Britain says waterboarding is torture

UPI News
Nov. 9, 2010

The British government Tuesday dismissed George W. Bush's claim that waterboarding isn't torture after the former U.S. president said in his new memoirs that the controversial interrogation technique saved British lives.

Waterboarding helped prevent terrorist attacks on Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, a major business district in London, Bush wrote in his memoirs "Decision Points," which were released Tuesday.

Bush still defends waterboarding as an "enhanced interrogation technique."

He personally approved waterboarding, used on terrorist suspects after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because his legal advisers told him the technique didn't constitute torture, he writes in his book.

"Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives," Bush said in an interview with NBC News. "My job was to protect America. And I did."

British officials condemned the choice he made.

"I doubt ... that what we regard as torture -- waterboarding -- actually produced information that was instrumental" in preventing terrorist attacks
, Kim Howells, a former chairman of Britain's Intelligence and Security Committee that oversees the work of the intelligence community, Tuesday told the BBC.

David Davis, a former shadow Home Secretary, said he didn't believe the British security and intelligence services had anything to do with torture but added London would have no means of checking whether information was obtained through torture.

He added that using "brains, not brutality" was a better way to extract intelligence information. "People under torture tell you what you want to hear," he said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of Bush's closes allies during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which was based on false intelligence claiming that Iraq had accumulated a large stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.