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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Not-so-extraordinary rendition

Tonight PBS broadcast a story about America's "torture taxis" and various people who have been "rendered" and tortured. Remarkably, however, one of the most interesting aspects of the story wasn't in the film at all, but is revealed in, of all places, an ABC News blog. This is, in the words of Colin Powell at the U.N., "the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al Qaeda." What the latest news unveils is that this "information" was provided after the subject was held in a coffin for 17 hours, and then beaten until he provided "information" on the links between Iraq and al Qaeda. And here's the most surprising part:
Last September, these red-hot CIA cables were declassified and published by the Senate Intelligence Committee, but in, a welter of other news, one of the most important documents in the history of rendition had passed almost without notice by the media. As far as I can tell, not a single newspaper reported details of the cable.
Nor, we should note, did a single member of the Senate Intelligence Committee make sure this information did not go unnoticed.

Note that the CIA cables in question appear to have been sent in February, 2004, after the invasion of Iraq. However, it seems highly unlikely that they had any greater reason to believe the alleged "intelligence" in February, 2003, given the source of the "intelligence."

Never to be forgotten:

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

- Colin Powell at the U.N.
Also never to be forgotten - one of the people who refuted those claims (and for his pains was called a liar by Powell), Iraqi Gen. Amer al-Saadi, remains in jail without charges to this day as far as we know. Colin Powell remains a free man.

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