San Diego Activists Capture, Waterboard "Dick Cheney"

Nick Bernabe
February 2, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) San Diego, CA — I wish it would have been the real Dick Cheney too, however it was an actor who was impersonating him. Either way, local activists who joined in the National Day of Action Against Torture, which was in response to revelations from the recent Senate report on CIA torture, sent a message to the nation on Saturday: we will not put up with our government torturing people overseas or at home. In San Diego, the local protest manifested itself as street theater which followed through on its promise to waterboard the actor dressed as Dick Cheney.

The action took place at Balboa Park, a popular attraction in San Diego among both tourists and locals. Guests were invited to speak at the event to shed light on the horrible practice of torture being done by the US government around the world and even here at home.

I asked event organizer from Artful Activist San Diego, Chris McKay, why he organized the event. He said,

“Torture is not something new that we do, but it is something new that is being accepted in society — and that scares us. We hope that by showing what water boarding is and how it is done that it will help change the public’s opinion that torturing war prisoners is acceptable. We have seen an increase in these tactics being used since the leak of Abu Ghraib torture photos. That happened almost a decade ago and there has still been not one official charged with a war crime. How do we expect other countries to act better if we act like that ourselves?”

A military veteran, Dave Patterson, from the San Diego Veterans for Peace spoke about the very real potential for torture blowback. This blowback, he said, comes in the form of more radicalization of Islamic militants who are inspired by America’s track record of inmate abuse, their harsh treatment at secret prisons and Guantanamo Bay. He went on to speak about the recently confirmed lack of useful information obtained through torturing suspected terrorists.

In between speeches, pedestrians looked on as Dick Cheney and an actor dressed as President Obama were waterboarded, taking pictures presumably to post on social media. The act created a spectacle with dozens of passerby’s gathering around to find out what was going on.

San Diego activists water boarding Cheney and Obama.

I was in attendance at the San Diego protest against torture, and The Anti-Media also sponsored the national event. I was asked to speak about why Americans should worry about torture even though it’s only happening to “our enemies” on the other side of the world. Short answer: Americans are already being tortured here in America.

With our government’s recent track record of bringing post 9/11 anti-terror tactics home to roost (think NSA spying, militarization of the police), It’s only logical that torture tactics will also be brought home as well.

Daniel Chong, a student at San Diego State University, was tortured when he was left for dead in a jail cell by DEA agents for five days in 2012 where he was forced to drink his own urine to stay alive.

We covered a story in 2014 from Nebraska where Juvenile inmates were tortured using a “Wrap device” by correctional officers.

So you see, people are already being tortured in America, and the argument can be made that millions of Americans are currently being tortured right now by the prison-industrial-complex. Inmates across the country — many of whom are victimless offenders — are kept in cages, in solitary confinement, beaten, raped, starved, forced into prison “work camps“, and sleep deprived on a regular basis.

asshole-cheneyIn conclusion, our government is actively torturing people in and outside of the US — a practice banned by international law, and they are getting away with it with no consequence. Personally, I think it’s time to free the victim-less offenders that are currently behind bars, and throw the war criminals (Bush, Cheney, Obama et al) into the cages.

This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and Tune-in to The Anti-Media radio show Monday-Friday @ 11pm EST, 8pm PST. Images: Lavonne Mireles/ANTIMEDIA CC

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