Tag Archives: Gina Haspel

Haspel is Not the Problem. The CIA is the Problem. by Ron Paul

Harry S. Truman reportedly regretted signing the CIA into law. A look at its history shows why Harry had ample cause for regret. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.com:

As a general rule, when Dick Cheney favors a foreign policy position it’s best to be on the opposite side if you value liberty over war and authoritarianism. The former vice president’s enthusiastic endorsement of not only Gina Haspel as CIA director but of the torture program she oversaw should tell us all we need to know about Haspel.

Saying that Haspel would make a great CIA director, Cheney dismissed concerns over the CIA’s torture program. Asked in a television interview last week about the program, Cheney said, “if it were my call, I’d do it again.”

Sadly, the majority of the US Senate agreed with Cheney that putting a torturer in charge of the CIA was a good idea. Only two Republicans – Senators Paul and Flake – voted against Haspel. And just to confirm that there really is only one political party in Washington, it was the “yes” vote of crossover Democrats that provided the margin of victory. Americans should really be ashamed of those sent to Washington to represent us.

Just this month, the New York Times featured an article written by a woman who was kidnapped and send to the secret CIA facility in Thailand that Haspel was said to have overseen. The woman was pregnant at the time and she recounted in the article how her CIA torturers would repeatedly punch her in the stomach. She was not convicted or even accused of a crime. She was innocent. But she was tortured on Haspel’s watch.

Is this really what we are as a country? Do we really want to elevate such people to the highest levels of government where they can do more damage to the United States at home and overseas?

As the news comes out that Obama holdovers in the FBI and CIA infiltrated the Trump campaign to try and elect Hillary Clinton, President Trump’s seeming lack of understanding of how the deep state operates is truly bewildering. The US increasingly looks like a banana republic, where the permanent state and not the people get to decide who’s in charge.

To continue reading: Haspel is Not the Problem. The CIA is the Problem.

The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Is Slipping Off, by Caitlin Johnstone

Gina Haspel looks like a grandmother, the kind who locks the grandkids in a closet and feeds them a ketchup sandwich once a day. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

Gina Haspel has been confirmed as America’s new CIA Director, fulfilling her predecessor Mike Pompeo’s pledge to turn the CIA into “a much more vicious agency”. “Bloody Gina” has reportedly been directly involved in both torturing people and destroying evidence of torture in her long and depraved career, which some say hurts the CIA’s reputation.

Others say it just makes it more honest.

The lying, torturing, propagandizing, drug trafficking, coup-staging, warmongering Central Intelligence Agency has done some of the most unspeakably horrific things to human beings that have ever happened in the history of our species. If you think I’m exaggerating, do your own research into into some of the CIA’s activities like the Phoenix Program, which used “Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock (‘the Bell Telephone Hour’) rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners,” and “The use of the insertion of the 6-inch dowel into the canal of one of my detainee’s ears, and the tapping through the brain until dead. The starvation to death (in a cage), of a Vietnamese woman who was suspected of being part of the local political education cadre in one of the local villages…The use of electronic gear such as sealed telephones attached to…both the women’s vaginas and men’s testicles [to] shock them into submission.”

This is what the CIA is. This is what the CIA has always been. This is what Mike Pompeo said he wanted to help make the CIA “much more vicious” than. Appointing Gina Haspel as head of the agency is just putting an honest face on it.

To continue reading: The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Is Slipping Off,

Haspel Says CIA Won’t Torture Again as Ray McGovern is Dragged Out of Hearing, by Joe Laurie

Gina Haspel looks like she put on a “consent decree” show for the Senate Intelligence Committee—neither admitting or denying that she had supervised and approved torture in the past, but promising never to do it again. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

2nd UPDATE: After refusing to directly answer questions about her history as an alleged torturer, Ray McGovern decided to ask Gina Haspel a question or two of his own and he wound up in jail for it, reports Joe Lauria.

Updated with news that McGovern returned home and details of him being charged with Unlawful Disruption of Congress and Resisting Arrest.

Instead of facing a judge to defend herself against prosecution for violating U.S. law prohibiting torture, 33-year CIA veteran Gina Haspel on Wednesday faced the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hearing to confirm her as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Haspel does not look like someone who would be associated with torture. Instead she would not be out of place as your next door neighbor or as a kindly grade-school teacher. “I think you will find me to be a typical middle-class American,” she said in her opening statement.

Haspel is the face of America. She not only looks harmless, but looks like she wants to help: perhaps to recommend a good gardener to hire or to spread democracy around the globe while upholding human rights wherever they are violated.

But this perfectly typical middle class American personally supervised a black site in Thailand where terrorism suspects were waterboarded. It remains unclear whether she had a direct role in the torture. The CIA said she arrived at the black site after the waterboarding of senior al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah had taken place. Some CIA officials disputed that to The New York Times. The newspaper also reported last year that Haspel ran the CIA Thai prison in 2002 when another suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded.

Even if she did not have a direct hand in overseeing the torture, she certainly acquiesced to it. And if that were not bad enough, Haspel

Haspel: Won’t say if torture is immoral. (Screenshot from Today Show)

urged the destruction of 92 videotaped CIA “enhanced interrogations,” conducted at the prison in Thailand, eliminating evidence in a clear-cut obstruction of justice to cover-up her own possible crimes.

To continue reading: Haspel Says CIA Won’t Torture Again as Ray McGovern is Dragged Out of Hearing

 

VIPS Call on Senate Intel Panel to Vote Against Haspel, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

It would be an interesting exercise to have proponents of “enhanced interrogation” undergo some of it, and see if they still think it’s not torture. Let’s start with Gina Haspel. From the VIPS at consortiumnews.com:

With torture-overseer Gina Haspel set to face the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday instead of a judge, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity urge committee members to vote against her nomination.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Opposition to Gina Haspel as CIA Director

We, the undersigned intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement, and military professionals, are writing to urge you to vote against Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Putting Haspel in charge of the CIA would undo attempts by the agency — and the nation — to repudiate torture. The message this would send to the CIA workforce is simple: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll get promoted. Don’t worry about the law. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality or the fact that torture doesn’t even work. Go ahead and do it anyway. We’ll cover for you. And you can destroy the evidence, too.

Described in the media as a “seasoned intelligence veteran,” Haspel has been at the CIA for 33 years, both at headquarters and in senior positions overseas. Now the deputy director, she has tried hard to stay out of the public eye. Former CIA Director Michael Pompeo has lauded her “uncanny ability to get things done and inspire those around her.”

That is true for those of Haspel’s mindset. But many of the rest of us who knew and worked with Haspel at the CIA called her “Bloody Gina” because of her direct involvement in the CIA’s torture program.

The President’s appointment of Haspel hurts morale among CIA officers who recognize that torture is wrong, inefficient, and counterproductive. It comforts people at the agency who still believe that “enhanced interrogation” is somehow acceptable.

The message it sends to our friends and allies (and the countries we criticize in the State Department’s annual human rights reports) is this: We say we’re a shining city on a hill, a beacon of respect for human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. But that simply is not true. We say those things when it’s expedient. We say them to make ourselves feel good. But when push comes to shove, we do what we want, international law and the 8thAmendment to the Constitution be damned.

To continue reading: VIPS Call on Senate Intel Panel to Vote Against Haspel

Would Trump’s New CIA Director Reinstate Torture Program? by Ben Swann

Trump’s new pick for CIA Director ran a black site “enhanced interrogation center,” and then destroyed 92 tapes, perhaps because some people might not understand the difference between enhanced interrogation and torture. Not that her record should disqualify her from the CIA Directorship. Trump probably could have dug up someone with an even more checkered record. From Ben Swann at theburningplatform.com:

 

The next director of the CIA might be one of the most controversial picks ever.

Gina Haspel not only helped to oversee the CIA’s torture program, but may have also destroyed evidence in an effort to hide torture techniques. And one CIA whistleblower says Haspel and those around her “tortured for the sake of torture.”

Is this really the person who should run the Central Intelligence Agency?

Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

Gina Haspel is making headlines as the newly nominated director of the Central Intelligence Agency. She’s been chosen to step in for outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who President Trump chose to become Secretary of State in place of outgoing Rex Tillerson.

Some of those headlines are for her being the first woman nominated to the top CIA post. But others are rightfully questioning her connections to the CIA’s failed torture program.

So who is Haspel?

Well, we know she’s been with the CIA since 1985 and was assigned to the Central European Division.

According to the New York Times, Haspel served “in Turkey and Central Asia, before ascending to station chief in New York, where she was posted when Osama bin Laden was killed and worked closely with the F.B.I. as the agencies combed through files taken from his compound.”

In her career, she’s also headed up the CIA station in London — twice — and served as the acting director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service in 2013.

But what’s troubling is her role in torture, and destruction of evidence of torture, dating back to 2002.

In October 2002, Haspel was placed in charge of the CIA “black site” prison named “Cat’s Eye” in Thailand. She arrived after Al Qaeda terror suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded and tortured at the cite.

But, under her watch, another Al Qaeda suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded three times.

To continue reading: Would Trump’s New CIA Director Reinstate Torture Program?

Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination, Intel Vets Say

Gina Haspel oversaw a black site torture operation. If she had been German or Japanese and done the same thing during World War II, she would have been hung. Now she’s President Trump’s pick to head the CIA. From the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity at consortiumnews.com:

Two dozen former U.S. intelligence officers urge President Trump to rescind Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA, citing torture that she oversaw while supervising a black site prison, as well as her role in destroying evidence. 

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Request to Withdraw Nomination of Gina Haspel

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

With respect, we veteran intelligence officers from CIA and other agencies urge you to withdraw the nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director. From what is already known of her leading role in CIA torture 16 years ago, she has disqualified herself.

Gina Haspel

In 2002 Haspel supervised the first CIA “black site” for interrogation, where cruel and bizarre forms of torture were applied to suspected terrorists. And when the existence of 92 videotapes of those torture sessions was revealed, Haspel signed a cable ordering their destruction, against the advice of legal counsel at CIA and the White House.

Does Torture ‘Work?’

We are confident that if you set aside some time to read the unredacted portions of the Senate Intelligence Committee report of 2014 on the torture ordered and supervised by Haspel and other CIA managers, you will change your mind about her nomination. The five-year Senate investigation was based primarily on original CIA cables and other sensitive documents.

In addition to revealing clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture, the Senate investigation shows that claims by senior CIA officials that torture is effective are far from true. The US Army — in which many of us have served — has been aware of the ineffectiveness of torture for decades.

General John Kimmons, head of Army Intelligence, drove home that point on September 6, 2006 — approximately an hour before President George W. Bush publicly extolled the virtues of torture methods that became known as “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  Gen. Kimmons stated: “No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years — hard years — tell us that.”

We believe that Defense Secretary James Mattis’ lack of enthusiasm for torture reflects lessons drawn from the historical experience of the Marine Corps, as well. Not to mention the twin reality that torture brutalizes the brutalizer, and that US use of torture puts our own troops in serious jeopardy when captured. Moreover, there is no more effective recruitment tool than torture to attract more terrorists.

To continue reading: Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination, Intel Vets Say

Pompeo and Haspel are Symptoms of a Deeper Problem, by Ron Paul

The CIA and the State Department pay lip service only to the Constitution, and engage in all sorts of activity that is both criminal and contrary to US interests. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

President Trump’s recent cabinet shake-up looks to be a real boost to hard-line militarism and neo-conservatism. If his nominees to head the State Department and CIA are confirmed, we may well have moved closer to war.

Before being chosen by Trump to head up the CIA, Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo was one of the most pro-war Members of Congress. He has been militantly hostile toward Iran, and many times has erroneously claimed that Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror. The truth is, Iran neither attacks nor threatens the United States.

At a time when President Trump appears set to make history by meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un face-to-face, Pompeo remains dedicated to a “regime change” policy that leads to war, not diplomacy and peace. He blames Iran – rather than the 2003 US invasion – for the ongoing disaster in Iraq. He enthusiastically embraced the Bush policy of “enhanced interrogation,” which the rest of us call “torture.”

Speaking of torture, even if some of the details of Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel’s involvement in the torture of Abu Zubaydah are disputed, the mere fact that she helped develop an interrogation regimen that our own government admitted was torture, that she oversaw an infamous “black site” where torture took place, and that she covered up the evidence of her crimes should automatically disqualify her for further government service.

In a society that actually valued the rule of law, Haspel may be facing time in a much different kind of federal facility than CIA headquarters.

While it may be disappointing to see people like Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as the head of the CIA, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. The few areas where President Trump’s actions are consistent with candidate Trump’s promises are ripping up the nuclear deal with Iran and embracing the torture policies of President George W. Bush. Candidate Trump in late 2015 promised to bring back waterboarding “and a whole lot worse” if he became president. It seems that is his intention with the elevation of Pompeo and Haspel to the most senior positions in his Administration.

To continue reading: Pompeo and Haspel are Symptoms of a Deeper Problem