12 Nobel Peace Prize Winners Ask Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama To Release CIA Torture Report

from the what-happens-when-nobel-peace-prize-winners-fight? dept

We’ve been writing a ton about the Senate’s CIA torture report, which goes into great detail on the CIA’s torture program in a way that the CIA does not like (at all). The fight over the release of the report has been going on for quite a while now, even though the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the executive summary. Now a dozen Nobel Peace Prize winners have sent a letter to President Obama, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, asking him to release the report.

The open admission by the President of the United States that the country engaged in torture is a first step in the US coming to terms with a grim chapter in its history. The subsequent release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence summary report will be an opportunity for the country and the world to see, in at least some detail, the extent to which their government and its representatives authorized, ordered and inflicted torture on their fellow human beings.

We are encouraged by Senator Dianne Feinstein?s recognition that ?the creation of long-term, clandestine ?black sites? and the use of so-called ?enhanced-interrogation techniques? were terrible mistakes,? as well as the Senate Committee?s insistence that the report be truthful and not unnecessarily obscure the facts. They are important reminders that the justification of the torture of another human being is not a unanimous opinion in Washington, or among Americans as a whole.

We have reason to feel strongly about torture. Many of us among the Nobel Peace Prize laureates have seen firsthand the effects of the use of torture in our own countries. Some are torture survivors ourselves. Many have also been involved in the process of recovery, of helping to walk our countries and our regions out of the shadows of their own periods of conflict and abuse.

It is with this experience that we stand firmly with those Americans who are asking the US to bring its use of torture into the light of day, and for the United States to take the necessary steps to emerge from this dark period of its history, never to return.

The letter goes on about the problems with torture and then lists out four specific policies it hopes President Obama will follow:

a. Full disclosure to the American people of the extent and use of torture and rendition by American soldiers, operatives, and contractors, as well as the authorization of torture and rendition by American officials.

b. Full verification of the closure and dismantling of ?black sites? abroad for the use of torture and interrogation.

c. Clear planning and implementation for the closure of Guantanamo prison, putting an end to indefinite detention without due process.

d. Adoption of firm policy and oversight restating and upholding international law relating to conflict, including the Geneva Convention and the UN Convention against Torture, realigning the nation to the ideals and beliefs of their founders ? the ideals that made the United States a standard to be emulated.

The signatories of the letter are Desmond Tutu, Jose Ramos-Horta, Mohammad ElBaradei, Leymah Gbowee, Muhammad Yunis, Oscar Arias Sanchez, John Hume, F.W. De Klerk, Jody Williams, Carlos X. Belo, Betty Williams and Adolfo Perez Esquivel. One hopes that this would help drive things forward on actually releasing the report, except that the CIA seems dead set against it.

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden pointed out that the CIA’s focus in the declassification process has been to distort the truth:

“The intelligence leadership [is] doing everything they can to bury the facts,” said Wyden.

Among the things the two sides are fighting about is whether or not to use pseudonyms for CIA agents. The CIA wants those redacted, but the Senate Intelligence Committee notes that this will hide how deeply involved certain individuals were in questionable actions — and also that other intelligence reports have used pseudonyms without problem. In response, the CIA is blaming the Senate for “delaying” the release of the report, arguing that the Senate’s demand for the report to actually reflect what happened is the real stumbling block.

It is ?the Committee?s objections to the redactions? that ?have delayed the process,? [CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani] said.

Technically both sides are holding it up, but that’s because one side wants it to be accurate, and the other is deliberately seeking to obfuscate the details of the report. Who knows if 12 Nobel Peace Prize winners can help push the debate one way or the other, but at the very least it shows that the world is watching what the Obama Administration ends up doing.

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Comments on “12 Nobel Peace Prize Winners Ask Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama To Release CIA Torture Report”

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30 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Release it all

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it every time the topic comes up, but the only way the report will ever see the light of day in any meaningful fashion, without all the damning stuff redacted into oblivion, is if one of those involved releases it, unredacted, in full, on their own.

Neither the WH, nor the CIA, as long as they are involved, will allow the report to be released with any important details still intact(and in fact both would be quite happy to see it never released), so as long as they are involved in the process at all, then it’s doomed to be stuck in limbo forever, until either the Senate caves and releases it in a completely useless form, or someone takes the risk of making the report public, and does so personally.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Release it all

Unfortunately, when you’re talking about a report exposing the actions of an agency that sees nothing wrong with torture… well, let’s just say anyone who did leak the report would have to be either one of the bravest people in the past couple of decades, at least, or downright suicidal.

The report, all of it, does need to be made public, but given the reputation and past actions of the agency that it’s about, well, not hard to guess why no-one’s exactly eager to step up and do so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Release it all

Ahem… would you risk your neck for a bunch of Americans that will not risk their neck to protect you?

Neither will I…

If an American citizen picked up a gun to protect Edward Snowden from the government for his whistle blowing I bet everyone would consider that person crazy, and would refuse to join the fight.

Until this default assumption changes, we are going no where.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Release it all

The report doesn’t need to be leaked.

As I understand it, the senate intelligence committee has the legal authority in it’s own right to declassify the report. Technically it’s only a courtesy, not a requirement, that the White House and CIA are getting a chance to vet and redact the report.

Therefore the committee could formerly, officially and legally release the full unredacted report let alone just the summary.

David says:

Well, the sad thing is:

The reasons for the redactions:

But Trapani, the CIA spokesman, said there’s a reason for the redactions. “Making public those pseudonyms associated with individual officers, as well as dates, locations and other identifying information related to those officers dramatically increases the likelihood that they will be exposed and potentially subject to threats or violence. A pseudonym itself is little protection from exposure when a host of other information about that officer is made available to the public and will likely be seen by adversaries and foreign intelligence services. ”

In short: nobody must be held accountable for committing crimes against humanity under no circumstances. And repeated and dire criminals operating in a number of locations must not be exposed or even shamed, so that they can continue their patriotic work of trampling underfoot anything the U.S. stood for at one time unabatedly.

In order to have no Dr Mengele suffer any drawbacks from indulging in the criminal fun, and in order to let him continue doing what he and his compatriots are best at at full pay and benefits, the dots must not be connected.

The U.S.A. have forgotten the standards of personal conscience they applied when conducting the Nuremberg trials.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Well, the sad thing is:

That’s not sad, that’s disgusting.

‘Well you see, if people were able to figure out who was involved in torturing prisoners, they might face some personal backlash over that.’

You’ll have to excuse me if I fail to have any sympathy for those involved in the revolting affair, and the idea that they might possibly suffer some personal repercussions due to their actions being made public.

Ninja (profile) says:

Giving the prize to Obama was a mistake in the first place. Up to that point the prize was awarded to those who had gone to great lengths to achieve and/or promote peace. Obama had done nothing but being the first black US President (even though this is a feat on its own). Then he proceeded to do exactly the opposite of what on expects of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (see mass surveillance, great reduction of Govt transparency, dismantling of basic Americans rights etc etc.

Really, a sad mistake.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Do you trust a piece of paper given by a University?
If you do then you just need to have faith in the Nobel Peace Prize.

All things great and small are eventually sacrificed at the altar of politics.

Any great public event or reward is expressly for the purposes of political theater and has NEVER been anything more!

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, release the report. After all, our national interests are well served by serving up a mea culpa to every group in the world that wants to use it to justify their wrongdoing by trying to make the case that they are certainly no worse than the big, bad, United States. Never mind that they will gloss entirely over the lack of proportionality between what they regularly engage in and what was done by US interrogators.

Many of the techniques that are being blasted as torture are certainly quite uncomfortable to experience, but as yet I have not seen revealed any technique that US citizens being trained for service in conflict areas have not been subjected to as a part of their training. Very unpleasant experiences all, but no broken bones, fingernails still intact, permanent disfigurement not caused, arms not tied behind one’s back and then lifted off the ground with a hoist attached to the wrist, skin not used to extinguishe cigarettes, etc., etc. Who knows…maybe some nutjobs on our side tried some of these things, but in that case it does seem to be more measured and appropriate to find out the names of such people, who may have allowed them to engage in such conduct, and then make sure they are disciplined vigorously to instill in all the unmistakable lesson that such actions are not to be tolerated and violations carry severe repercussions.

David says:

Re: Have you been living under a rock?

All those courageous patriots are pardoned for their deeds. And the torture report redactions’ purpose is not to make the reports look less damning but to make it impossible to deduce the identity of serial sadists and killers, those implicated again and again and again and again in the report.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, it has not been revoked.

The “rule” that you can’t revoke a peace prize once granted has not been revoked. It can’t be. It’s one of the terms in Nobel’s will. Unless he comes back from the dead, this won’t change.

As an interesting side note, Obama’s isn’t even the most unpopular peace prize that has been awarded. According to the Nobel Foundation, that would be the one awarded to Henry A. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1973.

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