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Libyans are being "Saved" Only to Face More Torture

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It takes a great deal of hardship and misery to force Médecins Sans Frontières (MSD) to abandon people in need in forlorn parts of the world.

In fact, the agency deliberately sends its volunteer doctors and nurses to those countries where danger and need compete, and where others (like the Red Cross) dare not venture.

So when MSD pulls its team out of some Libyan centres, because it fears the people it is saving from death are being re-tortured, it is something that should concern countries like Canada.

The Canadian public has repeatedly been told how proud we should be that our air force played a key role in launching air strikes against the forces of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi -- all in the name or protecting innocent civilians.

Now we learn -- as we are learning in other countries where "Arab Spring" rebellions occurred in the name of democracy -- that instead of court hearings and the trappings of civilized jurisprudence, suspects are being repeatedly tortured.

For many who rebelled against Gaddafi, it's get-even time.

MDS is on record saying it felt it was saving people's lives, or treating and repairing wounds and injuries, simply to keep people alive so tortures could continue.

Amnesty International has joined MDS' plea -- and accusations.

The new Libyan regime -- the National Transitional Council (NTC) -- that Western countries believed would replace Gaddafi's rule with democracy, is doing exactly what it said it wouldn't do -- and exactly what it rebelled against.

At the moment Libya looks alarmingly like one set of tyrants replacing another set of tyrants. And surely this is not what we unleashed our fighter aircraft to preserve.

Amnesty has noted that there are something like 60 detention centres throughout Libya, where over 8,000 people are held prisoner, with "hundreds" being routinely tortured. Accurate numbers are impossible to verify, but when MDS pulls out of detention centres, it's safe to assume something is terribly wrong.

Yes, there is still fighting going on, as elements loyal to Gaddafi have pockets of control. Recently these forces were fighting over a place called Bani Walid, which may explain why some torture is going on.

The rebellion may not be as secure as we think, despite the serpent's head being amputated when Gaddafi was caught, beaten, sodomized with a knife, and shot to death.

That's the trouble with supporting a rebellion: There's no guarantee that the replacement will be better than what it is replacing. We are seeing some of that In Egypt, another place where "democracy" was a rallying cry of rebellion, and which led to disquieting incidents of massacres of Christians and opponents.

The Canadian government has expressed concern about torture in Libya, but that may not result in much since we've already pledged support for the new Libyan regime -- even before we had a clue who or what was running it.

Christopher Stokes of MSF told the Guardian newspaper: "People were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation. This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions."

Can't be much clearer than that.

What is happening in Libya was predictable. It's another reason to be careful about joining even spontaneous rebellions we don't know much about.