Recommendations for Federal Government

To enhance transparency and promote accountability for the RDI program:

1. Declassify the entire Senate Select Committee Report (SSCI Report) on the Detention and Interrogation Program with minimal redactions.

     2. Conduct a thorough investigation into the CIA program of rendering individuals to foreign governments for torture (which was not covered by the SCCI report), including information regarding the chain of command and structure of the program.

     3. Request that foreign governments that participated in the RDI program by receiving, detaining, or interrogating rendered prisoners (all of which was outside the focus of the SSCI report) provide records to help understand the scope of renditions to foreign custody, who was rendered, where and how long they were held, and what was done to them.

     4. Declassify and make public information about the role of Aero Contractors, Ltd. (and other North Carolina-based contractors) in the RDI program, the nature of any contracts or directives they had, and what specifically they were requested to do.

     5. In all government investigations of the RDI program, including those conducted previously and going forward, make any findings public and available widely on the web, to the extent possible.

     6. Declassify and make public information about the training on SERE techniques that took place at Fort Bragg, and the ways in which those trainings contributed to abuses in Guantánamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

     7. Thoroughly investigate and prosecute any acts of torture or conspiracy to commit torture that are or have been identified, including those committed by government officials and policymakers regardless of their rank and status, as required by the United States’ international law obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).

     8. Stop asserting the “state secrets” privilege to prevent legitimate legal claims from being heard.

To provide acknowledgment, redress and reparations:

1. Acknowledge and apologize for the harms that have resulted from the RDI program in a way that avoids re-traumatizing survivors and victims’ families.

     2. Provide reasonable reparations for survivors of the RDI program and victims’ families (for medical care and rehabilitation, language training, access to education, resettlement of family).

     3. Work with countries where former detainees now reside to ensure they can access adequate medical care and are provided meaningful work opportunities.

     4. Reinstate the position at the State Department responsible for detainee transfer out of Guantánamo.

     5. Discontinue pressure on foreign nations that have received detainees to withhold from them, without compelling rationale, identity and travel documents.

To prevent this from happening again:

1. Provide government-wide training about the illegality of torture, its ineffectiveness, and its costs to national security.

     2. Ensure interrogations are carried out in ways that are both effective and non-coercive, consistent with the recommendation of the High Value Interrogation Group (HIG). Train military and civilian interrogators accordingly.

     3. Establish a Special Inspector General for the prevention of torture with the authority to investigate across the entire federal government.

     4. Strengthen laws regarding the use of private contractors, including requiring transparency in their operations (e.g. requiring that their work for the government is subject to Freedom of Information Act requests).

     5. Provide guidance on the obligations of state and local authorities to assist in carrying out obligations under CAT and ICCPR.

     6. Establish a comprehensive study on the effects of the torture used in the RDI program to understand the long-term impact, including the extent of the human and security costs.

     7. Institute whistleblower protections to enable those with knowledge of illegal acts in the Government to come forward, including the following:

  • Examine and remedy perverse incentives against speaking up.
  • Institute legal protections for anyone who blows the whistle on torture.
  • Set up government-wide awards to acknowledge those who stand up to cruelty.

  • Recommendations for State and
    Local Governments and
    Law Enforcement Officials

    To enhance transparency and promote accountability for the RDI program:

    1. Establish a governor-led task force to investigate the role of Aero and other private contractors operating in the State during the period in which the RDI program was operational (2001 - 2006) and make the results available to the public.

         2. Submit a formal request to the Federal Government asking for details on the role of Aero (and other North Carolina based private contractors) in the RDI program.

         3. Pass legislation strengthening North Carolina state law surrounding private contractors, using lessons learned in the above investigations. Include the following:

  • a. Require private contractors to comply with all state, federal, and local laws including a prohibition on private contractors participating in inhumane or unlawful transport and treatment of detainees.
  • b. Authorize suspension of support to contractors that have or are accused of violations of state, federal and international law.
  • c. Require a response to reasonable requests for information on private contracts with the Federal Government.
  • 4. Investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law anyone who violates or violated North Carolina law that is designed to protect against torture and abuse, including laws that criminalize kidnapping, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and conspiracies to commit such unlawful acts.

         5. If law enforcement personnel empowered to investigate fail to do so, enact in law a specific mandate for the Attorney General to convene a grand jury for investigating and prosecuting conspiracy to kidnap for torture.

         6. Conduct a financial audit of Aero Contractors, Ltd. to determine profits made from complicity in RDI.

    To provide acknowledgment, redress and reparations:

    1. Acknowledge via a public statement from the Governor and Attorney General that the events of rendition, disappearance, and torture took place, note violations, and apologize to the survivors and victims’ families.

         2. Establish a permanent site in the state or incorporate into an existing site (museum, library, etc.), a place where the story of the RDI program, with emphasis on the victims, can be told and education materials made available.

         3. Designate, via legislation, a day for North Carolina to remember the survivors of U.S. torture, specifically the 49 harmed with state resources.

         4. Establish a marker or monument to those harmed by North Carolina’s involvement in torture (e.g., the Highway Historical Marker Advisory Committee could recommend a plaque of acknowledgment in Johnston County).

         5. Work with health professionals, including North Carolinians, to develop ways to offer meaningful treatment to RDI survivors.

    To prevent this from happening again:

    1. Support the establishment of a torture survivor center in the state for refugees and asylum seekers.

         2. Explore partnerships with North Carolina universities, Red Cross and/or hospitals with programs to educate citizens on human rights and torture.

         3. Pass legislation (including strengthening private contractor laws noted above) that prevents North Carolina from ever being used again to support illegal and inhumane policies such as torture and rendition and instead fosters an ethical and pro-human rights business environment.

         4. Provide guidance on the obligations of state and local law-enforcement authorities to assist in carrying out obligations under CAT and ICCPR.

         5. Call for active citizen engagement in the issue, such as by supporting programs that promote human rights and educate the public about the moral and security costs of torture.

         6. Adopt policies by airport authorities that prohibit participation by any airport tenants or users in aviation that furthers conspiracies to kidnap for torture or other human rights violations.

    Recommendations for Citizens

    1. Create a citizens’ fund to help the victims and their families who suffered from North Carolina’s involvement in RDI.

         2. Write to survivors and victims’ families with a commitment to renew pressure on federal and local authorities to officially acknowledge and provide appropriate redress for the RDI violations committed against them. Engage with elected officials on the State and Federal recommendations.

         3. Raise funds for a comprehensive public study of renditions to foreign custody.

         4. Establish a North Carolina university scholarship for the study of the nexus among torture, human rights, racism and national security.

         5. Help educate fellow citizens about the costs of engaging in a systematic secret torture program, and the dangers of allowing racism and dehumanization of Muslims to be used to justify policies of indefinite detention and torture.

         6. Organize a mobile exhibition about North Carolina’s involvement in torture to educate the public and start a dialogue on concrete steps that could be taken to make the state a human rights leader.