December 7, 2015

Amnesty International commemorates one-year anniversary of Senate Torture Report with day of action


The Senate Intelligence Committe Report on Torture whiteWednesday, December 9th marks the one-year anniversary of the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture. While publication of the report did much to make visible the horrific particulars of the Central Intelligence Agency’s actions in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, we’ve gotten no closer to the prosecutions of those responsible.

The human rights organization Amnesty International is using the anniversary as an opportunity to prod the Department of Justice into action. The full Senate report (rather than the executive summary) remains classified, and Amnesty’s campaign, American Torture Story, is designed to urge the Justice Department to read the thing, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. (In October 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CIA to release the full report; the ACLU is currently appealing the May district court decision that sided with the government.)

Amnesty is urging its members and supporters to use December 9 as a day of action in order to remind the Justice Department, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and members of Congress of the report and its wealth of damning—and actionable—information. Amnesty’s template e-mail includes the opening paragraphs of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s widely quoted foreword, which includes the following lines:

The major lesson of this report is that regardless of the pressures and the need to act, the Intelligence Community’s actions must always reflect who we are as a nation, and adhere to our laws and standards. It is precisely at these times of national crisis that our government must be guided by the lessons of our history and subject decisions to internal and external review.

Amnesty is hoping that its campaign can finally lead to the “internal and external review” that has, thus far, been elusive. As the ACLU’s Eliza Relman wrote in August, “the release of the executive summary should be a turning point—not the endpoint—for transparency.”

Amnesty is also using another anniversary to keep up the pressure. January 11, 2016 marks the fourteen years since the opening of the Guantánamo Bay military prison, so January 11 will mark another day of action focused on torture and illegal detention.

For more on Amnesty’s efforts, read the group’s American Torture Story toolkit.



Mark Krotov is senior editor at Melville House.