Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Anti-Torture Action Campaign: Day One

The Honorable Loretta Lynch
Attorney General of the United States
US Department of Justice 
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20530-0001 

Subject: Reading the Senate Torture Report 
Dear Attorney General Lynch: 
The America we believe in does not torture. Yet for years, those who ordered and committed torture, enforced disappearance and other human rights violations in the CIA’s secret detention program have enjoyed impunity. That makes a mockery of the U.S. justice system. 
Recently, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released to the public a summary of its 6,700 page report on these matters, known as the “Senate torture report.” It contains information about potential violations of federal and international law. 
But shockingly, the Justice Department has failed to commit to reading and reviewing the full report. In litigation the Justice Department has even said that its copies of the full report remain unread, in a sealed envelope.1 Presumably, no one at the Justice Department has even begun to read the full report—let alone take any action on any information it contains on human rights violations, including the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance. 
That’s why, along with this letter, we are sending you a page, during each of the next ten days, for a total of 10 different pages of the de-classified report summary. 
Reading the report is just one step. The Department of Justice must also re-open and expand its investigations into all CIA interrogations, detentions and renditions. It must bring to justice in fair trials all the persons, regardless of their level of office or former level of office, suspected of being involved in the commission of crimes under international law, such as torture and enforced disappearance. 

I am yours truly,
on behalf of Amnesty International Group 128 of Amherst, Massachusetts,
Martha Spiegelman, Coordinator, AI Group 128
Amherst MA
1 See Declaration of Peter J. Kadzik, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, ACLU v. CIA, Case 1:13--cv--01870 (filed January 21, 2015, D.D.C.). We are concerned that the Justice Department and other agencies are not opening the full report due to a cynical and hyper-technical effort to circumvent U.S. open records law (the Freedom of Information Act) and prevent the release of the full report to the public.

From Page 9 of the Torture Report:
Images not part of the Report


The Committee makes the following findings and conclusions:

#1: The CIA's use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of
acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.

The Committee finds, based on a review of CIA interrogation records, that the use of the CIA's
enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information
or gaining detainee cooperation.

For example, according to CIA records, seven of the 39 CIA detainees known to have been subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques produced no intelligence while in CIAcustody.* CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques
were usually subjected to the techniques immediately after being rendered to CIA custody.
Other detainees provided significant accurate intelligence prior to, or without having been
subjected to these techniques.

While being subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and afterwards, multiple
CIA detainees fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence. Detainees provided
fabricated information on critical intelligence issues, including the terrorist threats which the
CIA identified as its highest priorities.

At numerous times throughout the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, CIA personnel

From Page 10:

assessed that the most effective method for acquiring intelligence from detainees, including from detainees the CIA considered to be the most "high-value," was to confront the detainees with
information already acquired by the Intelligence Community. CIA officers regularly called into
question whether the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques were effective, assessing that the
use of the techniques failed to elicit detainee cooperation or produce accurate intelligence.

#2: The CIA's justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on
inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.

The CIA represented to the White House, the National Security Council, the Department of
Justice, the CIA Office of Inspector General, the Congress, and the public that the best measure
of effectiveness of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques was examples of specific terrorist plots "thwarted" and specific terrorists captured as a result of the use of the techniques.
The CIA used these examples to claim that its enhanced interrogation techniques were not only effective, but also necessary to acquire "otherwise unavailable" actionable intelligence that "saved lives."

The Committee reviewed 20 of the most frequent and prominent examples of purported counterterrorism successes that the CIA has attributed to the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques, and found them to be wrong in fundamental respects. In some cases, there was no relationship between the cited counterterrorism success and any information provided by detainees during or after the use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques.

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