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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid