Source for Colin Powell’s Fake UN Claim of Iraq-al-Qaeda Connection Dies in Libyan Prison

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, the man who told of a phony connection between former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while being tortured, has died in a Libyan prison, allegedly of suicide. Al-Libi was the unnamed source that former Secretary of State Colin Powell and other Bush administration officials relied upon prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to demonstrate that Saddam was helping the terrorist organization behind the September 11 attacks. Powell’s February 5, 2003, speech before the United Nations was largely based on al-Libi’s coerced testimony, even though intelligence officials in the U.S. government questioned it at the time.

After being captured in Pakistan in late 2001, al-Libi disappeared into the CIA’s secret rendition program and wound up in Egypt, where interrogators beat him and threatened to bury him alive. During this torture, al-Libi claimed Saddam’s government had trained al-Qaeda terrorists in the use of chemical and biological weapons—a claim he recanted after being returned to CIA custody in 2004.
When President George W. Bush, in 2006, ordered the relocation of many of the detainees held in secret CIA prisons to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, al-Libi was among the missing. Human rights groups suspected that he had been shipped to Libya in an effort to hide the “embarrassment” he represented to the Bush administration. The first independent confirmation of al-Libi’s whereabouts came only a couple weeks before his death, when a researcher for Human Rights Watch came across al-Libi on April 27 while checking on the condition of other prisoners in Libya’s Abu Salim prison. Al-Libi refused to be interviewed, and would only say, “Where were you when I was being tortured in American jails?”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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