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JOINS US at a Press Conference and Vigil - 10 a.m., Friday, December 19, Outside the Governor's Mansion

North Carolina Stop Torture Now will host a press conference and vigil to call upon North Carolina’s elected officials to investigate our state’s role in torture in light of Senate torture report revelations, beginning at 10 a.m., Friday, December 19. Across the street from the Governor’s Mansion, 200 North Blount St. in Raleigh.

Featured Speakers Scheduled are:

Rev. George Reed, Executive Director, North Carolina Council of Churches -- Raleigh.
Prof. Deborah Weissman, Reef Ivey II Distinguished Professor, UNC School of Law -- Chapel Hill.
Matthew Hoh, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy; veteran of the Marine Corps and the Department of State; former Director of the Afghanistan Study Group -- Raleigh.
* Chuck Fager, North Carolina Stop Torture Now, retired Executive Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville -- Durham.


The recently released summary of the Senate torture report validates what concerned Tar Heels have been saying since 2005:  North Carolina has long been deeply involved in clandestine CIA torture and rendition.  At least 17 of the CIA detainees named in the Senate report were secretly transported by Aero Contractors aircraft based in Smithfield or Kinston, NC.

However, at least 14 more named survivors and victims transported to torture by the CIA using Aero Contractors planes and pilots do not appear in the released portion of the Senate report.

“We call on federal and North Carolina authorities to immediately launch vigorous investigations into the illegal torture-related activities and conspiracies now established as taking place in North Carolina,” said Chuck Fager of North Carolina Stop Torture Now.

Americans Are Paying Attention: Take Action on Torture Now!

"Does torture work? as a question needs to be put in the bin with 'Is slavery commercially feasible?' and 'Can genocide help overpopulation?'"
  -- Dec. 10, 2014 tweet from Hend, @LibyaLiberty

The world is digesting appalling revelations from the Senate torture report.  Release of the redacted executive summary is a historic step forward.  Those who have compiled the report and fought for its partial publication should be saluted for their tenacity and courage.

However, much information remains secret, including important facts about detainees and flights that will help to expose North Carolinas extensive role in extraordinary rendition.  Sen. Richard Burr has denounced the report as a partisan witch-hunt and proclaimed that under his leadership, the Senate Intelligence Committee will ignore the report and move on.

What we can do:

1. Thank outgoing Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein, for release of the summary.

2. Contact Senator Richard Burr, incoming Intelligence Chair, here.  Suggested talking points:

a. Torture is a moral issue.  Exposing it is not smearing Bush -- there is blame to go around.  Torture is always wrong.

b. Opposition to torture should unite Republicans and Democrats.

c. Release the full report and help us address North Carolinas role.  All the survivors and families of victims deserve justice!

3. Write letters-to-the-editor.  This is the time to keep pushing!


At least 16 of the 34 rendition survivors and victims transported for the CIA by Aero Contractors were named in the Senate report, validating what we have contended since 2005 that North Carolina is deeply involved.  Yet the words 'North Carolina' appear nowhere in what was released on Dec. 9.  The CIA and perhaps other government entities maintained vital rendition infrastructure in our state for many years.  Our public airports functioned as aviation hubs to transport incapacitated detainees to secret prisons where they were held indefinitely and interrogated under often-brutal torture.

The names of 119 CIA detainees appear in Appendix 2 of the summary, and we learned some of those names for the first time on Tuesday.  Yet other survivors of CIA extraordinary rendition are not on the published list, including: 

  • Mohamed Bashmilah, a Yemeni citizen held and tortured in secret CIA detention, likely at one or more black sites
  • Khaled al-Maqtari, a Saudi held in secret U.S. detention in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Abou ElKassim Britel, an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent rendered by the CIA for torture in Morocco
  • Fatima Bouchar and Abdel Hakim Belhadj, held in the CIA’s Thai black site and one of two dissident Libyan families rendered to Libya by the CIA and MI6
  • Khadija al Saadi, daughter of Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi, rendered with her family at age 12 by the CIA and MI6 from Hong Kong to Libya
  • Ahmed Agiza and Mohamed el-Zery, two Egyptian asylum-seekers rendered by the CIA from Sweden to torture in Egypt
  • Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was rendered by the U.S. for torture in his native Syria

Out of 34 known named survivors and victims of CIA rendition who were transported by Aero Contractors, the CIA's Smithfield-based aviation service, 18 do not appear in the released portion of the Senate report.

As the international human rights organization Reprieve commented, "This is a good start, but it is far from the whole picture.  The names of many victims of rendition and torture are absent."

Can we expect that incoming Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) will act for torture transparency?  When asked if he saw any kind of follow-up to the report, Sen. Burr told McClatchy, "No.  Put this report down as a footnote in history."

Sen. Burr also called the report "a blatant attempt to smear the Bush administration" and "flawed, biased, and political in nature."

Taking Responsibility for Extraordinary Rendition and Torture: The Case Of Abou ElKassim Britel

Portrait of Abou Elkassim Britel in 1997Since September 11, 2001, more than 135 people have been seized, abducted and tortured as part of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. Abou ElKassim Britel is one of them.

"The wrong has been done, sadly. What I can ask now is some form of reparation, so that I can have a fresh start and try to forget, even if it won’t be easy ... I want an apology; it is only fair to say that someone who has done something wrong must apologize." – Abou ElKassim Britel

Mr. Britel Portrait taken 2011Most recently, as repuplished in early October editions of the Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer, Britel wrote to reporter Renee Schoof with the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers:

"I would like recognition of the injustice I went through ... (m)y honor and my dignity have been violated. I was deprived of family and freedom, or a future and career. I returned home after a 10-year exile with my health and mental state ruined, with no work and with much suffering."

Brital also said that the governments of Pakistan, Italy and the United States should be pressed as well, "(I)n the hopes that it would bring an end to the abuse and torture."

North Carolina Stop Torture Now and a team of law students led by Professor Deborah Weissman in the Human Rights Policy Seminar at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill seek official acknowledgement, apologies, and restitution for Mr. Britel for three reasons: (1) Simple humanity requires it; (2) Americans do not condone the terrible human rights abuses perpetrated in our names; and (3) these actions are essential to ensure that such wrongs never happen again.

Mr. Britel has published a powerful reminiscence of just a small part of his experience as a captive, learning to view the cockroaches who shared his food as friends.

A summary of his and his family's ordeal is available here and an electronic/online petition is available here. His wife maintains a blog with an English transaltion available here.

Or, you can print this version. and circulate it among your friends, faith or activist community and return it to:

Britel Apology ♦ NC Stop Torture Now ♦ P.O. Box 12707 ♦ Raleigh, NC 27605
Or, scan and e-mail to:

JOIN US at our Next Meeting:

3-5 p.m., Sunday, December 14, 2014
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh
3313 Wade Avenue in Founder's Hall (beneath the sanctuary)

Help Us Raise $10,000 to Continue our Work.

Ours is an entirely grassroots effort. We have no office and no paid staff.

Volunteers coordinate our efforts, maintain this Web site, develop and maintain contacts with allies, and respond to phone calls and e-mail inquiries.

The button below will take you to our secure payment page hosted by PaySimple.


You DO NOT NEED TO ESTABLISH AN ACCOUNT at PaySimple to make a one-time donation. On the landing page simply click on the button labeled: "Click Here to Pay Now"

Secure Payments

We also welcome checks payable to:

North Carolina Stop Torture Now
sent to:
P.O. Box 12707
Raleigh, NC 27605

What will these funds help us do?

• We are part of a national campaign to gain public release of a still-secret – and by all accounts &ndaash; devastating report on the CIA torture program by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Our own U.S. Senator Richard Burr sits on this committee.

• We’re also supporting an historic first: a non-governmental North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. An independent team is laying the groundwork for this non-partisan, blue-ribbon panel to subject our state to sober, public scrutiny for its role in torture. NC Stop Torture Now helps by collecting endorsements from hundreds of North Carolinians.

• Our "Cleaning Up Johnston County" campaign inspires human rights activists far and wide! The NC Department of Transportation approved us to adopt the highway in front of the Johnston County Airport, home of the torture flights. Our quarterly litter clean-ups educate the public and beautify the environment.

In addition, we are in regular contact with survivors who were secretly rendered to torture in NC-based aircraft and have never received a word of acknowledgement, apology, or restitution from the U.S. government. Their lives were shattered. This national shame cannot be swept under the rug.


Coordinator Christina Cowger asked to meet with Aero employees


Join our listserve to learn of other upcoming opportunities.

Visit the contact page to learn how.


Please report broken links or other concerns.
updated 13 December 2014, JMcI

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