For Immediate Release
Two members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee have asked President Barack Obama to declassify the full version of the committee’s nearly 7,000-page torture report. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today joins that call and says that full disclosure of the CIA torture program’s details are necessary to ensure that such illegal and harmful practices are never employed again. The following statement is attributable to PHR’s executive director, Donna McKay:
“In 2014, the Obama Administration declassified the Senate torture report’s executive summary, which disclosed the horrific use of rectal feeding and other torture practices conducted in the name of national security. Now, amid talk of waterboarding and ‘much worse’ by the president-elect, the outgoing Obama Administration must act immediately to release the full report, so that Americans know the truth of what has been done in their names and can ensure that future administrations never institute such practices again.
“Torture damages everything: its victims, most substantially, but also national security, the rule of law, and even those ordered to carry it out. As we speak, one of the architects of the CIA program, James Mitchell, a psychologist paid millions of dollars to develop and deploy torture on captive human beings, is on a PR tour, touting his new book and attempting to justify the use of torture under a twisted rubric of patriotism. America shouldn’t stand for torture. It’s illegal, immoral, harmful, and – as the Senate report shows – it does not produce reliable intelligence. It produces false confessions, it destroys its victims mentally and physically, and it provides nothing more than a legacy of shame that has sapped much of the United States’ moral leadership.
“Now, more than ever, we must understand the full truth of what happened, and, in particular, the role that all health professionals played in supporting, designing, and carrying out torture. The American public and the world deserve to know the facts. And those facts must be revealed now, as torture apologists are increasingly becoming emboldened by the failure to treat torture as the crime it is. We at Physicians for Human Rights will defy any efforts to re-introduce torture; we’ll support health professionals and others who refuse to comply with orders to torture; and we’ll continue to call for a full factual and legal accounting of the United States torture program.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.