Report Reveals Widespread CIA Torture Alongside Gaddafi's Libya

A file folder found after the fall of Tripoli in a building belonging to the Libyan external security services containing faxes and memos between the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Libyan Intelligence Service. (Photo: Human Rights Watch / Tim Grucza)

Report Reveals Widespread CIA Torture Alongside Gaddafi's Libya

New accounts of waterboarding, abuses in secret prisons reveal larger scope of Bush torture than previously known

The US government has been covering up widespread use of torture at secret CIA prisons around the world, which occurred during the Bush administration, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

The report details the stories of several Libyan opponents of the Gaddafi regime, who were captured by the US and subjected to CIA torture before being placed in the hands of the country's security police in the years following 9/11.

"Not only did the US deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first," said Laura Pitter, counterterrorism adviser at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

The 154-page report, Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya, pulls from 14 first hand accounts of Libyan torture victims as well as documents uncovered at the Libyan intelligence headquarters after Gaddafi's government was overturned in 2011.

The report contradicts claims by Bush administration officials that only three men in US custody had undergone torture during the Bush years. On a larger scale, the Libyan victims of US torture revealed in the report may be a sign of a world wide torture regime conducted by the US in cohorts with countries around the world.

"The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened," said Pitter.

Included in the report are in-depth stories of the years following the September 11, 2001, in which, the US, the United Kingdom (UK) and countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, detained without charge and tortured members of the anti-Gaddafi group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) before turning them over to the Libyan government.

The CIA torture methods detailed in the report includes waterboarding, as well as, "being chained to walls naked -sometimes while diapered - in pitch black, windowless cells, for weeks or months; restrained in painful stress positions for long periods, forced into cramped spaces; beaten and slammed into walls; kept indoors for nearly five months without the ability to bathe; and denied sleep by continuous, very loud Western music."

As of now, the US is yet to hold a single senior official accountable for human rights abuses during the "War on Terror." Last week the U.S. Justice Department announced that the CIA will face no charges over the torture and death of detainees while in custody, ending a criminal investigation begun by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham in 2008.

"The US government continues to demand, and rightly so, that countries from Libya to Syria to Bahrain hold accountable officials responsible for serious human rights abuses, including torture," Pitter said. "Those calls would carry a lot more weight if it wasn't simultaneously shielding former US officials who authorized torture from any form of accountability."

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