Monday, November 17, 2014

My Letter to Sen. Udall Asking Him to Release the Senate's Report on CIA Torture

The following was sent to Senator Mark Udall on the evening of November 17, answering the request of my fellow colleagues in Psychologists for Social Responsibility for psychologists to personally write to the senator, who has made some gestures relating to getting out the truth of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report on the CIA torture and rendition program. The report's release itself has been throttled, with the Senate leadership limiting any public access to an Executive Summary of the full 6,000+ page report, which itself has been withheld pending charges of CIA excessive censorship.

I can't say I am sanguine about the results of such an appeal, and at first I felt that it would only sow illusions to hope that Sen. Udall will do for the Senate report what Sen. Mike Gravel did for the Pentagon Papers so many years ago. But I have put aside my own political feelings for the sake of those who are and have been tortured, and their loved ones. Such evil must be stopped somehow. If there's a chance a U.S. Senator can help facilitate that, then I must surely ask.
Dear Sen. Udall,

I am a psychologist who has worked on torture issues for some years now. I found myself turning to such activism after my experiences working with torture survivors from other countries who had come to the United States seeking political asylum.

I can tell you there is no terror worse and as deeply damaging as torture. It destroys not only the souls of those who are victimized, but their families and the entire civil society that countenances such torture, whether directly or by failure to stop it, or to render justice.

U.S. society has already been terribly damaged by the adherence to torture. Practices amounting to torture have not yet been fully extirpated, as the members of the Committee Against Torture at the UN reminded us via their questions during the recent U.S. review.

It would be naive to think that even your release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's full report on CIA torture will be enough to undo the damage done by the turn to torture by the military and intelligence agencies in this country. But it would be a giant blow against those that support such barbarism.

I know that you personally would pay a heavy toll for taking such a step. It would be facile to say otherwise. But you do have a responsibility, one you took when you made an oath to the Constitution when you took office. The Constitution lies in tatters, shredded by policies the Founders of the Republic held anathema.

You can make a difference. This is what it means to stand at the apex of history. No one will likely remember if you fail here. But you will be a hero if you choose to stand on the side of those fighting against the forces of ignorance, prejudice, and blind vengeance.

The people of this country need to know about what was done in their names. I humbly ask that you help them.

Sincerely, Jeffrey Kaye, Ph.D.

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