It’s Torture Awareness Month and I am waiting for justice


I am part of a group of people who, since last November, have engaged in a daily vigil for torture accountability at the Federal Building in Minneapolis. Usually it’s a solitary individual, symbolic not only of our small numbers but also of the vulnerability of the detainees held all across the planet.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and black hood, I hold my sign, which says, “I Am Waiting For Justice.” Some passersby half-jokingly shout out, “Aren’t we all!” Indeed we are.
WE ARE WAITING for a full accounting of what Major General Antonio Taguba called our “systematic regime of torture.” We need to know what was done and what is still being done in our names.
WE ARE WAITING for B. Todd Jones, the United States Attorney for Minnesota, to respond to our request for a meeting, so we can explain why we think he has jurisdiction and a legal and moral obligation to investigate allegations of torture.
WE ARE WAITING for Mr. Jones to remember he took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the President and not the Attorney General.
WE ARE WAITING for any United States Attorney to tell President Obama and Attorney General Holder that when judges, inspectors general and Pentagon investigators say we tortured people, we must investigate those claims.
WE ARE WAITING for Minnesota’s United States Senators and for Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s Congresspersons to open their eyes to torture and to respond to the issues raised in meetings we’ve had with their staff members since January. Silence is complicity.
WE ARE WAITING for the Obama administration to stop renditioning people to countries our State Department has criticized for abusing prisoners, to refrain from raising obstacles for torture victims who seek redress in our courts, and to begin the healing process by fully examining what we have done.
WE ARE WAITING for anyone in government, for any court, to say, “We are a nation of laws. We have signed treaties; we have passed statutes. Torture must be addressed.”
WE ARE WAITING for those who seek to protect our troops, strengthen our alliances, regain our credibility on human rights, and enhance our security to speak out in favor of accountability for torture.
WE ARE WAITING for the American public to rise up and say, “Not in our names. Investigate. Prosecute if necessary. Stop renditions. Allow redress for claims of torture to go forward.”
WE ARE WAITING, but our patience is wearing thin. Join us in telling our government the time for waiting is over.
June has been designated Torture Awareness Month by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Help keep torture from being swept under the rug. Join in the various free public “Torture Awareness Month” events sponsored by a coalition of anti-torture and human rights groups in the Twin Cities, including Amnesty International and the Women Against Military Madness’ “Tackling Torture at the Top” Committee.  Come to the daily vigils held each weekday at noon in front of the federal courthouse in Minneapolis, programs every Tuesday (7:00 p.m.) at the Mad Hatter’s Tea House in St. Paul, a June 23 United Council of Churches program at Richfield United Methodist Church (7:00-9:00 p.m.), a June 26 Center for Victims of Torture outdoor event honoring torture survivors (11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.), a June 26 showing of the film “Torturing Democracy” at Walker Church (7:00 p.m.), and a June 27 forum (3 to 5 pm) on torture at Plymouth Congregational Church. (For more information, see