What is Waterboarding?
One of the best first-hand descriptions of waterboarding comes from Malcolm Nance, a counter-terrorism and terrorism intelligence consultant for the U.S. government's Special Operations, Homeland Security, and Intelligence agencies, who says of waterboarding: "When done right it is controlled death."
But waterboarding does not exist in isolation. It is one of a larger set of techniques, developed by U.S. military personnel, known as reverse-SERE techniques. SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Until recently, SERE was a classified Department of Defense training for American servicemen and women. It was developed after the Vietnam War and based on studies of how Vietnamese and North Korean forces attempted to break American prisoners. It was meant to prepare soldiers for abuse they might face in enemy custody.
According to news reports, after September 11, 2001, psychologists familiar with SERE training began advising and developing techniques for interrogators at Guantánamo Bay. Known as "reverse-SERE," the skills once used to help American soldiers survive abuse are now being used by U.S. soldiers to torture others.
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