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The Egyptian Torture Chief Who Knew Too Much?


Omar Suleiman has died, apparently in Cleveland, Ohio, while undergoing medical tests, with no cause of death reported.

Suleiman personally oversaw the torture of al Libi that successfully elicited the false claim that Iraq was tied to al Qaeda.  Al Libi himself died under suspicious circumstances.

Is Suleiman on any of Obama's kill lists? 

Do not let the body leave.

Get an autopsy at once.

No "Muslim sea burial."

Targeted Killings: Urgent! Autopsy Egypt’s Spymaster Omar Suleiman; Bring light on Al-Aulaqui’s and Khan

By Benjamin G. Davis, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toledo, College of Law

I. Omar Suleiman’s Demise

It is reported today that former Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman died while having medical tests in a US hospital and is to be buried with military honors on Friday (http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/19/world/meast/egypt-suleiman-dead/index.html; http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/48146/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-exspy-chief-Omar-Suleiman-dies,-military-fu.aspx). 

Before this is done, we need to autopsy him to make sure his death was from natural causes and not a targeted killing.  Here’s why.

When he was head of the Egyptian Intelligence Service, Omar Suleiman personally tortured a certain Al-Qaeda operation named Mr. Al-Libi at the behest of the CIA as part of the extraordinary rendition program in the Bush Administration.  It was pursuant to this torture that Mr. Al-Libi said there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.  This tortured evidence from Mr. Al-Libi was referred to in part of the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq of October 19, 2002 past by Congress and was made part of then Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations in late 2002 as part of the effort, ultimate to no avail, to get a UN resolution to authorize force in Iraq and the 2003-2011 War in Iraq.

After Mr. Libi had given this testimony, the torture stopped and he immediately recanted.  When asked why he had said it, he replied (as any person tortured would reply) that he said it to have the torture stopped.  It has been reported that Mr. Suleiman was not happy with what Mr. Libi did (a great loss of face).  Later on we learn that Mr. Al-Libi was sent back to his home country – then Qaddafi Libya – where he languished in prison and was reported to have “hung himself” at one point.

Several years ago, on May 12, 2009,  I wrote about Mr. Al-Libi as the Man Who Knew Too Much, (http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2009/05/man-who-knew-too-much-convenient.php) and how convenient his then newly reported “suicide” in Qaddafi’s prison was for all the apologists that had lied us into the War in Iraq.  Al-Libi would have been able to testify as to the circumstances under which he had given that testimony that he immediately recanted.  With hindsight, while not as elegant as a drone strike, the process of “handling” Al-Libi looks like a targeted killing where he is picked up, transferred to torture, says what is needed, becomes a problem when he recants what he said under torture, is made to disappear in a Qaddhafi Libyan prison with no trial, and then – almost magically – commits suicide.  If you buy that was a suicide, “I have a bridge in Brooklyn…”

Which brings us to Suleiman.  A 76 year old man comes to the United States for medical tests and suddenly shows up dead.  Maybe even more than Mr. Al-Libi, as head of Egyptian Intelligence, Mr. Suleiman would have detailed knowledge about all of the cooperation done by the Egyptians with America and its allies with regard to interrogation in the War on Terror and – what is also important – from earlier periods.  He would have information on all of the Egyptian governing class and their role in the Mubarak years.  Just like Al-Libi, surely Mr. Suleiman’s sudden death at this juncture, was convenient to many people for he was a man who knew too much.

Mr. Suleiman’s death thus should be investigated by the police – police with both national security experience but also those who have experience with investigating mob hits.  Maybe this is another case for US Attorney John Durham who is investigating the CIA’s role in the torture with a view to prosectuion.  His experience in bringing down FBI types in Boston and investigating Whitey Bulger is a perfect set of skills for this kind of case.

With this little note, all those who read it will see how a lowly individual in Toledo, Ohio can “connect the dots” sufficiently to hopefully raise concerns for Americans of all stripes about a suspicious death with implications for how the surveillance and national security state is acting, in this case domestically on a matter with regard to a foreigner who played a key role in torture overseas.

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