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  • Jul 14, 2014
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My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 2:12am

Cheney is a true threat to freedom

Former US vice-president Dick Cheney has called Edward Snowden a traitor and a Chinese spy on Fox News channel. I don't know if he is right or not. But you could argue that both men have exposed the darkest side of the American government and the dangers it poses to its own citizens and the rest of the world.

If Snowden is a traitor, an excellent case can be made that Cheney is a war criminal who should be tried in The Hague.

With the exception of George W. Bush, no other official was more responsible in the last US administration for sanctioning, through the use of dubious and undisclosed legal opinions, kidnapping, coerced confessions, extrajudicial detention, torture and other systematic violations of civil liberties and human rights. All these were done in the name of US national security and the war on terror, in violation of long-standing laws, traditions and principles that have defined the US since its founding.

If you think Guantanamo is a black dot on America's human rights record, Cheney was the man who thought it was too open and accountable. He preferred the numerous black sites kept under the radar in countries friendly to the US that were used to keep high-value terror suspects, a legal black hole in which they had no rights or protection.

For five years after September 11, 2001, Bush and Cheney concocted a doctrine for unchecked presidential powers during wartime - bear in mind that the war on terror was open-ended - that would circumvent domestic laws and international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions for the protection of prisoners of war. Only a Supreme Court ruling in 2006 restored some checks and balances. US investigative reporter Jane Mayer writes in her book The Dark Side that in response to the court ruling, Cheney successfully lobbied Congress to introduce a new law that provided for retroactive immunity as he was well-aware that he and other administration officials could face charges of war crimes.

For a man like Cheney, pervasive surveillance of US citizens and foreigners - exposed by Snowden - was a given. Here is a man who was truly a threat to the cause of freedom everywhere and one who refuses to shut up even in retirement.

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caractacus
Fair points Alex. Cheney was not only ruthless, he was vindictive, corrupt and evil. He and his Bush administration colleagues handed the biggest supply contract for US armed forces in Iraq to Hallburton, the company of which he was CEO for 8 years before becoming Vice President, without any public tender. He also retained share options in the business. The only comforting thing about him and others like him is that they can be removed from office by free and fair elections, so perhaps not the GREATEST threat to freedom, but he certainly did more to lower the reputation of the USA in world public opinion than perhaps any other American in history.
chuchu59
I believe it is rude to address the person by his surname or last name whatever you call it. He should be addressed by his first name.
the sun also rises
Living in Wyoming with a heart pump ? Why didn't he keep his mouth shut and live quietly instead of uttering nonsense:Snowden is a Chinese spy ! But no convincing evidence can be produced by this once-powerful power-broker, the king-maker in the George Bush administration.Chinese authorities monitor on her people (especailly those activists or dissidents or those in sensitive posts but not all her people through monitoring of their e-mails or phone calls made every day) not so big a scale as Obama administration did/doing now---all Americans and their e-communications with outsiders (not Americans) out of America and basically all the rest of the people on this planet who made/make use of the internet to communciate through the hackings done by her National Security Agency.Even the chancellor of Germany,Mrs Merger expressed her shock on the scale of the cyber-surveillance committed by her ally,the USA.No wonder,the protesters in Berlin on the arrival of President Obama's state visit there had their placards read:'Yes, we scan ! ' How ironic it looks !
ejmciii
And yet compared to the Masters in the Mainland, he is quite tame and out of power, living in Wyoming with a heart pump. Funny how that is when you take a look in the mirror. Do you think you are not being eavesdropped on by them? But of course we cannot speak about such things because they are our Masters. So it goes.
whymak
Isn't democracy great? Bush and Cheney were elected not for one, but two terms. They were reelected after they started 2 foreign wars. In the second term, they ran the US economy into the ground, destroyed 70 trillion dollars of global wealth. During those 8 years, they added no jobs.
Would Hong Kong democracy be just as horrific? Are Hong Kongers any smarter than Americans?
But if Democracy is the opiate for Hong Kong monkey-see-monkey-do superstitious minds, what choice do we have?
the sun also rises
totally agree with Alex that this old guy Cheney , a man who thinks that pervasive surveillance of US citizens and foreigners exposed by Snowden ---was a given.Here is a man who was truly a threat to the cause of freedom everywhere and one who refuses to shut up even in retirement.
awoaca
Don't forget that Cheney headed the search committee for a vice presidential candidate to run with W, and he nominated himself. He had a long-standing cardiac history, and subsequent defibrillations and procedures were bound to have destroyed brain cells. He hasn't been playing with a full deck for quite some time. And remember, he was exercising his First Amendment right on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, where actual facts are irrelevant.
richieskerr
Practically everything Mr. Cheney has ever said is "sheer nonsense", so I would have to agree with the Chinese spokesperson, who responded to Cheney's "hint" that Ed Snowden was a "Chinese spy". No doubt that both China and the United States have conducted cyber snooping on each other, that is not the the most damaging of Ed Snowden's revelations. How could an employee of the NSA, only on the job for a few months have had access to enough material to send the NSA and the Obama administration reeling? He is only one contractor out of 1.4 million contractors of the U.S. government that had similar "security clearance" and presumably, many thousands who have similar access as Ed Snowden. That is, thousands of U.S. government contractors who have access to exactly what Ed Snowden had access to. The NSA has been building up a digital Titanic of information, leaving what air tight compartments exist virtually wide open and vulnerable to hacking attack or the application of bribery, extortion, or black mail directed against any one of the thousands of its contracted employees. That is the fact that Ed Snowden revealed, and that has sent the Obama Administration into a tailspin. Not only is this vast digital library available to U.S. contracted employees but also to those of the security agencies of at least the U.K. and possibly other nations. It appears the only ones kept in the dark were the American people.
sydmel
Can't agree more.
tfung
couldn't agree more with this article... W Bush and Cheney should both be tried for war crimes!
the sun also rises
fully agree with Alex Lo that this old fool named Cheney just had nothing logical to utter but nonsense at this critical moment ---their former CIA operative,Mr.Snowden is hiding in the territory ---to accuse him of being a Chinese spy but without any concrete convincing evidence at all. I wonder why this retired former hawkish vice-president of Bush administration could not have his mouth sealed instead of saying something illogical enough to irritate Snowden to hold a webchat through The Guardian to express himself and answer questions from supporters all over the world which further embarrass the Obama administration and disgrace the NSA once again and the image of America of course !
blue
Cheney isn't an old fool. He's a dangerous psychopath.
whymak
No, a sociopath. Pschopath doesn't have the political skills to evade draft 4 times, elected into the House, appointed defense secretary and elected vice president.
dadada
beautiful!
 
 
 
 
 

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