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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.
Media Release, August 18, 2017
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.
Yesterday, 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.PRESENTATIONS IN SPOKANE
Even though WSRCAT would have preferred having this case go to trial, 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, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the family of Gul Rahman (Rahman died in CIA custody), the undiscolosed settlement means that they will receive a measure of recognition for the suffering they endured and that 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 HAS ORGANIZED PUBLIC EVENTS RELATED TO THE MITCHELL AND JESSEN TRIAL AND WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD THESE EVENTS
WSRCAT believes that the Mitchell and Jessen case has national and international significance. Since the court proceedings were taking place in Washington State, we have a responsibility to provide a message that in all circumstances torture is wrong and that perpetrators must be held accountable for violations of national and international laws. We believe that criminal charges should be brought against Mitchell and Jessen as well as the CIA officials who hired them and authorized their torture techniques.
STATEMENT OF WSRCAT POSITIONS ON TORTURE
Torture violates our country's highest ideals and has gravely damaged our nation's reputation in the eyes of the world. TORTURE IS ALWAYS WRONG.
Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment carried out by the US government caused immense suffering and many deaths. The United States is morally and legally obligated to provide compensation and treatment for victims of torture.
Torture is illegal in both domestic and international law. It is a democratic responsibility and legal obligation to prevent and prosecute torture. Perpetrators need to be held accountable.
The reauthorization or covert practice of torture continues to be a threat.
A culture of impunity in relation to the crime of torture creates the likelihood of its repetition and contributes to a culture of unrestrained violence within the CIA and parts of the military, among police and in prisons, and even within the presidency.
Not least, in the current political climate the continuing rhetoric of torture and defense of torture sets a tone that fans the flames of a growing culture of violence, especially among far right groups.
LIST OF OUR SEPTEMBER EVENTS IN BOTH SPOKANE AND IN SEATTLE
In coalition with national, local and Spokane partners, WSRCAT is organizing the following events, each featuring nationally known speakers:
THE LEGAL OBLIGATION TO PREVENT AND PROSECUTE TORTURE
Facebook Event Page LINK
Location: Gonzaga University School of Law (The Court Room)
721 N. Cincinnati St., Spokane
Date and Time: Wednesday, September 6, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: (via Skype) JUAN MENDEZ
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 LINK
Location: Spokane's Lincoln Center
1316 N. Lincoln St., Spokane
Date and Time: Saturday, September 9, 7:00 PM
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: CURT GOERING, Executive Director, Center for Victims of Torture.
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.
COMMENTATOR: Rev. RICH LANG, District Superintendent, Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church, Seattle District.
PRESENTATIONS IN SEATTLE
THE MORAL AND POLITICAL OBLIGATION TO RESIST TO TORTURE
Facebook Event Page LINK
Location: University of Washington Law School, Room 133
4293 Memorial Way NE, Seattle (on UW Campus)
Date and Time: Tuesday, September 26, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
LINK to YOUTUBE video.
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. DOWNLOAD link to [.doc] TEXT
WSRCAT will also present the American Civil Liberties Union with an award in recognition of its contributions to advancing accountability for torture in the Mitchell and Jessen case, and other legal actions.
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.