A Quick Anti-Cheney Rant

In the wake of President Obama’s release of the four CIA ‘torture memos’, former Vice-President Dick Cheney has gone on the defence (attack really, he doesn’t ‘do’ defence):

“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is that they put out the legal memos… but they didn’t put out the memos that show the success of the effort,” Mr Cheney told Fox News.

“There are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified. I formally ask that they be declassified now.”

The American people should have a chance to weigh the intelligence obtained alongside the legal debate, he said.

Can I remind readers that Cheney is now a private citizen and not the vice-president?! I’ve never heard of previous presidents or vice-presidents trying to influence their successors like this. Even Al Gore behaved with dignity towards Bush, and later towards the Bush Administration over climate change. This is a shameless attempt at undermining the president, and Obama must do the right thing by completely ignoring him.

Can I also remind readers that human rights are indivisible? They’re either universally applicable – to everyone at all times – or you might as well dismiss the notion entirely. You don’t get to suspend the UDHR for people you don’t like (or who don’t like you) – that defeats the entire concept, equally as much as Obama’s allowing CIA flunkies who did torture to get away with it. I understand his political calculation in at least starting down that road, but he’s as wrong as Cheney is here. And considering the entire administration of which he was a part was built on a pack of lies, I wouldn’t believe a single document which Cheney says proves his point.

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19 responses to “A Quick Anti-Cheney Rant

  1. I’d be interested, actually, to understand how “the success” is defined here – how are they able to quantitavely evaluate the use of the intelligence obtained under torture and state confidently what it helped to prevent, or who it helped arrest, etc.

    Most people who have made a career out of studying torture state that it doesn’t work, that people tortured will eventually confess to anything to try to make it stop – and I think being waterboarded 90+ times would count here as torture.

    So it would be interesting to note how they can define it to have worked, or not, what the success criteria are. Is it just a broken suspect, or concrete information that was verifiably useful?

    I agree with your comments about human rights, obviously, but I’m more looking at this from the “have they actually found a way to obtain useful data from torture or are they just blowing smoke up Obama’s ass here?” (as I suspect they are).

  2. And how did all this torture start, or rather from whence did it come? It happened as a result of an invasion of a country based upon lies. Sure some will argue that the authorized torture techniques were all done on Al-Qaeda subjects caught in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so it’s no big deal. Torture of them was a result of their attacking America on 9/11, and to prevent further attacks. This is a hollow argument since torture does not prove anything or get you reliable information, especially from people who want to die as martyrs. Its time to put Cheney in jail along with Feith, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rove, Hadley, and Libby, for starting a war based upon lies and a hidden agenda. First assemble a Grand Jury. Play them the numerous taped interviews of Cheney saying that “we know that Mohammad Atta was in Prague meeting with a known Iraqi Intelligence agent”. Get that on the record since it’s a statement of belief and “truth” on his part as the Vice President and used to justify the invasion of Iraq. You may want to actually have Cheney in the Grand Jury when the tapes are played, and have him affirm his statements under oath. Remember, linking the 9/11 attacks by Bin Ladin to Saddam Hussein is the purpose of his statements. Many Americans believe sadly to this day that Saddam had a direct role in the 9/11 attacks, which is a total lie. Also, introduce into evidence the various speeches to the American public and the United Nations by Bush and Powell, about Iraq’s WMD assemblage, which came from the flawed source “Curveball”, whom Cheney etal, knew was false. Then put in the various intelligence agency analysts who were all saying the WMD intel was flawed and there was no connection between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Then subpoena from the FBI the photographs of “Atta meeting with a known Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague” which were taken by the Czech Intelligence Service, provided to the CIA, and given to the FBI agents assigned to the CIA’s Alec Station, for analysis by the FBI Laboratory. Subpeona these agents and those at the lab. Get the FBI Lab report which concludes that it is not Atta in the photographs. Then have Cheney review the lab report in front of the Grand Jury, under oath, to affirm that he read it BEFORE he uttered his lies publically. Then get your True Bill indicting him and his cronies for False Statements, and perhaps Treason. The wounded and maimed in Iraq (US soldiers and Iraqi civilians), could perhaps sue this cabal for their errors. To sweep this injustice under the rug is an absolute crime. If America won’t do it, perhaps that Spanish judge Garzon will.

  3. Pingback: Obama’s Long Game on Torture: Part 2 « Cosmodaddy

  4. there is no such thing as universal human rights, if there were we would have to invade and arrest half the planet. There are only ideals that we aspire to, and commitments that we try to keep.

    Let’s look at this from your view, torture is wrong and anybody that does it should be locked up. Okay Saddam and his cronies tortured as a rule, maimed and mutilated tens of thousands. Did you protest him? No you protest the people that over threw him.

    Putin tortures and kills anyone that speaks against him, even in your own country. Have you tried to speak against him? Hmm I think you sent some police people but they were denied correct? and the case was dropped.

    Saudi arabi tortures and kills on the whim of the royals. Do you protest them? hmm No You signed a 38 billion dollar contract with them.

    The only people you protest are people that started a war that freed 16 million iraqi’s from a dictator and 6 million afghans from a brutal theocracy. Life is not black and white and heroes do not always have clean hands. Accept that people in power tend to try and do their best and that decisions were made that you don’t agree with. Than move on, leadership cannot always be judged from the same view as civilians and that is why successful gov’t do not attempt which hunts on the previous administrations.

  5. there is no such thing as universal human rights, if there were we would have to invade and arrest half the planet.

    Well if you’re talking metaphysics then of course you’re right – rights aren’t ‘things’, they’re only philosophical constructs, yet the UDHR was co-founded by the United States and has been signed up to by the US and the majority of nation states. It may not be a treaty commitment, yet remember the US has signed up to treaties which oblige it not to torture…

    The rest of your argument is specious to try to be fair. It’s ludicrous to say noone objects to Saudi Arabia, to Putin, that people somehow supported Saddam, but these regimes have never had a constitution obliging them to behave better, nor signed up to or cared about treaties banning torture. Hey even while W and his cabal of torture apologists were illegally rewriting law to allow their behaviour, the Glove Puppet himself did this:

    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/04/22/memories.aspx

    The country either operates by the rule of law or it doesn’t. Its constitution means something or it doesn’t. I can find you reference after reference debunking the use of the Bush Administration’s torture, but I fear you wouldn’t see it for what it is. I’m alarmed that you’re implying the people who did this, who authorised it and tried to cover it up are ‘heroes’. We’re not talking about making difficult decisions, we’re talking about torture, man. Andrew Sullivan writes very well against it here:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/04/what-cheney-did-to-conservatism.html

  6. sorry I did realize the use of the word “hero” was probably to much but the point stands, they made a difference in the lives of people who were being tortured. Protesting with puppets doesn’t seem to. GB actually suspended the geneva convention for the term of the conflict because of the nature of the foe, (little fact I only learned tuesday) however while I agree that the use of torture at the highest levels ended up causing the behavior at Abu Garib, I also think that after normal methods of information extraction have been used on high level terror suspects they should be tortured for any other info. I see no reason to treat them as human beings after they have lived a life committed to destroying the life of others. Than I think their broken bodies should be fed to dogs. I have no use for life time imprisonment for people like them and think that I should not have to bear the cost of housing them.

    I have read ever legal scrap on the anti-torture commitments of the US and the CIA managed to exempt itself and the rest of the gov’t from the majority of the obligations. The military wrote rules against torture but not aggressive questioning, however those rules were legally suspended by their commander in chief. There is no legal case to say that the prisoners were entitled to the any rights other than that lent to non uniformed combatants which is the right of summary execution.

    The rule of law was followed however ugly the results. The constitution applies only to citizens, or people on american soil, there is no universal jurisdiction and the US was not and is not a member of the ICC. Please tell me who should prosecute and under what authority? The Intelligence committee of the Congress rubber stamped the torture guidelines, the president signed off on it, and the lawyers okay’d it. Now you want to say it’s illegal? No it’s immoral, not illegal. But so is war and that is what we found ourselves in.

  7. I also think that after normal methods of information extraction have been used on high level terror suspects they should be tortured for any other info.

    It doesn’t matter what you think – as the previous reference I gave quite neatly points out, the point of using torture was to create a reality which was inconveniently absent for the administration to justify its agenda with. Ignore the reality that you can’t prove the guilt from your cozy armchair of those who were tortured if you will, but torture has never been proven at any time in history to have brought out the truth and it didn’t here either.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/04/they-waterboarded-him-183-times-in-one-month.html

    The rule of law was followed because torture was redefined to be ‘legal’. The Geneva Convention? Pah. UDHR? Pah. Obama doesn’t believe it either. Congress should prosecute the Bush Six, as they should Bush and Cheney, although the latter no doubt will get off scot free.

  8. Congress signed off on the guidelines, Pelosi was said to be concerned it didn’t go far enough…these are the people that should prosecute?

  9. according to the leaked memos, the torture did pay off, of course this evidence has not been openly presented so I am left with little to prove it. other than the very words of the current DNI head

    ” President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

    “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

    Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.”

  10. I caught that about Pelosi. If she signed off on it then she’s as culpable as the agents who were ‘just following orders’ or Bush and Cheney themselves. Even people we might like mustn’t be beyond the law – if she broke it (and a Truth Commission should be set up to investigate who did and who didn’t) she has to pay the price.

  11. I don’t quite follow this, “as the previous reference I gave quite neatly points out, the point of using torture was to create a reality which was inconveniently absent for the administration to justify its agenda with.”

  12. good gods, why don’t we just make a circle and shoot each other, it’ll be more painless than 4 more years of a “Truth Commission”

  13. Are trying to say that the US designed Al Quada to blow up the trade centers and the pentagon, so that we could invade Afghanistan, so that we could build Gitmo, so that we could torture people to confess to the crimes that they had already confessed to in public?

  14. As Scoobs says at the beginning, if there really is incontravertible cause and effect here then Cheney is right – it should be published and demonstrated to have broken with thousands of years of history. But just because Admiral Blair says it’s so doesn’t make it so.

    I don’t get your further reasoning. The reasoning behind the Iraq War was the ‘link’ between Saddam and Al-Qaeda, even though none existed. But hey introduce actual ‘confessions’…(and why not actually read and respond to the articles which I reference)…

  15. your setting yourself up for an indefensible position, torture can produce results, what the studies have found is that other methods can also produce results without torture. This is the weakness behind the torture argument as well as the strength. I advocate the procedure in this course because I believe that even if some of the information is false enough useful information will come out that the subject will “volunteer” in an effort to make the torture stop, this information can be verified so it doesn’t really matter if some of it is false. The danger is of course what happens that the attitude towards torture spreads quickly thru the armed forces and leads to events like Abu G. That was the reason the military put a stop to it. However the CIA the true advocate for torture has long practiced torture and because they do so clandestinely are not overly concerned about spill over. They want their agents to be feared, and try to use all methods no matter the moral quandary. IF two prominent washington game players are so adamant that there is proof of success I would be very surprised if there was not some valuable info that they gained. The rumor is that the LA attack was foiled because of it. But the counter rumor is that the information was found on a lap top of someone that was tortured in the PI

    The reason we went to war was not the link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, but the potential link, and the ongoing containment of Iraq which was failing to stop him from re-arming do to the clandestine arm sales thru the UN “Oil for Food Program” and the French efforts to undo the blockade in exchange for bribe money. Also Saddam was in clear violation of his surrender terms and constantly provoking and sponsoring terror attacks in Israel, and Kuwait. He also tried to kill Bush senior. It was the belief by almost all of the major gov’t intel services that Iraq was re-arming, both with conventional arms and any unconventional arms that he could purchase. It than became the belief that removing Saddam and committing to regime change would spark a political and religious renaissance that would offer muslims of the world an alternative government choice to the brutal regimes in place in almost all Muslim countries. The over arching strategy was to encircle Iran, and engage Syria while building a country that would be more sympathetic to american concerns in the region.

  16. The point earlier references I gave tried to make was that torture of course can produce results; they’re just not reliable. And Bush’s FBI director has admitted it never foiled any terror plots.

    so it doesn’t really matter if some of it is false.

    Sure it does. It then means you’re being cruel and inhuman for the sake of it. That’s not remotely acceptable for a civilised nation with a constitution and rule of law. Those civilised norms are either applicable to everyone at all times, or they’re utterly meaningless.

    And I hate to reality check the Iraq War:

    – The weapons inspectors said there was no WMD. They were ignored (but right);
    – The ‘intelligence’ of Saddam’s nuclear programme was utterly bogus;
    – The ‘potential link’ made no sense to anyone other than those who thought that those who didn’t like the US would inevitably work together. I mean it’s not as if they’d have any other agendas which trumped that. Saddam hated Islamists.
    – The assassination plot against Bush Sr. was not a proscribed reason for attacking the country. That may have been a reason in the back of W’s mind, but that wasn’t an official reason.

    The rest of the neocon nonsense you quote was debunked before the war, and events have proven those of us who opposed that strategy entirely right.

  17. not being in compliance with your surrender terms is grounds to go to war. period.

  18. Dick Cheney, in his emergence as Barack Obama’s fiercest and meanest critic, while acting as the most loyal defender of the Bush administration’s policies after the Sept. 11 False Flag attacks, is exhibiting signs of having been the de facto president of the United States during that entire time. The tenure of Richard Cheney as vice president of the United States is credited with having been perhaps the most powerful in U.S. history, and if this is really so then it immediately raises a few serious questions. If he was so ‘powerful’ why was he so ‘invisible’? It is because his vice presidency was actually a ‘shadow presidency’. Is it because Cheney was actually the leader of a shadow government and his present behavior is merely a continuation of his role as the ‘shadow president’.
    You must understand that the cowardly, arrogant behavior Cheney pronounces today is but a mere reflection of the more belligerent and truculent posturing of the entire Bush administration regarding their justification of torture as a cover for a more sinister project – the False Flag 9/11 operation. This falsely stated emphasis on the rationalization of torture supports the notion of a global and domestic ‘War on Terror’, which is the direct result of the 9/11 conspiracy perpetrated by the US government.
    Had the 9/11 events been real or actual in the manner stated by the government then the response would also have been real and actual, but that was not the case. The government’s response to 9/11 was extraordinarily bizarre, only because the event itself was not real – and unreal events call for unreal responses. It was false in its totality, hence the strange reaction to it. Our response to those events only makes sense if we view them as part of a grand conspiracy on the part of the US government.
    What you are now witnessing in America today as a result of the False Flag attack called 9/11 is the full force and weight of the government of the United States of America as it turns completely from the principles of democracy to a full blown Fascist state, which of course, was the intended plan from the very beginning.

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