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.