One of the favorite canards of the pro-torture Jack Bauer fetishists, behind only “this resembles fraternity pranks” and “but we do this in SERE,” has always been the “ticking time-bomb” scenario:
Simply stated, the consequentialist argument is that nations, even those such as the United States that legally disallow torture, can justify its use if they have a suspect in custody whom they feel sure possesses critical knowledge, such as the location of a time bomb or a weapon of mass destruction that will soon explode and cause great loss of life.
What the torture fetishists want, of course, is not to have the option to torture in these bizarre ticking time scenarios that will never happen outside a Hollywood plot, but to justify torture, period. In the debate over waterboarding, the ticking time-bomb scenario was frequently brought up, most recently in Holder’s confirmation hearing:
At any rate, Emptywheel brings this to our attention:
I’ve put this detail in a series of posts, but it really deserves a full post. According to the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.
On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains:
The CIA used the waterboard “at least 83 times during August 2002” in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.
Note, the information comes from the CIA IG report which, in the case of Abu Zubaydah, is based on having viewed the torture tapes as well as other materials. So this is presumably a number that was once backed up by video evidence.
There better be a pretty damned long fuse on that ticking time bomb.
And yes, this is nothing but pure sadism.