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Cheney, Other Top Officials Authorized Waterboarding

Posted on Apr 11, 2008
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Washington on Thursday.

Bush administration officials Vice President Dick Cheney, current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, Colin Powell, and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft were among those who deliberated over, and eventually approved, the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” (which some would call torture) at meetings following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Houston Chronicle:

Between 2002 and 2003, the Justice Department issued several memos from its Office of Legal Counsel that justified using the interrogation tactics, including ones that critics call torture.

“If you looked at the timing of the meetings and the memos you’d see a correlation,” the former intelligence official said. Those who attended the dozens of meetings agreed that “there’d need to be a legal opinion on the legality of these tactics” before using them on al-Qaida detainees, the former official said.

The meetings were held in the White House Situation Room in the years immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks. Attending the sessions were Cheney, then-Bush aides Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

[...] Not all of the principals who attended were fully comfortable with the White House meetings.

The ABC News report portrayed Ashcroft as troubled by the discussions, despite agreeing that the interrogations methods were legal.

“Why are we talking about this in the White House?” the network quoted Ashcroft as saying during one meeting. “History will not judge this kindly.”

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By GrammaConcept, April 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

most all of the above, and much, much more….with myriad so..
Human suffering feeds demons.
Soberly knowing that these secret “brotherhoods”
really do exist is what is needed now..
Public discourse on this is not an option;
it quickly descends into the chaos of confusion and shrill claims…

Meanwhile, as we think, so we become..

Addiction to negativity is the greatest danger; it leads only to
further delusion followed by yet more suffering…..
Upbuild, friends, with all your determined free will…..
Upbuild, and please, courageously…Strive On!...

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By poetryman69, April 16, 2008 at 3:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dubya is the torture president and he heads the torture administration.

And always by Dubya’s side was his faithful dog, I mean companion, the VP FUtus of Borg.

Their motto:  semper quiritatio. Always screaming.

For of you who are not in the know, here is a scoop.

Neoconservatism is a Satanic cult.  Why do you think they seek

100 years of death of maiming in Iraq that will result in a Shiite state

and very rich oil companies?  Did you ever stop and think:  what’s in this

for us?  Nothing, unless you are a member of a Satanic cult.  After all,

Al Queda was not in Iraq until chief Satanist Dubya attracted them with

an illegal, immoral, unnecessary war.

To Dubya, you are the enemy.  That’s why he reduced your constitutional

rights to a fair and speedy trial, your right to counsel, and curtailed

your freedoms against search an seizure, rather than putting up a

fence on the border and checking everything and everyone that crosses the

border.  Did anyone notice that all the terrorists come from Saudi Arabia

which Dubya did not attack?

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By Expat, April 13, 2008 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment


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By GrammaConcept, April 13, 2008 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

and then, when you’re more comfortable, and have some idea where you are…
begin to attempt to Grow Up….

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By GrammaConcept, April 13, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

MensaMember really need to grow up…..start now, please.

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By ocjim, April 13, 2008 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Certainly indicative of the malevolent, the dark man, is the trademark sneer on Cheney’s face. He is a perfect villain, not only in appearance but also in deeds.

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By C.P.T.L., April 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A prime example of the deadly Slipshod Language Syndrome currently crippling our politics, government, the Fourth Estate and much of our English-speaking world has bridged the professionalism, responsibility, common sense gap and infected Truthdig, thus, in this case, rendering this fine resource far less than it might be and put it in danger of an inevitable slide to the same worthlessness as many other Fourth Estate resources, indeed rendering them NOT Fourth Estate resources anymore. Keeping your words, facts and concepts straight is what makes you a Fourth Estate resource. It is a primary requirement.

When it comes to news, a little bit wrong is ALL wrong.

This infection seems to have originated at ABC News, though it reeks of the kind of crappy writing common to the Associated Press who, in fact, have one of their own in play: “interrogation tactics, including ones that critics call torture.”

“Which some would call torture”? “that critics call torture”?

Have they mentally palled? What exactly is wrong with these writers? “Some” call it? What “some”? Only “critics”? What of every one else?

A few language-twisting rotten sneaks in our government create a euphemistic lexicon and the writers have become derailed from proper language, definition, meaning, fact and concept?

It is torture. Period. That a false debate occurs has not the smallest damned thing to do with the definition of the action.

ALL call it torture. Are there times when we must do it or not is at issue; and, at that, only at issue among those who have become unmoored of proper language, definition, meaning, fact and concept!

Really, Truthdig, even when presented with proper attribution this is a pitiful thing you have done perpetuating the unprofessional falsity which others call news.

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By FS Gilbert, April 13, 2008 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Have you noticed that this site and Al-Jezeera (sp) are the only 2 places I’ve found that are reporting this info?  What is that saying about the news in this country and elsewhere?  Bill Moyers speaks of this lack of reporting in his journals.  Where is the outrage and why are the news people now more opinion masters than anything else?
From Billo to Keith Oberfuhrer to Beck n’ Call, they are all opinion nazis.

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By Jonas South, April 13, 2008 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: ..‘the web goes deep, and spreads far…’

During these last few Bush years, in an attempt to ‘know thyself, know thy enemy’, I began to fill in the gaps of my knowledge of history. They were numerous and cavernous. Eventually, however, I came to the same conclusion as your eloquent words imply.

But that begs a question, which I struggle with still, and that is how do ‘they’ weave this net, involving as it does so many people, and going back for so long a time? Does it not require an administrative structure, a top layer of the pyramid, to orchestrate the weaving of the net? I worry about the epistemology because, without a cogent answer, we sound like so many mad conspiratorialists, easy to dismiss, and to deny a teaching platform.

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By Expat, April 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment

No, no, no, it would kill him and then he couldn’t be tried and convicted and imprisoned for treason and high crimes.  Sure that would be his ultimate torture.

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By Jonas South, April 12, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ABC reported that the ‘principles group’, top tier officials which included Powell and Ashcroft, were invited to witness staged but graphically striking torture techniques before they were approved.

If these demonstrations were taped, as were likely, then Powell and Ashcroft and other less evil types may well appear in the videos. Such techniques were frequently used during the cold-war era, to compromise and blackmail officials. I have often wondered why Powell would commit political suicide by lying to the U.N. security council. Could it be that he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse, ala the mafia? Nar, Cheney el al wouldn’t stoop so low.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, April 12, 2008 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

Torture is a felony with a 20 year maximum and the death penalty if the victim dies.  This is federal law as per the Torture Act.

Enforce the law.  Arrest those that ordered torture, period.  If the attorney general attempts to obstruct justice in this matter, arrest him first.

John Doraemi

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By bitter middle-american, April 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Turns out it was a few bad apples after all…and they were all in the White House.

Nothing less than war crimes trials will set this country right again.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, April 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

No telling what little secrets and crimes committed are locked away and ready to be spilled.

I bet he’d break in minutes.

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By Expat, April 12, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

^ curiouser and curiouser.  Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; what a wonderful story and the origin of that excellent phrase; curiouser and curiouser.  Thanks for that reminder.

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By cyrena, April 12, 2008 at 12:27 am Link to this comment

Don, these memos don’t have to be ‘leaked’. They have been circulating for years now. I’ve been working on this stuff since 2004. And, after this length of time, there are enough scholars and other authors that have been on it long enough to actually form conferences and everything else, all over the country.

The thing is, NOBODY…(at least not Congress) has yet to do a thing about it. BUT, it’s CANNOT be because they don’t know!! Oh no. That isn’t the reason at all. If they don’t, then they have been paying ZERO attention. Nope, I think anybody with a clue (and the MSM has been AWOL or intimidated for 7 years) has either been a sell out, part of the ‘shadow government’ or scared shitless.

I think a lot of folks are still unaware that Cheney’s operation is far more serious than anybody realizes. I hear folks write that ‘pretty soon’, we’re gonna be like the German’s in the 1930’s. Well, I hate to say it, (again) but we’re ALREADY THERE!!

Here’s a good ‘primer’ that I fear many have missed the ‘signs’ on…

Fascist America, in 10 easy Steps
Naomi Wolf, 04/24/07

The link is,,329789179-110878,00.html

Here are the 10 step headings, and the article will break them down for you

1.  Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2.  Create a gulag
3.  Develop a thug caste
4.  Set up an internal surveillance system
5.  Harass citizens’ groups
6.  Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7.  Target key individuals
8.  Control the press
9.  Dissent equals treason
10.  Suspend the rule of law

You’ll be able to find other examples for each of these, than what the author includes, since the piece is relatively short. Still, we’ve already had all of these things.

Another piece that will ‘complement” this, is Joe Conason’s “It could happen here.”

“Can it happen here? Is it happening here already? That depends, as a recent president might have said, on what the meaning of ‘it’ is.”

Here’s just a short excerpt from it..

“...Bolstered by political impunity, especially in a time of war, perhaps any group of politicians would be tempted to abuse power. But this party and these politicians, UNCHECKED by normal democratic constraints, proved to be particularly dangerous. The name for what is wrong with them—the threat embedded within the Bush Administration, the Republican congressional leadership, and the current leaders of the Republican Party—is authoritarianism.”

(Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, and others…all the same)My addition. That’s why it can and HAS ‘happened here.’

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

You’re right Paolo, the issue is NOT unclear, and the thing is that if we wind up with either Clinton or McCain in the White House, NOTHING will be done about these thugs.

Check out this web site that Patrick Henry offered on another thread. It’s long, but it shows how they are ALL the same, and ALL in bed together. So, they will ALL get away with it, unless we can put an ‘unconnected’ person in the chief seat. Like, Barack Obama.

As it is now, they’ve got Mukasey there quite intentionally for the purposes of making sure they are protected. Until they ENTIRE batch of them is replaced at the highest levels, (all bushes/clintons/cheneys/neocons/pnac signatories, etc…they keep the entire system paralysed, and protect each other.

So I agree that just getting ‘any old’ democrats in, will not be enough. They have to be democrats with enough guts to do what should have been done long ago.

And, it’s no small task, because the web goes deep, and spreads far…

Anyway, the story to the entry above is long, but well worth the read.

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

Well, lefty, the GOAL would be to try and convict them BEFORE they can leave, because that’s been the reason for them changing all of the laws, (specifically relating to their torture and rendition stuff) over the past 7 years. IOW, to protect their asses once they’re out.

The fact that they’ve FINALLY got at least John Yoo in the hot seat is a teeny weeny sign of progress, with still a very long way to go, and that’s just on the torture stuff. So, I don’t know what the likihood is of us getting them before they leave, and if that doesn’t happen, I can almost promise that they’ll be out of there before anything can happen.

IOW, I’m postive that Cheney already has the plan gassed up and ready for a flight plan straight to Dubai. (you should see THAT place now…google Dubai Boom, I can’t get to the URL right now).

And, the shrub is situated for Paraguay. He’s damn near bought up the whole flippin’ country. (or enough of it).

Anyway, that’s what I expect from the top of the gangster heap. That’s not to say we couldn’t eventually catch up with them, and to the trials and convictions at the ICC. Remember, they DID eventually get Pinochet, and Mislovick, though they both cheated us by dying too earlier.

But, Kissenger is still on the run. There are warrents out for Rumsfeld, but he manages to dodge those places just like Kissenger. So, better to get their asses before they can get away. Like NOW!!

Might as well leave Guantanamo there too, (though it needs to be cleared of all of its current occupants). Then we can use it for this gang. Seems appropriate enough to me.

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By Don Stivers, April 11, 2008 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

You are soooo right !!!!

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By cyrena, April 11, 2008 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

Amen…may I add..

•  “With each new revelation, it is beginning to look like the torture operation was managed and directed out of the White House,” ACLU legislative director Caroline Fredrickson said. “This is what we suspected all along.”

If this includes the Office of the Vice President, than it would be more correct to say that we’ve KNOWN it all along.

•  “Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., lambasted what he described as “yet another astonishing disclosure about the Bush administration and its use of torture.”

Sen. Kennedy is probably employing a bit of the standard rhetorical oratory in calling this ‘yet another astonishing disclosure’ about the thugs, because he had to know that this WIDE SPREAD and pervasive use of rendition AND torture by the CIA had to get it’s orders directly from the top. The CIA answers ONLY to the top, and in this case, it is Cheney’s CIA. He collaborated with Rumsfeld to hand the same orders down through the rank and file at the Pentagon.

•  “The former intelligence official described Cheney and the top national security officials as deeply immersed in developing the CIA’s interrogation program during months of discussions over which methods should be used and when.”
That’s what I just said. He called for it.

•  “At times, CIA officers would demonstrate some of the tactics, or at least detail how they worked, to make sure the small group of “principals” fully understood what the al-Qaida detainees would undergo. The principals eventually authorized physical abuse such as slaps and pushes, sleep deprivation, or waterboarding. This technique involves strapping a person down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning.”

•  “The small group then asked the Justice Department to examine whether using the interrogation methods would break domestic or international laws.”

They KNEW this and all the rest was a VIOLATION OF DOMESTIC AND INT’L LAWS!!

That’s why they had Yoo and others from the OLC write the opinions that would ‘authorize’ it what was clearly illegal.

•  “The department issued another still-secret memo in October 2001 that, in part, sought to outline novel ways the military could be used domestically to defend the country in the face of an impending attack. The Justice Department so far has refused to release it, citing attorney-client privilege, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey declined to describe it Thursday at a Senate panel where Democrats characterized it as a “torture memo.”
It’s pretty flippin’ amazing that the GOVERNMENT (Justice Dept) can or would cite ‘attorney-client privilege’ in a refusal to hand over documents to the REAL ‘clients’ and the REAL ‘attorneys’ who are WE THE PEOPLE. WE are the clients here you asshole. YOU work for US, and so does whomever your ‘client’ is.

Then there’s this:

  Bush: “I Was Aware” of Harsh Tactics
  By Jan Crawford Greenberg, Howard L. Rosenberg and Ariane de Vogue
  ABC News
  Friday 11 April 2008
President says he knew his senior advisors approved tough interrogation methods.

•  President Bush says he knew his top national security advisors discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.
•  “Well, we started to connect the dots, in order to protect the American people.” Bush told ABC New s White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. “And, yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

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By Paolo, April 11, 2008 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Our outrage over this whole hideous torture mess is fine, but the next question is: what are we going to do about it?

Sorry, but electing Democrats isn’t enough. These moral midgets need to be arrested, tried, and punished. Anything short of that, and we guarantee that future administrations will continue pushing the envelope further and further. Eventually, we’ll end up like the Germans under Hitler or the Italians under Mussolini, unless we show we can arrest and prosecute our leaders when they break the law.

I don’t buy any argument that the issue is unclear.

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By Don Stivers, April 11, 2008 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell and all of the rest of them, should first have their faces slapped, hard, and then tried for war crimes NOT ONLY for torture, but for starting a war of occupation that has resulted in the violent deaths of 100,000’s.  How does being leaders of a country get them off the hook for a mistake (oops! No WMD’s)for the destruction of a country?  And to ask a patsy to come up with a memo that will give them the power to kidnap and torture people?

And our Congress does nothing to bring justice to this travesty of justice.  You smoke a joint, you go to jail.  You start a war, you get off?  Come on people, why are these ASSHOLES still in power?  Spitzer resigned over lying about and paying money to a prostitute and being a hypocrite.  That is a lot different than starting a war to stroke a big ego.

Our press is a disgrace.  And to applaud a criminal for throwing out the first pitch of a ball game just because the criminal is the President of the United State?  I applaud those who booed the man.  What a gawd damn creep. 

Must we wait for more memo’s to be leaked or can Pelosi finally have the GUTS to put impeachment on the table?

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By VillageElder, April 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

It is curiouser and curiouser that after these years and much being written about the use of sadistic methods it is suddenly “breaking news”. 

Their definition of torture to be non-torture does not fool the American public.  The rest of the world understands that Bush and Company are authorizing torture by using methods outlawed by treaty.  As has been cited, the Japanese and Germans paid a high price for engaging in these and other practices.  We used to see this type of sadism practiced in films depicting our “godless” friends in the USSR.  There would be much hand wringing, wailing,  and gnashing of teeth about this inhuman treatment. 

Where are the “god fearing” folks decrying our leaders condoning and approving torture?   They are as scarce as a hounds without fleas.  Bush’s “mien fuhrer right or wrong” followers are mum or talking about fantasy super terrorists with extraordinary powers and weapons.  Apparently any fundamentalist Arab is able to cross oceans and borders with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons capable of destroying “life as we know it” undetected.  Too many reruns of 24 have convinced them that “vigorous” interrogation works.

Will we finally see an extreme rendition of war criminals to the World Court?  When others have authorized or used torture our press has traditionally pontificated against war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Seems to me we have a gaggle of candidates.

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By felicity, April 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

A few years ago, when questioned about torture of ‘political’ prisoners Cheney said, “Some times we have to work the dark side.”

What continues to amaze is why and how come does it take the pundits, the media, the Administration opponents so long to ‘discover’ what the rest of us knew years ago. Cheney is a sadist - as is Bush and the forever supportive go-along-to-keep-your-job Rice.

Sitting politicians pay very close attention to what will or what might not get them re-elected.  Pleading the excuse of ignorance on any subject, which we’re after all paying them to be cognizant of, has worn so thin as to move us to send them all into the oblivion of has-beens.

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