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Obama's gambit: Holding Egypt for Holder

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WMR has learned from a well-informed political insider that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have waffled on support for Egypt's pro-democracy revolution in order to safeguard a covert U.S.-Egyptian rendition and torture program that dates back to the Clinton administration. In fact, Clinton's Deputy Attorney General, Eric Holder, now Obama's Attorney General, was the first Department of Justice official to write a legal brief authorizing the rendition of alleged terrorists from third countries by the CIA to Egypt for purposes of interrogation and torture.

Holder, who served as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno from 1997 to 2001, In 1995, Talaat Fuad Qassim, a member of al-Gamaa Islamiya, an Islamist group linked to "Al Qaeda's" number two, Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, was kidnapped by CIA agents in Croatia and flown to the United States. In 1997, after Holder became Deputy Attorney General, Justice Department prosecutors realized they had no legal right to hold Qassim. Holder, according to our source, went to see President Clinton and told him about the problem with holding Qassim in the United States, stressing that the United States was legally bound to release Qassim. Clinton told Holder to send Qassim to someone else. Holder arranged to have Qassim flown to Egypt where he was put into a small crate, tortured, and eventually executed by Egyptian authorities.

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Holder has long been a coddler of torturous regimes. In 2004, while a partner with Covington and Burling, Holder worked out a plea agreement for his client, Chiquita Brands International, in which the firm agreed to pay a fine of $25 million for making cash payments to the Colombian right-wing death squad paramilitary force, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The AUC carried out systematic assassinations of trade union activists, peasants, politicians, and leftist guerrillas in Colombia.

In July 1998, Holder signed off on the transport of two members of the Egyptian Jihad, captured by Albanian security forces in Albania, to Cairo by the CIA on a chartered extraordinary rendition aircraft. The Egyptians were tortured and executed.

Egyptian torture methods included hanging prisoners by all four limbs and placing electric nodules on their genitals, nipples, and feet. The CIA paid Egypt handsomely to carry out the torture program.

Holder and White House chief of staff Leon Panetta had signed off on the CIA's pre-9/11 rendition program with Egypt. During his confirmation hearings for Attorney General in May 2009, Holder was asked by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) about his role in renditions as Deputy Attorney General for Clinton. Holder admitted that extraordinary renditions occurred during the Clinton administration. However, neither Alexander nor Shelby asked Holder how many individuals were renditioned during his time as Deputy Attorney General. Holder was also not asked what torture countries received the kidnapped prisoners from the United States.

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WMR has learned that George W. Bush's chief policy adviser, Karl Rove, restrained Republican senators from delving into too many details with Holder at his confirmation hearing. Rove was aware that the Bush administration also used Egypt as a renditioned prisoner recipient country. But Rove was also concerned about secrets being revealed about his own deals with Sweden to turn terrorist suspects over to the CIA for subsequent torture in Egypt. In December 2001, Sweden arrested Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery, two Egyptian asylum seekers who lived in Sweden.

Delivered to CIA agents at Bromma airport outside of Stockholm, the two Egyptians were handcuffed and chained after having suppositories containing drugs inserted into their anuses. The two Egyptians were then flown to Cairo where they were imprisoned and tortured. The rendition plane used was a Gulfstream V, owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, a CIA front company located in Dedham, Massachusetts. The tail number is N379P. The Swedish parliament and the UN later determined that Sweden violated Swedish and international law, respectively, by transferring the two Egyptians to the CIA and, ultimately to Egypt. Al Zery received $500,000 in compensation from the Swedish government.

Rove has known Holder since President Reagan appointed him as a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 1988. All of Reagan's judicial appointments were subject to vetting by Rove and his friends in the right-wing Federalist Society.

CIA's rendition program: started under President Clinton and with Eric Holder's approval.

Rove, who has had a long relationship with Sweden, reportedly phoned then-Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and told him that Sweden must hand Agiza and al-Zehy over to the United States. WMR has learned from our source that Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh also received a personal phone call and e-mail from Rove in which it was demanded that the two Egyptians be turned over to the Americans. Lindh was apparently opposed to the request but was overruled by Persson, who was a friend of Bill Clinton and a champion of Clinton's and British Prime Minister Tony Blair's "Third Way' globalist movement. Lindh was stabbed by an assailant in Stockholm on September 10, 2003 and she died from her wounds on September 11. A Serbian-Swede was found guilty of the murder but his conviction was later overturned after he was pronounced mentally ill. There are suspicions that Lindh, an outspoken critic of America's invasion of Iraq and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, was assassinated by CIA or Egyptian agents who were worried about her knowledge of the CIA's Egyptian and other rendition programs.

The man who ran Egypt's torture program on behalf of the CIA was Omar Suleiman, the feared head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (EGID), who was named by President Hosni Mubarak as Vice President after the popular rebellion against Mubarak's regime swept Egypt. Suleiman was a recipient of large cash payments from the CIA for EGID's torture of prisoners delivered to Egypt by the CIA under both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Suleiman also maintained close contacts with Mossad on issues dealing with Palestine and Syria. Suleiman also served as a member of a CIA-sponsored group of Arab intelligence service chiefs working against Iran. The group included Suleiman, CIA director Michael Hayden, Jordanian chief Mohamed Dahabi, Saudi intelligence head Prince Moqrin bin Abdulaziz, and United Arab Emirates national security council head Sheikh Hazaa bin Zayed al Nahyan. In 2001, Suleiman personally witnessed the torture of Mamdouh Habib, an Australian citizen renditioned by the CIA from Pakistan to Egypt. Habib was given repeated electric shocks, beaten, and waterboarded as Suleiman looked on. Habib was eventually renditioned again by the CIA from Egypt to Guantanamo, his "confession," obtained under Suleiman's torture techniques, used against him by the United States.

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In December 2009, Suleiman traveled to Israel to meet with Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Mossad chief Meir Dagan, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Israel had extended an open door to Suleiman and he made several trips to Israel during his tenure as Egypt's to spy. It was Suleiman who tightened Egypt's border controls on Gaza, furthering the misery of the people of the world's largest engineered ghetto.

In 1993, Suleiman ordered his intelligence service to conduct a "census" of all "Arab-Afghans" living in Peshawar, Pakistan, and surrounding areas. They were all veterans of the CIA mujaheddin war against the Soviets in Afghanistan -- Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenis, Jordanians, Palestinians, Algerians, Sudanese, Bahrainis, Tunisians. The census database soon contained thousands of names and Suleiman and his colleague, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal, added additional names of Pakistani and Afghan supporters of such Islamist groups as Harkatul Ansar and Ahl al -Hadith, all of whom came under the operational control of CIA and British MI-6 Afghanistan field operative, Osama Bin Laden.  British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote about the census database in The Guardian on July 8, 2005, "Al-Qaida, literally 'the database,' was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians." In fact, by conducting the census of the "Arab-Afghans" in Pakistan, the actual founder of "Al Qaeda" is the new Vice President of Egypt, Israel's closest Egyptian friend, Omar Suleiman. No wonder, Mubarak had to cover his tracks by revealing in June 2002, that Suleiman warned his CIA counterparts a week before 9/11 that Bin Laden was in the final stages of launching a major attack on the United States but that no one realized that the plan included the use of passenger planes to attack buildings. Mubarak's and Suleiman's "plausible deniability" protected themselves and the Israelis, especially important since "lead hijacker" Mohammad Atta, was supposedly an Egyptian.

Regardless of the statements from President Obama that Mubarak must leave office "now," it is clear that the waffling by the Obama administration is intended to buy time for the CIA to appropriate the Egyptian government's torture and rendition files that date back to Holder's original authorization of the program. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's major goal is to limit the damage  to her husband from any disclosure of documents by a new Egyptian reform government about her husband's role in the CIA's use of Egypt to detain and torture prisoners. CIA director Leon Panetta is also trying to avoid the torture rap from his time as President Clinton's chief of staff.

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