Human Rights Report: Bush Admin. Used Waterboarding on Libyans in Afghanistan

The Bush Administration legacy of torture grows, and its claims to Congress were false, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

The United States government during the Bush administration tortured opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, then transferred them to mistreatment in Libya, according to accounts by former detainees and recently uncovered CIA and UK Secret Service documents, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. One former detainee alleged he was waterboarded and another described a similar form of water torture, contradicting claims by Bush administration officials that only three men in US custody had been waterboarded.


The full 157 page report,“Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya,”is here.

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 advisor at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “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.”

Some of the documents included in the report were found in September, 2011, after Tripoli fell to rebel forces, in the offices of former Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa. There are also first-hand reports by those tortured.

The report also describes serious abuses that five of the former LIFG members said they experienced at two US-run detention facilities in Afghanistan, most likely operated by the CIA. They include new allegations of waterboarding and other water torture. The details are consistent with the few other first-hand accounts about the same US-run facilities.

Other abuses reported by these former detainees include 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.

From another:

“I spent three months getting interrogated heavily during the first period and they gave me a different type of torture every day. Sometimes they used water, sometimes not.… Sometimes they stripped me naked and sometimes they left me clothed,” said Khalid al-Sharif, who asserted he was held for two years in two different US-run detention centers believed to be operated by the CIA in Afghanistan. Al-Sharif is now head of the Libyan National Guard. One of his responsibilities is providing security for facilities holding Libya’s high-value detainees.

The CIA, according to the Reuters link above, defends its actions:

"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. That is exactly what we are expected to do," said Jennifer Youngblood, a CIA spokeswoman.

George W. Bush, his former CIA director Michael Hayden claimed only three people were waterboarded after 911 -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri --and none were Libyans.

Whee is Hayden today? He's a Romney advisor on national security.

Hayden is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group, a business consultancy established by former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, also a Romney surrogate.

The New York Times reported after Hayden and Romney disagreed on attacking Iran (with Romney being the more hawkish):

General Hayden said, he advises Mr. Romney on intelligence matters, not on Iran. He is the co-chairman of a working group on counterterrorism and intelligence, along with Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of homeland security who is a partner with General Hayden in a risk management firm.

What Romney had proposed:

Speaking to the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal last month, he said he would consider actions ranging from “something of a blockade nature, to something of a surgical-strike nature, to something of a ‘decapitate the regime’ nature to eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether.”

In South Carolina Romney said:

.... “If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Romney declared in South Carolina in November. “And if we elect Mitt Romney, they will not have a nuclear weapon.”

So Hayden doesn't want to attack Iran, but he's advising Romney on intelligence matters. How did he advise Bush? (article provides links to sources):

During his tenure in top intelligence posts, Hayden presided over the initiation and expansion of several controversial government programs, including the warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens’ phone calls5 and the use of armed drones overseas. Since leaving office, Hayden has insisted that the wiretapping program was “effective, appropriate, and lawful.” A federal judge, however, has since ruled that the program likely violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted by Congress “specifically to rein in and create a judicial check for executive-branch abuses of surveillance authority.”

Here is Mitt Romney's announcement of his foreign policy and national security team of advisors. Hayden and Chertoff head up Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Romney also has a Human Rights advisor, who was Bush's Ambassador at Large for War Crimes and a Bush advisor in the War on Terror after 9/11. He ran for California Attorney in 2006.

Pierre Prosper has directly advised President George W. Bush as well as Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and General Colin Powell. Prosper informed U. S. policy responses during the earliest stages of the War on Terror.

More on Prosper:

Reported directly to U.S. Secretaries of State Powell and Rice; advised the President of the United States, Attorney General, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Central Intelligence, White House Counsel, and other senior U.S. officials.

Another interesting article on Prosper here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Republicans Are Such Hypocrites (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by john horse on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:01:33 AM EST
    re: The United States government during the Bush administration tortured opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, then transferred them to mistreatment in Libya . . .

    The hypocrisy of Republicans.  They actually tortured opponents of Gaddafi and then when the people of Libya arose they turn around and said we should send our military in against Gaddafi because of his human rights abuses.

    They turned Saddam over to Dawa (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:26:05 PM EST
    And they were officially listed as a terrorist organization when they did it.  Dawa is who hanged Saddam.  And then they gave chemical weapon tech to Saddam to gas Iran and he was cool using it until he wasn't and he was gassing Kurds instead.  Republicans have had this problem for a very very long time.

    This is great information...too bad the (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:22:54 AM EST
    Obama DOJ has decided there's nothing to see, no one to prosecute and no one who needs to fear being held accountable.  Which is why you can be worried that a Romney administration, chock-full of former Bush people, might get up to their old tricks.

    And why you shouldn't be too secure in the belief that it couldn't happen even in an Obama - or any other Democratic - administration.

    Holder handed them all a get-out-of-jail-free card, and all that does is ensure that the torture option is alive and well - notwithstanding that we now have a "no torture" policy.

    Golly, Jeralyn - didn't you know we're not supposed to be looking back?  Eyes forward, woman, forward!

    Forward! (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:53:01 AM EST
    Imagine all the money that could have been saved on the Nurnburg trials if the allies had placed Forward! thinking men like Eric Holder in charge.

    And... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by lentinel on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:50:07 AM EST
    who is it again who put Holder in charge? I can't think of the name.

    Well, at least (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Zorba on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 03:22:22 PM EST
    Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu thinks that both George Bush and Tony Blair should be brought up on charges before the International Court in The Hague.  Link.
    Not that it matters in the least to our very own Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama.  {Sigh}  

    Don't attack Iran (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by koshembos on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 07:14:01 AM EST
    Interestingly, most military people are against attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. The Israeli military is openly and vociferously against attacking Iran.

    Why (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lentinel on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:49:08 AM EST
    do you suppose that the Obama administration has tried so hard, and succeeded, in seeing to it that none of these felons in the Bush administration will ever have to be brought to justice?

    Ohhhh I See.... (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 12:01:47 PM EST
    ...Congress can't be lied to by Roger Clemons about his personal drug usage, but damn, lie to Congress about things that really matter like torturing human beings, no big deal.

    Is this what it was like to live in Rome near the end, complete insanity by the 'leaders' ?

    They should all be locked up, both sided.  One for being unethical scoundrels, and the others for being too weak-kneed to prosecute the scoundrels, which which is only propagating their bad behavior.

    Hayden is one of Bush's guys (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:26:39 AM EST
    talk about a stark choice.  Lots of posts on Hayden from TL here.  Sample article from BTD.  LA Times.

    In case anyone wants to take a walk down memory lane.  I doubt the media will do so effectively.

    Too big a can of worms (none / 0) (#12)
    by jondee on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 04:05:50 PM EST
    to ever open fully: "We" have left murder and torture (and even kidnapping, rape, and child abuse) open as a total-war option since Operation Phoenix in Vietnam and those wonderful on-going training programs at the School of the Americas (now renamed for p.r reasons)

    Look out kid, it's somethin' that you did, God knows when, but yer doin' it again..


    Despicable. That's all. (none / 0) (#14)
    by desertswine on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:03:42 PM EST

    Obama protects the torturers (none / 0) (#15)
    by Andreas on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:46:11 PM EST
    The WSWS states:
    This is not merely a matter of cowardice, but rather class policy. The Obama administration has continued and deepened the crimes of its predecessor--arrogating to itself the "right" not only to condemn alleged enemies of the state to indefinite detention without charges or trial, but to order assassinations, including of US citizens, with the president personally selecting his victims. This is the savage response of the US ruling establishment to the global decline of American capitalism and to the unchecked growth of social inequality in the United States.

    As the Democratic Party wound up its charade in Charlotte as the party of "progress" and the "little guy," it could not conceal the ugly reality of a party immersed in torture, criminal war and the wholesale assault on democratic rights of working people--all in the interests of defending the financial oligarchy's monopoly of economic and political power.

    The Obama administration and the cover-up of CIA torture
    7 September 2012