On the Release of the Torture Report

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Remarks for the WSRCAT Press Conference

On the Release of the Torture Report

December 11, 2014
The release of the Senate Investigation of the CIA’s unconstitutional torture abuses, its lies to Congress, and its illegal spying on Congress ought to be a moment of deep sorrow and shame throughout the Body-Politic, and most certainly throughout the leadership of this country.

It ought to lead to the dismantling of the CIA, and a thorough rethinking of what constitutes true Homeland Security.  However, those most responsible – President Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, John Brennan, the psychologists John “Bruce” Jessen and James Mitchell, John Yoo, David Addington, and the team of lawyers who justified torture, the Congresspersons who knew this was happening, President Obama who has tried to minimize it, Jim Clapper, Michael Hayden and others who continue to mislead the nation about its effectiveness  --- all of them –alongside the  military and intelligence chain of command ought to be charged with treason.  All of them have committed crimes against the American people.  But none of them will be held accountable.

The brutal reality is that the United States of America has become a lawless nation. Its people, a once promising democracy, are now submissive, pacified and inattentive to what is done in their name. Whether it be the thieves of Wall Street who plunder the national treasury ---again with no one held accountable for crimes, or an increasingly militarized domestic police who act more like an occupying military that provokes, arrests, and kills citizens without accountability to law, or the Executive and legislative branches who have given a blank check to the military to pillage, invade and commit acts of
terror throughout the world ---- ours is a nation of lawlessness.

Although grateful that the Democratic Party, as beholden as it is to Corporate and military interests, nevertheless released this highly edited, censored report ---had they waited --- which was the President’s wish --- the Republican Party would have silenced it.

This ought to be a day of sorrow and shame --- or, in the words of the Church, a day of repentance.   But it won’t be.  Already the spin cycle of corporate news, the propaganda of both political parties, the administration, and the military and intelligence agencies, has done its work of disinformation, manipulating the public into confusion and fear.  There is no sign of repentance nor remorse -- as evidenced by the lack of accountability – thus increasing the likelihood that 2015 will see an increase in the atrocities stated above as the iron fist of a lawless and unaccountable corporate-militarism closes its iron fist even further around the throat of an “I can’t breathe” American people.  Indeed the war has come home --- the enemy “out there” is becoming the enemy “right here”, any citizen that tells the truth, that protests the sin, that raises a voice against the continuing mythical war on terror is becoming a “threat” to the State.

From the perspective of Christian faith, the role of the Church, in its own last gasps of moral clarity, ought now to see clearly that we are moving into a time of great moral squalor. We ought to be teaching our congregations to discern the “signs of the times”.  That is, we are no longer living in a democracy, but an oligarchy, no longer a nation of laws, but a nation of permanent war, no longer free, but increasingly constricted.

Therefore, in the name of Jesus who himself was arrested, tortured and killed by the State, it is my hope that Christian leaders will address the State and demand:

 1.)  That President Obama end  the official “state of emergency” and “Continuity of Government” operations that were put into effect after 9/11.

2.)  The release of Chelsea Manning and the dropping of all charges against Edward Snowden, and other truth-tellers who have released illegal state secrets.

3.)  The dismantling of the CIA as a consequence of its pattern of lying to the American people.

4.)  The immediate closing of GITMO and the giving back of the land to Cuba as an act of penance.

5.)  The immediate end of solitary confinement in domestic prisons, as a prelude to a complete overhaul of our own domestic (racist) penal system.

6.)  The severing of the link between local policing and military armament.

7.)  The prosecution of the leaders who have broken domestic and international laws.

8.)  The demand that the President appoint an Independent Prosecutor, with subpoena powers, to investigate fully the chain of command that allowed these abuses to become policy.   Perhaps that Prosecutor should be under the protection and authority of the United Nations.

Further, again in the name of the One crucified yet risen, it is my hope that Christian churches will:

1.)    Open our buildings for communities to congregate for the purpose of organizing resistance and protest to the lawlessness of the State.

2.)    Renounce American imperialism, and its wars.  Teach your parish the ways of nonviolent resistance.   Renounce Christian participation in the Armed Forces and Intelligence agencies of this lawless State.

3.)    Use sacred story to connect the dots between imperial war, and domestic repression.  The Church should teach its congregation to act as truth-tellers, and defenders of those who are called to protest and resistance.  All of this as acts of penance, a true remorse for betraying the idealism of the American
Revolution against empire.

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