Cheney Disgrace to Human Race
By Sinclere Lee
WASHINGTON (BNW) For a rotten politician who only showed contempt for the American people for eight years, former Vice President Dick Cheney looks stupid trying to communicate, now, after he and Bush have screwed up the world while they were in office. In face, Cheney is a disgrace to the human race!
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked are wrong.
Cheney has been a vocal defender of Bush-era interrogation techniques, saying the techniques saved American lives. Cheney has been not only reviled by the world community, but has universal hatred by citizens in the United States.
Speaking at the Foreign Policy Association's annual dinner in Washington on Wednesday, Levin said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques now deemed torture by the Obama administration "gives the lie to Mr. Cheney's claims."
Levin said that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released "say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques."
"I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction," he added.
Justice Department documents released in April showed that Bush administration lawyers authorized the use of techniques such as sleep deprivation, slapping, stress positions and waterboarding, which produces the sensation of drowning. The President banned the techniques by issuing an executive order requiring that the U.S. Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations.
"I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture," he told a joint session of Congress in February.
Cheney, who has become a vocal public defender of the Bush administration's controversial interrogation policies, had asked the Obama administration to declassify the documents so there can be a more "honest debate" on the Bush administration's decision to use them on suspected terrorists.
Cheney has argued that those techniques worked and saved American lives. However, critics say they amounted to the illegal torture of prisoners in U.S. custody
On May 14, the CIA rejected the former vice president's request. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano, in a written statement, said the two documents Cheney requested are the subject of two pending lawsuits seeking the release of documents related to the interrogation program, and cannot be declassified.
Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and Cheney's office kept close tabs on the questioning.
"Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said his accusation is based on information from current and former officials. He said he has been "relentlessly digging" since 2004, when Powell asked him to look into the scandal surrounding the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
Obama, speaking on the same day as Cheney, said his administration is trying to clean up "a mess" left behind by the Bush administration. He defended his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, his ban on torture, the release of Bush-era interrogation memos and his objection to the release of prisoner photos.
Levin backed up Obama's "mess" claims, and said the enhanced interrogations have hurt America's image.
"Cheney's world view, which so dominated the Bush years and dishonored our nation, gained a little traction last week enough to persuade me to address it head-on here tonight," Levin said. "I do so because if the abusive interrogation techniques that he champions, the face of which were the pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib, if they are once more seen as representative of America, our security will be severely set back."
Last month, former President George W. Bush, who has remained virtually mum on the torture debate, said his administration's enhanced interrogation program was legal and garnered valuable information that prevented terrorist attacks. Bush said in Benton Harbor, Michigan, that after the September 11 attacks, "I vowed to take whatever steps that were necessary to protect you."
Bush did not specifically refer to Obama's decision to halt the use of harsh interrogation techniques; he also didn't mention Cheney by name in his speech.
In essences, Bush described how he proceeded after the capture of terrorism suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in March 2003.
"The first thing you do is ask, 'What's legal?' " Bush said. " 'What do the lawyers say is possible?' I made the decision, within the law, to get information, so I can say to myself, 'I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people.' I can tell you that the information we got saved lives."
Levin's charges comes as another top Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to defend claims that the CIA never briefed Congress on the specific interrogation methods, such as waterboarding, that were being used.
Pelosi told reporters in May that she was briefed by the CIA on such techniques once in September 2002, when she was the ranking Democrat on the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee and that she was told at the time that techniques such as waterboarding were not being used. She said she learned that waterboarding had been used after other lawmakers were briefed in 2003.
George Little, CIA spokesman, said the agency's records indicate Pelosi was briefed on the techniques.
The claim by Pelosi, D-California, created a firestorm on Capitol Hill, for Republicans, who have been mostly supportive of the Bush, while blasting Pelosi and demanding she back-up the allegations.
Pelosi has ask the CIA to release information on the meetings, though the CIA admits that no detailed memos, only outlines, exist.
Until concrete evidence is proven, the torture debate will continue in Washington, and Republicans will continue putting pressure on Pelosi, and other Democrats who lashes out at the former Bush administration.