Wilkerson Cheney May Be War Criminal

Wilkerson: Cheney May be a War Criminal

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff of Colin Powell, told the BBC that Vice President Dick Cheney may be guilty of war crimes for arguing that all restrictions on torturing prisoners should be done away with.

The Wilkerson transcript is here. Money grafs:

>BBC: But you’re talking about the abuse – the alleged abuse – by American forces aren’t you?

I am, and I concluded that we had had an impassioned debate in the statutory process. And in that debate, two sides had participated: one that essentially wanted to do away with all restrictions and the other which said no, Geneva should prevail and the president walked right down the middle.

He made a decision that Geneva would in fact govern all but al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda look-alike detainees. Any other prisoners of course would be governed by traditional methods, international law, Geneva and so forth.

>BBC: Who was calling for doing away with all the normal practices if you like?

Who is right now very publicly lobbying the congress of the United States, advocating the use of terror? The vice-president of the United States . . .

>BBC: And that question of detainee abuse – are you saying that the implicit message allowing it to happen was sanctioned by Dick Cheney – it came from his office?

Well you see two sides of this debate in the statutory process. You see the side represented by Colin Powell, Will Taft, all arguing for Geneva.

You see the other side represented by Yoo, John Yoo from the Department of Justice, Alberto Gonzales – you see the other side being argued by them and you see the president compromising.

Then you see the secretary of defence moving out in his own memorandum to act as if the side that declared everything open, free and anything goes, actually being what’s implemented.

And so what I’m saying is, under the vice-president’s protection, the secretary of defence moved out to do what they wanted to do in the first place even though the president had made a decision that was clearly a compromise . . .

> BBC: If what you say is correct, in your view, is Dick Cheney then guilty of a war crime?

Well, that’s an interesting question – it was certainly a domestic crime to advocate terror and I would suspect that it is – for whatever it’s worth – an international crime as well.

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