With the distressing news of so many democracy activists being rounded up by the Iranian regime, the specter of torture for false confessions emerges. The confessions "prove" that the demonstrations were entirely a function of a foreign plot. And, more to the point, the torture techniques include those adopted and championed by the neocon right in the US. Among the Cheney techniques that are used by the Khemenai regime are sleep deprivation, forced nudity, beatings, solitary confinement, and stress positions. The torture also exceeds Cheney techniques in many cases: beating with cables, which was barred by Cheney in favor of beatings that did not leave such scars or "walling". The Tehran regime does not have a record of waterboarding. Khamenei's regime, like Cheney's program, denies outright that they torture anyone.
And here's what the neocon right has to confront: if they refuse to believe that the victims of this regime are telling the truth, on what grounds do they believe the "evidence" that Cheney tortured out of America's prisoners?
Above is a disturbing report from Anderson Cooper on Sixty Minutes earlier this year. The Iranian mullahs are clearly worse in their degree of torture than America's neocons, and they use it against citizens for mere political expression, not to procure or compell evidence for charges of terrorism. But the distinction between their torture and the West's is now a matter of parsing. The line has been blurred.
And the impact of America's endorsement of these torture techniques can only make the experience of the tortured that much harder to endure. Before Bush-Cheney, the tortured around the world knew that there was a place that didn't do this, that there was a human civilization bigger and better than this. No longer. And this is Cheney's signal contribution to the twenty-first century: he has made the world much, much safer for torture - by people with fewer scruples than David Addington. And those fighting for freedom around the world will be the foremost victims of the neocons' deployment of the "dark side".