David M. Crane will be joining other distinguished members of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture project for a conference call press event on March 15, 2017, at 10 a.m. (for details contact John Bagwell).

Other speakers will include Lawrence Wilkerson, Retired U.S. Army Colonel and former Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell; Rev. Ben Boswell, Senior Minister at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC; Jennifer Daskal, former counsel at the US Department of Justice and law professor at American University in Washington, DC; Christina Cowger, Chair of the Board of the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture; and Richard Mahoney, Arizona’s former Secretary of State, and current director of North Carolina State University’s School of Public and International Affairs (moderator). 

As the media advisory states: “In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the CIA secretly used North Carolina as a staging ground to launch flights which picked up suspected terrorists abroad and transported them to CIA ‘black site’ prisons in Eastern Europe and Asia. There, US personnel could operate beyond the reach of US law and use ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ or torture, to gather information and intelligence.

“Declassified documents and news reports have confirmed the CIA front company Aero Contractors used North Carolina’s aviation infrastructure and public airports to launch these ‘torture taxi’ flights as part of the United States’ Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program.

“This is the first non-governmental inquiry of its kind established to promote transparency and accountability for a state’s role in supporting the CIA’s unlawful RDI program.”

INSCT Affiliated Faculty Member David M. Crane, a resident of North Carolina, has agreed to serve as a Commissioner on the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT).

NCCIT is a non-profit, non-governmental organization created to address the issue of North Carolina’s role in torture and rendition and to craft a model of accountability “that can inspire efforts elsewhere.”

According to the NCCIT website, the state has been closely involved with extraordinary rendition efforts, such as the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program, which potentially violate national and international laws. The NCCIT writes that whether in the “black site” jails of proxy nations or in facilities belonging to the US, “captives were held secretly, denied access to families or lawyers, and tortured during their interrogations.”

According to NCCIT, North Carolina’s specific role in the practice of extraordinary rendition revolves around the presence of special forces in the state; its proximity to Langley, VA, the headquarters of the CIA; and the existence rural airports alleged to be staging posts for rendition initiatives. Several aviation companies in the state also are alleged to have helped the CIA with its RDI program and, in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, to have run the “Guantanamo Express” air route:

“So far, human rights investigators have documented that over 135 persons were subjected to extraordinary rendition. In at least 34 documented cases, North Carolina-based jets, pilots, and crews ferried detainees to torture sites for the CIA, and at least 18 of those cases appear in the executive summary of the Senate Torture Report.”

The NCCIT’s mission is to probe North Carolina’s role in CIA extraordinary rendition, enhance transparency, and help build momentum for genuine accountability for US torture, including acknowledgment and redress for the victims and survivors.

Over the next 18 months, NCCIT staff, board members, and volunteers will prepare briefing documents for commissioners, organize expert testimony, coordinate logistics for a hearing, and assist commissioners with publishing a report containing findings and recommendations.

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