Lindsey Graham: Cheney Put People in Gitmo Who Weren’t Military Threat

Lindsey Graham spent much of the torture hearing trying to find a narrow ground from which he could condemn torture, yet prevent anyone from being held accountable for torture. But in an effort to admit past problems at Gitmo, he named names. One name–that of Dick Cheney.

My goal is to have a process, Mr. Zelikow, that would allow us as a nation to hold our head up high and say, "no one is in jail at Guantanamo Bay because Dick Cheney said so. The only people that are in jail at Guantanamo Bay are there because the evidence presented to an independent judiciary by our military passed muster with the judicial system–they’re there because they’re a military threat." And that when we try these people, they’re tried not because we hate them, but because of what they did.

I guess the presidential determination that someone is an enemy combatant is another of those presidential-level decisions that Dick Cheney made in lieu of the actual President. 

67 replies
  1. phred says:

    I don’t know if you caught Wilkerson on Maddow’s show last night, but he inadvertently(?) referred to Cheney as President. I’m sure he just meant President-Level our newest head of (The Shadow) State ; )

  2. behindthefall says:

    Maybe the Fourth Branch wasn’t up for re-election and just kinda carried on; who knows what’s gone on in there since.

  3. pinson says:

    Congratulations on the award Marcy! It’s wonderful to see the establishment catching on to the outstanding work that you do.

  4. phred says:

    By the way EW, great job on the liveblog this morning. And CONGRATS on your shiny new award! I’m delighted to see you get the recognition you so richly deserve!

      • emptywheel says:

        Thanks for the warning, bmaz! It’s been so long since I had any hubcaps that I’ve forgotten what a shiny prize shark our phred is. I better go hide it.

        • phred says:

          Ok, so we’ll put locks on the trophy case then… Man, heist one hubcap and yer marked fer life…

        • freepatriot says:

          did you get some kinna prize for work you did here ???

          so it kinda belongs to THE TEAM, right ???

          sorta like Lord Stanley’s Cup, maybe ???

          jes so you know, I want my name engraved REAL BIG, like John Hancock BIG, okay

          and I’ll need to know what day I get to keep it at my house (gonna plant daisies in it, jes like some guy’s aunt did with Lord Stanley’s cup)

          oh, an BTW, I want my turn with it to be before bmaz’s turn (I don’t wanna have to worry bout him drinkin out of it or somethin)

          so let me know how this whole Hit Man Award Hillman Award thingy works

          an did WE get any cash with it ??? (cuz I could send ya a deposit slip for my swiss account)

          (good JOB wink, before teh duckin & runnin wink)

          (make ya a deal, you cut us in on this one, an we’ll help ya invade the Philippines if ya get one of those MacArthur thingies)

          (smily wink)

      • phred says:

        Hey, I won that hubcap fair and square! But now that you mention it, I do have a certain fondness for shiny things… Maybe we should build EW a trophy case to show off her pretty hardware ; )

  5. maryo2 says:

    BREAKING: Senate Republicans are saying that the capture and detention policy practiced by the Bush Administration allowed people to be sent to Guantanamo at the whim of the Vice President.

  6. klynn says:

    My goal is to have a process, Mr. Zelikow, that would allow us as a nation to hold our head up high and say, “no one is in jail at Guantanamo Bay because Dick Cheney said so.

    Because Bush said so?

    The only people that are in jail at Guantanamo Bay are there because the evidence presented to an independent judiciary by our military passed muster with the judicial system–they’re there because they’re a military threat.” And that when we try these people, they’re tried not because we hate them, but because of what they did.

    Hmmm. Not one jailed at Guantanamo is innocent? Dangerous ground.

  7. JimWhite says:

    I wonder if Graham will tell us how many Gitmo detainees are there on Cheney’s word?

    Thanks for the live blogging, Marcy. It was great as always.

    I just put up an Oxdown pointing out the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Graham using bullying interrogation techniques on our current best spokesman for rapport-building interrogation. If Graham had any decency at all, he’d resign and offer an apology to Soufan. [I did call Whitehouse’s office to thank him for the hearing and to ask that he issue a call for an apology from Graham for his mistreatment of Soufan.]

    • klynn says:

      Whitehouse’s closing with the statement from another interrogator just magnified the rude behavior toward Soufan. He, Graham, does owe Soufan an apology. Soufan serves our country in a very high capacity and Graham just smeared his professional honor, professional assessments and experience.

    • fatster says:

      Graham has carried so much lousy water for so long you’d think he’d have drowned in it by now. I wish he’d retire to the swampier parts of SC and enjoy the miasma there for the rest of his life.

  8. oregondave says:

    Veering a bit OT:

    Why was al-Libi still in a Libyan prison, 100 days into the Obama administration?

    • Nell says:

      The President of the United States does not have the ability to secure the freedom of anyone not in U.S. custody. al-Libi is a Libyan national.

      Now, why Pres. Obama didn’t within the first 100 days force the CIA and the DoD into a full accounting of where all former U.S.-held prisoners have been and are being held since they left recorded U.S. custody — that’s a very reasonable question. AFAIK he has not even made the request, much less secured full compliance.

  9. behindthefall says:

    Pardon the long quote, but it really is a fine piece of writing, IMHO:


    Judge Dan Haywood’s (Spencer Tracy) sentencing of Janning: (”…The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: Any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime — is guilty. Heir Rolfe further asserts that the defendant Janning was an extraordinary jurist and acted in what he thought was the best interest of this country. There is truth in this also. Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and the death of millions by the Government of which he was a part. Janning’s record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial: If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe. But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary — even able and extraordinary — men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them: men sterilized because of political belief; a mockery made of friendship and faith; the murder of children. How easily it can happen. There are those in our own country too who today speak of the “protection of country” — of ’survival’. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient — to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is ’survival as what’? A country isn’t a rock. It’s not an extension of one’s self. It’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! Before the people of the world, let it now be noted that here, in our decision, this is what we stand for: justice, truth, and the value of a single human being”)

    [emphasis mine]

    • JimWhite says:

      the value of a single human being

      That’s my favorite part. And it is what Graham, Cheney and their minions have lost, with the exception that they each place their own value well above that of the rest of us peons.

    • acquarius74 says:

      Perfect, behindthefall!! I wish you had been able to give that speech this morning in rebuttal to Lindsay Graham.

      • behindthefall says:

        Believe me, _I_ didn’t write that! See the link. Actually, I didn’t see the screenwriter’s name there, either, but it must be easily found.

    • bobschacht says:

      Excellent quote.
      Irony abounds. The Republicans, who regularly pillory Democrats for having no principles, helped elect a President and Vice President who abandoned all principles for the sake of “keeping America safe.” Bush has been famously quoted as deriding the Constitution as “just a piece of paper.”

      Of course, they achieve this by denying that they’ve abandoned all principles. Cheney recently claimed that what the Bush-Cheney administration did was to defend the Constitution. Sounds kinda like “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

      Bob in HI

  10. klynn says:

    Is there a transcript of Whitehouse’s closing comments? I would like the two quoted pieces.

  11. scribe says:

    Like I said in thread one:

    Huckleberry: “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

    His whole “have you ever witnessed an interrogation by the Spanish Policia? By the Italian Carabinieri?” sequence carried with it a decided subtext of “I did”, communicated with a subtext like that a porno actor would use to communicate his lust. You could practically hear his salivating.

    In so many words, Huck was getting off on the violence and governmental thuggery.

  12. reader says:

    Fantastic catch, ew. I took this as a hypotetical, looking forward kind of thing. BUT, what would make him imagine this? If it weren’t what happened? And we all know it’s exactly what did happen! Are they getting closer nailing the whole bad business on Cheney? That would be good.

  13. FormerFed says:

    Marcy, I was just reading the NYT when I saw this amazing and well deserved mention of your NAME. What a wonderful honor for you. You are absolutely the best. Keep up the wonderful work. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Lindsey was disappointing to watch. He should listen to what his fellow JAG officers said about torture and get away from his hair splitting designed to try and find a way to justify the unjustifiable.

    • Petrocelli says:

      OHHH … Lindsay said he was a Jag Off. … I thought he said he was a JACK OFF !

      First thing I’d ever agreed with him on …

  14. reader says:

    CNN is running with the clip of Soufan saying his objection to torture is based on his oath to protect the country. It’s very powerful.

    Why does Soufan hate America?

  15. Citizen92 says:

    I was half expecting him Sen. Graham to ask “Joey, err, Phil Zelikow, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?” a la Airplane.

    I checked back with the Addington-Yoo testimony from 6/2008. No mention of Presidential-level decisions. No mention of “basically” either.

    Although Addington did seemingly admit that the VP has no allegiance to the Constitution.

    Mr. CONYERS. Right. Do you feel that the unitary theory of the executive allows the President to do things over and above the stated law of the land?

    Mr. ADDINGTON. The Constitution binds all of us, Congressman, the President, all of you as Members of Congress, all of the Federal judges. We all take an oath to support and defend it. I, frankly, don’t know what you mean by unitary theory of government.

    And feigns ignorance on “unitary theory of the executive.” Recall that the OVP is fourth branch, not Executive.

    • Mary says:

      I was expecting someone to ask him back – have you ever been asked to sign off on an opinion authorizing disapppearing, forced prolonged nudity, waterboarding that required a tracheotomy kit and doctor on hand, repeatedly slinging someone headfirst into a wal, over and over and over, all while engaging in sleep and sensory deprivation mounting into hundred and hundreds of uninterrupted hours?

      And guess what – if you and Addicott want to say you’d do it in a heartbeat, I have not problem calling you unethical.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    You’d think Graham Cracker was worried about re-election. He does not have a reputation for having credibly opposed Bush’s crimes or overreaching grabs at executive power.

    • fatster says:

      A couple of my friends forwarded on to me the congratulatory letter Jane Hamsher sent to everyone about the award. (I’d already received my own, but my friends wanted to make sure I knew about the award since they know the high regard I have for EW.) Anyway, it tickled me no end in writing back thanking them to point out that EW herself was busy live-blogging away, doing her best to keep the world informed rather than taking a break to rest on some well-deserved laurels.

  17. reader says:

    Gibbs is confiscating cell phones during the briefing today: coming soon to youtube no doubt.

    re: photos: ”The President wants to put an argument before the court that has not been made.” With language also carefully noting the President has not pre-determined the outcome. It sounds like, from the President’s point of view, it’s a process thing.

    I thought Petraus wanted ALL the photos released.
    And now Odierno sez it’s a danger to the troops?

    So they can say the President showed an abundance of caution. And then the photos will be released.

    • bmaz says:

      Right about consistency and 8th Amendment concerns, as well as accepting the minimum standard commonly accepted by our allies. On the whole though, pretty wishy washy.

  18. Batocchio says:

    Thanks for the liveblogging. I’m listening to the video of the hearings now. Whitehouse is quite sharp, but boy, Graham is a scumbag. My favorite, I think, is him challenging Soufan to prove that torture didn’t work on any prisoner. I wish Whitehouse had allowed Soufan to respond to Graham, though (he didn’t due to time).

    • CCinNC says:

      I just listened to the webcast. Missed this when I heard it live. Graham cut off Soufan immediately when Soufan said he wanted to talk about the timeline (”you can talk all you want later,” Graham said). As I commented over at Oxdown on Jim White’s post, what Soufan had to say must’ve been deadly, otherwise Graham wouldn’t have so feverishly talked over him. I don’t get why Whitehouse didn’t find a way to let Soufan make his point, somehow. I do hope Soufan will submit it later.

    • JThomason says:

      Used to be an honorable notion that the guilty should go free if that would protected the innocent from injustice. The evolution of the government toward a achieving an institutional status of imperialism following the British model of ruthless economically favorable foreign expeditions has been on the mind of the elite for some time. The arguments are repulsive.

  19. FormerFed says:

    I was disappointed that Whitehouse left and turned the hearing over to Graham. Not very smart and not very good scheduling on Whitehouse’s part. We get all this publicity on finally having a hearing on this stuff and then the Chairman bails out. I sure as hell hope Whitehouse’s meeting was to a funeral and not to a fund raiser.

  20. fatster says:

    O/T: FDIC to Open a Temporary East Coast Satellite Office – Large bank failures expected in September

    “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today announced it will open a temporary satellite office in Jacksonville, Florida, to manage receiverships and to liquidate assets from failed financial institutions primarily located in the eastern states.

    This is from a post over at DU. I’m going to link directly to it for there are additional links to interesting stuff contained in some of the comments.


  21. skdadl says:

    I kept feeling that Addicott and Turner got far too much unchallenged time and space — Soufan needed more, but no one was prepared to zoom in on the dreadful Addicott and nearly as dreadful Turner after Graham opened things up for them.

  22. Leen says:

    Cheney “so”

    Looks like Cheney may try to get around his authorization with 43 “basically” authorizing torture. It all depends on the definition of “basically”

  23. bmaz says:

    My goal is to have a process, Mr. Zelikow, that would allow us as a nation to hold our head up high and say, “no one is in jail at Guantanamo Bay because Dick Cheney said so. The only people that are in jail at Guantanamo Bay are there because the evidence presented to an independent judiciary by our military passed muster with the judicial system–they’re there because they’re a military threat.”

    I would swear at some point Graham said he thought it would be a good idea to put Pelosi on the stand under oath about all the briefings/knowledge she had ot the torture. Maybe Lindsay should be given the same pleasure to explain exactly who and how many detainees are being held on Cheney’s say so alone, since he seems to know of some.

    • Mary says:

      I kinda remember him being at some public event, maybe a documentary on GITMO, and taking potshots at Karpinsky and she happened to be in the audience and stood up and took him on, and when he mentioned testifying she said she actually requested a trial so she could testify and … he got real murmery at that point.

  24. Hmmm says:

    Couldn’t watch, but I understand Graham said something like “…torture worked for 500 years…”.

    Depends on what you mean by “work”. It’s always been an excellent means for the powerful to put false words into the mouths of their enemies. Whereas it’s never had any value at all in uncovering the truth. If we can just make that clear, then we’ll have the Lindsey Grahams of this world on the run.

    • Nell says:

      A frequent and always worthwhile commenter at Obsidian Wings offered this excellent entry today in the ‘arguments against effectiveness’ derby:

      Judging from the memoirs of soldiers involved in combat on the Eastern Front 1941-1945 there is little evidence that torture was used on Axis POWs and deserters by either Red Army officers in the field, the GRU, or NKVD osobists for the purposes of obtaining tactical and operational intelligence.

      This was the case despite the fact that the Germans posed an existential threat to both the Soviet state and ordinary Russians, and the Soviets did not have the sigint advantages enjoyed by the western powers. And this mind you, from a group of folks who used torture routinely and as a matter of standard operating procedure to coerce false confessions of political offences against the Stalinist order, and who in the case of the NKVD had more practical experience with the organized and systematic mass torturing of large numbers of victims than any other regime in human history.

      If torturing captives had any battlefield utility for obtaining accurate and reliable information, the Soviets would have done it on a mass scale without any hesitation. They didn’t. Conclusion: it doesn’t work.

  25. radiofreewill says:

    Now, this is what makes hanging-out on a lounger in the shade at Emptywheel Beach on FireDogLake so great –

    Our fishing bobber is getting nibbled on!

    Roberts and Huckleberry are acting like they’ve seen the 83-Waterboardings-Before-Any-”Briefing”-of-Congress DFH-Blogger-News-Article bait, and now they’re Getting Aggressive with it.

    They ‘know’ that We ‘know’…and We’re grinning like Cats outside the Fishbowl with Fishing Poles – because We’ve got Bush’s Imperious Act threaded-thru with razor-sharp black-and-white points on EW’s Torture Timeline.

    So, here’s hoping they open wide and clamp down hard…

  26. dotmafia says:

    If members of the former Bush “administration” are ever going to be brought to account and punished for their many varied crimes, it will be due to the outstanding efforts of bloggers like Marcy Wheeler and NOT the feeble U.S. MSM. Congratulations!

  27. Mary says:

    And the great response to Graham’s:

    no one is in jail at Guantanamo Bay because Dick Cheney said so

    would have been for one of the Dems, or heck, even a witness, to say something about the fact that in Jane Mayer’s book (and from several of the GITMO defense lawyers who indicate that the existence of this document has been leaked) there was a CIA analysis of the detainees at GITMO that set forth that a minimum of 1/3 of them were completely innocent and shouldn’t be there and were there because, rather than following the laws of war and having battlefield captures, we were paying bounties to drugged out warlords. And yet, the same enhanced interrogation techniques were being applied to these wholly innocent people, as well as the US actually disappearing them, also a violation of the laws of war as well as all civilian law standards. Again, the reporting is that when this written report was made, representatives of the NSC set up an appointment with Gonzales and at that meeting, David Addington and Tim Flanigan were present and they asserted that it didn’t make any difference if the people were innocent, the President had made the determination that they were enemy combatants and that was not going to be revisited.

    So, how do you ever have a process and procedure where you can hold your head up and certify that no one is being held in violation of civlian and military law unless you a) punish the lawbreakers who have engaged in that activity, b) stop handing out amnesty for war crimes like candy, c)stop pretending that everyone at GITMO is or has been an illegal enemy combatant and tell the American public the truth about the knowledge of the innocence of people being disappeared on Presidential fiat, and d)stop pretending that what was done at GITMO and with setting up GITMO was within the rule of military law?

  28. Nell says:

    Way EPU’d, but more on-topic on this thread than the fresher ones:

    Why center-liberals make me grind my teeth, part 192:

    Josh Marshall: You start to get the sense that just as Cheney committed his historic goof of launching off into Iraq while forgetting about dealing with al Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan he was doing something similar getting all wrapped up in the tough guy porn of torture that he remained ignorant of or just plain ignored the actual nuts and bolts of taking down or disabling terrorist organizations.

    ‘Goof’? That was no “goof”; the assault on Iraq was decided on between Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld before the regime took office, and they took advantage of the September 11 attacks *within hours* to gin up support for it. And kept on doing so for the whole next year and a half, including by, among other things, the torture of men captured in Afghanistan.

    KBR made out, the Bush/Cheney regime made out, the Republican crony firms and the party as a whole made out, and the long-term objective of “enduring” bases in the heart of the oil basin was accomplished (unless you are very confident that U.S. troops really will leave Iraq in 2011).

    Neither Bush nor Cheney ever had the slightest intention of taking down or disabling actual terrorist networks — before or after the September attacks. First, because doing so would have required shredding very useful, long-standing relationships in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It would also have led to putting the scale of the threat from terrorists in proportion, and that would have made it much harder to generate the massive, everywhere-you-turn panic that allowed them to round up and jail thousands of Arabs and Muslims in this country, issue terror alerts and bring out new ‘terror plots’ as needed at convenient moments, shred the Constitution with a cowed Congress’ assistance in one assault after another…

    • Mary says:

      Yeah- it was no goof. Josh knows better. They were spoiling for Iraq all along. That’s waht al-Libi proved in large part. And on the “torture works” front – then why didn’t we get Bin Laden and why did we instead get a war on false premises with Iraq?

  29. phred says:

    I don’t know what’s up with TPM these days, but their coverage of the torture story has been sloppy at best. It’s been a real disappointment and frankly it causes me to question the quality of their coverage on other topics.

  30. MarilynSanAntone says:

    I’m ashamed that Addicott comes from St Mrys U. I was not aware they had a “torture studies” dept.

Comments are closed.