An especially revealing introduction to Mubarak’s chief torturer is Jane Mayer’s “Who is Omar Suleiman?” (New Yorker.com, Jan. 29). For years, this author of The Dark Side (Dick Cheney’s scenario for our extrajudicial war on terror) has been a leading fact‐based investigator of the Bush‐Cheney torture policy as well as such other Obama suspensions of the Constitution as his drone planes’ targeted killings of suspects who have never been brought before a judge. At least one American is on that list.
“Suleiman,” she writes “was not squeamish. … Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both governments.” These classified kidnappings began during the Clinton administration.
And, as Stephen Grey reports in Ghost Plane, Suleiman, long well‐known in Washington, “understood English well, was an urbane and sophisticated man.”
One particularly brutal torture session led to then Secretary of State Colin Powell’s most acutely embarrassing international experience: The prisoner, Ibn Sheikh al‐Libi, was captured by Pakistan and then rushed by the CIA to Egypt, where intelligence chief Suleiman was in charge of his torture.
As Mayer writes: “They locked him in a cage for 80 hours. Then they took him out, knocked him over, and punched him” and so thoroughly abused him that he gave up and lied that the Iraqis had mass weapons of destruction, thereby “documenting” the justification for the United States going to war against Iraq.
Given this false information by the CIA, Secretary of State Powell confidently repeated it in his pivotal address to the United Nations in February 2003. So it could be said that torturer Suleiman was a key factor in precipitating our invasion of Iraq.
After it appeared evident that there had been no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein had been fatally retired, al‐Libi admitted that he had indeed lied. As Mayer reports:
“When the FBI later asked him why he lied, he blamed the brutality of the Egyptian intelligence service.” Moreover, in Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s book, “Hubris,” al‐Libi added to his explanation of why he had lied: “They were killing me. I had to tell them something.”
It’s as if al‐Libi has been subject to “coercive interrogation” in a CIA black site somewhere. None of the CIA torturers in those secret prisons as well as U.S. torturers of detainees by our special forces — let alone those way up high in our government who had ordered these savage violations of American and international law — have been punished.
As for the absence of any Egyptian government reprimanded of Mubarak intelligence chief Suleiman, a reader of Jane Mayer’s report, signed “Mirjam,” posted Jan. 29, 2011, as a response on the corollary impunity of official American torturers: