For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

How Torture Facilitated Invasion

WASHINGTON - Professor and author Juan Cole writes in his blog today: "The best refutation of Dick Cheney's insistence that torture was necessary and useful in dealing with threats from al-Qaeda just died in a Libyan prison. ...

"Al-Qaeda operative Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was captured trying to escape from Afghanistan in late 2001. He was sent to Egypt to be tortured, and under duress alleged that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda agents in chemical weapons techniques. It was a total crock, and alleged solely to escape further pain. Al-Libi disavowed the allegation when he was returned to CIA custody. But Cheney and Condi Rice ran with the single-source, torture-induced assertion and it was inserted by Scooter Libby in Colin Powell's infamous speech to the United Nations."

Al-Libi's death is being reported by some as a suicide. Human Rights Watch has called for an investigation.

BENJAMIN DAVIS
Professor of law at the University of Toledo College of Law, Davis said today: "It's remarkably convenient to torture apologists that Al-Libi turn up dead."
Davis is a member of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee. The group helped organize 200 groups to sign a statement released today urging Attorney General Eric Holder "to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush administration."
The group is named for former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who argued as the prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials after World War II: "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

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