Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Action Needed Now to End Torture

Do you support a presidential executive order that will fully and completely, without exception, ban torture and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody, anywhere in the world, including the transfer of prisoners to another country for torture?

Then join The Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) and The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) in supporting the Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order On Prisoner Treatment, Torture and Cruelty.

Sign on at:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

anti-torture events Nov 1 in Tacoma, Nov 12 in Seattle

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Public Forum
The Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) presents "Torture, America's Moral Authority and the Question of National Security: A Pre-Election Ecumenical Forum".
Saturday, November 1, 2008, 7-9:15 p.m,
at St Mark’s Lutheran Church by-the-Narrows, 6730 N 17th Street, Tacoma
; co-sponsored with several TACOMA congregations and Assocciated Ministries. The forum will include a talk by WSRCAT co-founder, Prof. Rob Crawford, a panel of responders, and time for discussion.

Keynote Address
“Torture and the American Future- a Moral and Political Reflection”
Speaker: Professor Rob Crawford is professor of modern history and culture at the University of Washington, Tacoma, where he teaches, among other courses, Post 9/11 America and Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Since 2004, he has been active in the anti-torture movement and in 2006 co-founded the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Panel Discussion with Moderator: Mr. Rick Samyn, MSW, Pastoral Assistant for Social Justice Ministry - St. Leo Catholic Parish

Mr. Michael Collier is chair of First United Methodist MICAH Project and is a graduate from
Washington State University-Pullman. His post-graduate education included University of Washington, Concordia Lutheran College (Portland), Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Pauline Kaurin holds a PhD in Philosophy from Temple University, Philadelphia and is a specialist in military ethics, just war theory, philosophy of law and applied ethics. She is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at PLU and teaches courses in military ethics, warfare, business ethics and philosophy of law. Recent articles include: Nothing New Under the Sun At Guantanamo Bay: Precedent and Prisoners of War and When Less is not More: Expanding the Combatant/Non-Combatant Distinction.

Andrew Williams, a former Lt. commander in the U.S. Navy, is now a practicing Silverdale attorney. In the Navy he was a Judge Advocate who served both at Naval Submarine Base, King’s Bay, Georgia, and on the USS NIMITZ. Mr. Williams recently resigned his commission in the Individual Ready Reserve due to torture and other improprieties committed by U.S. forces.

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Public Forum
The Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) and
the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) issue
A Call to End All Torture!
November 12, 2008, 7:30–9 pm, in Seattle
University Congregational UCC, 4515 16th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA
Introduction: Rev. Monica Corsaro, CCGS
*Brig. General Stephen Xenakis, US Army (Ret). M.D. Psychiatrist, former Commanding General of the Southeast Regional Army Medical command; board member of NRCAT and works with Physicians for Human Rights on the issue of torture.
*Jorge Quiroga - Board member of CCGS, and an organizer for SEIU Local 6. He was tortured for three years in Argentina in the late 1970s.
*David Marshall, J.D. - Seattle attorney who represents three prisoners at Guantanamo in cooperation with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
*J. David Kinzie, M.D. - Professor of Psychiatry and Director of The Torture Treatment Center of Oregon.
*The Rev. Michael Denton - Conference Minister, Pacific North West Conference for the United Church of Christ.
WSRCAT and the Church Council have invited Washington’s Congressional representatives to this event. Rob Crawford, facilitator for WSRCAT, will present signatures calling for an Executive Order to Ban Torture Without Exception.
Co-sponsored by Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Torture is a Moral Issue
Revised August 26, 2008
by Tom Ewell

The well-established, universal ethic of our common humanity, honored by all major religions, is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," or its negative corollary, "Do not do to others what you would not want done to you." Every child, every person, in every culture, knows and understands at some level the crucial importance of this bedrock, moral principle that honors our capacity for empathy, recognizes our mutual humanity, and establishes the most basic guide for teaching us to treat each other with respect, kindness and civility.

Torture is a violation of this Golden Rule. We know we personally do not ever want to be tortured, and we do not want our soldiers or our family members or our friends ever to be tortured. We know it is wrong whenever and on whomever it is used, and we need to stop our government from trying to convince us otherwise. We need to unequivocally condemn its use and to reclaim an America that respects international law and honors the humane treatment of others as we ourselves want to be treated.

We should not even be discussing the possible use or expediency of torture. It seems so below the America we can truly believe in. Americans are better than being torturers or complicit with torture.

A friend of mine, Charles Arbuthnot, now deceased, was an army chaplain who survived the invasion of Italy in WWII and went on to represent the World Council of Churches in the formulations of the Geneva Conventions that made torture illegal under international law. When the use of torture at Abu Ghraib by American forces was disclosed he was heartsick. He told of having to constantly fend off the temptation facing our soldiers to torture prisoners. He argued that the brutality of torture negated everything we were fighting for. "If we allow our sense of national identity to be lowered to the point that we can justify the use of torture in the name of protecting our sense of freedom and democracy," he said, "we do not have a freedom and democracy worth protecting." When our nation openly condones torture, we are morally bereft criminals who arrogantly violate the Golden Rule and international law.

The disclosure that our government produced an official policy to justify torture is not only a betrayal the values fought for by heroic veterans like Charles Arbuthnot, it is a betrayal of all Americans who fight for and believe in the American democratic ideals of respect for our common humanity.

The use of torture is wrong. It must be condemned, stopped, forbidden, and if used, the offenders must be held accountable and prosecuted. Let us work together to stop this outrageous justification and use of torture as a national policy in our name.

Tom Ewell is a Quaker who lives in Clinton, Washington. He is an active member of the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture that is affiliated with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. For more information see or .

Tom Ewell

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We're on YouTube! + media coverage of Press Conf

Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) Press Conference held June 26, 2008, in Seattle

YouTube video, excerpts of Press Conference including Jorge Quiroga of St. Mary’s Catholic Church recounting his story of imprisonment and torture in Argentina (shown in photo), plus several local clergy (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish) and WSRCAT activists.

Article in Real Change Newspaper "Churches highlight torture: U.S. practices questioned through banner campaign." By Chantal Anderson, Contributing Writer

Radio Coverage on KBCS
"Religious Groups Call for an End to U.S. Sponsored Torture"
Today is the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture held a press conference in the Central Area neighborhood calling for an end to U.S. government sponsored torture.
by Reporter David Griffith
(direct link to audio)

Seattle Post Intelligence blog
"Is your church putting up an 'anti-torture banner'? Should churches be taking a position on this sort of issue?" Posted by Moises Mendoza at June 26, 2008 2:50 p.m. Plus 7 reader seven responses, all supporting churches taking an anti-torture stand.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Aaron Tovo Statement Against Torture June 26, 2008

Statement by Aaron Tovo, Seattle Coordinator of Amnesty International, at June 26, 2008, Press Conference held by Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT)

Amnesty International applauds the creativity and leadership demonstrated by members of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. When a government's leadership loses its moral compass, as ours has in its use of torture, then it is up to the citizens to lead the leaders back to the moral high ground. That is what this banner project is about. Americans want our government to Counter Terror with Justice, not with its own brand of terror.

Our government has violated not only its own laws but its very principles by denying basic human dignity and fair trials to torture victims in Guantanamo and its network of secret prisons. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that said Guantánamo detainees have a right to challenge their detention before a legitimate court. Sadly this is the third Supreme Court ruling against our government's policies in Guantanamo and previous rulings have been met with attempts by Congress and the White House to circumvent the rulings, denying basic due process to prisoners as young as the 15-year old Canadian Omar Khadr. Meanwhile the torture and ill treatment continue away from public scrutiny as the erstwhile "free press" is denied access to the prison network. Clearly our government's leaders have lost their way.

These banners call our attention to the basic moral imperative to treat all humans with basic dignity - not doing so denies our own dignity as well as the prisoners'. They are a much needed message to our government to Counter Terror with Justice because that has clearly been forgotten.

Speaker: Aaron Tovo, Coordinator of AI Local Group 4, Seattle
Group 4 Website:
AI on Torture:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rev. Rich Lang Statement Against Torture; June 26, 2008

Statement Against Torture; June 26, 2008
at Press Conference of Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture

Rev. Rich Lang
Trinity United Methodist (Ballard) Seattle

We are gathered here because as a nation we have crossed a line of evil that we had pledged we would never cross. Led by President Bush and descending throughout the military and intelligence agencies of our government, our national leadership is guilty of war crimes in the torture and abuse of prisoners and innocents. Our media is guilty of covering up these crimes through the sin of omission. Our people our guilty of supporting a government, both Democrats and Republicans, that knowingly continue policies that are internationally unlawful, and domestically treasonous.

Torture is a crime against humanity. It destroys both those who are tortured, and those who inflict the torture. Torture, the willed infliction of severe pain on helpless, vulnerable captives, leads inevitably to further and further cruelty until the ones who do the torturing become the very ones they hate. It seeps out of the torture room into the body politic and changes the character of the nation. We move from a people of optimistic idealism into the sewer of a people wallowing in fear, filth, despair, and cynicism.

As a Christian Pastor I am here to say that followers of Jesus Christ are forbidden to engage in, or support practices of torture. I am here to say that such activity is Demonic, and is a further crucifixion of Jesus himself. I am here to say that Christians are summoned by the Holy Spirit to publicly oppose the use of torture. For Christian soldiers or intelligence agents this means that in the name of Christ you must stand down and disobey your orders when called upon to break faith with God. For those involved in rendering prisoners to other nations for torture, in the name of Christ you must stand down, and disobey those orders. For Christian citizens, in the name of Christ, we must support those who are disobedient to the State but faithful to God. We must do all in our power, including our own civil disobedience, to expose the evil being down in our name.

As Christians and American citizens I appeal, as a Christian Pastor, that we renounce this activity of fascism, expose it to the light of day, and cast out those who have betrayed this nation, who have broken covenant with humanity, and who have opened up the gates of Hell on earth.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Who we are ... and our contact information

We are the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture

We go by the acronym WSRCAT

We are affiliated with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Which is also known as NRCAT (see


To contact us:

Rob Crawford: