Former President George Bush defends water-boarding

November 9, 2010

Reprieve’s Director Clive Stafford Smith responds to former President George Bush’s claim that water-boarding prisoners helped prevent terror attacks in the UK.

“Damn right he authorized water-boarding, former President Bush boasts. He also boasts of secret, unverifiable benefits he achieved through torture, that only he may know, and the rest of us should take on faith. The rest of us know, though, that, damn right, Bush authorized the torture of Ibn Sheikh al Libi, who then ‘revealed’ a link between Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda and WMD. We also know that when Bush said this was a reason to go to war, he was making an enormous mistake, causing the endless bloodshed that followed.”

“By authorising torture, President Bush made the world an infinitely more dangerous place. US torture spread like a virus, from the CIA to Abu Ghraib, and became the greatest recruiting sergeant for extremism. A vast reservoir of goodwill towards the US following 9/11 was drained in record time.”


Notes for Editors: Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves.

Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’