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'The film the CIA doesn't want you to see': Amnesty launches new 'waterboarding' film

Amnesty International has today launched a hard-hitting new film about “waterboarding”, the practice of torturing prisoners by partially drowning them.

Amnesty’s film, called “Stuff Of Life”, is set to be one of the strongest campaign films ever seen by cinema-goers when the film is shown in UK cinemas from next month. What adds to the Stuff Of Life’s “shock value” is that it is effectively “disguised” as a bottled water or vodka advert, filmed in the “glossy” style usually seen in luxury consumer goods advertising.

The short film, which launches online today (at ) and will be seen on some 50 UK cinema screens from 9 May, portrays a torture technique that is currently the subject of intense controversy in the United States, where CIA officials have recently admitted that their operatives have waterboarded “war on terror” prisoners in secret interrogations.

The waterboarding admissions, alongside revelations that videotapes of CIA interrogations have been destroyed, have fuelled intense debate about US treatment of prisoners in fighting terrorism. However, despite growing concern about waterboarding and other abusive practices, US President George Bush recently vetoed a bill that would have outlawed such so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Our film shows you what the CIA doesn’t want you to see - the disgusting reality of half-drowning a person then calling it ‘enhanced interrogation’.

“For a few seconds our film-makers did this for real - they poured water up the nose and into the mouth of someone who was pinned down with his head tilted back. Even for those few seconds, it’s horrifying to watch - the reality, in a secret prison with no-one to stop it, is much, much worse.

“Everyone who sees this terrifying film ought to take action to stop it happening in the real world - they should support our ‘Unsubscribe’ campaign.”

Malcolm Nance, a US security expert familiar with waterboarding as a counter-insurgency training technique, said:

“Having trained American operatives to withstand waterboarding, I can assure you that this truly scary film is right on the money - this is what it’s like.

“Let’s not mince words - waterboarding is out and out torture, and I’m deeply ashamed that President Bush has authorised its use and dishonoured the USA’s reputation.”

The film is part of the organisation’s “Unsubscribe” campaign, mobilising support for human rights in the “war on terror”. It comes after a similarly powerful film about “stress and duress” torture called “Waiting For The Guards”, released in October. Both films were the joint work of media agency Drugstore and acclaimed film-makers Marc Hawker and Ishbel Whitaker (DarkFibre films), and both feature the performance artist Jiva Parthipan.

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