CIA Tortured Gaddafi Opponents while Bush was in Office


“We don’t torture,” said once George W. Bush when he was questioned about the use of enhanced interrogation on supposed terrorists. We now learn that members of terrorist groups supported by the United States in its effort to get rid of Gaddafi, had been tortured by the same CIA and US government before the Arab Spring began.

The U.S. allowed the abuse and rendition of Gaddafi’s government opponents, according to Human Rights Watch.

Some of the people who now occupy key positions in Libya were tortured and subsequently delivered to the Gaddafi regime during the Bush presidency, according to a report Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In its report ‘Delivered to the enemy: the United States allows the abuse and rendition of anti-Gaddafi Libyans’, the NGO cited testimony from former detainees who claim to have been subjected to waterboarding and other forms of torture where water was also used.

Most of those arrested belonged to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which for 20 years tried to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. In fact, when the conflict broke out in 2011 this faction joined the rebels in their fight against the dictator. That same group was given weapons and piles of cash to help the United States defeat Gaddafi later in 2011.

“Not only the United States gave Gaddafi many of his enemies, but also tortured several of these people,” said Laura Pitter, author of the report. “The magnitude of the abuses committed by the Bush administration seems to be much higher than initially admitted, and highlights the importance of launching a full investigation into what happened.”

CIA Documents

The report is also based on documents from the CIA and the British Secret Service that were recently released that Human Rights Watch found abandoned in the office of former Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa on September 3, 2011, after Tripoli was taken by rebel forces.

Interviews and documents show that after the attacks of September 11, 2011 in the United States, the government of this country with the assistance of the United Kingdom and several countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, arrested and imprisoned LIFG members who lived outside Libya without charging them with any specific offense, and then deliver them extrajudicially to the Libyan government, knowing that they would be subjected to all kinds of abuse.

The document also cites the grave abuses suffered by former members of the LIFG in two detention centers in Afghanistan that were managed by the U.S.

According to the reports seen by the NGO, the detainees claimed they were chained naked against the wall, sometimes with diapers, in completely dark cells for weeks and months and were required to maintain awkward positions for extended periods with the purpose of causing physical pain and stress.

“For three months, I was first interrogated continuously every day and then applied a different kind of torture. Sometimes water was used, sometimes not … Sometimes I was undressed and other times I was allowed to wear clothes,” related Khalid al Sharif, who said he had been detained for two years in two different U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan that allegedly were under the administration of the CIA.

Al Sharif is now head of Libya’s National Guard. One of its responsibilities is to provide security to facilities where Libya holds some of the most important prisoners captured before, during and after the conquest of Tripoli.

Corrupt Newspapers ‘softened’ Torture After U.S. began Using it

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 2, 2010

Torture, as a tool to obtain information from a human being is disgusting, inhumane and illegal by all measurements in past and

Do as I say, not as I do. This seems to be the motto of the torturers and the pandering media.

modern societies.  It is unthinkable that anyone with red blood in their veins could consider it acceptable to torture a person in order to obtain information that as it has been widely demonstrated, (1) has never provided any useful details to prevent a disaster.  In the western world, torture is mostly seen as unjustified, (2) and only some power men who control the militaries of the world still agree to use torture in various forms to get details of ‘plots’ to attack the free world.  Only a population that never experience torture as a tool to criminalize citizens could hesitate before the question, Is Torture Ever Justified? (3)

How would public perception change if the media that feeds propaganda to them on a daily basis simply began to indirectly condone or soften torture as a tool the government uses in times of war? A study conducted by Harvard reveals that the four newspapers with more circulation in the U.S. effectively mischaracterized the use of waterboarding -as a form of torture- after it was discovered the United States waterboarded and humiliated prisoners.  (4) The study conducted by Law students at Harvard says that The New York Times, the USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal either refused to call waterboarding torture or did it in only and handful of their articles that talked about the use of torture by the United States.

We found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding…   … from 2002‐2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture. The New York Times called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles (1.4%). The Los Angeles Times did so in 4.8% of articles (3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles (1.6%). USA Today never called waterboarding.

According to the study, newspapers were more likely to call waterboarding torture if another country was the perpetrator of the crime.

The New York Times, 85.8% of articles (28 of 33) that dealt with a country other than the United States using waterboarding called it torture or implied it was torture while only 7.69% (16 of 208) did so when the United States was responsible. The Los Angeles Times characterized the practice as torture in 91.3% of articles (21 of 23).

Although waterboarding has been debated and talked about since the beginning of the century, it was never so close to home as it has been in the last decade.  After 9/11, and in the middle of a careless campaign to hunt a nonexistent enemy, the U.S. launched a military assault in Iraq and Afghanistan to find and kill the murderers who had killed innocent Americans.  There was very little concern in the public’s mind as to how this goal was achieved and what would it take to bring them to justice.  Then came Abu Ghraib (5) and a mass awakening took place.  Was the U.S using the very same techniques it had condemned in the past?  The answer was YES.

Harvard’s study examined the newspapers’ coverage using electronic databases.  “Our research team word searched for the term “waterboarding”, these included classifying the practice as “torture,” giving it some lesser, negative classification (such as calling waterboarding “inhuman”), giving it a softer, less negative classification (such as calling waterboarding “objectionable”), or not characterizing the practice at all.”  The study analyzed the reporting of four major newspapers using Proquest, LexisNexis, and the NY Times website archives.  Read more about the methodology on page 5 of the study.

“The results of this study demonstrate that there was a sudden, significant, shift in major print media’s treatment of waterboarding,” concludes the study.  After the Abu Ghraib scandal, the four studied newspapers changed the word torture for “harsh” and/or “coercive”, to describe waterboarding.  This behaviour was seen both in articles considered as “news” as well as those classified as “opinion”.  Although Harvard’s study does not provide any possible reason why this change in wording occurred, it does cite an article by New York Times editor Clark Hoyt, who said that this behaviour was a deliberate decision made by Journalists and Editors in an effort to remain “neutral”.

The study refutes Mr. Hoyt’s statement with the fact newspapers comfortably called waterboarding and other practices of the sort “torture” before 9/11 and even before 2004 without any reserves.  Another reason why Mr. Hoyt’s affirmation is baseless, is that waterboarding had been labeled torture and an illegal practice by American law, international law, and the very same newspapers that now justify their actions by calling themselves “neutral”.