Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blog 3: Waterboarding Allegations in the case of Libyan Detainees (9/15/2012 2:42 pm)

A new report by the Human Rights Watch has recently brought new questions around official C.I.A. reports regarding the extent of waterboarding conducted by the united states, specifically upon Libyan prisoners. The agency has repeatedly gone on record stating that waterboarding was only ever used in three cases (on Abu Zubaydah, who ran a terrorist camp; on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who organized the Sept. 11th attacks, and on Abd al-Nashiri, who was suspected of planning to bomb the destroyer Cole in 2000), but this new report indicates that there may have been another prisoner who was waterboarded. Mohammed Shoroeiya stated that one time while imprisoned in Afghanistan, his captors put a hood over his head, strapped him to a wooden board (which they could spin around to disorient him), and poured water over his head until he felt like he was drowning. While he did not use the word “waterboarding”, this description closely matches well-known descriptions of that term. When questioned about this, a C.I.A. spokesperson stated that the agency has already gone on record with its official statements of three cases, and that the Justice Department had looked into the treatment of over 100 detainees and “declined prosecution in every case”. However, it is possible that Libyan prisoners were not a part of the detainees whose cases were investigated.

This case is very difficult to analyze and prosecute. While the Human Rights Watch is a well-regarded institution whose word is highly respected, without the cooperation of the C.I.A. it is very hard to corroborate these claims. If any further leeway is to be made into this case, it must involve either some form of spying or subterfuge, or a power higher than the C.I.A. must mandate investigation. As it is, it is highly unlikely that this mandate will be put into effect (especially with it being election season in the United States right now). Therefore, it is unlikely that much progress will be made, since conducting illegal investigations into the C.I.A. would be very challenging, very risky, and highly punishable. So while Mr. Shoroeiya's story coming to light is a small triumph for him in its own right, it is highly doubtful that any real prosecution will be made or that retribution or at least apology will be had for him.

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