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Jason Leopold on Cheney, Torture, and Obama's Shortsightedness

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Today, my guest is Jason Leopold, intrepid investigative journalist, truthout's Deputy Managing Editor andfounder of The Public Record.Welcome back to OpEdNews, Jason. You wrote a piece on February 17, aptly titled "Cheney gloats, the media yawns, Obama sleeps." Can you tell our readers what you were referring to?

Hi Joan, great to speak to you and OpEdNews readers again.

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I was referring to the admissions Dick Cheney made on ABC News last Sunday when he said he was "a big supporter of waterboarding" and a "big supporter of enhanced interrogation techniques."

That's tantamount to an admission of war crimes. President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA director Leon Panetta have all said publicly that waterboarding is torture and torture is a violation of the Geneva Convention and Convention Against Torture. The US has prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding US personnel during WWII. So, Cheney's love of waterboarding amounts to an admission of a war crime and there's simply no other way to look at it.

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The media allowed this admission to go unchallenged or simply reported it verbatim without critical analysis. And Obama continues to sweep evidence like this under the rug, refuses to uphold our obligations to prosecute war crimes and has thwarted every effort to hold people like Dick Cheney accountable.

Okay, Jason. We've got the What. So, let's delve into the Whys. And that's a multi-parter. Why is the media lying down for this? And what's up with Holder and Obama (which is really a Why in another form)?

Love your questions. In terms of why the media hasn't been more aggressive reporting Cheney's comments as an admission of war crimes and why the Obama administration has thwarted investigations, it's complicated.

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First of all, the media refuses to acknowledge that waterboarding and every other "enhanced interrogation technique" is torture. Instead, the media says "what critics say or what critics refer to as torture." These acts have long been regarded as torture and this country has prosecuted waterboarding as torture. Secondly, look at that description: "critics say/critics regard."

That's very telling. The media is so frightened to flatly state that waterboarding is torture that they instead choose to pin the definition of "critics," which of course means civil liberties groups, Democrats, liberals, hippies, etc., because these are the groups that have been most vocal about the fact that the interrogation techniques approved is torture.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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