All posts by NCSTN

NCCIT begins work, gains news coverage

The The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT) had its formal launch with a conference call for media on March 15, 2017.  So far, here’s the coverage:

Update: Added several new stories that have been published since this post originally appeared.

Keep Pressure on Burr

NC Stop Torture Now got a mention in the front-page of the October 1, 2016 edition of the Raleigh News & Observer article on Burr’s Intelligence Committee record:
  1. “NC Stop Torture Now, a group of faith and human rights activists in North Carolina, has even called Burr ‘one of the chief defenders of CIA abuses.’”
  2. “The sharpest rebuke of Burr came this year in a column, published in the Observer [and the N&O], by Larry Wilkerson, a retired U.S. Army colonel who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.  By refusing to ‘come to grips’ with the torture program, Wilkerson wrote, Burr ‘ensures our real power in the world is diminished by the unpunished criminals in our midst.’”
Now’s the time to write letters to the editor bouncing off that article…Betsy Crites has an excellent example in the October 1, 2016 News & Observer!

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights inquiry reports

NCSTN is giving a big shout-out to Prof. Deborah Weissman, Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Chapel Hill, and her former law students, who in October 2014 filed a petition on behalf of CIA rendition survivor Abou ElKassim Britel (also known as Kassim Britel) with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez.

We just learned that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released its communications with five governments on the case of Kassim Britel. This UN inquiry is the direct result of the work by Deborah and her students, which was covered by McClatchy DC in the article, UNC legal team, rights advocates take up cause of tortured ex-prisoner.

The case is important, both for Kassim and his family, and also because Kassim is one of many survivors of CIA-directed torture whose cases did not appear in the Senate Torture Report because they were never held at a CIA-run black site.

Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez used Prof. Weissman and students’ brief to write allegation letters regarding Kassim’s case to the governments of the United States, Pakistan, Morocco, Italy, and Portugal. He found the governments’ responses (or in the case of Morocco, non-response) completely inadequate.

Prof. Mendez said, “The Special Rapporteur urges the Government of the United States to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the incidents, to prosecute and punish those responsible and to provide Mr. Elkassim Britel with adequate redress.” He had similar messages for Pakistan, Morocco, Italy and Portugal.

These communications and findings will be presented next week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Prof. Mendez’s report is at UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Kassim Britel – 2015, with Italy at paragraph 280, Morocco at 354, Pakistan at 398, Portugal at 451 and the U.S. at 653. Here is the response from the United States.

Candidates Cooper and McCrory: Break Your Silence on Torture!

Join us Wednesday, March 9 at two vigils and a press conference in Raleigh, calling on the likely Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor to investigate NC’s torture taxi program, demand accountability, and provide redress to those harmed.

Sponsors:  Movement to End Racism & Islamophobia, NC Council of Churches, NC Stop Torture Now.
Continue reading Candidates Cooper and McCrory: Break Your Silence on Torture!

John Kiriakou speaks to large crowds in North Carolina

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David Crabtree (right) conducts “newsmaker” interview with John Kiriakou at UNC’s Carroll Hall on Oct. 27, 2015. Photo © Jerry Markatos.

North Carolina was ready for the message about truth, fear, and torture that whistleblower John Kiriakou brought on his five-city tour.

Over 100 people attended a gathering with the former CIA officer at UNC’s Carroll Hall on October 27.  Mr. Kiriakou explained how he came to confirm the CIA’s use of illegal torture on detainees, and how the U.S. government retaliated against him.   The crowd was treated to a high-quality give-and-take between Mr. Kiriakou and award-winning WRAL journalist David Crabtree.  The event was sponsored by the UNC School of Law Human Rights Policy Lab, the  Center for Media Law & Policy, Center for Media Law and Policy; Peace, War, and Defense; Center for Global Initiatives; and NC Stop Torture Now.
Continue reading John Kiriakou speaks to large crowds in North Carolina