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.
Attorney/Abdelrahman Gasim, Amnesty International, member of Group 128
(Stationed in Kampala, Uganda)
(Stationed in Kampala, Uganda)
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.
Throughout the program, multiple CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and extended isolation exhibited psychological and behavioral issues, including hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation. Multiple psychologists identified the lack of human contact experienced by detainees as a cause of psychiatric problems.
From Page 11 of the Report:
#4: The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
Conditions at CIA detention sites were poor, and were especially bleak early in the program.
CIA detainees at the COBALT detention facility were kept in complete darkness and constantly
shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste.
Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. The chief of interrogations described COBALT as a "dungeon." Another senior CIA officer stated that
COBALT was itself an enhanced interrogation technique.
At times, detainees at COBALT were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. Other times, detainees at COBALT were subjected to what was described as a "rough takedown," in which approximately five CIA officers would scream at a detainee, drag him outside of his cell, cut his clothes off, and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.