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Iraq 'Smoking Gun' Witness Found Dead

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The prisoner Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who apparently under conditions of extreme torture, agreed to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein, and whose testimony became a key source to justify the invasion of Iraq, has been found 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.

After recanting his testimony and revealing that he was forced to make false statements about Iraq under torture, Libi suddenly turns up dead.

A Libyan “newspaper source” says that his death is an apparent suicide. Many disagree, and want a full scale investigation:

This is not a political choice. It is a legal imperative. Mr. Libi’s death must be the first business of the investigation. When other prisoners who had been kept at secret sites were sent to Guantanamo, the Bush administration and the CIA intentionally kept Mr. Libi from being part of that transfer. Mr. Libi was publicly stating that the Iraq-al-Qaeda links attributed to him from his torture sessions were not true.

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.

His testimony would support the case that torture was ineffective, that it did not, as Cheney proclaims, “protect the country from terrorist attack.” But, rather, that torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney.
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