News Release

Responses to Bush’s Claim: “We Do Not Torture”

President Bush was asked today: “Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?”

Bush replied: “…We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture….”

MICHAEL RATNER
President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ratner is co-author of the book Guantánamo: What the World Should Know. He said today: “Of course they torture. First the administration defined torture so narrowly that torture according to them was not torture — but of course it was. And now that the administration has broadened the definition again it still insists on employing coercive interrogation techniques that constitute torture — water boarding is a method they employ — they claim it merely amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment — but the world knows it is torture. And of course the administration insists on the right to use cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
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JENNIFER HARBURY
Harbury is the director of the Stop Torture Permanently (STOP) Campaign and author of the recent book Truth, Torture, and the American Way. She said today: “The photographic evidence from Abu Ghraib, reports from human rights organizations, declassified U.S. government documents and various media accounts show that the U.S. government is in fact illegally torturing people in violation of both international law and domestic U.S. law.”
Harbury’s husband Efraín Bámaca Velásquez was secretly detained and tortured to death in Guatemala in the early 1990s. Her long efforts to save his life led to the official disclosure that his killers were Guatemalan intelligence officers serving as paid CIA informants or “assets.”
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KEVIN MURRAY
Murray is director of advocacy and communications for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights organization. He said today: “Incredibly, President Bush continues to assert publicly that the United States does not use torture while his administration’s behavior proves just the opposite. The president has threatened to veto the annual defense spending bill if it includes a Senate-approved amendment to prohibit torture. And Vice President Cheney is pressuring Congress to exempt the CIA from any anti-torture legislation.

“Moreover the use of torture as an interrogation technique does nothing to aid the war against terrorism. The reality, as evidenced over the past two years by the war in Iraq, is that U.S.-sponsored torture — whether committed by the CIA, the U.S. military, or by proxies in other countries — does not yield reliable intelligence, encourages anti-American hatred, and endangers our own soldiers if they should become prisoners.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167