Gina Haspel’s CIA Nomination Is A Women’s Milestone We’d Be Wise To Avoid

440px-Gina_Haspel_official_CIA_portraitBelow is my column in USA Today on the nomination Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA.  While Sen. Rand Paul has declared that he will oppose Haspel over torture, some Democrats (who are being criticized for previously failing to act on torture allegations) are again hedging on whether they will oppose a nominee solely due to her involvement in the torture program.  However, one promising development is an effort by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to have Haspel’s record on torture declassified. There remains some debate over Haspel’s role on notable cases.  Reports still indicate that Haspel oversaw the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the “Cat’s Eye.”  However, it is not clear if she was “Chief of Base” during the torture of Abu Zubaydah.  ProPublica issued a correction Thursday that she was not Chief at the time of the Zubaydah torture.  There is no debate that Haspel ordered the destruction of evidence of the torture program.

Here is the column (which has been edited since its original posting):

 

The firing of Rex Tillerson occupied much of the news yesterday as shocked anchors recounted how the Secretary of State was effectively dispatched by a single Trump tweet. The shock, however, should not be over Twitter but torture. Once CIA Director Mike Pompeo replaces Tillerson, President Donald Trump wants Pompeo’s second in command to take over the CIA: Deputy Director Gina Haspel.

Most people have no idea who Haspel is. She is, however, well-known to human rights advocates and civil libertarians around the world. Haspel was not simply a key figure in the torture program run by the Bush administration, she headed one of the infamous foreign black sites and was accused of knowingly destroying evidence of the torture carried out on her watch.

After years of Congress and former Bush officials denouncing the torture program, the confirmation of Haspel would reaffirm that torture as not simply acceptable but a potential path to promotion in the United States. Trump has declared the possible confirmation of the agency’s first female director as a “historic milestone.” Given her role in the torture program, however, Haspel’s confirmation would be equally historic and one milestone we would be wise to avoid.

The torture program approved by former president George W. Bush on Sept. 17, 2001, represented one of the most infamous moments in our history. The Justice Department memo used to justify the program was ultimately denounced by the Justice Departmentas seriously flawed and withdrawn. The program was ultimately closed as both Republicans and Democrats belatedly lined up to pledge to block any such program in the future. On Dec. 30, 2005, the Detainee Treatment Act was passed to reaffirm the long-established fact that waterboarding is torture and torture is a violation of not just international law but United States law.

The shocking accounts of the U.S. torture program destroyed the credibility of the United States and emboldened our enemies in China and other countries in their own use of torture. Among these shocking accounts was the torture of Abu Zubayda. Zubayda was the subject of one of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition programs” where suspects were taken to foreign locations were they were tortured. Haspel was the “Chief of Base” at the Thai torture site known as CIA’s “Cat’s Eye.”

Zubayda was waterboarded 83 times in one month. He was denied sleep, forced into a small coffin-like box for long periods of time and physically abused, including having his head slammed into walls. The CIA reportedly got nothing from the torture.

Accounts of the torture sessions describe “fluid intake and involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms” and “hysterical pleas.” Zubaydah “became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” None of that mattered even when Zubaydah could no longer communicate and lost consciousness. There was only one person who could stop suchh sessions: chief of base Haspel.  There is no indication that she used that authority.

Haspel’s defense has always been that she was merely following orders. Putting aside the troubling history of that defense (and the rejection of the defense by the United States in prior war crime prosecutions), Haspel relied on the torture memos by John Yoo and Jay Bybee — later rejected by the Justice Department as seriously flawed because they misrepresented governing legal standards. Haspel made direct reference to that legal cover in one of her dispatches on July 2002:

“Team is ready to move to the next phase of interrogations immediately upon receipt of approvals/authorization from ALEC/Headquarters. It is our understanding that DOJ/Attorney General approvals for all portions of the next phase, including the water board, have been secured, but that final approval is in the hands of the policy makers.”

However, if Haspel was confident of the legality of her actions, it was not evident when she was promoted back at Langley. As the world was learning of the torture program and members of Congress demanded a special prosecutor, Haspel dispatched orders in 2005 for tapes of the torture sessions involving her to be destroyed. Her orders were part of a comprehensive effort to destroy evidence of the programs so neither courts nor Congress could use them against officials like herself.

Virtually all of those members of Congress who are now demanding obstruction investigations and charges in the Russian controversy did nothing. Haspel, her boss Jose Rodriguez, and others got away with destroying evidence of allegedly criminal conduct. Haspel’s role is so notorious that the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has been pushing Germany’s public prosecutor to arrest Haspel for violations of international law.

Her use of “enhanced interrogation” may not have produced much actionable intelligence, but certainly enhanced her career. Haspel ultimately received the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Presidential Rank Award. (She was not alone on the career fast track: Torture memo author Jay Bybee would be given a lifetime appointment as a Ninth Circuit judge.)

The one thing to Trump’s credit in this controversy is that he is at least honest. Trump has never adopted the euphemism of “enhanced interrogation” for waterboarding. He has called it for what it is: “torture.” During the campaign, Trump declared “torture … works.” It certainly has worked for Gina Haspel.

Jonathan Turley, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, where he teaches constitutional and tort law. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley.

171 thoughts on “Gina Haspel’s CIA Nomination Is A Women’s Milestone We’d Be Wise To Avoid”

  1. “New report on CIA nominee Gina Haspel may rescue her: But it shouldn’t”

    Heather Digby Parton, Salon

    https://www.salon.com/2018/03/16/new-report-on-cia-nominee-gina-haspel-may-rescue-her-but-it-shouldnt/

    “No one disputes that Haspel was chief of base at the Thai prison at the time another prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded three times. When Priest first reported on the existence of the black site program in 2005, Jose Rodriguez, the head of the agency’s counterterrorism center, became concerned that videotapes of the torture of terrorism suspects would become public and reflect badly on the CIA. According to his memoir, Rodriguez ordered Haspel, who was back in Washington working as his chief of staff, to draft a cable ordering that the 92 tapes be destroyed. She did, and they were. Haspel was up to her neck in the torture program, both on the ground in Thailand and during the cover-up of the agency’s nefarious deeds.

    “We have never heard from Haspel about her involvement in that cover-up, but since she was destroying the evidence of her own culpability it’s doubtful she argued against it. Not that it matters. The Nuremberg defense (“I was just following orders”) shouldn’t work for the cover-up any more than the torture regime itself.

    “It’s unlikely there will ever be any real accountability for the depraved torture program of the post-9/11 years. George W. Bush granted immunity in 2006 to all CIA agents who worked on the program, and while Barack Obama denounced torture he said he held “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” and let it go. We all know how Donald Trump feels about torture: He loves it. The president has repeatedly insisted that torture works and has said he would do far worse than waterboarding if he had the chance. Rewarding someone who was intimately involved in the torture program and the cover-up by handing her the reins of America’s most important intelligence agency proves he’s serious about that.”

    1. Here’s our gal: “…She never did so, records show, watching as Zubaydah vomited, passed out and urinated on himself while shackled. During one waterboarding session, Zubaydah lost consciousness and bubbles began gurgling from his mouth. … At one point, Haspel spoke directly with Zubaydah, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown. …

      The CIA officials in Thailand understood that the methods they were using could kill Zubaydah and said that should that happen, they would cremate his body. If he survived questioning, Haspel sought assurances that “the subject will remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life….”

      http://washingtonsblog.com/

      1. Thoroughly disgusting and reprehensible.

        It’s no wonder that she and Jose Rodriguez were apparently in agreement that the torture tapes should be destroyed. That alone should disqualify her.

        1. Correction:

          If true, it’s thoroughly disgusting and reprehensible.

          From the ProPublica retraction:

          “James Mitchell, the psychologist and CIA contractor who helped to direct the waterboarding of both suspects, said in a broadcast interview on March 14 that Haspel was not the “chief of base” whom he described in his book as making fun of Zubaydah’s suffering.

          ““That chief of base was not Gina,” Mitchell told Fox Business Network. “She’s not the COB I was talking about.”

          “”Mitchell’s book, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America,” referred to the chief of base in Thailand as both “he” and “she.”

          “We erroneously assumed that this was an effort by Mitchell or the agency to conceal the gender of the single official involved; it is now clear that Mitchell was referring to two different people.”

        2. anonymous – destroying emails did not disqualify Hillary from running for President.

          1. A little history:

            “TORTURE TAPES”

            https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/torture/torture-tapes

            “In September 2004, a court first ordered the CIA to produce or identify all records pertaining to the treatment of prisoners in its custody in response to an ACLU lawsuit seeking information about the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody abroad. These orders would have included at least 92 interrogation tapes documenting the harsh interrogation of the two prisoners, Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri.

            “Despite the orders, the CIA never produced videotapes depicting torture or even acknowledged their existence. Unbeknownst to the public, the tapes were destroyed in November 2005, a year after the court’s first order, although the destruction was not publicly revealed until 2007.

            “The ACLU moved to hold the CIA in contempt of court for destroying the videotapes, arguing that the agency showed complete disdain for the court and the rule of law itself when it flouted several court orders to produce the videotapes and instead destroyed them.

            On August 1, 2011, the court refused to hold the CIA in contempt for the destruction of the tapes, but it sanctioned the CIA by ordering the agency to pay the ACLU’s legal fees in bringing the misconduct to light. The judge also asked the CIA to publish a forthcoming protocol on document-destruction policies, which were developed in response to the ACLU’s litigation, in an effort to prevent similar destruction from occurring again. Because the judge failed to hold the CIA in contempt of court, however, it left unaddressed larger concerns about accountability. The court noted that the ACLU had played an “extraordinary” role in revealing to the public information about the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_CIA_interrogation_videotapes_destruction

          2. Denied. What-aboutism isn’t an argument. I suggest an introductory logic primer.

            this is to “but hannity tells me that all the time” paulie – georgie

            1. Marky Mark Mark – I got an A in my graduate logic class. Bet you didn’t even take one. 🙂

      2. Here is propublica’s retraction/correction. I’m still reading, but…

        https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture

        “The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.”

  2. While many applaud the choice of Gina Haspel because they are willing to overlook that her approval of torture was limited to trying to get Islamic terrorists to talk, there is a darker side to Ms. Haspel that nobody is addressing. I have managed to obtain secret footage of Gina Haspel before she joined the CIA when she was known as “Ilsa.” The footage speaks for itself.

  3. A friendly reminder:
    1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
    2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

    Article 2.
    1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
    2. 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.
    3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

  4. She needs to panned as CIA director. If she is allowed to become head honcho she will disappear.
    Reject her and let her try to travel anywhere othere than 5 eye countries.

  5. The beauty of this whole escapade is that there is a face, a real live human being, attached to that sick sh!t she authorized. The potential damage that I think is enitvetable if the GOP and the White House allows her to be grilled before congress the more she becomes a recognizable individual.
    May all of the facial recognition software be documenting her mug non-stop.

    1. Hmmm. Here is a little ditty based on the Lizzie Borden one:

      Axe What You Can Do For Your Country???
      A Ditty by Squeeky Fromm

      Gina Haspel took her pail
      And really gave Zubaydah hell!
      When the job was nicely done,
      It led to finding Bin Laden!

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. “Gina Haspel! Way To Tough On Terrorists!” Shouts the DNC headline.

        Hmm…where were they when 0blameUS had a father & son, US citizens, killed? ? No due process! No big deal to the two faced 0bama/Hillary SuperPAC fake stream media. And it was just ‘patriotism’ that caused 0bama to trade five big time radical muslim terrorists for Bergdahl.

        Squeeky, she didn’t do Zubaydah. She came on later.

        SamFox

          1. Squeeky – it’s Pale, not pail that you are beyond. Beyond the Pale be wild Irishman who cannot be tamed. 😉

            1. I know, but mine was a pun on the word “pail”, which was in the ditty. I almost put “pail” in quotes or italics in that comment, but decided against it because I figured most people would not even know the difference, or get the pun. But you did! 🙂

              OTOH, the whole “boulanger” comment and its related malapropisms made on the French Baker thread went past everybody. . . If a mot falls in the woods and no one hears it, is it good???

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

              1. Squeeky – I used to waste some of my best stuff on my students, it was just “over their heads.” 😉

        1. More what-aboutism. Denied. As for paulie – georgie, I suggest an introductory logic primer.

          this is to “huh, logic is an actual discipline?” sammie

          1. Marky Mark Mark – I am sure you can pick up an introductory book on logic at Barnes and Noble over the weekend. 6-8 weeks you can form sentences and make a logical argument, with luck.

    2. “…the CIA’s own inspector general concluded that the torture program failed to produce any significant actionable intelligence…” Ali Soufan

      “Telling the Truth About CIA Torture”

      “Trump’s nominee to lead the agency should answer a number of tough questions about her role in its now-defunct “enhanced interrogation” program.”

      ALI SOUFAN MAR 15, 2018

      “Unsurprisingly, the CIA’s own inspector general concluded that the torture program failed to produce any significant actionable intelligence; and I testified to the same effect under oath in the Senate. What’s worse, the program has gotten in the way of justice: To this day, we cannot prosecute terrorists such as the masterminds behind the USS Cole and 9/11 attacks, in large part because the evidence against them is tainted by torture.

      “Against this backdrop, it is reasonable to ask the nominee: What does she think about the techniques used under her supervision? Did she condone torture at the time, or was she just following a superior’s orders? How, if at all, have her feelings changed over the years? Does she stand behind the attempts to mislead the public as to the techniques’ effectiveness?…

      “In 2005, Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s counterterrorism chief, ordered the destruction of some 92 videotapes of the harsh methods being used on al-Qaeda suspects that the black site Haspel had once run. Rodriguez issued this order in defiance not only of the CIA’s own general counsel at the time, John Rizzo, but also of a federal court order. And to draft the cable ordering the tapes to be thrown into an “industrial-strength shredder,” Rodriguez turned to his then-chief of staff—Haspel.”

      1. http://www.soufangroup.com/about/team/ali-soufan/17/

        About Ali Soufan:

        “Ali Soufan is the Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group. Mr. Soufan is a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who investigated and supervised highly sensitive and complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa Embassy Bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. Mr. Soufan also serves as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He is the author of the newly released “Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State” and The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al Qaeda,” winner of the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize. He is a leading national security and counterterrorism expert, and continues to play a significant advisory role on today’s most sensitive issues. Mr. Soufan had a distinguished career in the FBI, including serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI New York Office, where he coordinated both domestic and international counterterrorism operations. He often operated out of hostile environments and carried out sensitive extra-territorial missions and high-level negotiations, and has received numerous awards and commendations for his counter-terrorism work. These include the Director of the FBI’s Award for Excellence in Investigation, the Respect for Law Enforcement Award for “relentless pursuit of truth and bringing terrorist subjects before the bar of justice,” and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense that labeled him “an important weapon in the ongoing war on terrorism.””

      2. Here is a quote from the Weekly Standard. I was kind of surprised, because as far as I know this is not a gung ho conservative or pro Trump site.

        “Congressional Democrats will no doubt demand to know every detail of Haspel’s role in the interrogation program. Many of the lawmakers who will upbraid her for her association with “torture” and “black sites” knew and approved of the agency’s interrogation techniques in 2002 and only feigned outrage years later. Haspel’s confirmation hearings will likely turn into a debate about the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror. Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee had better come prepared to challenge their colleagues’ exhibitionism. Gina Haspel is a strong and capable woman. She would be the first female to lead the CIA, and we can expect she will do so with great skill and professionalism.”

        The rest of the story at this link:

        http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-cia-gets-a-strong-woman/article/2011964

        SamFox

        1. http://www.weeklystandard.com/feinstein-mccain-want-info-about-haspels-role-in-rendition-and-interrogation-programs/article/2011946

          “Kentucky Republican Rand Paul said Wednesday he would oppose Haspel’s nomination.

          ““To reward somebody, to make them head of the CIA, after they’re involved in something so horrendous—and I believe to be illegal—I think is a terrible, terrible message,” he said. “To read of her glee during the waterboarding is just absolutely appalling.”

          “Arizona senator John McCain said Tuesday that Haspel must “explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process.””

  6. If the CIA found itself in a position to stop a launch of MIRV ICBM thermonuclear weapons from North Korea which would destroy American cities and kill millions of Americans, including your friends and entire families, if it acted immediately to obtain information through employment of techniques of torture on a captured North Korean agent who it was known possessed directly relevant, above-top-secret and actionable North Korean information, would you approve?

    1. You’ll need to sit down, I have something to tell you and it’s going to make you very sad…You see, the network television show “24” was merely fiction…None of it was real…I understand that you probably enthusiastically supported whom you thought were the “good guys;” but you see, it was all make-believe. So sorry for your loss…

      this is to “but I’ve TALKED to the Easter Bunny” georgie

      1. Marky Mark Mark – 60 Minutes is also fiction, in fact, almost everything on television is fiction. I am not sure of your existence either. I like to think of you as a piece of cheese I ate last night.

    1. Squeeky – nice legs!!! Did you just photoshop her head on your body? 😉

    2. LOL:)

      I was listening to my big boy German Shepherd tell me that of all that have hurt him in life that the B@tches were the worst.

  7. I am still waiting for Bush, Chaney, and Rumsfeld to denounce the torture program. It’s my understanding that she didn’t make any decisions except to follow orders, including the destruction of the tapes. It doesn’t excuse her.

    While I really want a woman as president, I couldn’t vote for Hillary. I would really like to see women heading all kinds of agencies, DeVos and Haspel aren’t my choices. Otoh, any choice for heading the CIA will have very dirty hands, so why not Haspel?

    btw, ProPublica has corrected its story about her. The COB during the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah was her predecessor.

    1. bettykath,

      I like how you start out saying you’re against torture, then change to well, anybody to be picked to head the CIA is going to do it anyway, so she’s o.k. by me!

      How about you get ready to oppose any person who tortured? She knew what was happeninng with AbuZubaydah and she activly engaged in torture of many people. That’s enough. Torture isn’t o.k. and you could oppose one nominee after the other.

      There’s a lot of good Americans on this thread, that’s for sure.

      1. I suggest we 1st start with GW Bush/Chaney/John Yoo’s Tortured Memo & then we can work down to this gal & a guys son I know locally who like the Nazis at Nuremberg claimed they were just follow Orders!!

        1. Oky1 – there was a SC justice who opined that the Judgments at Nuremberg would not have survived SC review.

          1. Uh, sorry “counselor” but that’s commonly referred to as a “dissent” and usually isn’t worth more than the ink used to print it.

            this is to “oh, but ‘law expert’ hannity tells me differently” paulie – georgie

    1. From the Washington Post, by John Kiriakou:

      “I went to prison for disclosing the CIA’s torture. Gina Haspel helped cover it up.”

      “The meaning of Haspel’s nomination won’t be lost on our enemies, either. The torture program and similar abuses at military-run prisons in Iraq were among the greatest recruitment tools that al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other bad actors ever had, according to legal experts, U.S. lawmakers and even to the militants themselves. It energized them and gave them something to rally against. It sowed an even deeper hatred of the United States among militant groups. It swelled their ranks. It was no coincidence that the Islamic State paraded its prisoners in front of cameras wearing orange jumpsuits (like those worn by Guantanamo Bay detainees) before beheading them. Haspel and the others at the CIA who engineered and oversaw the torture program are at least partially responsible for that, because they showed the world how the United States sometimes treats captives.

      “Do we Americans want to remain a nation that tortures people, like North Korea, China and Iran? Are we proud of the era when we snatched people from one country and sent them to another to be interrogated in secret prisons? Do we want to be the country that cynically preaches human rights and then violates those same rights when we think nobody is looking?

      “Our country cannot afford that. We cannot look the other way. We cannot reward the torturers. Gina Haspel has no business running the CIA.” -John Kiriakou

      “John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

  8. We must get Torture Lady to explain human rights to Rocket Man when he meets with President Pain.

    She needs to explain to him:

    1) Torture is inhuman and you shouldn’t do it (or at least don’t get caught – and if you do get caught, destroy the evidence).

    2) Don’t spy on your citizens. (Call them “Consumers” instead, and then spy on them – and get your own version of Clapper to LIE about it)

    3) Don’t kill your own Citizens, oops, Consumers, with no judicial review (and have fun while you’re at it 🙂 ).

    4) Keep the promises of your other regimes/administrations or no one will take you seriously when YOU make promises (and pay no heed to that scaffolding we are building behind you nor the noose we are putting around your neck – JUST SIGN HERE so we can get this PR charade over with once your nukes are safely tucked away). You can talk to Moammar Kadafi for an in depth explanation of how we keep our promises and how safe you’ll be, and, oh wait…

    5) Make sure if you wage war against a country to help it become a democracy, that you install a good brutal dictatorship in the place of what ever was there before especially if the leader was legitimately elected as in Ukraine. See what we did in Iran in the 1950s or what we did in Chile in the 1970 for examples. Democracies in other countries always backfire and besides no one listens (without a gun to the head) when you lecture them on human rights. Can you imagine? They accuse you of being El Numero Uno hypocrite-0.

    6) Create a banking sector and have them make liar loans to your people consumers, and then when the loans all fail -as planned- and the banks are about to go under, just bail the banks out at tax payer expense (you can flog them) and make sure above all that the CEO’s get ourtageous bonuses. Almost forgot, you can also give all the foreclosed properties to the banks so that they can turn around and rent them to the suckers consumers, who took out the liar loans.

    Now THAT’s democracy!!!

    That’s Human Rights!

    Torture Lady can use the US as a shining example in each and every case above (even if not all of that, or even most of it belongs in President Clueless’ lap though he’s doing is damnedest to catch up with capitulating to the Powers That Be).

    It’s no wonder WE can use torture. We are so far above reproach of any sort…

    1. Democracy sucks. Give me a Constitutional Republic any day.

      Real torture is having to put up with opposition fake stream media hysterics.

      SamFox

  9. No physical torture should be allowed. As much as I enjoy reading the spy genre – Brad Thor’s character Scott Horvath always seems to be going off to a black site in Malta where secrets are extracted – it is fiction. Or at least I hope it is! To waterboard prisoners debases us

    And studies indicate torture doesn’t work as prisoners will say anything.

    “Over the past five years, a small group of researchers has pulled together a body of evidence about what works in getting people to give up their secrets. It has nothing to do with abuse and coercion. Instead, it borrows methods from psychotherapy to get suspects talking and uses the science of how our brains process information to separate truth from lies..”

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/peteraldhous/torture-doesnt-work?utm_term=.psOML6g8a#.dtRPLJO4N

    I think Rand is right on this one if the reports are true.

    1. Autumn – isn’t Buzzfeed the “newspaper” who printed the Steele dossier that no one else would print and is now being sued by 5 people and are themselves suing the Democratic Party for help to back up the Steele Dossier, so they don’t end up in bankruptcy.

  10. There is no narrow window justifying torture. That is simply doublespeak for, It’s OK when WE do it, because American Exceptionalism. And any OTHER country who does it [except Israel of course], is committing war crimes!

    A law is a law! That is particularly so, not less so, when someone tries to claim exceptions such as, “I was only following orders” or the usual shaming argument such as “Imagine [the shame on yourself] if your compatriots were at extreme risk and torture might have saved them and you didn’t use it.” or, ”
    We lynched him because we thought he was guilty, honest! It was in good faith. Under that narrow window we were perfectly in our right to ignore the little detail about skipping a trial. Think of the people we would have saved from him if we had been right!!!”

    It is not, “The rule of law” if there are those above it. Period. It boils down to a nationalism in the extremis to claim exceptions narrow windows somehow prove torture is illegal but the individual who just broke the law was within the law because, exceptions..

    There is also no narrow window for destroying evidence against various court orders:

    Beyond all that, she [guess who -hint, Gina Haspel] played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated multiple court orders as well as the demands of the 9/11 commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by commission chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane.

    -The Intercept, Glen Greenwald.
    https://theintercept.com/2017/02/02/trumps-cia-chief-selects-major-torture-operative-to-be-agencys-deputy-director/

    “Haspel would be in jail if former president Barack Obama had not decided against prosecuting the CIA torture crimes. Torturing prisoners is a war crime. Obstruction of courts and destruction of evidence are likewise crimes.” – Moon of Alabama

    And just because “Look forward not backward” Nobel Peace President My Arse Obama was a scoundrel in no way justifies anyone else or any other political party from end runs around what are war crimes -Plain And Simple – by any other nation.

    1. Not a peep out of you so called Progressive when T rump’s white nationalists ran over that gal in Virginia and beat people up. Now they are bombin black folks in Texas. Crickets from da blog.

      1. Yet another self styled expert on what everyone else should and shouldn’t be doing (and when).

      1. You got it Autumn. No wonder he’s called Dore; d’or – of gold in French. I particularly like, “Instead of being in Jail, now she is the had of the CIA.” Go Trump. Way to compound Obama’s unlawful non prosecution of multiple crimes (torture, cover up, destruction of evidence) which already compounded Bush’s nasty brutal illegal and disgusting program.

        We need to wag our finger at Putin some more and slap a few more sanctions on him for abuse of human rights. /snark

        I can’t imagine what sort of congenital brain cyst enables people to have blind loyalty to one or the other party of our brutal political duopoly and make these jerky stabs at using the exact same events to scald the one while trying pathetically to defend the other. For the same damn crimes committed by our tag teaming Dimwit Demo-rats and Rethug Retards.

          1. I’d take Rand Paul for just about any government role that he would consent to perform. Won’t happen though; the ethical, competent and moral government professionals won’t touch this trainwreck with a pole.

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