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Thread: Powell Aide: Cheney First Approved Torture To Tie Iraq, Al-Qaeda

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    Powell Aide: Cheney First Approved Torture To Tie Iraq, Al-Qaeda

    Powell aide: Cheney first approved torture to tie Iraq, al Qaeda

    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/05/...q-to-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.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Powell aide says torture helped build Iraq war case

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS.../iraq.torture/

    5/15/2009

    (CNN) -- Finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.

    Dick Cheney's office ordered use of "alternative" techniques against CIA's recommendations, aide says.

    The allegation was included in an online broadside aimed at former Vice President Dick Cheney by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. In it, Wilkerson wrote that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and then-Vice President Cheney's office kept close tabs on the questioning.

    "Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.

    Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said his accusation is based on information from current and former officials. He said he has been "relentlessly digging" since 2004, when Powell asked him to look into the scandal surrounding the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

    "I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN.

    Most of Wilkerson's online essay criticizes Cheney's recent defense of the "alternative" interrogation techniques the Bush administration authorized for use against suspected terrorists. Cheney has argued the interrogation program was legal and effective in preventing further attacks on Americans.

    Critics say the tactics amounted to the illegal torture of prisoners in U.S. custody and have called for investigations of those who authorized them.

    Representatives of the former vice president declined comment on Wilkerson's allegations. But Wilkerson told CNN that by early 2002, U.S. officials had decided that "we had al Qaeda pretty much on the run."

    "The priority had turned to other purposes, and one of those purposes was to find substantial contacts between al Qaeda and Baghdad," he said.

    The argument that Iraq could have provided weapons of mass destruction to terrorists such as al Qaeda was a key element of the Bush administration's case for the March 2003 invasion. But after the invasion, Iraq was found to have dismantled its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs, and the independent commission that investigated the 2001 attacks found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the two entities.

    Wilkerson wrote that in one case, the CIA told Cheney's office that a prisoner under its interrogation program was now "compliant," meaning agents recommended the use of "alternative" techniques should stop.

    At that point, "The VP's office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods," Wilkerson wrote.

    "The detainee had not revealed any al Qaeda-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, 'revealed' such contacts."

    Al-Libi's claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's government had trained al Qaeda operatives in producing chemical and biological weapons appeared in the October 2002 speech then-President Bush gave when pushing Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. It also was part of Powell's February 2003 presentation to the United Nations on the case for war, a speech Powell has called a "blot" on his record.

    Al-Libi later recanted the claim, saying it was made under torture by Egyptian intelligence agents, a claim Egypt denies. He died last week in a Libyan prison, reportedly a suicide, Human Rights Watch reported.

    Stacy Sullivan, a counterterrorism adviser for the U.S.-based group, called al-Libi's allegation "pivotal" to the Bush administration's case for war, as it connected Baghdad to the terrorist organization behind the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    And an Army psychiatrist assigned to support questioning of suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba told the service's inspector-general that interrogators there were trying to connect al Qaeda and Iraq.

    "This is my opinion," Maj. Paul Burney told the inspector-general's office. "Even though they were giving information and some of it was useful, while we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between aI Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between aI Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

    Burney's account was included in a Senate Armed Services Committee report released in April. Other interrogators reported pressure to produce intelligence "but did not recall pressure to identify links between Iraq and al Qaeda," the Senate report states.

    Cheney criticized Powell during a television interview over the weekend, saying he no longer considers Powell a fellow Republican after his former colleague endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

    Wilkerson said he is not speaking for his former boss and does not know whether Powell shares his views.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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