With the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program on the horizon, Americans may finally learn what was done in their name. Unfortunately, many are inclined to favor torture based on the false belief that it makes us safer. This report will prove them wrong.
Alberto Mora, former General Counsel of the Navy, supports the release of the Senate report and has been an outspoken opponent of torture since December 2002. That’s when he learned of the physical abuse and degrading treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and began investigating.
After obtaining copies of memos and briefs authorizing “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding, stress positions, and hooding, Mora argued within the Department of Defense against these practices. And when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed a Working Group to establish new interrogation guidelines, Mora lobbied to prohibit torture, citing evidence that it was not only illegal but also ineffective. The military brass rejected his arguments, however, and implemented the “Torture Memos” without his knowledge.
Mora, who has worked with Human Rights First to advocate against the use of torture, will take his work one step further at the Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. There he will work with Douglas A. Johnson to lead the Cost and Consequences of Torture project, which will examine the consequences of U.S. interrogation policy on detained combatants during “the war on terror.” The project will combat the belief that torture produces useful intelligence.
Mora is one of the heroes who courageously stood up against torture. With this new project he will work to ensure that our nation never returns to this illegal and ineffective practice.