<em>New Yorker</em> correspondent Jane Mayer on Cheney’s Gang and America’s Torture Policies


New Yorker Washington correspondent Jane Mayer will discuss her book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, with me live this morning between 9:30 am and 11:00 am EST.
The book is already #19 on Amazon and is an important, serious chronicle of the torture policy advocacy of Vice President Cheney and his current chief of staff David Addington.

will also be covering this event today at the New America Foundation — though it will not be live.
Later today (I hope), I will be offering some of my own thoughts on this subject with some review of the failed efforts by John Bellinger, Matthew Waxman, Gordon England, and Philip Zelikow inside the Bush administration to prevent the embrace of torture policies.
— Steve Clemons


21 comments on “<em>New Yorker</em> correspondent Jane Mayer on Cheney’s Gang and America’s Torture Policies

  1. Devoirs says:

    “In her suit, Margie Schoedinger states that George W. Bush committed sexual crimes against her, organized harassment and moral pressure on her, her family members and close relatives and friends. As Schoedinger said, she was strongly recommended to keep her mouth shut. . . . Furthermore, she alleges that George Bush ordered to show pressure on her to the point, when she commits suicide” (go to Google, type “blog of drizzten Margie Schoedinger,” and hit “Enter”).
    “George [Bush is personally complicit] in the death (murder to be precise) of my friend Margie Schoedinger in September of 2003. Determining the exact whereabouts and contacts of . . . George Bush on September 21 thru 22, 2003, should be entirely lacking in difficulty” (Leola McConnell—Nevada Progressive Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010).
    McConnell is correct: Bush applying pressure (continuously criminally stalking Margie Schoedinger) purposefully to force Schoedinger to commit suicide does in fact constitute murder where it culminated in her death.
    Bush’s method of murdering Schoedinger cannot exist in a vacuum: he must have murdered other people in the same way.
    During Bush’s presidency, of course Bush would have desired to kill people whom he hated or get them out of his way. Insofar as Bush was clearly capable of murdering Schoedinger—even in “broad daylight”—and is clearly capable of getting away with it, in consideration of common sense and the laws of human nature, Bush of course murdered numerous people in the disgusting way he murdered Schoedinger. One can examine public information; in various situations where people who sought to oppose or disadvantage Bush ever so frighteningly ended up “committing suicide”—specifically—Bush murdered them just like he murdered Schoedinger. For example, Bush continuously criminally stalked James Howard Hatfield to the point that he could not get away from it, and he committed suicide in desperation to escape: Bush murdered Hatfield. However, the vast majority of such scandalous information will never come out (the grisly details are typically hard to substantiate). A prosecutor really can lawfully charge a former president with murdering one or more people in the disgusting way Bush murdered Schoedinger. The American people unfortunately live in a world where evil presidents can murder any number of people—figuratively—with a wave of a magic wand and get away with it.
    (There are thousands of copies of the information above on the Internet. Please feel free to go to any major search engine, type “GEORGE W. BUSH IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CRIMINAL STALKER” or “George W. Bush continuously criminally stalked Margie Schoedinger to the point that she could not get away from it, and she committed suicide in desperation to escape: he murdered her” or “George W. Bush applying pressure (continuously criminally stalking Margie Schoedinger) purposefully to force Schoedinger to commit suicide does in fact constitute murder where it culminated in her death” or “George W. Bush continuously criminally stalked numerous people to the point that they could not get away from it, and they committed suicide in desperation to escape: he murdered them” or “George W. Bush continuously criminally stalked James Howard Hatfield to the point that he could not get away from it, and he committed suicide in desperation to escape: Bush murdered Hatfield,” hit “Enter,” and find hundreds of results.)
    (Please feel free to see my “GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY” blog.)
    Andrew Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993


  2. Kathleen says:

    Mr. Murder…such an apt anaolgy to compare today’s waterbaording to out previous witch drownings. Heads, we win, tails, you lose…faith based torture initiatives…you’ve got that right.


  3. Mr.Murder says:

    “Torture policy” is an oxymoron as well.
    Kind of like concentration camps were a “solution.”
    You can’t put an official endorsement on an illegal activity, and hold any legitimacy.
    See also the invasion of Iraq.


  4. Mr.Murder says:

    Curveball was spewing lies since 1999, we wanted to use him as the smoking gun, but he was obviously a BS-er.
    So, to shape the narrative, we used torture of persons and their families to extract confessions the equivalent of witch drownings, via waterboard.
    If they drown, they’re innocent, if they float, they’re infidel terrorist witches, or something like that.
    See, during America’s dawn we had Salem. this is simply a return to those faith based torture initiatives.


  5. Mr.Murder says:

    Rumsfeld manned his station and even helped assist wounded people at the Pentagon.
    They probably assumed the hit would be on the WH or Congress and not the Pentagon, while obserivng the air traffic and trying to track returning flights. Rumsfeld knew something was in the air, literally) by issuing do not fly warnings to several deputy and assistant to deputy staffers.
    Condi Rice knew enough to warn San Francisco’s mayor not to fly a week in advance.
    Let’s get back to thread topic: torutre.


  6. David says:

    Offered without comment: On 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld was in a bewildered daze and almost babbling. He most certainly was neither sharp nor fully coherent. Bush was a lost child. Cheney is the only one for whom I lack a parallel observation, except that he was running the government, and it was reported that for a period of time, Air Force One was not in direct, full contact with Washington, and that Bush was not happy about it. I was unaware that it was possible for Air Force One not to be the command center.
    Corrections to any of the above, if they are in error, would be genuinely appreciated.


  7. DonS says:

    To those who have wondered where Steve Clemons has been, tracking the evolution of commentary here for the past few years, he comes out full throated on a number of points, including the need for accountability of the Cheney gang, specifically through the mechanism of congressional hearings.
    The premise of Ms. Mayer’s conversation, the intentional subversion of Constitutional checks and balances, even given the fig leaf of “protecting America”, can now be said to be in common currency, at least among the thinking, listening public.
    This sets the tone for accountability. Ms. Mayer hedged — or actually discounted — the possibility of legal redress, citing the realistic venue as political; and she also acknowledges the unlikelihood of a public outcry for prosecution.
    We are left with international sanctions of this criminal behavior. But America hasn’t been “defeated” in the way that would allow international retribution for crimes to be levied. Bush and Cheney ride off into the sunset while the country crumbles around us and the upholders of the law are left with, at most, a future phyrric victory.


  8. Lisa says:

    ATTN nightowls: C-Span 2 scheduled The Dark Side broadcast for
    2:54 to 4:02 a.m. overnight. A shame; it deserves a broader


  9. Beth in VA says:

    Well, that link didn’t work. Here it is straight:


  10. Beth in VA says:

    I’m sorry I missed this too, but I did hear part of Mayer’s interview today on Fresh Air. Here’s the link if anyone wants to listen.
    It’s great that she did the legwork to get this horrendous but important story, and it’s great that you and the New America Foundation are covering this. I hope it manages to break through to the teevee crowd. Am I too naive to think it will be the topic of the Sunday Morning talking head programs?


  11. Paul Norheim says:

    To those who could not see the conversation live: it`s online at
    You Tube now. Just follow Steve`s link above.
    I really recommend it.


  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Interesting, Linda. So Rumsfeld carried with him the Pearl Harbor
    book, and David Addington carried with him the Constitution
    (according to Mayer), to interpret and bend it in his own weird
    I was not aware of Wohlstetters book.
    “The book argues, in part, that intelligence failures are to be
    expected because of the difficulty identifying “signals” from the
    background “noise” of raw facts, regardless of the quantity of the
    latter.” (Wikipedia).
    This is ironic, because in the interview with Steve today, Mayer
    claimed that Cheney and Bush spent the mornings after 9.11
    listening to raw, unfiltered intelligence reports – exactly that
    background noise, or what Mayer called “bullshit”.


  13. Linda says:

    I couldn’t watch it this a.m., but your comment was interesting because it mentioned 9/11 analogy to Pearl Harbor. It is well known that Rumsfeld was around RAND for a long time and signed PNAC letters, i.e., probably knew both Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter. I believe Albert died in late 1990s and Roberta some years after. But I’ve also seen reported that after 9/11, Rumsfeld carried with him all the time Roberta’s classic book on Pearl Harbor, “Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision.
    I think they also may have been in panic because they really had a full team in place by even July, 2001–and missed and ignored all the warning signs.


  14. Mr.Murder says:

    Deeply regrtet missing this, steve.
    Had several errands come up.


  15. questions says:

    Re the Congressional visit to the torture chambers, I was under the impression that the admin deliberately encouraged the “visit” so that members of Congress would have top secret info that then could not by law share. It’s a crazy system — you need info to prosecute and if you get the info, you can’t talk.
    Re the Dems’ caving — it’s so depressing. Is it fear of Republican talking points? Is it as Greenwald suggests that they are just complicit as members of an elite over the citizenry? Are there any legitimate fears about national security? Is it a bunch of dummies just so far in over their heads that they can’t understand what’s going on?
    Re the interview — thanks for setting it up! Thanks for the person who reminded us that even if torture sometimes works, we ought not to engage in it. Thanks for reminding us both that people in White House were freaked out on 9/11 (Jack Goldsmith goes into this point) and yet there were plans sitting around ready to be dusted off and put into place to seize power. The legitimate fear runs right into the creeps who have been waiting. And thanks to the doctor and psychologist for reminding us that professionals have been complicit and wicked. I’d toss in some anthropologists, too. That field is as torn up over this issue as is the APA and the AMA. This kind of systematic wickedness needs so many people cooperating in order to happen. It’s like Stanley Milgram’s experiment all over again.
    And thanks to everyone who floats around here for not letting the gov’t do its thing unmonitored.


  16. Paul Norheim says:

    I wonder if Bush & Co will ever be prosecuted, when Jay
    Rockefeller, Pelosi and others are compromised too such a
    This, BTW, also shows the importance of independent political
    bloggers, and journalists who search for the whole picture –
    including the role of members of the Congress. Where is the
    Woodward & Bernstein of our time? That the real Woodward has
    such a complicated relationship to the current White House,
    compromising himself in the beginning, is one of the most telling
    signs of the role of the “free press” in this mess. At least Seymour
    Hirch is doing his job.


  17. Carroll says:

    Now, everyone also needs to see Greenwald’s column today that concentrates on congress’s part in this.
    An additional complicating factor is that key members of Congress sanctioned this program, so many of those who might ordinarily be counted on to lead the charge are themselves compromised.
    The primary answer is that the Democratic Party as a whole (with many individual exceptions) supports those policies and/or believes in nothing other than the perpetuation of their own power,
    In December of last year, The Washington Post revealed:
    Four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
    Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.
    Our enemy Bush will soon be gone…our enemy congress will still be there.


  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, one of these days we may yet see a journalist with the balls to start at the beginning.
    But for the moment, I guess we just have to rely on these wackjob “conspiracy theorists” like this Bowman critter.
    I mean hey, who does this guy think he is….?
    Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret. flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. He is the recipient of the Eisenhower Medal, the George F. Kennan Peace Prize, the President’s Medal of Veterans for Peace, the Society of Military Engineers Gold Medal (twice), six Air Medals, and dozens of other awards and honors. His Ph.D. is in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech. He chaired 8 major international conferences, and is one of the country’s foremost experts on National Security.
    Bowman outlined how the drills on the morning of 9/11 that simulated planes crashing into buildings on the east coast were used as a cover to dupe unwitting air defense personnel into not responding quickly enough to stop the attack.
    “The exercises that went on that morning simulating the exact kind of thing that was happening so confused the people in the FAA and NORAD….that they didn’t they didn’t know what was real and what was part of the exercise,” said Bowman
    “I think the people who planned and carried out those exercises, they’re the ones that should be the object of investigation.”
    Asked if he could name a prime suspect who was the likely architect behind the attacks, Bowman stated, “If I had to narrow it down to one person….I think my prime suspect would be Dick Cheney.”
    Bowman said that privately his military fighter pilot peers and colleagues did not disagree with his sentiments about the real story behind 9/11.
    Bowman agreed that the US was in danger of slipping into a dictatorship and stated, “I think there’s been nothing closer to fascism than what we’ve seen lately from this government.”


  19. Lisa says:

    Excellent program. Thank you for sharing. Have already ordered
    my copy of the book. Plz give us a head’s up on the C-Span time
    for rebroadcast.


  20. Warren Metzler says:

    When oh when will people recognize that when people act
    irrationally, there is always a hidden agenda? When oh when
    will people recognize that the Bush people’s irrational actions
    after 9/11 make it impossible that they themselves really
    believed the El Queda did 9/11?
    If you reflect on the possibility El Queda didn’t do 9/11, then
    you begin to see that the public’s and leaders in Congress’s
    complicity with the Bush administration is all based on everyone
    not wanting to admit what a line of nonsense they got
    themselves sucked into.
    Consider what a different view all Americans would have of the
    “War on terror” if it turned out El Queda didn’t do 9/11.
    And, by the way, I’m not proposing the government did 9/11.
    I’m proposing the American civilians of an extreme right wing
    mentality did 9/11 to get the country to move to the view they
    advocated. And boy oh boy did they succeed. We’ve abandoned
    our Constitution.


  21. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve, great performance and a highly interesting conversation.
    According to the info at the bottom of my screen, there were
    around 110-130 online viewers who watched it live.
    According to reviews, there is not much new info in the book;
    it`s more about the big picture. But I remember reading Mayers
    New Yorker article about Addington while visiting New York two
    years ago, and that was really an eye opener – so I think she is
    doing an important job.
    Also fascinating to hear about the fear level inside the WH at the
    time (regarding anthrax etc) and the obsessed reading of raw
    intelligence material in the morning hours…
    Unfortunately I lost connection for a while just before the
    questions from the audience started, so I`ll see it again later –
    and also buy the book. I especially appreciate that Mayer is
    concentrating on the legal framework behind this shadowy
    Pearl Harbor has often been mentioned as an analogy to 9.11,
    but for those inside the WH, as Mayer describes it, the
    atmosphere seem a bit more like 7.20.1944 inside Hitlers
    That some of the interrogators literally got torture ideas from
    the TV-series “24” is bizarre, almost beyond belief.


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