Cheney Pushed Torture Techniques to Find Iraq, al-Qa’ida Tie
At the urging of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush administration used torture techniques against suspected terrorists in part of an effort to establish a tie between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, according to a report Wednesday.
“The Bush administration put relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist,” McClatchy Newspaper’s Jonathan Landay writes.
“Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003,” he adds. “No evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.”
The push apparently came from Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who were adamant about making a connection, McClatchy Newspaper’s Jonathan Landy writes. >>>
Senior US officials in the Bush administration were involved in the approval of the use of torture on so-called terror detainees by CIA employees, a US senate report has said.
The use of torture against detainees also led to the brutal mistreatment of terror suspects and prisoners in places such as Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, the senate armed services committe report said.
“The fact is that senior officials in the US government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance oftheir legality, and authorised their use against detainees,” the report said on Tuesday.
The report also dismissed claims by Bush aides that abuse of detainees in US military facilities in places such as Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan were the “unauthorised acts of a ‘few bad apples” as “simply false”.
“Authorisations of aggressive interrogation techniques by senior officials resulted in abuse and conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in US military custody,” Carl Levin, a Democratic senator and head of the committee, said in a statement.
“[The report is] a condemnation of both the Bush administration’s interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse … to low-ranking soldiers.”
The investigation into US treatment of “war on terror” detainees, exerpts of which were published in December, is likely to increase debate over US use of torture.
It also follows the release last week by the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, of several justice department memos dating from the presidency of George Bush, Obama’s predecessor, which approved the CIA’s use of “waterboarding”, which simulates the sensation of drowning, and other methods. >>>
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- PHR: After Senate Report, Psychologists Who Tortured Must Be Held to Account (21 Apr 09)
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