Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cheney Insists All Material Related To Torture Be Released To Vindicate His Belief In Its Effectiveness & America's Belief " Ignorance Is Bliss "

"The fact is that once you go down the slippery slope of tossing aside the law and allowing some people to be tortured, there is nothing to stop each and every one of us from being the subject in the chair with the light glaring down that someone in authority has decided - mistakenly or not - is a "security risk.

There is only one thing that we know about torture that works for certain: torture debases us. It doesn't just debase its victims or those who perpetrate it. It debases all of us in whose name it is conducted. It debases us to others in the world - who lose respect for our values and grow to hate our society. But just as importantly, it debases us to ourselves. It debases our self-respect and our respect for the institutions that make us civilized human beings."
Robert Creamer, April 22, Huffington Post

" ...Hayden and Mukasey accuse the no-torture policy of inviting "the kind of institutional timidity and fear of recrimination that weakened intelligence gathering in the past, and that we came sorely to regret on September 11, 2001." That's a version of history I actually hadn't heard espoused by anyone ever before -- that had the intelligence community not been weakened by timidity and fear, 9/11 might not have happened. All this time I thought it had more to do with the fact that the White House did nothing to follow up on the August 6, 2001 daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." that included the warning that "FBI information... indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings..."


"...Hayden and Mukasey claim that critical information regarding terrorists and their attacks were derived from use of these "enhanced techniques" and suggest that anyone on the Congressional committees who heard Hayden's briefings could not conclude otherwise. As one of those who was privy to those briefings, I saw no empirical evidence to prove that assertion..."

Quotes From: "Tough Guys Hayden and Mukasey Defend Torture, Decry Release of the OLC Memos: Why They're Wrong " By Rep. Jan Schakowsky, AlterNet.April 22, 2009.

UPDATE: 1:15 PM, April 23, 2009

A.G. Holder: Investigate Torture-,April 22, 2009

" MoveOn Torture Ad Highlights Cheney for Investigation" by Sam Stein, Huffington April 22, 2009.

"America is better than this. Ask Attorney General Holder to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate these abuses."
The people who authorized Bush's torture program shouldn't get off scot-free. It's time for Attorney General Holder to appoint an independent special prosecutor.

Anyway here's a little overview of the Torture Memos & the various responses to them from an outcry of disbelief to who cares? to Let's Forget about them and move on oblivious to America's responsibility in taking part in a series of barbaric actions:

Pepe Escobar- Torture a Bipartisan Sport
April 22, 2009 " American torture:There can be no "exceptionalism" when the rule of law is broken" Real News Network

"The release of some of the Bush administration torture memos now presents the Obama administration with a crucial dilemma. President Obama at first exonerated CIA officials responsible for the euphemistic "enhanced interrogation" techniques. The White House has even expunged the word "torture" from its vocabulary. The bulk of corporate media favors a whitewash. Pepe Escobar argues the question is not that the memos should have been kept secret - as the CIA and former Vice-President Dick Cheney wanted. The question is that those who broke the rule of law must be held accountable. Responding to growing public outrage, the White House shifted gears and is now leaving the door open for the work of a Special Prosecutor."

Cheney claims he officially requested the release of all CIA material related to torture and intel gathered as a result of that torture in order he says to vindicate the use of torture which he believes prevented further attacks on the US by terrorists.

Is this just a desperate plea on Cheney's part in a game of chicken with the Obama administration and its supporters- In effect he is daring Obama to investigate and if Cheney is proved wrong that Cheney I presume will be willing to be indicted and eventually jailed if he doesn't leave the country before they can arrest him.

Cheney being interviewed by His most admiring fan Sean Hannity

In the above video we see Cheney at his worse as such a cold hearted hypocrite and bald faced liar and Hannity is his unquestioning, uncritical Megaphone for the New onslaught of Cheney/ Neocon Propaganda- Are the American people as gullible and as starry eyed in love with Cheney as is Sean Hannity.

First a few comments on Cheney's remarks in this video which I can not let pass:

Cheney says he believes in Democracy and Human Rights and in civilized society - this would just be a bit funny if it wasn't so outrageous- Vice president Cheney supported widespread spying on American citizens, he was and is in favor of the executive branch having dictatorial powers,If the president does it or orders it then it is legal.

And for those who remember the election of 2000 there are still questions about whether or not the 2000 election had been fixed in one way or another.

Cheney and Bush invaded a sovereign nation that is Iraq under false pretenses killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. During the invasion and occupation of Iraq Cheney and Bush & co. committed a number of War Crimes and Crimes against humanity- he wouldn't agree to such charges since he and Bush did not and still don't believe the Geneva Conventions and other international Agreements concerning the conduct of nations during a war or an occupation apply to the United States since America is above and beyond the Rule of Law.

As for the laws in America which ban the use of torture or the abuse or inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners well that's easily settled since according to Rumsfeld , Bush and Cheney the President is permitted to breach any US law or the Constitution or even the Bill of Rights etc. since the President is the decider and the Commander In Chief who can break laws or declare War on his own without needing the approval of Congress, the Senate or the Judiciary or DOJ etc. So in effect the president has dictatorial powers which he can use at his discretion.

For someone who believes in basic freedoms and democracy it is a bit odd that he and others infiltrated the media in Iraq by placing propaganda pieces favorable to the US occupation in the Iraqi media.

As for the US media he and others in the Bush administration used the power of their offices to attempt to manage the US media with their constant use of Talking Points filling the air waves with views supporting their statements and policies and actions with the aid of members and former members of the Pentagon and CIA members again supporting the views of the Bush regime but acting as if they were independent free-agents-

Even now much of the US media including Fox News, CNN and others still appear to be working for the former Bush Regime and the Republican Party. Some of these sycophants include:Sean Hannity, Chris Wallace, Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly , Glenn Beck , Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Ann Coulter , Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Backman , Peggy Noonan, George Will etc. Do they get paid for each appearance, by the article , by the word or by the number of lies they tell on behalf of their beloved leaders .

And Cheney as part of the Bush administration also took part in attacks on any American who dared criticize the Bush Regime's policies and he and others went further calling these critics UnPatriotic and traitors.
And over and over again the Bush/Cheney regime lied , distorted , prevarigated to the US public and the world about detainee abuse , or the reasons for invading Iraq etc. And yet he has the audacity to claim to believe in democracy and freedom and human rights.

And what is worse is that the US media is still giving Cheney a platform from which to spew his lies and propaganda in his vicious underhanded dishonest attacks on President Obama while claiming he would never attack Obama on a personal level- this seems odd since Cheney says Obama is endangering the US and is undermining the CIA, the Military and the Pentagon and that Obama is in fact helping America's enemies by releasing secret CIA documents or by closing down Guantanamo, or stopping the CIA from Torturing and abusing detainees etc..

Philippe Sands in an open letter takes up Cheney's challenge calling his bluff and insists that the Obama administration should relese all such files.

" Publish and Be Damned, Mr Cheney Dick Cheney wants classified material released to show that torture 'worked'. Let's see it all – waterboarding videos included " by Philippe Sands, April 21, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Philippe Sands open letter to Dick Cheney

Dear Mr Cheney,

Last night, you appeared on Fox News' Hannity show, calling for an "honest debate" on the benefits of the Bush Administration's "bold" interrogation programme. You seem unhappy with last week's publication of four new legal memos authorising torture, so you referred to reports that have not yet been declassified "that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity". You told Hannity:

"I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country."

Of course, you have a terrific track record on the intelligence material that you have seen and read. I recall that, back in August 2002, you told a Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

Now, you seem keen that we should be able to see the reports you read showing all the benefits of interrogations to be made public. But why stop there? Let's have those reports. Let's also have the interrogation logs. Let's have the videos and audio tapes of the actual interrogations, assuming they haven't all been destroyed (in the meantime, you may want to take a quick peek at this, Christopher Hitchens writing in Vanity Fair, to see what waterboarding actually looks like in practice, and its effects on one of our more robust journalists. Why not call for the declassification of the waterboarding videos, so we can see for ourselves what information was gleaned in the moments and hours and days after the waterboarding was carried out?

I hope you'll excuse me if I am a tad sceptical. I recall, for example, that when I testified before the House Judiciary Committee last summer, Congressman Trent Franks reported that waterboarding was used on only three men and that, in each case, it had lasted no more than one minute. That gave a grand total of three minutes of waterboarding. What's all the fuss about, Congressman Franks seemed to be saying. It seems that the source on whom he relied – Michael Hayden, who happened to be the former head of the CIA – wasn't entirely accurate. This week's news reports that two of those men were waterboarded on no less than 266 occasions.

And, more to the point, as I report in my book Torture Team, I made some inquiries about your administration's claim that the torture of Mohammed al-Qahtani at Guantánamo back in the autumn of 2002 had produced a great deal of useful material. It turns out that it didn't. I met with the head of al-Qahtani's exploitation team. Had the new interrogation techniques produced anything useful, I asked him? He chose his words with care.

"There was a lot of data of interest", he said. "It was contextual in nature, confirming in nature. Did it help us catch Osama bin Laden? No."

I took that as a no, confirmation that there was little to back up the usual, bullish overstatements made by your administration back in June 2004 to justify the move to abuse.

So, I'm somewhat sceptical about your claim. Perhaps waterboarding and the other techniques of torture you approved did produce information. On the basis of my conversations with seasoned interrogators, I doubt, however, that it was reliable or particularly useful.

And from the Guardian more on Cheney's challenge to Obama to release more secret documents:

" Cheney Demands Release of CIA Memos Proving Torture 'Success'Former US vice-president Cheney says CIA memos showed torture methods such as waterboarding delivered 'good' intelligence " by Ewan MacAskill and Robert Booth Guardian UK, April 21, 2009 ( at

The former US vice-president Dick Cheney has called for the disclosure of CIA memos which reveal the "success" of torture techniques, including waterboarding, used on al-Qaida suspects under the Bush administration.

Cheney said that, according to secret documents he has seen, the interrogation techniques, which the Obama administration now accepts amounted to torture, delivered "good" intelligence. He hinted that it had significant consequences for US security.

Cheney was speaking out in response to the release by Barack Obama of four Bush administration memos detailing the agency's interrogation methods used against al-Qaida suspects.

"One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort," Cheney said in an appearance on Fox News.

"I haven't talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.

"I've now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was."

But then we get this report from NBC :

NBC: Cheney didnt formally ask CIA to release terror memos
By David Edwards
Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News Sean Hannity that he had formally asked the CIA to release memos that he claims show the U.S. got valuable intelligence from harsh interrogations.

A senior intelligence source tells NBC News that the CIA has no record of a formal request from Cheney. And regarding Vice President Cheneys request to declassify other memos, a senior intelligence official tells NBC News that the CIA has received no such request from the vice president. Not clear what they would do if they got one, reported Andrea Mitchell.

This video is from MSNBCs News Live, broadcast Apr. 21, 2009.

One of the other nagging questions I have about Obama is Why did Obama believe he had to go before the CIA with hat in hand asking for forgiveness and understanding why he as President released the CIA/Bush Torture memos . It reminds one of individuals taking leadership in some banana republic going to the Secret Police explaining their actions and hoping that the Secret Police or military would not stage a coupd'etat -

The CIA as far as I know only has power granted to it by the executive branch and the Congress and the Senate- I for one did not realize that the CIA is some sort of official or unofficial arm of the US government- so can the CIA make up and enforce policies on its own independent of the elected government or the Judiciary or Department of Justice- must Obama kow tow to the CIA as he has also done with the US military extolling their virtues and honorable service to the nation even when they allowed themselves to be politicized and controlled by the White House with little regard to the other branches of the US government ie Congress, Senate, the DOJ.

So according to Cheney the president can declare war against another nation or turn the military loose upon the citizens of the US without regard to the other branches of the US Federal government - and so the Bush /Cheney doctrine of Presidential unilateral and unitary powers are still being held in place by President Obama. Is this the sort of reality that Obama now faces and so must be careful about every move he makes because if he pisses off the wrong group the Pentagon or the CIA they will by whatever means necessary bring down his government .

The Bush/Cheney Nightmare from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib to Bagram and a hundred other US run detentions facilities and then there are the Secret Black Sites and the renditioning of prisoners to countries which will do the dirty work of torture by proxy for the Holier then Thou Hypocritical barbaric American government and its CIA and military.

It has been argued that the torture of detainees or prisoners was not just restricted to those high status prisoners at Guantanamo but rather such harsh and abusive techniques were also used on many prisoners at Guantanamo and at Abu Ghraib and Bagram but also at other prison facilities in Iraq and afghanistan.

Yet many in the media even those who are critical of the Bush Regime or who may even see themselves as liberals seem to accept at face value statements by the Bush administration that the scandal at Abu Ghraib only involved a few bad eggs or apples on the Night Shift. But there is a great deal of evidence from former US interrogators and military personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan combined with the stories told by former detainees who had been held by the US military that abuse and torture was widespread.

It is interesting that even the so called liberals in the US seem uninterested in connecting the dots from the CIA/Bush Torture memos to what was happening and is or may still be happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.All a US soldier or Interrogator or CIA agent has to do is to claim that the captured individual is an insurgent in league with this or that terrorist organization to have the individual treated as a " Terrorists" who is therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions. Or those in authority merely have to claim that because the detainee is held outside US territory that therefore US and International Laws do not apply. The Americans have got this covered in as many possible ways they can conjure up but in the end it is just all rationalizations for the abuse and torture of Prisoners of War.

Connecting CIA Torture to Abu Ghraib" by Robert Parry at Consortium News at, April 21, 2009

...By blurring the lines between terrorism and combat - and by linking the 9/11 rationale to groups only tangentially connected to al-Qaeda - the Bush administration spread the policy of harsh interrogations far beyond terror suspects who worked directly for Osama bin Laden, newly released Justice Department memos reveal.

Most significantly, the Bush administration let the interrogation policy spill over into U.S.-occupied Iraq, where ambushes of American and allied troops were regarded as the legal and moral equivalent of terrorist attacks against civilians on U.S. soil, one of the memos, dated May 30, 2005, makes clear. That belief, in turn, appears to have set the stage for the Abu Ghaib prison abuse scandal.

The memo - written by Steven Bradbury, then acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel - describes the criteria for identifying a "high value" detainee who would be a candidate for "enhanced interrogation techniques." While describing the supposedly restrictive nature of the criteria, Bradbury actually reveals how broad the category was.

Such a detainee is someone "who, until time of capture, we have reason to believe: (1) is a senior member of al-Qai'da or an al-Qai'da associated terrorist group (Jemaah Islamiyyah, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Zarqawi Group, etc.), (2) has knowledge of imminent terrorist threats against the USA, its military forces, its citizens and organizations, or its allies; or that has/had direct involvement in planning and preparing terrorist actions against the USA or its allies, or assisting the al-Qai'da leadership in planning and preparing such terrorist actions; and (3) if released, constitutes a clear and continuing threat to the USA or it allies," the memo states.

In other words, an Iraqi insurgent allegedly linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who led a particularly violent faction of the Iraqi war against U.S. occupation, could qualify for harsh interrogation if he might know about future attacks on American or allied troops inside Iraq.

Though terrorism is classically defined as acts of violence directed against civilians to achieve a political goal, the Bush administration broadened the concept to include attacks by Iraqis against U.S. or allied soldiers occupying Iraq. So, for instance, a suspected Iraqi insurgent who might know about the location of roadside bombs would fall under these criteria.

In the article by Robert Creamer argues that whether or not torture works should not be the question but whether or not it is something to be tolerated in a civilized nation - it is a matter of what harm it does to those tortured and to those who permit torture in their name and finally concludes it is wrong and immoral no matter how effective some claim it to be.

Creamer is a bit naive if he thinks for one moment that those who supported Bush and Cheney and those in the Media who acted on their behalf for eight years care about such arguments. Most of these people think its traitorous and is an insult to the Bush presidency to even be discussing these matters in public in a balanced and critical manner. They believe that what ever was done was done to protect America and besides those who were abused or even tortured were the " BAD GUYS" and they deserved whatever happened to them . Americans as I have said before after 9/11 wanted revenge, they wanted blood spilled so they could feel safe and know their government would not be restricted by pointless idiotic rules made up by a bunch of anti-American foreigners or by (in their view ) the Evil United Nations which is controlled by anti-Americans-

and see: " Does Torture Work? " by Robert Creamer at Huffington Post , April 22, 2009

...There is little question that torture gets a response from its victims. That's why its practitioners find it "useful." But that is also what makes its results completely unreliable. It isn't hard for anyone to imagine that they would say pretty much anything to make the pain stop if they believed they were drowning, or if their joints felt they would break after they had hung by their arms for hours, or if they were repeatedly slammed against the wall, or if they had been left naked and shivering for hours in the cold and periodically showered with cold water, or if they had been confined in a small box for hours with insects. All of these were methods approved by the Bush Justice Department.

These are but the latest innovations in the tradition of ingenious, sadistic methods of inflicting pain and psychological torment. Over the centuries, torturers have invented machines like the rack to gradually tear apart people's limbs. They have used rubber hoses to beat the bottom of people's feet to a pulp. They have become adept at removing fingernails, and drilling on teeth without an anesthetic. They have learned to connect the exact amount of electric current a victim's testicles or nipples in order to inflict maximum pain without ultimately killing the subject. And of course there has always been the ever-popular old-fashioned beating. While these were not on the list of approved methods, they differ only modestly from those on the "approved list." All inflict excruciating physical or psychological pain.

It is precisely the fact that torture inflicts pain that makes it hard to believe the results of the intelligence that is gathered, or the truthfulness of a confession, or the sincerity of a renunciation of faith. That's why most professionals who specialize in interrogation reject the reliability of the information gained by torture, and why courts throw out confessions obtained by torture.

That in fact is why we have the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution - to prevent the coerced confessions that were commonplace in 18th Century Europe. Remember, the Fifth Amendment is not just about protecting the rights of the accused. It is also about protecting society from the coerced, false confession that leaves the real criminal on the street.

In fact in Chicago, just a few years ago, a particular police Lieutenant specialized in illegally obtaining false confessions by torture. The emergence of DNA evidence has since proved that many of the convictions resulting from those confessions were wrong - and the real criminals escaped justice.

Hayden and Mukasey would have us believe that only the "bad guys" were subject to torture. But of course we know that wasn't true - that hundreds of innocent people who were rounded up off the streets of Iraq were subject to "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the contractors at Abu Ghraib. We know that many of the detainees shipped to Guantanamo were turned over to our forces by bounty hunters and were innocent of anything except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that didn't stop some of them from being subjected to various forms of "enhanced interrogation."

The fact is that once you go down the slippery slope of tossing aside the law and allowing some people to be tortured, there is nothing to stop each and every one of us from being the subject in the chair with the light glaring down that someone in authority has decided - mistakenly or not - is a "security risk."

Creamer goes on to quote from an article written by Ariel Dorfman

"... a Chilean American writer and professor at Duke University. He is also author of Death and the Maiden. He also became an expert on torture. In the fall of 2006 he published a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post.

"Can't the United States see that when we allow someone to be tortured by our agents, it is not only the victim and perpetrator who are corrupted, not only the "intelligence" that is contaminated, but also everyone who looked away and said they did not know, everyone who consented tacitly to that outrage so they could sleep a little safer at night, all the citizens who did not march in the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of whoever suggested, even whispered, that torture is inevitable in our day and age, that we must embrace its darkness?

Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this? Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America? Have we so lost our bearings that we do not realize that each of us could be the hapless Argentine who sat under the Santiago's sun, so possessed by the evil done to him that he could not stop shivering ?" *

* Ariel Dorfman, Washington Post National Weekly Edition, October 28, 2006

And for more on the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the use of independent contractors out-sourced as it were to abuse and torture detainees.

" Court: Abu Ghraib Victims Can Sue Torturers " By Willam Fisher, IPS News. Posted April 20, 2009.

A federal court has ruled that four men who were tortured and released without charge can sue CACI, the U.S. contractor hired to do interrogations.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1998, denied a motion to dismiss the detainees' claims by the contractor, CACI International. The Arlington, Virginia-based company is a major contractor to the Defense Department.

The former detainees allege multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy.

The suit alleges that the CACI defendants not only participated in physical and mental abuse of the detainees, but also destroyed documents, videos and photographs; prevented the reporting of the torture and abuse to the International Committee of the Red Cross; hid detainees and other prisoners from the International Committee of the Red Cross; and misled non-conspiring military and government officials about the state of affairs at the Iraq prisons.

and so it goes,

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