Dick Cheney, proud torturer.

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Former US Vice President Dick Cheney proclaimed once again over the weekend that he believes torture applied to war-on-terror detainees in U.S. custody after 9/11 worked brilliantly to reveal terror plots -- this despite testimony to the contrary from a CIA investigator who looked into the details of these abusive interrogations.

Snip from Washington Post item by John Amick:

Cheney's statements come six days after the release of a 2004 CIA Inspector General report (pdf) that documents a litany of interrogation tactics used on detainees, including waterboarding, "walling," face-slapping and at least one mock execution. Cheney's views, though, contradict those of former CIA inspector general John Helgerson, who wrote in the report that there is no proof that such techniques were responsible for reliable information that helped in foiling terror plans.

"I'm very proud of what we did in terms of defending the nation for the last eight years successfully," Cheney said of the Bush administration's post-9/11 terror strategy on "Fox News Sunday." Cheney says he stands behind the interrogation tactics and is convinced the use of those practices were "directly responsible for keeping America safe for eight years."

Cheney: 'I'm Very Proud of What We Did' (Washington Post via Dan Gillmor)

Read this related NYT article, too: A.C.L.U. Lawyers Mine Documents for Truth

Image: excerpt from the table of contents for the 2004 CIA Inspector General report (PDF).



  1. that Cheney could call out the administration for “an act of politics” is just gobsmacking.

    We need to smack his gob. Seriously.

  2. That unmigitated and unrepentant evil like this continues to walk and talk (and reap their ill-gotten gains from their villainous machinations) with no apparent heavenly intervention is proof that god does not exist.

  3. Dick Cheney should be proud in a prison cell. Preferably with no access to the media. Disgusting sadistic pervert. I hope he dies, and I hope it hurts a lot.

  4. I’d like to have the poetic justice department torture Cheney until he admits his belief that torture does not produce reliable intelligence.

  5. People who do terrible things either invent rationalizations for their crimes or become overwhelmed with guilt. Cheney doesn’t seem the type to lose sleep over his actions.

  6. The man’s despicable, but that this point it would be almost impossible for him to say anything else.

  7. The war in Iraq sacrificed more American lives than were lost at 9/11. The soldiers caught by IED’s probably didn’t feel like they were that safe or well defended by the administration’s policies.

    There’s been a lot of people happy to wreak havoc on the US, foreign and domestic, for a couple centuries. I know “24” is now available on DVD, but not sure what other evidence is available that torture is suddenly effecacious and justified.

    Not sure how being part of an administration that allowed a horrific attack on your watch makes you an expert in how to do it right. Would you hire Michael Brown (Brownie) to waterproof your basement?

  8. Cheney: I just think it’s an outrageous political act that will do great damage long term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say.

    Classic misdirection.

    The prosecution is brought by “The People” base4d on The Law, not by Barack Obama based on partisan hackery.

    Don’t take your eyes off the ball.

  9. The paradox:

    The people in charge of running your country think it is necessary to kidnap people, put them in secret holding facilities for as long as they please, torture them. Basically violating any human right you can think of.

    And they do this for your safety.

    Is it safe?

  10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance:
    “Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The “ideas” or “cognitions” in question may include attitudes and beliefs, the awareness of one’s behavior, and facts. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by […] justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.”

    Boy, this guy is truly shameless.

  11. You know there’d be no problem here if the GW Bush Administration had simply followed the Law….those idiots.

  12. Man, that report is some reading.

    I never knew that sleep deprivation up to 72 hours, the use of diapers up to 72 hours, or blasting prisoners with loud music fell under “lawful forms of questioning employed by U.S. law enforcement and military interrogation personnel.”

    I also love the DOJ conclusion that “certain acts may be cruel, inhuman or degrading, but still not produce pain and suffering of the requisite intensity to fall within Section 2340A’s proscription against torture.” (So it’s OK to use them.)

    Gotta love the locked in a dark box with insects one, too.

    As a friend of mine put it when I explained the state of U.S. political discourse on the topic – “But, but that’s the kind of thing you’d expect from a banana republic.”

  13. Only one page on Handgun AND Powerdrill torture? They must have used a really small font in this manual.

  14. #25: yeah i remember that, and i also remember that the shoot-ee apologised to cheney for being in the way of his grapeshot! THAT’s how scary the man is – he shoots YOU and YOU apologise to HIM.

    btw: if handgun/drill torture are visible, what in the name of holy hell is behind the redacted lines?

  15. I love pages 114-117 of the report (2004 CIA Inspector General report). The top of the pages say ‘Top Secret’ and the rest is one big blacked out box. Classic.

  16. Even if torture was a sure-fire technique for getting fantastic intelligence (and it isn’t) surely torturing people is just wrong? For any society that calls itself civilised, every unchallenged torture victim, every disappeared Guantanamo Bay victim is a stain on their collective conscience until proper reparations are made to *their* victims. If you try to fight terror with terror, who is then the terrorist, who the victim?

    Isn’t the whole idea that we are better than they are, which is why we should prevail?

  17. Anonymous@28:

    “Even if torture was a sure-fire technique for getting fantastic intelligence (and it isn’t) surely torturing people is just wrong? For any society that calls itself civilised…”

    You’re invoking some pretty serious irony here, seeing that a hallmark of civilization is to use every tool and technique at one’s disposal in order to achieve a goal. Ethics are a separate issue, and we likely agree there, but to say that an assessment of “civilization” precludes torture is ignorant.

    I bet Torquemada thought he was living in a much more civilized time than had ever existed before. See what I mean?

  18. So how far back does this go? Since the Spanish really didn’t know if the Jews were agents of Satan, weren’t they justified in usng whatever means to keep themselves safe? There were no catastrophic attacks by the Jews during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, so say whatever you like about there methods, those thumbscrews kept Spain safe…

    “If I admit that I’m…head-over-heels in love…with Satan and all his little wizards, then you will…remove my testicles with some sort of farm implement []…and roast them over a large fire.” “Si! Si!”

    “Oh, a SCYTHE.”

  19. Eh 29: a hallmark of civilization is to use every tool and technique at one’s disposal in order to achieve a goal

    Where on Earth did you get that? The best thing that can be said for this statement is that there is a true statement with many of the same words in it. In the same order, actually, but with ‘not’ added between ‘is’ and ‘to’.

  20. Honestly, Ito, I thought we all got over mistaking a word’s etymology for its meaning years ago. If you haven’t, I will inform you that “gourmet food” is the food that the little groom eats, and that a “template” is a shrine (i.e. a small temple).

    Eh was putting forth the claim that absolute ruthlessness was a hallmark of civilization. In fact, as you know very well, it’s a hallmark of barbarism.

  21. But… I’m a barbarian, and I’m not totally ruthless.

    I have plenty of marks in my hall, too.

  22. While you’re clearly a barbarian, I’m not sure how much ruth you have. What was the last thing you did that you rued?

    Now be off with you, or I’ll rat you out to your marks, and they’ll leave your hall before you can fleece them.

  23. But all civilizations have acted barbarously, Xopher. Just as all have employed any means to justify their continuing existence.

  24. The Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land. Too bad. It says in part “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    I’ve always considered that one phrase to be the key to the whole thing, and I believe it implies the right to NOT be subject to torture no matter what you may be suspected of.

    Maybe Dick didn’t read it…
    Maybe he didn’t understand it…

    Maybe he just gives dicks a bad name.

  25. Buddy66: Is that true? Is there any evidence of barbarism (as we currently understand the term) among the people of Çatal Hüyük, for example? Perhaps only dominator societies behave barbarously under pressure, and that’s why they’re all that’s left.

    But assuming for the sake of argument that this is correct, I would still contend that they became less civilized by doing so. Barbarism cannot be a hallmark of civilization, except in the sense that all things contain their opposites.

    Anon 38: The Fifth Amendment was designed (among other things) to forbid torture. “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” reads rather differently with an 18th Century sense of the verb ‘compel’.

  26. I hope we’ve seen the last revivification of the Cold Warriors. They were the end of a long chain of 20th-century casualties.

  27. Of course Cheney believes that torture works. All through the post-9/11 process, he kept a careful eye on the progress of the investigation.

    An office at Langley. Bob, a tall, slender man with dark hair – just a bit of grey at the temples – sits behind a desk, on which lie two blue binders with prominent “Top Secret” stamps on their covers. In front of the desk stands Curt, an older, balding investigator with a sheaf of printouts in his hands.

    Bob: “Anything from Diego Garcia yet?”

    Curt, with a pained expression: “No, sir. A lot of noise. Nothing checks out, of course.”

    Bob: “No kidding. How about SIGINT? Have they back-traced those cell-phone calls yet?”

    Curt: “Oh yeah, we’re getting something there: four locations, a lot of traffic. We did get a definite on Z.; there’s a link through a telephone exchange in Lahore. We’re working those transcripts at as fast as we can, but we’ve only got two translators.

    “We’ve got some addresses we haven’t seen before, plus a new account number that’s moved $225K in the last week alone. We’ve already sent the addresses to forward ops, we’re gonna put a name and a face on that account number tonight.”

    Bob: “$225K in one week, huh? That’s a big draw for those guys; someone big’s taking a trip somewhere.”

    A secretary raps on the door twice, then enters the room.

    Secretary: “Hate to interrupt here, but… Angler.”

    Bob: “Take off, Curt.”

    Curt exits, as Bob takes one of the blue folders off the desk and slips it into the drawer. A few moments pass. The door opens abruptly, and Dick Cheney stamps into the room, grabs the chair, slides it in front of Bob’s desk, and sits down.

    Bob: “Hello, Mr. Vice President, how are you today?”

    Cheney ignores the question completely, snaps out: “Got anything yet?”

    Bob: “From where, sir?”

    Cheney: “Garcia. Bagram.”

    Bob: “Absoultely nothing of value. Just a lot of noise, you know they’ll say anything when we…”

    Cheney: “Bullshit. Squeeze those bastards hard enough and something will come out. Everything comes out.” Slaps the table. “You aren’t asking the right questions, or you aren’t interpreting the answers correctly.”

    Bob: “It’s a dead end. Sir.”

    Cheney reddens, rises half off the chair, leans on the desk with both hands, and glares furiously at Bob: “You have nothing? Is that what you’re saying to me? Are you going to sit in that chair and give me nothing?!

    Bob is silent for a few seconds; then he says: “We may have got a bank account, sir. In Lahore. I didn’t want to tell you until we’d checked it out and made sure it wasn’t another fairy tale, another dead end.”

    Cheney: “Well, Jesus, I hope it isn’t another God damned dead end.”

    Cheney stands up to leave; at the door, turns and says: “You better hope it’s not another dead end, Bob.”

  28. Wow, if they admitted the DRILL and MOCK EXECUTION then WTF is blacked out???

    DID they crush KLM’s kids testicles in front of him??? Its known that the USA had his kids in custody.

    Did they RAPE people?

    Perhaps they EXECUTED someone in front of another prisoner to entice them to speak?

    Well what can we expect from a guy who shot is friend in the face while drinking…

  29. It sure is fun watching poor old Dick Cheney stumbling all over the right wing airwaves, desperately trying to poison the jury pool and dodge a VERY long stretch in a federal prison. I only saw clips of his interview with Chris Wallace on FOX Noise on Sunday. Someone described it as a starry-eyed teenage girl interviewing one of the Jonas brothers.

    It sure is funny observing the meltdown of Dick and Liz (Cheney – not Burton and Taylor). The trillion dollar hammer is about to hit the fan. They’re like cornered rats. Oh, man! I’m lovin’ this!

    Don’t take your eye off the Cheneys. For your best entertainment bargain, these two are the show that should not be missed. We’re talking essential viewing here!

    Tom Degan, Goshen, NY

  30. While you can hate Cheney, you also need better proof that he is lying than testimony from _one_ investigator, at least to anyone who is not already convinced. Otherwise you guys will once again wrap yourselves so tightly into “Everybody Must believe as I do” that you wake up once again not understanding how Bush was able to beat you twice.

    To the zealots will immediately denonce me as an unbeliever: How are you any better than Cheney if your only proof is “I am on the right side & you are not”?

  31. @30:

    “So how far back does this go?”

    Does the name Jehovah ring a bell?

    He wrote one of the most influential and thorough torture manuals in history. And he clearly loved his job.

  32. Re: Torture as “legal”.

    Please review the jurisprudence relating to the Judges and Lawyers of Nazi Germany, and how they were treated after WW II.

    Humanity provides the baseline: expedience and “extenuation by emergency or circumstances” are expressly forbidden by the written Laws, as being incapable of excusing torturers. And yet these are being pleaded as defenses…in the Court of Public Opinion no less!

    If the “Law” does not apply to all, then it’s not really “Law”….it is simply tyranny, the will of the powerful, masquerading as “Law”.

    If this torture stuff is to the liking of Americans (how did y’all come to accept this garbage, anyhow?), then Pardon after the prosecutions. But don’t thumb your noses at your own Laws…only disaster and disorder could come from such a course.

  33. PMH: But Judges and Courts and Juries, every day of the year, decide the accused’s guilt or innocence, upon determining which testimony is to be preferred, where there is a conflict between witnesses.

    I personally would like to see Cheney on the stand, under Oath, testifying in his own defense, and subject to a full and thorough cross-examination….let’s put his statements to the test, eh?

    The question: is there evidence which, if believed, would ground a conviction under the Law?

    If yes, then let’s have a Trial! If only to clear Cheney’s good name…

  34. I say we tie down Cheney and torture a confession out of him. He can confess to knowingly allowing the September 11th attacks to occur, to knowingly misleading people into the war on Iraq, and to using torture as a power trip.

  35. Yo soy un hombre sincero
    De donde crece la palma
    Y antes de morirme quiero
    Echar mis versos del alma
    Guantanamera, guajira, Guantanamera

    Mi verso es de un verde claro
    Y de un carmín encendido
    Mi verso es de un ciervo herido
    Que busca en el monte amparo
    Guantanamera, guajira, Guantanamera

    Cultivo una rosa blanca
    En julio como en enero
    Para el amigo sincero
    Que me da su mano franca
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

    Y para el cruel que me arranca
    El corazon con que vivo
    Cardo ni ortiga cultivo
    Cultivo la rosa blanca
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

    Con los pobres de la tierra
    Quiero yo mi suerte echar
    El arroyo de la sierra
    Me complace más que el mar
    Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

  36. Alright, I’m a bit late, but I have some very important news regarding anti-Tiger attack technology, that I HAVE to share.

    I have a rock that, when held, protects one from tiger attacks. I’ve had it my whole life, and have never ever been attacked by a tiger.

    But, back on topic: What was it that kept America safe for all those year preceeding the eight referred to here? I mean… before torturing enemies of the state, were there daily attacks on the US that we never heard about? I’m so confused, Dick – elaborate?

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