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  • You've been dubbed an enemy of the state, arrested, and dragged to a dank Gestapo-like

  • basement.

  • Men in sleek uniforms and jackboots read off a list of charges against you, and then begin

  • grilling you with questions.

  • Who else is a dissident?

  • What evil plot to overthrow the government were you involved in?

  • What members of the military or the government do you know of who are traitors?

  • You bite your tongue, you'll give the bastards nothing.

  • The man in charge of your interrogation nods, then speaks up in an evil whisper...

  • Oh, you'll speak, you'll tell us everything!”

  • With a snap of his fingers the guards grab you, then drag you to a table with straps

  • on it.

  • The table has one side lower than the other, and you are thrown on it with your head on

  • the low end, leaving your feet elevated above you.

  • The guards strap your arms in and an additional strap goes around your neck to keep you from

  • squirming.

  • You're ready for this, you're a freedom fighter and you've been expecting the worst.

  • Burning, cutting, tearing, you're ready to sacrifice your flesh for the cause.

  • You'll say nothing.

  • But to your surprise your torturers produce not a bag full of sharp knives and other wicked

  • instruments, but a simple cloth towel and a gallon jug of water.

  • Smirking, the lead interrogator makes a motion as two burly men place the towel over your

  • face.

  • Is this their plan?

  • They're going to sprinkle water on you?

  • You do your best not to laugh.

  • Fifteen seconds later though, you're not laughing anymore.

  • In fact you're spilling your guts, giving up every secret you've ever had.

  • Welcome to the world of waterboarding, one of the most insidious forms of torture that's

  • been in use since the medieval ages.

  • Back during the Spanish Inquisition the Catholic church had a problem- witches and warlocks

  • were everywhere, masquerading around as perfectly decent Catholics.

  • For most of the population the answer was simple, string peasants up by their toes and

  • put out their eyes with hot pokers until they gave up their fellow witches and warlocks.

  • However, with the wealthy merchants and nobility things weren't that easy, they tended to take

  • serious offense to having their loved ones strapped to a chair and their toes crushed

  • one by one.

  • Also, a lot of the peasants were starting to get real 'revolty' about all this torture

  • business.

  • The Inquisition needed an answer, a way to get information that wouldn't leave any obvious

  • physical marks.

  • They got it in the form of water torture.

  • In the modern age waterboarding is meant to simulate drowning, but in the medieval ages

  • they did less simulating and more actual drowning.

  • People would have tubes stuck down their throats and water would be force-fed them until their

  • stomachs distended.

  • Sometimes this lead to water accidentally flooding the lungs, which, well, led to drowning.

  • Eventually the technique was refined and limited to a cloth placed over the mouth, with part

  • of the cloth in the mouth itself.

  • Then water would be poured from a jug onto the victim's face, with the cloth absorbing

  • the water and letting it into the mouth.

  • This gave the victim an impression of drowning despite being at little risk of actually doing

  • so.

  • The technique would be repeated over and over again over the course of days, until finally

  • satisfactory information was gathered.

  • Because it didn't do any physical harm and left no marks, waterboarding- or toca as the

  • Spanish called it- was used extensively during the actual trial process.

  • Sometimes though victims would need to be 'softened up', and the Spanish developed a

  • technique that involved specifically beating the victim's body, legs, and arms, followed

  • by 2.5 liters of water poured over the face with the cloth in the mouth.

  • Waterboarding soon became all the rage, and the technique was passed down from generation

  • to generation.

  • Agents of the Dutch East India Company used a technique where the victim had a cloth wrapped

  • around their head and water was slowly poured over the scalp.

  • The water soaked the cloth all the way up to the nostrils, making the victim suck in

  • water whenever they tried to breathe.

  • American law enforcement, as well as other police forces around the world, used waterboarding

  • as a method to extract confessions, or simply torture prisoners.

  • In New York's infamous Sing Sing prison inmates would be strapped to a wooden board with a

  • barrel of water placed seven feet above them.

  • A steady stream of water was then allowed to hit the prisoner on the face, making it

  • extremely difficult to breathe and inducing a state of panic.

  • Sadly many prisoners subjected to this torture would die from water inhalation leading to

  • drowning.

  • In Mississippi, prisoners would have water poured using a dipper straight down their

  • noses, the purpose of which was to incite pain and terror so as to force a confession.

  • Needless to say, many of these confessions were completely bogus, as when in a state

  • of such blind panic a person is likely to say anything to stop the torture- something

  • that even modern CIA accounts attest to.

  • After the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Filipino people rose up against the United

  • States when it was awarded possession of the Philippines from a defeated Spain.

  • Learning the technique from the Filipino people, who likely learned it from their Spanish occupiers,

  • American soldiers began using what they called 'the water cure' on insurgents.

  • The American technique was more similar to its original form in that a funnel was forced

  • into a victim's mouth, and water poured down it until the stomach became greatly distended.

  • Then a man would jump on the victim's stomach until the victim vomited.

  • Initially believing that the practice was not 'real torture', President Teddy Roosevelt

  • approved of it- until he was better informed on the exact process and the lasting psychological

  • impact.

  • He called for the army to prevent the use of water torture in the future and personally

  • ordered the court-martial of a General who had overseen many instances of the torture

  • taking place and condoned its continued use.

  • The court-martial did not find the General guilty of any crimes, and in response President

  • Roosevelt immediately withdrew his commission, discharging the General from the military.

  • Back home in the US, the government had cracked down on police brutality in an attempt to

  • rein in the overabundant lawlessness present in US police forces.

  • Mostly successful, the technique nevertheless remained in use- albeit secretly this time-

  • well into the 1940s.

  • For decades the best way to extract a confession was to submit the suspect to 'the third degree',

  • which would include beatings and other forms of moderate torture.

  • Waterboarding was naturally a favorite tactic though, as it left no bruises or other marks

  • on the victim's body.

  • During World War II, the Japanese and Germans picked up the American habit of waterboarding

  • and used it to great extent across their respective realms.

  • The Japanese were especially fond of the technique, and would force the victim to take in water

  • until the stomach was distended, after which they would beat the victim in the stomach

  • until they vomited.

  • One American airman who partook in the Doolittle raid shortly after the Japanese attack on

  • Pearl Harbor was subjected to this torture for weeks.

  • After the war, he testified during a war crimes trial concerning his former captors, stating

  • that they would submit him to waterboarding torture and beat him if he didn't answer their

  • questions- despite the fact that he physically couldn't answer with water being poured over

  • his nose and mouth.

  • The French would take up the practice during the Algerian War, and even submitted a French

  • journalist to the torture technique.

  • He would go on to discuss his experiences in a book he wrote which the French government

  • banned until after the war, writing the following about his waterboarding torture: “The rag

  • was soaked rapidly.

  • Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face.

  • But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air.

  • I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist

  • suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could.

  • But I couldn't hold on for more than a few moments.

  • I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession

  • of me.

  • In spite of myself, all the muscles of my body struggled uselessly to save me from suffocation.

  • In spite of myself, the fingers of both my hands shook uncontrollably.

  • "That's it!

  • He's going to talk", said a voice.

  • The water stopped running and they took away the rag.

  • I was able to breathe.

  • In the gloom, I saw the lieutenants and the captain, who, with a cigarette between his

  • lips, was hitting my stomach with his fist to make me throw out the water I had swallowed.”

  • During the Vietnam War, waterboarding was made illegal by American generals, but American

  • troops were still discovered using the technique- or at least observing its use.

  • As was so often the case, the responsibility was handed off to South Vietnamese soldiers,

  • as their government had no prohibition on waterboarding enemy POWs.

  • In 1968, the Washington Post published a front-page photograph showing two US soldiers participating

  • in the waterboarding of a North Vietnamese POW alongside a South Vietnamese soldier.

  • Outrage over the publication led to the court martial of one of the soldiers in the photo,

  • and the technique was largely curtailed by American forces.

  • Throughout the second half of the 20th century, waterboarding remained fairly popular amongst

  • military and police forces around the world, with the technique in use everywhere from

  • South Africa to Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

  • Largely forgotten, or at least ignored, the CIA would bring waterboarding back into the

  • spotlight at the dawn of the 21st century.

  • After the September 11th attacks of 2001, the CIA took point on the locating, apprehension,

  • or elimination of terrorists and terrorist allies linked to the terror attacks against

  • the US.

  • However, the agency soon found itself with many detainees, and few of them were willing

  • to give any vital intelligence up.

  • Prohibited from actual torture, the CIA pushed the White House and the Justice Department

  • to secretly issue opinions that waterboarding did not constitute real torture, and thus

  • the agency had the green light to use it as frequently as it saw fit on captured terrorists.

  • After the use of waterboarding was leaked to the public in 2005, Americans were outraged

  • and the White House, under President George W. Bush, was forced to publicly condone the

  • practice, stating that it was legal, did not constitute torture, and had resulted in large

  • amounts of vital intelligence regarding Al Qaeda's operations.

  • Several inquests however revealed that the information that waterboarded terrorists had

  • offered had already been discovered through other means, and that other information gained

  • with the practice was extremely unreliable.

  • Inquests on the CIA's use of waterboarding discovered that waterboarding, much like any

  • other form of torture, had in fact produced little if any actionable intelligence, as

  • victims were likely to say anything they thought their torturers wanted to hear in order for

  • the torture to stop.

  • Shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama immediately banned the technique along

  • with other 'enhanced interrogation techniques' widely in use by the CIA and other agencies.

  • Wishing to restore the US's credibility as a defender of human rights, President Obama

  • condemned the technique and ordered interrogators to stick to methods approved and outlined

  • within the Army Field Manual.

  • During the 2016 presidential election, numerous Republican candidates all stated their willingness

  • to reinstate the technique, with then candidate Donald Trump stating that he believed it was

  • effective and notreal torture', despite numerous studies all showing that torture

  • in any form rarely if ever produced good intelligence, and any intelligence gathered under torture

  • was extremely unreliable and could actually place US forces and agents at risk.

  • Many top CIA and FBI officials have come out over the years disputing false claims that

  • waterboarding had ever helped stop even a single terrorist attack against US forces

  • or civilians.

  • By simulating a feeling of drowning, waterboarding can be extremely effective with the added

  • perk of leaving no physical marks.

  • The psychological impact however can be very long lasting, and in 2007 the United States

  • military was forced to end waterboarding as part of its Survival Evasion and Resistance

  • education for special forces and government agents.

  • Its use was discovered to have little value in training, and in fact severely hurt morale

  • of personnel undergoing SERE training.

  • Wanna learn more about the worst punishments in the history of mankind?

  • Check out The Brazen Bull!

  • Or click this other video instead!

You've been dubbed an enemy of the state, arrested, and dragged to a dank Gestapo-like

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Waterboarding - Worst Punishment in the History of Mankind

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    Summer posted on 2020/08/05
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