NCCIT is proud to announce a diverse set of witnesses, including survivors, who will testify publicly about various aspects of North Carolina's involvement in the U.S. Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program.
Dr. Sam Raphael is co-founder with Dr. Ruth Blakeley of the Rendition Project, a collaborative research initiative that has been at the forefront of efforts to investigate and understand the use of rendition, secret detention and torture by the CIA and its allies in the 'war on terror'." Through the Rendition Project’s website, users can access comprehensive information on the renditions and fates of those tortured in the RDI program, a large public database of CIA rendition flights, and information on companies like Aero Contractors that operated the secret network of rendition aircraft servicing CIA black sites.
Juan E Mendez
Professor Juan E. Méndez was the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment from 2010 to 2016. As UN Rapporteur, he noted how the U.S. government’s reluctance to work with international authorities on the issue of accountability for human rights violations has made it easier for other nations to shirk their responsibilities. Mendez also served as an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court from 2009 to 2011 and Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association in 2010 and 2011.
Ms. Laura Pitter is the Senior National Security Counsel for Human Rights Watch's U.S. Program, which monitors US national security policy and advocates for human rights-compliant practices. Pitter authored “Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya,” a 2012 report on how the CIA tortured Libyan dissidents living abroad and and then rendered them to the security forces of Muammar Gaddafi, whom they had been fighting to overthrow. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Pitter served as a journalist, human rights advocate, and attorney. She was a reporter during the war in Bosnia, where she wrote for Time Magazine and Reuters News Agency, among other media outlets.
Mr. Steven Watt is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program. He specializes in civil and human rights litigation before domestic courts and international tribunals. Watt is counsel in a host of state and federal court cases involving U.S. rendition, detention, and interrogation programs. Among the cases challenging the U.S. torture program which he has helped litigate are El-Masri v. Tenet, Mohammed et al. v. Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., and the recently settled Salim v. Mitchell, a historic advance for transparency and accountability.
Professor Alberto J. Mora is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. His research has focused on the strategic costs and consequences to the U.S. of engaging in torture. “The Strategic Costs of Torture” summarizes results from that inquiry. Mora is the former general counsel of the United States Navy, where he led an effort within the Defense Department to bring an end to the use of torture and official cruelty in the treatment of prisoners in military custody.
Mr. Fallon is the author of the recently released Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and U.S. Government Conspired to Torture. Mark has over 31 years of government experience as Deputy U.S. Marshal, NCIS Special Agent, and Senior Executive of DHS. He currently serves as a Consultant and Subject Matter Expert on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, International Security, Witness interviews, and related issues and is a nationally recognized subject matter expert and keynote speaker.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Mr. Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a Mauritanian who was rendered by Aero Contractors and detained at Guantánamo Bay detention camp without charge from 2002 until his release on October 17, 2016. While imprisoned, Slahi wrote a memoir in 2005, which the U.S. government declassified in 2012 with numerous redactions. The memoir was published as Guantánamo Diary in January 2015 and became an international bestseller. Slahi lives today in Mauritania.
Professor Deborah Weissman is the Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law at UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill, NC. Along with students in her Human Rights Policy Lab (HRPL), Prof. Weissman has conducted extensive research on the use of North Carolina's resources and state facilities in the U.S. torture program, and the state's obligations under international and domestic law. The HRPL petitioned the United Nations on behalf of RDI survivor Abou El-Kassim Britel, achieving action on his case by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Torture. The HRPL has published Obligations and Obstacles: Holding North Carolina Accountable for Extraordinary Rendition and Torture and Understanding Accountability for Torture: The Domestic Enforcement of International Human Rights Treaties.
Dr. David P. Gushee is a Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. Gushee is regarded as one of the leading moral voices on religious ethics and torture, and was the principal drafter of the 2007 Evangelical Declaration Against Torture. He also served on the Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment.
Imam Abdullah Antepli is the Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs at Duke University and an Adjunct Faculty of Islamic Studies. Antepli is the founder of the Association of College Muslim Chaplains (ACMC) and a board member of the Association for College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA). In his current work at Duke, Antepli engages students, faculty, and staff across and beyond campus through seminars, panels, and other avenues to provide a Muslim voice and perspective in discussions of faith, spirituality, social justice, and more.
Mr. Steven Kleinman is a career military intelligence officer and a recognized expert in the fields of human intelligence, strategic interrogation, special operations, and special survival training. He has been widely recognized as one of the most effective and prolific interrogators in the Department of Defense. Kleinman served as an interrogator, the chief of a joint interrogation team, and as a senior advisor on interrogation to a special operations task force during Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield/Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. Kleinman was one of the first experienced interrogators, and the first military officer, to offer a strong public case against the use of coercive interrogation practices and to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee of the United States Senate.
Dr. Stephen Soldz is a psychoanalyst, clinical psychologist, professor, and anti-war activist. Soldz is director of the Social Justice and Human Rights program at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He has been a vocal critic regarding allegations of the use of psychological torture by the U.S. government in its conduct of the War in Iraq and the War on Terror. Soldz co-authored Experiments in Torture, a 2010 white paper by Physicians for Human Rights on human subject research in the U.S. torture program. He also co-authored “All the President’s Psychologists,” a 2015 report on the involvement of the American Psychological Association in coercive interrogations.
Dr. Katherine Porterfield is an American child psychologist with a background in treating survivors of torture. She is a staff psychologist at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture at New York City's Bellevue Hospital and an expert on the effects of torture on individuals. She has interviewed torture survivors at Guantanamo, and was the first psychologist authorized to travel to Guantanamo to conduct a psychological evaluation there — of Omar Khadr, a prisoner captured when he was 15years old.
Khadija Anna Pighizzini (wife of Abou Elkassim Britel - pictured)
Abou Elkassim Britel is an Italian citizen who was detained by the Pakistani police and brutally interrogated in 2002. He was then secretly rendered by the CIA to Morocco, where he suffered two periods of extra-judicial detention. A tortured confession formed the basis for a sham trial, which was followed by over eight years of imprisonment under inhumane conditions. An international outcry secured his release, but he has never received acknowledgement or apology for his ordeal from any of the four countries with responsibility. Britel's wife, Khadija Anna Pighizzini, will offer her perspective on the lasting effects that the trauma has had on Britel and their family.
Ms. Allyson Caison is a Johnston County resident and founding member of North Carolina Stop Torture Now. Caison first became interested in North Carolina's role in the torture program when she heard that the abuse originated in her “backyard.” She has worked tirelessly for the last 12 years, attempting to educate her community and the state about North Carolina's involvement and obligations.
Dr. Michael Struett is Associate Professor of Political Science in the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University and a board member of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. Struett is an expert in international law whose research has focused on mechanisms for international accountability for human rights abuses, in particular the International Criminal Court.
Lieutenant Colonel Sterling Thomas, US Air Force, is military defense counsel for Ammar al Baluchi, one of the 9/11 defendants being tried in the Guantanamo military commissions. Lt. Col. Thomas also defended detainee Abdul Zahir, who was released from Guantanamo in 2016 after 14 years without charge or trial.
Mr. Glenn L. Carle served twenty-three years in the Clandestine Services of the Central Intelligence Agency. His last position in government was as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats, on the National Intelligence Council, where his office was responsible for strategic analysis of terrorism, international organized crime, and narcotics issues. Carle is the author of The Interrogator: An Education. A book that details his experience and views on the post 9/11 interrogation he conducted. Currently he is an Associate Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and speaks frequently at institutions and in the media.
Professor Jayne Huckerby is Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Duke Law. Over the last decade, she has been involved in a host of domestic, regional, and international human rights fact-finding, litigation, standard-setting, and reporting concerning the post-9/11 U.S. rendition, detention, and interrogation program, including seeking redress for individuals before U.S. domestic courts and before regional tribunals, as well as efforts to use freedom of information rules to obtain information on the program. Additionally, she has served as a legal expert to inter-governmental organizations on the international human rights legal standards governing States’ national security practices, including the intersection of these standards with international aviation law.
Rep. Verla Insko is serving her 10th term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. She co-sponsored HB 1682, the North Carolina No Place for Torture Act, in 2007. Ms. Insko served 12 years as chair of the Joint Legislative Mental Health Oversight Committee, and previously eight years on the Chapel Hill Carrboro Board of Education and four years on the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
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