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