A delegation of activists, many clad in orange jumpsuits to represent the prisoners at Guantanamo, delivered 60,000 signatures to Senator Feinstein today, urging her to release the full Senate Torture Report. The petition delivery was coordinated with a “die-in” in the atrium of the Senate office building to protest Guantanamo.
The petition drive was sponsored by BORDC/DDF with RootsAction, DailyKos, Witness Against Torture and others. On Tuesday, the sponsors held a press conference, which included CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who warned that President Trump has surrounded himself with people who have told us they want to bring torture back.
“[The report] documents, using primary source CIA information, what kind of people we are, whether we like it or not. This report has to be a lesson for future generations. Let it teach these future generations what kind of people we must never be again… Let it serve as a moral, legal and ethical guide of what NOT to do.”
Jeremy Varon, representing Witness Against Torture said of the report,
It’s function is to burnish into the public record and the consciousness of the nation the sordid fact that America tortured. So that no one of any responsibility can deny that it happened or claim that it worked…. to prevent America from going down that dangerous path again.”
Varon, who teaches history at the New School said he was speaking as an historian to remind us that “Manipulating and erasing the past is the stuff of fascists, totalitarians, and teapot dictators, not a proud democracy,” and that “hiding your own history is craven and dangerous.”
BORDC/DDF executive director, Sue Udry called for the release of the report, and explained why;
When he decided NOT to pursue accountability for Bush Administration officials for torture, President Obama urged us to look ahead, not back.
Well, we are looking ahead, and we are worried, frightened, horrified, at what we see: an incoming administration of men so depraved and ignorant that they proclaim their support of torture. They need to read the torture report. We need the torture report to be made public so we can call out the lies and misrepresentations, that torture works, that it isn’t’ so bad.
Members of Congress also marked the occassion, sending a letter to the President asking him “to direct federal agencies to immediately open and internally promulgate copies of the Senate’s investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (a.k.a. “The Torture Report”). In order to “empower agencies to resist any and all efforts by the executive branch to reinstate torture’s use,” the letter calls on the President to “immediately disseminate that report, issue new guidelines of conduct, and reaffirm torture’s illegality before leaving office.” The letter echos a request by civil society groups, including BORDC/DDF, last spring.