A full decade after the first public disclosures of U.S. torture of 9/11 detainees surfaced in the media, the United States is now confronted with the details of the horror and abuse of these detainees in Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, and in the field. The report on CIA torture of the Senate Intelligence Committee (which voted on April 3, 2014 to declassify the report’s 400 page summary and findings) and
the report by The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment are finally exposing investigated facts on the torture program that was done in our name.
According to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the report describes a “brutal” interrogation program “far more harsh” than the CIA has revealed. It reportedly documents that the CIA repeatedly lied to Congress, the Justice Department and the White House. The evidence is irrefutable –the United States, without a doubt, tortured. Our nation, once regarded as a defender of human rights, broke national and international law and long-held moral codes. For people of faith, torture violates the basic dignity of the human person, and degrades everyone.
At no time in the eight year history of NRCAT is the role of the faith community more important than it is now. Our years of organizing educational events, engaging in advocacy, holding worship and prayer services, and shaping the moral understanding of torture through op-eds and letters to the editor have paid off. We now have the factual basis to push the nation to act.
Those who are answerable to the U.S. public –thePresident, the CIA, Congress, and the Justice
Department –owe a debt to the faith community for keeping torture in the forefront. They now must work with us to remedy the past and ban U.S. sponsored torture in the future.
We have prepared this Torture Awareness Month Toolkit to help you study, pray and take action.
Together we can shine the light to expose the truth of the U.S. torture program and create a future where human dignity is restored.
~ Rev. Ron Stief