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Amazon's 'The Report' Raises Questions about NC's Role in CIA Torture

Johnston (County) Regional Airport, where planes involved in a CIA secret rendition program took off between 2001 and 2006. (North Carolina Stop Torture Now)
Johnston (County) Regional Airport, where planes involved in a CIA secret rendition program took off between 2001 and 2006. (North Carolina Stop Torture Now)
October 28, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. – A pre-release screening of the upcoming film "The Report" will be held in Raleigh this coming Saturday.

The film, starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening, tells the story of the U.S. Senate investigation into a CIA torture program that involved secret renditions of people suspected of being terrorists in the years following the 9/11 attacks.

In 2006, news outlets revealed that planes taking off from Johnston (County) Regional Airport in Smithfield, N.C., were flying around the globe, snatching up detainees and taking them to secret prisons.

"Aerocontractors transported at least 49 individuals,” explains Catherine Read, executive director of The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. “The very process of being rendered onto the plane, where they didn't know where they were going, they were literally snatched off the street. That very process itself was torture."

A panel discussion will follow the screening, with speakers including U.S. Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, (ret.), chief of staff to Colin Powell when Powell was secretary of state, and Robin Kirk, co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center.

The event is sponsored by the NC No Torture project, a program of the North Carolina Council of Churches, and NC Stop Torture Now.

The film will officially be released by Amazon studios on Nov. 15.

Read says that following the attacks on 9/11, the government began what she calls a "global spider's web" of secret renditions, many of which relied on faulty intelligence.

She says countless questions remain nearly 20 years after the 9/11 attacks.

"The victims of 9/11 haven't seen justice from those who perpetrated it,” she states. “The damage continues to be felt from this engagement in the use of torture, secret prisons and rendition."

State Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange County, says North Carolinians should be concerned about the lack of transparency from state officials.

"We want us to be secure, but we want the steps that we take with our tax dollars to be effective and legal,” she states. “We are a democracy that protects individual liberty. When we pick up people illegally and torture them, we’re violating their individual liberty, we're violating our own principles."

Earlier this year, Insko introduced legislation that sought to prevent North Carolina's participation in future torture programs.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC