Powell aide: Cheney first approved torture to tie Iraq, al Qaeda
(Gold9472: If you are in the 9/11 Truth Movement, you may have heard someone ask "if they pulled it off to go to war with Iraq, then why didn't they get Iraqis on the planes?" Now you can tell them, because they didn't need them to be Iraqis. All they had to do was torture people to get the connection that they wanted. It also didn't hurt to have a media willing to parrot whatever the Administration wanted them to (read Fact #'s 12, and 27).
Share on Facebook By Stephen C. Webster
Published: May 14, 2009
Detainee whose tortured tales were used as justification for Iraq war ‘committed suicide’ in Libyan prison
The chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell says that the Bush Administration authorized torture of detainees before even rendering a legal opinion on the practice — and that they sought to torture detainees in an effort to produce intelligence tying Iraq to al Qaeda.
“What I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002–well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion–its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida,” former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson wrote Wednesday evening.
“So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney’s office that their detainee “was compliant” (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP’s office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods,” Wilkerson added. “The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa’ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, “revealed” such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.”
“There in fact were no such contacts,” he continued. “(Incidentally, al-Libi just “committed suicide” in Libya. Interestingly, several U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees were attempting to get the Libyan government to allow them to interview al-Libi….)”
Wilkerson’s remarks were released in a blog post on The Washington Note titled “The Truth About Richard Bruce Cheney.”
“The Bush administration put relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist,” reported McClatchy Newspaper’s Jonathan Landay in April.
“Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003,” he added. “No evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.”
The push apparently came from Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who were adamant about making a connection, Landay reported.
“… [For] most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaeda and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there,” a former senior intelligence official was quoted as saying.
It was in this period that the CIA waterboarded Abu Zubaida at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times.
The curious death of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose tortured confessions of ties between Iraq and the alleged 9/11 terrorists paved the Bush administration’s road to Baghdad, was reportedly handed over to the Egyptians in 2002, where he produced “his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda,” according to The New York Times in 2005.
“The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration’s heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts,” the paper said.
“In their book ‘Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War,’ Michael Isikoff and David Corn said Libi made up the story about Iraqi training after he was beaten and subjected to a ‘mock burial’ by his Egyptian interrogators, who put him in a cramped box for 17 hours,” noted The Washington Post. “Libi recanted the story after being returned to CIA custody in 2004.
“When President George W. Bush ordered the 2006 transfer to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of high-value detainees previously held in CIA custody, Libi was pointedly missing. Human rights groups had long suspected that Libi was instead transferred to Libya, but the CIA had never confirmed where he was sent.”
“Noman Benotman, a Libyan who was once close to al-Libi, said two years ago that al-Libi had been sent to Libya, adding that he was “extremely ill, suffering from tuberculosis and diabetes,’” reported The Telegraph.
“Al-Libi was said to be involved with Abu Zubaydah in running the Khalden, training camp in Afghanistan, where Zacarias Moussaoui, a member of the September 11 gang, received instruction.”
“The Libyan newspaper Oea reported he committed suicide in prison by hanging himself with bedsheets,” AP reported earlier this week. “The paper, which is close to the son of Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi, said he died late last week but did not specify the day.”
The wire added: “The family buried him Monday in his hometown Ajdabiya in northeast Libya, said al-Sirri, an Islamic activist with close contacts among militants in Arab countries. Al-Libi’s family members could not be reached for comment.
“Al-Sirri expressed doubts that al-Libi killed himself, saying al-Libi was a ‘true Muslim and Islam prohibits committing suicides.’ Al-Sirri spoke to The Associated Press over the telephone from London.”
Human Rights Watch said its researchers saw al-Libi in April, apparently in fair health.
“He refused to be interviewed,” the group reported, “and would say nothing more than: ‘Where were you when I was being tortured in American jails.’”
“The death of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi means that the world will never hear his account of the brutal torture he experienced,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a media advisory. “So now it is up to Libya and the United States to reveal the full story of what they know …”
The group also said researchers interviewed four other so-called “ghost detainees” who had been sent to Libya by the CIA after being subjected to torture in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Thailand.
“The reports say that he was last visited by family members on 29 April this year,” noted the Guardian’s Moazzam Begg. “Perhaps they have an idea about how he really died and why he wasn’t sent to Guantánamo. They probably are too scared to tell anyone, even if they do know. As is often the case, the wife and child he leaves behind don’t even matter.
“But the case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi – the man whose tortured testimony was used to justify a war that cost the lives of tens of thousands of people and, ironically, indirectly led to the pre-trial detention of thousands more – should serve as a stark reminder of what happens when torture is applied to gain information.”