Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A great step forward for women torturers everywhere

By Husband Kimmel
Intelligence Correspondent

President U Bum, having dispatched incompetent corporate plutocrat Rex Tillerson (whose incompetence and demise were predicted at the outset in these pages), by the moron's version of a bullet in the basement of the Lubyanka – an early morning sh*thouse Tweet – needed some warm bodies to fill the gap.  So Republican hack Mike Pompeo will move from CIA to pick up the pieces at State, leaving a vacancy at the International House of Pain in Langley.

Gina Haspel is obviously qualified
Mirabile dictu, instead of appointing yet another disappointing and/or appalling white man to the post, the Groper-in-Chief has picked a CIA lifer, one Gina Haspel, to run the agency.  She brings a wealth of experience and is regarded by her peers as a professional non-political operative.

That sounds exactly like the kind of person U Bum would never appoint to any position anywhere, but don't worry – she could be perhaps the most awful U Bum Regime appointment ever.

Let's let our friend Dexter Filkins of The New Yorker remind us of Frau Haspel's greatest claim to infamy:
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. . . .
In 2002, according to people I spoke to, Haspel was present at a C.I.A. black site in Thailand when Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were being tortured. It’s not clear whether she took part in the interrogations themselves. Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation, which is recounted in the Intelligence Committee’s landmark investigation, was particularly gruesome. According to the report, he was waterboarded eighty-three times; at one point, he became non-responsive, with water bubbling up from his lungs. Doctors had to revive him. During his confinement, Zubaydah lost sight in his left eye.

But that's probably not what attracted Gina to the Grifter-in-Chief.  What must have really caught his eye was her eagerness to cover up the war crime of torture:
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.
For those of you who, like Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, Michael Gerson, Joe Scarborough, Billy Kristol, and other clueless Republicans who now claim to be shocked, shocked over the moral lapses of the U Bum Regime (see post below), have forgotten the crimes committed by the immediately preceding Republican Administration, let us remind you that by order of George W. Bush, hundreds of persons were subjected to brutal illegal torture to get them to confess to crimes they might or might not have committed (like those supposed links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda).  The details are set forth in Jane Mayer's classic The Dark Side and in the Senate Select Intelligence Committee report.   I'd provide links, but given the American public's utter lack of interest in these crimes then and now, why bother?

The nest of subversive Socialists doing business as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed the reporting of brave journalists like Filkins and Mayer:

And all of this was a violation of U.S. and international law, notwithstanding a ridiculous memo written by willing mouthpiece John Yoo that said nothing was torture unless the victim died or was left permanently crippled.  The only thing left permanently crippled was the rule of law and decency in the United States, leading directly to the current collapse of almost every democratic norm.

But at least all that vile torture saved American lives, right?  Well . . . . 
To recap, President U Bum has nominated a woman who committed war crimes that achieved nothing but infamy and then covered up her involvement in these crimes.  No wonder she's the CIA's Ms. Popularity:
The praise for Ms. Haspel, despite her role in torturing detainees, reflects the agency’s ambivalent attitude toward those who participated in the interrogation program. The Bush administration declared the methods legal, and the view within the C.I.A. was that those who used the techniques were doing their jobs. (NYT, 2/17/17)
Doing their jobs?  Wasn't that what Eichmann said?

Back in 2017, the New York Times reported that some smug morally superior Senators were eager to question her about her role in torture and obstruction of justice, but 
Because Haspel’s new job is exempt from congressional confirmation, it’s doubtful she will ever have to publicly answer questions about her role in what amounts to America’s dirty war.
She'll have to show up this time, but given the Senate's razor-thin Republican majority, don't expect a few war crimes to stand between a qualified woman and the promotion she, uh, deserves.

Update, March 17:  Apparently our devoted spook wasn't presiding at the torture of Zubaydah, the Times now reports: “While Ms. Haspel oversaw the site during the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the site, she did not supervise the interrogation and waterboarding of the suspected Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah.”

So no problem then.

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