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.

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