The Stovepipe

The United States tortured prisoners for exploitation and propaganda purposes with the goal to connect al-Qa’ida with Saddam. We used this false information, obtained through torture, to justify the invasion of Iraq.

“…the details in the Senate report concerning the abuse of often totally innocent people are less damning than the evidence that a key reason for the torture was to produce “intelligence” that could be used to build the case for war on Iraq. That splendid little war that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the neocon cabal within the Defense and State Departments, and the all-powerful Office of the Vice President, so deeply craved. That war that destroyed Iraq, killed half a million people, spurred sectarianism, forced millions to flee, generated ongoing civil war and produced the child-beheading ISIL.”

Back in the mists of time this seemed to be understood. In the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when it was apparent there was no weapons of mass destruction and no connections between Saddam and al-Qa’ida, there were strong suspicions about the manufactured intelligence for war and how it was acquired. Recall the Office of Special Plans (OSP)–the secret intelligence office in the Pentagon whose very existence was predicated on making the connection of al-Qa’ida to Saddam, by stove piping intelligence. Stove piping occurs when raw intelligence that hasn’t been vested by professional intelligence analysts gets passed up the chain of command. The neocon zealots in the OSP went over to the dark side and had captives tortured until they linked Saddam to al-Qa’ida.

The intrepid Marcy Wheeler, at Emptywheel, examines the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on torture, which was released 5 years ago, and finds this interesting segment that makes this clear.

“The torture of Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, whose torture-induced claim al Qaeda had ties to Iraq’s WMD programs helped drag us into Iraq,

According to al-Libi, the foreign government service [redacted] “stated that the next topic was al-Qa’ida’s connections with Iraq. … This was a subject about which he said he knew nothing and had difficulty even coming up with a story.” Al-Libi indicated that his interrogators did not like his responses and then “placed him in a small box approximately 50cm x 50cm.” He claimed he was held in the box for approximately 17 hours. When he was let out of the box, alLibi claims that he was given a last opportunity to “tell the truth.” When al-Libi did not satisfy the interrogator, al-Libi claimed that “he was knocked over with an arm thrust across his chest and he fell on his back.” Al-Libi told CIA debriefers that he then “was punched for 15 minutes.”216

(U) Al-Libi told debriefers that “after the beating,” he was again asked about the connection with Iraq and this time he came up with a story that three al-Qa’ida members went to Iraq to learn about nuclear weapons. Al-Libi said that he used the names of real individuals associated with al-Qa’ida so that he could remember the details of his fabricated story and make it more believable to the foreign intelligence service. Al-Libi noted that “this pleased his [foreign] interrogators, who directed that al-Libi be taken back to a big room, vice the 50 square centimeter box and given food.”217

Over the weekend we had the architect of torture himself–Dick Cheney–on Meet the Press, defending torture. Of course, the Toddler didn’t broach the possibility of torture for false confessions to justify the war Cheney and the neocons wanted all along. That would be rude.

This reality that “we tortured some folks” to justify the invasion of Iraq is too horrible for the MSM to contemplate. The idea that our leaders are monsters is beyond the pale. It is the truth that dare not be spoken of.

And, anyway, Americans are cool with torture.

“Before Bush, most Americans were against torture.  The endless drumbeat of propaganda and the need to justify what America does (America is good, therefore America does not do evil), has had its effect.”



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