Dick and the Naked Senator: Waterboarding BFFs

Breaking! (Not) Dick Cheney loves him some waterboarding.

KARL: If you have somebody in custody like Abdulmutallab, after just trying to blow up an airliner, and you think he has information on another attack, I mean, do you think that those enhanced interrogation techniques should have been — should have been used? I mean, would you — do you think that he should have been, for instance, subject to everything, including waterboarding?

CHENEY: Well, I think the — the professionals need to make that judgment. We’ve got people in — we had in our administration — I’m sure they’re still there — many of them were career personnel — who are expects in this subject. And they are the ones that you ought to turn somebody like Abdulmutallab over to, let them be the judge of whether or not he’s prepared to cooperate and how they can best achieve his cooperation.

KARL: But you believe they should have had the option of everything up to and including waterboarding?

CHENEY: I think you ought to have all of those capabilities on the table. Now, President Obama has taken them off the table. He announced when he came in last year that they would never use anything other than the U.S. Army manual, which doesn’t include those techniques. I think that’s a mistake.

Rather than focusing on Cheney’s restatement of his love for torture, I’d like to use the outrage about Cheney’s calm embrace of waterboarding (again) to recall two other data points.

First, the guy Massachusetts just elected to replace Teddy Kennedy? He is just as big a fan of waterboarding as Dick Cheney.

State Senator Scott Brown, the Republican candidate for US Senate, endorsed yesterday the use of enhanced interrogation techniques – including the practice of simulated drowning known as waterboarding – in questioning terror suspects.


Brown, in response to a question, told reporters that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a passenger jet en route to Detroit on Christmas Day, should be treated as an enemy combatant, taken to the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, interrogated “pursuant to our rules of engagement and laws of war,’’ and not be treated as a civilian criminal suspect. Brown asserted that waterboarding does not constitute torture, but he did not specifically say Abdulmutallab should be subjected to waterboarding.

“I don’t support torture; the United States does not support torture,’’ Brown, a military lawyer in the Massachusetts National Guard, told reporters.

Yes, it’s bad that the war criminal who set up our torture system continues to push torture on the Sunday shows. But don’t forget that Senator Scott Brown, a JAG in MA’s National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, has several years of legislating ahead of him, and he supports torture just as proudly as Dick Cheney.

One more thing. See how Cheney claims that the “professionals” should make the decision about whether or not to waterboard someone? That may be true, in Cheney’s mind, for terrorist suspects. But don’t forget that Cheney’s office personally intervened to try to have an Iraqi whom they believed would tie Iraq to 9/11 waterboarded.

At the end of April 2003, not long after the fall of Baghdad, U.S. forces captured an Iraqi who Bush White House officials suspected might provide information of a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime. Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi was the head of the M-14 section of Mukhabarat, one of Saddam’s secret police organizations. His responsibilities included chemical weapons and contacts with terrorist groups.

“To those who wanted or suspected a relationship, he would have been a guy who would know, so [White House officials] had particular interest,” Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraqi Survey Group and the man in charge of interrogations of Iraqi officials, told me. So much so that the officials, according to Duelfer, inquired how the interrogation was proceeding.

In his new book, Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq, and in an interview with The Daily Beast, Duelfer says he heard from “some in Washington at very senior levels (not in the CIA),” who thought Khudayr’s interrogation had been “too gentle” and suggested another route, one that they believed has proven effective elsewhere. “They asked if enhanced measures, such as waterboarding, should be used,” Duelfer writes. “The executive authorities addressing those measures made clear that such techniques could legally be applied only to terrorism cases, and our debriefings were not as yet terrorism-related. The debriefings were just debriefings, even for this creature.”

Duelfer will not disclose who in Washington had proposed the use of waterboarding, saying only: “The language I can use is what has been cleared.” In fact, two senior U.S. intelligence officials at the time tell The Daily Beast that the suggestion to waterboard came from the Office of Vice President Cheney. Cheney, of course, has vehemently defended waterboarding and other harsh techniques, insisting they elicited valuable intelligence and saved lives. He has also asked that several memoranda be declassified to prove his case. [my emphasis]

Cheney may now endorse, at least publicly, letting “the professionals” decide whether to torture someone or not. But back when he was trying to retroactively trump up some justification for the war in Iraq, the only thing that prevented us from using torture to produce propaganda for Cheney was the intervention of professionals.

  1. PJEvans says:

    Isn’t that pissy-panted WATB Lindsey Graham also a JAG?
    What’s with all these government officials that are so clueless about the Constitution and the laws they’ve sworn to uphold?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, in the Reserves. And don’t forget that Huckeberry The Brilliant JAG Lawyer used that status to try to ratfuck Habeas Corpus a few short years ago.

  2. hopeful says:

    Where is congress on this? How can we not impeach Obama and Holder for not investigating and prosecuting Dick Cheney and the rest of the Bush administration for torture. Doesn’t the Obama admistration have the duty to investigate these admissions of torture under the convention against torture treaty, signed by Reagan.

    This isn’t like Obama or Holder forgot to report some income on their tax return, people f**king died! Peoples lifes are still being taken from them everyday because they can’t get a trial.

    • bmaz says:

      Basically because there would not be a single Democratic vote for it in the House, Conyers would never allow it in Committee and Pelosi would never allow it on the floor. You understand that Impeachment is a political act, not a judicial one, right? Ain’t happening.

      • hopeful says:

        I realize it is a political act, but their duty is not to party it is to the constitution. Shouldn’t we hold Pelosi and Conyers responsible. There is nothing stopping another country from holding Conyers and Pelosi responsible since they failed to investigate.

        • bmaz says:

          Conyers and Pelosi would not be subject to such international provisions in that regard under the CAT; but your point about duty to investigate and prosecute is valid.

    • PJEvans says:

      Well, see they have this lawyer’s opinion that says that it isn’t really torture, it’s just strenuous questioning and thus legal.

      They don’t want to know what they’re authorizing, they don’t want to know what’s being done over their machine-written signatures, they don’t want to know what they are, legally, Constitutionally, responsible for, under the oaths of office they’re so busy trying to ignore.

      Which is probably the best reason for impeaching the entire lot of them.

    • Leen says:

      I asked these questions of Dr. Howard Dean and Karl Rove l last night at the University of Colorado at Boulder after their debate (show) at the U of C. Most of the debate were statements and standards lines about health care, jobs. Karl went on and on about what the Republicans wanted to do about health care, but forgot to mention that they had eight years that they did little to nothing for the uninsured.

      Rove pushed hard for switching the KSM trial to military tribunals.

      But here was the clincher for me. I was able to ask the fourth question from the balcong of Mackey Auditorium. Dr. Dean had just quietly mentioned the “sins of our past.” I was able to incorporate his statement in the question I asked. “Dr. Dean the “sins of our past” are not so far in the past. As our nation has been led to basically only think about health care, jobs, the economy, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people are dead, injured, and millions displaced as a direct consequence of the use of false pre war intelligence. Yet we have yet to witness our congress or DOJ hold anyone accoountable for the false intelligence and for torture that has taken place in our name”

      Also threw in a question about Israel and Iran. Because just moments before Dr. Howard Dean had repeated the debunked statement that Iran wanted to “wipe Israel off the map.” he repeated that false statement two times. And went on and on about bad bad Iran. Even though a student had brought up the fact that the U.S. had overthrown a democratically elected leader in Iran in the 50’s. Dr. Dean said we can not be held in check by something that was done 5o years ago. And then went on and on about how bad Iran is.

      I asked both Dr. Dean and Rove (both were in agreement about bad bad Iran) “if Israel should be encouraged, pushed to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty the very same treaty that they demand that their neighbors abide by” Dr. Dean basically came out and said Israel good, Iran bad. Continued with the ambiguous question as to whether they have nuclear weaponss and how Israel has been attacked 3 times in the last 50 years. Dr. Dean sounded like he was channeling Cheney on this one. Dr. Dean sounded like a warmonger and willing to be part of the team who has been continually setting the stage for an attack on Iran by repeating unsubstantiated and debunked statements about Iran.

      Dr. Dean really sounded like part of a war team. Terribly disappointing. I am sure within a few days the whole debate (show) will be up at the Univ of Colorado’s website

      forgot to mention that Karl was all over the “anything goes” with terrorist theme song. And that the Bush administration was right to invaded Iraq and then Karl had a total “flip the script” response to the false intelligence unnecessary and immoral war in Iraq question. He came back with well Senator’s Kerry, Clinton, etc etc supported the 2002 war resolution. In fact he had a copy of statement after statement of Senators supporting the war resolution. Made sure that the Bush administration was not taking any responsibiltiy for the hundreds of thousands dead, injured displaced. Suonded like a psychopath representing a group of psychopaths

  3. MadDog says:

    So let’s see if I get the math here:

    1. Obama gives official policy direction to all in his administration (yeah, I’m talking about you AG Holder and your DOJ!) not to look backwards, but forward with respect to the previous administration’s torture policies and promoters.


    2. Rahmbo as the official administration hatchet-man dispatches White House Counsel Greg Craig for deigning to reveal the OLC torture memos, and now has effectively emasculated AG Holder in any attempt to hold the previous administration’s torture promoters and torturers accountable.


    3. Cheney gets to use the Obama freebie Get Out Of Jail For Torturing card and therefore because he’s not sitting in a prison cell, a freebie MSM bully pulpit is happily provided by MTP, Faux News, Politico, et al. to rally the former vice-president’s Repug troop supporters of torture, military commissions, and endless war on Muslims in order to paint the Obama administration into Cheney’s own dark corner.

    Did I get the math right?

    • hopeful says:

      Sounds right to me. It is a perfect scheme, now that party trumps country. Since the democrats didn’t prosecute the republicans, then the republicans can’t prosecute the democrats because that would lead to their own investigation.

      So now we know that the most horrific crime of murder won’t be prosecuted if you are a political elite. Is there any crime that warrants prosecution of the political elite, besides lying about sex?

      • MadDog says:

        …So now we know that the most horrific crime of murder won’t be prosecuted if you are a political elite. Is there any crime that warrants prosecution of the political elite, besides lying about sex?

        If the Repugs achieve their fondest dream of returning to power in the next Congress, I’m betting that they’ll make appeasing terrorists by giving them Article III court trials an impeachable offense.

        Along with not torturing prisoners with the waterboard.

        And maybe just being a terrorist-coddling wuss in their minds will be an impeachable offense.

        In a Repug’s mind, the sky’s the limit!

    • bmaz says:

      Um, you have neglected to factor in the whiny ass gutless Blue dogs trembling in their tracks, and soiling their underwear, over the thought of not caving to neo-con idiocy.

      • PJEvans says:

        Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet? Because I’ve about had enough with the idjits that claim to be running the country. All of them.

            • PJEvans says:

              The flat-tailed rodent has shown up over at the mothership, claiming that what’s-his-name has been found guilty so we really don’t need to have a trial. I’ve added there, also, that the point of the trial is to prove guilt.

            • fatster says:

              Thanks for your response. It’s a fascinating development to a naive person such as I. Even if we had a prosecutor interested, the disappearance of things such as thoraxes would render the tactic moot in many cases, I guess. It would be interesting to know whose DNA is on some documents, video-tapes and such, though, wouldn’t it? Oh, well, so much for daydreaming.

    • prostratedragon says:

      Checks to me. His new personal theme song is Hakuna Mattata all of a sudden.

      Can’t tell you how much I hope he’s misguessed something. (In fact, doesn’t this sudden rash of articles here and interviews there indicate some real thrashing about under the surface? What could we call our new method —Capitology? I intend to skip the photo analysis phase.)

  4. hopeful says:

    Conyers and Pelosi would not be subject to such international provisions in that regard under the CAT

    They could very well be investigated, a foreign country could make the case that they were complicit in the crimes, under article 4. There were briefings given to Pelosi regarding conditions that constitute torture.

    Article 4

    1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

    Article 7

    1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

    • bmaz says:

      Under that broad of a reading, which has never been given internationally, people who voted for them are complicit and could be investigated to. It is not applied in such a broad fashion.

      • hopeful says:

        I would disagree, that is like saying that everybody that was related to somebody that was complicit in a cover up of a crime could be prosecuted. That is not the case here. Nancy Pelosi may have had strong>direct knowledge of the crime and she had the authority and duty to refer the crime for prosecution.

        • PJEvans says:

          There’s reason to believe that she was not, in fact, briefed until after the fact. Much after. (The people who keep saying she was briefed at the time do not have much of a reputation for truthfulness.)

          • hopeful says:

            I would agree with that fact that she may not have been told about waterboarding, but she was told about indefinite detention, sleep deprivation, and other methods that are considered torture. While I agree that prosecuting Pelosi for being complicit in torture is not likely. I do think she could get dragged into an investigation.

            It will be interesting to see what happens in spain.

        • bmaz says:

          She does not have such a duty as a member of Congress and, in fact, as a member of the HPSCI (and presumptively Gang of Eight) she had a duty to not disclose classified and compartmentalized information. Furthermore, the Executive Branch and DOJ, who have such responsibility were fully informed of the crimes. This is absurd.

  5. orionATL says:

    spinning, spinning, spining,

    the handbasket is spinning out of control.

    meanwhile, buttercup obama meets, then meets again, with his wiseadvisors (sic),

    aka viziers (from the arabic “wazir”),

    and appears in public smiling his charming, toothy smile and






  6. Leen says:

    Here is a bit written up about the question I was able to get in (last question of the night)

    Sandra FishContributorKarl Rove and Howard Dean Spar Over Obama in Colo. Debate

    “The touchiest subject: The final question from the audience concerned “sins of the past” and whether Bush administration officials should be held to account for invading Iraq on false premises. Dean said the country can’t have “the spectacle of one administration investigating another.” But he added that he believed crimes were committed during the Bush years and said he suspected Vice President Dick Cheney lied to Bush.

    That drew outrage from Rove: “This is one of the most cynical and unnecessary and divisive things I can ever imagine you saying.”

    Rove proceeded to quote extensively and emotionally from Democratic floor speeches in support of the war on Iraq, including those of former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    “If it is equal justice we want . . .when are we going to indict everyone of these individuals?” Rove asked. “We did the right thing based on the intelligence we had at the time.”