A time comes when silence is betrayal . . . We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness so close around us.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture
(October 17, 2006) Over 200 people from various religious denominations and organizations demonstrated today in front of the White House against the President's signing into law the Military Commissions Act. Sponsored by the Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture (WRRCAT), the participants held what they called a "People's Signing Ceremony" outside the White House as the President conducted the official signing ceremony with Members of Congress inside the White House.
For complete press release, click here. For pictures that you can use, click here.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY CONFIRMS OUR WORST FEARS
(October 27, 2006) The Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture (WRRCAT) today released the following statement by Linda Gustitus, WRRCAT chair, in response to news articles about Vice President's Cheney's statements on "waterboarding":
"Vice President Cheney has confirmed our worst fears about the Administration's view on the type of interrogation techniques permitted under the newly passed Military Commissions Act. Speaking on a radio show broadcast in Fargo, North Dakota, the Vice President said two important things: 1) the U.S. does in fact waterboard and that waterboarding (referred to in the radio show as "dunking a terrorist in water") is a "no-brainer" for the Vice President in terms of his support for it as an interrogation technique; and 2) he, the Vice President, does not equate waterboarding with torture. This can only mean that under the Military Commissions Act, the Administration will continue to use waterboarding, despite the strong statements of Members of Congress that the Military Commissions Act prohibits it.
"In light of the Vice President's comments, the President is obligated to tell Congress and the American people exactly what he believes is and is not permitted as interrogation techniques under the Military Commissions Act. Congress should not rest on this matter until it has a straight answer from the President and confirmation from the Vice President that he agrees with the President's position. As for the rest of us, we must work to repeal the provisions of the Military Commissions Act that leave any opening for U.S.-sponsored torture and practices that encourage torture."
Charges Dismissed for All Protesters in Oct. White House Action
against Torture and Military Commissions Act of 2006
Washington, DC, Jan. 17, 2007-- U.S. Judge Deborah Robinson dismissed the government's case against all 16 defendants today charged with "interfering with agency functions." The 16 had attempted to present a "People's Signing Statement" opposing the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006 to President Bush at the White House on Oct. 17, 2006. That morning, Bush ceremoniously signed into law the act defendants said legalizes torture for the first time in our nation's history and broadly denies Habeas Corpus protection -- a right guaranteed ever since the Magna Carta of 1215.
At a news conference in front of the Jean Athey, co-coordinator of the Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture, stated, "The Military Commissions Act is an attack on basic American and religious values and the Constitution." She quoted a line from the Statement of Conscience of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture: "Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone involved - policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation's most cherished ideals."
"This is the most dangerous law ever passed in the U.S. in my lifetime," Athey said. "As a patriot and person of faith, it is my obligation to do everything in my power to get this law rescinded. It deeply shames our country."
Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, another defendant, said, "The Military Commissions Act is an affront to God's command to love one another, an assault on human rights, and a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. The real crime here is not the nonviolent action of the 16 people who were arrested at the White House for protesting the signing of this act into law by Mr. Bush, but rather the Bush Administration's policies of prohibiting due process and ordering torture."
The charge carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a fine of an unknown amount, plus court costs.
Organizations sponsoring the October protest and supporting the defendants include: The Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture (www.wrrcat.org), in coordination with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, DC Anti-War Network, Witness Against Torture, and PeaceAction Montgomery.