IraqTortureGate: Powell Denies Knowing He Used Tortured Evidence for UN Case

The most damning credible allegation to emerge regarding the Bush
Administration is arguably that Dick Cheney and other Bush
Administration officials ordered the use of torture to produce false
evidence of a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida to justify the U.S.
invasion of Iraq.

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff at the State Department
under Colin Powell, recently

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.

Wilkerson cited the case of detainee Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose
tortured testimony was crucial for building the case for war, and was
cited in Powell's speech to the UN.

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

About this case, Human Rights Watch has recently

Al-Libi was sent by the CIA to Egypt for interrogation in
early 2002. A declassified CIA cable later described how al-Libi told
the CIA that the Egyptian interrogators had said they wanted
information about al-Qaeda's connections with Iraq, a subject "about
which [al-Libi] said he knew nothing and had difficulty even coming up
with a story."

The cable went on to say that al-Libi indicated that his interrogators
did not like his responses and then "placed him in a small box" for
approximately 17 hours. When he was let out of the box, the cable
states that al-Libi was given a last opportunity to "tell the truth."
When al-Libi's answers did not satisfy the interrogator, al-Libi says
he "was knocked over with an arm thrust across his chest and he fell
on his back" and was then "punched for 15 minutes." It was then that
al-Libi told his interrogators that Iraq had trained al-Qaeda
operatives in chemical and biological weapons, information that was
later used in Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council to
justify war with Iraq.

A bipartisan report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
found that that al-Libi "lied [about the link] to avoid torture."

The Senate Intelligence Committee knows that al-Libi's false, tortured
testimony was part of Colin Powell's speech to the UN. Human Rights
Watch knows it. Lawrence Wilkerson knows it. And you know it.

But supposedly Colin Powell doesn't know it. Is this credible?

Journalist Sam Husseini caught Colin Powell outside the Sunday chat
shows in DC, and asked him about the al-Libi case and the use tortured
evidence to make the case for war, leading to this breathtaking

Sam Husseini: General, can you talk about the al-Libi case
and the link between torture and the production of tortured evidence
for war?

Colin Powell: I don't have any details on the al-Libi case.

SH: Can you tell us when you learned that some of the evidence that
you used in front of the UN was based on torture? When did you learn

CP: I don't know that. I don't know what information you're referring
to. So I can't answer.

SH: Your chief of staff, Wilkerson, has written about this.

CP: So what? [inaudible]

SH: So you'd think you'd know about it.

CP: The information I presented to the UN was vetted by the CIA. Every
word came from the CIA and they stood behind all that information. I
don't know that any of them believe that torture was involved. I don't
know that in fact. A lot of speculation, particularly by people who
never attended any of these meetings, but I'm not aware of it.

"Speculation by people who never attended meetings"? Who is Powell
trying to discredit? The Senate Intelligence Committee? Or his own
former chief deputy?

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