HB2417 Makes Torture and Enforced Disappearing a Crime in NC.
We want the bill to be heard in House Appropriations, a huge committee. EVERYONE statewide should call and/or email Rep. Mickey Michaux, chair of the Appropriations Committee, and ask that the bill be heard toward the end of June, or at the latest before the July 4 holiday. Rep. Mickey Michaux, 919-715-2528, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact your representative on House Appropriations and urge their support for HB 2417. Most state representatives are on this committee; its membership is here: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_6
Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper in support of the bill and ending North Carolina’s role in rendition and torture.
North Carolina is known worldwide as home base for the “torture taxis” of Aero Contractors, the CIA’s Smithfield-based aviation service. Further elements of the U.S. torture program were developed at Ft. Bragg, and rendition-linked planes continue to be operated out of Fayetteville by Centurion Aviation. The people of North Carolina need to stand up and say, “we do not want to host torture!”
The Federal government has failed to respond to state lawmakers’ repeated requests for investigation of Aero Contractors. The FBI received the legislators’ second request in October 2006, and asked the Department of Justice for guidance. None has been forthcoming. North Carolina’s Attorney General, Roy Cooper, has said he lacks the power to investigate Aero, and this bill gives him that power.
HB 2417 is a good thing for our armed service members. High-level officers are speaking out against the U.S. torture program, because it endangers our active-duty troops. According to Maj. General Antonio Taguba, who led the US Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib scandal: “[T]here is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” (Physicians for Human Rights report, “Broken Laws, Broken Lives,” http://actnow-phr.org/ct/O73SMTF15mAb/microsite
HB 2417 has been vetted by the NC Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission, which says it conforms to NC law. The Commission’s final report notes, “… the people of North Carolina do not condone torture and that it is contrary to who they are as Americans. They also expressed concern that it betrays American armed forces personnel who might become prisoners of war and be at risk of torture themselves.”
Christina Cowger – NC Stop Torture Now www.ncstoptorturenow.org
Video of Judiciary Hearing Approval – June 19, 2008: