'End torture for good': Twin Cities responds to shocking CIA interrogation revelations


The shocking revelations that the CIA lied about the extent of its brutal interrogation program has prompted calls from the Twin Cities to end torture for good.

The CIA misled officials, including the White House, about its detention and interrogation of al-Qaida suspects in the years after 9/11, the BBC reports, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

In response, The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), which is based in St. Paul, has supported a call from Sen. Dianne Feinstein – who led the committee – to enact a law banning torture that cannot be overturned by future presidents.

"While President Obama halted the use of torture and cruelty in interrogations on his second day in office, a future president could overturn the Executive Order with the stroke of a pen," senior policy counsel Melina Milazza said on the CVT website.

"We support Sen. Feinstein's call for legislation to 'enshrine' the ban into law."

She added: "Initiated, adopted, and approved for public release with bipartisan support, the Senate’s CIA Torture Report is a turning point in revealing the facts about an unlawful program that was far more brutal, sweeping, and unnecessary than previously known.

"President Obama and Congress must now work to ensure that we never resort to torture and cruelty again."

The report concluded that not only were the techniques employed by the CIA – which included waterboarding and chaining prisoners to ceilings – brutal, they also proved ineffective, with the New York Times reporting that such interrogation methods played no role in 20 major counter-terrorism successes studied by the committee.

Minnesota's U.S Sen. Al Franken told the Associated Press the report is a "sobering reminder that torture is immoral, and it's not who we are."

He also referenced the apparent ineffectiveness of the CIA's interrogation techniques, saying it doesn't provide the accurate intelligence needed for national security, and slammed the CIA for not being honest with Congress and the public.

What did the report find?

The report found the CIA consistently misled Congress and the Bush-era White House about the techniques it was using to extract information from terrorist suspects, CNN reports.

The methods used, which include waterboarding (simulated drowning), sleep deprivation and keeping prisoners confined in coffin-sized boxes for days, were described as "deeply flawed," "poorly managed" and often resulted in "fabricated" information.

At least 26 of the 119 detainees held in custody during the program were wrongfully held, while many others were held for longer than they should have been, the BBC says.

Twenty counter-terrorism success case studies were presented in the report. None of them were successful because of information extracted using the CIA's techniques.

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