Waterboarding, according to the CIA – some of whose most senior officials are currently giving evidence before a congressional inquiry into the organisation’s decision to deliberately destroy video recordings of two al-Qaida captives being subjected to the practice – is merely an “enhanced coercive interrogation technique”. This magnificent phrase prompts the following brief reminder of the burgeoning lexicon of euphemisms now employed by the Bush administration to describe what the president himself is pleased to refer to as “the tools necessary to protect the American people”.
Special methods of questioning Essentially indistinguishable from “enhanced coercive interrogation technique”, this seems to be a broad-brush term covering a range of interrogation methods likely to arouse disquiet in the kind of people who worry about such matters as the Geneva Convention, the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Black sites The secret CIA prisons and/or interrogation centers where the above techniques are practiced.
Illegal combatants The people to whom the above techniques are applied.
Sleep management Deluded liberals may prefer the term “sleep deprivation”.
Stress position Detainee is forced to stand erect for several hours. Or forced to stand erect for several hours, with his arms held out to the side. Or shackled to the ceiling with his arms extended, sometimes without his feet touching the ground. Whichever, it’s certainly stressful.
Special renditions Er, kidnapping.
Fear up Ranges from leaving a truncheon on the table to throwing furniture around or, as the website Slate has pointed out, if the prisoner is religious, allowing him to think that he may face eternal damnation by threatening to show him pornographic images.
Sexual humiliation Detainee forced to strip naked, or adopt sexually explicit poses.
Mild, non-injurious physical contact A cuff round the ear. Or – whoops, we never meant to go that far – a broken leg.
Refined interrogation techniques Actually, that was the Gestapo’s favourite euphemism. But then, they didn’t practise torture either, did they?
Related Material: Huffington Post