As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still All About Iraq

Among the many inanities from Huckleberry Graham yesterday was his claim that "one of the reasons these techniques have survived for about 500 years is apparently they work." You know what has survived for longer than that? Syphillis. Should we incubate that for use on prisoners?

But I'll agree with Huckleberry to an extent. Torture does work in its primary function: to extract false confessions. That's why Dark Sith Cheney was so keen on using torture prior to the run-up to war in Iraq.

*Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection.

*The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible.

*Much of the information in the report of the 9/11 Commission was provided through more than 30 sessions of torture of detainees.

Lawrence Wilkerson essentially confirmed this today.

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....)

Pity that al-Libi just up and committed suicide like that, ay?

Over and over again, we have seen Iraq as the white whale to the Bush Administration, as their sole focus through much of the first term appeared to be laying down the basis for invasion and occupation. Everything flows from this original sin. And we can now say with a good degree of surety that the torture programs rose from a desire to link Iraq with 9/11 and Al Qaeda. if you want to know why Dick Cheney has been on the teevee more than American Idol lately, throwing up roadblocks and confusion and assorted nonsense, it's because he doesn't want this fact, which apparently came from his office, revealed.

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