Congressman David Price demands answers about CIA torture program

Rep. David Price

As previously reported here and here, the advocacy group NC Stop Torture Now has been shining a light for years on the extremely troubling connections between North Carolina and a program of secret detention and torture run by the CIA in the years following the September 11 attacks of 2001.

As the group has documented, a contractor based in Smithfield, played a significant role in this illegal program (known as “Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation” or “RDI”) that essentially involved kidnapping and torturing individuals overseas who were suspected of aiding terror activities.

As the group reported in 2018:

Between September 2001 and March 2004, Aero-operated aircraft – a Gulfstream V turbojet and Boeing 737 business jet – were used in more than 80% of identified RDI renditions. Over the full length of the program, Aero transported 34 of the known 119 CIA prisoners, plus at least 15 of those sent by the CIA to foreign custody, on 69 identified rendition circuits. These flights, using North Carolina’s public infrastructure and flown by its citizens, implicate North Carolina directly in abduction, forced disappearance, and torture.

Now, happily, this issue is drawing renewed attention. On Monday, Congressman David Price sent a letter to the current CIA Director, Gina Haspel spelling out the findings of a non-partisan, non-governmental group known as the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture about RDI and seeking information about the program and the human rights abuses it helped perpetrate.

Here’s the fine conclusion to the letter:

Among the disturbing consequences of the lack of accountability for grave human rights abuses conducted during the RDI program is that such abuses might recur. We must act officially to lift the continuing veil of secrecy that shrouds RDI, to acknowledge forthrightly the violations that occurred, and to provide appropriate redress. Until we take these official steps, our nation will live under a moral cloud, and we are at risk of repeating these shameful acts.

Good for Congressman Price. Let’s hope Haspel has the courage and decency to respond.

Click here to read his letter.

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