The cover-up of Bush-era crimes is taking a shocking but not unexpected turn. A fateful move has been made and it is certain to backfire.
A prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein is suddenly dead. Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch investigators discovered the missing inmate and talked to him. He had been secretly transferred by the administration to a prison in Libya after having been held by the CIA both in secret “black hole prisons” and in Egypt.
Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture. The now famous Torture Memos providing legal cover for the torture were written at the same time starting in the summer of 2002.
Libi’s tortured and knowingly fabricated testimony was the source of information used by Bush to sell the war to the U.S. Senate, and the source for Colin Powell’s bogus and lying presentation to the United Nations in 2003.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.
Having been discovered by human rights investigators two weeks ago, Mr. Libi’s story coincided with the release of the Torture Memos and the growing clamor for criminal prosecutions of Bush officials.
His testimony is the smoking gun that would reveal that the torture regime was not for “national security” but for the personal political aims of Bush and Cheney.
He was Exhibit A in the indictment that alleges that tortured confessions and the contrived legal justifications of torture set up by Justice Department lawyers in July/August 2002 were central to the launch of the war against Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture.
Taken for a ride: This award winning documentary needs to be seen again.
From a recent Associated Press report we find this:
Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. “There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”
Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a “mosaic” of intelligence.
“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather “sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.”
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to determine “who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation.”
Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands. U.S. President George W. Bush hands back a crying baby that was handed to him from the crowd as he arrived for an outdoor dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Trinwillershagen, Germany, July 13, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (GERMANY)
Avaaz is calling for signatures for this campaign.
This week the US government is debating whether to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ tactics. This could have major ramifications all the way up the chain of command.
Key US Senators, leading this call for justice, need a massive global endorsement to ensure that the Commission is set up and has real teeth. But there are powerful interests that want to cover up the truth about torture, secret detention and other unlawful abuse.
Hugo Chavez is an oddity. He does not seem to fear the omnipotence of previous and current empires. He seems certain of a future for his country that is not linked to foreign loans and influences, totally unlike most other non-Western, once-colonised countries. He does not even seem to care what Western governments have to say of his style of government. Or at least what their mainstream media babble on like religious fanatics hunting down a local witch.
Clearly democracy is in its death throes in Venezuela? Look, no one was killed, not a single voter reported being abused or forced to vote a particular way, and the elite controlled press wasn’t taken over by military personnel! What abomination! This dictatorship smells fishy!
Okay, enough of the silly ranting. I have to admit my own ignorance of Latin American politics before and after colonial rule. Venezuela didn’t get a single mention in my school history books. Only Mexico, when a beauty pageant was held there, I think. Besides, I was growing up under a dictatorship. More on that in the future, when the right memories come together to dance.
I thus confess that the first time I heard of Chavez was when he called Dubya “the devil.” Back then I thought “Wow, who is this idiot who wants his country nuked?” Of course, being a keen follower of Bushisms and other oddities, I chuckled. In that time I saw a lot of bad press about Chavez. As if he were the devil on earth!
Some time later I saw John Pilger’s “The War on Democracy” and heard a bit more from Chavez himself. The documentary was a little uneven and heavy handed in some parts, but it gave me a new perspective on the history of Latin American struggles. Pilger was too obviously in awe of Chavez, but that I suppose is forgivable if you think about the devilish image the Western press have made of him.
Fast forward to now, February 2009 with Hugo Chavez claiming victory in the Venezuela referendum. He and other politicians can now freely run for office again beyond the second term. If Venezuelans keep voting him in, he could remain president for life. What a thought! What a headache for those who cannot bear his open mouth!
Having grown up in a dictatorship, I can only say that at the moment Chavez does not seem to qualify as one. Not yet. Sure, the “poor” (read: elite) opposition have suffered a defeat. All that money and still not enough to take down a political opponent. But is a single one of them in prison? Is the local population bound by a silence for fear of disappearing in the night? Do all the newspapers carry the same stories?
You don’t know what a dictator is if you have never lived under one.