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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid