On February 25, North Carolina Stop Torture Now is raising the demand to Stop Whitewashing the Senate Torture Report. Learn more about a day of action organized by North Carolina Stop Torture Now:
Senate Torture Report Names At Least 18 CIA Detainees Transported by Aero Contractors for Torture
The recently released summary of the Senate torture report validates what North Carolina Stop Torture Now (NCSTN) and other Tar Heels have been saying since 2005: North Carolina has long been deeply involved in clandestine CIA torture and rendition. At least 18 of the CIA detainees named in the Senate report were secretly transported by Aero Contractors aircraft based in Smithfield or Kinston, NC.
However, 16 more named survivors and victims transported to torture by the CIA using Aero Contractors planes and pilots do not appear in the released portion of the Senate report.
“In fact, the words ‘North Carolina’ appear nowhere in what was released on Tuesday,” said Christina Cowger, NCSTN’s coordinator. “Much survivor information remains secret. But flight logs and other data show that many torture flights originated here, and we call for release of the full report to see if more information about survivors and flights is in it.”
“We also call on federal and North Carolina authorities to immediately launch vigorous investigations into the illegal torture-related activities and conspiracies now established as taking place in North Carolina,” Cowger said.
The CIA and perhaps other government entities maintained vital rendition infrastructure in our state for many years. Two North Carolina public airports functioned as home bases for planes that brought detainees to secret prisons where they were held indefinitely and interrogated under often-brutal torture.
Further, the firm Blackwater was headquartered in Moyock, NC, during the height of extraordinary rendition. The New York Times quotes a former top CIA officer as saying, “It became a very brotherly relationship. There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency.” Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services in 2009 and then to Academi in 2011.
The names of 119 CIA detainees appear in Appendix 2 (on p. 458) of the Senate’s summary, and we learned some of those names for the first time on Tuesday. Yet other well-known 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
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 expected 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.”
Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 25), please join us in calling on President Obama and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to Stop Whitewashing the Senate Torture Report.
No More Guantanamos is pleased to support a day of action organized by North Carolina Stop Torture Now (ncstoptorturenow.org)
Tomorrow, please Call, Email or Tweet President Obama (or all three!)
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.
AND Call, Email or Tweet Senator Burr.
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.
For North Carolinians:
Wednesday at 10 a.m., please join a vigil in Raleigh or Winston-Salem organized by NC Stop Torture Now. Visit their website for details.
This call to action was originally published by ncstoptorturenow.org.