Together, we’ve been fighting to hold the CIA accountable for torture
for over a decade. Thank you for engaging with us in the most recent
battle - to defeat the nominations of Mike Pompeo (torture apologist) to
be Secretary of State, and Gina Haspel (torture supervisor) to be CIA
Director. We lost a tough battle on Pompeo, but we’re fighting down to
the wire on Haspel. Chip and I have been up on Capitol Hill for many
meetings with Senate staff as part of a large coalition of human rights
and civil liberties groups. Her hearing will be on May 9, and we’re
organizing and participating in a series of actions on that day. And
we’ll definitely be asking you to take action again, as we make plans
for a national call-in day (date to be decided) to ensure that her
nomination is defeated.
Meanwhile, we’ve been working with local activists in Iowa and
Louisiana to defeat anti-protest bills in those states. In Iowa, despite
strong grassroots pressure to defeat the bill, corporate interests won
the day and on April 17, Governor Reynolds signed a bill to increase
penalties for protests at pipeline sites. A similar bill is making its
way through the Louisiana legislature, although activists have managed
to win amendments to make it less draconian.
Although Defending Rights & Dissent is a domestic civil liberties,
we recognize the threat allowing police departments to train with known
human rights abusers. US police are frequently criticized for acting
like an occupying army. Training with an actual occupying army will only
further this mindset amongst law enforcement.
Defending Rights & Dissent has deep concerns about the draft
Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) introduced on April
16. The Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the power to
declare war. Yet, the proposed AUMF would turn this on its head.