Letter from Senator Carl Levan to IRSHAD’s Chairman

July 29, 2012


Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting me about the transfer of detainees to other nations and the allegations of mistreatment at their hands. I appreciate hearing your views on this very important matter.

It is unacceptable for the United States to hand detainees over to countries with a track record of torture. Delivering detainees to countries where they are likely to be abused undermines our moral authority as much as if we had carried out those abuses ourselves.

I am deeply concerned about any allegations of detainee abuse. Abuses such as those committed against detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq besmirch the honor of our military and our nation. Among our greatest assets as a nation are the moral values for which we stand. Any instances of detainee abuse tarnish these values and undermine our efforts to defeat those who seek to do us harm. Such abuse also increases the risk that other nations will abuse U.S. military personnel who may fall into their hands.

Restoring U.S. moral leadership requires that we reaffirm the moral values that are fundamental to our nation. I helped lead the fight to enact legislation reaffirming the prohibition against subjecting any person in the custody or under the physical control of the United States to “torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” This law sent an important message to the world that the United States will not permit, condone, tolerate, or encourage the kind of behavior so graphically depicted in the photographs taken at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. I also have worked hard to ensure continued congressional review of abusive treatment of prisoners at U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.

I believe our military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies need to be able to use the range of legally available options to prevent terrorist activities and root out terrorist networks. It is critical, however, that we ensure that individuals held in U.S. custody in connection with these efforts receive basic legal protections. Detaining anyone, incommunicado, and denying them access to legal counsel to enable them to challenge the legality of their detention violates the fundamental principles of our legal system and undermines our moral authority in the world.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, of which I am the Chairman, will continue its oversight of the treatment of detainees. I remain adamantly opposed to the use of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and will vigorously question our military and civilian leaders during committee hearings regarding any alleged abuse of detainees. I also will continue to encourage the leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, of which I am a Member, to conduct oversight of the treatment of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Carl Levin

About W

Wissam, Wesley, or simply W, is an educator, writer, entrepreneur, engineer, activist, ex-Imam, humanist, liberal thinker with interest and mediocre attempt at many takes of life. A modern confused Renaissance man, who uses doubt as a path for emancipation and science as a road towards enlightenment.

View all posts by W


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