We Need Your Help Today: Ensure this American Torture Story is Never Repeated

December 9, 2015

It’s been exactly one year since shocking new details emerged about the CIA’s torture program. After years of investigation, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published a report – known as “the torture report” – that contained more than 6,000 pages.

Now this landmark report on torture is in danger of being buried – and we need your help. Call the Justice Department today.

A year ago, the executive summary was made available to the public, and told a horrific story. It was a story of how more than 100 men were “disappeared” by the U.S. government and shuttled to secret detention sites between 2002 and 2008. It was a story about the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including beatings, ice water dousing, sodomy and other sexual abuse, and mock executions. Despite everything revealed in this American Torture Story: One year later, no one has been held accountable.

The Justice Department has stated in court that it has not opened, let alone reviewed the full 6,700-page torture report. And it is blocking other federal agencies from reading the full report, too. The Department has not re-opened investigations or initiated prosecutions based on the new evidence in the torture report, and may be considering blocking redress for torture victims by invoking the state secrets privilege to stop private lawsuits.

Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

This is unacceptable. The same international laws that ban torture also require remedy, including accountability and redress. Accountability and redress can’t happen as long as the Justice Department refuses to act and instead buries the American Torture Story.

What Happened to Mustafa al-Hawsawi? Please Take 5 Minutes to Make This Call

One of the most disturbing stories in the torture report is that of Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who suffered many abuses while detained in CIA custody. The report revealed that some detainees were subjected to excessively forceful rectal examinations. Mr. al-Hawsawi’s torture resulted in permanent injury, and he remains in Guantanamo with a torn rectum and without access to proper medical care. To be explicit, Mr. al-Hawsawi still has to sit on pillows and has to manually re-insert his insides after each bowel movement because of the torture and other ill-treatment to which he was subjected.

It is difficult to think about Mr. al-Hawsawi’s story without wondering why no one has ever been held accountable for his torture. The Senate torture report should have produced new investigations and prosecutions where warranted by the evidence, but instead it sits locked in a vault, still sealed in an envelope.

Join me in making sure that these stories, and many more in the Senate torture report, are investigated by the Justice Department immediately.

Without consequences, the message is that torture can be carried out with impunity, and is still an option for the future. That’s particularly terrifying given recent hateful rhetoric after the attacks in Paris. Public figures have suggested forced registration of Muslim Americans, a revival of internment camps, and a return to waterboarding. In order to ensure that the abuses of the past are never repeated, it is essential that there be justice and accountability for those who planned and carried out the torture regime.

torture protest washington dc

On this one-year anniversary, let’s tell the Justice Department that we haven’t forgotten the American Torture Story. We are still here, demanding justice, and insisting that torture never be repeated. You can make a difference – take five minutes to call the Justice Department right now.

Here’s How  To Call the Office of the Attorney General:

  1. Dial 202-514-2001 (and then press 1)
  1. When answered, you can say the following:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] and I am calling from [insert location here].

I am a member of Amnesty International. I am calling to express my concerns about the Justice Department’s conduct in burying the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s secret detention program, known as the “Torture Report.”

The Attorney General should not bar other agencies from reading the Torture Report. In fact, she should order a review of the Senate Torture Report and its potential evidence of criminal wrongdoing immediately.

The Department must make sure that it brings to justice in fair trials all persons suspected of being involved in the commission of crimes under international law, such as torture and enforced disappearance. It should not block redress for torture survivors seeking their day in court.

Thank you. I request prompt acknowledgement of your receipt of my message. Please contact me at [email or phone number].”

Please be sure to let us know that you made this call so we can use the information to keep up the pressure on the Justice Department. Get more resources to take action on torture accountability including the American Torture Story toolkit.