( – promoted by buhdydharma )
(Cross posted from DailyKos)
There has been a flurry of torture items on the Recommended Diary list this week (If you missed them, incredible outpourings in Troutfishing’s series, here, here, here, and here, and clammyc’s piece, as well) We are all sickened and outraged (see OPOL’s great diary) and left feeling shame and horror, and maybe overwhelming helplessness, too.
Here is a chance to do something to shame those who have known about it, allowed it, and still do not stop it. If enough of us care, and raise our voices in outrage, we can make them feel pressured to do something to stop Bush and Cheney from torturing in our names.
This won’t have much commentary from me, as I think the email I received in response to one I sent Senator Saxby Chambliss’ office (through the wonderful ACLU action page demanding a special independent prosecutor to investigate torture) pretty much speaks for itself.
(All emphasis in the email copied below is mine.)
~ACTION ITEM BELOW~
Dear Mrs. Lockwood :
Thank you for your letter regarding the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) interrogation program and the appointment of a special counsel. It is good to hear from you.
The CIA’s high-value terrorist detention and interrogation program has been helpful in disrupting terrorist operations and saving lives.
The program is a crucial pillar of U.S. counterterrorism efforts and the largest source of insight into al- Qa’ida for the United States and its allies.
Reporting from these former CIA detainees has prevented numerous terrorist attacks, such as the West Coast Airliner Plot which sought to replicate the hijacking of airplanes and crash them into buildings on the West Coast of the United States .
One of the key tools in the Global War on Terror has been the information we have gleaned from the terrorists themselves. Detainees who have been in the inner circle of al- Qa’ida and occupy some of the most important positions in al- Qa’ida have information that cannot be obtained from any other source. Detainees have confirmed that al- Qa’ida continues to work on operations against the U.S. and its allies.
In the past, the CIA was authorized to use waterboarding as an enhanced interrogation technique under specific circumstances and with specific approval. Out of the 20,000 plus detainees in the custody of the U.S. Government, the CIA has held less than a hundred detainees throughout the history of its program. Of these, only three high value detainees- Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah , and Abd al- Rahim al- Nashiri were subjected to waterboarding . This was under circumstances where the detainees held timely and critical knowledge about al- Qa’ida’s operational plans to attack America and kill our citizens. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, of which I am a member, has thoroughly reviewed this program’s history, continues to monitor the CIA’s interrogation methods and has found it both legal and effective.
Recently, highly sensitive information became public regarding the existence and destruction of videotapes of early interrogations. At the time, the CIA informed its Congressional oversight committees of the existence of the tapes and of their subsequent destruction. The videotapes were used as an internal check on the interrogation program and were later destroyed after it was determined that there were no legal impediments to doing so and to protect the interrogators and detainees’ identities.
The Director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, has been forthright with Congress and is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice.
If you would like to receive timely email alerts regarding the latest congressional actions and my weekly e-newsletter, please sign up via my web site at: www.chambliss.senate.gov . Please let me know whenever I may be of assistance.
Notice he includes the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in his blanket answer condoning torture. He acknowledges that they are all aware of the President’s CIA torture program.
I wonder how the rest of the Select Committee feels about that? Are they comfortable with the whole world knowing that THEY KNOW ABOUT BUSH’S ILLEGAL TORTURE PROGRAM AND HAVE ALLOWED IT TO CONTINUE?
ACTION ITEM AS PROMISED
As Senator Obama has said, “Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices, calling for change”.
Flood their offices with emails. Today. Ask each one, since they all know about the CIA torture program, if they personally approve of the United States engaging in acts of torture, including sexual torture like documented sodomy and child rape, as well as murder? If they do not approve of torture, will they each, as individual human beings, go on record and speak out? Getting their replies on the record, (for posterity if you will), would be useful.
At least when someone writes the history of the decline of the United States and they get to the chapter on Moral Degradation, they’ll know who facilitated it by allowing acts of torture to be authorized by the President, and his administration.
On the record.
I’d like to feel we could shame at least some of the Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee into speaking out, publicly and on record denouncing torture as the war crime and crime against humanity that it is.
Below, the members of that body, and links to their contact websites.
The pictures are included so that all may know them.
Members of the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,
(No picture available)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)