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The Iraq-CIA rendition link

The so-called "evidence" of ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq were procured from a detainee in one of the secret prisons.
 
 
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There may be no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but there is a damning link between the CIA's shameful rendition program and the equally shameful invasion of Iraq:

The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.

The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons. [ NYT]

Turns out there isn't much difference between torture and garbage collection in the intelligence world.

Bottomline: We violated basic standards of international law to gather spurious evidence for an equally spurious war.

Lakshmi Chaudhry is a senior editor at In These Times , and the former senior editor of AlterNet. You can write to her at lakshmi@alternet.org.