Of all the abuses committed by the United States in the “War on Terror,” the use of waterboarding as an “enhanced interrogation technique” has generated by far the most controversy. This practice, whereby terror suspects are strapped to a plank, tilted so that their heads are lower than their feet, and subjected to mock drowning, has rightly been condemned — even by President Obama — as torture. As water is sloshed onto a wet cloth placed over the mouth and nose, the body convulses, moving into an achingly-painful panic reaction exactly as if it were drowning.
The UK Government has always publically distanced itself from such extreme methods, with ministers going on record to label waterboarding as torture. However, court documents filed recently on behalf of Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani businessman captured in Iraq in February 2004 and detained without trial for over ten years, show that the UK was deeply implicated in the abuse he suffered.