Group Works to End 'Torture Flights'

North Carolina Stop Torture Now is a grassroots coalition of individuals and faith, human rights, peace, veteran, and student groups from across the state dedicated to stopping torture everywhere,. Since 2005, they have worked to expose and end North Carolina’s central role in the ongoing U.S. torture program.

Their special focus has been on the “torture taxis” of Aero Contractors, Ltd. of Smithfield. Both are nominally private companies linked to the operation of aircraft in clandestine support of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. Extraordinary rendition is a phrase that disguises the kidnap, detention and torture of individuals alleged to be enemies of the United States, including those guilty of nothing other than being misidentified.

Jess Porta of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture speaks to the Wake LP meeting July 9.

The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture, a companion organization, was formed to seek accountability for the state's role in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program and justice for the victims of U.S. sponsored torture.

With guidance from locally and nationally recognized authorities on transitional justice and human rights, they're developing a citizen-led commission of inquiry to investigate.

Joan Walsh, of NC Stop Torture Now and Jess Porta,of the NC Commission of Inquiry told the Wake LP meeting July 9 that while these flights are run by the federal government, state officials are either unaware of, or complicit in the actions which may violate state and federal laws.

You can view a partial list of detainees who were disappeared and subsequently tortured at the Aero Flew Them page, or directly on this PDF document. Walsh noted that the CIA is Aero's only client.

In her talk, Porta pointed out that not only is torture morally wrong, it is ineffective, harms not only the person being tortured but the torturer as well, and ultimately harms our national security.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have blocked every survivor's quest for justice in U.S. courts and, to this day, no claim has had a fair and open hearing.

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