Cheney Pleads Guilty To War CrimesSubmitted by Liberty_Belle on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 10:33
by Washington's Blog
As I have pointed out periodically since 2005:
The War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.
The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who order it, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.
Indeed, even the lawyers and other people who aided in the effort may be war criminals; see also this article, this one, and this press release.
As Robert Parry - the reporter who broke the Iran-Contra story for the Associated Press and Newsweek - pointed out last week:
Cheney pronounced himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II...
He answered with an emphatic "yes" when asked if he had opposed the Bush administration’s decision to suspend the use of waterboarding – after it was employed against three “high-value detainees” sometimes in repetitive sequences. He added that waterboarding should still be “on the table” today...
Speaking with a sense of impunity, he casually negated a key line of defense that senior Bush officials had hidden behind for years – that the brutal interrogations were approved by independent Justice Department legal experts who thus gave the administration a legitimate reason to believe the actions were within the law.
However, on Sunday, Cheney acknowledged that the White House had told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render. In other words, the opinions amounted to ordered-up lawyering to permit the administration to do whatever it wanted.
This is not entirely surprising. In 2005, e-mails revealed that Cheney pressured the U.S. Department of Justice to approve torture:
Dick Cheney and his lawyer, David Addington, pressured the Department of Justice in 2005 to quickly approve a torture memo that authorized CIA interrogators to use a combination of barbaric techniques during interrogations of “high-value” detainees, despite protests from former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, according to several of his e-mails released over the weekend.
Indeed, Cheney is the main guy who pushed for torture in the first place.
Cheney is also the guy who made the pitch to Congress justifying torture.
A former director of the CIA accused Cheney of overseeing American torture policies. And Colin Powell's former chief of staff stated that Dick Cheney is guilty of war crimes for his role in facilitating torture.
Under any definition, Cheney ordered torture, knew about it, and failed to take steps to stop it. Therefore, beyond any shadow of a doubt, Cheney has violated The War Crimes Act of 1996.
By failing to demand that torture stop and those who ordered it - like Cheney - be held to account, Americans are complicit in war crimes, just like the Germans who failed to stand up to Hitler were complicit in crimes against humanity.
And torture is apparently still continuing under Obama.