NYACK, New York - November 10 - This past July, the Fellowship of Reconciliation issued an action alert on torture, warning that detainees were being tortured not only in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, but in nameless secret prisons around the world. The information came from a report by Amnesty International, and was largely ignored by the mainstream media.
Now, this week, after news of the secret CIA jails appeared in The Washington Post, America is finally paying attention. Sadly, however, the focus quickly shifted from the existence of these abhorrent torture centers to determining the identity of the person or persons who leaked information about them to the Post.
The latest confirmation that the United States is engaging in shameful and illegal practices makes it imperative that Congress investigate the situation at the highest level, and with the highest level of transparency. Moreover, the testimony needs to be made public. The country and the international community need to be kept fully informed of what is being done to captives and where, or the United States will lose whatever little credibility it still has in the international community.
Few human actions are more morally repugnant than torturing those over whom you hold power. Torture is also a serious crime. The CIA was warned when it approved new interrogation procedures after September 11 that it would be in violation of the International Convention against Torture. It went ahead anyway. The agency is also in violation of U.S. law -- the War Crimes Act of 1996 and the Torture Act of 2000.
If the CIA is also rendering captives to third nations to torture on the agency’s behalf, as has been alleged, then it is in violation of clear prohibitions against such rendition.
The right not to be tortured is one of the oldest American values and principles. It is also a fundamental human right. Violating that right not only violates the most basic ethical, moral and religious principles, but it undermines the very values the “War on Terror” is supposedly defending. If, to fight terror, you sanction acts of terror, which is what torture is, then those practicing it are no better than the terrorists they seek to conquer.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation condemns all forms of torture, whether at the hands of U.S. agents, or “torture by proxy" in which the actual torture is carried out by others. Torture degrades us all.
Sign the FOR Petition against Torture at http://www.forusa.org/programs/iraq/investigatetorture.html
Urge your congressional representatives to insist on a high-level investigation. Demand that the U.S. government, and its agencies, answer to the American people.