NCCIT is honored to be endorsed by the following distinguished individuals and organizations:
North Carolina Elected Officials
FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIALS
United States national security policy must be consistent with our country’s values of due process and the humane treatment of individuals—and the United States must lead by example. Consequently, I believe the interrogation and detention practices that took place under the George W. Bush Administration are a blemish on our nation’s history. Just as members of Congress have shed light on the details of these practices in order to make meaningful reforms, I believe citizen-led independent organizations can play a valuable role in understanding what happened and ensuring that we do not repeat these practices.
Congressman David Price (NC-04)
We live in incredibly challenging times, and each day it becomes more important that all of us attempt to exhibit the moral courage and leadership necessary for our democracy to survive. The efforts of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture to examine and discuss the use of torture by government entities merit our full support and attention. America must lead by example in the cause of justice and doing what's right if we are to expect the world to follow our lead.
Robert F. Orr
Justice, NC Supreme Court (retired)
Presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan have extolled America as being “A Shining City Upon A Hill.” Yet there have been times in our history when we have failed to live up to the ideals and principles expressed in that famous phrase.
We now know and cannot deny that our state and our nation were involved in the kidnapping and torture of suspected terrorists -- practices we have condemned when committed by other nations. That possibility calls for a full and thorough investigation by those who believe that those ideals and principles are more than mere words – that they are, in fact, an expression of our values and beliefs as a people and as a nation.
I commend and support the efforts of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture to investigate the possible role of our state in participating in conduct that undermines the values upon which our country is based.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Gregory A. Weeks
NC Superior Court Judge (retired)
NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY (Current and former)
I totally support the efforts of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Any acts causing mental or physical suffering of human beings are unacceptable in a humane society. Thus the efforts of the NCCIT will give insight regarding this issue and also provide recommendations to address situations of inhumane treatment of human beings.
Sen. Valerie P. Foushee
District 23, NC Senate
The State of North Carolina has a duty to prevent its resources from being used to facilitate torture, and to insure enforcement and criminal prosecution to the fullest. To be absolutely clear, I do not condone torture.
Rep. Pricey Harrison
District 57, NC House of Representatives
Thanks to the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture for seeking full disclosure of our state's role in transporting detainees to secret locations where they were tortured. While I'm grateful for the growing consensus that torture is inhumane and ineffective, and increases the likelihood our troops will be tortured, full release of the 2014 U.S. Senate "Torture Report" will help seal that position for the long term.
Rep. Verla Insko
North Carolina House of Representatives
District 56, Orange County
For over a decade, North Carolina citizens have been concerned over the involvement in possible kidnapping and torture of individuals facilitated by Aero Contractors on property owned by the State of North Carolina. They have launched an investigation through the creation of the non-profit North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture to investigate these activities. I support their efforts which are a continuation the investigation which I and twenty one other members of the 2007 North Carolina Legislature sought.
Former North Carolina Senator, District 23
Former Mayor of Carrboro, NC
I commend the efforts of the newly formed North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture to reveal North Carolina’s involvement in the torture of detainees. I look forward to receiving the full analysis and report, and applaud the commission’s work to shed light on an issue that should be of concern to all citizens of our state and nation.
Rep. Graig Meyer
NCGA House District 50
Serving Orange and Durham Counties
On December 13th the Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the efforts of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Given our state’s deeply troubling connection to extraordinary rendition and torture, and the increased targeting and harassment of Muslims in the recent weeks, the work of the commission is even more urgent and critical, and vital protecting fundamental human and civil rights.
Orange County Board of Commissioners
MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS (Current and former)
As a local official who regularly makes all kinds of land use decisions, I cannot help seeing myself here. I am “caught” in the “inescapable web of mutuality” that Dr. King talked about: indeed, we all are. The petition for our support of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture did not ask us to have known what we did not know. It asked us to act on what we do know. It asks us to raise our voice, to share in the call for accountability for the horrific deeds that were done in our name.
Member, Chapel Hill Town Council
It has become clear that the state of North Carolina played a crucial role in the illegal US rendition and torture program that operated during the George W. Bush Administration. I'm glad to hear that the NC Commission on Torture has been formed to investigate and uncover the truth about this tragic part of our history.
Durham City Council
I applaud the NCCIT and the great responsibility it is undertaking to address the lack of government transparency surrounding North Carolina’s role in the United States Rendition/Detention/Interrogation (RDI) program. I believe this grassroots project will greatly inform the general public about torture, and the damage it inflicted at the local, state, and national levels.
Lydia E. Lavelle
Mayor, Town of Carrboro
We live in days that offend the conscience of all people of goodwill. I am grateful the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture aims to expose our state's involvement in torture and its report will be released to the public. Creating a country that reflects the values of its founders and the values of true patriots requires we know the complete truth about our past actions. The threat that we could repeat the mistakes of recent history and fail to redress those wrongs and promote reconciliation could be no higher than it is now.
Mayor of Chapel Hill, 2009-2015 and served as a leader and spokesperson for Mayors for Peace
I am proud to add my name to the long list of freedom-loving North Carolinians who are supporting the work of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. The Commission represents a critical step forward in establishing government transparency and accountability in the wake of our state's involvement in the U.S. torture program. I truly believe that the Commission will serve not only as a model for accountability for our state, but also as an example for all citizen-led transparency efforts across the nation.
Member, Durham City Council
This new commission is an important effort by North Carolina citizens to shine a light on the still largely secret and troubling role our state has played in transporting a large number of Muslim detainees to torture sites. An outstanding group of Commissioners has been assembled, and I'm looking forward to their work with great interest.
Durham City Council
The Libertarian Party of Haywood County, NC is of the firm belief that torture is not only prima facie inhumane but wholly ineffective at extracting useful information from suspects. In fact, it is proven that no useful information is gleaned from torture tactics and that, instead, torture creates more of what we call "terrorists." Seeing as torture is counterproductive in every regard to American security, we would hope the Trump administration, the US Congress, and the government of North Carolina pursue full transparency for torture already committed, and put strong barriers in place to a resumption of torture. We applaud the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture for helping lead the way toward accountability for torture.
Libertarian Party of Haywood County
Torture is always immoral, illegal, repulsive, un-American – generally ineffective and ultimately counterproductive. By resorting to the barbaric tactics of our enemies, we not only surrender the moral high ground and create more enemies, we degrade and betray the very values Americans cherish.
While national defense requires we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats, this need should never take priority over maintaining the civil liberties guaranteed to all persons in our country by the Constitution.
The Libertarian Party of North Carolina supports the work of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture and calls for real accountability, including prosecuting all of those who authorized and performed these brutal acts.
Chair, Libertarian Party of North Carolina
March 16, 2017
In a civilized culture, respect for the individual, equal justice, due process and diplomacy are vital pillars. Torture isn't just barbaric and unreliable, it undermines our relations and respect around the world, particularly when innocent children are caught in its snares. It sets a bad example for war fighters everywhere and also scars the soldiers tasked with carrying it out. Trump luckily listened to his military advisors like SecDef Mattis but much more effort is needed to educate the public and our leaders about this dark subject. I appreciate the bold work of NCCIT and ask that we all work together as individuals from all walks of life to make their efforts a success and torture a distant memory.
Southeast Regional Director, Republican Liberty Caucus
Other elected officials endorsing NCCIT include:
- Bothwell, Mr. Cecil; City Council Member, Asheville City Council; Asheville, NC
- Kleinschmidt, Mark; Chapel Hill, NC (former mayor, Chapel Hill)
People of Faith
Support for torture is completely counter to the teachings of every religious and spiritual tradition. I am grateful that a group of citizens is setting up this inquiry into North Carolina's involvement in organized torture. I look forward to hearing the Commission's ideas on how we, as a state and as a nation, can try to make amends and seek reconciliation with those whom we have harmed.
Rev. Jennifer E. Copeland, Ph.D.
Executive Director, North Carolina Council of Churches
Whereas we, Salem Presbytery, believe that...
God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth,
created humanity in God’s own image.
We have been commanded to love one another,
even those whom we call our enemy.
We worship the Crucified One, Jesus of Nazareth,
whom we call the Christ, Lord of all creation,
and Emmanuel, God with us.
We, Salem Presbytery, reject the doctrine and practice of torture because...
Torture violates basic human dignity,
and in desecrating the humanity of those whom we torture,
we participate in the unholy act of desecrating God’s creation,
made in God’s own image.
Torture violates the commandment to love one another,
even those whom we call our enemy.
In bearing witness to the crucifixion of Jesus,
we have looked into our own hearts and have been convicted that in torturing another human being,
no matter what their sin or our own sense of righteousness,
we ourselves commit sin against God and humanity.
Therefore, we, Salem Presbytery, resolve that...
We call upon leaders of the United States of America,
in all levels and branches of government,
to end the doctrine and practice of torture in all forms and in all names,
including that of “advanced interrogation” and other euphemisms for
the desecration of the human body.
The practice of torture would not be facilitated in the name of its people
by the State of North Carolina,
nor the Republic of these United States of America
within our borders, nor by US leaders or other US government officials or agents in other parts of the
world where laws guarding the dignity of human beings are less stringent.
We support the work of The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture to publicly investigate
reports that facilities in the State of North Carolina have been used to facilitate torture. Furthermore,
we call upon the representatives of our State and the Federal Government to truthfully and faithfully
answer the questions and claims put before them.
Salem Presbytery Resolution, Adopted November 2017
As Quakers, we seek a world at peace and free of cruelty. Torture is inhumane, immoral, illegal, and ineffective. The US policy on torture must be kept consistent with our nation’s laws and stated values. The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture [http://www.nccit.org/] addresses the role of North Carolina in covert acts of detention and torture following the attacks on 9/11. The Chapel Hill Friends Meeting supports the faithful work of the Commission.
Chapel Hill Friends Meeting
“On Condemning the Use of Torture for Any Purpose, Including as a Tool of State Power”: Resolved by the 201st Annual Convention that the Diocese condemns the use of torture as a violation of our Baptismal Covenant, supports all efforts to make such actions public and accountable, urges parishes and missions to work to build awareness about the theological objections to torture, and asks the School of Ministry to provide a list of resources about this issue, to the end that torture is eliminated as a tool of governmental power and the United States and North Carolina are never instruments in its use.
Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, December 2016
The Church of Reconciliation (PC USA) in Chapel Hill NC has a strong statement against torture. The congregation flies a banner announcing the we must not torture. The session has sent a letter to our Congress urging the release of the full Senate Torture Report. Therefore, the Peace and Justice Commission of the Church of Reconciliation is pleased to support the work of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Unknown by most citizens of our State, North Carolina was a hub of the secret flights to torture sites. NCCIT works to establish governmental transparency and accountability so that such a program could not start again in secret. We live in dangerous times. It is critical that we remember the values upon which this country was built. The citizens of North Carolina do not support torture. We need the NCCIT.
Church of Reconciliation, Chapel Hill, NC
Because Judaism considers human beings to be created in God's image, it compares the torture of another mortal to the torture of God. It is as if the aggressor set out to inflict pain upon God. In the case of immediate self-defense violence might be tolerated, but to inflict pain upon a person rendered helpless crosses the boundary of Jewish morality. The Talmud (Berachot 61b) describes the martyrdom of Rabbi Akiba, the most learned sage of his generation. The Romans tortured him for unlawfully teaching the tenets of the Judaism. By torturing Akiba, the Romans sought to end the practice of Judaism and yet, in the centuries following Akiba, Judaism grew, strengthened by Akiba's memory. Not only does torture violate Jewish norms, it cannot accomplish its intended purpose, whether it is to destroy an enemy or elicit information. Torture is thus not only immoral, but senseless and futile.
It is on this basis that I enthusiastically support the work of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. In order to prevent a repetition of North Carolina's involvement in incidents of torture of the kind experienced during the Iraq war and further endorsed by President Trump during his election campaign, a commission examining past involvement and current practice is essential. We deeply hope that this body will help uphold North Carolina's past commitment to human rights and future vigilance against the practice of torture.
Rabbi John S. Friedman
Rabbi Emeritus, Judea Reform Congregation
Charlotte Friends Meeting Minute, “Supporting the Work of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture”:
Torture is inhumane, immoral, and illegal. As Quakers, we seek a world at peace and believe that the use of torture by the United States has opened the United States to international condemnation and increased the likelihood of war. U.S. policy on torture must be consistent with our nation’s best laws and values, and any use of torture should be condemned by all our citizens and state governments. Charlotte Friends Meeting supports the faithful work of the non-profit organization, NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture, in addressing the role of North Carolina in covert acts of detention and torture following the attacks on 9/11.
This statement was recorded for approval at Charlotte Friends meeting for worship with attention to business on the 5th of March, 2017. Meeting requested that it be forwarded to Piedmont Friends Yearly Meeting for its consideration at Annual Sessions on the 11th of March, 2017.
The establishment of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT) is an important step forward in our state's ability to reflect on its involvement in the US torture program, investigate how this was able to take place with the knowledge of state and local officials, and make recommendations on how we can best move forward to make North Carolina a nationwide leader in upholding human rights.
Given the proclaimed stance of President Trump to “bring back water boarding and a hell of a lot worse,” the work of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture will be vital not only to give a full accounting of what happened before, but also to remind Americans of the huge damage that the use of torture and cruelty had on the country and why it must never be employed again.
We, the members of New Hope Presbytery Peacemaking Network, support the work of The NCCIT to establish government transparency and accountability in the wake of North Carolina’s involvement in the U.S. torture program. It is our hope that the NCCIT will serve not only as a model for accountability for our state, but also as an example for all citizen-led transparency efforts across the nation to hold the actions of our government accountable to high standards of morality and human rights remembering that every human is created in God’s image.
New Hope Presbytery Peacemaking Network
As Baptists, we share a heritage with many fellow believers who were persecuted, often violently, by government officials and their representatives. As Christians, we follow a man who was tortured and executed by the state. As people of faith, we recognize the divine within every human being. As people of conscience, we recognize that torture destroys the spirits of both the victims and the perpetrators. Therefore, we strongly oppose the use of torture and we support the new non-governmental North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture.
Rev./Rvda. LeDayne McLeese Polaski
Executive Director/Directora Ejecutiva, BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Inc.
Multiple faith traditions have love of neighbor as a basic tenant of their faith. The Golden Rule in its many forms is fundamental to how we are to treat one another. As people who pattern our lives after the example of Jesus, the Christ, we value love and seek to live in peace. The United Methodist Church's Book of Resolutions states, "the mistreatment or torture of persons by governments for any purpose violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/or opposed by Christians and churches wherever it occurs" (Social Principles ¶ 164A). A complete statement about what we believe can be found here: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-abolition-of-torture. These are the basis of my support for the new non-governmental North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Additionally, my husband is a retired U.S. Army officer who spent most of his 22-year career as part of the military intelligence community. He attests to the fact that torture is not effective as a tool for gaining reliable information from combatants. Human beings will say whatever they think their captors want to hear in order to make the pain stop. In addition to being inhumane and immoral, it does not benefit the purpose it is intended to achieve.
Rev. Jaye N. White
Mission and Outreach Team Coordinator, NC Conference of the United Methodist Church
As Quakers, we seek a world at peace and free of cruelty. Torture is inhumane, immoral, illegal, and ineffective.
The U.S. policy on torture must be kept consistent, not only with our nation’s laws, but also with such international standards as the Geneva Conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Raleigh Friends Meeting supports the faithful work of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture (www.nccit.org) as it seeks to investigate and establish public accountability for North Carolina’s role in covert acts of detention and torture following the attacks on 9/11.
We call upon Gov. Cooper and NC Attorney General Josh Stein to support this effort by complying with NCCIT’s public records request for information concerning use of North Carolina’s aviation infrastructure in said covert activity.
Minute adopted by Raleigh Friends Meeting, 8/20/17
As Quakers, Asheville Friends Meeting seeks a world at peace and believes that torture is inhumane, immoral, and illegal. We also believe that the use of torture has boosted terrorism and damaged US global standing. There has been no accountability for the destructive decision to secretly transport, detain and torture dozens of people, regardless of guilt or innocence. North Carolina's Aero Contractors played a key role in torture and could still be conducting missions due to the lack of transparency and accountability. Our state elected officials have not been effective in investigating or speaking out against torture. The citizen-led NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT) is a 501(c)3 organization set up to investigate and encourage public debate about the role that NC played in facilitating the US torture program after the 9/11 attacks. The NCCIT will serve as a model for other accountability efforts and will help create momentum for full official transparency and accountability for the US use of torture and rendition.
Minute adopted by AshevilleFriends Meeting, 10/8/17
Other People of Faith who have endorsed NCCIT include:
- Barnes, Mrs. Lisa Rose; Deacon, First Congregational United Church of Christ; Asheville, NC
- Beverly, Rev. Dr. Arnetta E., Senior Pastor, St. Matthews UMC; Greensboro, NC
- Bradford, Rev. Spencer; Executive Director, Durham Congregations in Action; Durham, NC
- Cumbee Long, Rev. Denise, M.Div., J.D.; Hendersonville, NC
- Davidson, Rev. J. Mark; Chapel Hill, NC
- Fox, Rev. Deborah; Chaplain, Episcopal Church; Raleigh, NC
- Gwinn, Jr., Alfred W.; Bishop (retired), North Carolina Conference/Raleigh Area, United Methodist Church
- Haughee-Bartlett Judy; Chaplain, Summerfield, NC
- Hawes, Fr. Charles M.; Episcopal priest; Retired University Chaplain UNCG, Guilford College, Elon University, NC
- Johnson, Patricia, Asheville Friends Meeting, Asheville, NC
- Jurovics; Rabbi Raachel N., Ph.D.; Raleigh, NC
- Jurski, Sr. Joan; O.S.F., (retired), Office of Peace and Justice, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh; Raleigh, NC
- Kaylor, Dr. David; Presbyterian Church USA; Black Mountain, NC
- Lemmond, Mrs. Joyce, Social Justice Council, Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church, Charlotte; Davidson, NC
- Ljunggren, Rev. Lorraine, Episcopal priest; Raleigh, NC
- Matthews, Rev. Kevin; Chaplain, St. Mary’s House Episcopal Campus Ministry; Greensboro, NC
- McBriar, Rev. David; O.F.M., Associate Pastor, Franciscan Friars; Raleigh, NC
- McCall, Rev. Jocleen A.; Clayton, NC
- Melnyk, Rev. Jim, NC
- Oehler, Susan, Asheville Friends Meeting, Asheville, NC
- Peeples, Rev. Julie; Senior Pastor, Congregational United Church of Christ, Greensboro, NC
- Petty, Rev. Dr. Nancy E.; Pastor, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, American Baptist Churches; Raleigh, NC
- Rhodes, Rev. Tom; former Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh; Raleigh, NC
- Richardson, Rev. Dr. John; Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina
- Rider, Mary; MSW, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker; Garner, NC
- Rodenbough, Rev. Dr. Jean; Past President, NC Council of Churches, Salem Presbytery; Greensboro, NC
- Seymour, Rev. Robert E.; Pastor Emeritus, Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church; Chapel Hill, NC
- Solomon, Rabbi Eric ; Temple Beth Israel; Raleigh, NC
- Taylor, Steve, SMSgt (Retired); Executive Director, Church Revitalization, NC Conference, United Methodist Church; Lumberton, NC
- Villegas, Rev. Isaac; Pastor, Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship
- Watts, Rev. Michael J.; Smithfield, NC
- Wells, Rev. Dr. Samuel; former Dean of Duke University Chapel, now Vicar, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
- White, Jaye, Outreach Ministry Coordinator, North Carolina Conference, United Methodist Church
North Carolina Organizations and Individuals
Having followed and supported the development of the NCCIT since 2010, I applaud this new chapter in their vital charge. North Carolina has been intimately involved in the dark story of U.S.-sponsored torture, and it is essential that we understand the details of that involvement in the past, in order to avoid making similar strategic and moral errors in the future. The greatest danger in any moral struggle is to compromise the values that one seeks to defend—to become that which we abhor. As a North Carolinian, and a U.S. citizen, I am grateful to the NCCIT for their tireless, detailed work to bring this story out into the sunlight so that we can seek to avoid that very real danger.
Rotary World Peace Fellow and former Clerk of the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group
" 'You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye (Matt. 7:5).' For those of us in North Carolina, this lesson is particularly germane because the planes transporting prisoners to and from the places where they were mistreated landed on our soil at the Johnston County Airport in Smithfield. We cannot presume to stand on high ground criticizing the behavior of other nations when we are a party to this."
Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland
Executive Director, NC Council of Churches, quote pulled from "America’s Role in Torture — Beginning the Path to Forgiveness"
Other North Carolina Organizations endorsing NCCIT include:
- ACLU of North Carolina
- Amnesty International, Group 213, Raleigh
- BlackWater Watch
- Chapel Hill Mennonite
- Charles M. Jones Peace and Justice Committee, Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist
- Church of Reconciliation, Chapel Hill
- Duke Student Wellness Center, Duke University, Durham
- Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker
- Human Rights Center, Chapel Hill
- Human Rights Coalition of North Carolina
- Jews for a Just Peace
- Lutheran Peace Fellowship of Wake County
- Micah 6:8 Team, Highland United Methodist Church, Raleigh
- NC Council of Churches
- NC Peace Action
- New Hope Presbytery Peacemaking Steering Team, Eastern NC
- Office of Peace and Justice, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
- Peace & Justice Action, Binkley Baptist Church, Chapel Hill
- Peace & Justice Mission Group, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh
- Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Social Justice Council
- Social Action Committee, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, Raleigh
- Social Justice Ministry, Community United Church of Christ, Raleigh
- Triangle Committee to Stop FBI Repression
- Win-Win Resolutions, Inc.
- Witness for Peace Southeast
- Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Triangle Branch
- Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community, Raleigh
National and International Organizations
The Constitution Project:
This effort is tremendously important. Significant information about the CIA’s torture program has been disclosed over the last several years, but there is still so much the public doesn’t know. Only by thoroughly and honestly reckoning with the past will we be able to move forward confident that our elected officials won’t lead us down the same dark path again. NCCIT is a critical step in that process.
Center for Victims of Torture:
The cost of impunity for survivors is enormous--accountability for perpetrators is intertwined with the healing process and their struggle to make sense of their suffering. Any crack in the culture of impunity can help other victims to feel safer wherever they may be living. By shining a light on American torture, the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture will create a ripple effect that will be felt beyond North Carolina. The Center for Victims of Torture looks forward to supporting the work of the Commission.
Human Rights First:
A strong democracy deals with its mistakes by properly examining what it did and taking the necessary steps to make it right. By investigating our nation’s role in torture, the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture is bringing greater transparency to a dark period in U.S. history that must never be repeated. This important work will help to re-establish a durable consensus against torture.
Human Rights Watch:
Human Rights Watch is pleased to support the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture, a citizen-led initiative that will examine the role North Carolina private and public entities played in the US government secret detention and torture program after the September 11 attacks. This program involved scores of men picked up around the world and detained by the US or transferred to other countries for torture. The US has still not fully acknowledged the brutality and scope of this program, and none of those held and mistreated have obtained compensation or justice. The commission will make recommendations aimed to ensure such inhumane, unlawful acts never recur.
National Religious Campaign Against Torture:
As people of faith, we know that truth is the first step toward absolution. We are grateful to the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture for helping North Carolina and our country take a step toward admitting the truth about our country's use of torture.
Other National and International organizations endorsing NCCIT include:
- Amnesty International USA
- Muslim American Public Affairs Council
- Physicians for Human Rights
International Human Rights Leaders
The NC Commission of Inquiry into Torture (NCCIT) does important work. As the prior Chairperson and member of the United Nations Committee against Torture, I can attest to the importance everywhere of the prevention and absolute prohibition of torture, as well as of accountability and reparation. The NCCIT’s efforts to shed light on torture and rendition are congruent with the observations of the UN Committee against Torture. The Committee’s 2014 Concluding Observations, from which I and UN CAT member Felice Gaer recused ourselves in accords ce with standard practice, provide, inter alia, as follows in paragraph 11 (bold in original):
1. The Committee expresses grave concern over the extraordinary rendition, secret detention and interrogation programme operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) between 2001 and 2008, which comprised numerous human rights violations, including torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance of persons suspected of involvement in terrorism-related crimes. While noting the content and scope of Presidential Executive Order 13491, the Committee regrets that the State party only provided scant information about the now shuttered network of secret detention facilities, which formed part of the high-value detainee programme publicly referred to by President Bush on 6 September 2006. It also regrets that the State party did not provide information on the practices of extraordinary rendition and enforced disappearance, nor on the extent of the abusive interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, used by the CIA on suspected terrorists. In that regard, the Committee is closely following the declassification process of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Programme (arts. 2, 11 and 16).
The Committee recalls the absolute prohibition of torture contained in article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” In that regard, the Committee draws the State party’s attention to its general comment No. 2 (2007), in which it states that exceptional circumstances include “any threat of terrorist acts or violent crime as well as armed conflict, international or non-international.”
The Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Ensure that no one is held in secret detention anywhere under its de facto effective control. The Committee reiterates that detaining individuals in such conditions constitutes, per se, a violation of the Convention (CAT/C/USA/CO/2, para. 17);
(b) Take all necessary measures to ensure that its legislative, administrative and other anti-terrorism measures are compatible with the provisions of the Convention, in particular the provisions of article 2;
(c) Adopt effective measures to ensure, in law and in practice, that all detainees are afforded all legal safeguards from the very outset of the deprivation of their liberty, including the safeguards mentioned in paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Committee’s general comment No. 2 (2007).
The Committee calls for the declassification and prompt public release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA secret detention and interrogation programme, with minimal redaction.
The Committee also encourages the State party to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.”
Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus
R. Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law
In my past role as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, I had occasion to engage with the US Government and to observe the unwillingness to confront clear obligations under international law, particularly the duty to investigate, prosecute and punish torture. The invocation of "state secrets" and the need to "look forward" and bury the past were the pretexts given. But international law does not recognize exceptions to these duties to the truth and to justice. As SRT I also came across valiant efforts from civil society to break this cycle of silence. The NC Commission of Inquiry into Torture is one such initiative and it received the encouragement of my Rapporteurship early on. I continue to support this very important effort.
Juan E. Mendez
Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence
Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2010-2016)
Washington College of Law
As a native North Carolinian who has seen the consequences of torture across the globe and now hears the new US President say that torture is something that we need more of, the work of The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture is not only a critically important step for North Carolina, but also as an example for the nation as a whole.
David Tolbert, President
International Center for Transitional Justice
The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT) is a courageous civil society initiative to cast light on a shameful episode of the United States' recent past. Its importance, though, is not limited to the United States, as the torture program weakened human rights protections around the globe, and fueled cynicism and despair.
Today, as the President of the United States speaks of reintroducing torture, the NCCIT can become a powerful forum to contemplate the horror of torture, build human empathy with victims, and prevent the recurrence of such abuses.
I strongly support the NCCIT, and I'm sure that many people of goodwill around the world shall back its work.
Transitional Justice Expert
Other endorsers of NCCIT include:
- Fedders, Barbara; Carrboro, NC
- Birckhead, Tamar; UNC School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC
- Blau, Judith; Director, Human Rights Center; Chapel Hill
- Burton, Linda and Joe; Raleigh, NC
- Carmichael, Jr., Dr. James V.; Professor, UNC Greensboro; Greensboro, NC
- Cassebaum, Anne; Elon, NC
- Creech, Jimmy; NC Social Justice Project; Raleigh, NC
- Crites, Betsy; Director, NC Peace Action; Durham, NC
- Daye, Charles E.; Henry P. Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law & Deputy Director, UNC Center for Civil Rights; Chapel Hill, NC
- Dorfman, Dr. Ariel; Walter Hines Page Research Professor of Literature and of Latin American Studies; Durham, NC
- Elgamal, Mohamed M.; Chairman, Muslim American Public Affairs Council, Raleigh, NC
- Fink, Eric; Associate Professor, Elon University School of Law; Greensboro, NC
- First, Curry, Asheville, NC
- Foxworth, Dr. Signe Waller; Greensboro, NC
- Freeman, Barry; Chapel Hill, NC
- Freeman, Ms. Janie; Chapel Hill, NC
- Friday, William C.; former head of the University of North Carolina system, 1956-86; Chapel Hill, NC
- Garwood, Ms. Edith; Country Specialist for Israel/OPT/PA for U.S. Section of Amnesty International; Concord, NC
- Gilbert, Dr. John; Professor Emeritus of Political Science, NCSU, NC
- Gilbert, Dr. Susan; Professor Emeritus of English, Meredith College, NC
- Hall, Dr. Amy Laura, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Duke Divinity School; Durham, NC
- Handy, Jean; Pittsboro, NC
- Hauerwas, Dr. Stanley; Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Divinity School of Duke University; Durham, NC
- Heuer, John; Chair, NC Peace Action; Chapel Hill, NC
- Hulett, Mary; Chapel Hill, NC
- Hunt, Jane; Raleigh, NC
- Irving, Sandy; Raleigh, NC
- Johnson, Rev. Nelson and Mrs. Joyce; Greensboro, NC
- Joyner, Irving; Professor, North Carolina Central University School of Law, NC
- Krueger, Derek; Joe Rosenthal Excellence Professor of Religious Studies, UNC Greensboro; Greensboro, NC
- Moye, Dr. Virginia; UNC School of Medicine; Chapel Hill, NC
- Newman, Dr. Slater; Professor Emeritus of Psychology, North Carolina State University; Raleigh, NC
- Nichol, Gene; Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor, UNC Chapel Hill, NC
- Overton, Jim; Durham, NC
- Parker, John; Raleigh, NC
- Pendergraft, Dr. Mary; Greensboro, NC
- Pérez Jr., Professor Louis A.; J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History/Director-Institute for the Study of the Americas; Chapel Hill, NC
- Perry, David; Professor of Applied and Director of the Vann Center for Ethics at Davidson College, NC
- Powell, Jon; Buies Creek, NC Rudinger, Jennifer; former Executive Director, ACLU of North Carolina
- Scavone, Heather, J.D., Assistant Professor of Law, Director of the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic, Elon University School of Law
- Schwalbe, Dr. Michael; Professor of Sociology, NCSU; Raleigh, NC
- Smith, Norman B., JD; Greensboro, NC
- Soldz, Dr. Stephen, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, Coalition for an Ethical Psychology; Roslindale, MA
- Surh, Dr. Jerry; Carrboro, NC
- Tal, Tamara, PhD; Durham, NC
- Waddle, Roberta; Fayetteville, NC
- Whitfield, Ed; Greensboro, NC