The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jennifer Hoelzer, Demand Progress (323) 380-5432
Sarah Lane, CREDO (415) 369-2104

"Torture is STILL Not OK"

Grassroots Organizers, Demand Progress and CREDO, Urge Americans to Let Congress and Hollywood Know


"Do you think it's a coincidence that the same week that Zero Dark Thirty, a film glorying the CIA's use of torture, is rewarded with Oscar nominations, President Obama nominates a key figure from the Bush Administration's torture program?" Grassroots organizers, Demand Progress and CREDO, are putting that question to their army of followers this morning as they urge opposition to John Brennan's nomination to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

"Four years ago that would have been unthinkable," they write, "and yet today as moviegoers munch popcorn while watching water boarding, the powers-that-be in Washington think we've grown desensitized to torture and other "War on Terror" abuses."

Zero Dark Thirty -which the Academy, this morning, recognized as possibly the year's "Best Picture" - not only graphically depicts the CIA's torture of a detainee leading to key evidence in the hunt for Bin Laden, throughout its 160 minutes, it repeatedly shows intelligence officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations arguing for the torture program's effectiveness while condemning the Congressional oversight that killed it. The film even gives a nod to the Obama Administration's extrajudicial assassination program with intelligence officials demanding the names of more people to kill.

John Brennan has been one of those intelligence officials. The current Deputy National Security Advisor not only publically defended torture during the Bush Administration, in which he served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, his central role in creating President Obama's extrajudicial assassination program helped earn him the moniker, "assassination czar." Members of Congress continue to complain that the administration has been stonewalling their oversight function by refusing to disclose details about the assassination program including its criteria for targeting U.S. citizens. One Senator called it, "an indefensible assertion of executive authority."

Statement from David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress:

"How quaint and innocent we were just four years ago, when apology for torture disqualified John Brennan from potential Senate confirmation. He's quickly built out his resume to include management of a secret kill list and oversight of a global fleet of flying death robots. Shamefully, in the minds of some establishment politicians his support for such abuses arefeathers in his cap. Not for us: Demand Progress, tens of thousands of our members, and countless other Americans find John Brennan and what he stands for abhorrent and urge the Senate to grill him and reject his nomination."

Statement from Becky Bond, CREDO's Political Director:

"It was wrong when the Bush administration did it. And despite the virtual silence on both sides of the aisle when it comes to secret killings and extraordinary rendition, it's still wrong now. What kind of message does itsend to the rest of the world if the United States, a leading democracy, confirms 'assassination czar' John Brennan to head the CIA?"

The email and petition can be found here:

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