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Suggestion of Torture
November 4, 2005 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Cheyney the Torturer? According to Dan Froomkin today, Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to the secretary of state) said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney's office.
posted by shiska (52 comments total)

 
not a big surprise here, i mean he has been torturing the rest of us for what six years now.
posted by stilgar at 12:30 PM on November 4, 2005


Meh. Look for another dumb, poor, easily-manipulated, low-ranking patsy to be dragged in front of the media spotlight and beaten in the public eye. And the public just doesn't care much about torturing brown-skinned folk 2130 miles away, anyway.
posted by Rothko at 12:33 PM on November 4, 2005


Wow! There's a surprise!
posted by Windopaene at 12:33 PM on November 4, 2005


Well, true... but we've not been in a situation whereby we should expect to be protected by the Geneva Convention.
posted by shiska at 12:33 PM on November 4, 2005


Quote: "Well, true... but we've not been in a situation whereby we should expect to be protected by the Geneva Convention."

That was in response to stilgar, sorry. Patience with my newbieness, please.
posted by shiska at 12:36 PM on November 4, 2005


Well, will the media buy the smear campaign this time? I'm not so sure they have the 'political capital' left to defend themselves.

But who knows.
posted by delmoi at 12:37 PM on November 4, 2005


This isn't really a surprise, the guy's got a black chickenhawk heart.
posted by fenriq at 12:38 PM on November 4, 2005


The Shanaynay.
posted by swift at 12:38 PM on November 4, 2005


When I wallow in schadenfreude, I prefer to drink Dirty Dick's Downfall.
posted by Floydd at 12:47 PM on November 4, 2005


When the mud starts sticking, it really sticks. We're at, or close to that milestone.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:48 PM on November 4, 2005


I think Cheney's crude-oil powered pacemaker (envision a China Miéville like steam punk contraption) is out of sync and under-powered. Therefor his brain is starved of oxygen. It's not his fault, people. Sadism in a misunderstood medical condition. He needs more oil. MORE OIL!
posted by tkchrist at 12:52 PM on November 4, 2005


So Wilkerson makes this claim, but doesn't have the proof for it. There's not really much to process there.

Now if he could pull definitive proof of so-called Central Intelligence Agency black sites out of his pants (cue waddling Sandy Berger), I'd appreciate it. The thought of those actually existing makes me angrier than our extraordinary renditions to states like Egypt.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:55 PM on November 4, 2005


pls impch kthx
posted by wakko at 12:56 PM on November 4, 2005


I'd be shocked if Cheney didn't approve the torture, but that's irrelevant.

Until a signficant quantity of citizens prioritize an open and ethical government, the administration has no incentive to behave responsibly.
posted by I Love Tacos at 1:03 PM on November 4, 2005


So Wilkerson makes this claim, but doesn't have the proof for it. There's not really much to process there.

Yeah, Captaintripp. It would seem that he should be able to provide the proof though, if his claim is on the up and up, since he's essentially claiming that a clear audit trail does exist. Question is, would he make such claims publicly if he couldn't back it up when pressed? It would be interesting to find out...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:05 PM on November 4, 2005


Being privey to the paperwork - which he no longer has access to, is weak evidence at best. But can I buy this? totally.
posted by j.p. Hung at 1:05 PM on November 4, 2005


Captaintripps writes "The thought of those actually existing makes me angrier than our extraordinary renditions to states like Egypt."

It'll be interesting to see if the EU investigation comes to anything. I don't know how the Polish and Romanian publics would react; they've been more pro-US than most Europeans recently, but this kind of thing must stink so much of the bad old days....
posted by mr_roboto at 1:07 PM on November 4, 2005


EU Accepts Polish, Romanian Denials of Secret Jails

"The European Union's executive agency said it is satisfied with Poland's and Romania's denials that the U.S. is running secret terrorist jails on their soil, saying there's no proof of human rights violations.

"The Polish and Romanian governments rebutted reports in the Washington Post and Financial Times, citing U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, that the Central Intelligence Agency has operated covert interrogation centers in those countries. "

posted by dhoyt at 1:11 PM on November 4, 2005


(In response to mr_roboto)
posted by dhoyt at 1:23 PM on November 4, 2005


Well, I guess it didn't come to anything, then. I'm behind the news cycle!
posted by mr_roboto at 1:24 PM on November 4, 2005


EU: Do you have secret prisons?

Poland/Romania: No.

EU: K, thanks.
posted by billysumday at 1:29 PM on November 4, 2005


I want him out of office as badly as the next, but could you at least spell his name correctly in the post? Sorta gives it all a breathless Farky feel or something. Do I snark? Very well, then I snark. I am large [with snark], I contain reams of the stuff.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:41 PM on November 4, 2005


billysumday: Maybe it's more like:

EU: Do you have secret prisons?

Poland/Romania: Why, of course not. That would be a clear violation of international law.

EU: K, thanks.

Administration: See, folks? Nothing to see here. Move along.

[As contrasted with the following scene from the previous act:]

Administration: Do you have secret weapons?

Hussein: Of course not. That would be a clear violation of international law.

Administration: Huh, well why should we take your word for it? UN--Send in the inspectors.

Hussein: Well, you don't have to go that far... I mean...

Administration: Oh, a tough guy, eh?

Hussein: All right, geez--come on in; take a look around [desperately shoving the atrophied remains of the last SCUD missile left over from his friendlier days with the US defense industry under his mattress]... I've got nothing to hide, see?

Administration: [To the UN Inspectors] So is our boy cooperating with the inspections? What have you found?

Inspectors: Well, actually...

Administration: To hell with it. Who gives a rat's ass about what a bunch of damn liberal Europeans think, anyway? Just get the hell out of there; we're coming in. C'mon boys! Lock and load.

Inspectors: [Singing in a minor key, accompanied by a chorus of CIA analysts] ...There's nothing to see here...

[As the sounds of explosions in the distance and the screams of Iraqi civilians drown out the chorus, the curtains close...]
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:55 PM on November 4, 2005


Yeah, the extra Y makes it sound like an alternate medieval spelling...
posted by clevershark at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2005


and what joe lisboa said...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2005


all-seeing eye dog: you forgot:

APPLAUSE!!
posted by billysumday at 2:00 PM on November 4, 2005


“...if you're a military man, you know that you just don't do these sorts of things because once you give just the slightest bit of leeway, there are those in the armed forces who will take advantage of that.”


Fucking duh. Hell, as much as I abhor torture if one of my brothers was blown up by a roadside bomb that day I’d want to tear someone a new asshole too. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for a standing order.


And that’d be the problem with these folks dictating strategic policy, they don’t know. They’re used to sitting in boardrooms where excuses and bullshit counts. And they don’t know they don’t know.


From:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/11/20051104-1.html

“Q Hi, Mr. President. Thank you. Did Karl Rove tell you the truth about his role in the CIA leak case? And do you owe the American people an apology for your administration's assertations that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby weren't involved?


THE PRESIDENT: We're going through a very serious investigation. And I will -- have told you before that I'm not going to discuss the investigation until it's completed. And we have got a -- my obligation is to set an agenda, and I've done that. And the agenda is fighting and winning the war on terror, and keeping the economic vitality and growth alive, dealing with the energy problem, nominating people to the Supreme Court that adhere to the philosophy that I can depend on -- Judge Alito being such a person. I noticed today that they've got a date. I'm disappointed in the date, but happy they do have a firm date for his confirmation hearing. We've got to recover from the hurricanes. So I've got a lot to do, and will continue to focus on the people's business.”


The press hasn’t been asking the right questions - that is - how the policies of torture affect the war in Iraq and the ‘war on tearrr’; how/if the outing of a CIA agent has created a conflict between policy makers and the executors of policy - and if so how does that affect how our foreign policy is handled and if not what agenda does outing an intelligence agent during a time we are fighting a “war on tearrr,” serve?


But the administration favors torture because they have no conception of the realities they’re dealing with.
Weak and stupid.
They don’t see the link between policy decisions and strategic outcomes. “Setting the agenda” dictates a response to an issue that directly affects the foreign policy portion of that agenda - the whole Plame thing.


...course the press still let him slide on it.
They’re still thinking “butter” when it’s about “guns.” Crime instead of a FUBAR in operations. And of course Bushco is not going to disabuse them of that notion.


(yes, I got the link from Fark, no, I don’t think it invalidates the comment)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:02 PM on November 4, 2005


all-seeing eye dog: you forgot:

APPLAUSE!!


Good point. Before it goes into production, I'll issue a correction--oh, d'oh! Too late. Show's over.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 2:02 PM on November 4, 2005


They don't call him Darth Cheney for nothing.
posted by caddis at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2005


27 comments and yet no one's mentioned "Cheyney".
posted by item at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2005


doh!
posted by item at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2005


I thought "Cheyney" was there for the sake of the rhythm.
I immediately thought of the Who song Boris the Spider.
Chey-ney the tor-turer...

http://www.lyricsdomain.com/20/the_who/boris_the_spider.html


Doesn’t work with just “Cheney”


Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
posted by Smedleyman at 2:14 PM on November 4, 2005


I wonder if he would like to be chained naked in a stress position with a curling iron on high up his ass for a couple days.

He does that for fun? OK, nevermind.
posted by Balisong at 2:23 PM on November 4, 2005


" I thought "Cheyney" was there for the sake of the rhythm. I immediately thought of the Who song Boris the Spider. Chey-ney the tor-turer..."

No, it was an honest stupid typo. But I like the reasoning of Smedleyman. Now that I think about that, perhaps the spelling is more indicative of a rally. I can actually picture cheerleaders with fluffy red pom-poms attached to long lightweight chains:

Chey-NEY!
Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem (bonk)...
Chey-NEY!
Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem (bonk)...
posted by shiska at 2:43 PM on November 4, 2005


Ah, Balisong kind of beat me to it. I was going to say I can imagine Cheney masturbating to torture pictures.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2005


.
posted by russilwvong at 2:56 PM on November 4, 2005


..he has been torturing the rest of us for what six years now.

LOL -- I was reading the New Yorker article about Brent Scowcroft (mentioned here before) and Brent said of Cheney:
"The real anomaly in the Administration is Cheney." Scowcroft said. "I consider Cheney a good friend-I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney, I don't know anymore."
It's like a scene out of Apocalypse Now. Cheney has gone beyond the pale. Terminate. With extreme prejudice.
posted by stbalbach at 3:33 PM on November 4, 2005


The only people who should be tortured are people who have tortured, or requested the torture of people.

IMO.
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on November 4, 2005


Holy shit, delmoi just requested the torture of people! Torture him!
posted by mr_roboto at 3:54 PM on November 4, 2005


Is the net effect good or bad when:

a) we trace horrendous actions back to the people in charge, and
b) a sizeable proportion of Americans are prepared to swallow whatever actions those in charge deem necessary
posted by dreamsign at 3:58 PM on November 4, 2005


Holy shit, delmoi just requested the torture of people! Torture him!

Hmm... Let me rephrase that.

The only people who should be tortured are people who have tortured, or requested the torture of people. with the exception of myself.

That's better. Now, off to the torture chambers with you, mr. roboto!
posted by delmoi at 4:27 PM on November 4, 2005


b) a sizeable proportion of Americans are prepared to swallow whatever actions those in charge deem necessary

I think this premise is exaggerated. My gut tells me the vast majority of Americans would side with Jefferson, who said:

"Although we [have] great cause of complaint against [another nation], and even of war, yet whenever we should think proper to act as her enemy, it should be openly and above board, and... our hostility should never be exercised by... petty means."
--Thomas Jefferson to Valentine de Foronda, 1809.

posted by all-seeing eye dog at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2005


Holy shit, delmoi just requested the torture of people! Torture him!

You made me laugh.

Here's the full Wilkerson speech to the New America Foundation.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:44 PM on November 4, 2005


via Tom Paine.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:45 PM on November 4, 2005


a sizeable proportion of Americans are prepared to swallow whatever actions those in charge deem necessary

Americans by nearly 2-to-1 oppose torturing terrorism suspects — but half believe the U.S. government, as a matter of policy, is doing it anyway. And even more think the government is employing physical abuse that falls short of torture in some cases. -- ABCNews

Specific methods of torture and physical abuse elicit varying levels of support.
posted by dhartung at 8:10 PM on November 4, 2005


So a third? I'd call that sizeable. And shameful.
posted by dreamsign at 9:25 PM on November 4, 2005


The really odd aspect of this story: Cheney doesn't have any legal authority to set policy. In any area.

The VP's constitutional duties are to preside over the Senate, and keep himself handy in case we need a spare president. That's it.

Yet for five years now, we've watched Cheney set policy while Bush is off ridin' bikes. (Every single time something happens: Bush is either in the residence exercising, or off in Maryland ridin' bikes - - but Cheney is at his desk.) Now Cheney is being 'credited' with destroying America's reputation for being, you know, the good guys who stop crimes like this. The Vice President, setting American policy.

And nobody thinks that this is in any way odd or unusual.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:32 PM on November 4, 2005


I would say that is odd and unusual. I don't think America should stand for such actions from a vice president.
Who does he think he is? The ruler of the greatest superpower this planet has ever seen, or something?
posted by Balisong at 9:55 PM on November 4, 2005


"During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, "The plane is 50 miles out." "The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down to "the plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the Vice President, "Do the orders still stand?" And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?"

~ Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta
posted by augustweed at 10:38 PM on November 4, 2005


"Do the orders still stand?"

In all fairness, the orders were for another Scotch.
posted by ryoshu at 11:35 PM on November 4, 2005


The press in Eastern Europe is taking the reports of CIA prisons quite seriously, because whichever country hosts them becomes an easy target for terror attacks. My guess is that Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and others that made it into the EU probably are not hosting such prisons - they wouldn't want to risk alienating the EU. Romania similarly, denies such prisons exist, and is also working very hard to impress the EU, but could be a possible location. Both Romania and Bulgaria have strong ties to the US in the Iraqi conflict. My guess would have to be Bulgaria. It is already a major base for US air operations in the Middle East.

Most educated Europeans follow news of the Bush administration with detached dismay, but now I have lots of people asking me "Who is this Cheney fellow?" They have the image of American Vice Presidents as hapless small funcionaries who wait in the wings of power. While Bush is not very well liked or respected, his image in Europe is not that of an incompetant clown - we don't get the Daily Show here. The idea of a Vice Prez overshadowing the Prez on issues of war policy genuinely surprises people in Europe.

Educated Hungarians, Germans, and French folks that I speak with are not intricately informed about the Plame case, Fitzmas, and Jose Padilla. So Vice President Cheney's new profile as a major role player - with all the old baggage about Halliburton, outing Valkerie Palme, and sponsoring torture bills - is relatively fresh and disturbing news outside of the US.
posted by zaelic at 1:48 AM on November 5, 2005


Valkerie Palme ... I miss spell check...
posted by zaelic at 1:55 AM on November 5, 2005


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