the quote where he says waterboarding is not a form of torture here. Badagnani (talk) 06:13, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
You might want to see White House says waterboarding not torture, and the statement "Although President Bush has stated that the United States has not and will not torture people, it has been learned that Mr. Bush himself has authorized the use of waterboarding on detainees" in Bush Will Veto Ban On Torture. No, I'm not quoting a source where George W. Bush actually says, "Waterboarding is not torture." But by his statements: the United States does not torture. The United States does use waterboarding. Therefore, he is in effect saying, waterboarding is not torture. Wakedream (talk) 06:44, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
If he didn't say it, he didn't say it. Badagnani (talk) 06:56, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
In fact, that's a classical example of WP:SYN. Bush's words can be interpreted in many different ways ("the United States does not torture - at this very moment", "the United States does not torture - its a country, only people torture", "the United States does not torture - the CIA does"). Political dissembling is not unusual among politicians. Bush is not a WP:RS on anything but his opinion (and in fact, I have my doubts about even that). But anyways, Bush is not an expert in the field, and his opinion has no significant weight on the topic. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:18, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm inclined to the view that no living American politician is a RS about his own opinions (unless they're Motherhood, Apple Pie, and the American Flag; well, that list should be shortened to ... no, just completely unreliable.) htom (talk) 14:17, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
In all fairness, I have to concede a point to Badagnani. In Bush explains veto of waterboarding bill it says, "But the administration has refused to rule definitively on whether it is torture. Bush has said many times that his administration does not torture." President Bush has skirted the issue, as politicians who are dealing with extremely controversial topics are likely to do. However, I do still contend that there is debate about whether or not waterboarding is torture. Again, I am not stating my personal opinion on this issue, just stating that I question whether something that is so controversial should be stated in a Wikipedia article as fact. The article currently says it is a form of torture, not that many nations and authorities have said it is. But Badagnani is right in saying if Bush didn't say it is torture, he didn't say it. Wakedream (talk) 16:54, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I hope people won't send me hate mail or threats of being blocked because of it, but I changed "Waterboarding is a form of torture" to "Waterboarding, which has been called a form of torture". I am not in any way arguing whether or not it is torture. But to say that the President of the United States approves the use of torture does not seem at all Wikipedia:NPOV. As Badagnani pointed out above and as the article linked to above indicates, Bush has not said it is torture, but does approve its use. The practice is highly controversial, and I don't believe it's the place of Wikipedia to take sides in a controversy. Thanks to everyone who's posted in this section so far for remaining civil. You've made some good points and have corrected some of my errors without resorting to name calling. In my not NPOV opinion, this is the way Wikipedia should work! Wakedream (talk) 17:11, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Please see my section below. This needs a dedicated section. Lawrence § t/e 17:13, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Change in lead by Wakedream

Re this edit, please review the history (yes, I know there is a lot) and present your policy and evidence (include links, diffs, etc.) for this change before enacting. This is the single biggest point of contention that has been repeatedly shot down and/or resolved in favor of the "is a form of torture" language with heavy and extensive sourcing in the past. What do you have that is new to bring to the table to support this change and edit? Lawrence § t/e 17:03, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments. While I've looked through the archives, I can't say I've reviewed every comment or edit. I may be adding nothing new to the discussion, but did want to assert my support for what I see as Wikipedia:NPOV. If another editor reverts my edit, I don't plan to change it back unless I find what I believe is overwhelming support from either editors or Wikipedia policy, and will likely post it for discussion first. By the way, my user name is Wakedream, not Wakedreams--it's no big deal, but I fixed it above. Thanks for listening! Wakedream (talk) 17:26, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, I appreciate your reasonable tone and willingness to discuss. However, why, after everyone who issued an opinion opted against the change, did you go ahead and did it anyways? For the issue at hand, if you look at Talk:Waterboarding#Is.2Fisn.27t_torture_--_list_all_sources_here on this very page, you will see that literally hundreds of reliable sources - from law professors over medical experts, interrogators, former JAGs, to actual victims and members of international organization concerned with human rights and torture, have made explicit statements, often in peer-reviewed publications, that waterboarding is a form of torture and has been considered one since essentially forever. There is an extreme dearth of reliable expert sources — or even notable statements by anyone — on the other side. Expert opinion on this is not divided, and expert opinion is what WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE require us to report. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:40, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I made the edit with good intentions, and may well have been wrong to have done so. Thank you for providing the links! Wakedream (talk) 18:06, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for being very understanding, in this--a lot of good editors here are still a bit raw from basic all out attacks on this page by long-time banned editors, trying to slant the thing in favor of their point of view. Those sources, by the way, are a bit out of date--there are (just a ballpark guess, I haven't counted in a while) about 200+ sources and authorities that support the "is torture" wording now, and roughly 12-14 in favor of "isn't torture" or "may not be torture". Lawrence § t/e 18:29, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


This idea has been discussed and implemented before but was later changed back but not through consensus and many of the editors that opposed are not gone or not editing this page. Because this proposal was never formally resolved, I thought I would bring it up again. So how would everyone feel about changing the lead to state "Waterboarding is a form of torture (see classification as torture)..." The advantages of this approach is that it allows those to quickly access the debate about this issue if they want to find it (as I think many of the internet traffic does), it does not push any POV and simply links to later in the page, and it links to the area that provides full support as well as details the intricacies related to the statement "waterboarding is a form of torture". Remember (talk) 18:54, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm removing the proposal since its obvious it has no support. I won't mention it again. Remember (talk) 13:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  1. Support- Remember (talk) 18:54, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
  2. Oppose Hi. I'm back. I do not believe the lede should state "Waterboarding is a form of torture" for two reasons: (1) "torture" is not a universally defined concept (see my discussion here); and (2) assuming a universal definition of torture can be found, there remains some debate whether every instance of waterboarding is actually torture and the proposed lede does not allow room for a non-tortuous use of waterboarding. I would propose starting the article by defining waterboarding as an interrogation technique and then in the second sentence say something like: "Waterboarding has been widely regarded to be a form of torture." --Cdogsimmons (talk) 20:45, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Policy dictates that fringe theories are not given undue weight. see WP:UNDUE. This means that we do not have to allow room for political euphemisms or views held only by a tiny minority. This has already been resolved. see the archives. --neonwhite user page talk 15:49, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Please put a link to where this issue was resolved. Otherwise, telling people to just "read the archives" is akin to Badagnani's disingeneous and repeated attempts to block users he disagrees with by giving them the task of reading for a week before contributing to the discussion as he does so here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Please see this discussion. Thanks.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 16:48, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

The lead torture debate itself is settled. If a small number disagree, they need to convince the majority with new discussion/section and new evidence. Lawrence § t/e 17:41, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Instead of your bare assertion of fact, an actual link would be handy.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 17:50, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
And as has been explained repeatedly, there is no one sole link. Every time this argument comes up, it ends exactly the same. So no, I'm not going to keep a running scorecard to provide to each new person that shows up. If you have a problem with the lead, please post a new section, with why it should be changed, and cite convincing evidence of why. Note that saying "NPOV" is not sufficient. You need to explain why specifically under NPOV that when 230+ international sources say one thing, we should not say that thing because 6-10 sources of basically one political allegience in one nation say another. To do so would be to give that minority (American conservatives) authority over the rest of the Earth they do not have. If you want this changed lay out a new section with the + link at the top of this page. Provide convincing arguments and evidence. Lawrence § t/e 18:14, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
If there is no actual finished debate then the issue has not been resolved or "settled". Even a finished debate on wikipedia would fail to convince me when the issue (whether all instances of waterboarding are acts of torture) has not been definitively ruled on by a court of law (at least to my knowledge. What you represent to be a settled issue is just your opinion that the issue should be settled. The debate over whether waterboarding is torture is still alive and well and wikipedia should not represent otherwise. To do so would be to establish a POV. Wikipedia should reflect the facts on the ground. --Cdogsimmons (talk) 19:41, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
  1. By that argument, there is no torture, and very little else in the universe... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:15, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
    Perhaps we should call this the 42 argument. Lawrence § t/e 21:20, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
    Note, this debate should not be centered on whether the first words are "waterboarding is a form of torture" but rather whether the link to later in the article should be added. The other more contentious argument seems to have already been settled. Remember (talk) 22:01, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
  2. Alternative: "Waterboarding is a torture technique[1]..." with a suitable explanation in the footnote. The "torture technique" also addresses Cdogsimmons concern, as not every use of a torture technique has to be actual torture. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:15, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Unncecessary. Readers can simply refer to the text of the article for clarification. Lead is well sourced and factual. Badagnani (talk) 03:36, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - This would be giving undue weight to the 'debate' which represents a fringe theory. --neonwhite user page talk 15:49, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The weight of argument has previously established that the current lead, as it is, is acceptable and NPOV. As an aside, regarding "torture" is not a universally defined concept. This is a fallacious argument since many words in all languages can't stand up to the standard of universally defined. A fairly neutral term such as amphitheater is not universally defined. People can argue whether a given venue is truly an amphitheater or an arena or a stadium, and there are often venues that blur any perceived boundaries. The most common universally defined terms that I know of deal with mathematical objects (e.g., parallel, square, or intersection). More typically one might say that a term is generally accepted to mean something rather than universally defined. My point is that claiming that the concept of torture is not universally defined is a non-argument. Definitions of torture are generally accepted and waterboarding itself is generally accepted as being torture. -- Quartermaster (talk) 17:13, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Please include a link to this "weight of argument." I see clear POV, and I disagree that the lead is acceptable for that reason.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 17:32, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
  • WP:WEIGHT. See also WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE. The American government view that it may not be torture is the extreme minority view, and the US government is not a particularly notable authority when compared to the weight of history and the rest of the world. It's just one government with a limited (4 to 8 year) lifespan. Lawrence § t/e 17:47, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not talking about a link to policy. I'm talking about a link to the results of an actual decision that was made by a consensus of well informed editors. Otherwise, I maintain that it is only your opinion that the discussion is over. At this point, it is not mine.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 17:55, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
In response to Quartermaster, I think that the language "generally accepted" is a good way of describing it, and your point about a universal definition is well taken.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 18:04, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Waterboarding

Please see: Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Waterboarding. Let's see what happens. Lawrence § t/e 17:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

This looks as if its going to be a clear fail, with a Split of the modern american stuff. Thats what i propose we do. (Hypnosadist) 01:53, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
If it fails because of that, discounting any unsupported POV statements, that would be the clearest endorsement for such a thing ever. Lawrence § t/e 01:55, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

We're not going to pass unless NPOV issues are fixed. I've spoken with our best editors about this, and am prepared to fix the lead, but I would like a commitment that my edits will not be reverted without discussion. Do you all trust me to make this attempt, or shall we instead continue discussing in circles? Jehochman Talk 02:09, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

POV hammering cannot be allowed to change the lead, which is factual and well sourced. Badagnani (talk) 02:16, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Except that the article starts off with a large POV push. Read the reviews that are coming back at FAC. Jehochman Talk 02:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Jehochman, if you have an idea for a modified version of the lead, why not present it on the talk page? That way we can discuss it here, without any possibility of a revert war. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:27, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Calling it a form of torture is like calling the violin a musical instrument. The POV is in the hammering we've been seeing. The lead is factual and well sourced. What reviews show is that if something is hammered enough, even if it's clearly untrue people start to believe it. This starts with the shedding of doubt, which is usually enough (and, in fact, is what was asked for from the beginning of the hammering). It's a well-understood technique and works well--even with otherwise discerning and scholarly WP contributors who have not carefully read the sources and all the discussion, as many of us have done. Badagnani (talk) 02:31, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't aware that musical instruments were that controversial. If you can present prominent sources who say the violin is not a musical instrument, then I think we should indicate that in the violin article. Wakedream (talk) 06:13, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


This article is continually accused of violating the NPOV policy. But the complaints seem to be grounded in people's opinions about waterboarding. The NPOV policy, though, doesn't deal with Wikipedians' personal opinions--rather, it states that NPOV is "a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources." I've looked at a lot of reliable sources in doing research on this topic, and so have other editors--the results of this research are at the top of the talk page. What I see is an overwhelming number of references, many from highly expert sources, that state that waterboarding is torture. I see a handful of reliable sources that claim that waterboarding may or may not be torture. These sources tend to be of lower quality--for instance, I've seen only one article in a law journal that makes this assertion.

Almost no sources say that waterboarding isn't torture. The ones listed on this page are pundits and a congressman--which I would assign almost no weight, given that this is a topic discussed in academic and legal literature. So where, exactly is the POV problem? What prominent experts tell us that waterboarding is not torture? If we find substantial number of experts that say that waterboarding isn't torture, then there's a POV problem in the lead. Until then, we should stick to the consensus of reliable sources--that waterboarding is a form of torture. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:00, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

While waterboarding certainly is torture, starting out the article with that assertion gives undue weight to the current controversy. Only because various right wing editors have been tendentiously trying to suggest that waterboarding might not be torture have editors responded by placing this assertion front and center. To those who are uninvolved, this looks odd. A neutral treatment would start with "Waterboarding is an interrogation technique that consists of..." In the second paragraph we state that waterboarding is considered to be torture by (list of names), which is sufficient. If there is a disagreement, please present this at WP:NPOVN for discussion by uninvolved parties. Jehochman Talk 16:09, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Do you think that Foot whipping suffers from the same issue? --Akhilleus (talk) 16:12, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Mock execution is "psychological torture." Solitary confinement is described as "punishment." Caning is "physical punishment" and flagellation is punishment. I think "torture" is a morally loaded word, like "terrorist', and that we should try to use more neutral terms such as punishment or paramilitary. Can you show me any good or featured articles that say "X is a form of torture?" Jehochman Talk 16:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Torture may be a morally loaded word, but when the overwhelming consensus of expert sources uses it, I don't see why we shouldn't. We're back to my original point: who says it isn't torture? I've looked for sources that say so, and I assume that others have as well, and I don't see that there's any genuine controversy on this point. You said it yourself: waterboarding certainly is torture. I see no reason not to use the term in the first sentence, and in fact I think it makes for a better article if we say so, rather than using weaselly neologisms like "interrogation technique". --Akhilleus (talk) 16:27, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
"Interrogation technique" is first an euphemism, and secondly wrong - if I understand my history, the Khmer Rouge used it as a means extortion, not interrogation. As I wrote above, I slightly prefer "torture technique" to "form of torture". "Torture technique" gives some wiggle room for the use in e.g. training. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:28, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
"Interrogation technique" is neither a euphemism nor a synonym for torture. There are many interrogation techniques, "good cop -- bad cop" being perhaps the most well known. That waterboarding (whatever it is) may have multiple uses is something that the article might well address. "Waterboarding", however, appears to be a euphemism for "water torture" in most of the cited sources. htom (talk) 17:38, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
A thing can be a member of more than one set. See Venn diagram. Waterboarding can be described in many different ways: torture, a violation of the Geneva convention, an interrogation technique, a form of punishment, a war crime, a military training exercise, and more. The question is which of these descriptions is the best if we have to choose one for the lead sentence? Which is most NPOV, reflecting the multiple global and historical perspectives on the issue? Waterboarding certainly is a war crime, but that would be a poor description because for much of the practice's 500 year history, there was no such thing as a war crime. Jehochman Talk 17:47, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - In fact, "torture" is the most accurate term, as the sources show. It is quite neutral, except for those four individuals who publicly state their belief it is not torture (likely because they want to do it and because they consider it most expedient to change the actual definition of this well-understood technique, to allow for its future use and avoid prosecution of those who have already conducted it). Undue weight is brought on by the hammering, whose intent is not to say that waterboarding is not torture, but to shed doubt and create ambiguity, or the hint of acceptability in the general populace, using our article as a battleground. As a violation of the Geneva convention, that wouldn't describe what it is, but its legal status in international law; the lead generally describes what something is. On the other hand, the suffocation of a bound prisoner, inclined on his/her back, by the use of water is a form of torture, by definition. The term "interrogation technique" would be partly true, as waterboarding (and torture techniques in general) may be used for interrogation, or a number of other reasons. This is basic information that is in all the articles and has been discussed many times, so it would not be suitable for the lead, as it is only one of its uses. As a form of punishment, again, that is only one of the uses of waterboarding or torture, so, again, that would not be a valid substitute for the lead. As a war crime, that again covers its legal status but, as with its status under the Geneva Conventions, does not state what it is (a form of torture). Its use as a military training exercise is solely to learn what it is in case the individual being trained is subjected to it, so it is clear that this would not constitute the definition of waterboarding (although this use may certainly be described later in the article. Badagnani (talk) 18:32, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
"Waterboarding is the intentional suffocation of a bound prisoner, inclined on their back, caused by pouring water over their face..." Why label it torture rather than letting the facts speak for themselves? A description of the process is more valuable than a conclusion. Jehochman Talk 18:46, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - We don't say, at the beginning of its article, "An airplane allows its pilot to fly from place to place, often with numerous passengers." Similarly, we don't say, "The piano allows its player to perform many classical compositions, often in a virtuosic manner." We say what it is, first. Badagnani (talk) 18:49, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
  • "Waterboarding is the intentional suffocation of a bound prisoner, inclined on their back, by pouring water over their face, and into their mouth and nose..." I think that says what it is with a high degree of clarity and neutrality. I think "intentional suffocation" is more descriptive and more specific than "torture". Obviously, the intentional suffocation of a prisoner is torture. Torture is a somewhat vague word. It has legal meanings, but also colloquial meanings, such as "My mother-in-law's visit was torture." Jehochman Talk 18:58, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Jehochman, it seems fairly obvious that you're not going to win support for a change to the language of the first sentence, so why don't we focus on other problems with the article? I doubt we're going to get FA, but we could at least try for GA. --Akhilleus (talk) 19:47, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Sadly, this will not become a featured article, but yes, please do nominate it at WP:GAC. Jehochman Talk 20:15, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Jehochman, I think the wikipedia link to torture in the first sentence clears up an confusion to the readers that "Waterboarding is a form of torture..." is a colloquialism. --CrazyivanMA (talk) 19:57, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - Jehochman,I like your suggestion, and I believe "intentional suffocation" is correct, at least according to my dictionary. Unfortunately, while suffocating can mean stopping respiration, which can be temporary, it can also mean death. This might be confusing to some readers. Wakedream (talk) 05:10, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - "intentional suffocation" is inaccurate. The word "torture" implies motive, however "intentional suffication" maybe a form of assisted suicide, or erotic asphyxiation. CrazyivanMA (talk) 19:52, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - the legal definition of torture can vary widly, however the medical definition seems to be absolute. I am under the impression the most NPOV way of defining waterboarding of torture would be using the medical definition due to being able to apply the scientfic method to whether or not it can be defined with the word "torture". CrazyivanMA (talk) 19:52, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Support CrazyivanMA This has been my opinion on the matter through all this. (Hypnosadist) 22:28, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Torture is a plain English word whose use here is amply justified by sources and common sense. It is the activity that is "morally loaded," not the word. We have numerous articles that use the word torture. See Category:Torture devices. We can and should call things what they are.--agr (talk) 20:12, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Comment Whether or not the word torture is loaded or not doesn't matter. We are servants and subordinate to NPOV. If the bulk of authority and sources all call waterboarding "torture", that's what we have to do. I know this won't help to appease this endless circle, but NPOV is what it is. NPOV isn't a tool to appease those offended by what an article says; it's a tool that dictates what we do. Lawrence § t/e 20:17, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
The editors that continue to support that the word torture are staying true to WP:NOTCENSORED. Those that want to have the word "torture" removed are trying to censor the article inorder to raise the chance of becomming a FA.--CrazyivanMA (talk) 20:23, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I feel FA status is a nice chestnut, but irrelevant in the face of NPOV. Lawrence § t/e 20:25, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
i also agree with the sue of the word torture as long as the existnece of dissenting views are acknowleged and given weight proportional tot he number of verifiable sources in relation wto the other one that is mentioned here. Smith Jones (talk) 21:42, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment I would prefer something like, "Waterboarding has been widely regarded to be a form of torture," as suggested by Cdogsimmons, or "generally accepted" as torture as mentioned above, as good compromises. My own edit, "Waterboarding, which has been called a form of torture" was reverted in two minutes. (see here and here). The fact that there's all this debate shows that there is not consensus. And if 200 experts say it is torture and 10 say it is not, that's about five percent who disagree with it being torture--one out of 20 people, or even one out of 50, seems more than a "fringe." It's extremely unlikely that the U. S. Congress will get the vote needed to overturn the veto, because the issue is so split. My main question is this: what's wrong with saying it's been called torture, which I think we can all agree is factually correct, instead of saying it is torture? Is this an issue of working to make this encyclopedia entry correct, or more an issue of editors' personal feelings on the issue? Wakedream (talk) 04:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
An editor said that people want to avoiding saying waterboarding is torture just to get this selected as a featured article. I can say that my edit was an attempt for NPOV and was made BEFORE this article was considered for featured status. Thanks for listening. Wakedream (talk) 05:01, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Wakedream, I didn't mean that editors were censoring the article specifically to achieve FA status. I just ment they were censoring the article to appease the masses, while doing a disservice to the article.--CrazyivanMA (talk) 13:53, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Wakedream, if you read through the sources at the top of the page, you're not going to find 10 expert sources that say that waterboarding isn't torture. There is no debate about this in expert sources. I'm talking about articles in law review journals, the statements of international human rights organizations, the UN committee on torture, statements by former military JAGS, former presidents, counterterrorism specialists, and so on. No one from the Bush administration has stated that waterboarding isn't torture; Mukasey, the Attorney General, has even stated that he believes it would be torture if it were done to him. Yes, we can find a few talk show hosts who say that waterboarding isn't torture, and we can find a handful of sources that say that maybe it isn't torture; but this does not make a debate. Wikipedia is supposed to report what reliable sources say; and the overwhelming weight of reliable sources call waterboarding torture. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:45, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
--Akhilleus, as it happens, I have read through it. I've also read Jimbo Wales comment on Wikipedia:NPOV that a minority opinion should be presented for NPOV if you can "name prominent adherents." The president of the United States who just vetoed a bill outlawing its use would, I believe, qualify as a "prominent adherent." And before someone points out that Bush did not specifically say, "waterboarding is not torture," Bush did say he supports its use and also said we do not torture. And know that over a third of the members of Congress voted against it being outlawed; presumably, they didn't all say, "yes, we support torture."[80] And as I posted elsewhere (forgive me for repeating myself here), saying waterboarding "is" torture means that it is torture in all cases. This would include it being used to train CIA and military personnel on how to resist its use. Even if we can agree that it is sometimes torture doesn't mean we can agree that it is always torture, or that all forms of it are torture. What's wrong with doing as several editors have suggested, and write it as "waterboarding is an interrogation method..." and then describe what it is? If it is torture, then let the facts speak for themselves. Wakedream (talk) 06:15, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
As a form of suffocation of a bound prisoner, who is inclined on a board and has water poured on his or her nose and mouth, it is always a form of torture, in all cases. However, as pointed out not a few hours ago, it is not always an interrogation technique. Interrogation is only one of several reasons waterboarding might be used. As such, our definition is quite appropriate, and interrogation is already mentioned in the article. Badagnani (talk) 06:20, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
The four prominent adherents (one of whom is actually a not-prominent opinion columnist) are already mentioned in the article. Do you want us to mention each of them more than once, so that it gives the illusion that there are not just four, but instead eight or twelve? Badagnani (talk) 06:26, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Presumably by your logic Wakedream, given that the khmer rouge were the most prolific users of waterboarding the intro should start "Waterboarding is a re-education tool to help the prolitariat be one with brother number ones wishes". That waterboarding is JUST an interogation method is the claim of a few non-expert sources while multiple expert sources (those are doctors who are experts in the treatment and effects of torture) say it is torture. NPOV is made up out of the sources with the most expert getting primacy. (Hypnosadist) 06:54, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
PS GWBush is not a proponant of "waterboarding is not torture", he just says its needed in the war on terror. (Hypnosadist) 06:54, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
PPS "America does not torture" can mean a lot of things including "200,000,000 tonnes of inaniamte rock does not torture" (Hypnosadist) 06:58, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Make that "enhanced re-eduction tool"! And no, Jimbo did not say "that a minority opinion should be presented for NPOV if you can 'name prominent adherents'". He stated a necessary, not a sufficient condition. Not to mention that we include the fringe viewpoint, we just don't allow it to influence the basic definition.--Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:01, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
My main question is this: what's wrong with saying it's been called torture, which I think we can all agree is factually correct, instead of saying it is torture? -Wakedream.
Comment The problem I have in stating it's been called torture is that it is stylistically redundant to do so. The only reason to hedge away from stating directly what the large number of authoritative sources (see above and in the archives ad nauseum) state, i.e., waterboarding is torture, is to raise doubt about the harshness and legality of the technique. I also don't think it's a very effective way to do that either. Almost every wikipedia article could be modified with the it's been called . . . phrase. E.g., Ted Kaczynski has been called an American terrorist. ; George Herbert Walker Bush has been called the President of the United States ; Murder has been called the unlawful killing of a human person. -- Quartermaster (talk) 13:16, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Question How can you justify using non-medical sources to define waterboarding as torture. The definition of torture includes key features that can only be varified by medical professionals. Also I couldn't find any medical sources listed above that said waterboarding is not torture and backed by medical facts. Please point them out. --CrazyivanMA (talk) 13:50, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Comment Ive been reading this discussion for a few months, and even though I am not a fan of Blue Tie, I do have to give him credit for a comment he made on the Waterboarding/Definition page. He Said "Is it disputed that waterboarding is torture?". I believe this is the issue, but more accuratly its a question of are there medical sources that state its not torture and have suporting medical evidence to back their claims. --CrazyivanMA (talk) 14:04, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


This discussion is going in circles. Several editors appear to be tendentiously and disruptively pushing the idea that waterboarding's status as torture is in question. No, it isn't in question, except by fringe groups. I recommend taking the question of the lead to WP:NPOVN to gain input from experienced editors who have been previously uninvolved. Jehochman Talk 14:38, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

That was the impression I was under, but I needed to ask for a medical source citing if it was in question. There is alot of info here, and I may have just missed it. I'll just assume there isn't any. --CrazyivanMA (talk) 14:51, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Fine with me.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 18:15, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

RfC: Is waterboarding a form of torture, based on sources?

See Talk:Waterboarding/Definition for the discussion and place your comments there.

i recommend to 'waterboard' gwb, until he confesses that it is torture. if he doesn't confess, only then i believe it could be safely used on all his millions of hard headed enemies as well......and that would be the most reliable source in the world! -- (talk) 14:41, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Started a thread for that reason. (Hypnosadist) 02:00, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

My guess is that no one who responds to that thread is going to bother to read the sources in the article and on this talk page; instead, they're going to give us responses based on their pre-existing notion that there's a debate whether waterboarding is torture. As I've said a bunch of times on this talk page, we've got a situation similar to Global warming--there's overwhelming unanimity among expert sources, but because of the way things have been portrayed in the media, people with a casual knowledge of the subject think that there's a "controversy". --Akhilleus (talk) 03:03, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Quite right. It's one of the drawbacks of our system (inhabited by dilettantes, who like to edit about many things but may be experts in only one thing), but can be transcended if people actually read the sources and history carefully and thoroughly. Badagnani (talk) 03:08, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm making a good faith attempt to bring a resolution to this issue, two other editors talked about it so i decided to implement that discussion. we will see what happens. (Hypnosadist) 03:29, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I made a simple request earlier, when a similar RFC was made--that editors commenting read all the archives before commenting. Not one spent one word to address this request. Badagnani (talk) 03:32, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Since we have never managed to figure out what those in the CIA who are doing waterboarding are doing, no one who knows has determined, and so we can't determine whether or not it's torture. We've had lots (hundreds, even) of reliable sources saying that lots of other water tortures are water tortures, and many of you seem content with the synthesis that says waterboarding is either one of those or something else that's also torture. I don't see any way out of that for at least a decade, if not longer. htom (talk) 04:37, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Isn't discussing whether or not the CIA's version of using water as part of its "enhanced interrogation technique" is torture, or not, a separate issue from the discussion about using "waterboarding is a form of torture" in the lead? Read "neutral query" as my tone of voice. I confess to a bit of confusion about your statement here. I don't see the logical connection here between what the CIA has/hasn't done, and the direct statement about waterboarding being torture. If the CIA really has just placed a damp wash cloth on an Al Qaeda No. 3's foreheade, I'll posit that is not torture. But isn't that a separate issue? -- Quartermaster (talk) 05:15, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
(ec)No it is for editors who make the "extrordinary claim" that the CIA do nice waterboarding to provide sources that say that. The use or not of plastic has been covered by atleast the physicians for human rights source, stating all methods are torture. (Hypnosadist) 05:16, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
(conflict)Since "water torture" is confounded with "water treatment" and "waterboarding", what the CIA is doing would merely add to that confusion. I see "water boarding" as being different than "water treatment" and "water cure", and it's obvious to me that many of you don't. So I think it's hopeless for me to continue. htom (talk) 14:16, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
As I see it, "waterboarding" is fairly well-defined. "Water treatment" has referred to various different methods of torture over time (as well as to some completely harmless and benevolent treatments), and "water torture" is a more generic term. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:42, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
i agree and if you look at the water torture article it contains several techniques one which is waterboarding. Therefore it would be correct to lead with 'Waterboarding is a type of water torture'. --neonwhite user page talk 20:37, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm in favor of changing "torture" in the opening line to "water torture" -CrazyivanMA (talk) 20:50, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Opening Line Edit

"Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person..." to "Waterboarding is a form of water torture that consists of immobilizing a person..." Agree/disagree? -CrazyivanMA (talk) 21:03, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Changing "torture" to "water torture"? It seems accurate, as waterboarding would be a subset of water torture (and water torture is a subset of torture). It seems like a good proposal. Badagnani (talk) 21:10, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
This looks like a good one. Given how contentious that first line is, lets let this stew a day, however. Lawrence § t/e 21:12, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm looking for a source to beef up the validity of the water torture definition so editors can't attack the definition of water boarding as water torture. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 21:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Agree. Looks good to me, and I can't think how it would be contentious (but experience says wait a day or two as well). The changes that seem to cause the most problems in the opening tend to be ones where the proposer has some ulterior motive to weaken or obscure the general definition. Badagnani's proposal seems to neutrally clarify things and doesn't change the gist - it just accurately clarifies the torture hierarchy. -- Quartermaster (talk) 22:10, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I dislike it. It's redundant in that the use of "water" is clear from the term itself. I'm not saying it is wrong, but it is ugly, ugly language and makes me cringe a bit. We could solve the aesthetic problem by just linking "torture" to water torture, of course. But our article on water torture is, honestly, short, mostly unsourced, and just not very good. Our article on torture, on the other hand, is very extensive and well-sourced. I prefer the current version. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:28, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
The only issue I see is that the article on water torture is weak. I don't care that its "ugly language". -CrazyivanMA (talk) 16:26, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding as FAC

Here's what I see is stopping this article becoming a FAC based on the comments it received in FAC review. If we work together I think we can resolve many of these issues. Remember (talk) 17:41, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

  1. Come to a formal resolution about the lead that won't be opposed on POV grounds.
  2. Make the article stable.
  3. Fix the technique section
    As stated: "The 1st sentence of the Technique section is out of place. The "Two televised segments" paragraph is confusing and poorly worded. And finally the lead does a better job describing the technique than the technique section." The "Mental and physical effects" section would be better if it described the effects and used Dr. Keller's words as the reference. The section also seems wrapped up in mention "testimony" and "open letters" etc. It should simply describe the effects.
  4. Resolve whether their should be a split of US waterboarding controversy from the main page.
    Perhaps cut this section down so it does not dominate the page.
  5. Get it to GA status first
  6. Make it less american orientated.
  7. More details on historical use
  8. Explain what a "third degree interrogation" technique?
  9. Explain why is the technique termed a "water cure" at one point?
  10. Fix all citation and their formating issues. References 6, 9, 14, 28, 43, 49, 58, 64, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 104, 105 and 112 have formatting problems. References always go after a full stop or comma with no spaces in between. I also see a few short paragraphs and unreferenced paragraphs

Dispute resolution

It is evident from the final decision at ArbCom that they did not resolve the content dispute for us regarding the lead sentence. We are expected to resolve it outselves. I suggest WP:RFM, just as I did on February 4, nearly two weeks ago. I would be willing to accept any result that arises from such a process if it will stop the bickering. I know that several editors here, myself included, consider the first six words of this article to be a WP:NPOV violation. I propose removing six words from the lead sentence, from "Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on his or her back ..." to "Waterboarding consists of immobilizing a person on his or her back ..." It's NPOV. It doesn't take sides in the dispute. That is Wikipedia policy. Neutral Good (talk) 21:10, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

It really isn't a matter of opinion, at all. Per WP:FRINGE, which is indeed what the Bush Administration is, or even the whole of the United States, in the world context, we needn't report their assertions contrary to the most common, most accepted definitions of waterboarding in the same light as the point of view of everyone else. In fact, removing "torture" from the definition would be inherently contrary to WP:NPOV because it's abiding by the fringe POV that it cannot be defined as torture. ~ UBeR (talk) 21:39, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The whole of the United States is not WP:FRINGE. May I ask: whose constitution says, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"? (talk) 00:44, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
If you can show us that everyone outside the United States considers it torture, and provide links to reliable sources proving your claim, I'll shut up and go away. I promise. As it now stands, the notable persons who have expressed an opinion on the matter are self-selected, and probably are not representative. In nearly all cases, it is reasonable to conclude that they have a political agenda of some sort. Neutral Good (talk) 22:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Are you referring to UN officials, who have unambiguously stated waterboarding is torture, or someone else? ~ UBeR (talk) 22:17, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
You've had nearly 6 months to come up with one non-US source that waterboarding is not torture, you have none! The fact you choose to ignore sources that include cross-party commities of palimentarians from the USA's closest military ally (thats the UK) as having a "political agenda of some sort" is not our problem. (Hypnosadist) 22:20, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
As Uber and Hypno have said. Also, United Nations > United States, obviously, for weight of opinion and authority. Global > national. Lawrence § t/e 22:39, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The UN is not a world government. They weren't elected to rule over us. They have no authority to define words. All they can do is comment on the interpretations of treaties, and express their opinions like anyone else.
I'm not here to bicker. Neutral said that the PTB made their decision, which seems like no decision at all. I can't say I blame them, but it's still regrettable. This does need mediation.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 23:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
One other thing: if you're claiming that "the UN," rather than its politically motivated human rights activists oh wait, commissars oops, sorry, Commissioners has stated that waterboarding is torture, please link a copy of the UN Resolution -- either by the Security Council or the General Assembly. Thanks. Neutral Good (talk) 23:32, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Do you see why we need mediation here? Neutral Good (talk) 23:35, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
This is not a matter of world sovereignty or anything similar. This isn't a matter of who "rules over" the U.S. Start thinking outside of the United States. Two treaties, The Geneva Conventions and the UNCAT, are under the purview of the United Nations. What the Bush Administration, the DOJ, or the CIA say about waterboarding is irrelevant to the bigger picture of what waterboarding is and hence this article. Bush & Company only having jurisdiction over the definition in an American context and has no bearing on the rest of the world. We aren't going to change the article to suit the political rationalizations of the Bush Administration. ~ UBeR (talk) 23:42, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
But we should change the article to satisfy WP:NPOV. And neither UNCAT nor the Third Geneva Convention defines waterboarding as torture, so please don't wave those documents around as though they prove anything for your position. Neutral Good (talk) 23:47, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
It currently does reflect NPOV (The first sentence, at least). We needn't entertain fringe views. ~ UBeR (talk) 23:54, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
As stated often, many reliable sources explicitly state that waterboarding is torture. No sources of equal weight disagree. The extremely few sources to the opposite we have are usually interviews or opinion pieces, usually by complete non-experts. WP:NPOV includes WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE for exactly this case. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:55, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
"...definition in an American context"
Actually, the Bush administration has far less authority than even that. They can define how they perceive waterboarding themselves, but the US Presidency is barred by Constitutional checks from deciding such things in a legal sense, which extends to offices such as the A.G. or DOD, who ultimately also answer back to the House and Senate. The Presidency doesn't make law. They have limited leeway to interpret it. The US Presidency has no real power in this matter legally entitled to them. Lawrence § t/e 23:56, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Let me help you understand the policy. This is a direct quote from WP:WEIGHT, a section of WP:NPOV: "From Jimbo Wales, paraphrased from this post from September 2003 on the mailing list: If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts; If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents ..." We have named several prominent adherents to the "waterboarding may not be torture in all cases" position, including Rudolph Giuliani, Andrew C. McCarthy, Ted Poe and Michael Mukasey. Since it has several prominent adherents that are easy to name, this is a viewpoint held by a significant minority. Therefore it cannot be dismissed as a WP:FRINGE. There is a significant dispute, and the first six words of the article cannot pretend that the dispute does not exist. Neutral Good (talk) 23:57, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Giuliani does not say "its not torture", infact he says the opposite, he says it is torture if it is as bad as discribed in the "liberal media" by which i bet he includes us. So it is as bad as it is said to be so Rudi thinks it is torture. (Hypnosadist) 00:33, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
What Giuliani says, in effect, is this: it's unclear whether waterboarding is torture in all cases. Yes, I'm summarizing. But what you've done is to pluck one sentence out of context. Neutral Good (talk) 02:31, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
This is right back to the same mess again. Six Right Wingers are not a "significant dispute", and this is again the same ground covered as nauseum before. Someone please file for enforced mediation right now. This is a literal repeat of 2 months ago. Lawrence § t/e 00:01, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
First, Mukasey has not said waterboarding isn't torture. Second, these are all individuals within the United States, with varying degrees of positions of authority within the U.S. None of these people stop it from being fringe. They are a minority, and we can report what they've said, but we aren't going to substantially change the article to mirror their views. ~ UBeR (talk) 00:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. As odd as it is to say, the US Government is a fringe viewpoint on this matter, with no global standing or backing. Lawrence § t/e 00:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The opinions of two U.S. politicians and two U.S. columnists (one not particularly notable) does not represent a "significant" viewpoint, enough to actually change the definition of this well-understood term (the suffocation of a bound prisoner by the use of water). However, this does not prevent us from mentioning their opinions in the article (and I believe we do that). Badagnani (talk) 00:03, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Not to mention that abduction is not a valid rule of inference. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 00:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Mukasey doesn't need to say "waterboarding is not torture." He only needs to say "waterboarding may not be torture in all cases." And that, in effect, is what he said. Jimbo Wales himself has said that if I can name prominent adherents to this position, then it is a significant minority position. "Six Right Wingers are not a 'significant dispute,' " but six PROMINENT ADHERENTS, regardless of their politics, make it a significant minority, Lawrence. Badagnani, you keep trying to dismiss them as "The opinions of two U.S. politicians and two U.S. columnists (one not particularly notable)," but all four of them are notable enough to have Wikipedia articles about them; all four are licensed attorneys; and all four currently hold, or have held, prominent positions in government. By the way, where are the "reference[s] to commonly accepted reference texts" that are required for a majority opinion? What you have here is about 120 political partisans from the left who are self-selected. They probably aren't a representative sample. Let's see your "reference[s] to commonly accepted reference texts," please. Thanks. Neutral Good (talk) 00:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Where did Jimbo say that? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 00:19, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Right here: WP:WEIGHT. Neutral Good (talk) 00:34, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
No, he did not. You misrepresent his quote. He states a necessary, not a sufficient condition. Ernst Zündel, David Irving, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and still "The Holocaust is...". Ken Ham, Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson and still "In biology, evolution is ...". Timothy F. Ball, Frederick Seitz, Tim Patterson, and still "Global warming is ..." --Stephan Schulz (talk) 00:51, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Then what is sufficient, Stephan? Please cite and quote the appropriate policy when you reply. Thanks. Neutral Good (talk) 00:58, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Shooting someone isn't torture in all cases. Beating someone up isn't torture in all cases. This doesn't mean it always isn't torture. There needs to be a specific context in which an action is done to be considered torture. ~ UBeR (talk) 00:25, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

All we need here is an uninvolved admin to enforce the article probation. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:13, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm discussing mediation, plus a proposed edit, in a very reasonable and courteous manner, Akhilleus. This is not disruptive. What you are suggesting is that ANY disagreement, no matter how courteous, no matter if it involves any editing at all in the article mainspace, is a violation of WP:DE. That is oppressive. Neutral Good (talk) 00:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Which I'm sure would then make them involved. Authoritarianism never works as well as having sensible people talk about the changes on the discussion page. Consensus ought to prevail. ~ UBeR (talk) 00:19, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
As of this time, this section isn't disruptive. However, uninvolved admins have been encouraged to watchlist this. The history of this article and rampant proven sockpuppetry is an ongoing concern for epic disruption. Consensus also is never unanimous. Those outside of concensus must get consensus to change. Lawrence § t/e 00:19, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Consensus by a few editors on one article Talk page cannot defeat the consensus of 1 million Wikipedia editors and the Arbitration Committee, as expressed in WP:NPOV and ArbCom decisions that enforce it. The first six words of this article are a blatant NPOV violation. Neutral Good (talk) 00:40, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Why? Because it doesn't conform to the fringe view you have? ~ UBeR (talk) 00:48, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Because it doesn't acknowledge the existence of the significant minority view and its prominent adherents, as required by Jimbo Wales and WP:NPOV. My personal views are of no consequence. Neutral Good (talk) 00:53, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Are you kidding? The article is almost exclusively within the context of the United States and their denial of its classification as torture. As I explained in the section I created earlier ("Broaden"), there is undue weight given to the United States. If anything, the United States focus should be drastically reduced to reflect WP:NPOV. ~ UBeR (talk) 01:02, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
But the lead of the article studiously ignores the fact that this significant minority opinion exists. Therefore it violates WP:NPOV. Neutral Good (talk) 01:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
To the contrary, the lead states, "The new controversy surrounded the widely reported use of waterboarding by the United States government on alleged terrorists, and whether the practice was acceptable." The fact the lead mentions there's a controversy surrounding its acceptability in the United States tells plenty. ~ UBeR (talk) 02:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The dispute here is whether waterboarding is torture, not merely whether its use is acceptable. The dispute over the "waterboarding is torture" claim is what's being studiously ignored here. It is a blatant violation of WP:NPOV. Neutral Good (talk) 02:23, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
It's not being ignored. In fact, it's being focused on way too much. ~ UBeR (talk) 02:31, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I noticed that Neutral Good left out the most importnat part of the email from by Jimbo Wales which states
"If your viewpoint is held by a significant scientific minority, then
it should be easy to name prominent adherents, and the article should
certainly address the controversy without taking sides.
If your viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, then
_whether it's true or not, whether you can prove it or not_, it
doesn't belong in Wikipedia, except perhaps in some ancilliary
article. Wikipedia is not the place for original research."
This is exactly why arbitration was necessary, constant misinterpretations of policy and taking quotes out of context, ignoring overall views and the spirit of the policy and generally gaming the system. The email is talking about articles overall, this article covers the controversy in detail and in my opinion gives it far too much weight. It's lucky to even get a mention in the lead summary. --neonwhite user page talk 00:33, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
We are in complete agreement then. I've been trying to correct the constant misinterpretations of policy by others, Neon White. The spirit of the policy is that Wikipedia should not take sides. Neutral Good (talk) 00:37, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
We're not taking sides. We're reporting and labeling based on what the far, overriding bulk of the authorities say. Please do not misquote or try to twist words around like this. It is disruptive, and you were just warned on your talk page for additional disruption. There is no side to take--a fringe minority of local partisans in one lone nation say one thing. Everyone else, world-wide, says another. Taking a side would be to give the fringe minority weight and value they do not enjoy in the real world. Lawrence § t/e 05:19, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

You've had nearly 6 months to come up with one non-US source that waterboarding is not torture, you have none! (Hypnosadist) 01:01, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

So what? The US doesn't decide the issue, but neither does the absence of sources outside the US. All these sources are self-selected, whether within the US or not. Do you understand what that means? Neutral Good (talk) 01:17, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you still have no non-US sources. (Hypnosadist) 01:20, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
So what? Neutral Good (talk) 01:35, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Don't forget you also have no medical sources from anywhere that say waterboarding isn't torture. (Hypnosadist) 01:05, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

What matters here are legal sources. The expert sources that we have are all self-selected, and nearly all of them have political agendas that color and drive their opinions. Wikipedia cannot pretend, in the first six words (or even the first 600) of the article, that the dispute does not exist. It must be neutral. This is mandatory and non-negotiable. It is bedrock policy. Neutral Good (talk) 01:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

There is NO meaningful dispute, just a case for the defence.(Hypnosadist) 01:19, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Then let's go to mediation. Let's see what some uninvolved, experienced editors and admins have to say about it. Neutral Good (talk) 01:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Loads have already turned up and you have ignored them all, what is mediation going to do to make you abide by their decision? (Hypnosadist) 01:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Mediators are experienced in dispute resolution. The admins who have shown up here have taken sides. That isn't dispute resolution. Neutral Good (talk) 01:35, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
"The admins who have shown up here have taken sides" No just one side, they read the arguements and all decided one way, please take the hint. The only problem i have with mediation is wasting my and the mediators time going through the same arguement again. (Hypnosadist) 01:48, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
No, they didn't. That is a false statement, misrepresentation, whatever; I dare not call it a lie. Walton One is an administrator. He believes that the lead of this article should not take sides in this significant dispute over whether waterboarding is torture. Neutral Good (talk) 02:27, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The dispute is not significant in an historical and worldwide context. You have failed many times to provide any evidence that it is. The lead of the article is a summary of the article in can contain a reference to the dispute but policy says it should represent majority view. --neonwhite user page talk 03:53, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
That's why I find NG's contributions to this thread disruptive: we've been over this, again and again. At some point, the repetition needs to stop. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:13, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Then consider taking six POV-pushing words out of the lead sentence. This is an encyclopedia that refuses to call either Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin or Saddam Hussein an evil person. It refuses to call Osama bin Laden or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed an evil person; in fact, when I called KSM a "bad person" here on the Talk page, it was refactored by Lawrence Cohen. If we can't call dead dictators bad people, how can we ignore a significant debate, with notable adherents on boths sides, over whether waterboarding is torture? Put the facts into the article and let the facts speak for themselves for a change. Neutral Good (talk) 02:20, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Evilness is subjective. Legal definitions are not. And don't respond to this using an American example. That won't get you anywhere. ~ UBeR (talk) 02:39, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Hitler is called a 'totalitarian ruler', stalin is called a 'dictator', becasue we can verify that just as we can verfiy torture. --neonwhite user page talk 03:53, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
We would call a piano a musical instrument, and, similarly, we would call suffocation of a bound prisoner using water a form of torture -- in fact, one of the best known forms. Badagnani (talk) 02:43, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
That was a worthless analogy the first time you used it, the fourth time you used it, and the eighth time you used it. There is no dispute over whether a piano is a musical instrument. But there is a significant dispute, with several prominent adherents on both sides, over whether waterboarding is torture; and pretending that it doesn't exist, or dismissing the minority view as as WP:FRINGE has been used as cover for America bashing for far too long and with far too much gusto. Neutral Good (talk) 02:52, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Are you implying, in contrast, that your comment that you believe editors are attempting to state that waterboarding is "evil" in the lead was of worth? I don't believe, in all the months I have been observing the editing of this article, that any editor proposed to call waterboarding an "evil" activity, yet this is exactly what you proposed just above. Please refrain from calling the contributions of other editors "worthless," thanks. Badagnani (talk) 03:00, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
"Significant dispute." That's curious. Surely you don't believe a handful of politicos in Washington--not even one polity--constitute a "significant dispute," do you?
Badagnani, the term "torture" carries extremely negative connotations, much like the terms "terrorist," "child molester" and "war crime." In effect, calling waterboarding "torture" in such an unequivocal fashion in the first six words of the article brands the practice as evil, and those who do it as evil, in the eyes of billions of people - even when used to save thousands of innocent lives. Let's try to be honest enough with each other to refrain from pretending that it doesn't. Neutral Good (talk) 03:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying we are doing harm to America by labeling waterboarding torture, despite that multiple American sources and global sources call it torture? Why would the views of American Conservatives (or Americans in general) be more meaningful than the rest of the world? Our country is just one lonely nation. We aren't in charge of anything, and aren't the center of the universe, nor even the most important nation on Earth, barring our military. Lawrence § t/e 05:24, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Surely torture only carries negative connotations if you believe that torture is bad? And that is a judgment call for the reader - Wikipedia has no say in the matter. Some people believe that torture is okay if it's justified, e.g. when carried out by Jack Bauer. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 11:11, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - This is a very interesting opinion. Unfortunately, we cannot base articles on individual Wikipedians' opinions. The views of the four individuals who support your opinion are discussed in the article (including the not particularly notable columnist Jim Meyers, who, contrary to a comment made earlier this evening, does not appear to merit his own Wikipedia article). Not a great number of sources to draw on for this odd fringe opinion (that suffocation of a bound, inclined prisoner with water is not a form of torture). Badagnani (talk) 03:13, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Once again, you have misrepresented the significant minority position and important distinctions are blurred. This position does not claim unequivocally that "waterboarding is not torture." It only asserts that "waterboarding may not be torture in all cases." Neutral Good (talk) 03:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
A handful of people, who express no definite view hardly represent a significant alternative view. --neonwhite user page talk 03:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
The fact that a technique might save lives doesn't make it any less tortuous. But that's ignoring the fact it has never been demonstrated to ever save lives. Ever. ~ UBeR (talk) 03:10, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
John Kiriakou testified that it saved lives. I believe he's in a better position to know than you. Neutral Good (talk) 03:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding has been considered torture and banned by previous US administrations and every civilized nation until until George W. Bush secretly authorized it. It is still illegal under US and international law and although they claim it was "justified" then why did they deny for five years that they did it. Wikipedia should not censor the only US president that authorized torture. (talk) 02:50, 18 February 2008 (UTC) (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. I'm not an SPA and resent being painted as such. I edit when I have time and nothing I've stated isn't true. My Internet server assigns a different address otherwise you would see I have many edits. (talk) 09:53, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

File an RfM then Neutral This is already filling up this talk page with pointless repitition of the same arguments, and its getting heated. (Hypnosadist) 03:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

What good would that do? the result would just be ignored, let's just hope the admins step in. The POV pushing is just getting ridiculous. How many more experienced ediotrs do we need to point out that WP:NPOV does not mean no point of view? it means representing with due weight. This is not about improving the encyclopedia, it's about one editor trying to use wikipedia as a platform for political propaganda. --neonwhite user page talk 03:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Will you participate? And will you accept the result, whatever it may be? Neutral Good (talk) 03:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Just start it already. (Hypnosadist) 12:39, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree to the change, and to the RfM. htom (talk) 20:34, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Likewise. Either option would end this endless argument. Both would be even better. Shibumi2 (talk) 22:51, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

United States bill is current event as of March 2008--please update

I added a box (hopefully correctly) that President Bush is planning to veto a bill against waterboarding on March 8, 2008. Somebody please update this as he either does or does not. And if I've formatted it incorrectly, please fix it. [81] Thanks! Wakedream (talk) 06:59, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Yellowdesk was kind enough to not only fix it (in this case, remove the box) but provided me with a link that described what to do. It's at Template:Current#Guidelines. The box I added should be used when many edits are expected in a single day on a current event, not for an event that's currently in the news. So many editors will just say, "you're wrong I'm cutting it out," or even, "you're a vandal!" Thanks, Yellowdesk for your help! (By the way I'm updating the news on this.) Wakedream (talk) 16:19, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

If this event gets the media going like I expect it will, everyone ought to be ready for lots of IP edits, new users, and possibly some old friends returning (again). Lawrence § t/e 14:34, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Bush vetoed, and the house failed the override (225-188, 17 not voting[82]) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Is/isn't torture -- list all sources here

No one seems to dispute at all that waterboarding is considered torture, so far, based on the mini-rfc above. Let's get a collection here of all sources that assert waterboarding is torture, just a collection of links and sources. This is the -the- main bone of contention basically. At the same time, lets also do the same thing with sources that say it isn't torture/isn't considered torture, in the interests of NPOV, and to see what turns up. Anyone who considers it not torture, this is your time to demonstrate that with evidence. • Lawrence Cohen 16:51, 25 November 2007 (UTC) Updating to ensure this is not archived yet. Lawrence Cohen 17:23, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

It is rather disingenuous to not note that there are a variety of ways of doing waterboarding and that the method the US government has used is in certain respects markedly different than what the Japanese and others have done. The failure of this article to note the differences (and also to claim that the method is torture) is profoundly disappointing for a source which is supposed to present a neutral point of view. As someone else correctly noted "[t]his articles is taking sides in a controversial issue while simplifying the nuances of that issue." And the listing of those who do not consider waterboarding to be "torture" including "Santa Claus" is both stupid and insulting. ShawnM (talk) 05:47, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Comment - This is an interesting opinion. However, the suffocation of a bound prisoner with water, whether "nicer," "harsher," "less cruel," "moderately cruel," or any other variation is still the suffocation of a bound prisoner with water -- i.e., a form of torture by definition. Whether you wish to believe in such a "nicer" version that only one nation has developed and uses (but which nevertheless produces good results) is immaterial to this article, as no source bears this out. Badagnani (talk) 07:03, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Response to the "Comment" of "Badagnani":

You are missing the point as no actual suffocation takes place with the method used by US interrogators. Here is how the methodology used by US interrogators is explained by the CIA:

"The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt." [<a href="">LINK</a>]

Now then, compare that to the method used by the Japanese during the war which was conducted in the following manner according to court documents of three of the sentenced Japanese:

Charge...That on or about 15 May, 1944, at Fukoka Prisoner of War Branch Camp Number Three, Fukuoka ken, Kyushu, Japan, the accused Seitaro Hata, did, willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture Thomas B. Armitage, William O Cash and Munroe Dave Woodall, American Prisoners of War by beating and kicking them; by forcing water into their mouths and noses; and by pressing lighted cigarettes against their bodies.

...That in or about July or August, 1943, at Fukoka Prisoner of War Branch Camp Number Three, Fukuoka ken, Kyushu, Japan, the accused Seitaro Hata, did willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture Morris O. Killough, an American Prisoner of War, by beating and kicking him; by fastening him on a stretcher and pouring water up his nostrils.


Charge...That in or about July or August, 1943, the accused Yukio Asano, did willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture Morris O. Killough, an American Prisoner of War, by beating and kicking him; by fastening him on a stretcher and pouring water up his nostrils.

...That on or about 15 May, 1944, at Fukoka Prisoner of War Branch Camp Number 3, Kyushu, Japan, the accused Yukio Asano, did, willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture Thomas B. Armitage, William O Cash and Munroe Dave Woodall, American Prisoners of War by beating and kicking them, by forcing water into their mouths and noses; and by pressing lighted cigarettes against their bodies.

...That between 1 April, 1943 and 31 December, 1943, the accused Yukio Asano, did, willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture John Henry Burton, an American Prisoner of War, by beating him; and by fastening him head downward on a stretcher and forcing water into his nose.


Charge...That in or about August, 1943, the accused, Genji Mineno, together with other persons did, willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture George De Witt Stoddard and William O. Cash, American Prisoners of War, by strapping them to a stretcher and pouring water down their nostrils.

...That in or about 15 May, 1944, the accused, Genji Mineno, did, willfully and unlawfully, brutally mistreat and torture Thomas B. Armitage, William O. Cash, and Munroe Dave Woodall, American Prisoners of War, by beating and kicking them, by forcing water into their mouths and noses, and by pressing lighted cigarettes against their bodies. [<a href=""LINK</a>]

Now while you could claim that source is taken second hand, I can respond to that by noting that I took the quote and the link being quoted from a site that does not support my view on this -to the extent that I have even made my view known here which I have not. My underlying point all along is that this article is not demonstrating neutral point of view in treating on the issue fairly which means (by definition) not taking sides or appearing to take sides.

Now then, you claimed "Badagnani" that there are "no sources" which posit a difference in the methods that I claimed there was. But as noted above, the Japanese were pouring water into noses and throats of those so subjected to their method and according to the CIA's instruction manual, the CIA method did not do this. And whatever trick the CIA method plays on the body there is nonetheless no actual suffocation that takes place with the CIA method; ergo no "torture" takes place even by your own definition of that word. The same cannot be said for the method utilized by the Japanese during the war where water was poured into the nose and throat. Or other methods of waterboarding where the person's head is dunked in water.

In other words, arguments can be made that some uses of this method could constitute torture and others may well not. But then again, Matt Sanchez (aka "bluemarine") already said that this article "is taking sides in a controversial issue while simplifying the nuances of [the] issue." And while *you* may not like the CIA method "Badagnani" there is nonetheless a difference and a marked one that that and what I noted initially is not at all "immaterial to the article" but gets to the heart of the problem with not showing NPOV. Present both sides, present the nuances in the approaches accurately, and from there let people draw their own conclusions. But it is obvious with that stupid mention of "Santa Claus" among those who do not think this method is always and in every case a form of torture that we are not seeing NPOV in this article.ShawnM (talk) 20:42, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Comment - When the cellophane is placed over the face and water is poured on the face, the prisoner is suffocated ("suffocation" meaning that air is cut off, and breathing interrupted). Thus, your underlying assumption (that the U.S. practices a manner that is "less cruel," "less harsh," "better," "not as bad as the Japanese," "isn't really a form of torture like when those other, bad countries do it," "isn't suffocation," etc. is unsupported by the sources. Badagnani (talk) 21:11, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I checked under the assumption that my comment would not be left alone for long without comment by you and indeed that assumption was correct. Let us see if that assumption proves to be correct again.

All I am aware of with the way the cellophane is used is that it prevents water from getting into the nose and throat (the reaction created is psychological) but that does not mean that air is cut off from the person subjected to the method. You are the one that is merely asserting that it is. In fact, for all this talk about providing sources, I am the only one doing so among the two of us. And however you want to try and caricature my presumed "underlying assumption", as no one is actually drowned or in danger of being drowned by the US method (unlike with the other methods I mentioned), my source-substantiated assertion that there is a distinction with a key difference between the two stands.ShawnM (talk) 21:39, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, if "the gag reflex sets in" for whatever reason, the victim cannot breathe, i.e. is suffocated. Moreover, nobody, apart from you, claims that with the US technique no water enters the mouth or nose. Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, seems to think otherwise: "If I had water draining into my nose, oh God, I just can't imagine how painful! Whether it's torture by anybody else's definition, for me it would be torture."[83]--Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:52, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Note that he is 'imagining' the pain; his imagination may be more powerful than the practice. Which is one of the reasons to not talk about such things in public. htom (talk) 23:39, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Note i don't care about the mythical CIA "nice waterboarding", but if is going to be used as an argument the "method" is going to have to be examined. (Hypnosadist) 01:16, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
"No one seems to dispute at all that waterboarding is considered torture". Except for the government of the United States. Although this article attempts to be diverse and multi-cultural, no attempt is made to distinguish Cambodian waterboarding from any other type. What about dunking a common form of torture used in Europe? Is that waterboarding? if not than how do you justify the inclusion of the Spanish Inquisition rack? This articles is taking sides in a controversial issue while simplifying the nuances of that issue.
As for a "human rights group" Who the hell elected them and what jurisdiction do they have??Matt Sanchez (talk) 09:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
You appear to believe that the references here to the Spanish Inquisition are referring to their use of the rack, however, this belief is mistaken - the references here are to the Tormento di Toca, a form of waterboarding. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 15:55, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Note: I think Chris may have mean to write Tormento de Toca above. The BBC's Spanish-language news reports certainly seem to use this term as the direct Spanish translation of what their English-language reports call "waterboarding". [84] -- The Anome (talk) 13:32, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Sources that assert waterboarding is torture

From Innertia Tensor

  • 100 U.S. law professors. In April 2006, in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez., more than 100 U.S. law professors stated unequivocally that waterboarding is torture, and is a criminal felony punishable under the U.S. federal criminal code.
What do law professors know about waterboarding? And how are these "100 law professors" more valid than the 1000s who did NOT sign this statement? Did JAG officers sign it? Matt Sanchez (talk) 11:33, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not care about sources that do not exist, is why they are more important as sources than people who did not sign this statement. Lawrence Cohen 14:25, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
The defininition of torture is largely a legal one, on both the domestic and international levels. Therefore, I believe law professors' views are relevant. -Lciaccio (talk) 19:07, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
False and somewhat naive. The definition of torture is political. If the American government has not defined waterboarding as torture, what right does Wikipedia have to take that step?Matt Sanchez (talk) 08:55, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Completely wrong. Firstly, torture is defined by a physical process. Politicians try to hide the truth of torture for political reasons. Secondly, Wikipedia is not an organ of the US government. Thirdly, waterboarding has been defined as torture by medical practitoners, torturers, victims, law enforcement officers, and - yes - politicians including those of the US government and even - gasp - in a moment of enlightenment, the US government itself. docboat (talk) 09:04, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Well, the definition of torture we are concerned with is a linguistic issue. Legal definitions often try to clearly delineate semantic categories for purposes of clarity and consistency. Politics has nothing to do with the definition per se, although some people bend over backwards to avoid calling something by unpleasant terms. And it may be surprising to "NG", but the US government does not yet have the exclusive right to determine reality. I don't think they have an official position on gravity, and yet I dare to stay on Earth. And even if they ever claim it has been abolished, I will continue to attract other masses. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Please stay focussed. There is a legal definition of torture as applied under US and International law. Establishing whether waterboarding meets the legal requirements to fall under that definition evidently is a legal matter and not a political one. Of course, politics are relevant to why a straight forward determination is impossible without a very small group of individuals attempting to create a dispute. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 10:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
  • John McCain. According to Republican United States Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, waterboarding is "torture, no different than holding a pistol to his head and firing a blank" and can damage the subject's psyche "in ways that may never heal." - Torture's Terrible Toll, Newsweek, November 21, 2005. [85]
reiterated stance in youtube debate on November 28 - stating "I am astonished that you would think such a – such a torture would be inflicted on anyone in our — who we are held captive and anyone could believe that that's not torture. It's in violation of the Geneva Convention."
  • Lindsey Graham. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Judiciary Committee and a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves, said "I am convinced as an individual senator, as a military lawyer for 25 years, that waterboarding ... does violate the Geneva Convention, does violate our war crimes statute, and is clearly illegal." [2]
Comment: Graham did not say it was torture but rather "illegal"--Blue Tie (talk) 03:43, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Isn't he in the USNR? Not USAFR? Geo Swan (talk) 01:27, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  • U.S. Department of State. In its 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. Department of State formally recognizes "submersion of the head in water" as torture in its examination of Tunisia's poor human rights record, U.S. Department of State (2005). "Tunisia". Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. . (ED: There's more to waterboarding than that (dunking) - but it does also involve a form of submersion. Inertia Tensor (talk) 09:51, 26 November 2007 (UTC))
Comment: The US State Department was not talking about Waterboarding but submersion -- which is different.--Blue Tie (talk) 03:44, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
On two counts in plain English.
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control Inertia Tensor 09:06, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from— (C) the threat of imminent death Inertia Tensor 09:06, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Comment: This law does not mention waterboarding and it is disputed that waterboarding must produce those effects. Furthermore it permits some acts suffered incidental to lawful sanctions.
  • For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Comment: Jimmy Carter did not say that waterboarding was torture. --Blue Tie (talk) 03:48, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Mississippi Supreme Court. [86]In the case of Fisher v. State, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the murder conviction of an African-American because of the use of waterboarding. "The state offered . . . testimony of confessions made by the appellant, Fisher. . . [who], after the state had rested, introduced the sheriff, who testified that, he was sent for one night to come and receive a confession of the appellant in the jail; that he went there for that purpose; that when he reached the jail he found a number of parties in the jail; that they had the appellant down upon the floor, tied, and were administering the water cure, a specie of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country."
  • International Military Tribunal for the Far East. The Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Chapter 8

    The practice of torturing prisoners of war and civilian internees prevailed at practically all places occupied by Japanese troops, both in the occupied territories and in Japan. The Japanese indulged in this practice during the entire period of the Pacific War. Methods of torture were employed in all areas so uniformly as to indicate policy both in training and execution. Among these tortures were the water treatment, burning, electric shocks, the knee spread, suspension, kneeling on sharp instruments and flogging.

  • Evan J. Wallach, US Federal Judge [87] states that "we know that U.S. military tribunals and U.S. judges have examined certain types of water-based interrogation and found that they constituted torture."

Inertia Tensor (talk) 09:28, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

From Lawrence Cohen

  • Washington Post, Malcolm Wrightson Nance, a counterterrorism specialist who taught at the Navy's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE), said "As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening: I was being tortured.".
  • CBS News, Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA's executive director. "Its own State Department has labeled water boarding torture when it applies to other countries." - On Bush administration.
  • Public letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, "Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal." and "Waterboarding detainees amounts to illegal torture in all circumstances.". From Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter, United States Navy (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 2000-02; Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, United States Navy (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1997-2000; Major General John L. Fugh, United States Army (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Army, 1991-93; Brigadier General David M. Brahms, United States Marine Corps (Ret.) Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant, 1985-88.
  • Jewish human rights group, "Waterboarding -- an interrogation practice associated with the Spanish Inquisition and prosecuted under U.S. law as torture as much as a century ago -- is unquestionably torture."
  • Galloway, famous war correspondent, Bronze Medal winner in Vietnam, "Is waterboarding torture? The answer to all of these questions, put simply, is yes."
  • Mike Huckabee, Republican Presidential nominee, "He said the country should aggressively interrogate terrorism suspects and go after those who seek to do the country harm, but he objects to "violating our moral code" with torture. He said he believes waterboarding is torture."
I found these tonight. That's 15 notable views sourced. I think I can find more yet. This was just a casual and fairly lazy search. Lawrence Cohen 08:43, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Also from Hypnosadist, on these three. NYT, ABC News, BBC News. An ex-CIA interrogator is interviewed. Does not address questions of right or wrong, because the interview shows he believes the act of waterboarding is torture.

Now retired, Kiriakou, who declined to use the enhanced interrogation techniques, says he has come to believe that water boarding is torture but that perhaps the circumstances warranted it.
"Like a lot of Americans, I'm involved in this internal, intellectual battle with myself weighing the idea that waterboarding may be torture versus the quality of information that we often get after using the waterboarding technique," Kiriakou told ABC News. "And I struggle with it."

More sources yet on this. Lawrence Cohen 21:17, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

From Badagnani

  • The Washington Post (December 9, 2007): "Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history’s worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War."

Badagnani (talk) 03:57, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

From Akhilleus

Law review articles
  • Adeno Addis, "'Informal' Suspension of Normal Processes: the 'War on Terror' as an Autoimmunity Crisis," Boston University Law Review 87 (2007) 323ff.: "Although prohibited by the U.S. Army and likely illegal under detainee legislation, 'waterboarding,' the torture technique in which a prisoner is secured with his feet over his head while water is poured on a cloth covering his face, is reportedly still practiced." --Akhilleus (talk) 16:22, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • George J. Annas, "Human Rights Outlaws: Nuremberg, Geneva, and the Global War on Terror," Boston University Law Review 87 (2007) 427ff.: "One such memo was prepared for the CIA and is reported to authorize the 'use of some 20 interrogation practices,' including waterboarding, a torture technique in which people are made to believe they might drown." --Akhilleus (talk) 15:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • M. Cherif Bassiouni, "The Institutionalization of Torture under the Bush Administration," Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 37 (2006) 389ff.: "Among some examples that may illustrate what was deemed permissible and which were actually carried out are: forcing a father to watch the mock execution of his 14-year old son; placing a lit cigarette in the ear of a detainee to burn his eardrum; bathing a person's hand in alcohol and then lighting it on fire; shackling persons to the floor for 18-24 hours; shackling persons from the top of a door frame to dislocate the shoulders, and gagging persons in order to create the effect of drowning in one's own saliva; 'waterboarding,' which is placing a cloth on a person's head and dousing it with water to create the effect of drowning...These practices sanctioned by the Administration are exactly what Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention prohibits, and what the CAT drafters of Article 1 wanted to avoid. The Administration's legal advisors preposterously claimed that the infliction of severe pain and suffering, as defined in Article 1 of the CAT, '[M]ust be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death" in order to constitute torture.'" --Akhilleus (talk) 16:43, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Thomas F. Berndt & Alethea M. Huyser, "Student Note: Ghost Detainees: Does the Isolation and Interrogation of Detainees Violate Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions?" William Mitchell Law Review 33 (2007) 1739-1740: "Waterboarding is alleged to be the most extreme measure used by CIA interrogators. It is a technique in which the prisoner is "bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him." The effectiveness of the technique relies on creating in the mind of the detainee the feeling of drowning, essentially operating as a mock execution. Mental health professionals report mock executions to have significant mental effects on detainees. Mock executions have been cited by both domestic and international authorities as constituting torture."
  • Cristián Correa, "Waterboarding Prisoners and Justifying Torture: Lessons for the U.S. from the Chilean Experience," Human Rights Brief 14.2 (2007) 21-25: "Despite its recent prevalence in the Western news media, waterboarding, or 'the submarine' (as it is known in some Latin American countries), is anything but novel in the realm of torture. Waterboarding entails many different methods of torture, each using water to suffocate detainees and provoke the sensation of drowning. The effect results within a few seconds or minutes and leaves no external injuries, thereby eluding a definition of torture which requires proof of injury, bleeding, or other physical harm. Waterboarding has been designed to cause intense psychological pain while granting technical impunity to those administering the punishment." --Akhilleus (talk) 07:42, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Christian M. De Vos, "Mind the Gap: Purpose, Pain, and the Difference between Torture and Inhuman Treatment," Human Rights Brief 14 (2007) 4ff.: "Categorizing levels of ill-treatment and their respective criminality is a work of legal fiction that can confuse as often as it clarifies. For better or worse, these distinctions exist in law; however, if they are to serve any purpose, it should not be to permit states to evade criminal responsibility through artifice and technicality, the normative effect of which exceptionalizes torture when, in fact, it remains distressingly common. Indeed, it is a telling sign of our impoverished discourse on the subject that we are now left to wonder whether 'water-boarding' (or, in the more modest characterization of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, a 'dunk in the water') is perhaps not as bad as one might think." --Akhilleus (talk) 06:13, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Owen Fiss, "Law Is Everywhere," The Yale Law Journal 117 (2007) 260: "It suggested that two practices until then universally understood as torture - the use of scenarios designed to convince detainees that death is imminent, and use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce fear of suffocation ('water-boarding') - though forbidden 'as a matter of policy ... at this time,' nonetheless 'may be legally available.'" --Akhilleus (talk) 15:50, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Lisa Graves, "Ten Questions: Responses of Lisa Graves," William Mitchell Law Review 33 (2007) 1620: "The truth of our real policy is only amplified by the infamous Justice Department memos by John Yoo and (now judge) Jay Bybee asserting Geneva does not apply and construing 'torture' to allow numerous ineffective and appalling techniques that readers would rightly consider torture if imposed on them, such as waterboarding to near drowning, which passes Yoo-Bybee because the pain caused is not equivalent to organ failure. Although that part of the memo was withdrawn due to public outcry upon its discovery years after it was implemented, the Administration has refused to disavow the severely flawed underlying legal reasoning arguing for virtually unchecked power for the President." --Akhilleus (talk) 15:43, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Amos N. Guiora and Erin M. Page, "The Unholy Trinity: Intelligence, Interrogation, and Torture," Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 37 (2006) 427ff.: "Water-boarding, a Category III technique, induces the detainee to believe that death is imminent. This technique requires that the detainee be strapped or held down to induce the sensation of drowning as either water is repeatedly poured down the individual's throat or the head is immersed in water. Detainees who have experienced water-boarding have universally expressed an overwhelming fear because the method prevents breathing. Furthermore, according to some reports, a number of individuals have died as a result of water-boarding. There is little doubt that this technique represents torture,..." --Akhilleus (talk) 16:46, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Jonathan Hafetz, "Guantanamo and the 'Next Frontier' of Detainee Issues," Seton Hall Law Review 37 (2007) 700: "Meanwhile, the administration has held other prisoners at secret CIA-run detention centers, also known as 'black sites,' and subjected them to 'enhanced' interrogation techniques - the new euphemism for torture - including hypothermia, prolonged sleep deprivation, long time standing, and water-boarding, where the subject is made to feel he is being drowned." --Akhilleus (talk) 14:56, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Peter Jan Honigsberg, "Chasing 'Enemy Combatants' and Circumventing International Law: A License for Sanctioned Abuse," UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 12 (2007) 38: "In fact, Mohammed was presumably subject to the torture method known as water boarding." --Akhilleus (talk) 15:23, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Scott Horton, "Kriegsraison or military necessity? The Bush Administration's Wilhelmine Attitude towards the Conduct of War," Fordham International Law Journal 30 (2007) 576ff.: "A specific practice of torture identified and punished by the United States as early as 1902, was a device known as "waterboarding" in which a detainee was through various means made to sense that he was drowning." --Akhilleus (talk) 05:59, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seth F. Kreimer, "'Torture Lite,' 'Full Bodied' Torture, and the Insulation of Legal Conscience," Journal of National Security Law & Policy 1 (2005) 194-195: "At the same time, CIA operatives undertook what might be called 'full bodied' torture of suspected terrorists in secret locations, including denial of pain medication, beatings, sensory assaults, and "water boarding." --Akhilleus (talk) 06:21, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Christopher Kutz, "Torture, Necessity and Existential Politics," California Law Review 95 (2007) 235ff.: "The current administration of George W. Bush has decided not to pay those costs. Instead, it chooses to use coercive interrogation techniques that would conventionally be thought of as straightforwardly torturous, including water-boarding, false burial, "Palestinian hanging"...Insofar as the statutory definition of torture includes acts "specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering," which pain or suffering can result from "the threat of imminent death," orders to deploy waterboarding (which by design arouses a sensation of imminent death by drowning) would clearly have focused the minds of U.S. personnel on the consequences of the Torture statute." --Akhilleus (talk) 16:28, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • David Luban, "Liberalism, Torture, and the Ticking Bomb," Virginia Law Review 91 (2005) 1431: "And torture terrorizes. The body in pain winces; it trembles. The muscles themselves register fear. This is rooted in pain's biological function of impelling us in the most urgent way possible to escape from the source of pain - for that impulse is indistinguishable from panic. U.S. interrogators have reportedly used the technique of 'waterboarding' to break the will of detainees. Waterboarding involves immersing the victim's face in water or wrapping it in a wet towel to induce drowning sensations. As anyone who has ever come close to drowning or suffocating knows, the oxygen-starved brain sends panic signals that overwhelm everything else." --Akhilleus (talk) 15:40, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Jamie Meyerfield, "Playing by Our Own Rules: How U.S. Marginalization of International Human Rights Law Led to Torture," The Harvard Human Rights Journal 20 (2007) 89ff.: "The government, though it balks at the word "torture," has acknowledged the use of coercive methods. In a highly publicized speech on September 6, 2006, President Bush defended what he called 'an alternative set of procedures' used in a 'CIA program for questioning terrorists.' He refused to describe the authorized techniques, but several of them are common knowledge: waterboarding (or near-drowning),...Much of this abuse is rightly called torture...Several of the techniques--including sleep deprivation, forced standing, and waterboarding--are infamously associated with the Gestapo, Stalin's secret police, and the Inquisition...In State Department reports on other countries, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, forced standing, hypothermia, blindfolding, and deprivation of food and water are specifically referred to as torture." --Akhilleus (talk) 06:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Mary Ellen O'Connell, "Affirming the Ban on Harsh Interrogation," Ohio State Law Journal 66 (2005) 1231ff.: "Waterboarding involves tying someone to a board and dunking him underwater to the point he fears he will drown. It is plainly a form of torture." --Akhilleus (talk) 06:37, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Jordan J. Paust, "Above the Law: Unlawful Executive Authorizations Regarding Detainee Treatment, Secret Renditions, Domestic Spying, and Claims to Unchecked Executive Power," Utah Law Review (2007) 352-354: "Moreover, some CIA personnel have reported that approved Agency techniques include 'striking detainees in an effort to cause pain and fear,' 'the "cold cell"... [where d]etainees are held naked in a cell cooled to 50 degrees and periodically doused with cold water,' and '"waterboarding" ... [which produces] a terrifying fear of drowning,' each of which is manifestly illegal under the laws of war and human rights law and can result in criminal and civil sanctions for war crimes." --Akhilleus (talk) 15:37, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Note, this article is lengthy (pp. 345 - 419) and is available here, if anyone wants to read it. Jay*Jay (talk) 04:30, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Leonard S. Rubenstein, "First, Do No Harm: Health Professionals and Guantanamo," Seton Hall Law Review 37 (2007) 740: "According to the New York Times, psychologists also advised the CIA in devising its 'enhanced' interrogation techniques, including water-boarding, or feigned drowning. Indeed, because of their familiarity with, and authorization of, these forms of torture, it is entirely possible, even likely, that the participation of BSCT psychologists in the design of interrogation techniques significantly expanded the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in the interrogation of terror suspects and in the infliction of severe or serious mental harm."
  • Jon M. Van Dyke, "Promoting Accountability for Human Rights Abuses," Chapman Law Review 8 (2005) 153ff.: "To give just one of a number of possible examples, the United States has acknowledged utilizing the practice of 'water-boarding,' which involves strapping detainees to boards and immersing them in water to make them think they are drowning. This activity is clearly an example of 'torture' that violates the Torture Convention, but no one has been charged or prosecuted for authorizing or conducting this practice." --Akhilleus (talk) 16:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Evan Wallach, "Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Water Torture in U.S. Courts," Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 45 (2007) 468ff.: "'Water cure,' 'water torture,' 'water boarding.' Under whatever name, extreme interrogators have long prized the technique, which, unlike other interrogation methods, imposes severe mental trauma and physical pain but no traces of physical trauma that would be discoverable without an autopsy....Certainly, the United States has made it clear, in its courts, both civil and military, and before the national legislature, that water torture, by whatever name it is known, is indeed torture, that its infliction does indeed justify severe punishment, and that it is unacceptable conduct by a government or its representatives." --Akhilleus (talk) 05:41, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
articles in magazines and newspapers
  • New York Times. Rather than cite a specific article, I'll note that the NYT has a webpage where info about waterboarding is collected here. Notice that the Times has classified waterboarding as a topic within the general subject of torture--a directory line near the top of the page says "Times Topics > Subjects > T > Torture > Waterboarding". --Akhilleus (talk) 02:15, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Charles Krauthammer, "The Truth about Torture," The Weekly Standard, 12/05/2005, Volume 011, Issue 12: "Less hypothetically, there is waterboarding, a terrifying and deeply shocking torture technique in which the prisoner has his face exposed to water in a way that gives the feeling of drowning." --Akhilleus (talk) 18:01, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Darius Rejali, "Containing Torture: How torture begets even more torture," Slate, Oct. 27, 2006: "Which brings us to the most notorious torture: waterboarding, or choking someone in water. In 1968, a soldier in the 1st Cavalry Division was court-martialed for waterboarding a prisoner in Vietnam. In fact, the practice was identified as a crime as early as 1901, when the Army judge advocate general court-martialed Maj. Edwin Glenn of the 5th U.S. Infantry for waterboarding, a technique he did not hesitate to call torture." --Akhilleus (talk) 02:31, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • William Safire, "Waterboarding," New York Times, Mar. 9, 2008: "If the word torture, rooted in the Latin for 'twist,' means anything (and it means 'the deliberate infliction of excruciating physical or mental pain to punish or coerce'), then waterboarding is a means of torture. The predecessor terms for its various forms are water torture, water cure and water treatment." --Akhilleus (talk) 03:12, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Books and articles in books
  • Christopher Kutz, "The Lawyers Know Sin: Complicity in Torture," in Greenberg, ed. The Torture Debate in America (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 241: "The government lawyers who produced, reviewed, and apparently endorsed these memoranda, including lawyers at both the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, spent their creative energies shaping a policy whose aim and effect was to legitimate previously illegitimate forms of interrogation and captive treatment--forms ranging from the cruelty and degradation of forced nudity, sexual humiliation, sensory deprivation, and prolonged use of stress positions--to the clearly torturous, most notably including the practice of 'waterboarding,' wherein interrogees are submerged in cold water so as to create the impression of imminent suffocation."
  • Kutz (same article), p. 243: "Waterboarding clearly fits the statutory definition of torture, as possibly do techniques of profound humiliation, fear inducement, and physical stress, notwithstanding the memoranda's cramped argument that the later techniques would be merely cruel." --Akhilleus (talk) 06:30, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

From Hypnosadist

  • Gary Solis Adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center and former Marine Corps judge advocate and military judge. [88] "It remains amazing that, in 2007, any intelligent person can have any question that waterboarding constitutes torture, morally and ethically wrong, and contrary to U.S. law, U.S.-ratified multi-national treaties, and international criminal law."(Hypnosadist) 06:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Mike McConnell Director of National Intelligence [89] "Asked if waterboarding -- the practice of covering a person's face with a cloth and then dripping water on it to bring on a feeling of drowning -- fit that definition, McConnell said that for him personally, it would." (Hypnosadist) 06:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • This [90] report Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality by Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights First has a section on waterboarding and the long term effects of torture as well as the legal aspects of torture.
  • Reaffirmation of the American Psychological Association Position Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Its Application to Individuals Defined in the United States Code as “Enemy Combatants” [91]. (Hypnosadist) 10:10, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

From Edison

  • Attorney Andrew Williams, on resigning from Navy Judge Advocate General corps [92] (Knight Ridder pres wire service, Dec 27, 2007.) called it torture. Williams in his resignation letter said waterboarding was used as a form of torture by the Inquisition, and by the Gestapo and the Japanese Kempietai. He cites the post-WW2 conviction of Japanese Officer Yukio Asano for waterboarding resulting in a 15 year sentence. Edison (talk) 14:45, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The first Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, said ""There's just no doubt in my mind — under any set of rules — waterboarding is torture," in an interview with the Associated Press, and at a conference of the American Bar Association. He further said "One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture," ... "And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is — and will always be — torture. That's a simple statement." A week previous to the Ridge statement that waterboarding is torture, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnellsaid that he would considere waterboarding torture if it were used against him. Reproduced at [93]. Edison (talk) 02:48, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

From GregorB

  • American Civil Liberties Union press release: ACLU Outlines Ways Waterboarding has Already Been Declared Illegal by the Federal Government. Says that "American Civil Liberties Union presents indisputable evidence that waterboarding has been repeatedly classified as torture and is banned by U.S. law." Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office says: "it is hard to find a more clear-cut form of torture than waterboarding". Another text from ACLU, What is Waterboarding?, describes it as "a paradigmatic torture technique that has long been considered a war crime". GregorB (talk) 12:09, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Malcolm Nance, a "counter-terrorism and terrorism intelligence consultant for the U.S. government's Special Operations, Homeland Security, and Intelligence agencies": Waterboarding is Torture… Period. Nance has already been mentioned here as a source. In this article he makes three main points: 1) "Waterboarding is a torture technique. Period.", 2) "Waterboarding is not a simulation.", 3) "If you support the use of waterboarding on enemy captives, you support the use of that torture on any future American captives." Says also: "There is No Debate Except for Torture Apologists". GregorB (talk) 12:17, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
This is an interesting source as it can add the Pinochet regime to the Historical uses section, though i would like more sources on that if anyone has them. (Hypnosadist) 15:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Good point. There's also a HRW resource, Waterboarding through history that mentions Hissène Habré, former president of Chad, who was indicted in Belgium for torture. Although drawings are described as "waterboarding", they apparently represent water immersion and water cure. I'm not sure that there is a meaningful difference between those techniques, though. GregorB (talk) 20:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment. Given the number of sources in favor of this position, we should perhaps consider restricting ourselves only to people named Steve. GregorB (talk) 14:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

From Henrik

Navy Lt. Cmdr Charles Swift (ret.) is interviewed on MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast January 17, 2008, (available here) is quoted as saying the following

Plus we have reports, that are credible, that waterboarding, forced nudity, prolonged isolation, are what we are doing. We may parse it legally, they are not in Europe or Canada or Great Britain. They call it for what it is, torture. This debate, which for us, continues politically in Congress is over in Europe. It's over in Canada. We're losing it there, it's done."

henriktalk 19:33, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

A Navy Lt. Cmdr in his role as JAG is definitely an expert authority on whether waterboarding is or is not torture. A verifiable legal authority. Lawrence Cohen 20:15, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, just to make it clear for those who missed it while reading the article: He is retired from the US Navy and currently working as a law professor. henriktalk 20:33, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
A Navy Lt. Cmdr Jag who is speaking for JAG, may be a reliable source for JAG. However, if he is speaking for himself, he is only speaking for himself. Was the interview one in which he represented his views as those of the NAVY Jag or as his own? Or did he not say? If he did not say, we may not presume that he speaks for anyone other than himself. --Blue Tie (talk) 01:40, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
He's speaking for himself being a retired Jag, anyone going to call him anti-american? He can be added as yet another source. (Hypnosadist) 03:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Complete bullshit. We don't devalue sources in this way. Once your an expert, you're an expert, period, full stop. Lawrence Cohen 06:06, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

From neon white

  • Richard Armitage, 13th United States Deputy Secretary of State. Interviewed by By Matt Frei for the BBC in washington. He states that he was water-boarded in trainng and answers when questioned as follows "Of course water-boarding is torture," he said bluntly. "I can't believe we're even debating it. We shouldn't be doing that kind of stuff." --neonwhite user page talk 21:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)[94]
  • From the same article above an unnamed cambodian survivor of the Khmer Rouge describes it's use. --neonwhite user page talk 21:41, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews by James Carrol describes the 'toca' used by the spanish inquisition as torture. --neonwhite user page talk 21:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Vann Nath, cambodian painter and human rights activist, painted and published memoirs of the Tuol Sleng prison including depictions of water torture. --neonwhite user page talk 22:01, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Theodore Roosevelt, [95]
  • Henry Kamen The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. New Haven: Yale University Press (1998) [96]

From Ofus

" The United States has always repudiated waterboarding as a form of torture and prosecuted it as a war crime. The Judge Advocates General, the highest-ranking attorneys in each of the four military services, have stated unequivocally that waterboarding is illegal and violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Yet, despite the virtually unanimous consensus of legal scholars and the overwhelming weight of legal precedent that waterboarding is illegal, certain Justice Department officials, operating behind a veil of secrecy, concluded that the use of waterboarding is lawful." Ofus (talk) 12:02, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Sources that assert waterboarding is acceptable

Not exactly, but pretty close. See below. Remember (talk) 17:19, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
"..NEWSWEEK has learned that Yoo's August 2002 memo was prompted by CIA questions about what to do with a top Qaeda captive, Abu Zubaydah, who had turned uncooperative. And it was drafted after White House meetings convened by George W. Bush's chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales, along with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's counsel, who discussed specific interrogation techniques, says a source familiar with the discussions. Among the methods they found acceptable: "water-boarding," or dripping water into a wet cloth over a suspect's face, which can feel like drowning; and threatening to bring in more-brutal interrogators from other nations."Link to article.

Not Relevant - whether a form of torture is acceptable or not has more to do with the ethics of a government. This still does not deny that waterboarding is torture.Nospam150 (talk) 17:32, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Just about everyone on Fox News, including both the right and left pundits on The Beltway Boys. See, both sides agree. Obviously, it must be fair and balanced to say that people in the US believe it isn't torture it is torture it's acceptable if it gets results, whatever it's called. Thompsontough (talk) 05:09, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

If we cite McCain and Graham assertion that it is torture, shall we quote Dick Cheney and other politicial, Military, and intelligence officials who assert it is not? Ryratt (talk) 19:19, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

So far this is only a list of sources. So yes, if you can find unambiguous statements by Cheney or other notable sources, list them here. Of course weighting the sources is a separate process. But so far the "is not" side has been extremely weak in finding any sources, let alone sources of a comparable weight to peer-reviewed medical and law journal articles, explicit statements by law professors, and even JAGs, and actual legal decisions. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:49, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

The United States is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture. The main text of the Convention defines torture as follows:

For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. (emphasis added)

Under this definition, it is clear that waterboarding is torture if used on a detainee who does not know that they will not be allowed to drown. (By contrast, as used in training, it is not torture, since the trainee knows they will be rescued).

However, in signing the Convention Against Torture, the United States made some reservations. Among them was the following:

. . . the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality. (emphasis added)

Subject to this reservation, it is equally clear that waterboarding as it has been used on detainees is not torture. There is no severe physical pain; the severe anguish is mental. And the United States, in ratifying the convention, has said that it will only consider mental anguish to constitute torture if it is prolonged. Since KSM allegedly lasted about 2 minutes, and the others for less time, the mental suffering was not prolonged, so it was not torture. (talk) 14:43, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

  • 76.118 that is Andrew C. McCarthy's position and it is noted, dispite being based on his flawed (as in totally wrong) medical opinion. That is waterboarding does not cause severe physical pain when it does due to the oxygen deprivation (as noted in the many sources we have from people who have been waterboarded), and that short exposure to to torure does not cause long term harm (when it does and we have the medical evidence to say so). (Hypnosadist) 15:04, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • (ec)Some remarks: First, the convention explicitly defines the term "for the purposes of this Convention", not in general. Secondly, I will absolutely maintain that being slowly drowned - even if you know you will be rescued - is "severe physical suffering". Just try to dive 25 m without equipment. If you are reasonably fit, you will feel as if your lung is about to burst (if you are unreasonably fit, substitute 75 m ;-). There is nothing "mental" about this, it is simply the body telling you it wants oxygen. Of course, an additional mental component can make things worse - if at the end of the dive there is a swimmer above you (so you cannot immediately surface), you will very likely experience quite some mental anguish. Finally, if you look at the medical sources, it is very obvious that waterboarding can and does result in long-lasting mental trauma. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:33, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Sources that say it is unclear whether waterboarding is torture or not

Andrew C. McCarthy and Mary Jo White say it's not certain. Both are notable attorneys.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 17:48, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Please, again, quote where White says that? I don't see it. Lawrence Cohen 17:53, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
FOUND ACCEPTABLE is OBFUSCATION. That is a different question altogether. Is it acceptable to euthanize the whitehouse, probably these days; is it legal, no. Big difference. Therefore we do not do it. Inertia Tensor (talk) 20:32, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll repeat here for the sake of continuity: Although, as a civilized people, our immediate and commendable instinct is to declare waterboarding repugnant and unlawful, that answer is not necessarily correct in all circumstances. The operative legal language (both legislative and judicial) does not explicitly bar waterboarding or any other specific technique of interrogation. Instead, it bars methods that are considered to be "torture," "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" or that "shock the conscience."
And for those who doubt that the CIA would take this seriously, they've been known to rule against other important operations.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 19:38, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
This of course is nonsense. See above for links to articles that better explain why. In short, UNCAT does not specify which acts constitute torture, nevertheless you will have great difficulty explaining to a judge that pulling out fingernails and applying electricity to the genitals is not torture. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 15:56, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
And additionally, it would be a violation of WP:SYN for us to use this, in this way. Lawrence Cohen 15:58, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not completely sure which element of my post you're pointing to wrt WP:SYN. If you mean my link to the the "other important ops" then, sure, but I was only using that preemtively. There are those who aren't willing to accept that the CIA's lawyers are serious lawyers.
Or, were you referring to Nomen's reply to me? That does seem to be something akin to synthesis. After all, much of the "is-torture" POV rests upon a group aggreement about what opponents merely believe to be torture.
UNCAT provides an interesting item that says of the European court, "the use of the five techniques of sensory deprivation and even the beatings of prisoners are not torture." If it's possible that beatings aren't necessarily torture then who's to say that properly controlled waterboarding is? I'm not sure I understand that yet but it may be worth looking into.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 17:34, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I wasn't being clear. I'm basically saying, it's not our place to analyze whether it is or isn't torture, at all, ever. Wikipedia is a teritiary source, only. We aren't going to analyze and conceive of research over whether waterboarding is or isn't torture. We don't care. We only care what sources say. If the overwhelming weight of the sources say, "It's torture," we report as a fact in the article that its torture, full stop. If a minority fringe viewpoint exists that goes contrary to accepted society consensus, which says its not torture on that line, then we can report that, "But such-and-such person considers it not torture." If the weight of sources we reversed, the situation would be reversed, and we'd say "Its not torture, but such and such says it is." A good comparison might be articles on Intellegient design. They say that ID is not accepted as valid science (because its not, based on the overwhelming volume of sources) but the articles fairly make clear who considers it to be valid. That's all we can do. We will not under any circumstances advance a particular minority viewpoint or the viewpoint of any government over everything else in the article. Lawrence Cohen 17:43, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I think you just hit on why you have that wrong. For example, what you're saying would be perfectly true if the question was merely about whether it's intended for water to go into the lungs. It either does or it doesn't. The answer (which I won't argue here) should be an objective fact based on medical science and observation.
I don't see any of your sources that are factual like that. They are all opinions. Some are better than others, but they're still opinions. Add up all the opinions and then you might have a consensus of opinion but that doesn't make it into scientific truth. In fact, this is exactly why intelligent design meets the fringe category. Just imagine if somebody found 100 lawyers and politicians to assert that ID is valid science, and see how far that flies.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 18:52, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
That was a contrasting example, and nothing more. Irregardless of anything else, Wikipedia does not report anything that is not sourced, full stop. If all we have are opinions--which isn't the case, and false for you to say, as we also have court decisions listed here, then we go with the overwhelming weight of notable views and opinions. Please provide a weight of sources that indicate waterboarding is not torture, from reliable sources, or else we're just spinning in circles that won't change the fact that per policy we're only going to be saying "waterboarding is torture". I suspect some people have some sort of personal reasoning or external to Wikipedia reasons to want this, but that doesn't have any value for us and thankfully never will. Lawrence Cohen 19:01, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
When have I ever asked for something to be included that it not sourced? I've disputed the relevance of some sources we have here. I may have also disputed items or suggested a view without mentioning a source but I never thought about adding something for which a source couldn't conceivably be found.
I'm sorry if you have something that's not an opinion but I don't see it. As I understand it, court decisions are legal opinions. For example, the case for evolution lost in the Scopes Trial. That was merely a legal opinion. It didn't change the facts of the science of evolution.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 20:07, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
This entire runaway thread is based on a false premise, it is OBFUSCATION. Among the methods they found acceptable: "water-boarding,". There is a big difference between acceptable (in some cases) and is or is not torture. Some people are confusing the concepts of Waterboarding {is/is not} torture Vs Waterboarding {is/is not} okay under some circumstances. This confusion has been accidental in some cases, and very deliberate obfuscation in others (certain politicians).
There are some interesting points in all this text such touching on the fact that EUCOJ putting the brits use of sensory deprivation on Irish Republicans under "cruel and unusual" as opposed to "torture" however, there is nothing in all this block about a source saying waterboarding is not torture. This thread is as relevant to it's cat "Sources that say it is not torture" as the Uncylopedia entry I have below on Waterboarding in the Gaza Strip, or Santa. This is not a source, it is a debate over nothing. Inertia Tensor (talk) 20:26, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Ding! I've never once talked about whether it's acceptable, just whether it is/isn't torture based on the sources. And Randy, actually, I'm quite aware of what an opinion versus a fact is. However, unless you're prepared to counter every single source listed with evidence and analysis of why the views expressed are not valid for us to use to state that waterboarding is torture, there's nothing else to be done. It is not our decision. We can only report what sources say. If we have essentially one pundit/ex-United States prosecutor saying, "Waterboarding isn't torture," and volumes of other other sources and experts saying it is, where do you suspect that leaves us? Lawrence Cohen 20:32, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing with every source. I'm merely saying that every source appears to represent an opinion. (If I'm wrong then please point to one that isn't.) The cumulative weight of all these opinions doesn't turn them into a fact.
It would be factual to say something like "waterboarding is considered torture by most legal experts.". It is merely expressing an opinion to say "waterboarding is torture." That could even be a good opinion -- an opinion held for 500 years -- but it's still an opinion.
I suggest we look here for guidance: WP:NPOV#Let_the_facts_speak_for_themselves
-- Randy2063 (talk) 21:10, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment - It is also, then, by this reasoning, an opinion to state that macaroni is a type of noodle, or that Easter is a type of holiday. Again, you should probably try to change the title of Rack (torture) if you want to so radically redefine the term "torture" Badagnani (talk) 21:16, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
"Waterboarding is a type of controlled drowning, that has been long considered a form of torture by numerous experts." ? Lawrence Cohen 21:14, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's better. I wouldn't even argue if you used "most experts" but I would prefer we found another term for expert.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 22:08, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree. In place of expert, let's use people who know what they are talking about instead —Preceding unsigned comment added by Can Not (talkcontribs) 03:27, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
This is a SOURCES discussion on two VERY NARROW issues. Sources that say that WB (or a reasonably read torture definition that would cover it) IS, or IS NOT torture. Not a debate, Andrew C. McCarthy and Mary Jo White do not go there at all - they are seeking to cast possible doubt or questions on whether it is not torture - but nothing more. It's all part of the same deliberate US obfuscation tactics I mention above. Inertia Tensor (talk) 20:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Patrick Lee, "Interrogational Torture," The American Journal of Jurisprudence 51 (2006) 143n43: "Whether water-boarding is torture in the proper sense is not clear. It seems to be a very effective practice for obtaining desired information, but it does not seem to cause at least any long-lasting harm. One might at first think that it is an instance of mock execution, but it does not cause the detainee really to think that he will die. One might argue that it does not reduce the detainee to a 'dis-integrated' state, because the process seems to be effective so quickly. It seems to bring about in the individual an almost intolerable feeling of impending harm or even death. On the other hand, one might argue that being in such a state is being in a severely 'dis-integrated' state. If the first argument is correct then I think it is not torture and that it is (in some cases) morally permissible. If the second argument is correct, then it is torture and it is morally wrong. I am not sure which argument is correct." --Akhilleus (talk) 16:07, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Heather MacDonald, "How to Interrogate Terrorists," in Greenberg, ed. The Torture Debate in America (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 92: "Later, the CIA is said to have used 'water-boarding'--temporarily submerging a detainee in water to induce the sensation of drowning--on Khalid Sheik Mohammmad, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Water-boarding is the most extreme method the CIA has applied, according to a former Justice Department attorney, and arguably it crosses the line into torture." (This is in an article that generally defends the Bush administration's interrogation policies, so it's all the more notable that MacDonald is uneasy about waterboarding.) --Akhilleus (talk) 06:29, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Sources that assert waterboarding is not torture

Add sources here. —Ka-Ping Yee (talk) 03:45, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Glenn Beck and Joseph Farah, notable conservative pundits;[3] Congressman Ted Poe, a licensed attorney. (talk) 14:38, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Joseph Farah is widely considered an extremist. --neonwhite user page talk 21:31, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Do Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity count? Thompsontough (talk) 05:11, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Other comments

  • Uncyclopedia. Waterboarding is an extreme sport popular among surfers on Middle Eastern beaches. Only recommended for experienced wandsurfers, this sport requires a long, narrow, wedge-shaped board. Practitioners secure themselves to the waterboard and ride, face-down, on the slightest currents. The tide off the Gaza strip is perfect for this sport in summer. [[98]] Inertia Tensor (talk) 09:29, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Santa Claus. Though he has not stated it is not torture, there is no record anywhere of him saying waterboarding is torture, on monday, when the trees grow, or when the sun is low. We are still checking whether he said it at other times, and until we can confirm, we should not say waterboarding is torture. Inertia Tensor (talk) 10:05, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
    • It's not necessary to mock the process. I share your opinion that waterboarding is torture, but I think Lawrence is making sincere efforts to find a consensus and we should respect that. —Ka-Ping Yee (talk) 10:51, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
      • I believe this is not mocking the process, but (some of) its participants... What Lawrence is doing here is really exemplary. GregorB (talk) 10:16, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
        • Exactly. Anyway, if this gets resolved, I will be calling on all participants to push an RfA for Lawrence. Inertia Tensor (talk) 20:03, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
          • Actually, this arguement clearly deserves mocking. Simple logic leads to the direct conclusion that waterboarding is torture. Some group of people WHO ARE USING IT say its not torture. That reeks of bias. We can rely on the US government for laws, but we can't rely on them for facts.--Can Not (talk) 01:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
            • And a group who are not using it are saying that it is; more bias! Relying on the US (or any) government for facts is usually not indicated. htom (talk) 04:44, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't understand how it could not be torture. Even if it causes no "pain" in the traditional sense, if it is capable of making someone so physically uncomfortable that they will do something against their will, then what is it? It is also true that something like the forced Russian Roulette games in the Deer Hunter were not causing "pain" in the traditional sense, but would that not be considered torture? If the captured American soldiers were being waterboarded by Al-Qaeda, would that be okay? The intellectual dishonesty of not calling it torture astounds me (talk) 19:16, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

The lead

Okay, I'd like to pick up this hot potato, because I believe there's a rendering (horrible pun kind of intended, sorry) that hasn't been considered, that is more in line with WP:NPOV, and that will serve the reader better all-around. (If this has been considered, my apologies; there is a LOT of history to review, and I may have missed it.)

My reasoning is based on this foundational principle: Wikipedia is not, and should not strive to be, an authority on anything. If there is significant controversy, regardless of how small a minority is represented on one side, Wikipedia's role is clear: do not take sides, but rather provide tools to the reader to understand the sides of the controversy.

So what I would like to see is a lead of the following form. (I am not tied to the exact phrasing.)

Waterboarding is a controversial interrogation technique, classified as a form of torture by most medical and legal experts, that consists of immobilizing a person on their back with the head inclined downward (the Trendelenburg position), and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages.
<description of waterboarding>
<historical context>
Waterboarding is considered a form of torture unanimously by the medical community,[citation needed] and with near-unanimity by the legal community.[citation needed] Recent American employment of waterboarding has brought this classification under renewed scrutiny, and has caused controversy among American lawmakers and attorneys.

-Pete (talk) 19:15, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

There's one problem, in that "regardless of how small a minority is represented on one side" is not accurate to what we do at all. Go edit in that we never landed on the moon, that the US Government knew about the World Trade Center attacks, that the British Royal Family are reptilians, that the Earth may be flat, that abortion may be murder, and that global warming is widely considered "bunk", and see how long the edits stick. All of these positions likely have several thousand supporters at a minimum. Lawrence § t/e 19:21, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Lawrence, the point is, many viewers come to this article because of the controversy. It's not merely a small minority, it's a minority that's presently making a major push to push their POV into the mainstream. Ignoring that fact will not "make it go away;" one advantage of a "living encyclopedia" is that it's possible to present information in a way that takes note of the world it inhabits. This issue is in the news, in the U.S. and elsewhere, on a daily basis. Having the lead fail to acknowledge the very reason for this extensive coverage strikes me as a significant shortcoming. I am not contending that the article should give credence to the view that waterboarding is not torture, but rather that the lead should acknowledge and shed some light on the indisputable fact that there is significant questioning of that classification going on. It's not the size of the minority that matters; yes, it's a tiny minority; but when that tiny minority is in a massively influential political position, that makes its position pretty worthy of note. -Pete (talk) 19:46, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
This is not a news article. It has been stated many times that there is a only a tiny amount of sources representing a very narrow spectrum. This is still a fringe theory. It doesnt matter how loud the fringe shout. A fringe theory is one that departs significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view. It doesnt matter who it is and what their occupation is. I would highly recommend reading up on WP:NPOV policy and also WP:RECENTISM. Articles are written to be balanced, they are not based on how much the subject is in the news at the current time. --neonwhite user page talk 20:54, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Neon, I am well familiar with the policy and guideline you cite. The policy is what I believe requires a lead along the lines of what I wrote; I don't believe the guideline applies, and I am in complete agreement with you that WP is not to be confused with a news outlet. When the executive branch of one of the world's foremost and most assertive superpowers challenges the accepted definition, and faces repeated criticism from foreign and domestic entities for that position, that is a highly notable event in the story of waterboarding, worthy of being explored to some degree in the article's lead. The lead section may evolve a bit depending on what the event develops into, but that does not make this a news story. It is to be expected that an article on a certain topic would evolve a bit as the context evolves. -Pete (talk) 21:06, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
FYI, here's Conservapedia's lead for their waterboarding article (16:54, 11 March 2008):
Waterboarding is a controversial method of interrogation which simulates the sensation of drowning. Its use by American forces against terrorism suspects as controversial. Opponents of the practice call it "torture" and on this basis argue that it is illegal. Supporters of the practice acknowedge its coercive nature but say it is not torture and therefore not illegal.
Compare to the suggestion:
Waterboarding is a controversial interrogation technique, classified as a form of torture by most experts . . .
The Conservapedia lead (and entire Conservapedia article) make it appear that there are two equal and opposing opinions, as does the suggested revision. The body of repeatedly cited evidence clearly indicates that this is not the case. -- Quartermaster (talk) 21:11, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I adjusted my proposed lead to eliminate the misleading word "most." The important issue, I believe, is that the present version does not acknowledge the basic fact that it is by virtue of human judgment that waterboarding is considered torture. That a circle is round, or that a man walked on the moon, or that a tree fell in the forst are a priori truths that have nothing to do with human judgment; the fact that waterboarding is torture (which I don't dispute) has a different basis: the classification that humans give to it. The fact is under continuous questioning, which is one of the chief things that will bring readers to this article. To fail to acknowledge that insults the reader's intelligence.

There are essentially two things I proposed to fix this: (1) change the lead sentence, and (2) change the content of the lead section. Can I request that future commenters state specifically which they're commenting on? Thanks, -Pete (talk) 21:35, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose for the same reasons this was opposed three months ago, two months ago, and one month ago. Are people not reading the discussion archives? There are only four notable individuals (one actually not particularly notable) who have stated publicly their belief that this practice is not a form of torture. They are mentioned in the article. The practice is torture by definition, and their fringe point of view does not get to actually change the well-understood definition of this practice of suffocation of a bound, inclined prisoner by the use of water. Badagnani (talk) 21:44, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Not voting (WP:NPOV is non-negotiable, leave alone outrankable by a vote) – I do think Pete's approach has much to say for it. I don't think the conservapedia straw man argument has any merits. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:51, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't like Pete's approach for the first sentence. As Badagnani states, and as I've said in a post just above, we don't have evidence of prominent adherents saying that waterboarding isn't torture.
The Bush administration has never stated officially that they believe waterboarding isn't torture. The closest we get is Cheney's statement about a "dunk in the water." But the Attorney General's refusal to answer the question is more typical. I don't think the administration is seriously questioning whether waterboarding is torture; it's muddying the waters so that it won't have to acknowledge that the U.S. has tortured people in the recent past and reserves the right to do so in the future.
However, if even President Bush were to state clearly that he thinks waterboarding isn't torture, I would still oppose changing the lead sentence, because we have a huge number of sources, many of which are of high quality, that say that waterboarding is torture. NPOV requires us to report what the sources say, and thus NPOV requires us to say that waterboarding is torture.
As Pete points out, most readers will be coming to this article because of the current political controversy in the U.S., and the article needs to cover that. But one aspect of the controversy is that there isn't significant questioning of waterboarding's status as torture--at least, not outside the world of cable news and right-wing blogs. For instance, when I did a Lexis-Nexis search of legal review articles, I found not a single article that said that waterboarding isn't torture--I did find one that wasn't certain whether it was or not, but the argument that "maybe it is, maybe it isn't" is quite weak. As I've said before, I think an analogy here is global warming--among experts, there is near-unanimity that anthropogenic global warming is a reality, but because of political controversy and poor reporting in the media, many people believe that expert opinion is divided. With waterboarding, there is a robust consensus among experts (represented by the sources listed on this page, and more could be found) that it's torture, but because of political controversy, many people believe that its classification is under question. And yet so far I haven't found even a single prominent expert who will say that it's not torture.
I would be open to covering the U.S.' use of waterboarding and the ensuing political controversy in the lead, but I don't favor Pete's verison of the opening sentence. --Akhilleus (talk) 23:52, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Like I said, I'm not tied to the phrasing I used, but I do think there is need for some improvement. I think I have found the right word for my concern: I would like to see more transparency regarding why waterboarding is torture. No amount of parsing could change the fact that a circle is round, so such a claim would not need explanation in the circle article. But when numerous prominent people deny or simply decline to assert that waterboarding is torture, it becomes important to the introduction of the subject to expose why it is torture. In a transparent manner, not a blindly assertive statement. -Pete (talk) 00:54, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
This can easily become dangerously close to WP:OR. The normal way would be to cite reliable sources - e.g. the JAG letter, the Physicians report, and one of the many law journal articles, to give a good spread while avoiding to overdo things. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:05, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
If that were true -- and I don't think it is -- then the existing opening sentence itself, stating that waterboarding is torture, would itself be original research. If we cannot state why an assertion is true without conducting original research, then we cannot make the assertion. -Pete (talk) 19:27, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
No, not at all. We do have reliable sources that say that waterboarding is torture, and we do reflect those sources. If we want to explain why it is torture, we need to find reliable sources that give us this explanation - we cannot make one up ourselves (and I find it deeply depressing that there is a need to explain why the slow, deliberate suffocation of a helpless prisoner is torture). It's quite possible that several sources exist, but so far we have not looked at them with this intention. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:10, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
This [99] source is the most detailed medical discription of waterboarding as torture. Have a look in there and i'm sure you'll find info that would not be OR. (Hypnosadist) 20:12, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - See torture, as well as the sources linked at the top of this page. The suffocation of a bound, inclined prisoner on his or her back, by pouring water over his or her mouth and nose, is torture by definition (as acknowledged by the U.S. military, all branches of which court martial individuals who practice it). Those few American individuals equivocating on such a definition are likely doing so because they wish to avoid liability for having done it. Badagnani (talk) 01:04, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, Badagnani, I can see no liability for waterboarding that I would face. What if the prisoner is not suffocated, only tricked into the panic that suffocation would produce? htom (talk) 12:59, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Badagnani, I in no way dispute your point, but it has no bearing on mine. In fact, simply including what you say in the lead would address my concern completely (though it would likely bring up other concerns, I'm not saying it's a viable alternative.) -Pete (talk) 01:08, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - I think there are people here for changing the opening line as soon as someone gives us at least one credible MEDICAL source, that says water boarding IS NOT TORTURE. Legal sources do not count, and medical sources that say it may not be torture do not count. I am asking for just one source, thanks. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 20:52, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Legal sources do not count ... This confuses me. Does this imply that if there is one credible MEDICAL source that says waterboarding is not torture that that trumps the large body of legal opinion that waterboarding is torture (including the US Military itself and the precedent of legal prosecution for doing waterboarding)? I see both legal and medical opinion as being complementary. I am honestly getting confused at this turn towards examining medical definitions of torture. Truly, just confused. This isn't a challenge to your stance, rather, I think you're expressing the stance of others vis a vis medical vs. legal definitions. -- Quartermaster (talk) 00:39, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Legal sources don't actually need to have verifiable facts that waterboarding is/not torture. If for example if a country had a bill passed that stated waterboarding is offically not torture than legally its not torture. If you review the torture article all the points that discribe what torture is have a medical basis. Legal experts can't verify these medical characteristics of what torture is so I don't consider them WP:VERIFY. Also I don't consider legal experts to be WP:NPOV because the people in power of where the legal experts are weighting in about may be able to declare it is/isn't torture without any facts. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 16:26, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
WP:NPOV is a wikipedia policy that makes sure articles are written in a non-biased way. It doesn't apply to source articles because we do not edit those. --neonwhite user page talk 16:48, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
WP:RELIABLE is a wikipedia policy that requires us to use sources that back their argument with facts. In this case the facts would be medical evidence. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 16:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Or rather in my opinion, the only way to determine which sources are reliable are to examine the facts that are presented with the sources. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 16:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Give me a WP:RELIABLE source that says it may not be torture/is not torture and we can talk about changing the lead. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 16:40, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Firstly WP:RS is not a policy it is a guideline. The policy on sources is WP:V, it does not require 'sources that back their argument with facts'. Verifiability means that the info is cited from a reliable source. The reliability of a source is largely based on reputation for fact checking and accuracy within a publication. It certainly is not based on whether we think the source is correct or not. There are a handful of reliable sources that report that certain politians have stated views contrary to the mainstream status as torture, however they only represent a fringe view. --neonwhite user page talk 16:33, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
Neon thanks for the correction about WP:V. I think the policy is stupid, but I now understand why people were collection sources that say its torture to suport that it not torture is a fringe view. Can you point out which politians state against the mainsteam view, thanks. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 20:35, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Quartermaster, I just ment that there is no argument without a medical source that says it is not torture. All the legal experts that say waterboarding is torture is based on medical evidence. All the legal experts that says waterboarding may not be torture/is not torture, becasue they say so. This argument has been presented by several people. The torture debate is purley medical and not legal. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 16:31, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification of your point. I'm not sure I agree with it. The fact that the term torture occurs in so many legal documents (and we can debate about specific documents) indicates to me that there is an undeniable legal aspect to torture. Medical terms and definitions may come into play in a legal setting, but the legal setting would take precedence. Additionally, medical definitions are as fungible as legal definitions. Especially when you're talking about something like pain. A medical definition of torture that utilizes the term pain is a definition with inherent ambiguity. I can see that medical definitions of torture clarify the issue, but I don't think that such definitions are necessary and sufficient conditions to ignore the legal wangling. I'll state again that legal and medical issues appear to be intertwined when it comes to torture. -- Quartermaster (talk) 18:37, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
"I'll state again that legal and medical issues appear to be intertwined when it comes to torture" I agree, but medical opinion applies to all humans every where/when but legal opinion is tied to the laws of one place at a given time. So this is why i think medical sources should be given primacy. Also pain is not all that is mentioned, long term mental harm such as PTSD and hydrophobia has been studied and noted as an effect of waterboarding. (Hypnosadist) 14:22, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Policy says we represent all views with due weight. --neonwhite user page talk 14:34, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Too many people seem to be misunderstanding my concern. I will step back from this. I have repeatedly explained that I am in no way suggesting that waterboarding is not torture. My interpretation is that this topic is too sensitive in the wake of the recent disruptive edits, and that a kind of rigidity has set in that is not healthy to the development of the article. This is fine, I'm sure this will pass. I've cast my !vote opposing this article's promotion to FA. I still think it's a high quality article in many respects, but the present difficulty of good faith collaboration is holding this article back from presenting a suitable overview of the subject to the uninformed reader. Thanks Francis and Akhilleus for taking my comments in the spirit in which they were intended. -Pete (talk) 22:01, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Not neutral and adversarial

Who is responsible for complaints about neutrality? This is not correct or right and puts American lives and interests in danger. If USA government people are held liable for their actions, men women and children could DIE. Why am I not allowed to fix errors? This is a site hosted in the US, and needs to be held accountable for risking LIVES. What page here handles complaints to the Wikimedia people? I wish to notify State about this so they can follow up with the people who are legally responsible for this attack. (talk) 01:08, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

  • This is an encyclopedia, not a soapbox. --neonwhite user page talk 16:21, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The General Council of the Wikimedia foundation is Mike Godwin, here as User:Mikegodwin. For more contact information see [100]. Yes, I agree that waterboarding (as well as extralegal "rendition" or keeping prisoners without charge or legal council) puts American lives and interests in danger, due to the large amounts of hatred and ill will it generates, as well as by serving as an example to other countries in showing a general disdain for human rights and international law. However, issuing legal threats against Wikimedia is not going to help. We are doing the best for a neutral description of the issue anyways. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:17, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


My question is, if it's not interrogation, as consensus on this page seems to have decided, why would the CIA bother with it? I thought the purpose was to extract information, and even waterboardings fiercest critics have not, to my knowledge, alleged it was done just to be cruel and for no other reason. Right or wrong, wasn't it done to extract information, and doesn't that make it an interrogation technique? Thanks. Judgesurreal777 (talk) 23:25, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The CIA is not the only historical user of waterboarding. The Khmer Rouge used it to extract confessions, not information. In US prisons, similar techniques were used as punishment. Your question is akin to "if a hammer is not building material, why is the carpenter bothering with it?" Waterboarding is a form of torture, and it can be used for much the same purposes as other forms of torture - extortion, interrogation, intimidation, punishment. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:36, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Ahh, that makes sense. At minimum, I think the wording you had put up calling it a form of torture should be used as it is not always as you explained. Judgesurreal777 (talk) 23:46, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Read the torture article. For the most part the purpose of torture is to extract information. The other rare uses would be for the joy of torturing someone. But in general, torture is an interrogation technique. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 17:04, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually that is incorrect, as many sources have said, information gained from torture is inaccurate and largely worthless. It's purpose is always been largely political rather than for intelligence. --neonwhite user page talk 19:24, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with "information gained from torture is inaccurate and largely worthless". I never said it was an effective interrogation technique. But I still believe its mostly used to extract information. Forcing someone to say something true or not, accurate or not, is irrelevant this still makes it an interrogation technique . -CrazyivanMA (talk) 13:04, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
(EC) Well, information gained from a subject during torture should not be considered to be reliable. It can be evaluated, though, and may lead to useful information. However, other subjects may be more willing to disclose information if they know -- or imagine -- that one of their fellows has been tortured, or might be tortured. As well, after the torture, the subject may be more inclined to talk. Whether or not these subjects actually have information that is worthy of protecting is another question. Interrogation is primarily a mind game, only slightly a physical process. htom (talk) 20:59, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
When you state I still believe its mostly used to extract information I have to point out (as neutrally as possible and I don't always succeed but I'm trying) you are stating an assertion and an opinion. Mind you, that isn't a hanging offense, but in wikipedia land it should require some documentation and backup (i.e., stating why you believe it's mostly used to extract information - please share your sources that lead you to that conclusion). Should you find documentation to support your belief I urge you to bring it up for scrutiny herein. We could then discuss the authoritativeness and veracity of a specific cited source, rather than haggling over countering beliefs. I'll say that the STATED reason for torture (stated by the torturing authority) is ALWAYS for interrogation. To torture for any other reason would be redundantly cruel and inhumane. -- Quartermaster (talk) 21:13, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm lazy I don't want to look for documentation. I prefer to have people come up with documentation against what I say. For water boarding during the Spanish Inquisition, getting people to confess to their sins is extracting information, therefor an interrogation technique. Getting a political prisoner to lie on camera for proper gander purposes is still a form of extracting information, therefor an interrogation technique. Torturing someone as a punishment I would argue is corporal punishment. And torturing someone for shits and giggles is not using it as an interrogation technique. For based on these united facts I would say "I still believe its mostly used to extract information". It shouldn't be hard to find sources for these, I'm just don't see a necessity to cite sources people are aware are out there. I would only cite obscure sources needed to prove my point. -CrazyivanMA (talk) 13:04, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
The Spanish Inquisition, and most fascism regimes that have used it, did not use it primarily to gain information. The used it to create the climate of fear necessary to maintain their ideals. It was never used to interrogate. Propaganda is in no way related to military intelligence. --neonwhite user page talk 21:10, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

On this note, a section on the history of waterboarding as both interrogation and torture could be a very good idea. Given our absurdly massive pool of sources (I want to go through them again and sort them someday soon) we could easily get 1-3 paragraphs on this. Lawrence § t/e 21:14, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

It's highly implausible to suggest that the technique was not used for both purposes during both periods. Badagnani (talk) 21:17, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Yep. That's why I think a section like this could be quite an interesting and dynamic read, if put together. Lawrence § t/e 21:23, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Is/isn't torture?

The fact that there is even a discussion of whether it is or is not torture says that a truly neutral POV would not assert that it is. Maintaining a neutral tone is not about using resources as method to vote on what is true. If even one credible source says something is, it does not matter how many say it is not. Being neutral means you must accept all credible sources and write an article that either does not contradict any credible point of view or gives an unbiased appraisal of the varying points of view.

Asserting the waterboarding is torture in the opening paragraph asserts than any other POV is wrong, regardless of credibility. It is most certainly not neutral. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Termyt (talkcontribs) 19:36, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding (the suffocation of a bound, inclined prisoner by means of water) is torture by definition. Badagnani (talk) 19:46, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
See? My statement was not even about waterboarding at all. I can see by the long history that neutrality does not really matter as much as getting one's point across no matter the cost. If we want to talk about "by definition" then you are even further from neutral unless you can supply a complete, unabridged, and universally accepted definition of torture. Torture is a very old word that today is used more to invoke emotion than convey a definable concept. To apply waterboarding to it by definition is to allow any incarceration be defined as torture "by definition." Termyt (talk) 19:50, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Your statement was not about waterboarding? What was it about, then? I also don't see how you go from waterboarding (a torture technique used for centuries and considered as such or centuries) to "any form of incarceration". Anyways, while I agree with Badagnani on the definition issue, that is not what this article is based on. It is based on a huge number of reliable sources claiming so, and no single remotely comparable source denying it. If you can bring "even one credible source", we can start debating. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:04, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
(additional reply) There has been extensive discussions on this topic over several months, and the consensus view is that according to the sources that exists, the phrase "waterboarding is a form of torture" is an accurate assertion, supported by an overwhelming majority of sources. For further details on how this conclusion was reached, I refer you to the discussion archives. henriktalk 20:08, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Posting the content you did, on the discussion area of the Waterboarding article, and discussing the core issue discussed on this page for the past 6-7 months... it might be expected to assume you were talking about waterboarding, based on those factors. Lawrence § t/e 20:09, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I also took the phrase "Asserting the waterboarding is torture..." as a hint... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:20, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
It was not. It was about neutrality in an article about waterboarding. I said "asserting that it is" because that's what the article says. If the article said it was not, I would have said "asserting that it is not." I consider myself to be capable of writing what I mean, so please read my words instead of assuming my position. I agree that it is torture, but that's my opinion. I've read a lot of the discussion now and I see NPOV is whatever a majority of people think is NPOV. Sorry for the OP. Termyt (talk) 19:50, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

What next? (3-6 month view)

Might as well toss this out, as it's been fantastically quiet on this article for the most part since certain parties were asked politely to move on. Whats our next goal with this article? Babysit it? Build it up? Build it out laterally into some forked article? Rather than a big old dissertation from each of us on what we want and why, how about just a short summary of what each of us could want to see in the next 3-6 months here. I'll go first: Good Article status, to start. Lawrence § t/e 20:24, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I vote GA too. I would like to get it up to FA, but I am afraid that may still be impossible with such a hot button issue. Remember (talk) 20:37, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I think another go at FA status would be worth it. Raul654 (talk) 22:42, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Go for it, nice to see that something constructive is going on here, though the IPs are back again.Inertia Tensor (talk) 18:01, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
How about fixing the article first. Take out the redundant refs from the intro. Anything found there should also be found and elaborated upon in the body, which is where the references belong. Fix the references and use appropriate templates. Fix the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Balance the article; far too much discussion is centered around America and their sensibilities. Expand on tiny sections; two sentences does someone hardly any good. Remove unnecessary use of quote templates, and follow other style guidelines.
After that, I think it would be appropriate to consider GA. ~ UBeR (talk) 22:50, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Inclined vs. tilted - a trivial issue

User has replaced "inclined downward" with "tilted downward" (see revision comparison here) claiming the original phrasing is an "oxymoron" (which makes no sense to me). When I look up the word "inclined" I often find that "tilted" is a synonym. "Tilted" as an adjective often has "incline" as a synonym. Neither word indicates direction indicating to me that the additional adjective of "downward" in the original context is needed with both words to clarify the body's position. Any comments as to which word is more accurate or stylistically preferred? When I think of the head being "tilted" I picture it bent at the neck, whereas "inclined" would refer to the position of the entire body. Not worth going to war over this, but since my original reversion back to "inclined" was reverted by the same user, I thought it worth seeking comments. If you think this is too trivial, just don't comment - I'll leave "tilted" in the interim. -- Quartermaster (talk) 15:26, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding is torture intro and creation of FAQ on talk page

It appears that the lead will forever be brought up again and again. Because this seems to be a neverending issue, I was wondering whether we should do a FAQ at the top of this talk page so we can convey the current consensus and what is needed to change consensus. What do other people think? Remember (talk) 21:17, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I was just about to post something about a FAQ, as there seem to be a definite need. :-) In the middle of the arbitration case, one was started but it was unfortunately never finished.
What are your opinions on the current proposal at Talk:Waterboarding/FAQ? Once we're happy with the wording, it can be linked from the talk page. henriktalk 21:29, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I was thinking of putting the FAQ on the actual talk page itself and not just as a link (as is done on the Obama page Talk:Barack Obama. Any views on this?Remember (talk) 18:45, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
FAQ is a great idea, well done editors. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:09, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I would have no objections to using the same style as is used on the Obama page, it seems quite good. henriktalk 20:06, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Looks good. On a side note, gosh, this page got small. Lawrence § t/e 20:22, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
That's because that huge section listing all the sources regarding whether it was or was not tortured got removed, which leads to my next question. Should we put those sources back up on the talk page indefinitely or at least have a permanent link to those sources in the FAQ box?Remember (talk) 20:36, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I was thinking a subpage, like Talk:Waterboarding/Sources as a repository. Every time anything new gets posted (here or on the article), even if we don't use it in the article long term, we can create a sort of Waterboarding bibliography. No policies say we can't, and it will only be a benefit. Just a straight dump, even ("Here are 500 sources on waterboarding!"). We can always parse them out later and use them as needed. Lawrence § t/e 20:39, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I like it. Remember (talk) 20:41, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we shouldn't split up sources onto different pages but is the Waterboarding/Definition page the best page for this information. Alternatively we could always do something like List of sources discussing waterboarding as an article (but maybe it is not notable enough). Remember (talk) 20:41, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
How about we use definition as the final home (since so much is there) and we can use /sources as a workspace to dump found links into, until they can be sorted/parsed into definition? Sort of like this workspace I've been working off heavily this week for another article. Lawrence § t/e 20:50, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I think Talk:Waterboarding/Sources is a fine idea. To consolidate everything, we can grab all of the sources from Talk:Waterboarding/Definition and move them to the new subpage (and then archive Talk:Waterboarding/Definition). List of sources discussing waterboarding wouldn't pass an MfD, I think, so this list needs to remain in talk space. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:50, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't have any particular viewpoint towards waterboarding (yet), but this entry seems to carry an obvious bias. "Consensus view" is argumentum ad populum. I'm not understanding why it needs to be declared as torture--if it is really torture then the facts/arguments/history should speak for themselves, and users can come up with their own conclusions whether it is really or not. I find the neutrality highly suspect. Sugaki 05:28, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, "is a form of torture" is used on many other articles, for example these ones: Bastinado Strappado Music torture Dental torture Dunking and Denailing - that phrase is nothing unique to this article and seems to be fairly uncontroversial there. As for this article, the goal is to reflect the published views among relevant experts, and the vast majority of published opinions by medical, legal and military experts describe it as torture. There is a distinct lack of sources from qualified experts that claim the opposite. Do you have new sources that haven't been incorporated yet, if you do, we'd be happy to consider them. (here are most that have been found by the current set of editors) henriktalk 17:24, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

OK, I was bold and created the page Talk:Waterboarding/Sources so that we can have one definitive place where we keep all sources on how reliable sources categorize waterboarding as torture or not torture. Since Badagnani said that the definitions page held all of the definitive sources, I cut and pasted them from there. Remember (talk) 18:46, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Footnote addition

All, I added the following footnote at the begining after the word torture end of the first sentence so that people can easily locate all of the information on this topic if that is what they are looking for right at the beginning of their search. If people object to this addition, then I suggest the information simply be moved to the end of the sentence so that it can serve its function there. Nevertheless, I will concede to consensus if people don't want this. I just thought it would be helpful. Remember (talk) 21:08, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Revision - Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on their back with the head inclined downward (the Trendelenburg position), and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. [4]
  1. ^ Proper footnote
  2. ^ Lawmakers: Mukasey must reject "waterboarding", Reuters via Yahoo News, October 29, 2007
  3. ^ Farrar, Joseph (2008-01-01). "Waterboarding is not Torture". Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  4. ^ Waterboarding is considered to be torture by a wide range of authorities, including legal experts, politicians, war veterans, intelligence officials, military judges, and human rights organizations (See Classification as torture for more information). In the United States in recent years, arguments have been put forward that waterboarding might not be torture in all cases after it was revealed that this technique was used to interrogate suspects in relation to the war on terror (See Controversy over classification in the United States for more information). A list of all sources related to the classification of waterboarding as a form of torture has been created here.
I'm not too hot about the idea in general, as it gives too much weight to the US debate. But your version has problems beyond my basic dislike: It points back into talk space, which is not acceptable, and it contains the self-referential "Wikipedians have tried...". Just think about how you could source this statement from reliable sources... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
There is no way to source this statement from reliable sources because the part that I refer to on wikipedia is only on wikipedia. It is a table to try to provide a list of every source on the topic. But I will revise. Remember (talk) 21:40, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but "whoosh". If we cannot source it, we cannot include it in the article. The (annoying, impractical, ... I know) correct way is to reference the sources directly.--Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:03, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I am a bit confused about what "whoosh" means. I understand the rule that everything must be verifiable, but in this situation I am not stating a fact about waterboarding, I am telling people where to find further information in wikipedia about waterboarding. One does not need a source to say "see definition on wikitionary" and link to that. I am a bit confused regarding your position on this. Remember (talk) 22:10, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The whoosh part is about the sourcing. If we cannot source something, we cannot include it. I know that we have collected an impressive list of sources. But we cannot just dump them into the talk: space and point the reader there. Apart from problems with WP:OR (how can the reader know that we did a good job there?), it also is akin to breaking the fourth wall. Only the main space is the encyclopedia. Talk is a tool to help us build an encyclopedia by talking about the topics, but it can never be part of the encyclopedia proper. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:35, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
This part has been revised. As to the US weight part, I don't really see how it gives it too much weight since all it does is point people to where they can find the information in the article and does not take one side or the other.Remember (talk) 21:48, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that it elevates the short-term US debate to the same level as the centuries of unanimous expert opinion. It's a bit like including "but creationists disagree, see creation-evolution debate" to every date older than 10000 years ago. Again, this neutral statement does not take sides, but it elevates the small dissent out of proportion. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:03, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
How about I just move it to the end of the sentence that way it doesn't specifically footnote torture, but just shows people the support for the first sentence and where to find further information regarding the support. Just so you know I fully support the current consensus I just think that a first time reader would find a first reading of this article to be organized in an odd way. Remember (talk) 22:06, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I would suggest we wait a bit and see what other people think. It's time to go to bed in this part of the world, anyways... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:35, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

We can't link to a Talk page from a Wikipedia article. That's a bright line rule. Many sites mirror Wikipedia content, but they do not have access to the Talk namespace. One possibility would be to have a separate article on the controversy in the U.S. Otherwise, we just have to include the sources in the article, as we did before.--agr (talk) 22:38, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Fair enough. I will remove that portion. Remember (talk) 22:59, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Indexing the archives

If someone has some time on their hands they might want to index the rather substantial archives using User:HBC Archive Indexerbot.--Cdogsimmons (talk) 03:29, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

If I knew how to do that, I certainly would. Quick off-topic note: I just spent a couple hours reading through the archives, and I have to say, I'm amazed at the doggedness of the crew on top of this article, particularly Badagnani, t, henrik, user:Neon white and --Akhilleus. I don't mean to leave anyone out, those are just the ones that stood out fighting off the hordes of sockpuppets and so forth. I thought y'all could use some props for that--I bet it's gets pretty dark in the trenches sometimes.Russell Abbott (talk) 09:28, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. ;) - t § t/e

New article discussing etymology

See [101]. It claims that the single word form ("waterboarding," as opposed to "water boarding") was coined by Alan Dershowitz. Badagnani (talk) 04:51, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Great article, with lots of sources, could be the basis of an etymology section. (Hypnosadist) 12:54, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think an etymology section is needed as the origin of the word seems to be known, recent, undisputed, and claimed by the author. An etymology section is useful if there are several theories as to a word origin. The first sentence of this article might read: Waterboarding is a euphemism for water torture the authorship of which is claimed by Alan Dershowitz[1] I personally think most of this article should be in the Water torture article, with an explanation of the term waterboarding embeded in it. Perhaps a section of the water torture article could be titled 'euphemisms for watertorture'.Geo8rge (talk) 12:09, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. I think a short etymology section would be most useful.Remember (talk) 17:01, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Waterboarding is a euphemism for water torture the authorship of which is claimed by Alan Dershowitz. What more is needed than one sentence. Since Dershowitz claims he coined the term I suggest it should be the first sentence. BTW, what was this called before the Global War on Terror?Geo8rge (talk) 22:41, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

There's obviously quite a bit more about the history of the term, and the move between older terms, the term with a space, and the term as a single word, in the article, as you can read. Have you read it straight through? Badagnani (talk) 22:51, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

I've added a section on the etymology of the term based on these articles. The references still need to be cleaned up so if someone could do that, it would be helpful. Let me know what people think. Remember (talk) 13:13, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

New article on Hitchens undergoing waterboarding

Vanity Fair has a new article by Christopher Hitchens where he undergoes waterboarding and comments on it. article here. Might have some useful stuff in there. Remember (talk) 16:50, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Something that stands out immediately is that Hitchens had to sign a waiver which read in part:
“Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.
That meets the definition of torture in the Bybee memo, doesn't it? --Akhilleus (talk) 16:54, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

But he also writes:

Maybe I am being premature in phrasing it thus. Among the veterans there are at least two views on all this, which means in practice that there are two opinions on whether or not “waterboarding” constitutes torture. I have had some extremely serious conversations on the topic, with two groups of highly decent and serious men, and I think that both cases have to be stated at their strongest.

The team who agreed to give me a hard time in the woods of North Carolina belong to a highly honorable group. This group regards itself as out on the front line in defense of a society that is too spoiled and too ungrateful to appreciate those solid, underpaid volunteers who guard us while we sleep. These heroes stay on the ramparts at all hours and in all weather, and if they make a mistake they may be arraigned in order to scratch some domestic political itch. Faced with appalling enemies who make horror videos of torture and beheadings, they feel that they are the ones who confront denunciation in our press, and possible prosecution. As they have just tried to demonstrate to me, a man who has been waterboarded may well emerge from the experience a bit shaky, but he is in a mood to surrender the relevant information and is unmarked and undamaged and indeed ready for another bout in quite a short time. When contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay. No thumbscrew, no pincers, no electrodes, no rack. Can one say this of those who have been captured by the tormentors and murderers of (say) Daniel Pearl? On this analysis, any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down. I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint.

(bolding added) htom (talk) 17:47, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

  • What he is trying to say is that "those who defend civilization" by definition are incapable of torture -it's what makes them the "good guys"- whereas "those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out" by definition engage in torture. The real question of course is would the US find it acceptable if US soldiers were "entertained" in this manner? Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 20:26, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

And he also writes (Remember (talk) 20:30, 2 July 2008 (UTC)):

Steeling myself to remember what it had been like last time, and to learn from the previous panic attack, I fought down the first, and some of the second, wave of nausea and terror but soon found that I was an abject prisoner of my gag reflex. The interrogators would hardly have had time to ask me any questions, and I knew that I would quite readily have agreed to supply any answer. I still feel ashamed when I think about it. Also, in case it’s of interest, I have since woken up trying to push the bedcovers off my face, and if I do anything that makes me short of breath I find myself clawing at the air with a horrible sensation of smothering and claustrophobia. No doubt this will pass. As if detecting my misery and shame, one of my interrogators comfortingly said, “Any time is a long time when you’re breathing water.” I could have hugged him for saying so, and just then I was hit with a ghastly sense of the sadomasochistic dimension that underlies the relationship between the torturer and the tortured. I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

Please do not misrepresent the source. In the foreplay comment, Hitchens is summarizing one of two viewpoints held by his friends. He also writes in his own voice in the article. Please clearly distinguish between summaries of others' viewpoints as presented by Hitchens, and Hitchens' own opinions, in all future comments, thanks. Badagnani (talk) 23:05, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Please do not mis-characterize the extended quote by claiming that it misrepresents the author's opinion. The quotation clearly shows that he is, in the quotation, presenting one side of a multi-sided complex issue, and that he wants that side (mostly ignored in the Wikipedia article) clearly understood. Note, too, that the initial reference was only interested in using the article to continue the one-sided presentation which Hitchens rejects. htom (talk) 16:33, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I am confused. Is there something you want added to this article based on the Hitchens piece? Remember (talk) 17:19, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Me? Change the article? Been there, ..., ArbCom Case. No thanks. htom (talk) 17:46, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm not saying you actually have to change the article, I'm saying I don't know what you want added or the point you are trying to make with the previous excerpt. You can certainly voice your opinion on the talk page without fear of any action. So what changes would you make if you could? Remember (talk) 18:02, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
There is an established consensus that "waterboarding is torture" and any statement other than that, or questioning that tautology, must be rejected. I am merely pointing out that this is another example where an article was being used to add to the "is torture" side, while the article's coverage of the dispute was ignored. You may wish to have discussion here before making changes that challenge the tautology. htom (talk) 18:16, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Am I incorrect in stating that had Hitchens actually stated that, following his session, he believed waterboarding to not be a form of torture, we would, due to our preexisting bias, work to exclude mention of this article in our article? This is a ridiculous presumption, and I urge you to cleanse your mind of such an idea. Hitchens, in the quote you carefully selected, yet for which you failed to provide context, was summarizing one point of view held by friends with which he had had discussed the subject. We don't know who they are. However, Hitchens did undergo the process and stated that he believes it to be a form of torture. If you'd like to add sources by notable individuals who state that it is not a form of torture, find such sources; we cannot add them if they do not exist. We do have, in the article, the opinions of several U.S. individuals who have publicly stated their belief that waterboarding is not a form of torture. Why do you claim that such opinions are excluded from our article, when, in fact, they are in the article? Badagnani (talk) 18:31, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Because they used to be rigorously excluded, and I have not followed every change; why would I bother? The consensus was clearly established, and there's still no mention of the dispute in the lead. I was pointing out that (at least in my eyes, as usual) an article that mentions the dispute was being used as evidence for the "is torture" side of the argument. Some (not all) of the more than a hundred sources that were counted at one time as being "is torture" also had discussion of the dispute, but those establishing the consensus couldn't see that, then. Lack of context? Did you not read the paragraph that I quoted, or did you not comprehend that it was context that I included for the bolded sentence? You do seem to be able to paraphrase it, but not recognize that it's there! htom (talk) 18:53, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm taking this page off my watch list, at least temporarily; the topic and memories rile my temper too much. My apologies to anyone offended by my posts in this section. htom (talk) 18:58, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Trendelenburg position

I've removed reference to "Trendelenburg position" from the intro. It is out of context: Trendelenburg position is not a general name for the human position in which the head is declined downward - it is a term that only makes sense in the context of medical treatment. GregorB (talk) 20:40, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Good article - to do list

After looking at the article, I think it's on its way to becoming a GA and then perhaps FA. What do others think? Does anything else need to be done for it to reach GA status? Remember (talk) 12:42, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I have no definite answer but you may wish to read the archive of its previous failed attempt at getting listed status. I looked at some of the article last night and was impressed by what I read but I haven't looked at the whole thing and I don't feel the inclination right now, perhaps later. --bodnotbod (talk) 13:10, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I suggested this not long ago but it hasn't happened yet. Why not start a things to do list? Also, people here could have a look at some articles currently going through FA review. If anyone has an opinion on the best photo for the lead of Solar energy their input would be much appreciated at the mediation. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:40, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
With your suggestion in mind I changed the header and have put the to do list below. Remember (talk) 14:36, 10 July 2008 (UTC)


Any suggested improvements would be welcome. Remember (talk) 14:36, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Make sure all citations are in the correct format
  •  ???

Safire mentions "Chinese water board" (1991)

I believe the term "Chinese water board," mentioned by William Safire here, should be added to the etymology/history section, as it seems part of the history of the current (single-word) term. Badagnani (talk) 13:54, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Waterboarding is a form of torture...

Come on! How much more POV can you get? That is an opinion and not a fact.--Murphoid (talk) 23:00, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

There have been epic discussions and an ArbCom case. Read the FAQ that will lead you to Talk:Waterboarding/Sources, where hundreds of reliable sources attest the fact that waterboarding is torture. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:12, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Ashcroft testimony

We should incorporate this information to the article and add it to the source list. During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee today, former Attorney General John Ashcroft said:

REP. MAXINE WATERS: Do you think that if these techniques were used on American soldiers that they would be totally unacceptable and even criminal? […]
ASHCROFT: My job, as Attorney General, was to try and elicit from the experts and the best people in the Department definitions that comported with the statues enacted by the Congress and the Constitution of the United States. And those statutes have consistently been interpreted so as to say, by the definitions that, waterboarding, as described in the CIA’s request, is not torture.

From [102]. Remember (talk) 15:50, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Very interesting, but i'm not sure as to the source (i don't think its wrong but it is a clearly politically biased site) is there an american equivolent of Hansard we could use? (Hypnosadist) 00:14, 19 July 2008 (UTC)


This edit, made without prior discussion, is incorrect, as I think we've determined that a board is not always used; a gurney or other device that is not made of wood may be used, and in some cases (as in the outdoor version seen in the Vietnam War photo) no board is used. Please discuss this edit, which seems to have involved adding a footnote that is cobbled from the editor's memory rather than from an actual source, before implementing it, thanks. Badagnani (talk) 18:40, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I made that edit, and I made it because there is no reference to the fact that waterboarding does not actually put the victim at risk of drowning. For types of torture that involve the risk of drowning, perhaps an article like water torture should be used. Specifically, waterboarding is used in situations where it's not acceptable to put the target at risk of drowning, hence the use of a board or flat object to incline the subject to prevent water from filling their lungs. If you want to fret endlessly about whether or not the "board" is made of wood or not, maybe you are missing the whole point of the article. A board for this purpose can be made of many substances including but not limited to wood, gurneys, metal, plastic, etc. But to remove or contest the edit simply because not all waterboarding is done with a wooden board is... um... idiotic and missing the point. Dragonnas (talk) 21:52, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
@ Dragonnas: I'm afraid your fact is less than a fact. I would refer you to the testimony of pro-Iraq invasion enthusiast Christopher Hitchens, which recently received global publicity. His first response when interviewed after two stints of waterboarding, each lasting seconds, was that "it doesn't simulate drowning; it is actual drowning." The links are at the bottom of the article, but here they are again: Vanity Fair video of waterboarding, July 2008 and "Believe Me, It’s Torture" Vanity Fair, August 2008 Watch the video & see for yourself. Regards Wingspeed (talk) 23:17, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

UK believes it is torture

The Human Rights Annual Report 2007 released Sunday by the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee states that "the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the Government does not rely on such assurances in the future."[103][104] Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 19:41, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

It's also on the BBC website.[105]. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:27, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


Why is there so much consideration to what the US Government thinks? The vast majority of right-thinking people the world over consider waterboarding to be torture.

The US uses this form of torture, and then denies it is torture, so now encyclopedias have to pretend that it isn't torture either? I guess the next step is for the US to start shooting prisoners in the back of the head and deny it is execution, so encyclopedias the world over have to redefine "execution" in all of their articles.

If the Government of Sierra Leone says that Aids is not an epidemic, does Wikipedia then have to change its Aids article?

It's just ridiculous to give so much weight to the Government of just one of the world's 220 + nations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:43, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

People from the John Birch Society believe it is torture

"Waterboarding" Is Torture to Everybody Else in the World. There's more in the "Related Content" bar. GregorB (talk) 22:52, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Not what you would call a left wing group, how much of paleo-conservative thought do this group represent? (Hypnosadist) 03:13, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Exactly, not a left wing group by any stretch of imagination, and that's why it may be interesting. Right wing criticizes WB as torture too, unlike what some have argued here. JBS people generally don't like Bush and neocons, which makes them close to paleo-conservatives - but it's hard to say to what extent. GregorB (talk) 10:43, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

NPOV challenge

Classification as torture Waterboarding is considered to be torture by a wide range of authorities, including legal experts,[5][8][30] politicians, war veterans,[9][10] intelligence officials,[31] military judges,[12] and human rights organizations.[13][14] David Miliband, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary described it as torture on 2008-07-19, and stated "the UK unreservedly condemns the use of torture."[32] Arguments have been put forward that it might not be torture in all cases, or that they are uncertain.[33][34][35][36] The U.S. State Department has recognized that other techniques that involve submersion of the head of the subject during interrogation would qualify as torture.[37]

The United Nations' Report of the Committee Against Torture: Thirty-fifth Session of November 2006, stated that state parties should rescind any interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, that constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.[38]

Is there no debate that waterboarding is torture? If there is no debate, why are those engaged in it not indicted and still involved? Why have cases brought in court failed? If there exists a debate, why is it not fairly represented above? I challenge this section as a wp:npov violation. Is there consensus that this section is without NPOV balance? Raggz (talk) 01:09, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

We've discussed this quite a bit. There have indeed been only a handful of notable individuals who have expressed an opinion that waterboarding is not a form of torture, most of these being Republican politicians or talk show hosts from the United States. Please see Talk:Waterboarding/Definition for the actual sources. Badagnani (talk) 01:12, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Read the FAQ at the top of this page. (Hypnosadist) 01:13, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
The US federal judiciary has not held waterboarding to be torture. The UN Security Council has jurisdiction for this question, and has not held waterboarding to be torture. There is no other judicial tribunal with jurisdiction. Why are the cases that were brought and failed not there? Raggz (talk) 05:48, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
President Theodore Roosevelt said it was torture and had a Major sentanced to 10 years hard labour for the crime, as Stephan says below the Bush Administration has used state secrets privilege to block any court cases on this matter. As for the UN the The United Nations' Report of the Committee Against Torture says waterboarding is torture, the UN Security council could bring a resolution calling for Sanctions or whatever against the US, but the US would just use its Veto (like it does to protect Isreal) so no-one bothers. (Hypnosadist) 23:48, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
International treaties, which prohibit the suffocation of a bound, inclined prisoner with water, are the "supreme law of the land," and it's fairly clear that the nation that insists on using it (the U.S.) will make whatever legal "end runs" necessary to keep doing it, and to avoid prosecution by claiming the U.S. practices a "less cruel" version, only on bad people, etc. However, the U.S. hasn't claimed it's not torture (in fact, only a few politicians and media figures have). Again, please read the FAQ and archives. Badagnani (talk) 05:56, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Moreover, AFAIK all existing legal opinions have all held waterboarding to be illegal. There are no recent legal decisions on this because it mostly happens in extralegal (or claimed extralegal) situations - for a well-known similar example see the Khalid El-Masri case, which was ultimately rejected not because there was any doubt about his illegal kidnapping and abuse, but due to the state secrets privilege. Moreover, this is not primarily a legal, but a semantic question. Court decisions are interesting evidence for a claim, but the absence is rarely evidence against something - there is no such decision about the composition of the moon, and still, it's not green cheese. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 06:20, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
International treaties are not the supreme law of the land. in the US it goes US Constitution, US laws, then US treaties. I think that what is in question is whether the legal definition of torture in the US includes water boarding. I don't see a problem with the article, except it does not give the claims made by those thinking it not torture. those claims are that it is not physically harmful, at least when done certain ways. Rds865 (talk) 22:15, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
"I think that what is in question is whether the legal definition of torture in the US includes water boarding." It is torture under US law and many legal cases have resulted in convictions against american military and cops. The current US Admin is claiming the US Constitution does not apply in Gitmo because its part of Cuba, therefore it is ok to use torture there.
"except it does not give the claims made by those thinking it not torture." Yes it does including Andrew C. McCarthy.
"those claims are that it is not physically harmful, at least when done certain ways." There are no RS's that say it can be done safely, just that some times the victim gets lucky and has no long term injuries. (Hypnosadist) 00:23, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - Whatever sources you feel would be good to include, please share them here. The article does certainly represent the views of individuals who have publicly stated their belief that waterboarding is not a form of torture. Badagnani (talk) 22:20, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
"If done certain ways", neither are electroshocks, beating, sleep deprivation, mock executions, or Bonnie Tyler. As for the supreme law, the US constitution disagrees. From Article Six of the United States Constitution: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; (emphasis mine). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:45, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
President Theodore Roosevelt said it was torture and had a Major sentanced to 10 years hard labour for the crime... Was the proceedure then regularly administered to the US Army, as it is now? (This is the Geneva Conventions test). Was it medically supervised? If so, you have a point. (There were convictions in Vietnam as well).
a"s Stephan says below the Bush Administration has used state secrets privilege to block any court cases on this matter." Since this is not true, why say it? There have been many court cases on this topic. Raggz (talk) 08:24, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
As for the UN the The United Nations' Report of the Committee Against Torture says waterboarding is torture, the UN Security council could bring a resolution calling for Sanctions or whatever against the US, but the US would just use its Veto (like it does to protect Isreal) so no-one bothers. (Hypnosadist) 23:48, 11 September 2008 (UTC)'' The Committee Against Torture has no authority whatever to make any finding of fact in regard to torture (want a cite?). The UNSC has this sole authority under the UN Charter. Did the US use it's veto? No. The General Assembly didn't support this claim and did not forward it on. I'm pretty sure that the High Commissioner didn't even bring it to the GA. The Committee Against Torture just ruled that only ordained clergy may discuss religion and human rights - that you may not. Do you support that as well? Raggz (talk) 08:24, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
"The Committee Against Torture has no authority whatever to make any finding of fact in regard to torture (want a cite?)." YES. (Hypnosadist) 20:18, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
"Did the US use it's veto? No." Because it has the veto it very rarely has to use it, the one exception is Isreal were the Muslim nations are quite happy to waste UN time writing and passing resolutions so America has to use its Veto and the muslim countries placate the "arab street"/proles for a few days, keeping the most important thing their power. (Hypnosadist) 20:24, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
"The Committee Against Torture just ruled that only ordained clergy may discuss religion and human rights - that you may not." So the F--- what? this has NOTHING to do with this article, stop wasteing my time. (Hypnosadist) 20:27, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Moreover, AFAIK all existing legal opinions have all held waterboarding to be illegal. There are no recent legal decisions on this because it mostly happens in extralegal (or claimed extralegal) situations - for a well-known similar example see the Khalid El-Masri case, which was ultimately rejected not because there was any doubt about his illegal kidnapping and abuse, but due to the state secrets privilege. Moreover, this is not primarily a legal, but a semantic question. Court decisions are interesting evidence for a claim, but the absence is rarely evidence against something - there is no such decision about the composition of the moon, and still, it's not green cheese. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 06:20, 11 September 2008 (UTC) You may be convinced, but you still need to comply with [[wp:npov}. Back to this topic, does anyone claim that the Lead meets NPOV standards? What legal tribunal has held US waterboarding illegal? If not a tribunal with jurisdiction, it is a SYN policy violation to suggest that the US practice is illegal. Is there one reliable legal decision applicable to the US - or not? If there is, why not include it? Raggz (talk) 08:29, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Umm...our lede does not claim that waterboarding -the US version or any other - is illegal. We discuss the question in Waterboarding#Legality. We do state that waterboarding is torture, and have a large number of reliable sources for that. Of course the conclusion that it is indeed illegal is as incontrovertible as geometry to any enlightened community of minds, and the fact that a major democratic government not only avoids prosecuting it, but actively defends it application, is a insult to the world (with apologies to Spencer Tracy). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:40, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
"Back to this topic, does anyone claim that the Lead meets NPOV standards?" Yes Me. (Hypnosadist) 20:29, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
"US waterboarding" ????? Ahah the Invisible Pink Unicorn is out of the bag. Its the mythical Nice waterboarding in the house. No it is OR to say that the USA has a special nice way to waterboard without RS's to support that POV. (Hypnosadist) 20:37, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Delete the text that violates NPOV?

Eventually we need to delete the text that violates WP:NPOV, and at some point I will do this if we cannot find consensus on how and when to do this. The OR/SYN violations need to go as well.

Who says that there are no sections that violate NPOV? There has been enough content discussion, I want to debate policy compliabnce here. Raggz (talk) 08:33, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

"Eventually we need to delete the text that violates WP:NPOV" Show me. (Hypnosadist) 20:38, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Original Research

"Waterboarding is torture. It causes severe physical suffering in the form of reflexive choking, gagging, and the feeling of suffocation. It may cause severe pain in some cases. If uninterrupted, waterboarding will cause death by suffocation. It is also foreseeable that waterboarding, by producing an experience of drowning, will cause severe mental pain and suffering. The technique is a form of mock execution by suffocation with water. The process incapacitates the victim from drawing breath, and causes panic, distress, and terror of imminent death. Many victims of waterboarding suffer prolonged mental harm for years and even decades afterward."

The Lead makes claims not supported by this source (such as brain damage). This is clearly original research. Please read wp:or. Please read wp:npov as well. Feel free to revert only if you have a relaible source. Raggz (talk) 05:48, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

We don't use just one source for this article; on the contrary, there are dozens if not more than 100. Nothing has been added that is not attested by these sources, most being medical in nature, from reputable organizations. Again, please read the FAQ. Have you? Badagnani (talk) 05:57, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
There is no citation for brain damage following the claim within the Lead. (Waterboarding certainly could lead to brain damage or death, if not medically supervised.) This lack of a citation means that wp:or has been violated. You likely can just add the correct cite. Fix it, please don't revert an OR violation. Raggz (talk) 06:20, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
May I suggest that if you believe it can be sourced, you look for a source (or maybe add a cn tag)? Deleting something you think can be sourced is pointy. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 06:25, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
That is one option, I also can delete material that has no source - but you cannot revert it unless you add one. You want me to do your editing? Then try saying please, or I don't know how, and I will then help. You don't just assign editing to me. I'm fine with it if you add supported text, I'm just editing here, no worries, everyone just relax.
It is disruptive editing to knowingly revert text deleted for being without a reliable source just because you want to. Don't do this. There is no problem reverting IF you add a reliable source. You should be careful though to qualify that these issues are not probable if medically supervised, so you need that cite as well. You now all know that there is no reliable source, so don't be a disruptive editor. Raggz (talk) 07:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
...and your source for the effects being improbable under medical supervision is where? [106] has neurological damage and possible death. I'll add it if I have some more time. However, the fact that oxygen deprivation can lead to brain damage is so entirely uncontroversial and well-known that a reference is rather redundant anyways. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:39, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Whatever "physician" was supervising such information-gathering sessions (training sessions excepted), I don't believe they would meet the definition, as since Ancient Greece physicians have been trained to do no harm, taking an oath to this effect. If a medical technician were present, they were probably medics, whose job was to say, "Better stop for now; it looks like he's had enough and could expire. Better wait ten minutes before resuming." Badagnani (talk) 07:45, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually they were members of the America Psychological Assoc Badagnani. (Hypnosadist) 02:59, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

There's currently a lively dispute within the APA's ranks whether their members should be prohibited from participating in such sessions in the future. Badagnani (talk) 03:10, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

No, there is no debate. The APA has come out against it very clearly:
Look at the dates! It takes 100's of Doctors 5 years to decide aiding torture violates medical ethics? Pathetic! (Hypnosadist) 16:30, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
To be fair, no one ever expected a western democracy to revert to medieval methods in the first place. Though, again to be fair, it is the only western democracy that has judicial executions, and it has uniquely under-developed social programs and curiously religious politics for a western country. I won't pretend to understand America - I have visited but avoided being tortured (okay bad joke) - that country's behaviour puzzles many. It appears that professional associations are generally reactive and not pro-active, that is, they respond to issues that arise, they don't set out to set policies. They often parrot the government line because as I understand it, the USA gov't through it's Dept of War (or Defence or whatever) funds alot of psych research. It is also hard to get people to understand and support something when their salaries depend on not understanding it. --Fremte (talk) 17:03, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
"To be fair, no one ever expected a western democracy to revert to medieval methods in the first place" No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition. (Hypnosadist) 18:33, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes i know, what do you expect from an organisation who's members over medicate children to make few extra dollars? (Hypnosadist) 03:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Source for brain damage [107] there are many more. (Hypnosadist) 19:55, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Whatever "physician" was supervising such information-gathering sessions (training sessions excepted), I don't believe they would meet the definition, as since Ancient Greece physicians have been trained to do no harm, taking an oath to this effect. If a medical technician were present, they were probably medics, whose job was to say, "Better stop for now; it looks like he's had enough and could expire. Better wait ten minutes before resuming." Badagnani (talk) 07:45, 11 September 2008 (UTC) The point is that we have a larger topic than US waterboarding, and I have no doubt that waterboarding has killed people and given them brain damage. I have no issue putting this in uncited. It just needs to be clear that we are talking about medically unsupervised waterboarding and not US waterboarding. I have no problem asserting the facts, so just offer a reliable source for death or brain damage in regard to US practice.
Btw, the do no harm requires that no physician teach medicine to a woman.) Raggz (talk) 08:13, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment - What is the actual passage from the Oath that states this? I don't believe that portion is currently practiced, as "do no harm" emphatically still is. Badagnani (talk) 20:46, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
"I have no problem asserting the facts, so just offer a reliable source for death or brain damage in regard to US practice." See above you have been given two different ones (Hypnosadist) 20:42, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
"Btw, the do no harm requires that no physician teach medicine to a woman.)" OK so that allows the USA to torture HOW? (Hypnosadist) 20:45, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

wp:or policy violations and deletion

There are a number of OR policy violations in regard to the US waterboarding. Do we all agree that we need reliable sources to support claims, and that without these this text must be deleted? Raggz (talk) 08:37, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Please could you list these violations specifically? I just had a quick look through the article: everything seemed to have inline citations. I certainly don't agree that any text should be deleted without it being first raised here, allowing people to find citations if it is felt that more are needed. almost-instinct 09:44, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
The proposition that the suffocation with water of a bound, inclined prisoner, as practiced by agents of the United States of America, is "noble," "not so bad," "less bad," "kinder," "gentler," etc., than such suffocation as practiced by agents of the 190+ other nations in the world seems to be fairly speculative, as if the editor proposing that this purported "special" U.S. version be privileged by minimizing the possible damage this form of torture might cause *hopes* or *wishes* that Americans wouldn't do something so horrible. Such a speculation seems more appropriate for a blog or other personal website, or perhaps some form of patriotic website. If, however, a notable individual has stated their belief in such a "special" U.S. version, if it is properly sourced, we could consider adding such a quote to the article. We do have the statements of several individuals (all U.S. Republican Party politicians or media commentators) who have expressed a similar opinion. Badagnani (talk) 20:25, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Repost incase Raggz didn't see. "US waterboarding" ????? Ahah the Invisible Pink Unicorn is out of the bag. Its the mythical Nice waterboarding in the house. No it is OR to say that the USA has a special nice way to waterboard without RS's to support that POV. (Hypnosadist) 20:44, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

NB: my post did not say "there's no OR". Any more archness and I'm out of here. Please quote the passages that are problematic, suggest a fix, we can agree on it or amend it or whatever and it can be re-inserted. Let's get on with this. almost-instinct 09:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Pearl HarbOR

The reference to the name Pearl Harbour should be spelled -or; since it is a proper name (even if the page is edited by those who would "generically" spell the word harbour.) The same is true, of course, for the World Trade Center; the main site of the 9/11 attack should never be spelled "World Trade Centre". (talk) 22:05, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Chinese water torture

This is something else.

After the Spanish American War of 1898 in the Philippines, the US Army used waterboarding which was called the “water cure” or “Chinese water torture.” at the time appears to be wrong; it's from a Politico op ed, which is not the most reliable of sources. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:37, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

So, what about this Andrew Sullivan guy?

Is he worth referencing? Geo Swan (talk) 23:53, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Over Citation

There is a sentence in the section on the animatronic waterboarding installation that is way over cited. We don't need eight citations to verify a piece of information. Two or three will due. The only reason to use more is if it actually takes that many citations to verify the info (e.g. each citation only provides partial verification and only together do the citations verify the text). Otherwise, this is overkill. Someone who's invested in this article should pick out the best two or three and discard the rest. ask123 (talk) 20:46, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

If the citations are only verifying parts, then it sounds like WP:SYNTH. htom (talk) 22:51, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Wrong. Synthesis is something like "A is true because B and C are true.(citeB)(citeC)". It is perfectly okay to to use citations for individual parts of a statement like "A is true,(citeA) B is true,(citeB) C is true.(citeC)" (talk) 06:46, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

new information that needs to be added

Cheney confirms approving interrogation techniques in general and specifically approves of waterboarding suspects. Probably should be integrated somewhere. Remember (talk) 19:14, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

From - [108]

KARL: Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

CHENEY: I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.
KARL: And on KSM, one of those tactics, of course, widely reported was waterboarding. And that seems to be a tactic we no longer use. Even that you think was appropriate?



Waterboarding is a form of torture? Come on! This is clearly taking a stance on an issue. Waterboarding saves lives. (talk) 23:15, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Not that I believe the premise, but what does one have to do with the other? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:20, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I think the comment cuts right to the heart of the matter. Those who advocate the use of waterboarding in certain cases do so based on expediency (e.g. the ticking time-bomb terrorist) not on any serious argument that waterboarding isn't torture. Even John Yoo admits his non-torture arguments are based solely on a narrow reading of the definition of torture in U.S. law, not on the word's normal meaning. --agr (talk) 01:22, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
You mean John Yoo, right? --Akhilleus (talk) 01:39, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Oops, yeah. Thanks for the correction. I've edited my comment. No need for a link to the wrong person.--agr (talk) 14:43, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Article has way too much US focus

There is too much of a US perspective to this article, I might tag it with a "worldwide view" banner. — Realist2 18:44, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Could you explain which recent, notable waterboarders this article has been neglecting? almost-instinct 01:11, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

New photos available

The photographer at waterboardingdotorg has made all his/her numerous photos of waterboarding available with CC licenses. See [109]. Which ones should we utilize? Badagnani (talk) 07:37, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I think this one would get my vote almost-instinct 12:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I uploaded one to Commons that just shows a waterboard and added it to the article. Images with paintings in the background are more problematical for Commons.--agr (talk) 16:35, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Question on origin of waterboarding

Since many forms of torture go back to antiquity, and occur in many continents, I'm very skeptical that waterboarding only goes back to the Medieval period in Europe. Waterboarding is very closely related to dunking, which is presently not well-documented in Wikipedia as to its origins. I suggest we continue to look for earlier dates of origin for this form of torture.Ajschorschiii (talk) 16:08, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

19 century prisons

I've added a second on waterboarding in 19th century prisons, with a citation of any incident in Sing Sing prison from the NYT archives.Ajschorschiii (talk) 16:51, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Just added

This water torture, used in prisons in the U.S. in the 19th century, which we've actually looked at before, doesn't seem to be waterboarding because it doesn't fit the definition. It's simply another form of torture using water. The prisoner is seated in a chair, in a booth-like structure, rather than on their back. Please comment on this after reading the new text. Badagnani (talk) 18:30, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

There is no mention in the NYT 1852 texts I cited under the 19th Century Prisons section of the use of a chair or a booth, but a board was indeed mentioned. From the text, the prisoner could have either been in a horizontal or a vertical position. Please provide the URL for the archive in which the topic of 19th Century water torture was mentioned before so I can make a more complete and informed response. I couldn't seem to find the previous discussion in the archive. Thanks! Ajschorschiii (talk) 02:08, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

The Article's First Sentence is Clearly Biased.

The first sentence defines waterboarding as torture, but the article then goes on to discuss the arguments for and against defining waterboarding as torture. While the article cites numerous sources in support of the opinion that waterboarding is torture, the article fails to provide factual evidence that an objective definition of waterboarding is consistent with torture. Therefore some parts of this article, including the first sentence, read more like a one-sided op-ed rather than an objective article that considers all sides.

If objectively and fairness are to be maintained, the article's first sentence should not define waterboarding as "a form of torture" but as "a form of interrogation that many believe to be a form of torture". —Preceding unsigned comment added by FinancialPress (talkcontribs) 22:34, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

It's not "many", it's "all relevant". The opposite position is, at most, an extreme fringe view among experts, and even among pundits You might want to look at the archives. "Interrogation" is plain wrong. What happens if I waterboard someone just out of sadism? Or as punishment? As for "factual evidence", can you explain what you mean by that? To me, the intentional slow suffocation of a helpless conscious person is self-evidently torture. It does not get more factual than that... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:44, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Your point exhibits broken logic and simply makes no sense. Is playing music torture? No? What if I stuck you in a room and played "achy breaky heart" day and night for a month? That something can be used as torture does not allow you define it as such in an encyclopedia!
Declare what the action is, what it entails, and leave the political vitriol at home please.
Further, there is nothing "self evident"; there exist no ideas nor even facts that simply speak for themselves in a vacuum. Please supply the direct *reasons* you have researched and hence found it to be torture, and try to keep the tone as neutral as possible using non-agenda works if possible.Tgm1024 (talk) 19:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Do you have any new sources that we have not collected that have concluded that waterboarding is not a form of torture? If you do, please add them here. If you don't, then you will have a difficult time overturning the previous consensus (which is how the text reads now). Remember (talk) 19:35, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Having a consensus among the small population within this page does not mitigate the burden of proof upon the issuer of statements similar to "X is self evidently Y".
And even if it *did*, it would still not belong here. Do you agree that this is a very hotly contested topic in the world? Then report *that*.
You may say it is
that whether or not it is considered torture is under enormous debate because (of x, y, z)
that it involves actions which many believe to be torture because of (x,y,z)
that it involves actions which many believe to not be torture because of (x,y,z)
But you CANNOT take a look at a hugely contested debate, and arrogantly decide among yourselves that one side is factual and the other is not. Logic like that exhibited here is turning Wikipedia into a series of position papers. People, PLEASE think in neutral encyclopedic terms.Tgm1024 (talk) 15:41, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Sounds to me like someone hasn't looked at the archives. When you do, you'll see that there are a huge number of sources that say that waterboarding is torture, and virtually no one who's willing to go on record to say that waterboarding isn't torture. If you want to change the lead sentence, you need to find some reliable sources that support your viewpoint. Until then, there isn't much to discuss. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:45, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I have no agenda here other than to hopefully save wikipedia from this kind of non-neutrality. The point is beyond my beliefs, and beyond *ANYONE's*. The point is entirely that this is steeped in controversy, and you are taking it upon yourselves to declare it as fact without the massive { { controversy } } banner on the page itself. If you wish to figure out why wikipedia is used but more often than not not taken seriously you only need to look to the basis of this kind of argument. Pick up a paper version of any article in an encyclopedia britancia, and see the wonderful difference in neutral tone.
As pointed out in WP:POV, something I wish more people would read, note this quote:
Keep in mind that facts are seldom facts, but what people think are facts, heavily tinged with assumptions.
That I cannot reach you with this is only more evidence that I must bow out now.Tgm1024 (talk) 17:21, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

What gives with the recent edit to the first sentence without even engaging this discussion? Now it's saddled with weasel-wordy "widely considered a form of torture" and, more importantly, suggests credibility to the fringe theory that waterboarding is not torture. I'd change it back myself, but the article is protected. Can we get someone on this? More specifically, can action be taken for making such a drastic unilateral edit to a probated article? -- (talk) 15:45, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. this has been extensively discussed on this talk page. I've reverted the change. --agr (talk) 15:53, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree that there is valid debate as to whether waterboarding falls within the definition of "torture." The view that it is not torture is not a "fringe theory" (even if it may be politically unpopular in the United States). Do a Google search for "waterboarding is not torture" and you will find a plethora of arguments by educated people for why waterboarding is not torture. The fact that the majority of intellectual elites believe it to be torture does not make it so. (In fact, if the entire world were polled, I would imagine that most people would not consider it to be torture. Most of the people I know--mostly middle class professionals--do not consider it to be torture.) While these viewpoints themselves do not answer the question, what the diversity of viewpoints does indicate is that it simply is not self-evident that waterboarding falls within the definition of torture in the way that thumb-screwing does. The "considered to be torture" language is appropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:30, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

We give preference to expert sources ("intellectual elites"). We value anecdotal evidence ("Most of the people I know--mostly middle class professionals--do not consider it to be torture.") not at all. I did the google search you suggested, and pages from worldnet daily and newsmax popped up in the first few results, after which I stopped reading. I see no reason to change the lead, and would need some expert sources that contended waterboarding wasn't torture to change my mind. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:50, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. And I would suspect that a majority of the entire world does not even know what waterboarding is. But if you expand the definition ("Is the intentional slow suffocation of a helpless conscious prisoner torture"), I would guess that the vast majority would agree. It's certainly portrayed as torture (in line with whipping and electroshocks) in the 1975 WIP flick Barbed Wire Dolls.... But my opinion or yours is not relevant - the opinion of reliable expert sources is, and it is as close to unanimous as makes no difference. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:00, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The lede has been discussed at length on this talk page and a broad consensus supported the current wording. What has happened since is the U.S. presidential election, where BOTH candidates took strong stands that waterboarding is torture. The U.S. Attorney General designate just testified to that effect (his predecessor had refused to answer the question). --agr (talk) 17:18, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Just curious--who are the experts we're considering? Legal experts? Ethicists? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:22, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
See Waterboarding#Classification_as_torture.--agr (talk) 18:25, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
So if we're looking to "politicians" and "legal experts," do the opinions of Bush, Cheney, Giuliani, Romney, Lieberman, Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Mukasey, John Bellinger (C. Rice's legal advisor), Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann (Gitmo legal advisor,, Andrew McCarthy (cited in the entry), Michael Hayden (CIA director), Steven Bradbury (head of Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, and Rep. Ted Poe (cited in the entry) not count? Journalist Hitchens is cited authoritatively in the entry; do the opinions of conservative commentators Jim Meyers (cited in the entry), Joseph Farah (, and Deroy Murdock ( not count? All of those sources expressed the opinion that waterboarding is not torture or that it may not be torture, or refused to agree that it is torture. It seems rather conclusory to clump all these views together and dismiss them as a "fringe theory." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Aside from the commentators, those you mention are all individuals of a single regime--one which, as we've seen over the past eight years, values loyalty above all else and which does not permit dissent within its ranks--in a single nation at a particular time. It's to be expected that they would be of a single mind on this issue. The thing is, most of these have not stated "waterboarding is not a form of torture," they have only hedged on its legality. That's quite a different thing. And their hedging doesn't change the very clear definition of what this practice is, nor negate the consistent prosecution of the U.S.'s own personnel, by the U.S., for engaging in this activity, even just 40 years ago. It seems to me that you *wish* waterboarding were not torture, but that it should only be used by U.S. personnel; if the Khmer Rouge, or Syria, or North Korea does it (to its own people let alone the U.S.'s own personnel) it's a horrible torture (as depicted in the paintings and photos we have in our article). If you actually provide quotes from the above individuals stating that "waterboarding is not a form of torture," those would likely be suitable for the article, in a section entitled something like "Bush regime opinion on waterboarding." I'm not sure if you're implying that none of the above individuals are mentioned in the article, because many of them are. If you'd like this regime's fringe opinion to influence the actual definition of this very well understood practice (the suffocation, using water, of a bound, inclined prisoner), that's been proposed before, and rejected. Badagnani (talk) 19:24, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's the place of a neutral site like Wikipedia to decide whose opinions are valid or not because they belong to a certain "regime." And everyone who thinks waterboarding is torture is free from bias? In any case, three prominent politicians I cited were not part of that "regime". Giuliani: "I’m not sure it is either, it depends on how it is done... It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it." Lieberman: "It is not like putting burning coals on people's bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological." Even for those who refused to publicly agree that it was torture when asked and "hedged" (such as Romney), that clearly expresses doubt for the view that waterboarding is torture. Also, Poe was not part of the Bush "regime," nor was Mukasey at the time he was questioned by the Senate (and it should be noted that Mukasey was lauded by both parties for his independence at the time of his nomination, it seems unfair to dismiss his views out of hand simply because he was nominated by Bush). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:37, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Good evening, I'd just like to bog down this discussion even further by speaking on behalf of the rest of the planet. Arnold Reinhold mentioned that most of the world probably doesn't know what waterboarding is. Probably not - less than 50% of human beings have proper access to the news media - but here in the First World the USA's human rights status is a very visible issue, and waterboarding's a central part of that. You probably could pull a random person off the street in Western Europe, Canada or Australia (possibly Japan too), ask what waterboarding is, and expect an answer. Here's the thing: there hasn't been any debate, controversy or any other discussion about waterboarding not being torture in any of these countries, including staunchly pro-American ones.

It is not reasonable, balanced, informative, neutral, fair or accurate to rewrite the description of a global concept that's centuries old because of the dissenting opinions of a handful of politicians in one country during one single administration, when even within that country waterboarding has been consistently treated as torture by administrations past and future. In fact I'll go as far as state that it is not going to happen. Everyone involved, drop the issue and go do something useful, like phoning a family member. Seriously. In the five-years-and-change I've been on this website I've had to pick up on how the place operates, and trying to get waterboarding's definition as torture contested is entirely tilting at windmills. --Kizor 00:32, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

President Obama Waterboard Ban

In the other actions, Obama:

_Created a task force to recommend policies on handling terror suspects who are detained in the future. Specifically, the group would look at where those detainees should be housed since Guantanamo is closing.

_Required all U.S. personnel to follow the U.S. Army Field Manual while interrogating detainees. The manual explicitly prohibits threats, coercion, physical abuse and waterboarding, a technique that creates the sensation of drowning and has been termed a form of torture by critics. However, a Capitol Hill aide says that the administration also is planning a study of more aggressive interrogation methods that could be added to the Army manual — which would create a significant loophole to Obama's action Thursday —Preceding unsigned comment added by Spectrum380 (talkcontribs) 18:10, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Would you mind providing us with some sources that back up your claim?--The Magnificent Clean-keeper (talk) 19:19, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
"Required all U.S. personnel to follow the U.S. Army Field Manual while interrogating detainees. The manual explicitly prohibits threats, coercion, physical abuse and waterboarding, a technique that creates the sensation of drowning and has been termed a form of torture by critics. However, a Capitol Hill aide says that the administration also is planning a study of more aggressive interrogation methods that could be added to the Army manual — which would create a significant loophole to Obama's action Thursday."
It's banned. For now.--Loodog (talk) 21:07, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

This Article is Biased

This article is completely biased, and in clear violation of the NPOV policy of wikipedia. Its clear that the agenda of the article is not to discuss the nature and history of waterboarding, as much as it is to impress upon the reader that waterboarding is "torture", which is really a meaningless semantical argument. The article also exaggerates the brutality of the practice, which can certainly be traumatic and even injurious, but does not compare with other more recognizable forms of "torture". (talk) 05:39, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your interesting opinion. Badagnani (talk) 00:27, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Of course, any judge would be impressed with a defence like whether I tortured/murdered/robbed (insert preference) somebody is "really a meaningless semantical argument." Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 10:32, 24 January 2009 (UTC) The point is that the nature of waterboarding is more important than whether it fits a particular definition of torture. The article should seek to inform the reader about waterboarding, not put the practice on trial. (talk) 23:42, 24 January 2009 (UTC) (talk) 23:32, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Yet you make the same obvious loggical fallacy. "The point is that the nature of torture/murder/robbeery is more important than whether it fits a particular definition of torture/murder/robbeery." Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 11:01, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
The article is (or was the last time I read it) definitely biased but it is owned by people who do not care for that sort of honesty nor for the standards that wikipedia has put forward to ensure neutrality. There is no point in editing here.--Blue Tie (talk) 06:21, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
So you would have the encyclopedic article on waterboarding not start by saying what waterboarding is? -- (talk) 21:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

To say that "waterboarding is a form of torture" is not a fact, but an inherently biased and qualitative statement. Look at the primary definition of torture in the dictionary: "Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion, An instrument or a method for inflicting such pain" (source: the free, 1/28/09). Is the sensation of drowning severe physical pain, like getting burned? No, its more of a psychological attrition, like holding someone's head under water. Ugly yes, but torture no, because fear is the operating principle, moreso than pain. The author tries to make it seem like waterboarding is severe physical pain and brutality with statements like, "It can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, ultimately, death". However, when one looks at the source that the author has cited for that statement, it says nothing of the sort, whatsoever. The author has simply pulled the statement out of thin air. Certainly if waterboarding is done improperly it could have these effects, but not normally.

Bottom line, is that for an article to focus on a disputed classification of a practice is neither informative or neutral, but biased. Even if we apply a looser definition of torture that would include water-boarding, it should not be the primary focus of the article, anymore than the focus of an article about tomatoes should be that they are fruits and not vegetables. (talk) 19:49, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Torture may involve pain or suffering. Please go back, read the definition again, then come back and comment. Badagnani (talk) 20:09, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
It is the prevailing understanding of authorities on human rights, interrogation, health, medical ethics, etc, as linked in the article, that waterboarding is torture. It's already established that "waterboarding is not torture" is a fringe belief and fringe beliefs aren't elevated to the level of general understanding of fact.-- (talk) 02:02, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
This article is certainly biased. I mean you state that waterboarding is torture at the beginning, then have a little section later on saying that there are people who doubt this. Doesn't make it sound that reliable. And also, that section also is about five paragraphs long, and only one of those paragraphs is actually about the controversy, the rest are about you stating again that it is torture. In an encyclopaedic sense, this is one of the worst articles I've read on wikipedia.

Data error

"On January 22, 2008 President Barack Obama made this practice illegal [131]"

2009, surely

Purch your chache. I moved it down in the section and fixed the year already ;) --The Magnificent Clean-keeper (talk) 17:01, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Incorrect facts cited in the "After the Spanish-American War of 1898" section

This section of the article claims that "Major Edwin Glenn was court martialed and sentenced to 10 years hard labor for waterboarding a suspected insurgent" and references 57. Cheney endorses simulated drowning. Retrieved on 2008-02-23 as its citation. The article on Glenn and the 10 year hard labor information actually comes from citation 59. Kramer, Paul, The Water Cure, The New Yorker, Feb 25, 2008. Available online and incorrectly reports the information in the article. The New Yorker piece cited explains that Glenn (the US officer court-martialed for the water cure) was "sentenced to a one-month suspension and a fifty-dollar fine" while Ealdama (the Filipino victim of US torture) was "serving a sentence of ten years’ hard labor." Blakestern (talk) 21:02, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

If that's the case, please fix the incorrect text in the article. Badagnani (talk) 21:35, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think I have permission. I don't have an edit tab on this page.Blakestern (talk) 14:52, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Article Title...

When typing on this page, I noticed that my dictionary on Firefox was telling me that "Waterboarding" is not an actual dictionary defined word. It also tells me that Firefox isn't a word, and it is an add-on to that, but that is beside the point. I tried it in Merriam Webster, Oxford English, and many others, and it is not in any of them. It is in wiktionary, but I don't think that really counts, as using that as proof would be like using the Bible as proof of God.

This doesn't matter all that much, but I found it an interesting point. Alan16 (talk) 23:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Extra eyes

After the heated debate whether waterboarding is torture by apologists of the torture regime, some are now trying to do the same trick at enhanced interrogation techniques. Is it possible for some of the regulars here to keep an eye out and preserving torture, and not a form of interrogation, as the accepted main stream view of these practices? TIA. (talk) 09:40, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

"Apologists of the torture regime"? Thanks for the heads up, they may need help. htom (talk) 14:24, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
"accepted main stream view of these practices". Because if something is accepted by most, we should just ignore the questioners. That is the way to improve the world, ignore everyone who disagrees with you. Alan16 (talk) 16:37, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
The view that waterboarding may not be a form of torture is not "ignored" in the article, it is discussed. Badagnani (talk) 16:56, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
"it is discussed" I'm sorry, but I think that is just a ridulous statement. Alan16 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
How so? It is discussed rather extensively, with many prominent individuals and their views listed. Badagnani (talk) 17:47, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
"Discussed rather extensively"? There are two bloody paragraphs in a 100+ paragraph article. You follow these two paragraphs by quoting more people who say it is torture. That is not discussion. Look, if you think it's torture, and just want to ignore my opinion, fine. But you don't need to blatantly lie. It is not discussed. The only way you could discuss it less, would be to attach a sign to it saying "Waterboarding is torture, and f**k all you who disagree." Alan16 (talk) 01:00, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
We could also discuss if the moon is made out of cheese although you would probably call me a liar if I insist it's just a myth.--The Magnificent Clean-keeper (talk) 01:31, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
If you're going to draw an analogy, make sure it makes sense. The moon is not made of cheese. There is scientific evidence to prove this. Whether water boarding is torture or not comes down to personal opinions, not science. The thing which is the most aggravating is that you say it is discussed when it clearly isn't. This is an encyclopaedia, not a place for left wing partisan hackary. Alan16 (talk) 16:34, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
In disputes like this, we go with what the reliable sources say on the subject. What do they say? --John (talk) 16:47, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Look. I'm not saying change it, so that it says waterboarding is not a torture. I don't agree with that, and I don't expect you'd do that. However, I'm saying that it is claimed that whether it is torture or not is discussed. It is not discussed. There are two paragraphs. Two! In an article of over one-hundred. These two paragraphs are also followed by more sources saying it is torture - in the discussion segment. That is not discussion. That is you saying: "These under-educated morons don't think it's torture. Yet these amazing, over-educated, god-like people, think it is." That is not discussion. Alan16 (talk) 19:32, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
  • It's a pretty good representation of the quality and weight of the sources, though. On the one hand, you have human rights organizations, legal professors, practicing lawyers, the current attorney general of the U.S., officials of other governments, officials of the UN, and so forth. On the other hand you have a bunch of non-committal statements by people associated with the Bush administration and full-bore denials by cable TV news pundits. Who should we give more weight to? --Akhilleus (talk) 19:42, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
  • (ec)It is a fairly good if somewhat hyperbolic description of the situation, though. It just misses the educated but dissembling people. Anyways, by far the largest part of the article deals with the history and legality of the issue, not its classification. The two paragraphs give plenty of weight to that fairly minor and limited debate. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:44, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Question about categories

It seems that The Physical torture techniques category is part of the Torture category, so that is redundant and not needed here per WP:CAT? I know this was sort of covered before, but I see that it is still here. Also, what is up with the category Waterboarding? It has one entry? Is that an appropriate or needed category? Thanks, --Tom 14:44, 20 February 2009 (UTC)


WP:AE#Waterboarding and Neutral Good ≈ jossi ≈ (talk)

Why is Jim Meyers labeled as "conservative" while in the next sentence Christopher Hitchens is not labeled as "Liberal"? Either apply these labels consistently or just remove them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stowbilly (talkcontribs) 01:16, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Please place new comments on the bottom of the page. Likely because Meyers labels himself as such, while Hitchens has held positions that have ranged from Trotskyite to conservative (such as his strongly pro-war positions of the past few years). Neither he nor those writing about him call him either conservative or liberal, because his set of views have changed so frequently, and are such a mixture of both. Badagnani (talk) 04:10, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Anyone who would call Hitchens a liberal must not have heard or read any of his stuff from the last 20 years or so. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 07:21, 14 March 2009 (UTC).

To add to artricle

The ICRC, in its report leaked in March 2009, refers to waterboarding as "suffocation by water."[110]. Badagnani (talk) 17:16, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Waterboarding BDSM play

Although considered as extreme, waterboarding is also used within the realms of sado-masochism play. Generlaly much less water is used, but the gag reflex is achieved just the same as part of consentual play. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheTobester (talkcontribs) 18:58, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't doubt that that may be the case, but to add it to the article we need to have a reliable source saying so. henriktalk 19:05, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I would say that reliable source or not, it has no place in this article. Everybody who looks for this article is looking for an article on the torture used in places like Guantanamo Bay, not about BDSM. Alan16 talk 22:11, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Was used at but only once or twice as it was too tough on the Subs. (Hypnosadist) 21:39, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Which Bybee memo?

Currently, this PDF from is linked as the Bybee memo. But the Bybee memo article links to a PDF at How confident are we about which is the correct memo?  —Chris Capoccia TC 06:54, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

The copy at appears to be the same as the ACLU's copy.  —Chris Capoccia TC 07:04, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you Chris for doing some good work on the references. (Hypnosadist) 10:20, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Bybee memo

User:Remember has added text from the Bybee memo to the technique section. I'm a bit concerned, as this is a) a primary source and b) a very involved one. It also is incompatible with many neutral descriptions in that it claims that the victim can, in fact, breathe, when all other sources seem to agree that the gag reflex makes this impossible. I suggest to move this down to the US discussion (where, indeed, it already is covered). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:14, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps those "neutral descriptions" that were so reliable and popular were ... exaggerated ... no, couldn't be, someone here would have objected. htom (talk) 18:38, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I have re-edited the description to just include information on the specifics of how the technique is performed and not to go into details about whether water enters the lungs or whether the person can breathe because these are more controversial statements. As the quotation is currently used, I think it is very helpful because it provides an authoritative primary source that describes how the technique is implemented. Remember (talk) 19:04, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but that's wrong. It describes how Bybee understood the description given by Rizzo, when Rizzo apparently wanted to apply the technique and asked for a legal opinion that would support this. It's a primary source, but not an authoritative one. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:49, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Good point. Implicit in your point it seems is that Bybee might have gotten the wrong or incorrect impression of what waterboarding is and therefore citing to this description is not accurate. That is fair. I think the information is useful so I would like to keep it in the article (even if all it does is demonstrate an incorrect understanding of the technique), but I can see how it may need to be incorporated elsewhere. Remember (talk) 22:18, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Obviously, those "neutral descriptions" were anything but.
This article does say that water enters the lungs. I think the main trouble is that there are different methods of waterboarding, and there has been little interest in making distinctions. That's a major failing, IMHO.
The newly released docs show that the CIA was only authorized to use waterboarding if it was under certain standards, one of them being that water didn't enter the lungs. But this was already known long ago. Steven G. Bradbury testified under oath last year:
The method was not, he said, like the "water torture" used during the Spanish Inquisition and by autocratic governments into the 20th century, but was subject to "strict time limits, safeguards, restrictions." He added, "The only thing in common is, I think, the use of water."
Let's face it, this article's main purpose is to focus on the CIA's use of waterboarding. That's why most of its readers come here. To give all the details about how bad it can be, and has been in history, while understating the CIA's safeguards wrt the law is misleading.
Clearly, the critics who said otherwise back then weren't briefed on the CIA's exact procedures, but I'm not necessarily in favor of dropping any of the critics' quotations. I just think it should be remembered that they didn't always know what they were talking about.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 15:49, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
"weren't briefed on the CIA's exact procedures" Yes giving the victims a teddybear means its not torture LOL!. One more time :- THERE IS NO SPECIAL NICE WAY OF WATERBOARDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(Hypnosadist) 21:22, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Even so, "water didn't enter the lungs" is still a point of interest.
But I'm not sticking around. It's not in my interest to make an obviously biased article appear less unreasonable.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 00:55, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
""water didn't enter the lungs" is still a point of interest." Nope thats just a unprovable CLAIM made by the people committing the crime, if we say had a video of the interrogation it might be possible but that evidence was destroyed by the people who claim it was NICE WATERBOARDING. (Hypnosadist) 09:40, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
PS The claim that interrogations were subject to "strict time limits, safeguards, restrictions." did not work for the Gestapo charged with warcrimes for the use of TORTURE (including waterboarding in Norway). Infact the torture was often carried out by a fully qualified doctor, that must make Gestapo waterboarding even nicer than CIA waterboarding. (Hypnosadist) 21:22, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps, then, the article should be moved to "CIA's illegal use of waterboarding" htom (