Human Rights Watch has uncovered evidence that waterboarding—and other severe abuse of detainees—was practiced more widely during the Bush administration than has been acknowledged, according to an investigation by the organization. The newly discovered incidents expose close cooperation between Washington and Libya's late dictator Moammar Gadhafi in the systematic abuse of some 14 Libyan dissidents—swept up in America's hunt for militants after 9/11—while they were held in US-controlled detention centers in Afghanistan, or tortured in American-led interrogations in Pakistan, Morocco, Thailand, and Sudan. "Not only did the US deliver Gadhafi his enemies on a silver platter, but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first," says the author of the 154-page report, which was based on interviews with the 14 men, reports AP.
Two of the Libyan dissidents described being waterboarded, and others said they were shackled in their cells for months, often naked, in a variety of painful positions, and in near darkness with music blaring continuously. One man said he nearly went insane, and banged his head against the wall repeatedly, pleading with his captors to kill him. Asked about the new accounts, a CIA spokeswoman said the agency "has been on the record that there are three substantiated cases" of waterboarding—which don't include the Libyan cases in the Human Rights Watch Report. The report comes just days after the Justice Department announced it wouldn't file criminal charges against any CIA personnel over harsh interrogation techniques, largely because investigators couldn't prove interrogators exceeded guidelines authorized by the Bush administration.