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April 23, 2009

Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney Irrevocably Linked To Water-boarding

waterboarding  A Senate Intelligence Committee document has revealed that when Condoleezza Rice was Bush’s National Security Adviser she personally verbally approved the CIA’s request to use water-boarding to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to water-boarding in July 2002.  This is the earliest known decision by a Bush administration official to approve use of water-boarding. 

The report gives a detailed timeline of how the CIA’s violent “enhanced interrogation” techniques was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.  The timeline also shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

While there have long been suspicions that the White House was involved in the decision, the actions have until now been blamed on the CIA and unnamed officials at the Pentagon.

The report describes a meeting between Dick Cheney, then-CIA Director George Tenet and Dr. Rice in July 2002. The Secretary of State “advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation” of alleged al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, the report said.

In 2003, the CIA briefed Dr. Rice, Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft — the then Attorney General — on the use of water-boarding and other methods including week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and the use of stress positions. The Senate report says that officials “reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy”.

CIA memos released by President Obama’s administration last week revealed that Mr. Zubaydah was water-boarded at least 83 times in the course of one month and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who claimed to have planned the September 11 attacks was water-boarded183 times in one month.

Experts have said that water-boarding is so horrific that even the most hardened terrorists have not been able to stand it for more than a minute without begging to talk.

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June 25, 2008

John McCain Wasn’t Tortured In Vietnam?

   When John McCain was my captive, “we never tortured him”.

So says Tran Trong Duyet – a sprightly retiree and amateur ballroom dancer – must rank as one of John McCain’s more unlikely supporters.

Four decades ago, during the Vietnam war, Mr. Duyet was in charge of the notorious Hoa Lo prison – the place where Mr. McCain says he was brutally beaten and tortured during five-and-a-half years as an American prisoner of war.

“McCain is my friend,” said 75-year-old Mr. Duyet as he feeds the caged birds he now keeps in his garden in this coastal city.

“If I was American, I would vote for him.”

Informal chats

Navy pilot John McCain was shot down during a bombing raid over the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, in 1967.

He ejected from his aircraft and parachuted into a city lake – only to be dragged out by an angry crowd, barely conscious, and with two broken arms and a broken leg.

From there he was taken to Hoa Lo prison, known to its American military inmates as the “Hanoi Hilton”.

McCain has since described enduring months of solitary confinement and systematic torture which drove him to try to kill himself.

“I don’t know how he’d react if he met me again,” said Mr. Duyet, flicking through old black and white photographs of himself and his American prisoners at Hoa Lo.

“But I can confirm to you that we never tortured him. We never tortured any prisoners.”

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