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Tangled Web We Weave

Let's follow the progression: abhorrent interrogation techniques are used which typically provide extremely unreliable testimony...a coerced false confession is gained...and this false confession, which should have been acknowledged as being tainted, is instead presented as absolute fact and used as justification for an illegal war.

The Bush Administration's moral beacon again comes gleaming through the dark, dark night.

Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim

by Douglas Jehl, New York Times

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 - The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.

The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons.

The fact that Mr. Libi recanted after the American invasion of Iraq and that intelligence based on his remarks was withdrawn by the C.I.A. in March 2004 has been public for more than a year. But American officials had not previously acknowledged either that Mr. Libi made the false statements in foreign custody or that Mr. Libi contended that his statements had been coerced.

(Full story)

December 9, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink