News Release

Detention and Torture: Analysis and Activism


Smith and Brecher wrote the recent article “Ban Torture or Protect Torturers?” which includes an analysis of the McCain amendment on torture, noting that “McCain’s amendment is accompanied by one from Senator Lindsey Graham that bans the appeals that prisoners at Guantánamo have used to take their cases to civilian courts.” Smith and Brecher are authors of the new book In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond. They are available to scrutinize claims made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as she travels through Europe, and other administration officials.

Rice claimed Monday: “The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture.” The ACLU today filed suit on behalf of Khaled El-Masri and issued a statement alleging that “El-Masri, a 42-year-old German citizen and father of five young children, was forcibly abducted while on holiday in Macedonia. He was detained incommunicado, beaten, drugged, and transported to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan, where he was subjected to inhumane conditions and coercive interrogation.”
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Calling their action “Witness to Torture: A March to Visit the Prisoners in Guantánamo,” 25 U.S. activists are marching from Santiago de Cuba and are walking the 80 miles to the gates of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay to arrive on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. They include War Resisters League activists and members of Catholic Worker communities throughout the U.S.

One of the marchers, Frida Berrigan, said today: “What the U.S. government is doing in our name and with our money is a crime against humanity; it makes us fundamentally less secure…”

A news conference about the action is being held in New York City on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in St. Marks Church-on-the-Bowery. Harak is WRL’s anti-militarism coordinator, a Jesuit priest and author of the book Nonviolence for the Third Millennium. Harak and McGuire can comment on and provide information about the march and the news conference.
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Mayor of Jayyous, a Palestinian town currently under Israeli occupation, Samha participated in a news conference calling for the release of the Christian Peacemaker Team members being held in Iraq. He said today: “Two of the CPT members, Tom Fox and Harmeet Sooden, have been active against the Israeli occupation in Jayyous. They should be freed, they should be treated kindly, no harm should befall them, they are helping the people in Iraq and Palestine.”

Arraf is spokesperson for the International Solidarity Movement. She said today: “Over the last week, Palestinians from across the political spectrum have issued impassioned appeals [see ISM’s webpage] and demonstrated for the release of the four Christian Peacemaker Team volunteers who were taken hostage in Iraq, three of whom had previously served in Palestine with CPT and ISM. Tomorrow [Wednesday] two further demonstrations will take place.”
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Jaballah, Mahjoub and Almrei have been detained without charge in Canada for over four years. They have issued a statement calling for the release of James Loney of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who is being detained in Iraq; he has been active in petitioning the Canadian government in their case.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167