Waterboarding Is Torture

Waterboarding Demonstration at the Justice Department November 5, 2007

On the eve of the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the confirmation of Judge Michael Mukasey to be Attorney General, anti-torture activists put on a fully realistic display of waterboarding at the entrance to the Department of Justice.

Iranian-born actor/activist Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, wearing an orange jumpsuit and hands bound, was dragged to an inclined board by interrogators dressed as “civilian contractors.” When he could not give the names demanded by his interrogators, a towel was placed over his face and gallons of water were poured over his head.

Dozens of reporters and cameramen pushed forward to capture the scene. Emerging from the experience coughing and shaken, Ebrahimzadeh told reporters that it was the most terrifying experience of his life, even though a piece of plastic behind the towel protected him from the full force of the water.

Introducing the demonstration, C. Clark Kissinger pointed out that media who describe waterboarding as “simulated drowning” are themselves practicing “simulated journalism.” He pointed out that waterboarding is universally understood to be torture, and the United States had even prosecuted as war criminals Japanese officers who had waterboarded U.S. prisoners of war.

Kissinger pointed out that in refusing to acknowledge that waterboarding is torture Mukasey seeks to legitimate its continuation, and when people in this country refuse to take up the fight against Mukasey and the Bush administration, they become complicit.



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