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Nobel peace laureates seek report on torture

By Agence France-Presse in Washington | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-29 07:54

Obama urged to reveal details of CIA's actions after 9/11 attacks

Twelve Nobel Peace Prize laureates are urging President Barack Obama to disclose the CIA's use of torture on terror suspects since the attacks of Sept 11, 2001.

The potential release of a long-delayed Senate report about this "dark period" of US history has brought the country to a "crossroads", the Nobel laureates wrote in an open letter to Obama at the website

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner admitted in August that the US had engaged in torture. "We tortured some folks," Obama said at the time.

Nobel peace laureates seek report on torture

The White House is now engaged in tough negotiations with lawmakers over how much of the report on CIA torture should be declassified, with the intelligence agency insisting that agents' pseudonyms be blacked out.

"The open admission by the president of the United States that the country engaged in torture is a first step in the US coming to terms with a grim chapter in its history," the Nobel laureates wrote in their letter to Obama.

"It remains to be seen whether the United States will turn a blind eye to the effects of its actions on its own people and on the rest of the world, or if it will take the necessary steps to recover the standards on which the country was founded, and to once again adhere to the internatdiona1l conventions it helped to bring into being."

The laureates noted that many among them had seen the effects of torture in their own countries, or were themselves torture survivors.

After the 2001 attacks, the CIA rounded up dozens of people suspected of having ties to al Qaida and used so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on them, including sleep deprivation, waterboarding or shackling detainees in painful stress positions for long periods of time while naked.

When he acknowledged the CIA's acts of torture earlier this year, Obama also stressed that he banned the use of the enhanced interrogation methods as soon as he arrived at the White House in January 2009, and that there had been "enormous pressure" on law enforcement and national security in the wake of the Sept 11 attacks.

(China Daily 10/29/2014 page12)

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