Torture hearings this week
This week, Thursday Nov. 30, and Friday Dec.1, the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture will hold hearings at the Raleigh Convention Center on the realities and effects of the Bush-era rendition, detention, and interrogation (i.e., torture) program. Testimony will focus on the role of Aero Contractors Ltd., a CIA-front company still based in nearby Johnston County, that flew at least several dozen men to CIA black sites and to countries that routinely torture.
Twenty witnesses will testify before eleven commissioners at next week's hearings. Witnesses will include torture survivors/family members, members of the military, and professionals who work against torture and assist torture survivors.
Hearings are open to the media and the public, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The Raleigh Convention Center is located at 500 S. Salisbury St. Please see www.nccit.org for a one-minute video on the issue, details on the hearings, witness bios, an RSVP form that is recommended but not required, and a link to support a crowdfunding campaign.
This is a one-time opportunity to witness history being made in our state. You will be part of a significant step toward accountability for the decisions made 15 years ago to approve and promote the brutal interrogation of prisoners, and toward restitution for the horrors endured by so many innocent people.
Joan F. Walsh
The most imprisoned
The election of Donald Trump may be a blessing in disguise. We have refused to believe how racist were are as a country, but Trump has exposed it for all of us to see. It is time for a change.
Our system of bail is designed to keep the poor (mostly black and Hispanic) in jail until trial. Our constitution guarantees a speedy trial, but people can be kept there for two years awaiting trial and will often accept a plea to a lesser offense even if they are innocent.
We have seen mostly black people put in prison for marijuana sales or use for up to 20 years, but it is now a source of income when some states sell it to their residents. We are seeing opioid abuse, which is much more deadly and used mostly by white people in small towns who are given much lower sentences and in some cases are even treated for their addiction instead of incarcerated.
Why are we the most imprisoned country in the free world? Why are sentences so long compared to other countries? Why do we not provide more help to folk released from prison to try to help them keep from returning? Surely this would be more effective than paying over $30,000 a year to keep them im prison and putting some of their family members on welfare. Remember, our taxes pay for this gross level of waste. It is time for a change.
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