In 2007 the issue of torture made its way to the forefront of political current events. Leaked memos condoning harsh interrogation tactics in October were followed later that month by evasive testimony from Attorney General Michael Mukasey on the legality of waterboarding during his confirmation hearings. Then in December it was revealed that the CIA destroyed at least two video tapes depicting the brutal interrogations of two al-Qaida suspects.

As the reality of the Bush administration’s torture policy is unraveling on the world stage, what has clearly changed since the heinous photos of Abu Ghraib prisoners were released in 2004, is the public perception that torture is an act that only occurs when a few “bad apples” behave badly. With the help of diligent independent media makers such as Rory Kennedy, director of the Emmy award winning documentary Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, Americans are beginning to understand that the responsibility for recent U.S. sponsored torture goes straight to the top of the chain of command.

Shameless Plug: Working Films developed and coordinates the Ghosts of Abu Ghraib national community engagement and action initiative aimed at ending U.S. policies that sanction torture. The Campaign is a collaborative effort in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union, American Freedom Campaign, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Together, we are utilizing the film as a tool to build the momentum and support needed to stop torture in America’s name.

So, will the next President and Congress work to change the marred reputation of the United States and reverse US policies that support torture? That’s the aim of Human Rights First. Over fifty retired retired generals and admirals affiliated with Human Rights First, whose backgrounds range from combat operations to intelligence, law and medicine, are following the election trail to garner public attention and put pressure on the Presidential and Congressional candidates to take a stand against torture. Their key message is that torture is not an effective tool for gathering military intelligence. It puts U.S. soldiers at risk, it’s illegal, and the U.S. should not sanction it.

Support this effort by hosting a screening event of Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. Invite your elected officials! Together, we can keepend U.S. sponsored torture.

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