US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC : http://boston.indymedia.org/
Boston.Indymedia
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Testimonies
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
News :: International
Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo
08 Feb 2011
"In October 2001, Habib was seized from a bus by Pakistani security forces. While detained in Pakistan, at the behest of American agents, he was suspended from a hook and electrocuted repeatedly. He was then turned over to the CIA, and in the process of transporting him to Egypt he endured the usual treatment: his clothes were cut off, a suppository was stuffed in his anus, he was put into a diaper - and 'wrapped up like a spring roll. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman."
Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo
gar | 08.02.2011 13:42 | Repression | World
In October 2001, Habib was seized from a bus by Pakistani security forces. While detained in Pakistan, at the behest of American agents, he was suspended from a hook and electrocuted repeatedly. He was then turned over to the CIA, and in the process of transporting him to Egypt he endured the usual treatment: his clothes were cut off, a suppository was stuffed in his anus, he was put into a diaper - and 'wrapped up like a spring roll. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman.


On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran - and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo.Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among 'Iran nexters' in Washington - not to mention among other authoritarian mukhabarat-dependent regimes in the region. Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt’s efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.According to a WikiLeak(ed) US diplomatic cable, titled 'Presidential Succession in Egypt', dated May 14, 2007:"Egyptian intelligence chief and Mubarak consigliere, in past years Soliman was often cited as likely to be named to the long-vacant vice-presidential post. In the past two years, Soliman has stepped out of the shadows, and allowed himself to be photographed, and his meetings with foreign leaders reported. Many of our contacts believe that Soliman, because of his military background, would at least have to figure in any succession scenario."

From 1993 until Saturday, Suleiman was chief of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. He remained largely in the shadows until 2001, when he started taking over powerful dossiers in the foreign ministry; he has since become a public figure, as the WikiLeak document attests. In 2009, he was touted by the London Telegraph and Foreign Policy as the most powerful spook in the region, topping even the head of Mossad.

In the mid-1990s, Suleiman worked closely with the Clinton administration in devising and implementing its rendition program; back then, rendition involved kidnapping suspected terrorists and transferring them to a third country for trial. In The Dark Side, Jane Mayer describes how the rendition program began:


"Each rendition was authorised at the very top levels of both governments [the US and Egypt] ... The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top [CIA] officials. [Former US Ambassador to Egypt Edward] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as 'very bright, very realistic', adding that he was cognisant that there was a downside to 'some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way'. (p. 113).

"Technically, US law required the CIA to seek 'assurances' from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn't face torture. But under Suleiman's reign at the EGIS, such assurances were considered close to worthless. As Michael Scheuer, a former CIA officer [head of the al-Qaeda desk], who helped set up the practise of rendition, later testified, even if such 'assurances' were written in indelible ink, 'they weren't worth a bucket of warm spit'."

Under the Bush administration, in the context of "the global war on terror", US renditions became "extraordinary", meaning the objective of kidnapping and extra-legal transfer was no longer to bring a suspect to trial - but rather for interrogation to seek actionable intelligence. The extraordinary rendition program landed some people in CIA black sites - and others were turned over for torture-by-proxy to other regimes. Egypt figured large as a torture destination of choice, as did Suleiman as Egypt’s torturer-in-chief. At least one person extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt — Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib — was reportedly tortured by Suleiman himself.

Suleiman the torturer

In October 2001, Habib was seized from a bus by Pakistani security forces. While detained in Pakistan, at the behest of American agents, he was suspended from a hook and electrocuted repeatedly. He was then turned over to the CIA, and in the process of transporting him to Egypt he endured the usual treatment: his clothes were cut off, a suppository was stuffed in his anus, he was put into a diaper - and 'wrapped up like a spring roll'.

In Egypt, as Habib recounts in his memoir, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t, he was repeatedly subjected to electric shocks, immersed in water up to his nostrils and beaten. His fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman.

Frustrated that Habib was not providing useful information or confessing to involvement in terrorism, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a shackled prisoner in front of Habib, which he did with a vicious karate kick. In April 2002, after five months in Egypt, Habib was rendered to American custody at Bagram prison in Afghanistan - and then transported to Guantanamo. On January 11, 2005, the day before he was scheduled to be charged, Dana Priest of the Washington Post published an exposé about Habib’s torture. The US government immediately announced that he would not be charged and would be repatriated to Australia.

A far more infamous torture case, in which Suleiman also is directly implicated, is that of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Unlike Habib, who was innocent of any ties to terror or militancy, al-Libi was allegedly a trainer at al-Khaldan camp in Afghanistan. He was captured by the Pakistanis while fleeing across the border in November 2001. He was sent to Bagram, and questioned by the FBI. But the CIA wanted to take over, which they did, and he was transported to a black site on the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, then extraordinarily rendered to Egypt. Under torture there, al-Libi "confessed" knowledge about an al-Qaeda–Saddam connection, claiming that two al-Qaeda operatives had received training in Iraq for use in chemical and biological weapons. In early 2003, this was exactly the kind of information that the Bush administration was seeking to justify attacking Iraq and to persuade reluctant allies to go along. Indeed, al-Libi’s "confession" was one the central pieces of "evidence" presented at the United Nations by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to make the case for war.

As it turns out, that confession was a lie tortured out of him by Egyptians. Here is how former CIA chief George Tenet describes the whole al-Libi situation in his 2007 memoir, At The Center Of The Storm:

"We believed that al-Libi was withholding critical threat information at the time, so we transferred him to a third country for further debriefing. Allegations were made that we did so knowing that he would be tortured, but this is false. The country in question [Egypt] understood and agreed that they would hold al-Libi for a limited period. In the course of questioning while he was in US custody in Afghanistan, al-Libi made initial references to possible al-Qa'ida training in Iraq. He offered up information that a militant known as Abu Abdullah had told him that at least three times between 1997 and 2000, the now-deceased al-Qa'ida leader Mohammad Atef had sent Abu Abdullah to Iraq to seek training in poisons and mustard gas.

"Another senior al-Qa'ida detainee told us that Mohammad Atef was interested in expanding al-Qa'ida's ties to Iraq, which, in our eyes, added credibility to the reporting. Then, shortly after the Iraq war got under way, al-Libi recanted his story. Now, suddenly, he was saying that there was no such cooperative training. Inside the CIA, there was sharp division on his recantation. It led us to recall his reporting, and here is where the mystery begins.

"Al-Libi's story will no doubt be that he decided to fabricate in order to get better treatment and avoid harsh punishment. He clearly lied. We just don't know when. Did he lie when he first said that al-Qa'ida members received training in Iraq - or did he lie when he said they did not? In my mind, either case might still be true. Perhaps, early on, he was under pressure, assumed his interrogators already knew the story, and sang away. After time passed and it became clear that he would not be harmed, he might have changed his story to cloud the minds of his captors. Al-Qa'ida operatives are trained to do just that. A recantation would restore his stature as someone who had successfully confounded the enemy. The fact is, we don't know which story is true, and since we don't know, we can assume nothing. (pp. 353-354)"

Al-Libi was eventually sent off, quietly, to Libya - though he reportedly made a few other stops along the way - where he was imprisoned. The use of al-Libi’s statement in the build-up to the Iraq war made him a huge American liability once it became clear that the purported al-Qaeda–Saddam connection was a tortured lie. His whereabouts were, in fact, a secret for years, until April 2009 when Human Rights Watch researchers investigating the treatment of Libyan prisoners encountered him in the courtyard of a prison. Two weeks later, on May 10, al-Libi was dead, and the Gaddafi regime claimed it was a suicide.

According to Evan Kohlmann, who enjoys favoured status among US officials as an 'al-Qaeda expert', citing a classified source: 'Al-Libi’s death coincided with the first visit by Egypt’s spymaster Omar Suleiman to Tripoli.'

Kohlmann surmises and opines that, after al-Libi recounted his story about about an al-Qaeda–Saddam-WMD connection, "The Egyptians were embarassed by this admission - and the Bush government found itself in hot water internationally. Then, in May 2009, Omar Suleiman saw an opportunity to get even with al-Libi and travelled to Tripoli. By the time Omar Suleiman’s plane left Tripoli, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi had committed 'suicide'."

As people in Egypt and around the world speculate about the fate of the Mubarak regime, one thing should be very clear: Omar Suleiman is not the man to bring democracy to the country. His hands are too dirty, and any 'stability' he might be imagined to bring to the country and the region comes at way too high a price. Hopefully, the Egyptians who are thronging the streets and demanding a new era of freedom will make his removal from power part of their demands, too.

-----

For the good of the whole world this monster must be rejected. Obama and the U.S. have no right to do this. Stop them! General Joe



"Before the Pharaoh anointed him as vice president last week, Omar Suleiman, aka "Sheik al-Torture" (everyone in Egypt knows he supervised US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) renditions as well as torture of al-Qaeda suspects), born July 2, 1936, in Qena, southern Egypt, was a minister without portfolio and director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, the national intelligence agency, from 1993 to 2011.
In the 1980s, he got training at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Foreign Policy magazine ranked him the Middle East's most powerful intelligence chief in 2009, even ahead of Israel's Mossad head at the time, Meir Dagan.
It doesn't matter that the Egyptian street abhors him; for the top echelons of the army he is the new rais. Al-Jazeera describes him as "the point man" for Egypt's secret relations with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves him. Former bouncer and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel Avigdor Lieberman has expressed "his respect and appreciation for Egypt's leading role in the region and his personal respect for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Minister Suleiman".
According to a 2006 diplomatic cable on WikiLeaks, the CIA - what else? - also loves him; "Our intelligence collaboration with Oman Soliman [sic] is now probably the most successful element of the relationship" with Egypt. Suleiman always negotiated directly with top CIA officials."

-----

And:

Published on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 by Asia Times
'Sheik al-Torture': Washington's New Man in Cairo
by Pepe Escobar
CAIRO - The Egyptian revolution is being dissolved right in front of the world's eyes by an optical illusion.

Omar Suleiman, a former head of intelligence and now Vice-President of Egypt, is called 'Sheik al-Torture' by the nation pro-democracy protesters. This is the man who the US government now backs to bring "reform" to Egypt. (Reuters)
The protesters who have been on the streets for two weeks still want President Hosni Mubarak out. Now. Yet United States President Barack Obama is firmly in not-so-fast mode, glad that "Egypt is making progress". Obama has not mentioned even once the capital words "free elections".
Washington's "orderly transition" road map - fully supported by Tel Aviv and European capitals - is a facelift. Mubarak stepping down has become an afterthought; the already anointed successor is Vice President Omar Suleiman, the former head of the Mukhabarat, whom the protesters call "Sheik al-Torture".
Sheik al-Torture already behaves as a president - while the actual president is still inhabiting his palace, but as a ghost. The regime, a brutal military dictatorship, remains an immovable subject - even while being denounced by the protesters as illegitimate from A to Z, from the executive to the legislative. The key point is that acting president Suleiman is the regime. If French philosopher Jean Baudrillard was alive, he would say this revolution never took place - except on the world's television screens.
Some among the fragmented opposition want the head of the constitutional court to be appointed as interim president, and then preside over the election of a constituent assembly. Others - including the youth movement - want a national committee to supervise the Washington-sanctioned "orderly transition".
Gilbert Achcar, professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, goes straight to the point, "In order to impose such a thorough change, the mass movement would need to break or destabilize the regime's backbone, that is, the Egyptian army."
Meet the new boss ... Egypt is a hardcore military dictatorship. The army, essentially paid for by US taxpayer money, is no "honest broker". The Mubarak regime's repression against the protests has not been even more vicious because soldiers in this conscript army would certainly have refused to shoot their own people; thus plan B, the regime's goons and the hated baltagia - state-sponsored thugs in plainclothes - unleashed last week.
Still, the regime was never shaken to the core - because the army remains in charge. Graphic example; the state-owned newspaper al-Gomhuria had a monster headline this Monday reading "New Era" above a photo of Suleiman meeting some of the opposition under a picture of Mubarak.
The protesters insist on the end of the state of emergency - enforced for the past 25 years. The regime says this would depend on "security conditions"; they could keep repeating this ad nauseam for months. The regime won't accept dissolving parliament; it refuses to hold a really free, fair election to replace the current, kangaroo, pro-Mubarak parliament.
"Divide and rule" is the regime's modus operandi - and it's working wonders. The tactics are predictable; minimal concessions; accusing the protesters of being a tool of "foreign powers"; and also accusing them of being a threat to Egypt's "stability".
Crucial: the "foreign powers" slander came from the lion's (Suleiman's) mouth last Thursday, in a long interview to state television - exactly the same day that foreign journalists were being hunted, beaten, arrested or humiliated all across Cairo. Suleiman explicitly blamed "certain friendly nations who have television channels, they're not friendly at all, who have intensified the youth against the nation and the state". How about that as a democrat's credentials?
Some already see right through it. The left-wing Nasserists (three seats in the 2000 election), who insist the revolution represents all Egyptians, won't talk to Suleiman again unless Mubarak is gone. Suleiman has explicitly said Mubarak - ghost, illusion or both - stays.
Writing on Ahram online, columnist Nabil Shawkat says about Mubarak that "the spirit of his rule, the essence of his regime, and the methods of his era are far from over". He also notes that "in his first television interview, he [Suleiman] gave the impression that he was running the country, that - if he wanted - he could tell Mubarak to go to his room and stay there." Talk about the ghost in the room.
Even with a monster ghost in a closet inside his room, the regime's targets remain clear. Activists, such as independent filmmaker Samir Eshra and blogger Abdel-Karim Nabil Suleiman, keep being arrested. Human Rights Watch's Daniel Williams was kept by the army for no less than 36 hours. It's easy for a well-oiled repression machine to intimidate the overwhelming majority in the streets, who have no political affiliation.
There are no independent workers' unions. The April 6 Youth Movement as well as Kefaya (Enough!) are campaigners, not established political parties. Legendary Egyptian economist Samir Amin, professor at the universities of Paris and Cairo, insists things might change if the working class and peasant movements started to act as forcefully as the current actors - the urban, educated, unemployed youth and the middle classes. What they all should do is to pierce the contradictions of the regime with concerted action.
... same as the old boss Washington could live with an Egypt like a new Pakistan; a heady mix of unstable comprador elites, some political Islam (via the Muslim Brotherhood), military intelligence and why not, another military dictator. It's not exactly "democracy".
Yet the notion that protesters from all walks of life, from students to lawyers, not to mention Egyptian human-rights groups, would gladly accept the face-lifted Sheik al-Torture as a dialogue-driven democrat speaks Luxor temples about how Washington really despises nationalist, popular movements.
Before the Pharaoh anointed him as vice president last week, Omar Suleiman, aka "Sheik al-Torture" (everyone in Egypt knows he supervised US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) renditions as well as torture of al-Qaeda suspects), born July 2, 1936, in Qena, southern Egypt, was a minister without portfolio and director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, the national intelligence agency, from 1993 to 2011.
In the 1980s, he got training at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Foreign Policy magazine ranked him the Middle East's most powerful intelligence chief in 2009, even ahead of Israel's Mossad head at the time, Meir Dagan.
It doesn't matter that the Egyptian street abhors him; for the top echelons of the army he is the new rais. Al-Jazeera describes him as "the point man" for Egypt's secret relations with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves him. Former bouncer and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel Avigdor Lieberman has expressed "his respect and appreciation for Egypt's leading role in the region and his personal respect for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Minister Suleiman".
According to a 2006 diplomatic cable on WikiLeaks, the CIA - what else? - also loves him; "Our intelligence collaboration with Oman Soliman [sic] is now probably the most successful element of the relationship" with Egypt. Suleiman always negotiated directly with top CIA officials.
On the other side of the spectrum, Human Rights Watch stresses, "Egyptians ... see Suleiman as Mubarak II, especially after the lengthy interview he gave to state television Feb 3 in which he accused the demonstrators in Tahrir Square of implementing foreign agendas. He did not even bother to veil his threats of retaliation against protesters." Human Rights Watch notes at least 75 Egyptian activists and demonstrators and about 30 foreign journalists have been arrested since the protests began, and at least 297 people have been killed.
The street is under no illusions. They know the army - the strongest player in the Egyptian political equation - might even invest in a massive crackdown if it feels threatened. The spark could be anything from an imaginary threat from "foreign powers" to a feeling that they will never be ready to cede power to civilians for the first time since 1956.
Minister of Defense Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, for instance, is impervious to "economic and political reforms that he perceives as eroding central government power", according to a WikiLeaks cable. But for the moment the army is more than comfortable with Sheik al-Torture running the show. And so are the democrats in Washington.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
 
© 2011 Asia Times

This work is in the public domain
Add a quick comment
Title
Your name Your email

Comment

Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.