Trump’s Female CIA director pick, ran the torture of dozens of people, detainees died

Discussion in 'Politics and the Topics of the day' started by muckraker10021, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. muckraker10021

    muckraker10021 Superstar ***** BGOL Investor

    Trump’s Female CIA director pick, ran the torture of dozens of people, detainees died
    She also tried to destroy video evidence of the torture of two suspects

    Gina Haspel

    by Alex Ward | Mar 13, 2018 |

    Gina Haspel — a CIA operative who oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and then helped destroy tapes of the interrogations — will likely be the next CIA director.

    On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced a major shake-up in his national security team: Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state, CIA Director Mike Pompeo heads over to lead the State Department, and Haspel — the CIA’s deputy director — will replace Pompeo as the head of the intelligence agency.

    If confirmed, Haspel would be the first woman to lead the CIA. She’s widely respected in intelligence circles and has spent more than 30 years in the CIA, working undercover for most of that time. But she remains a controversial figure for her years-long involvement in a wider CIA program that led to the torture of dozens of suspects, which included stuffing people into coffins or depriving them of sleep.

    Despite this, Trump clearly has confidence in Haspel, and she says she’s ready for her new role. “I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency,” Haspel said in a statement after the president’s announcement.

    Whatever reservations Trump may have had about torture, he’s set them aside to promote Haspel to lead one of America’s most famous agencies.

    Haspel’s long history with torture
    Haspel ran the CIA’s detention site in Thailand, the agency’s first overseas secret prison.

    It was there in 2002 that she oversaw the interrogation of two terrorism suspects. One was Abu Zubaydah, who, according to the New Yorker, “was tortured so brutally that at one point he appeared to be dead.” CIA operatives reportedly waterboarded Zubaydah 83 times and repeatedly slammed him into walls.

    The other, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, was also waterboarded in 2002 and is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    The CIA also videotaped the torture. The 92 tapes were held in a safe until the agency asked for their destruction in 2005. Haspel, who then worked out of Langley overseeing the CIA’s torture program, had her name on the cable that ordered their eradication. However, the CIA said at the time that Haspel’s boss, Jose Rodriguez,made the call. The Justice Department investigated the tape-destruction order but ultimately filed no charges.

    President Barack Obama ordered the closure of CIA black sites in 2009, but it’s unclear if Haspel’s nomination means they’ll make a comeback. Trump previously advocated for the return of torture against terrorism suspects until Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis convinced him otherwise.

    Haspel — who may get a lot of face time with the president delivering his daily intelligence briefing — may have the chance to change Trump’s mind on this controversial issue.

    Haspel has her detractors
    When Pompeo announced Haspel as his deputy in February 2017, civil rights advocates widely criticized her appointment.

    “Pompeo must explain to the American people how his promotion of someone allegedly involved in running a torture site squares with his own sworn promises to Congress that he will reject all forms of torture and abuse,” Christopher Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union told CBS News last year.

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and other Senate Democrats protested her appointment to the CIA’s No. 2 job last year. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who once led the committee, blocked Haspel’s promotion to lead the CIA’s clandestine operations because of her role in the torture program and involvement in the destruction of the tapes.

    But the latest pushback is bipartisan. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee and who was famously tortured in Vietnam, put out a less-than-positive statement: “Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process. I know the Senate will do its job in examining Ms. Haspel’s record as well as her beliefs about torture and her approach to current law.”

    Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), an Iraq War veteran, was critical of the Haspel nomination. “I voted against Mr. Pompeo’s nomination to be CIA director because he failed to express moral opposition to torture, but Ms. Haspel has done much worse,” Duckworth said in a statement. “Not only did she directly supervise the torture of detainees, but she also participated in covering it up by helping to destroy the video evidence. Her reprehensible actions should disqualify her from having the privilege of serving the American people in government ever again, but apparently this president believes they merit a promotion. I could not disagree more.”

    But even former Obama intelligence officials have previously praised Haspel. When Pompeo named her as his deputy director, former Director of National Intelligence James Clappersaid he was “very pleased,” and former acting CIA Director Mike Morell said, “I applaud the appointment.”

    As of now, there is no indication that the GOP-controlled Senate will block Haspel’s nomination, which has yet to be scheduled. But it’s likely that she will prove a divisive figure in an administration already filled with controversial leaders.


    The New C.I.A. Chief’s Black-Site Past

    From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior official overseeing a top-secret C.I.A. program that subjected dozens of suspected terrorists to savage interrogations, which included depriving them of sleep, squeezing them into coffins, and forcing water down their throats. In 2002, Haspel was among the C.I.A. officers present at the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda suspect who was tortured so brutally that at one point he appeared to be dead.

    On Tuesday, the Trump Administration announced that Haspel would become the C.I.A.’s new Director.

    It appears that the debate about torture in the President’s mind, if there ever was one, is over.

    Haspel, a career C.I.A. employee, took part in another of the agency’s darkest moments: the destruction, in 2005, of video tapes of the interrogation of Zubaydah and a second suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, at whose torture she was present, three years before.

    John Sifton, a senior official at Human Rights Watch, said the significance of Haspel’s appointment lies in the fact that she was intimately involved in the secret C.I.A. program known by its initials, R.D.I.—rendition, detention, and interrogation. Through the program, the C.I.A. not only tortured suspects but kidnapped them from various places around the globe and often delivered them to third-party countries that tortured them.

    “You are putting a person in a leadership position who was centrally involved in an illegal program,” Sifton told me. President Barack Obama ordered the closure of the secret prisons, or black sites, in 2009.

    A former government official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, said that the promotion of Haspel amounted to the C.I.A.’s revenge. “The agency is giving the finger to anyone who was ever critical of the program,” the former official said.


    GAMETHEORY Well-Known Member BGOL Investor

    BREAKING NEWS: Old stupid white guy fires old white guy from job, replaces him with a younger stupid white guy.
  3. muckraker10021

    muckraker10021 Superstar ***** BGOL Investor

    Washington Breaks Out the “Just Following Orders” Nazi Defense for CIA Director-Designate Gina Haspel
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    “We did call her Bloody Gina,”, “Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force … there was a group of officers in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, when I was serving there, who enjoyed using force. Everybody knew that torture didn’t work.” Kiriakou asked, “Was it moral, and was it ethical, and was it legal? Very clearly no. But Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information.”

    March 15, 2018 |

    During the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, several Nazis, including top German generals Alfred Jodl and Wilhelm Keitel, claimed they were not guilty of the tribunal’s charges because they had been acting at the directive of their superiors.

    Ever since, this justification has been popularly known as the “Nuremberg defense,” in which the accused states they were “only following orders.”

    The Nuremberg judges rejected the Nuremberg defense, and both Jodl and Keitel were hanged. The United Nations International Law Commission later codified the underlying principle from Nuremberg as “the fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

    This is likely the most famous declaration in the history of international law and is as settled as anything possibly can be.

    However, many members of the Washington, D.C. elite are now stating that it, in fact, is a legitimate defense for American officials who violate international law to claim they were just following orders.

    Specifically, they say Gina Haspel, a top CIA officer whom President Donald Trump has designated to be the agency’s next director, bears no responsibility for the torture she supervised during George W. Bush’s administration.

    Gina oversaw a secret “black site” in Thailand, at which prisoners were waterboarded and subjected to other severe forms of abuse. Haspel later participated in the destruction of the CIA’s videotapes of some of its torture sessions. There is informed speculation that part of the CIA’s motivation for destroying these records may have been that they showed operatives employing torture to generate false “intelligence” used to justify the invasion of Iraq.

    John Kiriakou, a former CIA operative who helped capture many Al Qaeda prisoners, recently said that Haspel was known to some at the agency as “Bloody Gina” and that “Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information.” (In 2012, in a convoluted case, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to leaking the identity of a covert CIA officer to the press and spent a year in prison.)

    Some of Haspel’s champions have used the exact language of the popular version of the Nuremberg defense, while others have paraphrased it.

    One who paraphrased it is Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency. In a Wednesday op-ed, Hayden endorsed Haspel as head of the CIA, writing that “Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well.”

    Hayden later said on Twitter that Haspel’s actions were “consistent with U.S. law as interpreted by the department of justice.” This is true: In 2002, the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department declared in a series of notorious memos that it was legal for the U.S. to engage in “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were obviously torture. Of course, the actions of the Nuremberg defendants had also been “legal” under German law.

    John Brennan, who ran the CIA under President Barack Obama, made similar remarks on Tuesday when asked about Haspel. The Bush administration had decided that its torture program was legal, said Brennan, and Haspel “tried to carry out her duties at CIA to the best of her ability, even when the CIA was asked to do some very difficult things.”

    Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd used the precise language of the Nuremberg defense during a Tuesday appearance on CNN when Wolf Blitzer asked him to respond to a statement from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: “The Senate must do its job in scrutinizing the record and involvement of Gina Haspel in this disgraceful program.”

    Hurd, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and a former CIA operative as well, told Blitzer that “this wasn’t Gina’s idea. She was following orders. … She implemented orders and was doing her job.”

    Hurd also told Blitzer, “You have to remember where we were at that moment, thinking that another attack was going to happen.”

    This is another defense that is explicitly illegitimate under international law. The U.N. Convention Against Torture, which was transmitted to the Senate by Ronald Reagan in 1988, states that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

    Notably, Blitzer did not have any follow-up questions for Hurd about his jarring comments.

    Samantha Winograd, who served on President Obama’s National Security Council and now is an analyst for CNN, likewise used Nuremberg defense language in an appearance on the network. Haspel, she said, “was implementing the lawful orders of the president. … You could argue she should have quit because the program was so abhorrent. But she was following orders.”

    Last but not least there’s Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, who issued a ringing defense of Haspel in Politico, claiming she was merely acting “in response to what she was told were lawful orders.”

    Remarkably, this perspective has even seeped into the viewpoint of regular journalists. At a recent press conference at which Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul criticized Haspel, a reporter asked him to respond to “the counterargument” that “these policies were signed off by the Bush administration. … They were considered lawful at the time.”

    It fell to Paul to make the obvious observation that appears to have eluded almost everyone else in official
    Washington: “This has been historically a question we’ve asked in every war: Is there a point at which soldiers say ‘no’? … Horrendous things happened in World War II, and people said, well, the German soldiers were just obeying orders. … I think there’s a point at which, even suffering repercussions, that if someone asks you to torture someone that you should say no.”

  4. muckraker10021

    muckraker10021 Superstar ***** BGOL Investor

    Trump’s Female CIA director pick Gina Haspel supervised the slicing of an innocent man genitals with a scalpel

    Ethiopian national Binyam Ahmed Mohamed turned out to be innocent

    Benyam Mohammed, 26, was accused of planning al-Qaida attacks. He spent 2½ years in prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan before being taken to Guantánamo. During that time, he says, he was subjected to physical and mental torture. He also says he was questioned by the CIA and FBI and MI6 officers

    Mr Mohammed is accused of plotting to explode a "dirty bomb" in a US city - which he denies - as well as planning to blow up apartments.

    Among the acts of torture in a dossier compiled by his lawyer are being beaten, having his genitals slashed, and being forced to listen to loud rock music for long periods. He left London for Afghanistan "to find out whether it was a good Islamic country or not", and was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. He says he was flown to Morocco on a US plane and tortured in a secret prison supervised by Gina Haspel.

    One diary extract tells how four men entered his cell: "They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor's scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face ...One took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. 'I told you I was going to teach you who's the man,' [one] eventually said."

    All terrorism charges against him were dropped in 2008.


    READ MORE ABOUT Binyam Ahmed Mohamed's torture under the CIA and the British

    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. QueEx

    QueEx Well-Known Member Super Moderator


    Getty Images


    Why Isn’t Gina Haspel Coming Clean About Torture?

    President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA refuses to declassify the dark underbelly of her involvement in extreme rendition and torture-by-proxy.

    Senator RAND PAUL

    May 11, 2018

    We know that in the early 2000s, Gina Haspel’s CIA was rendering accused terrorists to unfathomable torture in Syria, as well as Egypt and Jordan. And we know that in 2005, Haspel herself was busy ordering the destruction of evidence of her involvement in the waterboarding of prisoners.

    What we don’t know is if she was involved in sending Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer, to Syria, where he was tortured by Bashar Assad—the same Assad now condemned for gassing his own people; the same Assad the CIA has been trying to depose for the past six years.

    Did Haspel participate or even order Arar and others to be sent to Syria to be tortured?
    We will likely never know: Haspel, whose nomination for director of the CIA is currently being considered by the Senate, refuses to declassify the dark underbelly of her involvement in extreme rendition and torture-by-proxy.

    Jane Mayer recounted Arar’s story in 2005 after interviewing him for The New Yorker:

    Ten hours after landing in Jordan, Arar … was driven to Syria, where interrogators … “just began beating on me.” They whipped his hands repeatedly with two-inch-thick electrical cables, and kept him in a windowless underground cell that he likened to a grave. “Not even animals could withstand it,” he said. Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say. “You just give up, he said. “You become like an animal.”

    A year later, in October, 2003, Arar was released without charges. … Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador in Washington, announced that his country had found no links between Arar and terrorism. Arar, it turned out, had been sent to Syria on orders from the U.S. government, under a secretive program known as “extraordinary rendition.” This program had been devised as a means of extraditing terrorism suspects from one foreign state to another for interrogation and prosecution. Critics contend that the unstated purpose of such renditions is to subject the suspects to aggressive methods of persuasion that are illegal in America—including torture.

    Was Haspel simply a loyal dupe, unable to protest an accused man being sent to certain barbaric torture?

    Or was she an eager participant in this dark chapter in our history?

    If she had any criticisms at the time, Haspel, who is currently the acting head of the CIA, has the power to declassify them. And yet all we’ve gotten are select records that don’t address her participation in extraordinary rendition.

    Know this: That fact alone should be enough to cause the Senate to reject her nomination.

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