Cheney endorses simulated drowning
[don't be coy. This is Waterboarding and it is torture.]
By Demetri Sevastopulo
Oct. 27, 2006
Dick Cheney, US vice-president, has endorsed the use of "water boarding" for terror suspects and confirmed that the controversial interrogation technique was used on Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the senior al-Qaeda operative now being held at Guantánamo Bay.
Mr Cheney was responding to a conservative radio interviewer who asked whether water boarding, which involves simulated drowning, was a "no-brainer" if the information it yielded would save American lives. "It's a no-brainer for me," Mr Cheney replied.
The comments by the vice-president, who has been one of the leading advocates of reducing limitations on what interrogation techniques can be used in the war on terror, are the first public confirmation that water boarding has been used on suspects held in US custody.
A spokeswoman for Mr Cheney denied that he had endorsed or confirmed the use of water-boarding.
"The VP was talking about the interrogation programme, clearly noting that we do not torture and we live up to our international treaty obligations. He does not discuss any techniques or methods that may or may not be used in questioning," said Lea Anne McBride.
Mr Cheney said recent legislation passed by Congress allowed the White House to continue its aggressive interrogation programme.
But his remarks appear to stand at odds with the views of three key Republican senators who helped draft the recently passed Military Commission Act, and who argue that water boarding is not permitted according to that law.
"[It's] a direct affront to the primary authors of the Military Commission Act in the Senate - John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner - all of whom have publicly stated that the legislation signed by the president last week makes water boarding a war crime," said Jennifer Daskal, advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "This is Cheney ignoring the consensus of his own Pentagon," she said, referring to comments by senior officials that harsh interrogation techniques do not produce reliable intelligence.
John Bellinger, the State Department legal adviser, last week declined to answer specific questions on water boarding, saying Congress would have to determine whether specific interrogation techniques were permissible under the Geneva conventions.
[On September 6, 2006, the United States Department of Defense released a revised Army Field Manual entitled Human Intelligence Collector Operations that prohibits the use of waterboarding by U.S. military personnel. The revised manual was adopted amid widespread criticism of U.S. handling of prisoners in the War on Terrorism, and prohibits other practices in addition to waterboarding. The revised manual applies to U.S. military personnel, and as such does not apply to the practices of the CIA.- Wikipedia]
The Bush administration was forced to work with Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act after the Supreme Court ruled that al-Qaeda suspects were entitled to some protections under the Geneva convention. "Any procedures goingforward would have to comply with the standardsof Common Article 3 [of the Geneva conventions], including the prohibition oncruel, inhuman and degrading treatmentâ€‰.â€‰.â€‰.â€‰," Mr Bellinger said. "Congress would have to agree that theyare permitted under the law."
Asked in the radio interview whether he would agree that the debate over terrorist interrogations and water boarding was "a little silly", Mr Cheney responded: "I do agree".
[DO you want this man holding your life, your child's life in his hands??]
"I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation," he said.