For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Egypt’s “Torturer-in-Chief” Running for President
WASHINGTON - AP is reporting: “Hosni Mubarak’s former vice president and spy chief said in comments published Monday that he would not attempt to ‘reinvent’ the regime of his longtime mentor if he is elected president of Egypt.
“Omar Suleiman, who is running in the presidential elections slated for May 23-24, told state-owned Al-Akhbar daily that restoring security would be his top priority as president.”
LISA HAJJAR, lhajjar at soc.ucsb.edu
Hajjar is a professor in the sociology department at the University of California-Santa Barbara. She wrote the piece “Omar Suleiman, the CIA’s Man in Cairo and Egypt’s Torturer-in-Chief.”
The piece states: “At least one person extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt — Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib — was tortured by Suleiman himself. … A far more infamous torture case, in which Suleiman also is directly implicated, is that of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Unlike Habib, who was innocent of any ties to terror or militancy, al-Libi allegedly was a trainer at al-Khaldan camp in Afghanistan. He was captured by the Pakistanis while fleeing across the border in November 2001. He was sent to Bagram, and questioned by the FBI. But the CIA wanted to take over, which they did, and he was transported to a black site on the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, then extraordinarily rendered to Egypt. Under torture there, al-Libi ‘confessed’ knowledge about an al-Qaeda-Saddam connection, claiming that two al-Qaeda operatives had received training in Iraq for use in chemical and biological weapons. In early 2003, this was exactly the kind of information that the Bush administration was seeking to justify attacking Iraq and to persuade reluctant allies to go along. Indeed, al-Libi’s ‘confession’ was one the central pieces of ‘evidence’ presented at the United Nations by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to make the case for war. As it turns out, though, that ‘confession’ was a lie tortured out of him by Egyptians. …
“According to Evan Kohlmann, who enjoys favored status as an ‘al-Qaeda expert’ among U.S. officials, citing a classified source: ‘Al-Libi’s death coincided with the first visit by Egypt’s spymaster Omar Suleiman to Tripoli.’ Kohlmann surmises and opines that after al-Libi recounted his story about an al-Qaeda-Saddam WMD connection, ‘The Egyptians were embarrassed by this admission, and the Bush government found itself in hot water internationally. Then, in May 2009, Omar Suleiman saw an opportunity to get even with al-Libi and traveled to Tripoli. By the time Omar Suleiman’s plane left Tripoli, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi had committed ‘suicide.””
See in The New Yorker by Jane Mayer “Who is Omar Suleiman?”
Hajjar was quoted in USA Today: “Suleiman’s reputation holds dread for some in Egypt .”
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