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Cross Posted at ePluribus Media Commentary site
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, tells BBC interviewer Carolyn Quinn in the R4Todayprogram that accountability for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners must be given to Cheney and that it may be tantamount to an international crime.  Wilkerson's account and language have been increasingly critical of Bush/Cheney as information unfolds in the public sphere about the run up to war. He uses his harshest language to date in asserting that Cheney is guilty certainly of domestic crime and that it may well transcend to international crime.
If what you say is correct, in your view, is Dick Cheney then guilty of a war crime?

Well, that's an interesting question - it was certainly a domestic crime to advocate terror and I would suspect that it is - for whatever it's worth - an international crime as well.

And that question of detainee abuse - are you saying that the implicit message allowing it to happen was sanctioned by Dick Cheney - it came from his office?

Well you see two sides of this debate in the statutory process. You see the side represented by Colin Powell, Will Taft, all arguing for Geneva.

You see the other side represented by Yoo, John Yoo from the Department of Justice, Alberto Gonzales - you see the other side being argued by them and you see the president compromising.

Then you see the secretary of defence moving out in his own memorandum to act as if the side that declared everything open, free and anything goes, actually being what's implemented.

And so what I'm saying is, under the vice-president's protection, the secretary of defence moved out to do what they wanted to do in the first place even though the president had made a decision that was clearly a compromise.

Wilkerson goes on to state that while he had defended the administration's decisions by saying they had all been fooled by the "bad intelligence", he has since begun changing his mind.  He cites as reasons for his seachange:

  1.  the forced confession of Sheik al-Libby by decidedly un-Geneva Conventional methods which was known in some circles to be bad intel and was later recanted, but that this particular tidbit of Defense Intelligency Agency dissent was withheld from Powell and
  2. that since the CIA knew from German Intelligence that Curveball's information was bogus, perhaps Powell, Wilkerson and the American people were intentionally fooled.

The whole transcript is posted on BBC and is a worthwhile read.

Originally posted to DEFuning on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 07:40 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And from an interview with the AP (4.00)
    on the MSNBC website:

    Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

    On the question of detainees picked up in Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, Wilkerson said Bush heard two sides of an impassioned argument within his administration. Abuse of prisoners, and even the deaths of some who had been interrogated in Afghanistan and elsewhere, have bruised the U.S. image abroad and undermined support for the Iraq war.

    Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.

    Yep - 2006 can't come soon enough.   I just hope Fitz makes it in time for the elections.

  •  Assuming Wilkerson is correct... (none)
    ...and Bush was looking for some type of compromise that kept the torture/inhumane treatment legal in the beginning, Bush is just as much a war criminal as any of them now.

    Support the troops - Give them a plan!

    by isbister on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 07:50:18 AM PST

  •  International criminal (none)
    This is great. We need all the pressure we can get to force something to be done about the crimes committed.

    Freudian slip: "the forced confession of Sheik al-Libby" (should be Libi, shouldn't it?)

    We need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    by astraea on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 07:54:15 AM PST

  •  Top item on NPR's 11 am (EST) headlines (none)
    This was the lead entry in NPR's 11 AM (EST) headlines.  Carl Castle (I think) stumbled over the headline, that a top former aide accused Dick Cheney of being a WAR CRIMINAL.

    That this is even mentioned is welcome news.  But do not think for a minute the complicit Bu$hCo death-warriors are going to somehow fall and retreat:  They will fight every skirmish, resist every cleansing agent, and hold on to every shred of power until they are either routed or dead.

    I hope NPR continues to give this top billing.  In the past they have let stories like this pop to the top, then settle or disappear.  Does anyone know how to keep this ball rolling?

    This just bears repeating and repeating:

    it was certainly a domestic crime to advocate terror and I would suspect that it is - for whatever it's worth - an international crime as well

    -5.13;-6.92 Bu$hCo is a flesh-eating cancer: emergency radical surgery is required

    by Yellow Canary on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 08:13:42 AM PST

  •  I posted this earlier (none)

    Is there a way of combining these threads since as you point out this is a momentous story and is getting a lot of attention over here?

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