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State Department Feared Torture Report Would Spark Fury. Where Is It?


The release of this report was delayed in part because of fear. Top U.S. officials warned the report could trigger a violent response. And the United States beefed up security at embassies and consulates around the world. NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us now from London to report on what the response actually was. And, Ari, has there been a violent reaction?

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Well, so far, no. It's actually been pretty quiet around the world. I've been talking with some of our colleagues in some of the hotspots, and Sean Carberry in Afghanistan says it's been really quiet there. He's in Kabul. He says things could still bubble up over the coming days, especially in a place like Afghanistan, news takes time to spread. Troublemakers could still decide to use this as an opportunity to stage something. And according to the group's site, which tracks jihadist activity on Twitter, there have been battle cries online and calls for retaliation, but, so far, we just haven't seen that materialize into real-life demonstrations and violence.

INSKEEP: Any idea why?

SHAPIRO: Well, I ask that question to NPR's Deb Amos, who is in Erbil, Iraq. She said Iraqis have been living with the story of torture for more than a decade. And to some extent, while the revelations in this report add to what is known, they don't really rewrite the overarching narrative of what the U.S. did.

INSKEEP: So no violent response or very little violence response as you and I are talking - but what about a verbal response? What are people saying around the world about this information?

SHAPIRO: Well, I'm here in London, and the papers here all lead with this story. One headline says, "Torture: The Stain On America." Another says, "America's Day Of Shame." And we are seeing similar coverage across the West. In Russia and China, analysts say this report exposes U.S. hypocrisy on human rights. Though high-ranking officials there and the government have not commented on it. Around the world, human rights advocates are calling for prosecutions. At the same time, globally, we are seeing some praise of the Obama administration for making this report public.

INSKEEP: OK. Ari, thanks very much.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Ari Shapiro in London this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
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