The decade-long struggle for truth and justice got a welcome boost this weekend with a powerful opinion piece in the News & Observer. The writer, former N.C. resident and Capitol Hill staffer, Tommy Ross, eloquently makes the case for release of the full Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 report on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program as well as supporting the findings of the recently released “Torture Flights” report by the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Ross’ piece effectively makes the case for the “release of the full report detailing the CIA’s post-9/11 use of torture against detainees, its misrepresentations of those activities to Congress and the public, and the utter ineffectiveness of torture.” Read the full piece here.
To take this same message to people of faith, last year, the NC Council of Churches initiated the program, NC No Torture. It offers the opportunity to learn the facts about the CIA program, including the role that North Carolina played in that program, and get involved in the ending of NC taxpayer support of illegal torture and rendition. NC No Torture provides connections with others who believe that torture is immoral, illegal, and ineffective. It facilitates actions to help shine the light on the program that was operated by NC-based Aero Contractors on behalf of the CIA.
In partnership with the grassroots advocacy group, NC Stop Torture Now, the Council program encourages people of faith to become involved in activities that will lead to a full disclosure and investigation by NC Governor Cooper and Attorney General Stein of NC’s role in torture. In the meantime, NC No Torture is set apart by its focus upon confession, repentance, and forgiveness that hallmark the actions of faith. In addition to signing petitions and sending postcards to political representatives, candles bearing the names of those kidnapped and transported in NC jets are given to those willing to pray for the victims and their families. A prayer for those harmed and a prayer of forgiveness accompany each one.
The NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture and it’s groundbreaking report, which Ross’ piece lifts up, cites evidence that jets housed at the Johnston County Airport were used to transport illegally kidnapped and tortured people from one black-site to another around the world. Their full report, released September 27, 2018, can be read www.nctorturereport.org. Chapter 9 of the Report contains new research and legal analysis outlining what our state and county officials have the authority to address in exposing the CIA program.
Tommy Ross notes the tireless work by many people in NC, “Thanks to their persistence over many years, these citizens were able to establish the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. The Commission’s recently released report, Torture Flights: North Carolina’s Role in the CIA Rendition and Torture Program, not only sheds new light on the CIA’s program but also represents a conscientious reckoning with North Carolina’s history of enabling key aspects of it.” This work continues and we invite you join.
Coordinated by the Rev. Para Drake, you are invited to involve yourself in this critical work. Visit the NC Council of Churches’ website, volunteer, and financially support the effort. Contact Drake at 919-828-6501 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.