The US and British governments sold their respective populations on involvement in the Libya War with complaints about the brutality of Moammar Gadhafi. They were in a position to know, it seems, as evidence of their complicity in the regime’s torture of dissidents becomes increasingly public knowledge.
At the center of a growing scandal is Libyan rebel commander Abdulhakim Belhaj, who in his decades as an Islamist insurgent fighting against Gadhafi was caught up in a joint US and British plot, and tortured by the CIA before being handed over to the Gadhafi regime.
Now Belhaj is in a position of power in the incoming Libyan government, and is demanding an apology from both the US and British governments for their roles. Secret documents detailing their respective complicity in rounding up dissidents are still being dug out of Tripoli by the rebels.
British officials are defending their role in Belhaj’s capture and torture, saying it was “ministerially authorised government policy” to have such ties with Gadhafi. The US, for its part, has yet to comment.