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British and U.S. Intelligence Accused of Aiding Torture of Libyan Rebels

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New American
January 17, 2012

Late last week, British prosecutors announced that they were initiating an investigation into allegations that agents of MI6, British intelligence, participated in the capture of two enemies of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and the subsequent delivery of those two rebels into the hands of the Gadhafi government where they were tortured.

A New York Times story reports that in the statement released by Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard the scope of the investigation was said to include “two allegations of British involvement in the American-run process of so-called extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects during the [Gadhafi] era.”

The accusations against the secret British spy agency were said to be “so serious that it is in the public interest for them to be investigated now.”

One of the anti-government fighters supposedly tortured by Gadhafi’s secret police was Abdul Hakim Belhaj. Unlike many others who faced a similar fate, Belhaj survived to tell the tale.

Curiously, Belhaj not only outlived his one-time captor, but he now sits at the head of the Tripoli Military Council. He is described as “one of the most powerful figures in the interim government” that took control of Libya after the fall of the Gadhafi government.

There is another, perhaps more interesting aspect of Belhaj’s personal history. Before ascending to his present position, Belhaj was a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

In March 2011, The New American’s Alex Newman cited several authorities on the intimate relationship between Belhaj’s group and al-Qaeda. Newman wrote:

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

According to U.S. and British government sources … al-Hasidi is part of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The organization represents the second largest contingent of foreign fighters in Iraq battling coalition forces.

 A study by the U.S. military concluded that the Libyan group had an “increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda.” In 2007, that “culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda.” Al-Qaeda, it should be noted, said earlier this month that the Libyan rebellion would lead to imposition of “the stage of Islam” there.

 In 2004, former Director of Central Intelligence at the CIA George Tenet actually warned the Senate Intelligence Committee about the same Libyan group. “One of the most immediate threats [to U.S. security] is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups that have benefited from al-Qaeda links. They include … the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,” he said.

 The organization is officially on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. But according to countless news reports, the U.S. government has been covertly funneling arms to the Libyan rebels for weeks, via Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other nations.

An article published by Time magazine lays out the events leading to Belhaj’s capture and torture.

Full article here

This article was posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

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