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Monday, May 18, 2009

demand the facts on al-Libi

In my blog item of Friday, May 15, I connected some dots to the curiously timed alleged suicide of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda member captured by the U.S. and, for reasons not at all clear, imprisoned in Libya. Newsweek has now uploaded an article dated May 16 that takes the story further. According to the article, my suspicions were well-founded:

'Two weeks earlier, al-Libi was visited for the first time by human-rights workers investigating allegations that he had been tortured into making false claims connecting Saddam Hussein's regime and Al Qaeda. (Those claims, which al-Libi later retracted, were used by the Bush administration to bolster its case for the Iraq War.) Al-Libi also had been identified recently by U.S. defense lawyers as a possible key witness in upcoming trials of top terror suspects.'
The article also says that the Obama administration is demanding answers from the Libyan government about al-Libi's death. One question I would like answered is, did any members of the Bush-Cheney administration communicate with Libyan authorities about al-Libi since January 20, 2009, the date of President Obama's inauguration? Any such contacts should be catalogued and investigated. Another is, what information did al-Libi share with his recent visitors, and who had access to that information?

Closer to home, and regardless of the truth or falsity of the suicide, we should demand answers to the following questions:
—Why was al-Libi, a high-value detainee, never brought to Guantánamo?
—What so-called CIA 'black sites' was al-Libi brought to before being turned over to Libya?
—Whose decision was it to transfer al-Libi from a U.S.-controlled 'black site' to Libya, and what were the official reasons for doing so?

I have e-mailed Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, to get some answers to questions about al-Libi. I will follow up with phone calls to him and other senators this week and will report on my progress, if there is any.

We have a right to know the truth and to demand justice. If it turns out that anyone acted to induce the Libyan government to kill al-Libi in order to thwart justice and accountability in the States, that person must be tried and punished in a court of law. President Obama has regrettably shown reluctance to allow anyone to be prosecuted for illegal torture-related actions undertaken in government service. Would that same reluctance apply to actions possibly undertaken after individuals have left government service?

I have a bad feeling that the worst revelations are yet to come. Will they be matched by commensurately serious investigation? That depends in part on us and how forcefully we demand justice.

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Anonymous tryggth said...

Good for you Jeff. Don' forget to ask how he ended up in the hands of the Eygptians in the first place.

10:29 PM, May 18, 2009


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