Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheney's Traveling Pro-Torture Roadside Distraction & Disinformation

Cheney's traveling pro-torture Roadshow

Anyway Rachel Maddow presents a great recap of Cheney's Media blitz in which he attempts to claim that torture works and that it's use helped to keep America safe. Maddow interviews Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson who rips apart Cheney & his pro-torture stance. Col Lawrence describes Cheney as a fearful man who liked to hide in the shadows but now Cheney is fearful of being outed as the Dark Lord and as possibly incompetent or as a ruthless manipulator who had no regard for his country but only for his own agenda whatever that might be . We now know one of the main reasons for the use of torture was not to defend the country but to get false confessions to provide evidence of Saddam's non-existent WMDs and his non-existent connections to Al Qaeda & the 9/11 attacks.

Rachel Maddow -Cheney Magical Media Tour driving the News Cycle -May 12
Interview of Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson who is former chief of staff of the Department of State during the term of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

excerpt from Col Wilkerson article written the day after his interview with Rachel Maddow to further detail his opinion about Dick Cheney:

"The Truth About Richard Bruce Cheney " by Col. Wilkerson at The Washington Note, May 13, 2009

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.

There was absolutely no policy priority attributed to al-Qa'ida by the Cheney-Bush administration in the months before 9/11. Counterterrorism czar Dick Clarke's position was downgraded, al-Qa'ida was put in the background so as to emphasize Iraq, and the policy priorities were lowering taxes, abrogating the ABM Treaty and building ballistic missile defenses.

Second, the fact no attack has occurred on U.S. soil since 9/11--much touted by Cheney--is due almost entirely to the nation's having deployed over 200,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and not to "the Cheney method of interrogation."

Those troops have kept al-Qa'ida at bay, killed many of them, and certainly "fixed" them, as we say in military jargon. Plus, sadly enough, those 200,000 troops present a far more lucrative and close proximity target for al-Qa'ida than the United States homeland. Testimony to that fact is clear: almost 5,000 American troops have died, more Americans than died on 9/11. Of course, they are the type of Americans for whom Cheney hasn't much use as he declared rather dramatically when he achieved no less than five draft deferments during the Vietnam War.

and from CNN :

refers to Col. Wilkerson's accusations against Cheney& Bush using torture to build a case or fabricate a case
for the invasion of Iraq -

Sheldon Whitehouse: Iraq Justification Raises the Prospect of Criminal Prosecution for Torture-May15


and Joe Conason writing at argues that Col. Wilkerson is correct to suggest that Cheney & Bush in their use of torture were less concerned with preventing further Terrorists attacks on the US but rather were more concerned with creating or fabricating intel which would justify invading Iraq Once they had invaded Iraq they became more anxious to ffabricate bogus intel and false confessions about Saddam's WMDs & his imaginary ties to Al Qaeda & the 9/11 attacks - :

" We tortured to justify war:Dick Cheney keeps saying "enhanced interrogation" was used to stop imminent attacks, but evidence is mounting that the real reason was to invent evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida." By Joe Conason, at Salon .com, May 14,2009

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.

Perhaps the sharpest rebuke to Cheney's assertions has come from Lawrence Wilkerson, the retired Army colonel and former senior State Department aide to Colin Powell, who says bluntly that when the administration first authorized "harsh interrogation" during the spring of 2002, "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-Qaida."

The same kind of demands were directed toward interrogators in Guantánamo, according to the testimony of former Army psychiatrist Charles Burney, who testified that he and his colleagues interrogating prisoners at the detention camp felt "pressure" to produce proof of the mythical link.

"While we were there, a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," he told the Army inspector general. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results." In other words, they were instructed to use abusive techniques, as recounted in the investigation of torture by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Looking back, we now know that coerced confessions -- and in particular the questionable assertions by al-Libi -- were highlighted by administration officials promoting the case for war with Iraq, in the landmark Cincinnati speech by President Bush in October 2002 and in Colin Powell’s crucial presentation to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003, the eve of the war.

...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.

also see:

" Cheney's Role Deepens " by Robert Windrem at the Daily Beast, May 13, 2009

Former NBC News investigative producer Robert Windrem reports that the vice president’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner who was suspected of knowing about a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam.

Robert Windrem, who covered terrorism for NBC, reports exclusively in The Daily Beast that:

*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.

and see:

" Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link " by Jonathan S. landay at McClatchy Newspapers, April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON — 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.

Misinformation propaganda & lies used to implicate a number of Democrats in the torture scandal- Cheney & his supporters claim many democrats knew about the use of so called Enhanced Interrogation techniques but the democrats named in the allegations claim that the C.I.A. lied to them about what techniques were being used. Republicans & the pro- torture lobby & the Pro-Cheney/Bush Deadenders argue that the C.I.A. might lie to people in other countries or to the American people and the media but not to members of Congress or the Senate - who are they kidding don't they remember for instance the Iran-Contra affair or the Pinochet/Chile affair in which the C.I.A. took part in the military coup in Chile as they also did in other countries & then went on to take part in the killing & torture of dissidents in those countries & yet lied about it. This is part of what is disturbing about Obama's unconditional support of an agency the C.I.A. which has often acted as a rogue agency acting according to its own agenda. If Obama had the guts he would either just disband the C.I.A. or clean house of those who refused to stand up to President Bush & Dick Cheney in the way that the FBI did when it came to torture.

"Dick Cheney, Patron Saint of Torture-Free" by Steve Weissman at Truthout Saturday 16 May 2009

Cheney's signature success with torture came when the CIA sent al-Qaeda operative Ibn al-Shayk al-Libi to Egypt, where he "confessed" that Saddam Hussein had trained al-Qaeda in chemical weapons. Al-Libi's statement, extracted under torture, was the smoking gun that Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Colin Powell all used to sell their pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. So, don't tell Cheney that "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" do not work. They damned sure do if your goal is to get the propaganda you want to go to war.

Few in Congress or the mass media have pushed Cheney on this "great success." Fewer still have seen that Bush and Cheney's illegal use of torture to sell their pre-emptive war in Iraq was probably their single greatest crime. Why the reluctance? Why do so many Americans refuse to see the obvious?

In large part because Congress, the corporate media, and even the general public were to some degree complicit in the crime. Whatever the CIA told Congressional leaders about waterboarding, sensory and sleep deprivation, stress positions, or sending captives to other counties for interrogation, only the mentally challenged had any excuse for not knowing from the public record at the time the rough outlines of how far Bush and Cheney had stepped beyond the law.

As early as February 2002, the Bush administration publicly announced that it would not abide by the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of enemy captives. Dick Cheney spoke openly of going to "work the dark side." Donald Rumsfeld and others talked of "taking off the gloves" with detainees like John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban and the first known victim of the administration's turn toward torture.

President Bush even used his State of the Union address in January 2003 to let everyone in on the game. "All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries," he said. "And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies."

In these and dozens of similar boasts, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the others proudly told the world what they were doing. And, very much like the Good Germans of an earlier time, Congress and the media went along, as did most of the American public. Even worse, almost no one questioned the validity of all the so-called intelligence that the administration's methods produced.

...Having failed to catch the crime at the time, many major media figures and members of Congress are understandably reluctant to accuse Bush and Cheney of criminal conduct and bring them to trial now. How much easier just to forget the whole sordid mess and get on with the nation's business. But, if Congress and the media do, they will fail again, as Mr. Cheney's spirited defense of torture and unlimited presidential power will come back to haunt us all in the secret memos of a new administration not so many years from now.

" Ex-CIA Official: Agency Brass Lied to Congress About Interrogations " by Jason Leopold, Truthout , May 15, 2009

Still, claims that Democrats were fully briefed on the Bush administration's torture program have been leveled as recently as last December by Vice President Dick Cheney and in books by former Bush officials such as John Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), who helped draft one of the four memos released last week.

But the veracity of those assertions have been called into question by former CIA official Mary O. McCarthy, who said senior agency officials lied to members of Congress during an intelligence briefing in 2005 when they said the agency did not violate treaties that bar, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees during interrogations, according to a May 14, 2006, front-page story in The Washington Post.

"A CIA employee of two decades, McCarthy became convinced that 'CIA people had lied' in that briefing, as one of her friends said later, not only because the agency had conducted abusive interrogations but also because its policies authorized treatment that she considered cruel, inhumane or degrading," The Washington Post reported.

"In addition to CIA misrepresentations at the session last summer, McCarthy told the friends, a senior agency official failed to provide a full account of the CIA's detainee-treatment policy at a closed hearing of the House intelligence committee in February 2005, under questioning by Rep. Jane Harman (California), the senior Democrat," The Washington Post reported.

"McCarthy also told others she was offended that the CIA's general counsel had worked to secure a secret Justice Department opinion in 2004 authorizing the agency's creation of "ghost detainees" - prisoners removed from Iraq for secret interrogations without notice to the International Committee of the Red Cross - because the Geneva Conventions prohibit such practices."

According to a November 9, 2005, story in The New York Times published the same month, 92 interrogation videotapes were destroyed. Helgerson's report "raised concern about whether the use of the techniques could expose agency officers to legal liability."

"They said the report expressed skepticism about the Bush administration view that any ban on cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment under the treaty does not apply to CIA interrogations because they take place overseas on people who are not citizens of the United States," the Times reported. "The officials who described the report said it discussed particular techniques used by the CIA against particular prisoners, including about three dozen terror suspects being held by the agency in secret locations around the world."

Mayer reported that Helgerson's report "known as a 'special review,' was tens of thousands of pages long and as thick as two Manhattan phone books. It contained information, according to one source, that was simply 'sickening.'"

"The behavior it described, another knowledgeable source said, raised concerns not just about the detainees but also about the Americans who had inflicted the abuse, one of whom seemed to have become frighteningly dehumanized. The source said, 'You couldn't read the documents without wondering, 'Why didn't someone say, "Stop!'""

Mayer wrote that Vice President Dick Cheney stopped Helgerson from fully completing his investigation. That proves, Mayer contends, that as early as 2004 "the Vice President's office was fully aware that there were allegations of serious wrongdoing in The [interrogation] Program."

... In an interview with Newsweek last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who now chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and has launched a "review" and "study" of the CIA's interrogation methods, said, "I now know we were not fully and completely briefed on the CIA program."

Feinstein was reacting to a secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that was leaked, which described, in shocking detail, the techniques used to interrogate 14 "high-value" detainees.

Interestingly, the magazine quoted an unnamed "US Official" who disputed the charge, and claimed, in language nearly identical to what Hayden wrote in The Wall Street Journal and what was leaked to The Washington Post, "that members of Congress received more than 30 briefings over the life of the CIA program and that Congressional intel panels had seen the Red Cross report."

Whether that unnamed official was Hayden is unknown. A representative for the former CIA chief did not return calls for comment.

and so it goes,

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