January 10: On Thursday morning activists affiliated with the Washington Peace Center and others held a vigil outside the main gates of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia.

“We are here as citizen witnesses speaking out as reports continue to reveal the role of the CIA in the rendition of people who are clandestinely abducted, held without charge, denied access to lawyers or loved ones, abused, and tortured in places like Guantanamo and Bagram in Afghanistan...” said Malachy Kilbride, Washington Peace Center board president.

News reports have divulged that the CIA has covered up its role in the possible use of the torture technique known as water-boarding by destroying video evidence against apparent congressional opposition.

“I’m so tired of the illegal activities that the government is doing. I feel it is my responsibility to come from Wisconsin to stand with others against the illegal and immoral activities of this government…” said Joy First who traveled from Madison, Wisc., to participate in the CIA vigil and the January 11 International Day To Shut Down Guantanamo.

Articles in The Washington Post have recently reported that Democrat and Republican congressional leaders were aware that detainees have been water-boarded and have supported it for years.

“The government proclaims torture is acceptable and necessary and that is its humans rights policy…” said Louis Wolf, of Covert Action Quarterly, and that he attended the vigil “…to also pay homage to Philip Agee who died this past Monday.” Agee was the former CIA official who revealed the role of the CIA in the overthrow of governments in several Latin American countries and the agencies complicity in and practice of torture.

Those attending the vigil at the CIA expressed personal reasons for their presence at the gates. Pete Perry of Washington Peace Center said he was there because “I know several torture survivors and that I am representing them at the gates of this nefarious institution.”

“I came to the CIA this morning to support our brothers who are being tortured in mind and spirit” stated Eve Tetaz of Washington DC.

Both Democrats and Republican congressional leaders have also been given CIA tours of places like Guantanamo where some detainee lawyers have said their clients are abused and have been tortured.

Washington Peace Center activists will participate in the Friday January 11 “International Day To Shut Down Guantanamo” protests organized by Witness Against Torture.

“Whether it is the US-run Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, places like Bagram, or secret black sites supported by the CIA people must openly and actively dissent against these illegal and immoral policies of our government. I hope people will join in the International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo, places like it, and end torture forever” said Kilbride of the peace center.

The Washington Peace Center organized a vigil which closed the main gates of the CIA during Torture Awareness Month in June of 2007. It was the first time in almost 20 years the gates had been closed by activists.

The Washington Peace Center supports the International Day To Shut Down Guantanamo and urges people to come to Washington DC to participate on January 11 or to organize events and actions in their own communities.