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Bipartisan Brutality: Senior Dems Also Got Sneak Peak at Waterbording in 2002

Melissa McEwan: Democrats have also been engaging in quite the charade with their supposed outrage about the Bush administration's torture policy.
 
 
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This post, written by Melissa McEwan, originally appeared on Shakesville

It's bad enough when an opposition party merely fails to effectively oppose, or when they are give tacit approval to a criminally corrupt majority party's radical policies with passive indifference, but when they are active supporters of extremist departures from the nation's most basic principles, they make themselves complicit in the coup by a thousand cuts. Per Lambert, no wonder Pelosi took impeachment off the table:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

...[L]ong before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter.

As Glenn Greenwald explains, the Democrats have also been engaging in quite the charade with their supposed outrage about the Bush administration's torture policy, given that they have retained in the leadership roles tasked with investigating Bush's intelligence abuses the very people who signed off on those abuses.

Jay Rockefeller was one of the key Democrats briefed on the torture methods who never objected. But it's far worse than that. In September, 2006, Rockefeller was one of 12 Senate Democrats to vote in favor of the Military Commissions Act, one of the principal purposes of which was to explicitly authorize the CIA's "enhanced interrogation program" to proceed (even though it continues to be illegal under the Geneva Conventions). Thus, not only did Rockefeller remain silent when continuously briefed on illegal torture methods by the CIA, he then voted to legalize those methods by voting in favor of one of the most Draconian laws in modern American history. That law also retroactively immunized government officials from any liability for past lawbreaking.

Melissa McEwan writes and edits the blog Shakespeare's Sister .

 
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