Report: Libyans claim waterboarding, other CIA abuses
Human Rights Watch says the CIA interrogated detainees before handing them over to Moammar Gadhafi.
September 6th, 2012
03:13 PM ET

Report: Libyans claim waterboarding, other CIA abuses

By Chelsea J. Carter and Joe Sterling, CNN

An alleged new case of waterboarding emerged in a massive report Thursday detailing brutal CIA interrogations of Libyan detainees last decade before they were handed over to Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

Mohammed al-Shoroeiya "provided detailed and credible testimony that he was waterboarded on repeated occasions during U.S. interrogations in Afghanistan," Human Rights Watch said in a 200-plus page report.

The allegations directly challenge long-standing claims by President George W. Bush and his administration that only three terror suspects, none of whom were Libyan, were waterboarded during interrogations.

Human rights groups consider waterboarding - in which a prisoner is restrained and water poured over his mouth and nose to produce the sensation of drowning - a form of torture.

"While never using the phrase 'waterboarding,' he said that after his captors put a hood over his head and strapped him onto a wooden board, 'then they start with the water pouring. ... They start to pour water to the point where you feel like you are suffocating.' He added that 'they wouldn't stop until they got some kind of answer from me,'" the report said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • Gadhafi • Intelligence • Libya • Libya
April 12th, 2012
06:07 PM ET

Disaster looms for people of Mali as country is split by revolt

By Tim Lister

Africa has seen some ugly divorces in recent times: Eritrea and Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan. Now Mali is threatened with partition as a rebellion flares in the north and political uncertainty grips the capital, Bamako. Mali’s neighbors and western governments are looking on anxiously as drug traffickers and Islamist groups affiliated with al Qaeda take advantage of the vacuum – in a region already blighted by hunger, poverty and weak government.

The origins of Mali’s collapse are two-fold. In January Tuareg rebels began attacking towns in the vast deserts of northern Mali. Many had recently returned from fighting for Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, bringing guns and vehicles with them. Then, on March 22, there was a coup by mid-ranking officers in Mali’s army angry with corruption and the lack of resources for fighting the rebellion. FULL POST

Filed under: Africa • Al Qaeda • Gadhafi • Libya • Mali • US Africa Command
January 17th, 2012
04:34 PM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Downed airmen tell their tale

By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

What to do when your plane crashes over Libya? According to two U.S. airmen: eject from the aircraft, stay on the run - and call dad.

The U.S. aerial bombing campaign over Libya was just two days old last March when F-15 pilot Maj. Kenneth Harney and Capt. Tyler Stark got their mission - conduct airstrikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces near Benghazi.

Harney would pilot the F-15 in the front seat. Stark, a weapons system officer on his first combat mission, was in the back.

In exclusive interviews with CNN, for the first time both men told their harrowing story of what happened that night when their plane crashed. They had not been permitted by the Air Force to talk until a months-long investigation was recently completed.

The two sat down with CNN at their home base in Lakenheath, England.

U.S.: 'No firm evidence' loose weapons have left Libya
Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro (left) watches MANPAD missiles being detonated during his visit to Libya last week. AFP/Getty Images
December 19th, 2011
04:19 PM ET

U.S.: 'No firm evidence' loose weapons have left Libya

By Jamie Crawford

The effort to secure loose, portable weapons in Libya continues, but there is "no firm evidence" that any weapons have traveled outside Libyan borders, a senior State Department official said Monday.

"We are continuing our efforts to categorize and assess how many weapons are still at large," said Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary for political-military affairs. Shapiro was speaking at an event to highlight a report about U.S. efforts to rid the world of land mines and excess arms and munitions.

At issue is the ongoing effort in Libya to secure the roughly 20,000 portable air-defense systems (MANPADS), shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that were believed to have been held by the regime of the late Moammar Gadhafi. There is a fear the weapons could pose a serious potential threat to global aviation if they fell into the hands of terrorists or insurgents.

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Filed under: Clinton • Gadhafi • Libya • State Department • weapons
Q/A: Inside the murky world of arms dealing
Former ANC member Andrew Feinstein's new book delves into the dark world of arms dealing
December 12th, 2011
01:43 PM ET

Q/A: Inside the murky world of arms dealing

Andrew Feinstein's new book "The Shadow World" uncovers the inner workings of the global arms trade. Written with an insider's tone, the book describes backroom weapons deals, including an arms deal between the British and Saudi governments and the guns-for-diamonds deals in Africa. Feinstein was a member of the African National Congress from 1997 to 2001, resigning when the ANC declined to investigate corruption claims regarding a major South African arms deal. Feinstein is an Open Society fellow and the founder of Corruption Watch in London.

Feinstein e-mailed with about how the arms trade has mushroomed since World War II, its role in the Arab Spring uprisings, and what he thinks can be done about all those unchecked weapons in Libya. What is the global arms trade?
Feinstein: It is the trade in conventional arms, so not (weapons of mass destruction), but everything from small and light weapons to aircraft carriers and jet fighters. It accounts for sales of about $60 billion a year on average, and is responsible for around 40 percent of all corruption in all world trade. Why is it important to understand the distinction you make in your book between government to government trading and illicit weapons dealing? What is the "grey market?"
Feinstein: Governments and defense contractors argue that the government-to-government trade is "clean," whereas in fact it is riven with corruption, and also supports the illegal or black market trade. The grey market is where governments attempt to influence foreign policy covertly through the use of illegal dealers to undertake arms transactions on their behalf. A well-known example would be the Iran-Contra deal, perhaps the most cynical arms deal of all time. Your book isn't an academic history, though you do explain how and why the military industrial complex grew after World War II. Your book is mostly packed with thriller-type stories about arms dealers and corrupt government officials, backroom wheeling and dealing. Much of that is based on top secret information you obtained. How did you manage to get that information?
Feinstein: The book is intended as an accessible, narrative account of the trade that is hopefully entertaining to read. But it is also backed by extensive research – there are between 2,500 and 3,000 endnotes in the book for anyone who wants to check where any piece of information was sourced. This information came from a wide variety of sources: interviews with arms dealers who have never been reported on or interviewed before, massive investigation archives that have not been in the public domain, whistle-blowers and publicly available sources. You joined the African National Congress during Nelson Mandela's administration when you were a student and you resigned in 2001 when the ANC wouldn't investigate a major arms dealer. Was this your first up-close introduction to the world of arms dealing? What was that experience like?
Feinstein: That's correct. I was committed to the ANC from the mid-1980s when it was still a banned organization in South Africa. After working as a facilitator in the negotiations that led to our first democratic elections in 1994, I became a Member of Parliament for the party in those elections. It was an extraordinary experience to serve under Mandela but it was disappointing how quickly his successor adopted the tawdry norms of global politics. The point at which the ANC lost its moral compass was when they decided to spend $10 billion on weapons the country didn't need, and barely use today, with $300 million in bribes being paid to senior politicians, officials and the ANC itself. My financial oversight committee was stopped by President Thabo Mbeki from investigating this corruption, which led to my resignation, and the writing of a book on the deal and its devastating impact on South Africa's young democracy. It was a sad time for me personally and politically, as I saw at first hand how an extraordinary liberation movement was prepared to undermine the democracy it had created to protect its leaders from the consequences of their corrupt behavior. It was also the first of myriad grand corruption scandals in the country and the demise of the early years of hope.


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Filed under: Africa • Arab Spring • Arms Control • Gadhafi • Libya • Libya • Mexico • Military • Security Brief • UK • United Nations • weapons
U.S. enters Libya, leaves Iraq
October 25th, 2011
11:12 AM ET

U.S. enters Libya, leaves Iraq

by Michael V. Hayden, CNN Contributor

Editor's note: Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was appointed by President George W. Bush as CIA director in 2006 and served until February 2009, is a principal with the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm, and a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University. He formerly was director of the National Security Agency and held senior staff positions at the Pentagon.

U.S. security policy showed the effects of two substantial pivots this past week: ramping down our role in regime transformation in one Arab country even while ramping up our responsibility in another.

First to Libya, where the death of Moammar Gadhafi has finally ended the first act of what promises to be a long drama. As Iraq and Afghanistan have amply proven, collapsing the old regime is the easy part; building a functioning civil society is the real challenge.

Gadhafi's apparent execution after he was captured, on top of the still unexplained murder of the anti-Gadhafi forces' commander Abdel Fattah Younis three months ago, highlights the chaos and infighting that still exist in Libya and the need to help the Libyans build a viable state.

There is more than altruistic international good citizenship involved here. If Libya is left to its own devices, it is not difficult to conceive of it becoming Somalia on the Mediterranean, an ungoverned space threatening the heart of Europe as well as critical international lines of communication. We have already begun to fret over the loss of control of thousands of man-portable surface-to-air missiles. These are reasons enough to stay engaged.

Read General Hayden's full post here.

Filed under: EXCLUSIVE • Gadhafi • Libya • Libya • NTC
October 21st, 2011
06:55 PM ET

My upcoming interview with President Ahmadinejad

By CNN's Fareed Zakaria

It's midnight here in Tehran. My interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad is scheduled for 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. President Ahmadinejad, apparently, gets up at 4:00, goes for a run, then goes to the gym. And so when he's done with all of that, I will interview him.

We've got lots of issues to discuss – the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, Libya and Gadhafi, what happens in Syria, and, of course, this new announcement from President Obama about U.S. troops leaving Iraq.

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Filed under: Gadhafi • Iran • Iraq • Libya • Obama
October 21st, 2011
08:51 AM ET

Gadhafi’s demise and the Arab Spring

By Tim Lister

Three gone (Gadhafi, Mubarak, Ben Ali), two holding on in the face of daily protests (Assad, Saleh), two more (Kings Abdullah of Jordan and Mohammed of Morocco) trying to stay ahead of the curve of protest. After ten months of the Arab Spring, the region is still in the throes of a heady and unpredictable transformation.

Gadhafi’s demise, after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine Abedine Ben Ali in Tunisia, means that three rulers in power collectively for 95 years are gone. Scholar and author Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, says that 2011 “is to the Arabs what 1989 was to the communist world. The Arabs are now coming into ownership of their own history and we have to celebrate.”

Protesters in Yemen and Syria may be re-energized by the pictures from Sirte showing the almost pathetic end of a ruler whose flowing robes and uniforms had long given him an aura of invincibility. Demonstrators in Syrian cities celebrated Gadhafi’s death and warned President Bashar al Assad that he would be next. As one Syrian activist told CNN: "The clear fate of all who kill his people is to end up under the feet of the nation."

Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, Saad al Hariri, (no friend of the Syria regime) said: "Any Arab citizen, watching the course of events in Libya, cannot but think of the popular revolutionary movement that is taking place in Syria.”

There has been one refrain common across the Arab world this year – from the dusty streets of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia where it all began to the barricades that litter Homs in Syria today. "The fear is gone, the people have put away their fear” – words spoken by Tunisian activist Sana Ben Achour in January that have echoed across the region ever since. It was quickly followed by a chant: “The people want the downfall of the regime.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Assad • Egypt • Gadhafi • Libya • Morocco • Syria • Yemen
October 20th, 2011
07:29 PM ET

An open door in Libya

By Christopher S. Chivvis and Frederic Wehrey for CNN

Editor's note: Editor's note: Christopher S. Chivvis is a political scientist and Frederic Wehrey is a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that seeks to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.

The death of Moammar Gadhafi marks a major moment for Libya - and for NATO. It opens a new phase in the country's struggle for independence, one that carries with it some real risks that Libya's new leadership will need to work hard to overcome in coming weeks.

The Libyan people have every reason to rejoice at Gadhafi's death. In 42 years of rule, his Orwellian regime deprived them of basic human dignities and forced them to live in perpetual fear and uncertainty about their futures. His death is a clear opening to a much brighter future for the 6 million people who live in Libya.

It should also help keep Libya from falling victim to a protracted insurgency led by those loyal to the old regime. By depriving his supporters of their central rallying point, Gadhafi's death reduces the chances they'll be able to organize effectively to take up arms against the new government.

But there's also a risk that with Gadhafi gone, the divisions within the rebel movement could grow. For months, the rebels have fought alongside one another in a common struggle to oust their oppressor. But, as the focus shifts from the battlefield to the political arena, rebel leaders have to redouble their efforts to maintain national unity and move the reconstruction process forward together.  A critical goal is reconciling different views about Libya's future - whether secular or Islamist - and ensuring that Libya's different tribes and regions have a seat at the table. FULL POST

Filed under: Analysis • Diplomacy • Gadhafi • Libya • NATO • NTC
October 20th, 2011
07:25 PM ET

Secretary Clinton on Libya's future

CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty interviewed Secretary Clinton in Kabul, Afghanistan just after Clinton began receiving reports about Gadhafi's capture or death. Jill speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about her interview.

Filed under: Gadhafi • Libya
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