U.S. Backed Government of Libya Accused of Torture

Naji Dahi
June 22, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a report condemning the torture of detainees by the internationally recognized government of Libya, which sits in the city of al-Bayda. This government was recognized by the U.S. and its NATO allies as the legitimate government of Libya after an election where only 21% of Libyans bothered to vote (Libya is currently governed by two governments: one controls the western half of the country and governs from Tripoli while the other controls the eastern part of the country and governs from al-Bayda.). The report detailed the methods of torture that are employed by the internationally-backed authorities:

“The most common method of torture reported was beating with plastic pipe on their bodies or the soles of their feet, but some had been beaten with electrical cable, chains, or sticks. Detainees also reported electric shocks, prolonged suspension, insertion of objects into body cavities, solitary confinement, and denial of food and hygiene facilities. Detainees also alleged that there had been at least two deaths in custody as a result of torture.”

There is a pattern here. It seems that every time the U.S. instigates regime change overseas in the name of human rights and freedom, the new regime fails to improve upon the human rights conditions than the toppled rulers.

In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq and changed the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in the name of protecting the Iraqi people from the crimes that said dictator inflicted on them. It did not take long before the Shiite-dominated government of the new prime minister (Nuri al-Maliki) conducted the same forms of torture that the Saddam regime before it was accused of committing. The torture in Iraq was carried out by secret brigades that were U.S. trained.

“A leading human rights group has released findings accusing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of running his own personal combat brigade…The latest report by New York-based Human Rights Watch says a special unit of some 3,000 Iraqi soldiers known as Brigade 56, or the Baghdad brigade, is in charge of the secret facility…this brigade works in partnership with two other brigades. One of them was trained by U.S. Special Forces. All of them report directly to the prime minister, he says, meaning they aren’t accountable to anyone else…Detainees at the original facility told the Los Angeles Times that conditions were appalling, that detainees were hung upside down, beaten and given electric shocks to their genitals,” reported NPR.

A similar pattern reveals itself in Afghanistan where, again, the American public was told that regime change was necessary, in part, because the Taliban created an intolerable human rights situation in the country. The Guardian reported on the HRW report as late as March 2015:

“Top Afghan officials have presided over murders, abduction, and other abuses with the tacit backing of their government and its western allies, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. A grim account of deaths, robbery, rapes and extrajudicial killings, Today We Shall All Die, details a culture of impunity that the rights group says flourished after the fall of the Taliban, driven by the desire for immediate control of security at almost any price. The report focuses on eight commanders and officials across Afghanistan, some of them counted among the country’s most powerful men, and key allies for foreign troops. Some are accused of personally inflicting violence, others of having responsibility for militias or government forces that committed the crimes.”

If the human rights conditions in the countries where the U.S. and its allies conduct regime change is no better than before, then why was regime change carried out in the first place? Unfortunately, the public seldom asks this question. Why? The mainstream media (mainly TV, where 73% of Americans get their news) covers the human rights conditions before the U.S. invades the target country. The media, however, is largely silent on the human rights situation after the new regime is created. In essence, the media does not care about human rights in the country. It is simply using human rights as a propaganda tool to exhort Americans for regime change in that country.

The next time you hear an American politician (or a mainstream media outlet, for that matter) agitate for human rights-based regime change in a far-away country, be sure to remember the injustice such military activism perpetuates.

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