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).

USS Bataan
Afghanistan (three prisons)

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.


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. 

35 replies
  1. Mary says:

    I know your focus here is on trying to track what did happen with Ghul, but I’m going to toss al-Faruq back in again too on the issue of the “identifications” and cross identifications and misidentifications etc. Also Maher Arar.

    Re: Zubaydah and al-Libi, the information that has come out from CSRTs more and more indicates that the Khaldan training camp was, as you mention, not an al-Qaeda camp, although at one point there had been some cooepration between those running the camp and pre-camp guest house (Zubaydah) and al-Qaeda. Some of the info now is that bc of disputes, al-Qaeda was getting or had gotten the Taliban to close the camp in 2001.

    So you had Zubaydah picked up early on. One thing he does is name al-Faruq and this begins a round of circular, torture/abuse based cross-ids that all crumble later.

    al-Faruq is disappeared in June of 2002, supposedly on Zubaydah’s information. Z also supposedly tells them that al-Faruq is al-Qaeda’s top gun for Southeast Asia. Stories indicate that al-Faruq, also, was abused/tortured starting in June/July – in advance of the August memos. And that he “broke” on Sept 9. He ids al-Libi as being a part of the al-Qaeda governing council and Zubaydah as being al-Qaeda (both of which were false). Also, he “confesses” that al-Libi and Zubaydah have given him orders to

    plan large-scale attacks against U.S. interests in Indonesia, Malaysia, (the) Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia. In particular,” the document continues, “(al-)Faruq prepared a plan to conduct simultaneous car/truck bomb attacks against U.S. embassies in the region to take place on or near” the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Al-Faruq said that, despite his arrest, backup operatives were in place to “assume responsibilities to carry out operations as planned.”

    So the torture of one ratchets up the “need” to torture the others. If Zubaydah under abuse ids al-Faruq as a top al-Qaeda operative, and then al-Faruq under abuse tells you that al-Libi is on the al-Qaeda governing council and al-Libi and Zubaydah ordered al-Faruq to plan bomb attacks in most of the southeast asian countries he can successfully name, the you pretty much have to go back and torture Zubaydah and al-libi more, right? After all, now you “know” that they ordered and know about bomb attacks, right? Except, none of it seemed to pan out.

    And as it became clear that Z was not a member of al-Qaeda, the young man taken with Zubaydah, who told the CIA just that, is handed off to Syria to disappear and the man who made the id is supposedly killed, under some odd circumstances and ones where the Brits involved are staying pretty mum, so no one is ever going to be able to ask him about how it was that he came to make those false ids.

    It would sure be nice if the intel reports Time says it had back in 2002 were made public, esp since al-Faruq was also a prime source for the info that the al-Harramain charity laundered money for and was a front for al-Qaeda and some of his info, provided under whatever circumstances, may have been used to initiate things such as illegal surveillance here at home.

    Faruq told his interrogators “money was laundered through the foundation by donors from the Middle East.” Government sources tell TIME that U.S. investigators believe the charity is a “significant” source of funding for terrorist groups associated with al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia. Counterterrorism officials are also investigating possible links between al-Qaeda and top al-Haramain officials in Saudi Arabia.

    In a pretty ironic twist, the man who provided the al-Qaeda ID for Z and al-Libi was also wanted later as a witness in connection with the investigation of a sergeant accused of abuse at Bagram. It was when no one could produce him for that investigation, in Nov of 2005, that it was “admitted” that he had “escaped” from Bagram that July. And then later there is his supposed death in Sept 2006, in a massive op by the Brits in Basra, although they refuse to confirm the id of the guy they killed as being al-Faruq. And there is also the whiffy overlay of allegations by Indonesian intel that al-Faruq was a CIA guy all along.

    Jumping ship on the ID front, you also have in Sept of 2002, right after the lawyers’ torture field trip to GITMO, the use of Khadr, who was desparate to be released, trying to chummy up to the FBI by identifying a picture of Arar as someone he had seen at an Afghan training camp. No checking to see if he could be wrong (as Canadians confirmed later), instead just Thompson signing off on shipping Arar to torture. Probably while sipping a Pepsi.

    All of which makes you wonder a bit about el-Masri too. There was so little to support what was done to him, it makes you wonder if this wonderful resource of getting tortured people to id “other al-Qaeda” from pictures was used there too (”do you know him, is he al-Qaeda”) if not in connection with the original decision to go overboard, then later in trying to paper up a file to justify why they had him.

      • Mary says:

        I don’t think they were trying to flip el-Masri. He doesn’t make it sound like they were.

        I think they were getting pretty wild by then – laws unto themselves without bothering to put any info together to support action. They go and get el-Masri and are really hoping he was “their” el-Masri IMO. Remember he was kept in Macedonia for awhile (three weeks or so)- that’s why I wonder about something like getting some other torture detainee to “id” the picture as a grounds for going ahead and taking him out of country, esp with so many in Macedonia who knew about the snatch by then. He had paperwork that the CIA took forever — forever — to process.

        It might have happened another way, but I can see someone hot to pull in their own fish, esp someone who had gotten her climactic experience on her own torture trip, wanting to rush through a way to finalize the grab and getting someone to say, “yeah, that’s him” and couple with the name would be one way to go and it would be something that was enough for them in other contexts (like it was in Arar, coupled with having had coffee with someone who knew someone who was related to someone …).

        ADDED – Ok, I went back and pulled Ghost Plane while my shoer is finishing up and here’s something I didn’t really notice way back when I read it the first time:

        At various point the questioners did appear to have something in their head.

        Somebody, who appeared to be the boss, visted after about a week. He was maybe fifty-five years old. … He said that I am not Khaled el-Masri and this is not my passport. I was supposedly in Jalalabad [a town in easter Afghanistanthat before 9/11 had several Islamic militant training camps], and I was seen there. And then he showed me a phot of an Arab-looking guy, and he said that he had seen me there and he knows me.
        Supposedly this man was waiting in the corridor outside. But when Khaled told them to bring him in, no one came.

        p. 85

        There was also some explanation of why el-Masri sat in Macedonia so long. Jeppeson was pretty busy.

        During the twenty-three days that Khaled was in Macedonia, the 737’s pace had been frenetic. Leaving Dulles in Washington on January 6, it went first to Frankfurt, and then to Jordan. Here it picked up a Yemeni prisoner and flew him to Kabl. It then returned to the Czech Republic and back to Washington, and then to Shannon Airport, Ireland, and to Larnaca, Cyprus. Here the CIA held a brief meeting. (The CIA’s Gulfstream V arrived at the same time.) Afterward, the Boeing 737 flew on to Morocco. That was where the plane picked up Binyam Mohamed and flew him to Afghanistan.

        On the same day as Binyam’s second rendition, Captain Fairing and his crew returned to Palma via Algiers. Nothing has yet emerged of why this journey took place. But one clue may be in a file released from Bagram Air Base, referring to three “repatriations” from Afghanistan on that date.

        p. 86
        After Palma, they went on to Skopje to get el-Masri.

        El-Masri describes torture of other detainees, but I’m guessing he and Arar were never interviewed in connection with the IG report. *w* Anyway,from the things I’ve read he never really seems like they were trying to make deals and turn him like they did with Khadr’s brother or like British intel did with some of the British GITMO detainees, but I don’t recall ever seeing that question put to him, so who knows?

        IMO, the problem was what to do about him after they had him and he was just who his paperwork said he was. No way to come clean without admitting war crimes, without admitting that the High Value detainee program had big holes. Tenet knew damn well that there as nothing in any of the OLC opinions that protected for kidnap, degredation, drugging, sodomizing, etc. in general and for damn sure not with respect to someone who was NOT tied to al-Qaeda in any way. And dammit – all those guys in Macedonia, at the hotel as well, knew about the snatch. How would you contain it?

        They eventually did what they did – taking him to yet another country (also illegally) and then dumping him and making him buy his own ticket home to boot. And they counted on it sounding like a crazy story. Which it did, for a bit.

        • Andy Worthington says:

          Hi Mary,
          Yes I’m with you on El-Masri — mistaken identity, which seems to confirm how short on oversight the whole process was by then, as you described it:
          “I think they were getting pretty wild by then — laws unto themselves without bothering to put any info together to support action.”

    • skdadl says:

      AZ’s testimony was apparently behind the Abdelrazik and Harkat cases here as well, both of which have begun to fold in recent weeks.

      Fran Townsend’s name just came up in the Abdelrazik story: a 2006 memo released “accidentally” without effective redaction reports that the White House would be contacting our justice minister and minister of public safety (heh — our Robespierre department) to talk about trading enough evidence to allow the U.S. to charge Abdelrazik (we can’t quite tell where) — Townsend is mentioned as the person from HS who would probably be calling.

      • Mary says:

        That’s interesting – I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info.

        I can’t believe that with her very checkered FISCt background, she gets a big MSM commentator gig, but Rove did too, while he was still dodging subpeonas.

        Not that, “In 1937, the playwright Maxwell Anderson wrote of President George Washington: ‘There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, til all men walk on higher ground in their lifetime.’ Mr. President, you are such a man.” would be indicative of any, ya know, bias.

        Besides, chaining someone’s arms behind them and hoisting them up, until they die, is kinda like making them walk on higher ground. I guess. Kinda. Or not.

      • Andy Worthington says:

        Yes, thanks for that. I’ve been in touch with Mohamed Harkat’s wife, and it’s pretty horrific the “house arrest” the government has initiated in Canada — borrowed from we Brits, but refined so that Mohamed’s home is like a cell, with CCTV and no provision for ever leaving the house.

        I’m encouraged to hear that both cases “have begun to fold in recent weeks.” As with the UK, we need trials if there is evidence, and not detention without charge or trial. And it’s disturbing, of course, that Obama’s even thinking of pushing for legislation to authorize “preventive detention” in the US, as if Guantanamo hasn’t been enough “preventive detention” for a lifetime …

    • phred says:

      Great comment Mary, I’m with Loo Hoo.

      IIRC, BushCo made quite a lot of hay out of the terrorism threat in SE Asia. So not only are they torturing to produce a false link to Saddam, they are torturing to whip up a false threat of terrorism on a massive scale thereby justifying their GWOT. The two go hand in hand. If AQ isn’t in fact the greatest threat since the Nazis, then poof there goes their GWOT (and massive government hand-outs to contractors) and there goes their rationale to invade Iraq (with even more massive government hand-outs to contractors). The entire thing has been built on a tissue of lies.

      Don’t get me wrong, there are obviously terrorists in the world, but the actual threat they pose worldwide appears to have been greatly exaggerated.

      • alabama says:

        Yes, and it may have surprised Bush and Cheney that all their exaggerations and false alarms finally failed to scare people. In the end, they could only count on the support of the truly bloodthirsty and the truly opportunistic (those who like to kill, and those who make money off the killing). The thrill can’t outlast the falsehood, as Obama may eventually realize.

  2. Andy Worthington says:

    Marcy, thanks for picking this up, and Mary, thanks for the fascinating insights/proposals.

    Marcy, I had forgotten about that reference to the HVDs occasionally being “confronted with another detainee,” which was preumably quite an operation in, say, Poland. What Omar Deghayes told me was that al-Libi had said to the Libyan source that it was a regular occurrence — and this made me wonder if al-Libi’s African “torture tour” was specifically arranged so that he could ID other prisoners in rather larger numbers. (It was also what made me shiver at the possible scale of the ID-ing operation).

    And Mary, although I probably need some time to properly digest the chronology you’re proposing, it looks both coherent and important. Great work!

    • Rayne says:

      The “African torture tour” would explain the reticence with which the investigative process and calls for prosecution have been greeted: the western EU states are complicit in their permission of rendition flights (during which some violations of Geneva and CAT may have occurred), eastern states are complicit for allowing black sites, and multiple nations of Mid-East and African continent are likewise complicit for black sites, torture by proxy and abuse of the detainees for their own national security purposes. No individual state government really wants to crack that open for examination and ultimately prosecution, and they don’t want the U.S. to go beyond self-examination.

      The amount of money the Bush administration offered up for AIDS/HIV programs on the African continent was so completely disproportionate that it had to be offered for more than just a single black site in Mauritania (compare the amount committed to the amount spent in the U.S.). The unsuccessful haggling for an AFRICOM facility on the African continent also may have figured into this as a bargaining chit. There had to have been more going on politically WRT to African continent nations than meets the eye.

      • Andy Worthington says:

        You’re absolutely correct to point out that a disturbingly large number of countries are implicated in breaking the Convention Against Torture, and that no one wants to admit responsibility for anything, because they’ve committed crimes.

        It was only when Bush was in power that one of these governments — the US — attempted to claim that it hadn’t broken any anti-torture laws because it redefined torture. Of course, Eric Holder really does need to address this, or it sends out a clear message that you can do whatever the hell you like when you’re in the White House, and get away with it.

        For the rest of the world, however, CAT was never sidelined by the likes of Addington, Yoo and Gonzales, which explains the desperation to keep a lid on all the rendition and torture stories (see here and here for some recent examples in the UK).

    • Mary says:

      On the issue of the scale of the iding, there are some very odd things going on in the GITMO habeas cases pending with regard to many of the Yemeni’s held. In one of those cases (but a ruling that affected many, since the cases are being handled in a special consolidated manner so that they are in part coordinated) the defense counsel just happened to come across info indicating that a Gov witness (likely the ONLY Gov witness) was maybe being treated for mental disorders or disease.

      There had been some very direct, blunt orders from the courts on GOV being required to turn over info re: their witnesses and it was an absolute vioaltion of the normal rules of procedure and discovery as well as the existing court order for Gov to hide that info. At the hearing (I should have saved the link to the transcript) Gov argued (I’m not making this up) that they had already made so much “bad” info about their witness available to the defense, that they had complied with the spirit of the order, bc with all they had already turned over, his crediblity was so horrible that adding on the fact that he’s being treated for mental illness was only cumulative.

      In any event, the references in the transcript make it clear that there were probably quite a few, maybe dozens or more, of cases where this guy was the only witness or the main witness identifying a chunk of the GITMO detainees as al-Qaeda.

      (I tend to ramble on my comments, getting in what I can as quick as I can and, if it’s something I’ve rambled about before like I have with the cross ids from Faruq, libi & Z, I tend to get confusing and hop around without re-doing links. Sorry)

      • Andy Worthington says:

        You really shouldn’t get me started on the habeas cases and the unreliability of the witnesses: notorious liars, the mentally ill, torture victims, unidentified “senior al-Qaeda” figures (also tortured). It’s generally all they’ve got, as demonstrated in the majority of the habeas cases to date: the Algerians in Bosnia, Mohammed El-Gharani, the Yemeni Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, seized in a student house in Faislabad on the same night as Abu Zubaydah (and this follow-up article on the others in the house).
        I’d be delighted if you could find the link to the transcript you mentioned …

        • Mary says:

          Voila – a link to the transcript


          It was kindly made available by McClatchey. I’m going to see if I can find someplace to save this link now that I’ve refound it.

          Some samples of what you’ll find:

          To hide, and I don’t use that word loosely, to hide relevant and exculpatory evidence from counseland from the Court under any circumstances, particularly here where there is no other means to discover this information and where the stakes are so very high and due(sic) indeed include indefinite detention, is fundamentally unjust, outrageous, and will not be tolerated. Fortunately, Dr. Batarfi’s counsel have been diligent and tireless in their efforts, but no one, Dr. Batarfi and not this Court, should have to rely on luck to discover evidence critical to a just resolution

          In the face of repeated failures to comply with this Court’s orders, to produce exculpatory evidence, even after orders to show cause and the requirement of no fewer than four declarations from officials at the highest levels of our government, how can this Court have any confidence whatsoever in the United States government to comply with its obligations and to be truthful to the Court?

          THE COURT: And he’s sick too. The man’s sick, right? Everyone agrees he ought to be in the hospital, he ought not behind bars. He ought to be in a hospital getting treatment. This is barbaric treatment of this man without any regard to his rights whatsoever and I’m not going to be a part of it.

          [Gov] …I think, though, to give the process a fair shake, it’s only been two days.
          THE COURT: Fairness? You’re talking about fairness? This man’s been in jail for seven years and the government now says it’s time to look at fairness?

          Hope this isn’t too late for you to pick it up.

          Thanks for adding all the information you have in this thread. EW has such good posts and gets them out so quickly that they attract additional info in the comments like a huge magnet.

          • Andy Worthington says:

            Hi Mary.
            I thought it might be the Batarfi case. Email me offlist if you want to know more.

            Of the numerous notorious liars, it appears that one particular Yemeni is indeed causing problems for the majority of the other Yemenis. Read between the lines in this Washington Post article for a clearer picture. It’s also worth pointing out that the unreliability of this witness been known about since Corine Hegland broke the story in the National Journal in 2006. See: Guantánamo whistleblowers: Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham is not the first insider to condemn the kangaroo courts (and this is a good introduction to Stephen Abraham, for those who haven’t come across him).

            What’s particularly disturbing about all this (apart from the fact that it’s not being properly reported, of course) is that everything in the habeas cases is still proceeding on a case-by-case basis, and there’s no official mechanism for ruling out all unreliable testimony from particular witnesses, although it’s clear that what’s happening now is that judges are referring to the small body of previous habeas rulings to reinforce their opinions.

            Once this cat is out of the bag, it explains the scale of DoJ obstruction in the habeas courts — although it doesn’t explain why they don’t just give up in the majority of cases!

            I hope to tackle this in depth in the coming week, but in the meantime I think bmaz has it right: “Serial abuse by the prosecution of a single demonstrably disingenuous ‘expert’ witness across multiple and different case lines is tantamount to suborning perjury.”

        • Mary says:

          One other thing – I believe that it may be the witness in the Batarfi case, with the transcript linked above, is very likely the same witness Judge Kessler was referring to in the Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed case you write about (the May 14 piece) here:

          Dealing first with the witnesses, she excluded the testimony of the first, “whose credibility has been cast into serious doubt — and rejected” by Judge Leon in the case of Mohammed El-Gharani. Noting that he “has made accusations against a number of detainees” at Guantánamo, and that “Many of those accusations have been called into question by the government,” Judge Kessler dismissed his claim that he “overheard” conversations at Guantánamo about Ali Ahmed’s travels in Afghanistan, stating that, “In addition to coming from an unreliable witness,” it was “based upon multiple levels of hearsay.”

          If I’m right, you would have Judge Leon and defense lawyers in the one case being given under seal information that undermined credibility, to the point that he (and he’s no bleeding heart) discounted the witness. You then have, in addition ot the info undermining credibility that Gov was making available about this witness, the defense lawyers in Batarfi being “inadvertently” given info that also makes it clear that this witness has undisclosed mental health issues, and Judge Sullivan in April ordering that info be shared with other affected defendants, then Judge Kessler in May having the same involved in the allegations before her for Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed.

          The Sullivan transcript certainly reads as if the “witness” is widely used by Gov as the only or main witness in many cases and this is consistent with Kessler talking about the fact that the witness she describes is involved in a “number of” Gitmo cases. There were some stories that obliquely referenced the 90+ Yemenis at GITMO as being a particular problem and I have to wonder, since many detainees share the issue of not being able to be returned to home countries for fear of [more] torture, if the special case situation for them isn’t partly tied to the fact that very many of them were held only due to information from the crazy guy who DOJ said has really bad credibility problems OTHER THAN being a crazy guy.

          all fwiw.

          • bmaz says:

            Serial abuse by the prosecution of a single demonstrably disingenuous “expert” witness across multiple and different case lines is tantamount to suborning perjury.

            • Mary says:

              Add in covering up his mental health issues despite direct court orders and just one of the defense teams finding out about those issues “inadvertently” = it’s all just foul. Add in Karma laffing while they alot a guy named “Warden” to show up to argue Gov’s case for being able to hold in indefinite detention, and Jkat’s right – it would almost be comical

              if not for all the people who died on 9/11
              if not for all the firemen and police and others who exposed themselves to toxins and early death in the clean up
              if not for all “mistakes” whose stories, if told truthfully, can only create more hate
              if not for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and encouraging the US military towards the brink of depravity and over it
              if not for all the soldiers who never made it home
              if not for all the soldiers who made it home but with their bodies or minds devastated
              if not for all the Iraqis who have been killed, raped, disenfranchised, orphaned, tortured, and turned into refugees
              if not for all the problems we left unaddressed while we pursued a goal of Iraqi and Afghan occupation without application of the Geneva Conventions or UCMJ to protect their populations
              if not for all the fallout that is yet to come.

              Then not much seems all that funny anymore. Unless, I guess, you are Dick Cheney or DOJ lawyers, whose biggest fear in life is that their statements might be laughable.

  3. WTFOver says:

    Mauritania ??? WTF ???


    Mauritania (Arabic: موريتانيا‎ Mūrītāniyā), officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in northwest Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, by Senegal on the southwest, by Mali on the east and southeast, by Algeria on the northeast, and by the Morocco-controlled Western Sahara on the northwest. It is named after the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.

    The civilian government of Mauritania was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup d’état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On April 16, 2009, General Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the upcoming June elections.

    • Rayne says:

      Yes, Mauritania. We’ve known about it for quite a while.

      There’s very little in the way of media in that country, making it very difficult to get reports to filter into mainstream media here. There’s also very little internet-based information as well, making Mauritania a very dark hole into which detainees can easily disappear. Add the convenient coup d’etat and voila, an extra secretive black site.

      [edit: oh yeah, it has a coast line with a deep water port — extra double-plus good for secretive access — and it’s dirt-poor, so USD go much farther. I hate that I’m getting so good at this “think like Dick Cheney” crap.]

  4. WTFOver says:

    USS Bataan (LHD-5)


    USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship commissioned in 1997.

    LHD-5 is named to honor the heroic defense of the Bataan Peninsula on the western side of Manila Bay in the Philippines during the early days of World War II. Ship’s Sponsor, Linda Sloan Mundy, wife of former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., christened the new ship “in the name of the United States and in honor of the heroic defenders of Bataan.”

    The Bataan was one of many vessels in the Middle East region at the beginning of the Iraq war on or about 20 March 2003. After delivering her attack and transport helicopters, troops, and vehicles she was employed as a “Harrier Carrier” with primary duties supporting two Marine AV-8B Harrier II Squadrons along with USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6).[1] She has made two deployments to the region since the invasion. For her third deployment, she joined the Fifth Fleet in the Gulf region, transiting the Suez canal into the Red Sea on 30 January 2007.

  5. WTFOver says:

    Afghanistan (three prisons)

    How many prisons are there in Afghanistan that the usa is using or has used to Torture ???




    • Andy Worthington says:

      No one knows. In addition to “The Hangar” in Bagram, the “Dark Prison,” the “Salt Pit,” and Panjshir, Abu Yahya al-Libi mentioned two others, and I’ve also heard of another. Part of the problem is that no one necessarily knew the names of some of the prisons in which they were held.

      Oh, and there were/are also “mini-prisons” in various Forward Operating Bases …

  6. pmorlan says:

    Andy, whatever happened to the report that was to be released about the USS Bataan and other floating Navy torture ships? Is that still in the works?

  7. pmorlan says:

    Has anyone heard whether or not the CIA IG report will be released today? The reason I ask is that I saw this on HuffPo.

    The roughly 150-page report was expected to be released Friday, but a CIA spokesman said Thursday that government officials were still poring through the documents.

  8. Jkat says:

    i grow weary of abu al dinja aka ali bin saldi aka mohammed al bintz .. aka ..aka… aka … sheesh … having said that ..however .. i like the way mary lays it out .. lies given under torture create false leads which lead to more torture creating more false leads .. and the whole mess ends up like a rendition of “pop-goes-the-weasel” .. our illustrious enhanced interrogators wound up chasing their own tails .. it’d be comical if not for the string of battered and zipped-up body bags ..

    it’s simply despicable … and that’s not nearly strong enough a word …

  9. Jeff Kaye says:

    Marcy, Andy, Mary, Rayne, Ondelette, etc., thanks all so much for putting together this extremely complex material, and documenting the criminal sham that is/was the “war on terror”, built on lies, torture, and sadism, and deeply rooted in the state apparatus and a network of defense and “homeland security” suppliers, media shills, and morally bankrupt politicians and government employees.

    One’s gorge rises, daily.

    Andy… any ideas as to the timing of al-Libi’s death?

    • Andy Worthington says:

      Hi Jeff,
      No news yet. A Libyan blogger just left a brief message on my site saying that high-level people in the Libyan regime were involved …

      And a Libyan film-maker friend posted the article on various Libyan websites, so maybe more information will emerge …

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