Accuracy in Media

Washington, D.C. radio talk show host Julian Tepper was sent an email about a local conference being sponsored by a group opposed to torture called the Washington Religious Campaign Against Torture. The campaign declared, “Our goals are to stop U.S.-sponsored torture, including the practice of rendition and the use of secret prisons, and to hold the perpetrators of U.S.-sponsored torture accountable.” Tepper asked a spokesman for the group to provide some facts backing up these charges. He asked for:

  • “The names and positions (or as much as you know about their identities if you do not know either a name or a position) of persons whom you deem to be perpetrators of torture sponsored by the United States. I’m not asking you for every name/position. Perhaps just those who comprise in your opinion the ten most horrible perpetrators.

  • “As to each perpetrator whom you name, please let me know the specific act(s) of torture that he or she committed or sponsored and the date and location of each such act.

  • “In connection with rendition, itself, that is, moving prisoners to certain locations, please let me know what about rendition is torturous, including, if any, the acts of torture that occur in the process of carrying out the rendition. Again, I’m not asking for every act. And again, the ten most horrible will suffice, along with the date and place, so far as you know.

  • “As to secret prisons, please let me know the location of, say, five of the secret prisons? If, as may be the case, you are unaware of their location, please let me know the name and position of one or two of the highest ranking persons of any government who has, in specific terms, confirmed the existence of secret prisons.”

A spokesperson for the group said that she was not able to answer the questions “because of all the work we have to do preparing for the conference.” She suggested that Tepper visit the group’s website. Tepper responded that he had checked the website before sending his email asking for the information. “I did look,” he said. “It was not there.”

Tepper also replied: “I am even more surprised by your remark that because of conference preparation you are unable to email to me the information that I asked for, information that your organization must have readily at hand, given its premise, purpose and program.”

Perhaps these groups are making charges without evidence.

Julian Tepper’s show airs 8-10 p.m. EST on WTNT-AM, 570 on the AM dial, in the Washington, D.C. area. I appear as a regular guest during the 9:30 p.m. segment.

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