Making a prisoner believe they’re drowning to death is not a form of torture, according to a guest on Wednesday morning’s broadcast of “Fox & Friends.”
“Waterboarding is not torture,” former CIA operative Wayne Simmons said, critiquing the new film “Zero Dark Thirty.” “It is simply a technique used to obtain valuable information.”
No matter his personal belief, the U.S. prosecuted Japanese soldiers after World War II for subjecting Americans to waterboarding, and flatly labeled the technique as torture. Prosecutions based on American accounts of waterboarding helped convict some of Japan’s highest ranking officials who ordered the treatment, but no similar actions have been taken against top officials in the Bush administration.
Simmons, author of the book “The Natanz Directive,” correctly added that waterboarding did not lead to the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The film depicts a member of the terrorist network naming bin Laden’s messenger after enduring severe beatings and waterboarding, in a sequence that’s prompted top officials in the CIA and the U.S. Senate to cry foul for its apparent inaccuracy.
“As we have said before, the truth is that multiple streams of intelligence led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was hiding in Abbottabad,” acting CIA director Michael Morell explained last week. “Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. And, importantly, whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved.”
“That is not to say that the movie is not a fun movie and going to do well and you’ll probably have a good time watching it, but it’s a fantasy,” Simmons said.
The film’s producer, Mark Boal, has said the film is a dramatization of real events, not a documentary.
This video is from “Fox & Friends,” aired Wednesday, December 26, 2012. Embed courtesy of Mediaite.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.