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Letter From Intelligence and Military Professionals on Use of Torture #

(Original post from truthout)
Tuesday 26 September 2006

United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Arlen Specter, Chairman
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Ranking Democratic Member

Dear Senators:

We write as experienced intelligence and military officers who have  
served in the frontlines in waging war against communism and Islamic  
extremism. We fully support the need for proactive operations to  
identify and disrupt those individuals and organizations who wish to  
harm our country or its people. We also recognize that intelligence  
operations, unlike law enforcement initiatives, enjoy more  
flexibility and less scrutiny, but at the same time must continue to  
be guided by applicable US law.

We are very concerned that the proposals now before the Congress,  
concerning how to handle detainees suspected of terrorist activities,  
run the risk of squandering the greatest resource our country enjoys  
in fighting the dictators and extremists who want to destroy us ? our  
commitment as a nation to the rule of law and the protection of  
divinely granted human rights.

Apart from the moral considerations, we believe it is important that  
the Congress send a clear message that torture is not an effective or  
useful tactic. As noted recently by the head of Army Intelligence,  
Lt. Gen. John Kimmons:

No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think  
history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last  
five years, hard years, tells us that.

Our nation was created in response to the abuses visited on our  
ancestors by the King of England, who claimed the right to enter  
their homes, to levy taxes at whim, and to jail those perceived as a  
threat without allowing them to be confronted by their accusers. Now,  
230 years later, we find our own President claiming the right to put  
people in detention centers without legal recourse and to employ  
interrogation methods that, by any reasonable legal standard, are  
categorized as torture.

We ask that the Senate lead the way in upholding the principles set  
forth in the Declaration of Independence and affirmed in the Geneva  
Conventions regarding the rights of individuals and the obligations  
of governing authorities towards those in their power. We believe it  
is important to combat the hatred and vitriol espoused by Islamic  
extremists, but not at the expense of being viewed as a nation who  
justifies or excuses torture and incarceration without recourse to a  
judicial procedure.

The US has been in the forefront of the human rights campaign  
throughout the 20th century, led by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow  
Wilson. The end of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust  
inspired the United States to take the lead in making the case that  
human rights were universal, not parochial. Until recently the policy  
of our country was that all people, not just citizens of the United  
States, were entitled to these protections. It is important that the  
world understand that we remain committed to these principles. In  
fighting our enemies we must wage this battle in harmony with the  
traditional values of our society that were enshrined in the opening  
clause of the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to  
be self-evident...."

Respectfully yours,

CIA Officers:

Milton Bearden, Directorate of Operations
Ray Close, Directorate of Operations
Vincent Cannistraro, Directorate of Operations
Philip Giraldi, Directorate of Operations
James Marcinkowski, Directorate of Operations
Melissa Mahle, Directorate of Operations
Paul Pillar, Directorate of Intelligence
David MacMichael, Directorate of Intelligence
Melvin Goodman, Directorate of Intelligence
Ray McGovern, Directorate of Intelligence
Mary O. McCarthy, DCI professional staff

US Military and Department of Defense:

W. Patrick Lang, (Colonel, US Army retired, Director Defense Humint  
Services, retired)
A. D. Ackels, (Colonel, US Army, retired)
Karen Kwiatkowski, (Lt. Colonel, USAF, retired)

US Department of State:

Thomas R. Maertens, Deputy Coordinator, Office of Counter Terrorism,  
US Department of State
Larry C Johnson, Office of Counter Terrorism, US Department of State

Federal Bureau of Investigation:

Christopher Whitcomb, Hostage Rescue Team

/misc | Sep 30, 2006

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