Cheney: Bush Knew About Torture

Cheney: Bush Knew About Torture December 12, 2014

Dick Cheney took a few minutes out of his busy schedule of playing a Sith lord in the new Star Wars movie to appear on Fox News and confirm that he and Bush knew all about the way the CIA was torturing prisoners. This in response to claims in the torture report that the CIA had hidden some details from the White House.

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.”

One can only hope that this is someday quoted at a trial after Bush and Cheney are indicted for war crimes. It won’t happen in this country, of course, because our political leaders are hypocrites and cowards who think they’re above the law — any law. That’s what American exceptionalism means — we do whatever the hell we want with no consequences, no matter how immoral or horrifying.

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  • marcozandrini

    Will someone please take these warwhore war criminals to The Hague.

  • sumdum

    If it won’t happen in a US court I doubt it will happen anywhere. There’s a reason the USA doesn’t acknowledge the ICC in The Hague. They don’t even want to risk having your average GI Joe standing trial there, much less a president or vice-president.

  • “One can only hope that this is someday quoted at a trial after Bush and Cheney are indicted for war crimes.” Never, ever going to happen. Dream on.

    Hell, one can hope the moon turns into a giant pizza and will feed humankind forever. In fact, that will happen before the war criminals are brought to justice. American exceptionalism, remember?

    USA! USA! USA!

  • U Frood

    Oh, well if the President and Vice President approved the torture, it’s ok then. Carry on.

  • karmacat

    Bush did torture other students at Yale by burning them.

  • raven

    To be fair, the USA is exceptional.

    We have the world’s largest lunatic fringes. Our lunatic fringes are so large they have their own political party, the GOP/Tea Party and frequently win majorities in elections. Right now they control the US House. Senate, a majority of state governments, and the US Supreme court.

    USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

  • caseloweraz

    Philippe Sands is a British attorney with wide experience in international law. He wrote Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules from FDR’s Atlantic Charter to George W. Bush’s Illegal War (Viking Books, 2005). I think this passage from pp. 211-212 is worth reading.

    “According to the Pentagon, by the summer of 2002 it had become clear that FM 34-52 was not producing the desired results. The Pentagon wanted to use “additional interrogation techniques” on Guantánamo detainees who were alleged to have close connections to the al-Qaeda leadership and planning figures, including “financiers, bodyguards, recruits and operators.” This included individuals who were “assessed to posses significant information on al-Qaeda plans” and who demonstrated resistance to the relatively light interrogations set out in FM 34-52.

    “Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, a U.S. army lawyer, was asked to advise on the legal position. More aggressive interrogation techniques than the ones referred to in FM 34-52, she wrote, “may be required in order to obtain information from detainees that are resisting interrogation efforts and are suspected of having significant information essential to national security.” Her memorandum of October 11, 2002, described the problem: The detainees were developing more sophisticated interrogation resistance strategies because they could communicate among themselves and debrief each other. This problem was compounded by the fact that there was no established policy for interrogation limits and operations at Guantánamo, and “many interrogators have felt in the past that they could not do anything that would be considered ‘controversial.’ ” According to her memorandum, America’s international obligations are irrelevant, and interrogation techniques—including forceful means and restraints on torture—are governed exclusively by U.S. law.

    “Her analysis provided a useful insight on how to get around international law. President Bush’s executive order of February 7, 2002, determined that the detainees were not prisoners of war. It followed, therefore, that the Geneva Conventions limitations that ordinarily would govern captured enemy personnel interrogations are not binding on U.S. personnel conducting detainee interrogations at [Gauntánamo].” In fact. Lieutenant Colonel Beaver went even further: “No international body of law directly applies.” She is not saying that there are no international rules; rather the international rules are either not applicable or not enforceable. To reach this extraordinary conclusion she reviews various international conventions which establish binding norms for the U.S.—including the 1984 Convention against Terror, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights—and then explains why not one of them creates any obligations which could actually be applied so as to constrain interrogators. . . . The logic of the argument is grotesque. It means that international law is irrelevant. Can you imagine how the U.S. would react if another country tortured an American and defended it by saying, “Oh, terribly sorry, but the international treaty we signed which prohibits torture isn’t enforceable in our domestic law, so we don’t have to apply it.” That is Lieutenant Colonel Beaver’s logic.”

  • Michael Heath

    Re the quote from Philippe Sands’ book:

    I’ve long argued that stupid people or bad policies will lead to unimaginable, bad consequences. That results will typically be more worse than predicted. Here it’s President Bush administrating torture, which in turn was the biggest reason we lost so many military personnel in the Iraq War fighting al Qaeda there.

    In the Sands’ excerpt we see the stupid kick in when the administration feels they’re not producing optimal intelligence. So they non sequitur by implementing more aggressive interrogation techniques, i.e., torture. That rather than benchmarking best practices on gathering intelligence and then moving forward accordingly, e.g., using highly trained professional interrogators who have produced results in the past.

    A good example is right after capturing Zubdayh (sp?, the guy who finked out KSM). Right after his capture we had professional interrogators on him and they had him immediately talking. Later they use hacks to torture him, with no known meaningful intelligence coming from that – and you can bet every dollar if they had gotten something that would have run on Fox News more than Benghazi.

  • moarscienceplz

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

    Cheney just can’t stop torturing, can he?

  • raven

    Cheney just can’t stop torturing, can he?

    For people like Cheney, torture is its own reward.

    This is the guy who thinks shooting tame birds raised in cages is a sport called…hunting.

  • As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, there is no need to extradite Bush ot Cheney or any of them to The Hague. Torture is illegal under US law

    It’s quite unambiguous. Any district attorney in the country that is doing their job ought to arrest them. No need for a grand jury, even.

    In fact torture is a capital crime in the US if it results in the victim’s death. So Bush might want to reconsider his support of capital punishment in Texas.

    War crimes are also illegal under US law, and also a capital offense:

    The US law against war crimes calls out specific clauses of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law. One of the clauses included forbids bombardment of undefended targets. Drone warriors take note: 20 years or life, and a capital offense if you kill civilians.

    Fucking rule of law, how does it work?

    I’m tempted to run for DA so I can indict the lot of them.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Dick Cheney took a few minutes out of his busy schedule of playing a Sith lord in the new Star Wars movie …

    It’s not playing when you really mean it.

  • Artor

    Ed, Cheney does not have any parts in the new Star Wars movies, but he is on staff as a consultant. The actors playing the Sith attend daily lectures from Cheney on how to be over-the-top bone-chillingly evil. Vader just doesn’t cut it these days.