President Trump has today definitively buried a Congressional report on America’s use of torture, placing it effectively beyond the reach of US courts.
The classified report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details the CIA’s use of torture and ‘black sites’ as part of the so-called War on Terror. The vast majority of its findings remain a secret, with only a heavily redacted version of the Executive Summary ever released to the public.
By sending the full document back to Congress and away from the executive branch, President Trump is effectively ensuring that human rights organizations cannot sue under FOIA for access to a declassified version.
Commenting, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, Reprieve US attorney specializing in counter-terrorism abuses, said:
“America’s lack of interest in history – even our own – has now gone from pathological to dangerous. For over a decade, our government has refused to reckon with US torture, preferring to deny or suppress the facts. It is no surprise that we now have a President whose contempt for facts leads to dangerous decisions. We cannot learn from history unless we know what it is.
“Harmless men are still languishing at Guantanamo without charge or trial, due entirely to mistakes and abuses detailed in the summary of that report – merely the tip of the iceberg. My clients and the American people are entitled to see the truth. Lawmakers should be ashamed of this disgraceful cover-up, and Americans should ask themselves what our government is so desperate to hide.”
Notes to editors:
1) Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8140.
2) Reprieve attorneys have represented over 90 Guantánamo prisoners and represent seven still detained there without charge. The Senate torture report summary reveals that Reprieve client Ahmed Rabbani spent 540 days in secret CIA ‘black sites’ before his transfer to Guantánamo. During this almost two-year span he was extensively tortured. The report also reveals that Ahmed was not even the man the US intended to capture. (SSCI Report at 325.)