by Curt Wechsler |
When Congress begs forbearance for failure to indict torture collaborators, it forfeits the opportunity to confront the moral disaster of a lifetime: capitulation to the “America First” doctrines of contempt, prejudice and racial division driven by fascists in the White House. The depredations of the Trump/Pence regime on traditional democratic rights are perhaps most blatantly demonstrated by the expansion of the state torture program embraced by America’s current executioner-in-chief.
Freedom from Torture a Human Right
In an “alternate universe” where the Obama administration prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, President Trump’s new waterboard nominee would be in prison, posted Sarah Jones at newrepublic.com. Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel supervised the abusive interrogation of prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at a CIA “black site” in Thailand late 2002.
Haspel’s ascension illuminates what happens when there is no accountability, no truth, and no justice for torture. Because of the power and influence of the United States, this lack of accountability, truth, and justice undermines the power of international law and the strength of the anti-torture norm globally. Moreover, letting officials of past administrations get away with torture does nothing to deter the possibility of a future administration attempting to do it again. For these reasons, all possible pressure must be brought to bear on Congress to vote down Haspel’s nomination. This won’t right the wrongs of the past, but it would be an important political victory against Trump and the torture enthusiasts who live among us. — comment to European Tribune forum
The Senate Intelligence Committee released a summary report on CIA interrogation programs in 2014, concluding that the interrogation techniques were more brutal and extensive than previously portrayed, and that the agency misled policymakers and the public about their nature. The destruction of videotaped interrogations, ordered by director designate Haspel, constitutes obstruction of justice say Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 commission.
Return of Waterboarding an Unacceptable Threat
We must defeat Donald Trump’s campaign promise to bring back waterboarding. Or worse. “We did not accept the ‘just following orders’ justification after World War II, and we should not accept it now,” reads a message from former military leaders. What’s to say Haspel won’t do so under President Trump?
Deputy Director Haspel has control over what documents get released for congressional review before her confirmation hearing scheduled for tomorrow, May 9. (This “wolf guarding the henhouse” routine is indicative of how Donald Trump chooses cabinet members to dissemble the foundations of departments they serve — Scott Pruitt administers the environmental “protection” agency with skepticism about whether climate change is real… Mike Pompeo negotiates “peace” with nuclear weapons… Jeff Sessions arbitrates “justice” for the few… the list goes on.) A few Senators point out the “apparent conflict of interest” in Haspel’s review, but many intelligence community members support their boss.
One former CIA official suggests Haspel’s promotion is “good for both places, both the CIA and State.” Their confluence may determine the fate of 40 prisoners at Guantanamo. “We’re on the brink of a full-throttled return to officially sanctioned U.S. torture,” warns executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Vince Warren. “Gina Haspel should be arrested, not promoted, and the Senate, if it has a single shred of respect left for the law, should not confirm her.”
“Can anyone possibly think that the appointment of a CIA director who ran a secret prison where brutal torture was employed won’t be interpreted both globally and in the U.S. as a stamp of approval for torture?” asks Robert Crawford, co-founder of the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture. The Haspel nomination must be defeated on the grounds of rejecting torture. And the Islamophobia and aggressive war that inspire its use.
The whole Trump/Pence regime must be stopped in its tracks, before it does further damage to lives here and around the world.
We Refuse to Live in a Torture State. We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.