Dudley Do-Wrong

Protest Bush Canada

Activists protest former President Bush's visit to Canada

Last week former President George W. Bush visited British Columbia, Canada, to give a speech at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit. He was reportedly paid $150,000 for his appearance.

Setting aside the fact that the Bush administration had much the same effect on America’s economy that the iceberg had on the Titanic, there is another good reason why President Bush was a very poor choice of speaker.

As President of the United States, George Bush ordered the torture of detainees in US custody.


Amnesty Activists Surprise Cheney at His 'Today Show' Appearance

Closing shot after Cheney's Today Show interview

By Stephanie Velasco, Field Organizing Assistant for the Northeast Region

(New York, 8/30/11) I feel a bit like I’m wading through a dream world today. Maybe it’s because I—like several others who accompanied me at the Today Show—have been awake since around 3am. Or maybe it’s because I really am drifting into my own dream world where the idea of accountability for torture seems like an utterly simple task. After all, people are tweeting and blogging about it, so a concrete resolution must be soon to follow, right? Somebody pinch me, please.


Dick Cheney's Ten Year War on Truth

Amnesty activists protest Cheney's memoir at Department of State

Amnesty activists present Cheney's memoir as evidence of war crimes to the Department of Justice on August 30th. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday former Vice-President Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney published his memoirs, In My Time, and, as widely expected, he has used this new platform to restate his wholehearted support for some of the most egregious human rights abuses committed by the Bush administration.

We thought it might be instructive to examine some of the claims he makes in his memoirs and see how well they stack up against the established facts.

In an interview with CNN in June 2005 Dick Cheney spun a rosy picture of conditions in Guantanamo:

“We spent a lot of money to build it. They’re very well treated there. They’re living in the tropics. They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want.”


Accountability for Torture: What Would @FakeCheney Say?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir In My Time is slated for release tomorrow, and the media — and former Cheney colleagues like Colin Powell — are already abuzz with anticipation.

Amnesty International can’t let Cheney, a man who called waterboarding a “no-brainer”, have the last word. Not only does our Security with Human Rights campaign plan to submit Cheney’s own prose as evidence of war crimes to the Department of Justice, we also set up a parody Twitter account, @FakeCheney, with Cheney’s hypothetical reactions to Amnesty’s unwelcome calls for accountability.

We’ve used the tool Storify to put together a play-by-play of @FakeCheney’s Twitter antics for social change.

Three Words of Omission When It Comes to Torture

By Matthew Alexander, former senior military interrogator

Matthew Alexander

Since the killing of Osama bin Laden last month in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the torture supporters have been out in full force to credit the success to Bush Administration policies such as torture.

Retired General Michael Hayden wrote in the Wall Street Journal that to deny that waterboarding provided important intelligence information is the equivalent of being a birther.  And Retired Army Major General Patrick Brady, a Medal of Honor Recipient from Vietnam, argued that waterboarders are heroes in a recent Op-Ed in the San Antonio online forum.  They join the ranks of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Marc Thiessen, Michael Mukasey, and, of course, the former President himself, George W. Bush.

But I challenge you to search all the articles and interviews done by these men for three key phrases: 1) World War II interrogators, 2) Long-Term, and 3) George Washington.  You won’t find them.  And there’s a reason why.


Asking The Wrong Question About Torture

In 1958 a communist French newspaper editor sympathetic to the cause of Algerian independence called Henri Alleg published “The Question”, a short account of his interrogation under torture by French paratroopers:

“The rag was soaked rapidly. Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air. I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could. But I couldn’t hold on for more than a few moments.

I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me. In spite of myself, all the muscles of my body struggled uselessly to save me from suffocation… three times I again experienced this insupportable agony. In extremis, they let me get my breath back while I threw up the water. That last time, I lost consciousness.”

Despite being water-boarded, subjected to electric shocks, burned, beaten, and drugged with pentothal, Henri Alleg did not give his captors the information they were after – the name of the individual who had hidden him from the authorities.