A former high-ranking state department official has come forward with the explosive report that then Vice President Dick Cheney called for the torture of an Iraqi prisoner to establish a link between al Qaeda and Iraq in the midst of the political controversy over the misrepresentations that led to the Iraq invasion. Cheney was one of the main figures pushing this justification, which was found based on false intelligence. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, adds yet another piece of evidence that the torture program was not based on a “ticking bomb” justification and was not based on the faux legal opinions of lawyers like Judge Jay Bybee and Professor John Yoo.
Wilkerson reveals that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002 and “[i]ts principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda,.” Wilkerson said that Cheney’s office asked for torture because the CIA found the prisoner to be “compliant.” This would appear to suggest that they wanted to torture the prisoner because he might be coerced into supporting the linkae — a critical necessity for the Administration in defending its prior representations on the invasion. He states that the “order” came from Cheney’s office. The prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, was tortured until he confirmed such contacts and these statements were promptly used by the Administration. He later recanted the statements before dying in a Libyan prison.
This report confirms the statements of an Army psychiatrist that the abuse of detainees at Gitmo was focused not only future attacks but to establish a connection between al Qaeda and Iraq.
Once again, this additional evidence only highlights the refusal of the Obama Administration to appoint a special prosecutor. The evidence is now far greater than what existed when Democrats called for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor in the firings of U.S. Attorneys. Of course, this involves war crimes.
For the full story, click here.