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Bishop urges US to take ‘clear stance against torture’

By on Friday, 4 April 2014

Bishop Pates, right (Photo: CNS)

Bishop Pates, right (Photo: CNS)

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has said he welcomes the possible release of a Senate intelligence committee report that says the CIA used torture techniques in interrogating some terror suspects after 9/11.

“It is time for the United States to take a clear stance against torture. Release of the full report on CIA interrogation practices will help our country strengthen its moral credibility,” said Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa.

His statement was released the day before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to declassify the summary and key findings of a 6,200-page report and make them available to the public.

He was also responding to a joint statement from two committee members, senators Susan Collins and Angus King, who said they would vote for declassifying the material.

Bishop Pates said Senate support for release of the report was needed to close a “shameful chapter” of US history.

The bishop has sent numerous letters to the Senate committee urging the public release of its report. His most recent letter said: “Only by acknowledging past practices can the United States move to regain the moral high ground as a protector and promoter of human rights.”

For Catholics, torture is “an intrinsic evil” and cannot be justified under any circumstance, he said.

According to the Associated Press, Senate investigators who prepared the report and CIA officials are at odds about its contents.

Ms Collins and Mr King said even if they did not endorse all of the report’s findings and “have some concerns about the process for developing the report”, they thought it was important it be released. They said they “remain strongly opposed” to using torture techniques, calling them “fundamentally contrary to American values”.

Following the committee vote, President Barack Obama must formally declassify it, then it will be released to the public.