Persistent Activists Make Progress In Fight Against CIA War Crimes

1/19/2018 by Naomi Karavani

The pursuit of justice for the CIA’s misguided and brutal program of torture is not over. In North Carolina, citizens took it upon themselves to make sure that these war crimes do not go unpunished.

It started with locals saying  “not in my backyard.” North Carolina citizens discovered that a tiny airport outside of Raleigh had been shipping 80% torture victims, or renditioning them, to CIA black sites around the world. They were outraged to find out that Aero, a private air carrier they were all familiar with was working as a CIA front and committing criminal activity and running what was dubbed the “Guantanamo Express” it flew so often to the illegal prison camp.  They began with protests around the airport which yielded arrests but little media attention. However, it rallied the group called “North Carolina Stop Torture Now.”

But protests are never enough, and they knew this quite well.  They agitated on the state and federal level for an investigation into Aero’s renditioning (which is just a fancy word for “kidnapping”) operations and legislation that would make Aero’s activity criminal on the state level.  Bad publicity from STN led Aero to sell it’s airport hangar. Then the activists rallied politicians and prominent lawyers to found the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. The group’s objective is to “investigate North Carolina’s involvement in the U.S. torture program, prevent it from happening again, and make North Carolina a leader against torture.”

I’ve reported on the recent attempts for government accountability for criminal activity in the War on Terror. Two psychologists served as architects of the Torture Program were taken to court by the ACLU and the Supreme Court heard a case where 9/11 detainees were suing high level government officials like Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller.

Even though we’ve learned all the gory details of waterboarding, rectal feeding, and physical abuse, not a single soul has faced any consequences.  What will this mean for the future of international law in the unending wars without borders in which the US is involved?  Powerful unscrupulous leaders will just say the magic words “national security” and cash in at every opportunity. Yet the extraordinary activism of STN offers hope: “The commission demonstrates by its very being that we are not helpless,” says Christina Cowger, a leader of STN.

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