Do you have a few minutes for a little quick and painless advocacy? Do you live in California or Maine? Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) faces an important vote on torture. In 2009, the SSCI announced a review of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) detention and interrogation program, including an investigation into the U.S. government’s involvement in torture and the cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees. This report, which runs to 6,000 pages, is finally done.
The report is mandated to describe in detail the decisions at all levels that led to the use of torture. The report hopefully will address the decision-making process, the rationales provided for bending US law and international obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and the pattern and practice of the use of torture by the US military, government agencies and private contractors.
This report needs to be released to the public with as few redactions as possible, in order to provide accountability for torture and the human rights violations that have occurred in the recent years. Additionally, a public release of this report will provide a much-needed check against similar abuses occurring now or in the future.
Are you still disgusted that Allen West, a self-admitted torturer, was elected to Congress? Heartsick over the fact that our nation, which once was the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the UN, actually violated the UN Convention Against Torture?
Well, you can spend 5 minutes and push back just a little. We are asking California and Maine residents to push for public release of the report. If you are from California or Maine, or have any connection to staffers or others who can influence Senators Diane Feinstein and Olympia Snowe, please contact their offices today via phone and/or email, and urge them to see that not only is the report accepted by the committee, but that it is also released to the public with as few redactions as possible.
Senator Diane Feinstein is the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Phone number: (202) 224-3841
Email form link: https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/...
Senator Olympia Snowe is a member of the SSCI, and is also a lame duck Senator. She is a rational (if conservative) person who might be persuaded to do the right thing.
Phone number: (202) 224-5344
Email form link: http://www.snowe.senate.gov/...
Please do not contact their offices unless you are willing to do so respectfully.
We're trying to convince them, not berate them!
Here is sample email text for you to use:
Dear Senator ,Torture is perhaps the most fundamental violation of human rights. Torture does not just to break the spirit of the individual, but isolates and fragments societies. It corrupts and spreads in institutions even if initially allowed only at the margins for those we consider the most dangerous and reprehensible. It produces unreliable intelligence and it violates our core principles as a civilization. And, sadly, more and more Americans approve of torture: http://www.aaiusa.org/...
As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to support the public release, with as few redactions as possible, of the forthcoming report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) detention and interrogation program.
I support the Committee’s ongoing effort to investigate and establish the facts surrounding the CIA interrogation, rendition, and detention programs. These issues have been the subject of intense speculation and debate, and the absence of a comprehensive examination of the facts based on the actual historical record has been extremely corrosive and divisive.
Under the UN Convention Against Torture and other human rights treaties, survivors of human rights violations, as well as the public, have a right to know the truth about the U.S. government’s involvement in torture and cruel treatment of detainees following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. A public release of the CIA torture report is a critical and responsible step toward accountability for human rights violations, and a much-needed check against similar abuses occurring now or in the future.
There can be no justification for continuing to deny survivors and the public the facts. As you know, the bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee Report on the role of the Department of Defense in detainee abuses has already been made public.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.
(Disclaimer: This action alert originates with the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs, a consortium of US non-profit organizations that provide services to victims of torture, especially asylum seekers and refugees, and which works to document and prevent the use of torture. I am affiliated with a member organization.)