During a recent television appearance, former Vice President Dick Cheney wantonly — and proudly — admitted to violating section 2340A of the federal criminal code that makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture.
In a normal criminal justice system that hasn’t been subverted by corrupted politicians and lawyers, Cheney would have convicted himself with his confession, but in the U.S. — at least for now — the justice system does not apply to politicians regardless of how corrupt and treasonous they are.
This past Sunday, Cheney admitted to being ‘a big supporter of water boarding,’ which, depending upon who is doing it, has been regarded as torture and a serious war crime. As noted by AlterNet, Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II. Those rules — according to the government — don’t apply to U.S. politicians who illegally lie this country to war. The hypocrisy really is astounding.
In the U.S. however, it is deemed ‘justifiable’ when highly politicized ‘Justice’ Department lawyers illegally say it is. In Cheney’s warped sense of reality, water boarding should still be ‘on the table.’
Cheney Admits to Collusion with OLC Lawyers
Cheney admitted that water boarding was used on three ‘high-value detainees,’ sometimes in repetitive sequences. In admitting his and the Bush administration’s war crimes, Cheney casually negated a key line of defense used by senior Bush officials to hide behind for years; the brutal interrogations were approved by independent Justice Department ‘legal’ experts who led them to believe their actions were within the law.
In his ongoing ignorance, Cheney even admitted that the White House told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render — meaning that the ‘legal’ opinions were ordered by the Bush administration to allow them to do whatever they wanted to do, adding one more crime to the growing list of those that were perpetrated by the Bush administration. Cheney made the admission because he felt he had to protect the lawyers that were ordered to break the law.
For years the Bush cabal cited the ‘legal’ opinions they ordered as justification for the crimes they committed, claiming that everyone from the President and Vice President who approved using the harsh interrogation techniques to the CIA operatives conducting the interrogations were operating in good faith.
If it proved that the justifications for conducting harsh interrogations were derived from collusion between the White House and Justice department lawyers, it would be a crime. Many top members of the Bush administration were involved in collusion to justify conducting illegal interrogations in an illegal war.
Bush’s Justice Department OLC lawyers participated in many meetings to determine how to make Bush’s desired actions ‘legal.’ These lawyers purposely fixed the facts for Bush to justify torture.
Cheney’s Impunity is Damning Commentary on the Rule of Law in the U.S.
On August 1, 2002, a ‘torture memo’ — that lifted language from an unrelated health benefits law — was used to redefine torture. The memo claimed that unless the amount of pain administered to a detainee led to injuries that might result in “death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions,” the interrogation technique could not be defined as torture. Because water boarding is intended to cause a panicked gag reflex associated with drowning and is not intended to cause death or organ failure, it was deemed not to be torture.
Last month, those responsible for the ‘torture memo’ were given a slap on the wrist to avoid referring them to state bar associations for disbarment proceedings, and to keep them out of prison, offering yet more evidence that the politicized Justice Department is nothing more than an extension of the White House to be used for keeping egregious crimes committed by Washington covered up.
Cheney routinely goes on preselected national television shows to belittle President Obama or whine about something, oftentimes related to torture. President Obama and his administration — effectively aiding and abetting — will make sure that Bush, Cheney and those in the Bush administration who committed treason are impune. As noted by AlterNet, the fact that Cheney feels that he can operate with such impunity is a damning commentary on the rule of law in the United States, at least when it comes to the nation’s elites.
Under Section 2340A of the federal criminal code, it’s a crime to torture or to conspire to torture. The penalty for committing such crimes are subject to jail or death in appropriate cases, such as the more than 100 people who died from being tortured by the U.S. By bragging about his crimes, Cheney has removed the burden of proving guilt. Cheney didn’t speak hypothetically about condoning and conspiring to commit torture, he bragged about his involvement in decisions to water board in at least three cases.
In bragging about his involvement, Cheney could be daring President Obama to prosecute his crimes. In a normal criminal justice system, the Justice department decides who and who doesn’t get charged with what crimes, not the President. Maybe the Justice Department should give him what he wants. It’s time for the rule of law to apply to everyone, including criminals in Washington whose actions are responsible for killing thousands of America troops and starting two illegal wars to profit the military-industrial complex.