News / Middle East

Rights Group Alleges More Waterboarding By US

Protesters perform a simulation of the waterboarding torture technique on a man dressed as a prisoner during a protest, marking the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, in front of the White House in Washington, March 19, 2008.
Protesters perform a simulation of the waterboarding torture technique on a man dressed as a prisoner during a protest, marking the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, in front of the White House in Washington, March 19, 2008.
Carla Babb
A human rights group says it has uncovered new evidence that U.S. personnel used torture, including waterboarding, while interrogating Libyan Islamists during the Bush administration.

The report released Thursday by the New York-based Human Rights Watch features interviews with 14 Libyan dissidents captured and detained in foreign countries, including Afghanistan.  HRW located the Islamists after the rights group found abandoned documents about several detentions in the office of former Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa in September of last year.

Laura Pittner, the author of the HRW report, told VOA by telephone that the Islamists were tortured before American agents handed them over to then-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.  

"The U.S. failed to distinguish between those Islamists who were at war with the U.S. and those who were at war with their own repressive regimes," Pitter said.

Waterboarding allegations

Two of the detainees featured in the report, "Delivered in Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gadhafi's Libya," told the group they were either waterboarded or tortured by a technique similar to waterboarding, which caused them to feel like they were drowning.

Alleged victim Mohammed al-Shoroeiya described the waterboarding he said he endured in an on-camera interview with Human Rights Watch.

"It flips around and you get disoriented," al-Shoroeiya said.  "Your head is down.  Your feet are up. They start to pour water to the point that you feel you are suffocating."

"It's like a mock execution," Pitter said.

The Bush administration claimed that only three terror suspects in U.S. custody - accused al-Qaida members Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri - had been waterboarded. None of these are Libyan.

Pitter's report casts doubt on these claims, but CIA spokesman John Tomczyk defended the agency's treatment of detainees during that time period.

"Although we cannot comment on these specific allegations, the Department of Justice has exhaustively reviewed the treatment of more than 100 detainees in the post-9/11 period - including allegations involving unauthorized interrogation techniques - and it declined prosecution in every case,” he told VOA.

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned waterboarding as torture and banned the technique's use in interrogations.

US-Gadhafi cooperation

Human Rights Watch also says that the "scores" of documents it uncovered in Libya show there was a "high level of cooperation" between the Gadhafi government in Libya and the United States and Britain in sending the Libyan dissidents back to Libya.

Pitter said the need to "recognize where mistakes happened" and "make clear that it isn't going to happen again" is in the interest of U.S. national security.

"You're not supposed to return people to places where there's a known risk of torture, and it was very clear at that time that Gadhafi's record on torture was horrific," she said, citing international law that requires hearings to determine the risk of torture before captives can be extradited.

Tomczyk noted that the context during that time is "worth revisiting."  He said that by 2004, the U.S. government had convinced Gadhafi to renounce Libya's weapons of mass destruction programs and to help stop terrorists who were actively targeting Americans.

“It can't come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats," he said.  "That is exactly what we are expected to do.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: PJW5552 from: Kentucky
September 06, 2012 3:36 PM
Water boarding is "torture". Just because some people think they can do whatever they like to other people doesn't change that fact. There is no "evidence" torture actually works or is more valuable than standard interrogation methods. The point is, torture is unnecessary, inhumane and illegal and those responsible should be prosecuted. It isn't about who they are, it is about who "we are".

by: Briny from: USA
September 06, 2012 12:31 PM
How wise of the VOA to feature the virulent anti-American propaganda produced by the leftists of HRW. Nothing like open self-abasement to convince the world that we really believe the sensitivites of monsters must be protected at all times. No doubt it will garner their profound amusement.

by: Joe Potosky from: NY
September 06, 2012 12:11 PM
Give me a breakl! Bush captured bad guys and used water boarding. Information given save lives and they lived with no physical injuries. Obama doesn't want captives and kills the bad guys and anyone in there vicinity using drones. If a bad guy, do I want the water board option or the drone option?
In Response

by: Ed Moore from: TX
September 06, 2012 11:41 PM
Great point.

by: spiris333 from: 24343
September 06, 2012 11:32 AM
I fully support the use of water boarding when dealing with terrorists who wish to kill Americans. Bleeding heart liberals consistently jeopardize lives with their lack of common sense.
In Response

by: zengardener from: US
September 06, 2012 11:33 PM
Why stop at terrorists?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs