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Citizens’ group seeks prosecutions over CIA rendition program

RALEIGH, N. C. – the North Carolina state and local officials to prosecute the participants in a CIA program, which transferred terrorism suspects to secret locations where they were tortured, a support group looking to stir action on the former US policy is demanding.

Persecution is one of dozens of recommendations to be released Thursday by the private -, 11-member North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. The academics, lawyers, retired military officers and clerics that the self-named group held a public teach-in in Raleigh last year.

Such non-governmental research committees have no official power, although others managed to bring to the attention of American military atrocities in Vietnam and war crimes in Bangladesh in that country’s 1971 civil war.

The anti-torture activists now say that they want the government to the eligibility and compensation for those tortured. The state and the province of the legal authorities should also be the prosecution of the pilots and others involved in the transport of prisoners, since Washington is not under the “laws that criminalize kidnapping, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit such unlawful acts,” the group said.

In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists on the United States, CIA interrogators employed tactics, such as simulated drownings and mock executions which are now seen by many as a torture. A 2014 report released by the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, concluded that the agency understated the brutality of the techniques while exaggerating the value of the information obtained by the use thereof.

The group with the focus on North Carolina feathers of the reported involvement in the CIA programme of Aero Contractors Limited. The private airline, whose website says that it is caused by a “market for a reliable and discreet air,” operates from a county airport about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Raleigh and 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) east of Fort Bragg, the home base of the Army of the anti-terrorist Delta Force and other Special units.

Flights with Aero Contractors, delivered at least 49 people to secret CIA sites from Thailand to Poland or to foreign intelligence services for interrogation and possible torture, said the group’s report, which was based on the work of an academic in London University of Westminster, who studies the CIA program.

“Instead of the company Aero responsibility, in the State of North Carolina and Johnston County so far has actually approved of her activities. This support has the form of the host of the registered office of the company at the Johnston County Airport and the provision of various airport and other county services,” the report said.

The CIA, Aero Contractors president Dolph Overton IV, and other company officials not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment on the commission’s statements.

Neither North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, nor Gov. Roy Cooper, who served as attorney general for 16 years before Stein took last year, have given any indication that they wanted to explore the condition of the tapes with the CIA’s detention and interrogation program shuttered by President Barack Obama in 2009. Nor have the local officers of justice.

The spokespersons for Cooper did not respond when he was asked why he has not investigated or discussed North Carolina’s connections to the CIA program. “On the basis of our understanding of the situation, this seems to be a federal matter,” Stein spokeswoman Laura Brewer said in an e-mail. Cooper and Stein are Democrats.

The members of the committee and their supporters will press federal, state and local officials to recognize that the CIA program involved illegal actions that unnecessarily harm innocent people, former Guantanamo Bay lawyer and the commission co-chairman Frank Goldsmith said in an interview Wednesday.

“We want the government to come clean on both the federal government and the government,” says the Goldsmith, of Asheville.

The military prison Guantanamo in the possession of more than 700 men swept up by U.S. agencies and allies in an attempt to catch terrorists. By this summer, but all 40 were released by the Presidents George W. Bush, Obama, and Donald Trump, almost all of it without tasting. Fifteen men were designated as “high-value detainees, including five accused of planning and assisting the Sept. 11, 2001, the terrorist attack on the US.

These figures indicate that instead of keeping Americans safe as the defenders of the camps, the CIA program as a result of hundreds of people are wrongfully imprisoned, and needlessly abused, said the Goldsmith, who earned security clearances while the defense of the five detainees at Guantánamo bay.

“Most of these men had nothing to do with terrorism, they had nothing to do with 9/11,” he said. Cooper, Stein and other politicians have not taken action because they “realized that it was probably not politically popular, because of this deep-seated belief, widespread belief, that these people are really guilty of something or they would not have been arrested.”

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Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter http://twitter.com/emerydalesio . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio .

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