Cheney's Crimes and Confessions: Torture Is the Least of It

By David Swanson

Dick Cheney’s statutory crimes are notable for their severity, their number, and his public confessions to them.  Torture is the least of it.

We can start with the crimes found in the three articles of impeachment contained in H Res 333 in the 110th Congress:

1. "Cheney has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:" (H Res 333 goes on to list evidence).

2. "Cheney purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit" (H Res 333 goes on to list evidence).

3. "Cheney has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States, to wit:" (H Res 333 lists evidence, or rather, absolute proof, since this act was completely and by definition public.  It was also repeated in later instances than those documented).

H Res 333 does not mention, but it is also relevant, that post-invasion Cheney clung to the idea that Iraq had WMDs, continuing to state the same lies even after near-universal admission by the U.S. corporate media that they were false.

H Res 333 also does not include much explanation of how we know that Cheney knew he was lying. Congressman Henry Waxman posted a searchable database of lies (since deleted when the Oversight Committee was effectively disbanded to accomodate the new president). It included (and I’m sure it still exists somewhere) 51 Cheney WMD and al Qaeda lies, and explained how we know in each case that he was lying.

Further documentation would begin with this:

CHENEY (August 26, 2002): "But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we’ve gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors — including Saddam’s own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam’s direction…During the spring of 1995, the inspectors were actually on the verge of declaring that Saddam’s programs to develop chemical weapons and longer-range ballistic missiles had been fully accounted for and shut down. Then Saddam’s son-in-law suddenly defected and began sharing information…That should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself."

But here’s Kamel, the son-in-law, on CNN on September 21, 1995:

CNN: Can you state, here and now, does Iraq have any weapons of mass destruction left?
KAMEL: No. Iraq does not possess any weapons of mass destruction.

In the notes from Kamel’s 1995 debriefing by the UN, he’s asked:
PROF. ZIFFERERO: were there any continuation of , or present nuclear activities, for example, EMIS, centrifuge?

And here’s a declassified CIA document from their interrogation of Kamel:

Finally, we know someone at the White House was asking the CIA about Kamel at the beginning of 2002, because the WMD Commission refers to this document: "Senior Executive Memorandum (Jan. 12, 2002) (discussing the value of Kamel’s information)".
Senior Executive Memoranda are produced by the CIA in response to high-level questions from the executive branch. But what this specifically said is unknown, because the CIA has turned down FOIA requests for it from the National Security Archive.

The Scooter Libby trial also exposed the lead role of Vice President Cheney’s office in manipulating pre-war intelligence to defraud Congress into authorizing the invasion of Iraq. Sworn testimony revealed that Cheney’s office managed the evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, all of which proved to be lies. Cheney personally visited the CIA several times before the invasion to pressure the CIA to distort pre-war intelligence. And Cheney exerted "constant" pressure on the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, according to the next chairman, Senator Jay Rockefeller.

On July 14, 2003, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity laid out the case against Cheney: PDF.  But it wasn’t just FORMER CIA officials.  Even George Tenet blamed Cheney.

And Cheney did not only threaten an attack on Iran.  He led an effort, similar to that on Iraq, to mislead the Congress and the public about weapons and other supposed rationales for launching an illegal attack on Iran.  He even held meetings to brainstorm strategies for initiating a war with Iran.

Cheney also led a campaign of retribution against whistleblower Joseph Wilson, including the outing of a covert CIA operative.

The trial of Scooter Libby (not to mention the later book tour of Scooter Libby) produced overwhelming evidence that Vice President Cheney personally led the campaign to attack Joe Wilson through the media. This "get Wilson" campaign included telling numerous reporters that Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife Valerie Plame, a CIA operative. Cheney was told by the CIA that Valerie Plame worked as a covert agent in the CIA’s Nonproliferation Division, which is the critical division of the CIA responsible for stopping the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Cheney’s efforts to expose Plame actually exposed her entire covert network, at tremendous cost to the CIA’s secret war against terrorism. If Plame’s work had been exposed by a double-agent in our government like Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen, that person would face prosecution for espionage and treason. The evidence of Cheney’s role is more than enough to start a criminal investigation.  Here’s some background:

* Just Another Obstruction of Justice
* The Two Redacted Pages
* Indictment of Cheney for Plame Leak
* Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney
* Fitzgerald: "There Is a Cloud Over the Vice President"
* Libby Testimony Raises More Questions about Cheney’s Role In The CIA Leak Case
* Libby Trial Sheds Light on White House
* Did Bush and Cheney Lie to Fitzgerald?
* Libby Told Grand Jury He Was Ordered to Leak Intelligence
* Court Hears Libby Describe Cheney as ‘Upset’ at Critic
* Libby Trial: Russert Ruins the Cover Story
* Addington Points to Cheney
* Cheney’s Notes

Ambassador Joe Wilson, Congressional testimony July 11, 2007: Cheney initiated and directed Libby’s wrongdoing.

Cheney 1

Cheney, of course, also, by his own frequent and bragging confession was a leading player in a conspiracy to commit torture, and those acts of conspiracy are felonies under U.S. law.  Here’s an oldie but goodie:

* Washington Post’s Series on Cheney

Cheney also played a key role in setting up illegal and unconstitutional spying programs:

* NY Times: "Dick Cheney sent Mr. Gonzales and another official to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room to get him to approve the wiretapping."
* Unimpeachably Impeachable
* Cheney Urged Illegal Wiretaps
* Ashcroft’s ex-no. 2 says Gonzales, Cheney tried to take advantage of sick Attorney General.
* Cheney Wants Surveilliance Law Expanded.

In another criminal act, Cheney refused to comply with a subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Did Cheney send Gonzales to Ashcroft’s hospital bed in an aggressive attempt to legalize a criminal spying program? He "doesn’t recall."

 Cheney created the secret Energy Task Force which operated in defiance of open-government laws.

In fact, Cheney created new levels of secrecy in government never to be seen again until the presidency of Barack Obama:

* Cheney Exempts His Office from Requirement to Protect Classified Information
* Cheney Destroys Visitor Logs
* A New Dick Cheney-Alberto Gonzales Mystery

Cheney openly accepted bribes: he directed massive no-bid contracts to his company, Halliburton, and profitted from the same illegal war he defrauded the American public to launch: Give It Back, Dick.

Cheney increased the danger of climate change: Cheney Bypassed Environmentally ‘Clueless’ Bush To Craft Administration’s Climate Change Agenda.

Cheney Suppressed Evidence in the California Energy Crisis: Report.

Lest we forget, lest we allow all of Cheney’s crimes to be repeated with impunity, lest we persuade ourselves that "looking forward" is a sane approach to law enforcement, here’s a glance back at some of the evidence of crimes not yet presented to a grand jury:

* Cheney Country
* Dick Cheney Really Is That Bad
* Answering to No One
* Cheney’s Long-Lost Twin
* Cheney Made Bush Commute Libby
* Why the Perjury?
* Lost Liberties
* Absolute Power Corrupts…Cheney
* Doak: Restore Constitution as law of the land – Impeach Cheney
* Nation needs intervention to get Cheney out of office
* Did Dick Cheney kill 70,000 salmon? Committee to probe
* Rep. McDermott: The Vice President Should Resign or Face Impeachment
* Dick Cheney’s Dangerous Influence
* The Misunderestimated Mr. Cheney: The Vice President’s Record of Willfully Violating the Law, And Wrongly Claiming Authority
* Impeach Cheney: The vice president has run utterly amok and must be stopped: By Bruce Fein
* Dick Cheney’s Dangerous Son-In-Law
* Subpoena Dick
* The People vs. Richard Cheney
* Dick Cheney Rules
* Dick Cheney and Jim Wright Saved Reagan: What Can Cheney and Nancy Pelosi Do for Bush?
* The Spoiler: How Cheney ensures diplomatic failure with Iran
* Cheney’s New Front in War on Reality
* Cheney Hints at Iran Strike
* Stink of Blood Money
* Cheney’s the One
* Cheney Promises to Veto Employee Free Choice Act
* Impeach the Two of Them
* Dick Cheney and the Dog that Didn’t Bark
* Mr. Cheney, Tear Down This Wall
* ISOO Asks Attorney General to Rule on Cheney’s Role
* Impeach Cheney Part 1.
* Impeach Cheney Part 2.
* Impeach Cheney Part 3.
* Cheney Pursuing Nuclear Ambitions of His Own.
* Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE
* Cheney’s Own Logic for Impeachment
* Challenging Cheney


It is far from too late to take action, and I encourage everyone to do so.

"The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched. The Charter of this Tribunal evidences a faith that the law is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, ‘under … the law.’ And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment." — Opening Statement of The Chief Prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, at Nuremberg.


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