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CONTACT: Rob Crawford
WSRCAT was launched in October 2007. We are a non-partisan, inter-faith organization, also welcoming to people unaffiliated with any faith tradition. We are working to end all U.S. sponsored torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners. Our work is educational as well as political advocacy in those areas that enhance our human rights.
WSRCAT has sponsored workshops and discussions in congregations, universities, and town halls throughout the State of Washington. We continue to convey the urgency of our mission to our political leaders, especially when President Trump has voiced his support of torture, until these atrocities are abolished forever. We welcome your participation and support.
For additional information about our work, please click on the "ABOUT" tab above.
PRESENTATIONS IN SPOKANE
The Mitchell and Jessen Settlement Response
WSRCAT RESPONDS TO SETTLEMENT OF THE CIVIL SUIT AGAINST MITCHELL AND JESSEN IN SPOKANE - SAYS IT WILL CONTINUE WITH ITS PLANNED PUBLIC EVENTS.
Today, August 17, 2017, the ACLU announced a settlement in the civil suit filed against the two psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, with whom the CIA contracted to develop and then help carry out torture in its secret "black sites" during the years following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
ACLU Linked Article.
We applaud the settlement and agree with the ACLU's lead attorney, Dror Ladin: "This is a historic victory for our clients and the rule of law.... It is a clear warning for anyone who thinks they can torture with impunity." The ACLU's Hina Shamsi said "Government officials and contractors are on notice that they cannot hide from accountability for torture. Our clients' groundbreaking case has changed the legal landscape. It shows that the courts are fully capable of handling lawsuits involving abuses comitted in the name of national security."
For the plantiffs, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman - who died in CIA custody - the undiscolosed settlement means that they will receive a measure of recognition for the suffering they endured and that the perpetrators were in some measure held accountable. As Curt Goering, the Executive Director of the Center for Victims of Torture stated, "Today, we feel hopeful that this settlement means there has been a break in the cycle of impunity."
WSRCAT ORGANIZES EVENTS RELATED TO MITCHELL AND JESSEN TRIAL
WSRCAT, in coalition with national, local and Spokane partners - has been organizing a vigorous public response to the civil suit brought against Mitchell and Jessen. Given that the suit against the CIA contractors has national and international significance and that the trial was slated to take place in Washington State, WSRCAT felt a special responsibility to provide a human rights perspective on the trial, to once again provide the public with a message that torture is wrong and the reasons why perpetrators need to be held accountable for violations of national and international laws.
WSRCAT WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD THE PLANNED PUBLIC EVENTS
The settlement does not shut out the reality that US torture occurred, that it caused immense suffering, many deaths, and that it violated our country's highest ideals. US sponsored torture has caused extreme harm to this country. We must not lose sight of the facts: that it is illegal, that no high US officials have yet been held accountable, that the reauthorization of covert practices of torture continue to be a threat, and that a culture of impunity around torture is dangerous in itself. This culture of impunity contributes to a larger pattern of unrestrained, unlawful violence by security agencies and, in the current political climate, fosters the continuing rhetoric and a defense of torture which fans the flames of ideological violence, especially among far right groups.
Our upcoming September events in Spokane and Seattle are presented below. Each event will feature nationally known speakers:
There will be a Rally in Spokane, the exact time and location are still not finalized, but it will not be held at the Courthouse.
THE LEGAL OBLIGATION TO PREVENT AND PROSECUTE TORTURE
Facebook Event Page
Location: Gonzaga University School of Law
Date and Time: Wednesday, September 6, 5:00 PM
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: JUAN MENDEZ (via live video)
Juan Mendez was UN Special Rapporteur on Torture from 2010-2016, and is one of the most prominent anti-torture activists in the world.
LISA HAJJAR, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Professor Hajjar is a prominent scholar and author who has written extensively about torture.
UPENDRA ACHARYA, Associate Professor, Gonzaga University School of Law.
Professor Acharya specializes in international, Constitutional, administrative and comparative law.
WHY TORTURE IS WRONG
Facebook Event Page
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: CURT GOERING, Executive Director, Center for Victims of Torture.
Date and Time: Saturday, September 9, 7:00 PM
Mr. Goering is a widely respected and persistent voice opposing torture, having directed operations for Amnesty International before joining the CVT as its Executive Director.
PRESENTATIONS IN SEATTLE
THE MORAL AND POLITICAL OBLIGATION TO RESIST TO TORTURE
Facebook Event Page
Location: University of Washington Campus - [Location pending...]
Date and Time: Tuesday, September 26, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
A panel of commentators will discuss the need for resistance to torture as a crucial counter-force to the torture state. The history of resistance, its many forms, and the organizations currently at work to raise awareness and educate will be explored.
JOHN KIRIAKOU, former CIA whistleblower who first made public the CIA's use of waterboarding, will discuss the role of internal dissenters.
LISA HAJJAR, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, scholar and author, will discuss the legal resistance to torture.
RON STIEFF, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), will discuss the importance of resistance from the position of human rights and faith-based organizations.
ROB CRAWFORD, Co-founder of the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) and Professor Emeritus from the University of Washington, Tacoma, will discuss grassroots resistance to torture.
Donations are welcome to support our anti-torture work.
Given the ongoing danger of reintroducing so-called "enhanced interrogation" as official US policy, the tenuous status of human rights in the new administration, and powerful ideological forces that continue to shape public attitudes about torture, we believe that public education is a moral and political necessity. We also consider torture to be a bellwether issue. If torture is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. Resistance to torture is one in the same with resistance to war and militarism. We ask for your participation at our events and help in spreading the word.
Contributions can be mailed to our fiscal agent, WWFOR, and mailed to:
225 N. 70th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
Please make checks out to "WWFOR" and designate your gift to "WSRCAT" in the memo section of your check. Thank you!
Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture - WSRCAT
Torture is a crime against humanity.