Ibn Sheikh al-Libi IDs Others

Andy Worthington has some new information on the pre-"suicide" fate of Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, based on second-hand information via former Gitmo prisoner Omar Deghayes. It appears that al-Libi’s path took him to these places (click through for Andy’s comparison of this information with information already in the public record).

Afghanistan
USS Bataan
Egypt
Mauritania
Jordan
Afghanistan (three prisons)
Libya

Andy reports that among other things, those locations tie to al-Libi’s past travels as an Islamic extremist–and he may have been brought to some of them to personal ID other supsects.

What makes this scenario even more compelling, however, is the Libyan source’s comment — never previously reported — that, in each prison, other “terror suspects” were brought before al-Libi, and he was required to identify those that he knew — or, under torture, those that he didn’t know.

This partly ties in with the report of his death in the Oea newspaper, which noted that “he had left Libya in 1986 to travel to Morocco, Mauritania and then to Saudi Arabia where he was recruited in 1990 to join Islamist militants in Afghanistan” (in other words, that he spent time in two countries where he was later rendered by the CIA), and also indicates that he was, essentially, taken on a torture tour of prisons in Africa and the Middle East to identify those who had trained at Khaldan — or, again, those who hadn’t, but who were implicated through the use of torture.

[snip]

Moreover, the story becomes even more chilling with the realization that prisoners were also repeatedly shown photographs of other “terror suspects” to identify. No reports confirm that this also happened to al-Libi, but it is inconceivable that it did not take place, and on a regular basis, because it happened to every other prisoner regarded as having intelligence value. One was Ali al-Hajj al-Sharqawi (also identified as Abdu Ali Sharqawi), a Yemeni seized in Karachi in February 2002. Rendered by the CIA to Jordan, where he was held for two years before being rendered to Afghanistan and then Guantánamo, where he is still held, al-Sharqawi explained, in a note written while in GID detention in 2002, which was later smuggled out of the prison,

I was being interrogated all the time, in the evening and in the day. I was shown thousands of photos, and I really mean thousands, I am not exaggerating … And in between all this you have the torture, the abuse, the cursing, humiliation. They had threatened me with being sexually abused and electrocuted. I was told that if I wanted to leave with permanent disability both mental and physical, that that could be arranged. They said they had all the facilities of Jordan to achieve that. I was told that I had to talk, I had to tell them everything.

A couple of points. First, while the report that al-Libi was brought to ID suspects personally may be new, the detail is not iself new. The Red Cross reported that the only contact other High Value Detainees had came when they were "confronted with another detainee."

Throughout the entire period during which they were held in the CIA detention program—which ranged from sixteen months up to almost four and a half years and which, for eleven of the fourteen was over three years—the detainees were kept in continuous solitary confinement and incommunicado detention. They had no knowledge of where they were being held, no contact with persons other than their interrogators orguards. Even their guards were usually masked and, other than the absolute minimum, did not communicate in any way with the detainees. None had any real—let alone regular—contact with other persons detained, other than occasionally for the purposes of inquiry when they were confronted with another detainee.

Second, I’m particularly interested in which IDs al-Libi may have made. As Andy reviews, like Abu Zubaydah, al-Libi was associated with the mujahadeen training camp Khaldan–not with al Qaeda directly. I’m interested in that, given my recent focus on Hassan Ghul, because the only reference to Ghul in the 9/11 Report is a description of Ghul assisting one of the men who would be slotted for the 9/11 plot (but who ultimately backed out) in getting training.

[After mid-March 2000, Mushabib al Hamlan] and two travel companions obtained Pakistani visas in Sharjah, UAE, and traveled to Islamabad, where al Qaeda facilitator Hassan Ghul took them to a guesthouse managed by Abu Zubaydah. Days later, two men helped Hamlan cross the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. At the Khaldan camp, Hamlan received military training courses.

Now, that report is sourced to a detainee interrogation dated March 16, 2003. The report can’t be from either AZ or KSM (because they are among the 10 detainees whom the government would allow the Commission to name). But it might be attributable to al-Libi–I don’t know whether he would have known all that information or not. And while the link to the original reporting appears to be dead, Wiki reports that Ghul’s ID was confirmed after authorities faxed a picture of Ghul to the CIA. So someone appears to have been IDing Ghul in January 2004, when he was captured. 

Now, I raise all this in relation to Ghul because as of mid-2004 (which is, remember, close to the time CIA asked for permission to torture him), the one reference to Ghul in the 9/11 Report–which considered the issue of Iraqi-al Qaeda ties quite closely–is a reference to 2000, and a reference that would implicate AZ and al-Libi rather than al Qaeda. 

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