Friday, May 22, 2009
Dick Cheney Continues To Lie.
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.
In his address to the American Enterprise Institute , a conservative policy organization in Washington , Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."
He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair , as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the organization that was attacking this country."
In a statement April 21 , however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."
A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.
FBI Director Mueller Robert Muller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.
— Cheney said that President Barack Obama's decision to release the four top-secret Bush administration memos on the interrogation techniques was "flatly contrary" to U.S. national security, and would help al Qaida train terrorists in how to resist U.S. interrogations.
However, Blair, who oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, said in his statement that he recommended the release of the memos, "strongly supported" Obama's decision to prohibit using the controversial methods and that "we do not need these techniques to keep America safe."
— Cheney said that the Bush administration "moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks."
The former vice president didn't point out that war in Afghanistan against al Qaida and the Taliban .and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al Zawahri , remain at large nearly eight years after 9-11 and that the Bush administration began diverting U.S. forces, intelligence assets, time and money to planning an invasion of Iraq before it finished the
There are now 49,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting to contain the bloodiest surge in Taliban violence since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, and Islamic extremists also have launched their most concerted attack yet on neighboring, nuclear-armed Pakistan .
— Cheney denied that there was any connection between the Bush administration's interrogation policies and the abuse of detainee at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which he blamed on "a few sadistic guards . . . in violation of American law, military regulations and simple decency."
However, a bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report in December traced the abuses at to the approval of the techniques by senior Bush administration officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld .
"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," said the report issued by Sens. Carl Levin , D- Mich. , and John McCain , R- Ariz. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees."
— Cheney said that "only detainees of the highest intelligence value" were subjected to the, and he cited Khalid Sheikh Mohammad , the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.
He didn't mention, the first senior al Qaida operative to be captured after 9-11. Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan told a Senate subcommittee last week that his interrogation of Zubaydah using traditional methods elicited crucial information, including Mohammed's alleged role in 9-11.
The decision to use the harsh interrogation methods "was one of the worst and most harmful decisions made in our efforts against al Qaida ," Soufan said. Former State Department official Philip Zelikow , who in 2005 was then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's point man in an internal fight to overhaul the Bush administration's detention policies, joined Soufan in his criticism.
— Cheney said that "the key to any strategy is accurate intelligence," but the Bush administration ignored warnings from experts in the CIA , the Defense Intelligence Agency , the State Department , the Department of Energy and other agencies, and used false or exaggerated intelligence supplied by Iraqi exile groups and others to help make its case for the 2003 invasion.
Cheney made no mention of al Qaida operative Ali Mohamed al Fakheri , who's known as Ibn Sheikh al Libi , whom the Bush administration secretly turned over to Egypt for interrogation in January 2002 . While allegedly being tortured by Egyptian authorities, Libi provided false information about Iraq's links with al Qaida , which the Bush administration used despite doubts expressed by the DIA.
A state-run Libyan newspaper said Libi committed suicide recently in a Libyan jail.
— Cheney accused Obama of "the selective release" of documents on Bush administration detainee policies, charging that Obama withheld records that Cheney claimed prove that information gained from the harsh interrogation methods prevented terrorist attacks.
"I've formally asked that (the information) be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained," Cheney said. "Last week, that request was formally rejected."
However, the decision to withhold the documents was announced by the CIA , which said that it was obliged to do so by a 2003 executive order issued by former President George W. Bush prohibiting the release of materials that are the subject of lawsuits.
— Cheney said that only "ruthless enemies of this country" were detained by U.S. operatives overseas and taken to secret U.S. prisons.
A 2008 McClatchy investigation, however, found that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees captured in 2001 and 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan were innocent citizens or low-level fighters of little intelligence value who were turned over to American officials for money or because of personal or political rivalries.
In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Oct. 5, 2005 , that the Bush administration had admitted to her that it had mistakenly abducted a German citizen, Khaled Masri , from Macedonia in January 2004 .
Masri reportedly was flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan , where he allegedly was abused while being interrogated. He was released in May 2004 and dumped on a remote road in Albania .
In January 2007 , the German government issued arrest warrants for 13 alleged CIA operatives on charges of kidnapping Masri.
— Cheney slammed Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and criticized his effort to persuade other countries to accept some of the detainees.
The effort to shut down the facility, however, began during Bush's second term, promoted by Rice and.
"One of the things that would help a lot is, in the discussions that we have with the states of which they (detainees) are nationals, if we could get some of those countries to take them back," Rice said in a Dec. 12, 2007 , interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. "So we need help in closing Guantanamo ."
— Cheney said that, in assessing the security environment after 9-11, the Bush team had to take into account "dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists."
Cheney didn't explicitly repeat the contention he made repeatedly in office: that Saddam cooperated with al Qaida , a linkage that U.S. intelligence officials and numerous official inquiries have rebutted repeatedly.
The late Iraqi dictator's association with terrorists vacillated and was mostly aimed at quashing opponents and critics at home and abroad.
The last State Department report on international terrorism to be released before 9-11 said that Saddam's regime "has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President ( George H.W.) Bush in 1993 in Kuwait ."
A Pentagon study released last year, based on a review of 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the U.S.-led invasion, concluded that while Saddam supported militant Palestinian groups — the late terrorist Abu Nidal found refuge in Baghdad , at least until Saddam had him killed — the Iraqi security services had no "direct operational link" with al Qaida .
From the 2008 Republican Party Platform:
From the 10 Commandments:
Thou Shalt Not Kill
From the 2008 Republican Party Platform:Courts must have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases and other instances of heinous crime, while federal review of those sentences should be streamlined to focus on claims of innocence and to prevent delaying tactics by defense attorneys.
Liberty University Revokes Democratic Party Club's recognition on Moral Grounds.
By Ray Reed
Published: May 21, 2009
Liberty University has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university.
“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” said Brian Diaz, president of LU’s student Democratic Party organization, which LU formally recognized in October.
Diaz said he was notified of the school’s decision May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.
According to the e-mail, the club must stop using the university’s name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events. Violators could incur one or more reprimands under the school’s Liberty Way conduct code, and anyone who accumulates 30 reprimands is subject to expulsion.
Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates.
“We are in no way attempting to stifle free speech.”
Hine said the university had recently completed a policy that would govern clubs and organizations on campus.
“We looked at each club and organization to determine where it stood and unfortunately this one kind of got in the sights of policy, if you will,” he said.
Hine’s e-mail mentioned that he had expressed a concern to Diaz about the national Democratic Party’s platform during a meeting earlier in the semester.
Last fall, Diaz said, Hine had complimented the club for being a faith-based organization working within the Democratic Party.
Jan Dervish, secretary of the club, and Maria Childress, its staff adviser, said they met with Hine after the revocation and asked for a further explanation.
“He said it wasn’t us. It was the national Democratic Party,” which the campus club’s constitution supports, Dervish said. The campus club also opposes abortion and supports the traditional view of marriage, Dervish said.
“His bottom line was, ‘You can’t be a Democrat and be a Christian and be a university representative,’” Childress said.
Hine denied saying that.
Part of Hine’s e-mail said, “The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the “LGBT” agenda, hate crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.)” LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Mark Lawrence, chairman of the citywide Lynchburg Democratic Party, called The News & Advance Thursday after he learned about the revocation.
“My issue with this is the statement that the Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine,” Lawrence said. “They are essentially saying, ‘you cannot be a Christian and a Democrat.’”
Lawrence said he doesn’t personally support every plank in the party’s platform, and many Democrats also have their own differences with the document, which is assembled every four years for the national convention.
Hine’s e-mail said, “The candidates this club supports uphold the platform and implement it. The candidates supported are directly contrary to the mission of Liberty University.”
The goals of the Democratic Party and LU “run in opposite directions,” the e-mail said.
LU has had a College Republicans club for several years.
Claire Ayendi, who was chairman of the Republican club last year and graduated this spring, said she didn’t regard the university’s disbanding of the Democratic group as a political act.
“I think it’s more like a moral issue,” Ayendi said. “Letting a club like that exist goes against what the school is founded on,” she said.
Democratic Party club adviser Childress, an administrative assistant in the university’s honors program, said she sees her role as supporting students, especially their academic status.
“I love and support the university,” said Childress, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from LU in 2004. “But my support is to the students as well. My number one goal is protecting them,” she said.
Dervish said he asked Hine whether LU would let him work off campus in Democratic Party activities. Dervish said Hine told him and Childress that students’ activities outside the school were not affected by the university’s decision to revoke the club’s recognition.
In a written statement sent to The News & Advance Thursday night, Hine said, “Among other things, Liberty University stands for the sanctity of human life. The loss of human life through abortion is a great tragedy and we cannot remain silent when the political policies or politicians themselves promote the destruction of innocent human life.
“While those who are members of the LU Democratic Club are well intentioned and honorable, the platform and policies of the national Democratic Party and the candidates supported by that party, and thus the student organization itself, are inconsistent with the mission of the University.”
Labels: Right Wing Hypocrites