Thiessen's Big Lie

It's right there on National Review, a magazine that once defended moral and Christian principles, once regarded torture as abhorrent and now publishes lie after lie about the illegal torture program run by Cheney:

Of course, we have not endorsed the brutal, barbaric torture of any American citizens.

I love the 'of course', a sign of the total denial inside the proto-fascist Cheney circle that has taken hold of conservatism. No one disputes that Jose Padilla is an American citizen. No one disputes that he was seized, denied any due process, and put in total isolation for four years, with much of that time being subjected to total sensory deprivation, with ear-muffs, goggles and a permanent leg and arm and belly shackle. His lawyer described what was done to him under Cheney's orders:

Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run. The temperature of his cell would be manipulated, making his cell extremely cold for long stretches of time....

He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution. He was hooded and forced to stand in stress positions for long durations of time.

He was forced to endure exceedingly long interrogation sessions, without adequate sleep, wherein he would be confronted with false information, scenarios, and documents to further disorient him. Often he had to endure multiple interrogators who would scream, shake, and otherwise assault Mr. Padilla.

As a result of this treatment, he was turned into a mental case, as the tortured often are:

"During questioning, he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body," Mr. Patel said. "The contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel."

Now for Thiessen, it is obvious that this is not brutal, barbaric torture. Obvious. The plain meaning of domestic and international law define torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession." The sadism inflicted on Padilla adds something to the picture.

But of course this was torture. No American subjected to this treatment by a foreign regime would ever say otherwise and no sane person would either. But in order to justify the evil he propagated and the disastrous weakening of national security he aided and abetted, Thiessen must lie.

Let me tell him something: however many lies you tell yourself and others, one day, Mr Thiessen, you and those you worked with, will be brought to justice.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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