Wilkerson: al-Libi’s Waterboarding

As a number of you have pointed out, Lawrence Wilkerson unloaded on Cheney after hearing his latest apologies for torture last night. This detail is incredibly important with regards to the overall torture timeline.

Likewise, 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.

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. 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. (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 is stating, clearly, that in early 2002, Dick Cheney ordered Ibn Sheikh al-Libi to be tortured even after the interrogation team reported that al-Libi was compliant.

Update: See Spencer’s post, which makes it clear Wilkerson doesn’t know what the timing of this was.

I asked Wilkerson if he wished to respond.

If their account is the accurate one, explain to me why Tenet and McLaughlin [then the director and deputy director of the CIA] came to Secretary Powell in February 2003–yes, 2003–with the information about al-Libi as if it were fresh as the morning dew. Powell was ready to throw out almost everything Tenet had given him on the contacts of Baghdad with terrorists, particularly al-Qa’ida. Suddenly, on 1 Feb, there was the shocking revelation of a high-level al-Qa’ida operative who had just revealed significant contacts between al-Qa’ida and Baghdad. Powell changed his mind and that information went into his presentation to the [United Nations Security Council] on 5 Feb 2003. We were never told of the DIA dissent.

And what about the timeline — or suggested timeline — in the original post?

I am basing my conclusions on the fact that DCI Tenet and DDCI McLaughlin presented the information about al-Libi to Secretary Powell in Feb 2003 and not in Feb 2002.  The strong impression was that the interrogation had just occurred or, at a minimum, that Tenet had just received the information (otherwise, why wouldn’t they have given it to Powell much earlier, say when he first expressed concerns over the terrorist links some days earlier?). I have no idea when the Egyptians waterboarded al-Libi other than what Tenet and McLauglin implied in their presentation to Powell–which, incidentally, was quite effective on him. 

Who says the Egyptians tortured al-Libi in Feb 2002?   I’m prepared to modify my views if that can be proved.  But not by much because that is a minor part of my position.

Note, earlier reporting stated that al-Libi gave up the Iraq intelligence in 2002 under torture. It is not clear it was waterboarding, though.

I apologize I said Wilkerson’s statements were clear–I took what I understood to be the only logical sense of his meaning. I agree the timeline, as stated now, does not add up. But this ought to raise questions about Tenet’s and McLaughlin’s role, as well. Unfortunately, al-Libi is no longer around to clarify these issues.


While we can’t be sure of the date when Cheney started ordering people to be waterboarded even after they were compliant, we know this order had to have occurred before February 22, 2002–because that’s when al-Libi first reported on ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. From DIA’s report on that day:

This is the first report from Ibn al-Shaykh [al-Libi] in which he claims Iraq assisted al-Qa’ida’s CBRN efforts. However, he lacks specific details on the Iraq’s involvement, the CBRN materials associated with the assistance, the location where the training occurred. It is possible he does not know any futher details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.

So sometime in February 2002–when Bush was declaring that the Geneva Convention did not apply to al Qaeda and when Bruce Jessen was pitching torture to JPRA–Cheney was personally (according to Wilkerson) ordering up waterboarding. The DIA immediately labeled the result of this session of waterboarding probable disinformation.

And a month later, when the CIA captured Abu Zubaydah, James Mitchell immediately set up as a contractor so he could waterboard Abu Zubaydah.

We chose waterboarding–not simply torture, but waterboarding itself–knowing it’d be unreliable. Or rather, Dick Cheney chose it. 

image_print
116 replies
  1. manys says:

    And it’s only Thursday. The Republican Trinity of Cheney, Steele and Limbaugh are not going to be able to let this shoe drop all the way into the weekend, so I’m guessing we’ll see some fireworks in the next 24-36 hours.

  2. pinson says:

    Wasn’t it just a week and a half ago when Hayden & Mukasey were all over the Sunday shows bleating about how we couldn’t even say the word “waterboarding” because the terrorists would then know all about U.S. interrogation strategies and would act/train accordingly? Then this week it’s been, well it’s all Nancy Pelosi’s fault because she didn’t say “stop.” Then yesterday Lindsey Graham was quite open about waterboarding being effective for centuries. Their arguments are getting increasingly incoherent desperate. Denial, bargaining, what’s next.

  3. Mary says:

    al-libi isn’t one of the three that CIA confessed to waterboarding.

    Suskind also refers in his book to al-libi being waterboarded. I emailed a contact addy for him a bit ago on that question, whether after the release of the three names he still thought al-Libi was waterboarded and if so by whom (i.e, US,CIA, or maybe in Egypt as our proxy), but never heard back. Not that I really expected to, but emailing is ez and I’ve been curious.

    Maybe a Hillman winner could get a response from him. *g*

  4. perris says:

    Wilkerson is stating, clearly, that in early 2002, Dick Cheney ordered Ibn Sheikh al-Libi to be tortured even after the interrogation team reported that al-Libi was compliant.

    I was a fly on the wall, here’s the conversation between the cia and cheney;

    [cheney] “I need corroberating information that tells us saddam was associatedd with Al-Qaeda”

    [CIA] there isn’t information of that sort, there was no association

    [cheney]I think you can get Al-Libi to say there was a link between the two if you torture him

    [CIA] WE KEEP TELLING YOU, there WAS no link!, if we torture him till he says what you want him to say he will be telling us something we know is false

    [cheney] “SO?”

    • manys says:

      I don’t even think it’s that complicated. I’ll bet Cheney was pretty much merely, “See if you can find out if there’s a connection.” Just add sycophancy and the rest falls into place.

      • perris says:

        we know already manys that the cia informed cheney there was no link, we also know they told cheney there was no link to be found

        we also know cheney wanted information found anyway and pretty much threatened them to come up with something

  5. Mary says:

    re: the suicide and the “several U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees” contacts: UK’s Reprieve was in contact with him (although Stafford Smith is I guess technically a US lawyer?) and also whoever is representing AZ was putting him on a witness list and trying to get access. Keep in mind that the Aug 2002 memo only authorized the torture of a high value al-Qaeda operative and there wasn’t much evidence that AZ was such a thing (full of info about the training camp and some attendees and al-Qaeda in general, but no operational position with al-Qaeda) — until after the abuse of al-Faruq (which also has to have predated the Aug memo) and al-Libi, when the cross-identifications came out.

    • emptywheel says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Moussaoui’s lawyers were looking for him. I’m increasingly convinced it was the Egyptians who had the tapes that weren’t turned over until September 2006. If so it’d be al-Libi’s testimony they’d go seek.

      • Mary says:

        So are you also thinking that it might be that the CIA used Egyptians to do the waterboarding to lend a technically correct aspect to their “only three guys” spiel? Or do you think CIA did it before turning him over or had a third party entity do it before the turnover. If so, I wonder if Cloonan would have had any info on that.

      • phred says:

        One other question, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Moussaoui judge told explicitly that the “found” tapes had nothing to do with his case?

        I get why Moussaoui’s lawyers would want to talk with al-Libi. I’m not clear on how you connect al-Libi, the Egyptians, and the tapes…

    • NCDem says:

      From my reading, abu Zubaydah was much higher on the food change than you suggest. It is my understanding that he handled much of the financial work for them. In fact, in Risen’s book, State of War, Risen reports that when the FBI apprehended him after the shootout in Pakistan that he had on his person two Western style credit cards based with banks in Saudi Arabia. The cards were not initially explored by the FBI (unknown reason) but later an FBI agent contacted the intelligence office in Saudi Arabia and ask for help. It was reported that within a few days after Zubaydah was captured, a rep for the Saudi Royalty went to the banks, collected all records on the transactions for the accounts and closed the accounts.
      We know that our government never issued threats to the Saudi government over this complicity.

      • Mary says:

        I don’t know that the credit cards would necessarily put him higher up the al-Qaeda foodchain, as opposed to another foodchain, but here’s my understanding from the available reports

        There are a lot of training camps all over, including prominently the ones in Afghanistan. Like some of the paramilitary camps in this country that attact a lot of white supremicist groups – and some guys who are just oddish and want the training and don’t have problems being should to shoulder with theKKK guys – many of the camps were not “al-Qaeda” owned, operated etc. but did have people attend who might be interested in joining, or already belong to, al-Qaeda or other extremist groups. The training camps had people wanting to fight the Russians in Afghanistan and Chechneya, and basically a big assortment of disgruntled nutsy guys wanting to jihad for multiple different reasons, including al-Qaeda.

        al-Libi owned and operated one such camp. There was nothing to indicate that he was actually a member of al-Qaeda (this, before the days of the “material support” out that later came about) as opposed to someone who had they trained at, except some accumulations of coerced statements. Zubaydah handled bookings and screenings and travel arrangements and places to stay for guys wanting to attend al-libi’s training camp (and a lot of those guys had ties to terrorist orgs, like al-Qaeda) Given that role, with making arrangements for guys with a lot of different and unsavory ties, I wouldn’t be surprised that he had those credit cards, or that they might be tied to a “charity” front, or that they were provided with assistance from a terrorist or or individuals – but I don’t think that makes for a link that he was an al-Qaeda operative.

        The reason that is important or not is that the memo authorizing torture made it a requisite fact that the person to be tortured was a high up al-Qaeda operative. So if al-libi or AZ were not, they weren’t within the coverage of the get-out-of-jail memo. And the only things that would put them in any operational chain for al-Qaeda (as opposed to being guys running a dive where a lot of people they knew were criminals from different criminal enterprises hung out) are torture statements. al-Faruq, al-Libi and AZ cross-corroborated each other’s al-Qaeda status.

        • maryo2 says:

          Given that role, with making arrangements for guys with a lot of different and unsavory ties, I wouldn’t be surprised that he had those credit cards, or that they might be tied to a “charity” front, or that they were provided with assistance

          Could it be that the US swarming on training camps in Afghanistan was to destroy evidence of the links (such as credit card transactions from charity groups) between someone other than al Quaeda and 9-11?

      • Leen says:

        In Susskind’s book the “Price of Loyalty’ he writes about Former Secretary of the Treasury being dumped when O’neil starts to dig into Saudi banking accounts and the connection to some of the 9/11 thugs bank accounts

        O’Neil was thrown over board at this point

        ————————————————————-
        the situation seems to be heating up even more for Cheney. Wondering if we will hear him start saying more often that 43 “basically” authorized the program.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Then add in credit default swaps that are totally unregulated.
          Wanna place a bet on the liklihood that the dollar will sink by 30% before July, or that the Taliban will overrun {name preferred city here} by August? Totally and completely unregulated, and you don’t have to put up the money to cover your ‘hedge’.

          Then add in Tax Havens.
          I keep waiting to hear how many of those Al Quaeda has created in the Caymans, the Jerseys, Switzerland, and heaven only knows who else.

          As for Bush and Cheney; they’re both complicit in ‘plausible deniability’, IMHO. I remain convinced that part of the reason they never thought they’d be caught was because:

          1. They could release information to — or about — people who then could not disclose the information (think reporters, and also think ‘Pelosi’ and ‘Rockefeller’ who by law could not divulge what they were told by CIA).

          2. They destroyed evidence: emails, video, you name it.

          I realized earlier that I’ve seen more of Dick Cheney the past two weeks — in terms of video clips — than I saw of him in 2005, 2006 combined.

  6. oregondave says:

    There in fact were no such contacts. (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….)

    I’ll repeat my question of the other day. Why, 100 days into the Obama administration, was al-Libi still in a Libyan prison?

    • BillyP says:

      Why, 100 days into the Obama administration, was al-Libi still in a Libyan prison?

      If the Obama administration becomes culpable for war crimes, does that mean it will oppose prosecution of 43 et. al. to prevent itself from being prosecuted?

    • tbsa says:

      Probably for the same reason POTUS started saying he doesn’t want to investigate or prosecute.

    • Nell says:

      I’d prefer to link to rather than repeat my response of the other day, but don’t have the time right now to go find it.

      If al-Libi, a Libyan national, was transferred to his country before the Obama administration took office, what exactly would you expect the new aministration to be able to do to effect his release (even if they wanted to)? Especially when they failed to release prisoners under complete U.S. control and long cleared of any connection with threat to the U.S. from Guantanamo, like the Uighurs?

      Could you explain what you’re asking or expecting?

      As I said in my earlier response, it’s more than reasonable to expect and demand that the U.S. account for all the prisoners it’s held. They have not done so; there are dozens of people who are functionally ‘disappeared’, and there is still, disgracefully, no complete accounting of prisoners at Bagram or other U.S. prisons in Afghanistan, and no assurance of complete Red Cross access there.

    • MarkH says:

      Excellent question. I’ll bet nobody in Obama’s administration knew he was there or the Libyans, per previous agreement I suppose, wouldn’t release him. Then when it became publicly known he was there and they would be pressured to release him…kapow suicided.

      Somebody needs to ask Gibbs if they knew Al Libi was in Libya and if they did when did they first learn it.

  7. CalGeorge says:

    Cheney is doing a full court press on the virtues of his actions and the Democrats are, as usual, providing little rebuttal.

  8. drational says:

    “We chose waterboarding–not simply torture, but waterboarding itself–knowing it’d be unreliable. Or rather, Dick Cheney chose it.”

    I suspect he chose it specifically because it was reliable for manufacturing the intelligence that he needed.

  9. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Wilkerson is stating, clearly, that in early 2002, Dick Cheney ordered Ibn Sheikh al-Libi to be tortured even after the interrogation team reported that al-Libi was compliant.

    Excerpted from EW’s Torture Timeline:
    Interspersed with excerpts from EW’s Ghorbanifar Meetings Timeline:

    July 4, 2002: Ledeen contacts Sembler about further meetings with Ghobanifar in Italy

    July 13, 2002: CIA OGC (Rizzo?) meets with Bellinger, Yoo, Chertoff**, Daniel Levin, and Gonzales for overview of interrogation plan. [** my note: Alice Fisher, mentioned several threads ago, worked under Chertoff at this time in DoJ, IIRC]

    July 13, 2002: Wolfowitz assistant tells Rodman Tenet supported contacts; Charles Allen to coordinate

    July 17, 2002: Tenet met with Condi, who advised CIA could proceed with torture, subject to a determination of legality by OLC.

    July 15, 16, 2002: CIA cables on meeting

    July 18, 2002: [US Amb to Italy, mega-developer, later head of Libby Defense Fund to raise money for Scooter Libby’s trial defense] Sembler alerts Marc Grossman that Ledeen contacted him on July 4 regarding further meetings in Rome in August

    July 19, 2002: Rodman action memo (citing multi-million dollar business deals) in response to Ledeen memo recommends ongoing contact with CIA coordination

    July 25, 2002: Feith reviews Rodman action memo

    July 25, 2002: CIA cable reflecting Powell’s lack of approval for contacts[Note: Wilkerson worked for Sec of State Colin Powell in 2002, IIRC]

    Late July 2002: Bybee discusses SERE with Yoo and Ashcroft.

    July 24, 2002: Bybee advised CIA that Ashcroft concluded proposed techniques were legal.

    July 26, 2002: Bybee tells CIA waterboarding is legal. CIA begins to waterboard Abu Zubaydah.

    July 31, 2002: DIA issues second report doubting al-Libi’s confession of Iraq-al Qaeda ties.

    August 1, 2002: “Bybee Memo” (written by John Yoo) describes torture as that which is equivalent to :the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”

    And from the WH Missing Emails Timeline:

    Late 2001 to early 2002: White House deactivates ARMS system put in place by Clinton Administration to archive emails.

    ————————–
    FWIW, my favorite part of that Wilkerson interview with Maddow may have been the end, when he contrasted Powell’s two tours of duty in Viet Nam and 30+ years of public service with Cheney’s 5 (count ‘em, FIVE!!) deferrments.

    Also, when he hypothesized that Cheney learned from watching Nixon: always destroy tapes or other evidence. And then Wilkerson speculated that Cheney ordered the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes. Both seem like reasonable surmises, particularly in view of the information you highlight — it would have been necessary to destroy the CIA tapes if he’d ordered interrogation in order ‘create’ false information.

    • TheraP says:

      Slight error on your timeline:

      July 17, 2002: Tenet met with Condi, who advised CIA could proceed with torture, subject to a determination of legality by OLC.

      July 15, 16, 2002: CIA cables on meeting

      July 18, 2002: [US Amb to Italy, mega-developer, later head of Libby Defense Fund to raise money for Scooter Libby’s trial defense] Sembler alerts Marc Grossman that Ledeen contacted him on July 4 regarding further meetings in Rome in August

      Just so folks don’t get confused.

    • MarkH says:

      Consider Cheney’s recent statements of defiance and in support of what they did. Does that sound like someone who would have tried to cover his trail by destroying the records?

      No, this is more the work of the Bush.

  10. WilliamOckham says:

    If Wilkerson is right, there’s something even more important going on here. He’s blowing a complete hole in the (rather lame) cover story that we rendered al-Libi to Egypt and let them question him. There’s been plenty of stories that U.S. agents were present for his torture, but I don’t think anybody’s ever publicly alleged that we exercised that much control of the interrogation. This is a really serious new war crime and raises a bunch of questions about other renditions (Binyan Mohammed’s lawyers will be interested in this).

    I’m off to go suggest to Spencer that he start asking around about this. This is a blockbuster story.

    • drational says:

      Is it at all possible that Wilkerson is talking about us pushing hard on a different detainee and we only let up on the different detainee when al-Libi gave us (thru the Egyptians) something to work with? Although the timing is wrong (al-Libi gave up Iraq info a month earlier), Wilkerson’s description of getting harsh on a compliant detainee sounds sort of like Zubaydah.?

      • WilliamOckham says:

        That’s how I initially read it, but the timeline is all wrong for that. We didn’t have anybody to waterboard by the time al-Libi started “cooperating”. It’s possible that Wilkerson is confused, but that’s why we need our intrepid boy reporter* (Spencer Ackerman) to track down the details.

        *I mean that in the best possible way. Ackerman is my son’s age and he gets important stories because he isn’t jaded enough to accept the pablum that official sources spew. Of course, he can’t sling code the way my son can, and that’s important too….

        • perris says:

          Of course, he can’t sling code the way my son can

          is he one of the ten people on the planet that understand binary, (ten being those who do and those who don’t)

          • WilliamOckham says:

            Not only that, he understands why coders can’t tell Halloween from Christmas… 31 Oct = 25 Dec

            If you don’t get it, well, you’re not supposed to…

          • MarkH says:

            There are 11 kinds of people in the world: those who can count to three and those who can’t.

      • Mary says:

        And there is Suskind’s statement in his book that al-Libi was waterboarded.

        I guess by the Pakistani’s might be another alternative.

        • drational says:

          Yeah I accept that al-Libi was waterboarded, I am just wondering if the torture of al-Libi as directed by Cheney is unassailable in what is written by Wilkerson.

          I don’t think anybody’s ever publicly alleged that we exercised that much control of the [al-Libi] interrogation. This is a really serious new war crime and raises a bunch of questions about other renditions (Binyan Mohammed’s lawyers will be interested in this).

          Just want to make sure we are talking about one detainee.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      There’s been plenty of stories that U.S. agents were present for his torture, but I don’t think anybody’s ever publicly alleged that we exercised that much control of the interrogation.

      Potentially damning.
      And no wonder so many regimes are threatened by the destabilizing nature of this info.

    • perris says:

      thanx for the link mary, taste;

      Judge Bybee must know that the presumption in our civil law is that when a person fails to come forward with information in his possession that is relevant to a matter, it is presumed to be because the information is negative and not helpful to his cause.

      SAMACK DOWN!

      • DLoerke says:

        But the demand for War crime trials is a CRIMINAL matter. That assumption does NOT lie in Criminal cases…you can’t be mixing and matching choice of law here…

  11. maryo2 says:

    December 18, 2001: Ibn Sheikh al-Libi captured in Aghanistan by Pakistani officials following the collapse of the Taliban. After being tortured, al-Libi made up stories about Al Qaeda ties to Iraq.

    January 29, 2002: Bush State of the Union
    “We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons,
    surveillance maps of American cities, and thorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout the world. …
    Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade.”

    Early 2002 – Dick Cheney ordered Ibn Sheikh al-Libi to be tortured even after the interrogation team reported that al-Libi was compliant

    February 22, 2002 – DIA’s report
    “This is the first report from Ibn al-Shaykh [al-Libi] in which he claims Iraq assisted al-Qa’ida’s CBRN efforts. However, he lacks specific details on the Iraq’s involvement, the CBRN materials associated with the assistance, the location where the training occurred. It is possible he does not know any futher details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.” [i.e. will say anything to make the stop torturing him]

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/bovard/bovard12.html
    Two years later, the Bush administration admitted that the president’s statement was false and that no nuclear-power-plant diagrams had been discovered in Afghanistan. A senior Bush administration official told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s no additional basis for the language in the speech that we have found.” Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Edward McGaffigan, who had testified in 2002 on this issue in closed hearings on Capitol Hill, commented that Bush was “poorly served by a speech-writer.”

    Robert Block and Greg Hitt report in the Wall Street Journal that the White House is retreating from that assertion.

    http://busharchive.froomkin.co…..Feb10.html
    “Monday night [February 9, 2004], the White House defended the warnings about Islamic extremist intentions, but said the concerns highlighted by Mr. Bush were based on intelligence developed before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, and that no plant diagrams were actually found in Afghanistan. ‘There’s no additional basis for the language in the speech that we have found,’ a senior administration official said. . . .

    “Sean McCormack, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said Monday night that rather than being based on actual diagrams that were actually found in Afghanistan, the president’s warning about nuclear plants grew from information collected by the U.S. intelligence community.”

    • perris says:

      “There’s no additional basis for the language in the speech that we have found.” Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Edward McGaffigan, who had testified in 2002 on this issue in closed hearings on Capitol Hill, commented that Bush was “poorly served by a speech-writer.”

      which should of course read;

      “bush was repeating information he obtained by torture, information he was informed by ALL of is inteligence agencies was false”

  12. JimWhite says:

    Wow, Wilkerson really connects the dots for us on that one.

    While running errands earlier, I heard Thom Hartmann refer to the Grand Unified Scandal as the Iraq-Torture scandal with a h/t to Bob Fertik at Democrats.com.

    I really like using that label; it connects things in the same way as the Iran-Contra label did.

  13. ezdidit says:

    What Cheney doesn’t want revealed is that the entire plan from its start via PNAC 1997, through the deployment in 2001-2004, and even the execution, to this day, of al Libi was a war for money – for his personal greed.

    This psychopath Cheney should be arrested and his lucre confiscated. While Obama marches bravely through all the steps that need to be taken for the truth to be revealed, the effete elites laugh.

    The people will have our days in court, or there will be no nation worth having. Obama knows this, but the date of the completion of this cycle is still undecided. When will we ever learn.

  14. Citizen92 says:

    So does the mid-late 2003’s “thaw” in Libyan-US relations somehow weave into this narrative?

    Libya agrees to end its nuclear program, Western relations begin to normalize, Lockerbie payments begin. In 2009, there’s even talk of arms sales again from the US to Libya (prospect over which defense contractors are “salivating”).

    On the rendition front, Al-Libi ended up under permanent house arrest decreed by Libyan authorities, stashed away, in Tripoli after the US and Egypt were done with him (sometime between 2005 and 2007). And then “commits suicide” when HRW finds him in 2009?

  15. Petrocelli says:

    “… 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.” – Wilkerson

    Yep, they just had to keep saying that these terrists were so well trained that normal torture couldn’t get info on the next attack, therefore they’d better try everything until they do break. And that the tipping point would be when AZ, KSM et al would confess to Cheney’ lies iron-clad evidence.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Yep, they just had to keep saying that these terrists were so well trained that normal torture couldn’t get info on the next attack, therefore they’d better try everything until they do break.

      No one is noticing Wilkerson’s other remarks, and if we want to play chess with these people, we’d better watch their every move, be two or three steps or more ahead of them.

      “Normal torture” indeed.

      We must never lose sight of the fact that there are at least two torture programs in use, and at least three or more interrogation paradigms. Nor should we minimize the nature of the experimentation that was going on, either.

      Wilkerson in his article proclaims:

      My investigations have revealed to me–vividly and clearly–that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering “the Cheney methods of interrogation”, simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

      What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009.

      Wilkerson’s assertion here is most assuredly a lie. While the leaked ICRC report on CIA prisoners has foremost place in the public’s consciousness, an earlier leaked ICRC report on Guantanamo in Feb. 2005 cited torture practices at Guantanamo in the summer of 2004, after Abu Ghraib, were “tantamount to torture.”

      There is also this:

      A recent New York Times article (“Foiling U.S. Plan, Prison Expands in Afghanistan,” 1/7/2008) revealed that last summer the International Committee of the Red Cross filed a confidential complaint with the U.S. government about Bagram, charging that prisoners were being held incommunicado for weeks or even months in a previously undisclosed area of isolation cells and subjected to cruel treatment in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

      And, releases in February of this year…

      CCR’s report, “Conditions of Confinement at Guantanamo: Still in Violation of the Law,” covers conditions at Guantánamo in January and February 2009 and includes new eyewitness accounts from attorneys and detainees. The authors address continuing abusive conditions at the prison camp, including conditions of confinement that violate U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law.

      As I have been saying for some time now, ever since I wrote an Oct. 2007 article called “Beware Misdirection on Torture Scandal“:

      While today’s headlines scream about waterboarding and beatings, CIA and military researchers had concluded two generations ago that such torture produced unreliable results. In addition, they left marks. Questions could be asked. Dead bodies, the “failures” of coercive interrogation, would have to be disposed of. But what if there were a way to torture someone without leaving any physical sign of outward mishandling: no bruises, no broken bones, no burn marks?….

      This impairment of higher cognitive states, this disruption and disorganization of the very self of the prisoner, producing something like “a pathological organic state”, but one “perhaps rendering the prisoner susceptible to relatively simple conditioning techniques”, was subsequently modified and used by the CIA in its interrogations of countless individuals. If more brutal forms of torture sometimes were used, especially by over-eager foreign agents or governments, DDD remained the gold standard, the programmatic core of counterintelligence interrogation at the heart of the CIAs own intelligence manuals….

      In a recent Time column, Baer rightly condemns Bush for his specious denial of governmental torture. He derides torture as ineffective, and a tool of political intimidation. But it’s what he doesn’t say that is important. By making waterboarding, slapping, and freezing of prisoners what torture is all about, the DDD paradigm of coercive interrogation is kept out of sight. This is the same strategy used with great effectiveness in the reissuing last year of the Army Field Manual for interrogation.

      This new AFM was lauded for banning the beating of prisoners, threatening them with dogs, sexual humiliation, performing mock executions, electrocution of prisoners, and waterboarding, among other noxious techniques. But in an appendix to the manual, the following procedures are authorized for certain prisoners: complete separation, sometimes with forced wearing of goggles and earmuffs, for up to 30 days (after which approval for more must be sought); limiting sleep to four hours a day, for 30 straight days; and other concurrent techniques, including “futility”, “incentive”, and “fear up harsh”. In the latter, fear within a detainee is significantly increased, through knowledge of the person’s phobias, if possible.

      Soufan and the FBI, working with CIA (when Mitchell’s experimental program was not ascendant), used the old torture paradigm of psychological torture developed by CIA. Soufan utilized isolation and sleep deprivation and fear/futility (”you will be here forever”), at a minimum, but balked at using the new experimental/”enhanced”/SERE techniques, and admitted this wasn’t Geneva compliant. — This is torture, too, or at least “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment,” of the sort banned by the Convention Against Torture.

      Wilkerson wants to equate torture with waterboarding and the enhanced interrogation techniques. As horrible as the latter is, we should not let him and others with similar views frame the torture discussion in this way.

      • Mary says:

        That’s all great info. I do want to point out the significance of the point that Graham was making with Soufan re: Geneva compliant interrogation, though.

        What Graham is getting at is this (and it is an issue, he’s just so damn good at making muck and murk that the way he got it out is devious).

        IF – you treat someone like a POW, under the GCs you aren’t really allowed to interrogate them about much of anything and you can’t utilize some of the lies and other tactics that you can in law enforcement proceedings.

        Remember the old, “name, rank and serial number” spiel? That’s not the totality of the limits, but it gives you the picture. So if you were being “Geneva compliant” for a “POW,” that would be an issue if you thought that POW had information about the entity for which he is a “combatant” that you wanted to question him about. Under the GCs, POWs get put in a detention facility and that’s it, no real questioning.

        Of course, this is one good argument for treating al-Qaeda like criminals, not “warriors” It is not only a more proper framing, but you can use standard law enforcement techniques for more thorough questioning.

        Their argument had been, we will use the laws of war but instead of the limits of the GCs for POWs, or the limits of law enforcement for criminals, we will say that there are no rules on interrogation for an “illegal enemy combatant” and you can pretty much do anything, bc they chose to operate outside the operation of law (outlaw enemy combatant would have been more appropos probably).

        What the Sup Ct did (pre-MCA, so it’s questionable now) was not to change the POW rules or to say that the detainees are POWs, but rather to say that Common Article III applies to everyone held. That is NOT the same as saying they can’t be questioned at all or only under the limits applicable to a POW, but rather that the questioning can’t use methods that would violate Common Article III.

        So they are mixing apples and oranges in saying that examinations by law enforcement aren’t “Geneva compliant” as they are applying the POW standard, which the court has not said you had to do – rather, the court has only said that you can’t violate the standards of treatment in Common Article III when you are interrogating a non-POW illegal enemy combatant, not that you can’t question them to the same extent you can’t question a POW. If that makes sense.

        • eCAHNomics says:

          My late husband did POW interrogations of Germans in WWII, “in all the usual methods.” He’s been dead for some time, and I never thought to ask any Qs about torture when he was alive because it never was a relevant subject. He did say that most of it was asking them to confirm info they “already had,” as prisoners were more likely to confirm than to tell. So I imagine they used good guesses and see what happened. But given his standard phrase when telling the story, I’d imagine some of the treatment was pretty rough.

      • Nell says:

        There is also no basis on which to believe that torture by the shadowy task forces whose top in-country commander was Stanley McChrystal (then a two-star general) ended in summer 2004. In fact, I’d bet that the investigation that was abandoned after a convenient computer “malfunction” destroyed most of the unit’s records had to do with torture that took place after that. I’ll pick through the NYT and Esquire articles again to see if there is any support for that possibility.

        Also, wrt Guantanamo today: There might be parsing and dispute about torture (though the degree of isolation of prisoners in the two most severe Camps fits the bill IMO), but there are still ongoing definite, systematic violations of the Geneva article 3 protections. Charley Carpenter, a lawyer for GTMO prisoners, said in a public comment section that he was recently in court arguing that issue.

    • perris says:

      this is why they don’t want those pictures and tapes released;

      Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it.

      because even a wingnut will want them prosecuted for these crimes

      that’s why

      • TheraP says:

        Yes, pedophiles are the most reviled of criminals in US jails. Maybe anywhere.

        If that’s what’s there, then, *&%$#@^&*, this will blow to kingdom come!

      • perris says:

        more;

        what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”

        those come out cheney will have lost his last supporter

  16. perris says:

    I just started reading the wilkerson piece and this bit MUST be used whenever cheney or ANYONE claims “torture works”, wilkerson is spot on here;

    First, more Americans were killed by terrorists on Cheney’s watch than on any other leader’s watch in US history. So his constant claim that no Americans were killed in the “seven and a half years” after 9/11 of his vice presidency takes on a new texture when one considers that fact. And it is a fact.

    wilkerson steps outside the box, when considered americans all over the world instead of simply this country, that torture provided americans with FAR more attacks and deaths, NOT less as cheney repeats time and again

    he goes on with his brutal evaluation;

    sadly enough, those 200,000 troops present a far more lucrative and close proximity target for al-Qa’ida than the United States homeland. Testimony to that fact is clear: almost 5,000 American troops have died, more Americans than died on 9/11. Of course, they are the type of Americans for whom Cheney hasn’t much use as he declared rather dramatically when he achieved no less than five draft deferments during the Vietnam War

  17. oldnslow says:

    Thanks, Empty.

    The Rude One says today that you are the go-to for yesterdays torture hearing. (sorry, can’t get the link thing to work)

  18. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Thx! Took too long making that comment, and got rushed.
    Appreciate your error-correction!

    (Sorry EW!)

  19. maryo2 says:

    Below tells a story of the hatching of Cheney’s shadow intelligence group. What bothers me is that an FBI agent said ISD is “on its last legs” in July 2001, but in 2004 the FBI claims that the dismantling of the ISD was in response to 9-11-2001. And conveniently in the middle of all this is founding of Mitchell and Jessen contract tortures.

    July 10, 2001 – FBI agent Ken Williams sends his email warning about potential terrorists training in Arizona flight schools. The email was sent to several people in FBI Headquarters (where 0 people were working on UBL) and in the FBI’s New York Division (the New York Field Office was the primary field office that handled the FBI’s Bin Laden-related investigations). When asked why he (Frank) did not recommend including any IRSs (Intelligence Research Specialists) on the attention line, Frank told the OIG that the Investigative Services Division was “on its last legs” at the time and that there were very few IRSs in the ISD still working on analysis.

    July 2001-
    “Mitchell’s entry into private contracting began less than three months before September 11 with a scientific consulting company called Knowledge Works, L.L.C. He registered it in North Carolina with the help of another sere psychologist he’d worked with at Fort Bragg, Dr. John Chin. Since then, he has formed several similar companies, including the Wizard Shop (which he renamed Mind Science) and What If, L.L.C.”
    http://www.vanityfair.com/poli…..rentPage=2

    September 11, 2001 – attacks on US

    April 6, 2004 – FBI Intelligence Reform Since September 11, 2001:
    “In the wake of September 11, the FBI concluded that analysts would be more effective if they were controlled by the operational divisions. ISD was abolished, …”

  20. lysias says:

    I took the Wilkerson statement to be about waterboarding Abu Zubaydah, even after he had been reported to be compliant, and that the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah did not stop until Washington learned that Al-Libi, in Egypt, had given the desired testimony.

    • MarkH says:

      After reading how many times they did a water-boarding I wondered, on a blog, why not one more time. Why stop at that point? If the record shows they stopped when they got the Iraq-AQ tie-in from another water-boarding, then it’s pretty good circumstantial evidence they weren’t looking for other actionable intelligence. They were just looking for a pretext to go into Iraq.

  21. fatster says:

    O/T, but promising
    Prosecutors to Question Rove on U.S. Attorney Firings
    By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

    Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:09 PM

    “Former top White House official Karl Rove will be interviewed tomorrow as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration, according to two sources familiar with the appointment.”

    The article also mentions that KKKKarl and Harriet are to appear before Conyers’ committee “next month.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..16_pf.html

  22. stryder says:

    It looks like that property that the bushes bought in Argentina is going to prove to be pretty useful after their all foeced into exile

  23. freepatriot says:

    I just gotta say it somewhere:

    in regard to lindsey ghram:

    murder must be effective, cuz it’s been with us for centuries

    prostitution must be effective, cuz it’s been with us since before history began

    robbery, extortion, rape, slavery

    all have been around for centuries

    genocide

    been around for centuries

    syphilis, gonorrhea, cancer, heart attacks

    all together now, 1, 2, 3 …

    BEEN AROUND FOR CENTURIES

    /rant

    sorry it turned into a sing-along there …

  24. dosido says:

    We don’t torture/torture works because it helps to manufacture the justification we need to do what we want.

    Cheney is willing to send thousands of soldiers to their unnecessary deaths, so what does he care if using torture puts a bullseye on their back? In his words “so?”

    His name is going to go down as one of the worst and sickest people in history. Along with some of his minions in Congress, the CIA, and PNAC.

  25. drational says:

    @55
    Although to me the language is not so clear, I am assuming that Marcy’s take is spot on because Whitehouse just said the same thing on MSNBC. I assume he spoke with Wilkerson….

    • phred says:

      Did you hear the interview? I missed it, but TPM has tied it to an article in the Daily Beast that says Cheney had wanted to waterboard an Iraqi POW taken after the invasion of Iraq. That’s a different, and far more damning case than the one Wilkerson mentions in 2002. Although, imo every bit is damning. But just as the war rationale shifted over time, the torture rationale is shifting as well, onto completely indefensible ground (even for the lovers of ticking time bombs).

      • drational says:

        and to myself at 56.
        Whitehouse was not referring to the Wilkerson accusation, my bad. I think he was referencing Andrea Mitchell with Bob Windrem about an April 2003 event where VP office asked for waterboarding after the invasion but it was not done. Also bad but no smoking gun.
        Wilkerson’s revelation of Cheney’s waterboarding of al-Libi, if true would be a big deal.

  26. maryo2 says:

    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.

    I read this as “the detainee” and al-Libi are two different people. “The detainee” was subjected to more torture until al-Libi gave Cheney what Cheney wanted. If so, then Cheney was coordinating both torture sessions.

      • drational says:

        Except Zubaydah was not captured til late March, and al-Libi gave up bad info in February 2002 per Marcy’s timeline:
        “February 22, 2002: DIA voices doubts about al-Libi’s claims of Iraq-al Qaeda ties.”

  27. Bluetoe2 says:

    Maybe Obama will give Cheney the Medal of Freedom. At this point they would seem to be on the same side of the torture issue, suppress the new torture photos and no accountability for those responsible, unless of course they are lowly enlisted personnel.

    • yellowsnapdragon says:

      Seems to me that there are two possible reasons that O is choosing not to release the pics:
      1. They photos are so bad that they will cause tremendous anger that will threaten the country (like, ummm…child rape); or
      2. He is actively preventing the prosecution of Dick Cheney. For whatever reason.

  28. Nell says:

    update/edit: Disregard. I need to clam up and finish reading the comments, then pose speculations and questions.
    ———–

    Thanks, drational. I’ve just gotten to this post, haven’t read all the comments, but this was my first reaction to the excerpt EW quotes from Wilkerson. I think it very carefully says something different that the conclusion EW draws (and that we all might have been intended to draw).

    I read Wilkerson as talking about al-Zubaydah, and saying that AZ’s questioning on that line stopped when al-Libi, in Egypt, coughed up the connection sought. It’s still damning. And I don’t accept Wilkerson’s word without more evidence that al-Libi was waterboarded in Egypt; if he was, then it seems like much more CIA involvement than they’ve wanted to portray, because the Egyptian m.o. has not included controlled drowning.

    There is still a question about whether al-Libi was ever at Guantanamo, too. Some of those brought in Sept 2006 realized that they’d been there before, and they had to have been off the books when they were. Could al-Libi have been tortured at Guantanamo, which one of the HRW contacts seems to report that he said on April 27?

  29. Frank33 says:

    Who are the Terrorists? Liz and Dick Cheney cooked up the “intelligence” to start a war. They personally profited greatly from the blood spilled for the neo-cons Oil Wars.

    But the CIA did correctly say: no link between Irak and Al-CIAda. Darth, Zelikow, Rummy and Dougie Feith in their little Shop of False Flag Horrors set up their own treasonous cabal. They used the Niger Forgeries, Chalabi’s disinformation, and forced confessions from torture. This was their “evidence” to discredit the CIA while their own secret network of “CIA Contractors” carried out the real war crime policies.

    [AZ] had on his person two Western style credit cards based with banks in Saudi Arabia. The cards were not initially explored by the FBI (unknown reason)

    This is not the first time AZ has been linked with the Saudi Secret Service likely controlled by Prince Bandar. Unknown reason? Hardly the reason is as Zelikow says in the 9-11 Report. THE FUNDING OF THE 9-11 ATTACK IS NOT IMPORTANT. So AZ’s Saudi credit cards are obviously not important either.

  30. dotmafia says:

    Hmmmm… I find it interesting that al Libi wasn’t sent to Gitmo where the other al Qaeda “detainees” were.

    Now why would that be?

  31. Leen says:

    Wilkerson so wants to witness the Bush administration held accountable. Such a great interview

    Really appreciate that Wilkerson (a Republican) was willing to say that 9/11 happened on the Bush administrations watch. Drove me crazy during the Bush administrations last seven years saying that no other attacks had taken place.

    Wilkerson “Idiocy of the First order”
    “why do people (media) give Cheney so much air time”

    Wilkerson “his attack on Colin Powell stunned me I did not he would go that far”

    Wilkerson “two tours in Vietnam, thirty five plus years service to his country, five deferments for Dick Cheney, never served a day in the military said he had other priorities. I don’t even think there is a comparison”

    ———————————————————————-

    Wilkerson is so pissed with Cheney he can barely contain himself. Go Wilkerson

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Wilkerson is just pissed because Cheney dissed his boss. Where was Wilkerson when he could actually do something? I’m so sick of these useless guys who get retiree syndrome.

      • Leen says:

        Wilkerson came out relatively soon after he was not on the job with Powell any longer and started punching back. If Powell was asking him to keep his mouth shut what was Wilkerson supposed to do?

        I know I read a fair amount about Powell questioning what he was asked to present at the UN.

        Powell ” My colleagues every statement I make today is backed up by sources ,solid sources, these are not assertions, what we are giving you are facts and conclusions backed up by intelligence’

        Wilkerson on his collaboration on WMD presentation at UN


        Wilkerson punches Aipac in this clip

        • eCAHNomics says:

          If Powell was asking him to keep his mouth shut, he could have quit and spoken out.

          Powell had to be a moron if his vigorous questioning of the data did not unearth the problems. It was completely apparent to outsiders who looked at the info with no prior biases. Powell has a large asshole and he made his career bones by bending over & letting his superiors do it. And I wouldn’t trust a man who would work for such a person.

          • Leen says:

            I’m with you on most of this. As a soccer mom at the time living in south eastern Ohio I kept asking myself and others on the Rehm show and Talk of the Nation “how in the hell can a soccer mom hear so many supposed experts (Scott Ritter, Former CIA analyst, the NIE on Iraq) questioning the validity of the intelligence” and our own congress people are rolling over.

            I was in absolute shock at what I would hear on the MSM evening news and the questions I was hearing on the Rehm show and TOTN and on the internet. When El Baradei came out and said the Niger documents were bad forgeries and it did not make the front of the NYT , Washington Post etc I was outraged.

            O.K. I am “basically” on your page about Wilkerson and Powell. But I keep thinking they deal with far more than I can imagine.

            • eCAHNomics says:

              The more I learn about the post-WWII history that I lived through without knowing what it was all about at the time, the more I come to believe that there is less to foreign policy than meets the eye. The cliche of U.S. military hammer meet nail of every other country that won’t bow to U.S. will seems to cover 99% of the cases.

      • Frank33 says:

        Wilkerson did go publicly against Darth and the Irak Genocide as early as Oct. and Nov., 2005. I myself think Wilkerson was relatively courageous and should be given credit for it.

        Wilkerson “revealed the inner struggles of the Bush administration in a speech before the New America Foundation on Oct. 19. A ‘Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal’ ran U.S. foreign policy for a president ‘not versed in international relations and not too much interested.’ Wilkerson defined the Bush doctrine as ‘cowboyism.’ Condoleezza Rice as national security advisor was ‘extremely weak’ and more interested in ‘her intimacy with the president’ than in acting as an honest broker. Cleaning up after Bush’s tarnishing of America’s image in the world was an impossible task. ‘It’s hard to sell shit,’ said Wilkerson.”

        • eCAHNomics says:

          I actually have a vague memory of that speech, now that you cite part of it. Yeah, that was the best it got at the time, but it’s not much. “Cabal” and “cowboyism” doesn’t come close to the problem, and as Wilkerson was on the inside, he must have known that. Those are words that can easily be dismissed on the other side as disgruntalism.

  32. Andy Worthington says:

    Hi Marcy, hi Emptywheelers,
    So I did my own appraisal earlier, Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney On Use Of Torture To Invade Iraq, but was so busy shouting (again) about the supreme importance of the story of Cheney using torture to launch an illegal war that I initially missed the mention of waterboarding being used on him in Egypt.

    I’ve been following the comments, and these are my thoughts:

    I’m not entirely sure that it’s correct to infer that Cheney had any direct contact with al-Libi’s Egyptian torturers, and I also agree with several readers who have noted that it’s unclear who the “compliant” detainee was whose further torture was ordered by Cheney — but it seems apparent to me that this other detainee is not al-Libi.

    I’m also struggling to understand the timeline. Al-Libi’s lies about Iraq were first noted by the Defense Intelligence Agency on February 22, but Wilkerson confidently stated that “the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002.” I’m inclined to think that al-Libi’s torture regarding Iraq actually continued for many months in Egypt, before someone — Cheney, I presume — was happy with it, and that therefore the “compliant” detainee, sometime in April or May 2002, was Zubaydah.

  33. maryo2 says:

    @64 and @70 – I think both can be true. One does not refute the other. So the questions is then what “exactly” did al Libi have to say to make Cheney stop? It wasn’t a vague connection to Iraq it was something specific.

    February 2002 – al Libi first gave up information about al Quaeda and Iraq ties
    March 2002 – AZ captured
    April and May 2002 – “So furious was this effort” says Wilkerson that somebody (AZ) got tortured until al Libi made up the desired fabrication

  34. Nell says:

    I read a fair amount about Powell questioning what he was asked to present at the UN.

    Powell did ditch some of the most egregious b.s. he was asked to put out, but he kept a lot of suspect bits as well, that he knew and was warned, specifically by State’s INR, were dodgy. The definitive takedown of the idea that Powell was misled into believing the things he said in the UN presentation is by Jonathan Schwarz.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Thanks for the link. I knew some of what it sez, but not everything, and it’s nice to have it all in one spot.

  35. Leen says:

    Niger Forgeries We have yet to witness anyone held accountable for the Niger Documents. What happened to the request that Senator Rockefeller made of the F.B.I. Did that investigation get shut down too?

    Senator requests FBI probe of forged Iraq documents
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI on Friday to investigate forged documents the Bush administration used as evidence against Saddam Hussein and his military ambitions in Iraq.

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said he was uneasy about a possible campaign to deceive the public about the status of Iraq’s nuclear program.

    An investigation should “at a minimum help to allay any concerns” that the government was involved in the creation of the documents to build support for administration policies, Rockefeller wrote in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

    Secretary of State Colin Powell has denied the U.S. government had any hand in creating the false documents.

    “It came from other sources,” Powell told a House committee Thursday. “We were aware of this piece of evidence, and it was provided in good faith to the inspectors.”

    Rockefeller asked the FBI to determine the source of the documents, the sophistication of the forgeries, the motivation of those responsible, why intelligence agencies didn’t recognize them as forgeries and whether they are part of a larger disinformation campaign.

    The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/w…..docs_x.htm
    http://www.truthout.org/articl…..conspiracy

  36. Bluetoe2 says:

    Anybody catch Axelrod, the Eel, on the News Hour? He, Obama and Cheney are on the same page when it comes to suppressing the torture photos and not holding criminals accountable. How is that change anyone can believe in?

    • maryo2 says:

      Having the President up in a tizzy would play into changing the subject away from getting to the truth. Those pictures will come out. Keep yer pants on.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I happen to be acquainted with 3 families of people serving in Iraq-Afghanistan currently. Hard as it is to say, if the military is concerned about the dangers… it’s a tough call, but I would not be able to look any of those family members in the eye if I thought releasing the photos would further endanger those (bright, tough) members of the military.

      What I would do is:
      1. Keep in mind what Janice Karpinski said on Olbermann, which is, “don’t politicize this!!”

      2. Keep focused on what Whitehouse is doing, along with Leahy and Levin — figure out what happened, much in the way that any company does a through, complete investigation after an accident so that processes and procedures can be fixed.

      3. **IF** it turns out that illegalities occurred, THEN prosecute those. But they’re not the main event.

      4. It’s evident that Cheney had Bolton spying on Powell at Dept of State, and that Bolton was coordinating with Hadley (Condi’s #2 at NSA). When Wilkerson made his comment about the troops being people that Cheney does NOT care about, that was **huge** in my mind. Maybe people around here didn’t really listen to that part of what Wilkerson said, but I suspect that a whole lot of other people heard it.

      5. IMHO, both Wilkerson and Powell have done their utmost to try and pick up some of the broken crockery. Why waste energy skewering them?

      Does it bother me those photos won’t be released? Of course.
      But this is not an easy decision; there are two rights. And two wrongs.

      I do want the photos entered as evidence into the criminal trials of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, et al…

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Capital crimes like murder have no statute of limitation. Their prosecution is a function of available evidence and political will. We haven’t yet found the latter; the longer that takes, the more at risk is the former. Thanks Ms. Izzy.

  38. Leen says:

    “No End in Sight” If you missed this documentary you missed an important resource


    “As soon as Bremer had made use of Sergio had made use of the UN he had almost no time for the UN”

    “What Sergio lived through was two months of in effect being used as a vehicle to get to certain segments of Iraqi society. And then for his last month what he endured was not having his phone calls returned. And so on issues like detention policy, hoodings was one of the issues that Sergio raised again and again with Bremer and General Sanchez the hoodings of prisoners. BREMER WOULD HEAR NONE OF IT”
    ———————————————————–

    Wilkerson was in this film an unable to find the clips of him

      • DLoerke says:

        Think again…they got rid of their WMDs because Qaddafi was sure we were going to do a Saddam on him. This proves that the United States, when it acts from a position of superior military strength gets what it wants. Only when the United States apologizes for its actions do we look weak and tentative. And the terrorists think they can act with impunity. He who apologizes for his actions does not act in the best interest of the USA. The former Vice President could not have committed War Crimes because he was acting in the service of his country protecting and defending the Constitution and the survival of the Nation.

        • alinaustex says:

          Dloerke,
          Do you really believe that former Vice President Cheney was protecting and defending the Constitution and our beloved Nation by taking down Saddam – who we know now for sure was not opeartionally linked to al Qaida-and still left UBL atanding ? Why did the Sheik get to escape at Tora Bora ? There are rouge elelments of the ISSI that are operationally linked to al Qaida and other Islamic terrorist groups ( that we helped fund and train during the first AfPak engagements with the Russians back in the day – RE “Charle Wilson’s War “)..now DLorke if we wanted to go Saddam on someone why not the rouge elements in the ISSI ?
          Also you might think again about the Libyan stand down from the WMD – The Brits under Tony Blair had a long series of negoiations with Tripoli – this disarmament had more to do with carrots then sticks – you and the rest of the neocon apologist apppear to never let the facts stand in the way of your parochial vision of some type of new world order overseen by a Pax Americana. In my view the neo con disassembling re the forged Niger document -is a factually a more clear and presemt danger to our Nation and our Constitution then Qaddafi ever proved to be -Remember please Dloerke the oath says to defend the Constitution from enemies both Foreign and Domestic ,

          • DLoerke says:

            Survival is the #1 way to protect the Constititon. As for the links between Saddam and Osama, they were proved to my satisfaction. The British and the Mossad STILL believes there was operational alliance. No, they don’t like each other, but they work together when they feel it will hurt the USA. The only way to stop the terrorists is to eliminate them.

  39. x174 says:

    nice work emptywheel. staying focused on the hub of the wheel usually gives the best perspective.

    funny how the reThugs are bringing this all on themselves once Obama let slip those nasty little tortue memos.

    Go Dick!

  40. cosanostradamus says:

    .
    Nothing about Cheney surprises me. What does surprise me is Obama promoting Cheney’s chief torturer & assassin to Commanding General of the AfPak Wars. Especially since he did such a great job winning hearts & minds through stark terror in Iraq, and recruiting for Al Qaeda all over the world.

    Cheney approves of the promotion. There’s your first clue that it’s just wrong. The guy should be cashiered. Instead, Obama fired his predecessor for the cardinal sin of asking for more troops. Shinseki, much? The Rumsfeld Doctrine is baaaack!
    .

  41. timbo says:

    Wilkerson is still not calling it torture? Heck, even some US Senators have begun calling it torture! Basically, Al-Libi was tortured to gin up a war with Iraq. That is a war crime under Geneva and the primary reason why a lot of politicians in this country who went along with the whole Iraq adventure are shying away from getting to the bottom of what went “wrong” in Iraq.

    I think it was Kerry who was taped on the floor calling the Bush folks criminals and that was somehow used to make Kerry look bad?! Well, for all of you who thought Kerry was out of line with that, maybe you should think again…because trumping up an excuse for pre-emptive war means the war was not, in fact, preemptive at all and was premeditated and uncalled for, both under international law, let alone ethically and morally. So, Senator Kerry, my hats off to you for calling it straight in 2004…

    As for Wilkerson, I’d like to see him use the term “torture” in his future discussions. C’mon Colonel, what are you afraid of? Mussing some folks at CIA’s hair?

  42. Dismayed says:

    So now, when does someone go and arrest this fucker.

    Anyone else in the US on this kind of evidence for any sort of felony would be in custody by now.

    I say arrest his ass.

  43. radiofreewill says:

    The Presses are Running Full-Tilt at Emptywheel!

    The Truth – sharply and superbly indexed, cross-referenced and time-lined by emptywheel – is Finally Breaking Through the Intentional Obfuscation and Confusion of the BushCo Crime Syndicate National Nightmare Presidency.

    Congrats on the Hillman, EW!

    It’s an Honor to donate another $50 to Our Very Own Blog Goddess, to Principled Journalism and to the Organic Blogging Cause!

Comments are closed.