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The Senate Torture Report: Follow Up February 25, 2015: Protest Government Whitewashing of Senate Torture Report at Two Concurrent Vigils

Raleigh: 10 am, Terry Sanford Federal Building (Person and New Bern streets)

If you can’t join us at one of these protests, please call, email or tweet!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: @BarackObama, 202-456-1111, or e-mail.

We call on you to:

Order Federal Agencies to Stop Ignoring the Torture Report: The Justice and State departments received the full torture report, but locked it away and have not used it meaningfully. The State Department marked the envelope: “Congressional Record – Do Not Open, Do Not Access.”

Direct the Attorney General to Appoint a Special Prosecutor: Either Eric Holder or his successor should appoint a prosecutor with full authority to conduct an independent, complete examination of the torture program, as well as the cover-up and the CIA’s spying on its Senate overseers. No one should be above the law.

Provide Apology and Compensation: Publicly acknowledge and apologize to the victims of U.S. torture policies. To comply with international law, appoint an independent body to provide compensation and rehabilitation.

SENATOR BURR: @SenatorBurr, (800) 685-8916 (Winston-Salem) or (202) 224-3154 (DC) or e-mail.

We call on you to:

– Release the Full Report on CIA Torture; Stop Trying to Bury It: As intelligence Chair, it is your duty to oversee the CIA, not protect it! The full 6,900-page report contains as-yet undisclosed and important details on the failed, brutal program. The American people have a right to see the full picture, including the role of private contractors and collaborating intelligence agencies.

Demand a Complete CIA Accounting of all Prisoners Rendered and Tortured: Children were rendered by the CIA and were not included in the torture report. At least 16 detainees omitted from the summary of the report were secretly transported to torture chambers by CIA-run Aero Contractors of Johnston County, NC. The CIA must provide the complete list of victims and survivors of torture.

Tell Senator Burr: Americans Deserve to See the Full Senate Torture Report

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the new Chair of the Senate Committee charged with overseeing the CIA, wants to wash the committee’s hands and our memories of the spy agency’s recent crimes.

National media report that Sen. Burr is seeking to ensure his committee’s 6,700-page investigation into the United States’ torture program never becomes available to the average citizen.

Burr casts the torture report as a partisan effort to smear the George W. Bush administration.  He must not trust the American people to see it the way he does.

His latest efforts aim to undermine the report, and shield it from public scrutiny now and forever.

Tell him Tar Heels won’t stand for his shenanigans!

As a hub for aircraft and flight crews that delivered innocent men and children to torture chambers, North Carolinians have a special responsibility to demand accountability.

Take a moment to call or e-mail Sen. Burr today.

Click here to send an email to Senator Burr.

Or call him at:
Phone: (800) 685-8916
Phone: (336) 631-5125

Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 224-3154

Here is an example of what you can say or write:

Senator Burr:

I’m disappointed that you have asked the White House to return copies of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee torture report to the Committee.

Clearly, you don’t trust your constituents and other Americans to read the report and draw their own conclusions.  We deserve to see the entire 6,700-page report. 
Instead of trying to erase history, you should be holding the officials who ordered the CIA’s torture program accountable.  You should also lead an investigation into the infrastructure of torture hosted in our state and the complicity of state and local law enforcement and elected officials in the program.


Additional details are here and here.

Americans Are Paying Attention:
Take Action on Torture Now!

‘Does torture work?’ as a question needs to be put in the bin with ‘Is slavery commercially feasible?’ and ‘Can genocide help overpopulation?‘”
— Dec. 10, 2014 tweet from Hend, @LibyaLiberty

The world is digesting appalling revelations from the Senate torture report.  Release of the redacted executive summary is a historic step forward.  Those who have compiled the report and fought for its partial publication should be saluted for their tenacity and courage.

However, much information remains secret, including important facts about detainees and flights that will help to expose North Carolina’s extensive role in extraordinary rendition.  Sen. Richard Burr has denounced the report as a partisan witch-hunt and proclaimed that under his leadership, the Senate Intelligence Committee will ignore the report and move on.

What we can do:

  1. Thank outgoing Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein,www.facebook.com/SenatorFeinstein) for release of the summary.
  2. 2. Contact Senator Richard Burr, incoming Intelligence Chair, here.  Suggested talking points:
    1. Torture is a moral issue.  Exposing it is not smearing Bush — there is blame to go around.  Torture is always wrong.
    2. Opposition to torture should unite Republicans and Democrats.
    3. Release the full report and help us address North Carolinas role.  All the survivors and families of victims deserve justice!
  3. Write letters-to-the-editor.  This is the time to keep pushing!


At least 18 of the 34 rendition survivors and victims transported for the CIA by Aero Contractors were named in the Senate report, validating what we have contended since 2005 that North Carolina is deeply involved.  Yet the words ‘North Carolina’ appear nowhere in what was released on Dec. 9.  The CIA and perhaps other government entities maintained vital rendition infrastructure in our state for many years.  Our public airports functioned as aviation hubs to transport incapacitated detainees to secret prisons where they were held indefinitely and interrogated under often-brutal torture.

The names of 119 CIA detainees appear in Appendix 2 of the summary, and we learned some of those names for the first time on Tuesday.  Yet other survivors of CIA extraordinary rendition are not on the published list, including:

  • Abou ElKassim Britel, an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent rendered by the CIA for torture in Morocco
  • Fatima Bouchar and Abdel Hakim Belhadj, held in the CIA’s Thai black site and one of two dissident Libyan families rendered to Libya by the CIA and MI6
  • Khadija al Saadi, daughter of Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi, rendered with her family at age 12 by the CIA and MI6 from Hong Kong to Libya
  • Ahmed Agiza and Mohamed el-Zery, two Egyptian asylum-seekers rendered by the CIA from Sweden to torture in Egypt
  • Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was rendered by the U.S. for torture in his native Syria

Out of 34 known named survivors and victims of CIA rendition who were transported by Aero Contractors, the CIA’s Smithfield-based aviation service, 16 do not appear in the released portion of the Senate report.

As the international human rights organization Reprieve commented, “This is a good start, but it is far from the whole picture.  The names of many victims of rendition and torture are absent.”

Can we expect that incoming Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) will act for torture transparency?  When asked if he saw any kind of follow-up to the report, Sen. Burr told McClatchy, “No.  Put this report down as a footnote in history.”

Sen. Burr also called the report “a blatant attempt to smear the Bush administration” and “flawed, biased, and political in nature.”

Taking Responsibility for Extraordinary Rendition and Torture: The Case Of Abou ElKassim Britel

Portrait of Abou Elkassim Britel in 1997Since September 11, 2001, more than 135 people have been seized, abducted and tortured as part of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. Abou ElKassim Britel is one of them.

“The wrong has been done, sadly. What I can ask now is some form of reparation, so that I can have a fresh start and try to forget, even if it won’t be easy … I want an apology; it is only fair to say that someone who has done something wrong must apologize.” – Abou ElKassim Britel

Mr. Britel Portrait taken 2011Most recently, as repuplished in early October editions of the Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer, Britel wrote to reporter Renee Schoof with the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers:

“I would like recognition of the injustice I went through … (m)y honor and my dignity have been violated. I was deprived of family and freedom, or a future and career. I returned home after a 10-year exile with my health and mental state ruined, with no work and with much suffering.”

Brital also said that the governments of Pakistan, Italy and the United States should be pressed as well, “(I)n the hopes that it would bring an end to the abuse and torture.”

North Carolina Stop Torture Now and a team of law students led by Professor Deborah Weissman in the Human Rights Policy Seminar at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill seek official acknowledgement, apologies, and restitution for Mr. Britel for three reasons: (1) Simple humanity requires it; (2) Americans do not condone the terrible human rights abuses perpetrated in our names; and (3) these actions are essential to ensure that such wrongs never happen again.

Mr. Britel has published a powerful reminiscence of just a small part of his experience as a captive, learning to view the cockroaches who shared his food as friends.

A summary of his and his family’s ordeal is available here and an electronic/online petition is available here. His wife maintains a blog with an English translation available here.

Or, you can print this version. and circulate it among your friends, faith or activist community and return it to:

Britel Apology ♦ NC Stop Torture Now ♦ P.O. Box 12707 ♦ Raleigh, NC 27605
Or, scan and e-mail to: contact@ncstn.org

Help Us Raise Funds to Continue our Work.

Ours is an entirely grassroots effort. We have no office and no paid staff.

We have been extremely fortunate to have a regular stream of mostly unsolicited donations. We extend our gratitude to every donor and every organization that has organized an effort to combine their funds in support of our work.

Volunteers coordinate our efforts, maintain this Web site, develop and maintain contacts with allies, and respond to phone calls and e-mail inquiries.

We welcome checks payable to:

North Carolina Stop Torture Now
sent to:
P.O. Box 12707
Raleigh, NC 27605

What will these funds help us do?

  • We’re supporting an historic first: a non-governmental North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. An independent team is laying the groundwork for this non-partisan, blue-ribbon panel to subject our state to sober, public scrutiny for its role in torture. NC Stop Torture Now helps by collecting endorsements from hundreds of North Carolinians.
  • Our “Cleaning Up Johnston County” campaign inspires human rights activists far and wide! The NC Department of Transportation approved us to adopt the highway in front of the Johnston County Airport, home of the torture flights. Our quarterly litter clean-ups educate the public and beautify the environment.

    In addition, we are in regular contact with survivors who were secretly rendered to torture in NC-based aircraft and have never received a word of acknowledgement, apology, or restitution from the U.S. government. Their lives were shattered. This national shame cannot be swept under the rug.


Coordinator Christina Cowger asked to meet with Aero employees

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