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Mar-18-2018 23:53printcomments

Bloody Gina Nominated to be CIA Chief

The "interrogations" she oversaw included depriving them of sleep, squeezing them into coffins, and waterboarding.

Gina Haspel
Gina Haspel must explain her past, which may be difficult.

(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said he would consider bringing back waterboarding “and a hell of a lot worse.” President Trump has nominated Gina Haspel to be Director of the CIA. Previously, he appointed her as Deputy Director.

With Bloody Gina as CIA Director, if confirmed, he will have just the leader for the job.

During the George W. Bush administration, from 2003 to 2005, Haspel was a senior official overseeing a secret CIA “extrajudicial rendition program” that subjected dozens of suspected terrorists to savage interrogations.

These "interrogations" included depriving them of sleep, squeezing them into coffins, and waterboarding. She oversaw the brutal torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

It was Haspel who ordered the destruction of video tapes (aka evidence) showing the Abu Zubaydah torture sessions, on orders from Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s notorious former Counterterrorism Center director.

CIA director Mike Pompeo — nominated to be Secretary of State — lauded Haspel's “uncanny ability to get things done” and said that she “inspires those around her.” However, many in the agency called her “Bloody Gina,” and kept their distance.

The Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment of Punishment (the Torture Convention) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1984 and entered into force on June 26, 1987, after it had been ratified by 20 states. The U.S. ratified the convention on Oct. 21, 1994.

Waterboarding, by the way, is a form of water torture in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning. Waterboarding is a form of torture.

Some critics have suggested that Haspel should be tried as a war criminal. As Jameel Jaffer, a human rights and civil liberties attorney, put it:

Trump's nominee for CIA Director is *quite literally* a war criminal. This is the import of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which SCOTUS held that "war on terror" prisoners are entitled to basic Geneva Conventions protections.

The release of the Senate Torture Report showed that the CIA used torture methods such as waterboarding, shackling in painful positions, prolonged sleep deprivation, and slamming detainees against walls. It also found that those abuses did not help locate Osama bin Laden or thwart any terrorist plots, and were in fact counterproductive.

In November 2015, President Obama signed the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act banning the entire U.S. government from ever again subjecting prisoners to waterboarding, “rectal feeding” and other brutal interrogation practices widely condemned as torture.

Then again, Haspel is Trump’s kind of person. But do we really want another ethically-challenged person in this administration, especially as CIA Director? I think not.

While I applaud Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for getting the Senate Torture Report released to the public, I now expect her to lead the charge against the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director. Her request to the CIA to declassify documents related to Haspel’s participation in the agency’s secret prison and torture programs is a good start.

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