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The Need for Transparency in U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices

by Andrea Gittleman, JD on April 1, 2014

This week, a group of senators will have the ability to move forward and acknowledge the U.S. government’s use of torture and prevent future abuse. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will vote on whether to declassify and release a now infamous report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices.

According to a blistering article in the Washington Post, the report is said to include damning details about brutal interrogations – acts of torture that violated American values and universal morals and yet did nothing to promote our national security. As Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has documented, these crimes were facilitated by medical personnel who – in a grave breach of professional ethics – monitored and participated in detainee abuse.

The full truth about CIA abuse must come to light so that those responsible may be held accountable and to ensure that U.S. officials never again resort to torture under any circumstances. If you have not already done so, please take action to demand that the senators of the Intelligence Committee vote for declassification and release of the report. If your senators are not on the Committee, you can take action here to urge them to ask their colleagues to vote for the truth.

This week’s vote poses an opportunity for our elected leaders to move us closer to a full examination of detainee abuse, but it is just one important step in our ongoing struggle for transparency and accountability regarding our country’s use of torture. No matter the outcome of the Committee’s vote, we must press for additional information regarding crimes of torture – including details about the involvement of medical personnel – to be released for public review. We must also call for the removal of Appendix M of the Army Field Manual, a loophole through which the U.S. military can still use abusive methods against detainees.

Casting a light where there have been only shadows will start the necessary process of transitioning from a period of abuse and secrecy to a period of dedication to the rule of law and transparency. If the Intelligence Committee votes for the truth on Thursday, it will be a positive step in this direction.


Places: United States

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