As is now widely known, the U.S. government committed grievous acts of torture for years following 9/11. These acts, carried out by both the Armed Services and the CIA, were authorized at the highest levels of government. In 2009, the Senate Intelligence Committee - the committee overseeing U.S. secret agencies like the CIA and NSA - was directed to investigate and report on allegations of torture committed by the CIA at the direction of political leaders. The report was completed in 2012. After repeated long delays, marked by controversies over CIA spying on the Senate staff doing the investigation and a dispute over extensive redactions, the Committee's summary of the report has finally been released. Although the Senate report is deeply flawed by what it leaves out, we believe that its conclusions and the evidence it provides in support of those conclusions are hugely significant and warrant close scrutiny.
Key points from the Senate torture report:
1. Interrogation techniques employed on terrorist suspects who were forcefully disappeared by the CIA into secret prisons around the world were far more brutal than previously known or disclosed by the CIA. Torture techniques were applied in combination and frequently non-stop over weeks or months, causing injury, severe psychological trauma and death to detainees. At least 26 detainees were wrongfully held.
2. The torture techniques employed by the CIA are “a stain on our values” and have gravely damaged our country in the eyes of the world.
3. CIA torture did not work. It did not lead to “actionable intelligence,” did not disrupt any terrorist plot (no “ticking bomb” was defused), did not lead location of Osama bin Laden. Not a single claim of effectiveness, that could not have been derived from non-abusive methods and others sources can be demonstrated.
4. The CIA provided incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information to Congress, the President, the Department of Justice, the Media, the CIA Inspector General, and the public.
The released summary of the report can be found at: http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf"
1. Convey the key findings and conclusions of the report to as many people as possible. Follow WSRCAT commentaries and links at wsrcat.org
2. If you belong to an organization or congregation, devote a meeting to discussing the report and its implications. Please invite a WSRCAT speaker/facilitator [firstname.lastname@example.org]
3. Demand from your U.S. Senators that the full report, with minim redactions, be made public.
4. Support WSRCAT, National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and other anti-torture allies' calls for action in the coming months. These include our continuing commitment to holding U.S. government leaders accountable for committing torture, a crime under both international and domestic law; support for tougher legislation against torture, and ending indefinite detention at Guantanamo prison.
Truth and Reconciliation
A Statement from WSRCAT
The CIA, the President, and the Senate's Torture Report
by Rob Crawford
"Astounding events over the last several weeks have once again put U.S. torture in the spotlight. Evidence of spying by the CIA on Senate staffers investigating the Agency provoked an unprecedented apology from CIA director John Brennan, calls for his removal, and a response from President Obama at his August 1st press conference...."
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Senator Feinstein's Legislation
WSRCAT.ORG – January 15, 2015 – Reforms that would restrict and eliminate the use of torture by the CIA and other branches of the US government were recently proposed to the US Congress by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate intelligence committee.
Following the release of the Senate intelligence Committee study on widespread torture perpetrated by US agents, we can only conclude that what was called "enhanced interrogation" is, in fact, torture, and must emphatically affirm its brutality and its immorality, as well as its glaring ineffectiveness.
Senator Feinstein's legislative reforms call for
The closing of loopholes in the prohibitions against torture and cruel treatment.
Restricting the intelligence agencies – particularly the CIA – to use interrogation methods that are defined in the Army Field Manual
The International Committee of the Red Cross to be notified of detainees in US custody, and have access to them
Prohibiting the CIA from holding detainees, other than for short-term periods, or on a transitory basis.
The Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) applauds Senator Feinstein for her stalwart courage in presenting this legislation, and urges members of congress to implement these reforms as an important step forward in banning US sponsored torture forever.
We encourage our readers to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to support Senator Feinstein's legislation.
Here are the links for sending your message to Washington State senators.
Here is a sample letter:
Sample Letter to Congressional Representative
Please do it now, before you forget.