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.

Known and Forgotten

By Matthew Alexander, Former Senior Military Interrogator and Amnesty Volunteer

Simulated waterboarding © Amnesty International

It would have been a better title for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s recently released memoir.  There are things Rumsfeld remembers and things he has conveniently forgotten.  What we called in the interrogation room “selective memory.”  What’s most striking about the memoir, however, is the blatant hypocrisy.

Take for instance, his assertion in Chapter 39 (page 582) that “None of the authorized interrogation methods…involved physical or mental pain.  None were inhumane.”  What planet are we on? The Category I techniques he approved include stress positions for up to four hours.  Anyone who’s been through basic training knows that maintaining a stress position for four hours would be the very definition of pain.  But apparently, for Mr Rumsfeld, there’s no difference between standing at your work podium in your cushy Pentagon office and squatting for four hours straight.  No pain, indeed.

Rumsfeld also doesn’t consider it painful to be confronted with one’s phobias, for instance to have aggressive dogs placed inches from one’s face.  To Rumsfeld, that’s probably just a fun way to spend a Saturday.  Of course, this is from a guy who’s made a career out of Washington’s steak rooms.