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QuietWyatt
05-15-2009, 12:15 PM
Top Powell Aide Wilkerson: Torture Helped Build Iraq War Case

(CNN) -- Finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.

The allegation was included in an online broadside aimed at former Vice President Dick Cheney by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. In it, Wilkerson wrote that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and then-Vice President Cheney's office kept close tabs on the questioning.

"Its 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 wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.

Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said his accusation is based on information from current and former officials. He said he has been "relentlessly digging" since 2004, when Powell asked him to look into the scandal surrounding the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

"I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN.

Most of Wilkerson's online essay criticizes Cheney's recent defense of the "alternative" interrogation techniques the Bush administration authorized for use against suspected terrorists. Cheney has argued the interrogation program was legal and effective in preventing further attacks on Americans.

Critics say the tactics amounted to the illegal torture of prisoners in U.S. custody and have called for investigations of those who authorized them.

Representatives of the former vice president declined comment on Wilkerson's allegations. But Wilkerson told CNN that by early 2002, U.S. officials had decided that "we had al Qaeda pretty much on the run."

"The priority had turned to other purposes, and one of those purposes was to find substantial contacts between al Qaeda and Baghdad," he said.

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The argument that Iraq could have provided weapons of mass destruction to terrorists such as al Qaeda was a key element of the Bush administration's case for the March 2003 invasion. But after the invasion, Iraq was found to have dismantled its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs, and the independent commission that investigated the 2001 attacks found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the two entities.

Wilkerson wrote that in one case, the CIA told Cheney's office that a prisoner under its interrogation program was now "compliant," meaning agents recommended the use of "alternative" techniques should stop.

At that point, "The VP's office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods," Wilkerson wrote.

"The detainee had not revealed any al Qaeda-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, 'revealed' such contacts."

Al-Libi's claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's government had trained al Qaeda operatives in producing chemical and biological weapons appeared in the October 2002 speech then-President Bush gave when pushing Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. It also was part of Powell's February 2003 presentation to the United Nations on the case for war, a speech Powell has called a "blot" on his record.

Al-Libi later recanted the claim, saying it was made under torture by Egyptian intelligence agents, a claim Egypt denies. He died last week in a Libyan prison, reportedly a suicide, Human Rights Watch reported.

Stacy Sullivan, a counterterrorism adviser for the U.S.-based group, called al-Libi's allegation "pivotal" to the Bush administration's case for war, as it connected Baghdad to the terrorist organization behind the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

And an Army psychiatrist assigned to support questioning of suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba told the service's inspector-general that interrogators there were trying to connect al Qaeda and Iraq.

"This is my opinion," Maj. Paul Burney told the inspector-general's office. "Even though they were giving information and some of it was useful, while we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between aI Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between aI Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

Burney's account was included in a Senate Armed Services Committee report released in April. Other interrogators reported pressure to produce intelligence "but did not recall pressure to identify links between Iraq and al Qaeda," the Senate report states.

Cheney criticized Powell during a television interview over the weekend, saying he no longer considers Powell a fellow Republican after his former colleague endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

Wilkerson said he is not speaking for his former boss and does not know whether Powell shares his views.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/14/iraq.torture/index.html

QuietWyatt
05-15-2009, 12:18 PM
It seems as though torture wasn't used to prevent terrorist attacks, like Cheney suggests, but rather to justify America going to war. Sounds pretty perverted to say the least.

cabernetluver
05-15-2009, 12:28 PM
It seems as though torture wasn't used to prevent terrorist attacks, like Cheney suggests, but rather to justify America going to war. Sounds pretty perverted to say the least.

Interestingly, this use of these techniques violates even the contorted writings that their own legal council gave them.

DenButsu
05-15-2009, 08:43 PM
On the outrage-meter, it will be interesting to see how this stacks up against the Pelosi outrage. :rolleyes:

gcoll
05-15-2009, 09:17 PM
If that's true, someone's going to be in some trouble.


"I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN.

Best line in the article.

lakersrock
05-15-2009, 09:21 PM
If that's true, someone's going to be in some trouble.



Best line in the article.

...which makes it hard to believe.

gcoll
05-15-2009, 09:25 PM
...which makes it hard to believe.
Well...I wouldn't take this guy's word for it.

And if there is weight to this story, you'd still need to know what kinds of questions were being asked.

Trying to figure out if there is a link between Iraq and Al Queda, when we believed Iraq to have WMDs....doesn't sound as insidious as it does now that we know they had no WMDs.

You'd have to know which it is:

"We need to make this connection to build the case for a war in Iraq"

"We need to find out if there is a connection, so we can know if Al Queda has access to WMDs"

ink
05-15-2009, 09:43 PM
it seems as though torture wasn't used to prevent terrorist attacks, like cheney suggests, but rather to justify america going to war. Sounds pretty perverted to say the least.

100%.

PHX-SOXFAN
05-16-2009, 02:09 AM
Well...I wouldn't take this guy's word for it.

And if there is weight to this story, you'd still need to know what kinds of questions were being asked.

Trying to figure out if there is a link between Iraq and Al Queda, when we believed Iraq to have WMDs....doesn't sound as insidious as it does now that we know they had no WMDs.

You'd have to know which it is:

"We need to make this connection to build the case for a war in Iraq"

"We need to find out if there is a connection, so we can know if Al Queda has access to WMDs"

bush had 7 years to prove a link between Iraq and al queda and couldn't do it. his attempts/cheney's attempts have been well documented now. there is no link, and there were no wmd's, just a failed foreign policy enacted.

It's ignorant to ignore the attempts at linking Iraq and al queda that the previos administration did despite no evidence and actual evidence to contradict thier claims. when in every speech, state of the union, and campaign you hear "they attacked us" or "we fight them there so we don't fight them here", or how about saddam buying uranium from niger. Oh we'll just out this guy's wife as an undercover op:rolleyes:. there isn't an ounce of credibility from the "conservative" side on this issue. there were no wmd's, there was no iraq/al queda link, and there is nothing but fact and blowout elections as a result. bye!:clap:

gcoll
05-16-2009, 02:27 AM
bush had 7 years to prove a link between Iraq and al queda and couldn't do it. his attempts/cheney's attempts have been well documented now. there is no link, and there were no wmd's, just a failed foreign policy enacted.

It's ignorant to ignore the attempts at linking Iraq and al queda that the previos administration did despite no evidence and actual evidence to contradict thier claims. when in every speech, state of the union, and campaign you hear "they attacked us" or "we fight them there so we don't fight them here", or how about saddam buying uranium from niger. Oh we'll just out this guy's wife as an undercover op:rolleyes:. there isn't an ounce of credibility from the "conservative" side on this issue. there were no wmd's, there was no iraq/al queda link, and there is nothing but fact and blowout elections as a result. bye!:clap:

What the **** are you talking about? Is any of this in response to the point I made?

Your posts are like mad libs, with the same words used over and over again.

DenButsu
05-16-2009, 04:58 AM
Well...I wouldn't take this guy's word for it.

Well, then, would you take the word of Dick Cheney himself? Or the head of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo from 2002-2005?


Cheney said Gitmo detainees revealed Iraq-al Qaida link
By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON Then-Vice President Dick Cheney, defending the invasion of Iraq, asserted in 2004 that detainees interrogated at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp had revealed that Iraq had trained al Qaida operatives in chemical and biological warfare, an assertion that wasn't true.

Cheney's 2004 comments to the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News were largely overlooked at the time. However, they appear to substantiate recent reports that interrogators at Guantanamo and other prison camps were ordered to find evidence of alleged cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein despite CIA reports that there were only sporadic, insignificant contacts between the militant Islamic group and the secular Iraqi dictatorship.

The head of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo from 2002-2005 confirmed to McClatchy that in late 2002 and early 2003, intelligence officials were tasked to find, among other things, Iraq-al Qaida ties, which were a central pillar of the Bush administration's case for its March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"I'm aware of the fact that in late 2002, early 2003, that (the alleged al Qaida-Iraq link) was an interest on the intelligence side," said retired Army Lt. Col. Brittain Mallow, a former military criminal investigator. "That was something they were tasked to look at."

He said he was unaware of the origins of the directive, but a former senior U.S. intelligence official has told McClatchy that Cheney's and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's offices were demanding that information in 2002 and 2003. The official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter, requested anonymity.

During the same period, two alleged senior al Qaida operatives in CIA custody were waterboarded repeatedly Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times and Khalid Sheik Mohammed at least 183 times.

A 2004 Senate Intelligence Committee report said that the two were questioned about the relationship between al Qaida and Iraq, and that both denied knowing of one.

A U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Paul Burney, told the Army Inspector General's office in 2006 that during the same period, interrogators at Guantanamo were under pressure to produce evidence of al Qaida-Iraq ties, but were unable to do so.

"The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results," Burney said, according excerpts of an interview published in a declassified Senate Armed Services Committee report released on April 22.

A key proponent of the Iraq invasion and of harsh interrogation methods, Cheney has become the leading defender of such measures, which included forced nudity, prolonged sleep deprivation, stress positions and waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

The Rocky Mountain News asked Cheney in a Jan. 9, 2004, interview if he stood by his claims that Saddam's regime had maintained a "relationship" with al Qaida, raising the danger that Iraq might give the group chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to attack the U.S.

"Absolutely. Absolutely," Cheney replied.

A Cheney spokeswoman said a response to an e-mail requesting clarification of the former vice president's remarks would be forthcoming next week.

"The (al Qaida-Iraq) links go back," he said. "We know for example from interrogating detainees in Guantanamo that al Qaida sent individuals to Baghdad to be trained in C.W. and B.W. technology, chemical and biological weapons technology. These are all matters that are there for anybody who wants to look at it."

No evidence of such training or of any operational links between Iraq and al Qaida has ever been found, according to several official inquiries.

It's not apparent which Guantanamo detainees Cheney was referring to in the interview.

One al Qaida detainee, Ibn al Sheikh al Libi, claimed that terrorist operatives were sent to Iraq for chemical and biological weapons training, but he was in CIA custody, not at Guantanamo.

Moreover, he recanted his assertions, some of them allegedly made under torture while he was being interrogated in Egypt.

"No postwar information has been found that indicates CBW training occurred, and the detainee who provided the key prewar reporting about this training recanted his claims after the war," a September 2006 Senate Intelligence Committee report said.

Although the Defense Intelligence Agency questioned it at the time, former President George W. Bush cited al Libi's claim in an October 2002 address, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell used in his February 2003 speech to the United Nations.

A Libyan newspaper last week reported that al Libi committed suicide in a Libyan jail.mcclatchy (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/68315.html)


The more information that comes to light, the more the picture of what appears to have happened comes into focus:

1. They wanted to go to war in Iraq
2. They wanted/needed to justify that war, but there was no existing justification
3. They manufactured false evidence by lying and (now, we learn) torturing prisoners.
4. They now are retroactively defending their actions by arguing that they made our country safer - from a nonexistent threat, which was not even the reason for lying and torturing in the first place.


Heckuva job, Bushies. Thanks for leaving us with this horrible ****ing mess to clean up.

Let the investigations begin. Please.

gcoll
05-16-2009, 05:44 AM
Well, then, would you take the word of Dick Cheney himself? Or the head of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo from 2002-2005?
I don't know...we'll see how this goes.

Refer back to my first post in this thread.

LAKERMANIA
05-16-2009, 01:54 PM
Well, then, would you take the word of Dick Cheney himself? Or the head of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo from 2002-2005?

mcclatchy (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/68315.html)


The more information that comes to light, the more the picture of what appears to have happened comes into focus:

1. They wanted to go to war in Iraq
2. They wanted/needed to justify that war, but there was no existing justification
3. They manufactured false evidence by lying and (now, we learn) torturing prisoners.
4. They now are retroactively defending their actions by arguing that they made our country safer - from a nonexistent threat, which was not even the reason for lying and torturing in the first place.


Heckuva job, Bushies. Thanks for leaving us with this horrible ****ing mess to clean up.

Let the investigations begin. Please.

The more time goes by the more information we get about how the Bush administration operated and quite frankly, the more information we learn the scarier it gets.

ink
05-16-2009, 02:17 PM
The more time goes by the more information we get about how the Bush administration operated and quite frankly, the more information we learn the scarier it gets.

A whole generation of corrupt Republicans is retiring or has been discredited, and hopefully we'll never see this kind of thing again. A lot of critics think of this as the last gasp of the Imperial Presidency era that Nixon started. It will be good to see these people leave public service and leave it in disgrace. I'm sure that's another reason why Cheney is fighting so hard -- to protect his legacy and to try to perpetuate the screwed up idea that Executive power trumps Congress on foreign affairs issues.

All I can say is, look how convoluted the legacy is. Torturing prisoners to get them to confess to a terrorist link that didn't exist, to find "evidence" of WMD's that didn't exist, to find a connection between terrorists and the supposed WMDs they were supposed to be receiving from Iraq, to fumble the war against the actual terrorists based in Afghanistan to do it, all to justify a war that didn't need to happen, just so that unfinished business leftover from the Gulf War could be taken care of while public sympathy was with the administration.

What a dog's breakfast of deceit and incompetence.

ink
05-16-2009, 02:33 PM
Well, then, would you take the word of Dick Cheney himself? Or the head of the Criminal Investigation Task Force at Guantanamo from 2002-2005?

mcclatchy (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/68315.html)


The more information that comes to light, the more the picture of what appears to have happened comes into focus:

1. They wanted to go to war in Iraq
2. They wanted/needed to justify that war, but there was no existing justification
3. They manufactured false evidence by lying and (now, we learn) torturing prisoners.
4. They now are retroactively defending their actions by arguing that they made our country safer - from a nonexistent threat, which was not even the reason for lying and torturing in the first place.


Heckuva job, Bushies. Thanks for leaving us with this horrible ****ing mess to clean up.

Let the investigations begin. Please.

It's hard to understand how Cheney still claims the torture gave them "evidence" of Iraq-Al Qaeda connections. If there were legitimate connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, wouldn't we have heard about them by now?? They've had plenty of chances to provide a shred of legit proof for the folly they started.

QuietWyatt
05-16-2009, 03:21 PM
A whole generation of corrupt Republicans is retiring or has been discredited, and hopefully we'll never see this kind of thing again. A lot of critics think of this as the last gasp of the Imperial Presidency era that Nixon started. It will be good to see these people leave public service and leave it in disgrace. I'm sure that's another reason why Cheney is fighting so hard -- to protect his legacy and to try to perpetuate the screwed up idea that Executive power trumps Congress on foreign affairs issues.

All I can say is, look how convoluted the legacy is. Torturing prisoners to get them to confess to a terrorist link that doesn't exist, to drop the war against the actual terrorists based in Afghanistan, to find "evidence" of WMD's that didn't exist, to justify a war that didn't need to happen, so that unfinished business in Iraq could be taken care of while public sympathy was with the administration.

What a dog's breakfast of deceit and incompetence.



In all honesty, this makes the Nixon scandals look like a walk in a park.

It's funny that a thread with "Pelosi" in it makes the righties get carpal tunnel syndrome they're typing so fast, but a something as serious as this...:cricket:.

All you get is "I think he's lying". Why? Why discredit Powell and aides who haven't deserved it and give credibility to Cheney who REALLY doesn't deserve it. Anything that comes out of Cheney's mouth has time and time again proven to be false, and unlike Dick's top aide, Wilkerson isn't a felon.

ink
05-16-2009, 03:25 PM
In all honesty, this makes the Nixon scandals look like a walk in a park.

It's funny that a thread with "Pelosi" in it makes the righties get carpal tunnel syndrome they're typing so fast, but a something as serious as this...:cricket:.

All you get is "I think he's lying". Why? Why discredit Powell and aides who haven't deserved it and give credibility to Cheney who REALLY doesn't deserve it. Anything that comes out of Cheney's mouth has time and time again proven to be false, and unlike Dick's top aide, Wilkerson isn't a felon.

Cheney is the Forrest Gump of white collar crime: Watergate, he was there; Iran-Contra, he was there; Gitmo-Iraq, he was there. Watergate was significant because it was the first abuse in a career of abuses. Learn from the wrong people and it really messes up your ethics and world view.

You make a really good point about Wilkerson. He had the courage to tell the truth about this whole mess years ago.

QuietWyatt
05-16-2009, 03:27 PM
^I see where you were going but this seems like the exclamation point to everything he's been apart of.

ink
05-16-2009, 03:34 PM
^I see where you were going but this seems like the exclamation point to everything he's been apart of.

Clearly. It's the most power he was entrusted with. But make no mistake, the tendency was there since his White House Chief of Staff days with the Nixon administration.

cabernetluver
05-16-2009, 05:13 PM
Ink,

I had to chuckle at the Forrest Gump reference, partially because I had not thought of it, partially because it is so true in reflection. It shows the truth of the phrase from Lord Acton,"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

gcoll
05-16-2009, 05:28 PM
It's funny that a thread with "Pelosi" in it makes the righties get carpal tunnel syndrome they're typing so fast, but a something as serious as this..
OMG lol.

DenButsu
05-16-2009, 10:54 PM
Apparently Cheney will soon be giving a big speech to defend the use of torture and the indefinite imprisonment of suspected terrorists. Read it at TPM but I closed the tab and don't have the time to dig the link back up. But I think it's happening in fa few days.

DodgersFan28
05-20-2009, 06:36 AM
The biggest difference that I can see between this and Pelosi's deal is that Pelosi is the current Speaker of the House while Cheney is a former VP. If Pelosi was the former Speaker but no longer in office, it wouldn't be as much of an issue as it is now.

What I do enjoy reading is how some people here have already internalized this as fact when the author himself admittedly made the concession that he couldn't prove his claim in court if he had to. Some people apparently have the ability to actually read while others just take it at face value and go off on analyzations of how obviously true this is because of blah blah blah whatever. Half of the posts in this thread could be edited to say simply "I hate Cheney" and nothing would be lost.