Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 15, 2009

More On Cheney's Use of Torture

It starts here.

After writer Lawrence Wilkerson, Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, points out some obvious facts about the Bush Cheney administration, for example:
First, more Americans were killed by terrorists on Cheney's watch than on any other leader's watch in US history. So his constant claim that no Americans were killed in the "seven and a half years" after 9/11 of his vice presidency takes on a new texture when one considers that fact. And it is a fact.
he drops the big one on us:

Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002--well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion--its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa'ida.

So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney's office that their detainee "was compliant" (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP's office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods. The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa'ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, "revealed" such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.

Then there's this from McClatchy:
The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Saddam's regime.

It leads us here. Robert Windrem at the Daily Beast reports:
Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection.

The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible.

Much of the information in the report of the 9/11 Commission was provided through more than 30 sessions of torture of detainees.
While that intelligence official wasn't waterboarded, he WAS an official POW. For Cheney to suggest waterboarding a real life honest to goodness POW is disgusting in itself.

Joe Conason over at adds:
Yet evidence is mounting that under Cheney’s direction, "enhanced interrogation" was not used exclusively to prevent imminent acts of terror or collect actionable intelligence -- the aims that he constantly emphasizes -- but to invent evidence that would link al-Qaida with Saddam Hussein and connect the late Iraqi dictator to the 9/11 attacks.

In one report after another, from journalists, former administration officials and Senate investigators, the same theme continues to emerge: Whenever a prisoner believed to possess any knowledge of al-Qaida’s operations or Iraqi intelligence came into American custody, CIA interrogators felt intense pressure from the Bush White House to produce evidence of an Iraq-Qaida relationship (which contradicted everything that U.S. intelligence and other experts knew about the enmity between Saddam’s Baath Party and Osama bin Laden’s jihadists). Indeed, the futile quest for proof of that connection is the common thread running through the gruesome stories of torture from the Guantánamo detainee camp to Egyptian prisons to the CIA's black sites in Thailand and elsewhere.

And he ends with:
Whether Bush, Cheney and their associates were seeking real or fabricated intelligence, they knowingly employed methods that were certain to produce the latter -- as American officials well knew because those same techniques, especially water torture, had been used to elicit false confessions from captured Americans as long ago as World War II and the Korean conflict.

Cheney now claims that he preserved the country from terrorism and saved thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives. We need a serious investigation, with witnesses including the former vice-president under oath, to determine what he and his associates actually did with the brutal powers they arrogated to themselves -- because instead their actions cost thousands upon thousands of American and Iraqi lives, all in the service of a political lie.

Investigate the torture. Prosecute the torture.


Sherry Pasquarello said...

i really think that we were on the verge of having a dictatorship with cheney. i think his dreams of power knew no bounds and he viewed this country as a business takeover.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Well, then. If you're sooo upset about (supposed) torture (it's a definitional, semantic thingy, btw), how about we do any of all with the muzzies:
1. A letter asking very nicely.
2. The comfy chair.

Would those techniques be acceptable? Hmmmm?

Oh, Sherry... Barak Hussein Obama is acting more like a dictator... nationalizing industries, wanting to regulate what people can make, and more.

Oh, and another few thingys.. How are you leftist moonbats dealing with Barak Hussein Obama's apparent flip-flops on Club Gitmo and the photos? Not very well, I presume.

I assume it's only a coincidence BHO flipped (or, flopped) after former Vice President Cheney spoke out. Nah, couldn't be... even though a majority of Americans agree with Cheney.

Joshua said...

I say we waterboard CM. Who's with me?

Sherry Pasquarello said...

ya know, there's a difference between changing one's course of action after viewing all sides and "flip flopping" or worse, as in the case of bush-staying the course no matter how things changed as time went on.

as to nationalizing industries, what would you do? give them money without any strings attached like bush did with wall street?

cheney is "speaking out" to try to cover his own ass. stupid move on his part because obama(our current president) really doesn't seem to want to getting tangled up in the toture issue.

me, i say get an independent investigation going and root it all out. all of it and set things right. admit what went on. appologize and move on

oh, and as to the detainees that are proven in a court of law to be guilty? we have some of the worst people in the world incarcerated. i think we can handle them!

you give them way too much credit if you think our max security prisons her can not handle them.

Dave said...

CM it's not "supposed" torture. It's torture period.

Secondly, "muzzies"???? WTF?

How many times do you wingnuts need to be told that torture does not workA former FBI interrogator who questioned al-Qaida prisoners testified Wednesday that the Bush administration falsely boasted of success from extreme techniques like waterboarding, when those methods were slow, unreliable and made an important witness stop talking.

Ali Soufan, testifying to a Senate panel behind a screen to hide his identity, said his team's non-threatening interrogation approach elicited crucial information from al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, including intelligence on "dirty bomb" terrorist Jose Padilla.

Soufan said his team had to step aside when CIA contractors took over. They began using harsh methods that caused Zubaydah to "shut down," Soufan said, and his team had to be recalled the get the prisoner talking again.

Dave said...

CM if you truly believe that what Cheney said had any bearing on Obama's decision, you're even more deluded than I thought.

The only people who give a shit about what Dick Cheney says are Dick Cheney and the idiots in the Beltway media.

Ol' Froth said...

Waterboarding is clearly torture. We put Japanese military officers to death after WWII specifically for engaging in waterboarding.

And, it doesn't work. Anyone besides me remember in the days after 9/11 Cheney barking "Find out if Saddam is behind this?"

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Dave.. If you don't like the term "muzzies", how about "ragheads" or "goat loavers"?

I don't give rat's behind how or how often we interrogate terrorists. Do think the 3,000+ murdered on 9/11 would care? How about Daniel Pearl? "Religion of Peace" my a**.

As for being waterboarded, as at least one person would like to see done to me... I'd volunteer to try it. In my mind, it's not torture. We subject certain of our military to waterboarding as a part of training. (That's fact, Jack.) So, I guess we "tortue" our own, huh?

Joshua said...

Well, Jesse Ventura claims that if he had a waterboard, you, and one hour, he could get you to confess to the Sharon Tate murders. Moreover, he endured it in SERE training, and even he agrees it's torture. So I'll ask again: who wants to see CM waterboarded?

Dayvoe said...

As it's TORTURE, I would not want to see ANYONE TORTURED.

Not even the loyal conservatives who say it's OK.

No one should get tortured.

Maria said...

The SERE Comparison Fallacy:

1) SERE trainees know that they are being prepared by their superiors to face possible torture by an enemy, not threatened with death by an actual opponent as were the people that we tortured.

2) SERE trainees have only their mouths covered and a small amount of water applied, not both mouth and nose covered with a large amount of water applied as were the people that we tortured. This means simply that the trainees experience the sensation of being drowned while the persons we tortured were actually being smothered.

3) SERE trainees are waterboarded once, not 183 times over the course of a month as was at least one of the persons that we tortured.

Sherry Pasquarello said...

it comes down to this:

are we going to let them make us like them because we are afraid of them?

if that is the case. if we will dismantle our constitution, our treaties, our morals and ethics because of fear, then they(whoever THEY may be at any given time in history) have won.

WE are a better people than that.

or at least, we should be.

(or, are you just after revenge on whoever you THINK might be involved)

Anonymous said...

Even Reagan saw it as torture.

What's your malfunction, CM?

Conservative Mountaineer said...

No malfunction. I seriously do not consider enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) as torture. I just don't.

Course, neither did San Fran Nan Pelosi.. the babe and leader of you leftists.. she didn't complain at the time she learned/knew the techniques were being considered or the time she learned/knew they were being used.

I'll ask any of you this - Ya think the al queda terrorists use water boarding or putting a little spider in a box? I'll answer for you. NO! Thier techniques are much worse. (See Daniel Pearl.)

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Thanks for clearing up your point of view for us CM, but I still favor the rule of law, the Constitution, and the American Way.

Of course, you are free to maintain your opinion that we need to continue to act as terrorists ourselves, to torture anyone suspected of shoplifting to obtain a confession, and to turn the country over to religious extremists, as Rush advises you to do. I just can't buy it. Sorry.

daveg said...

i have met and spoken with marines who have experienced waterboarding as part of their training.

i think there is a qualitative difference between the kind of emotional torment we visited upon prisoners which we had reason to believe had knowledge of terrorist plans, and the torture we have heard about in practice in other countries.

do i necessarily approve with all the techniques used? honestly i'm not sure, and anybody who is not uncomfortable with these issues scares me.

but do i think that bush and chaney are 'evil', 'war criminals', et cetera?

goodness no!

oh yeah, and "on the verge of having a dictatorship"?

bwahahaha! that's funny.

what personal freedom did you lose under bush/cheney?!?

you're in for a rude awakening as obama tries to exert more control over the private sector and personal over the next few years.

i hope i'm wrong, but it isn't loking good so far, with the increased control of large businesses, increased taxes, increased public sector employment, and moves to control political speech.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

what personal freedom did you lose under bush/cheney?!?
I suppose you mean aside from the ability to challenge the government to explain why they have arrested someone? And trial by a jury of ones' peers? And to talk privately on the phone? And to be able to protest in public? Is that what you mean?