As Scott Horton at Harper’s reports — drawing on the reporting of Andy Worthington — the Terror War captive who would have provided the most damning evidence of the direct connection between the Bush administration’s torture program and its concoction of false evidence to “justify” its Hitlerian act of aggression in Iraq has suddenly, somehow, come over all dead-like.
Ali Mohamed al-Fakheri — more usually known as Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi — was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 and subjected to a series of horrific tortures designed to make him “confess” to non-existent ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. These torture-induced fantasies were then used over and over by top Bush officials — including the sainted Colin Powell in his infamous “Gleiwitz Incident” appearance at the UN in February 2003, which “sealed the deal” on the war for the bipartisan political and media elites. After this, al-Fakheri was deep-sixed into the blackest quadrants of the American gulag, then secretly “renditioned” to the tender mercies of America’s new best friend, Libyan dictator Moamar Gadafy.
There he languished for many years, until a few noises began to be made in Washington about the possibility of looking into — at some point, via some unspecified mechanism — some of the “allegations” about “harsh interrogation techniques” used by the Bush Administration — and the Bush Administration only! — during a circumscribed period of time. More serious, however, have been the bruitings of actual criminal investigations and prosecutions in the legal systems of foreign nations, under the clear and unequivocal imperatives of international treaties on torture. Worse still is the potential PR fallout from the increasing level of revelations about the gulag atrocities (or rather confirmations of atrocities that have long been public knowledge — to those few members of the public who want to know about them). Too much open and direct confirmation that the torture system has been devised and operated to manufacture false “intelligence” for fearmongering and warmongering (as well as its function as a means of state terror) would not only hamper the efforts of the militarist Republican faction to regain its ascendancy in the imperial palace — it would also hamper the efforts of the militarist Democratic faction now in ascendancy to use those same authoritarian powers of secrecy, lawlessness, deceit and torture. (Yes, Virginia, torture is still going on, and has never stopped.)
So in every way, to every side in the imperial court, Ali Mohamed al-Fakheri was a most inconvenient man, a thorny problem indeed. But as that great gulagist of yore, Josef Stalin, liked to say: “Remove the man, remove the problem.” And now al-Fakheri has been removed.
None of this should come as any suprise, given the nature of the imperial system. And no one has anatomized this slouching beast with more depth, insight and painful clarity than Arthur Silber. Back from yet another illness-induced absence, Silber has delivered a powerful, richly detailed analysis — and indictment — of the system, and the poisionous myths that have sustained it with self-righteous justifications for centuries of slaughter and atrocity. No excerpts this time: you should read the piece in full, and let it inform your thinking as each new glimpse of our brutal reality filters through the searing white phosphorus smoke laid down by our elites.