September 23, 2020

Dick Cheney: Bush knew and approved of interrogation techniques


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46_Dick_Cheney_3x4By Greg Richter from Newsmax

Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Bush administration’s actions a day after the Senate Intelligence Committee report blasted the CIA for what it called torture against terror suspects during his tenure.

Appearing Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Cheney called the report “a terrible piece of work” and “full of crap.”

Most notably, Cheney said former President George W. Bush knew all along about the methods used on prisoners and approved of them. The administration called them “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The Senate report called them “torture.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said Bush was kept in the dark by the CIA for four years, Fox News’ Brett Baier pointed out.

“Not true. Didn’t happen,” Cheney replied. “Read his book.”

Bush was an integral part of the program and had to approve it before it could go forward, Cheney said.

Cheney said that neither the CIA nor himself ever kept any part of the program from the president. Asked whether he ever knew more about the program than Bush, Cheney said he couldn’t be certain because they read different things. Bush had a larger portfolio to deal with while Cheney spent most of his time focusing on national security, he said.

“But I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program,” Cheney said. “I think he knew, certainly, the techniques. We did discuss the techniques. There was no effort on our part to keep him from that.”

That would seemingly include waterboarding, which has been a focus of critics. But Cheney said reports of prisoners being rectally force-fed were unfamiliar to him and were not part of the approved program from Justice Department lawyers.

“The notion that the committee’s trying to peddle that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis … is just a flat-out lie,” he said.

Cheney admitted there may have been problems in the program, but he doesn’t think the Senate report represents what really happened overall.

“It’s sort of a classic example which you see too often in Washington where a group of politicians get together and sort of throw the professionals under the bus,” he said.

“What happened here was that we asked the agency to go take steps and put in place programs that were designed to catch the bastards who killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 and to make sure it didn’t happen again. And that’s exactly what they did. And they deserve a lot of credit, not the kind of condemnation that they’re receiving from the Senate Democrats.”

Cheney said he hasn’t read the full report and doesn’t know all the allegations being made. But, he said, “Torture was something we very carefully avoided.”

Justice Department lawyers were consulted as to what was legal, he said.

Cheney defended the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11.

“He is in our possession, and we know he is the architect, and what are we supposed to do, kiss him on both cheeks, and say, ‘Please, please, tell us what you know?'” Cheney said.

“We did exactly what needed to be done in order to catch those who were guilty on 9/11 and to prevent a further attack. And we were successful on both parts.”

Baier noted that the Senate report said the EITs were not successful.

“The report’s full of crap,” Cheney said.

When Baier pointed out the that report showed that one person died in captivity, Cheney responded, “Three-thousand Americans died on 9/11 because of what these guys did, and I have no sympathy for them.”

Noting that he and Republican Sen. John McCain disagree on the program’s use, Cheney said, “I think that what needed to be done was done. I think we were perfectly justified in doing it, and I’d do it again in a minute.”

He said that at the time there were fears al-Qaida was trying to get nuclear weapons, and America was also being hit by anthrax attacks.

President Barack Obama’s use of drones is one rare place where Cheney agrees with Bush’s Democratic successor. But like other Obama critics, he said they are overused, and noted that Obama only kills terrorists instead of capturing them to get information.

“If they got [Ayman al-]Zawahiri tomorrow – the current head of al-Qaida – what would they do with him?” Cheney said. “I’m perfectly happy to see him dead, but he’s a very valuable source of information and intelligence.”

Cheney dismissed former CIA Director Leon Panetta’s claims that no intelligence gained from the program stopped a terror attack.

“I don’t know where he was on 9/11, but he wasn’t in the bunker,” Cheney said.

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Senate staffer tries to scrub ‘torture’ reference from Wikipedia’s CIA torture article

By Brian Ries From Mashable

An anonymous Wikipedia user from an IP address that is registered to United States Senate has tried, and failed, to remove a phrase with the word “torture” from the website’s article on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s blockbuster CIA torture report.

The unknown individual has attempted on at least two occasions — first on Dec. 9 and then on Dec. 10 — to remove a line describing the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques as “a euphemism for torture.”

In both instances the anonymous editor explained that he or she was “removing bias” from the article. And each time the revision was overruled.

The debate over the classification of “torture” for the CIA’s techniques has played out in the halls of Congress, on Sunday talk shows and behind closed doors. Wikipedia appears to be the latest battleground over public opinion as many, now, ponder the legalities of some of the more aggressive techniques used by CIA officers during the decade-long war on terror.

The United Nations, joined by a number of human rights groups, have called for the prosecution of U.S. officials who were responsible for the CIA torture program.

“It is now time to take action,” said UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson in a statement. “The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.”

“By choosing to move on, to forget about the past, not to prosecute the serious crime, Obama is keeping torture as a misguided, wrongful policy option for some future American president,” added Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, on Wednesday.

The Wikipedia revelations came to light on Tuesday and Wednesday thanks to a Twitter bot that tweets anonymous edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress.

For more:


Obama and the Senate Report: Torture is Good?

By Chris Floyd From counterpunch

A truncated version of the Senate investigation into the CIA’s Terror War torture regime has finally been released. Even in its limited form, it details an operation of vile depravity, one which would plunge a civilized nation into a profound crisis of conscience and spark a deep and anguished debate on how best to transform a system of government — and a national ethos — that could lead to such putrid crimes. It would also occasion a wide-ranging effort to subject the originators, perpetrators and accomplices of the torture program to the full measure of legal punishment they deserve.


Needless to say, nothing like that is going to happen in America. Indeed, even before the report was released, the New York Times — the standard-bearer and shaper of “decent” liberal thought for the nation — was splashing an opinion piece on the front page of its website, demanding that we “Pardon Bush and Those Who Tortured.” This was the very first “think piece” pushed by the Times on the morning of the report’s release.


I’m sure that by the end of the day, the dust will have already settled into the usual ruts. The Hard Right — and its pork-laden publicists — will denounce the investigation and continue to champion torture, as they have done in the weeks running up to the release. The somewhat Softer Right that constitutes the “liberal” wing of the ruling Imperial Party (and its outriders in the “progressive” media) will wring their hands for a bit — as they did during the multitude of previous revelations about systematic torture, White House death squads, Stasi-surpassing surveillance programs, war profiteering, military aggression and so on. Then they will return to what is always their main business at hand: making sure that someone from their faction of the Imperial Party is in the driver’s seat of the murderous War-and-Fear Machine that has now entirely engulfed American society.


Speaking of the Machine, what has been the reaction of the current driver, the belaurelled prince of progressivism, Barack Obama? He sent out the present head of the CIA, John Brennan, an “Obama confidante,” as the Guardian notes, to … defend the use of torture.


You see, one of the main points of the report was that the abominable practices ordered at the highest levels of the American government and used far more widely than previously admitted were not even effective. This is, of course, the most damning criticism one can make of the soul-drained technocrats who staff the Empire. Morality and humanity be damned; the real problem was that torture didn’t work. It produced reams of garbage and falsehood from hapless victims who, like torture victims the world over, from time immemorial , simply regurgitated what they thought their tormentors wanted to hear.


So in the end, the torture regime was not only ineffective, it was counterproductive: this is the report’s conclusion. But it is this that the Technocrat-in-Chief cannot bear. And so he sent his confidante Brennan out to refute this heinous charge. Brennan actually got up in public and said, openly, that torture did work and that it’s a good thing:


“Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qaida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” Brennan said.


“EIT” is, of course, the technocratic euphemism for the systematic brutalization of helpless, captive human beings by wretched cowards armed with the power of the state and backed to the hilt by national leaders. Brennan — Obama’s confidante — says, in the name of the president, that torture “saved lives.” What’s more, he admits that Obama is still using the fruits of the torture program to “inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.”


Let’s say this again: the conclusion of the Barack Obama administration is that the use of torture is a good thing, and that it is still “informing” its Terror War operations “to this day.”


One of the chief objections mouthed by the torture champions opposed to the release of the report was that public exposure of these crimes would rouse anger and anti-American feeling around the world. This was always a specious argument, of course; the people targeted by Washington’s Terror War have always known full well what is being done to them and theirs. This latest report will merely be another confirmation, another tranche of evidence to add to the mountain of atrocity they have experienced.


No, it is not the report itself, but the reaction of the American establishment — particularly the Obama Administration itself — that will be the true scandal, a new outrageous slap in the face. A door opens up on a sickening chamber of horror …. and all that Obama can say is that torture is good; yea, it is even salvific, it saves lives, it is good and effective and necessary and we need it.


Torture is good. That is Barack Obama’s takeaway from the Senate report. It is astounding — or would be astounding, if we were not living in an age given over to state terror and elite rapine.


Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at

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