Friday, April 24, 2009

Connections and reasons...

Today 60 people were killed by suicide bombers across Iraq. Yesterday the toll was higher. 80 people were killed. It is difficult to read this and not think about new revelations reported by McClatchy a couple of days back which asserted that the Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaeda and the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Saddam's regime. The use of abusive interrogation — widely considered torture — as part of Bush's quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them."There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity. 
..."The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there." It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003.

Relatives mourned in Dhuluiya, north of Baghdad at the funeral of an Iraqi who was among the 80 killed across the country yesterday. Photo from the Associated Press

Keith Olbermann analyzes the timelines involved in this and talks to Jonathan Landay, the McClatchy reporter who first revealed that torture was used to forcibly produce false testimony reflecting a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

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