Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ex-CIA Analyst Faults U.S. Policy

Seminary Hosts Teach-In On Torture

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's use of intelligence to justify the Iraq war, told clergy members Wednesday that the United States' use of torture on prisoners in its custody amounts to war crimes.

"Let's not mince words - the U.S. has launched a war of aggression, which is a violation of international law," McGovern said at an interfaith "teach-in" at Hartford Seminary. "Rendering, kidnapping, all the deceit that has gone on with this war - it's far from rotten apples at the bottom of the barrel; these rotten apples are at the very top."

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice, an interfaith group of clergy opposed to the war, invited McGovern to the teach-in, called "Torture is a Religious Issue." It was intended to help clergy devise a strategy to bring greater public awareness of torture against war prisoners.

The reported torture of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to countries that permit it, not only damages America's image and endangers American troops, McGovern said, but affects soldiers "physically, emotionally and psychologically - torture also brutalizes the torturer."

His talk was often as spiritual as it was political. "If we are true disciples of Jesus, we don't avoid evil, we confront it," he said.

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