PT's Letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Dear Chair, Ranking Member, and Members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
We are writing to ask all of you to vote in favor of releasing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA detention and interrogation to the American public. As family members whose relatives were killed in the 9/11 attacks, we want justice for 9/11 and security from future attacks. But torture and other cruel treatment have no role in justice or security. Torture is illegal. The prohibition against torture is absolute. No circumstances whatsoever justify its use. This is a central principle of America’s laws and international treaty obligations.
Since the tragic events that took our loved ones’ lives, the members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows [http://www.peacefultomorrows.org] have worked together to promote U.S. policies that place a priority on internationally-recognized principles of human rights in all our responses to 9/11. Torture violates our deepest values as Americans and global citizens. Torture is quite simply immoral and we are deeply saddened that it was used during the interrogation of individuals detained following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Now, the Committee on Intelligence has an historic opportunity to let American citizens learn the truth about what has occurred. We believe this knowledge is crucial to ensuring that our nation never again uses torture. The American public must understand the illegality and immorality of torture. Moreover, we need to understand that torture is ineffective, unnecessary, and counterproductive. Military and intelligence experts have repeatedly stated on the record that U.S. torture has recruited more terrorists and put U.S. troops at risk. Professional interrogators tell us that building rapport and using incentive-based interrogation techniques are more effective than torture in gaining reliable intelligence.
As members of the government sworn to uphold the rule of law and seeking long-lasting security for America, we are sure that you also wish to see all use of torture ended. We are counting on you to set our nation on the right course, to do the right thing and vote to release the report.
The Members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Campaigns and Projects
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows Rule of Law campaign mobilizes and amplifies the voices of 9/11 family members who support closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, restoring the rule of law, and ending indefinite detention and other violations of human rights that have become an enduring legacy of the U.S. “War on Terror.” Our goal for this initiative has been to strengthen the reasonable voices of 9/11 family members who support the rule of law in all aspects of dealing with the perpetrators and accused perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. This includes the decision to conduct federal versus military trials, to close Guantanamo, to end indefinite detention, to end the military commissions, and related issues.
When the U.S. Kills an American Citizen
(This letter was published in the New York Times)
To the Editor:
Re “A U.S. Citizen, in America’s Cross Hairs” (front page, March 10), about the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen:
I am a United States citizen; I was born here and have lived here all of my 81 years. If I were a threat to this country’s safety, I would expect to be caught and brought to justice.
The idea that any president can kill an American citizen without a trial is abhorrent and frankly scares me more than any act of any “terrorist.”
Senator Rand Paul’s politics are not mine by any stretch of the imagination, but I applaud him for trying to make the American public aware of what those we elected are doing.
It is a disgrace.
New York, March 10, 2013
The writer, whose brother died in the World Trade Center, is a co-founder of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Starting in 2002, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows helped lead opposition to the war in Iraq. After the U.S. invaded Iraq, we looked for ways to remain supportive of the Iraqi people. As part of our solidarity efforts, we have helped to publicize the campaigns of the Iraqi nonviolence network, La’Onf, to let people know that Iraqi citizens have a vision for their country that includes peaceful relations among different religious and ethnic groups, equal rights for women, and human rights and freedom for all. We are also a member of the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, a collaboration between Iraqi and international NGOs to effect change that supports justice and democracy in Iraq.
In January 2002 four people who would soon become founding members of Peaceful Tomorrows traveled to Afghanistan to witness the consequences of U.S. military intervention, to express concern about the devastation of civilian casualties and to draw attention to the prospect that this war would increase terrorist recruitment. Peaceful Tomorrows members have continued to travel to Afghanistan, to speak out against war and violence in Afghanistan, and to build friendship and collaboration with civil society organizations in Afghanistan and elsewhere in support of peace for the women, men and children of Afghanistan. Peaceful Tomorrows works for an end to foreign military action and foreign military funding in Afghanistan, for a ceasefire and negotiated path forward, and for nonviolent and inclusive rebuilding and healing for Afghan society.
On Monday June 24, twenty-five members and religious leaders of the Metrowest interfaith community met with Wilnelia Rivera, the External Affairs Director for the Patrick administration to discuss the slight that the Islamic community felt from the governor’s office after the Boston Marathon Bombing. Other leaders present included Susan Thel of the Framingham Quakers, Michael Furstberg of the Workmen’s Circle, Dr. Asif Razvi of the ICB in Wayland, Mr. Anwar Kasmi, a board member of the I.S.B.C.C., and Shaheen Akhtar, leader of the Wayland interfaith book group. The issue was that the Muslim religious community felt slighted when a secular Muslim leader was selected to participate in the interfaith memorial service attended by President and Mrs. Obama, shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing. Their understanding was that an invitation had originally been extended to Imam Suhaib Webb, and was then rescinded the evening before. Read more
9/11 Stories: Our Voices, Our Choices