Torture-Tainted Nominations Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses

The declining human rights standards on display with the Haspel and Pompeo nominations are the latest in a long line of policy failures that include the Obama administration’s lack of prosecutions of Bush-era torture, Nat Parry notes.

By Nat Parry

President Donald Trump’s nominations of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA and Mike Pompeo to be America’s top diplomat are the latest indications of steadily eroding human rights standards in the United States and the rollback of the rule of law that has characterized U.S. counterterrorism policies since Sept. 11, 2001.

President Donald Trump chooses CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and Gina Haspel to replease Pompeo as the CIA’s first female director.

Haspel, a CIA operative who oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and then helped destroy tapes of the interrogations, and Pompeo, who has made statements in support of torture and mass surveillance, are both expected to be confirmed by the Senate with little fanfare.

After all, when Pompeo was nominated for his current post of CIA Director his confirmation sailed through the Senate on a vote of 66-32. This, despite what Human Rights Watch’s Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno called “dangerously ambiguous” responses to questions about torture and mass surveillance.

“Pompeo’s failure to unequivocally disavow torture and mass surveillance, coupled with his record of advocacy for surveillance of Americans and past endorsement of the shuttered CIA torture program, make clear that he should not be running the CIA,” Sanchez Moreno said in January 2017.

Shortly following Pompeo’s confirmation, his deputy director at the CIA was named as Gina Haspel, who “played a direct role in the CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition program,’ under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel,” the New York Times reported last year.

She also ran the CIA’s first black site prison and oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In addition, she 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 violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, as Glenn Greenwald has reported.

Despite these serious misgivings, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging Democrats to oppose Pompeo’s nomination to be Secretary of State or Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA. So much for the #Resistance.

The Democratic acquiescence follows a long pattern of tolerating human rights abuses and normalizing torture. When President Barack Obama declared that he wanted to “look forward, not backward,” and to close the chapter on the CIA’s torture practices under the Bush administration without allowing any prosecutions for crimes that were committed, he ensured torture would remain a “policy option” for future presidents, in the words of Human Rights Watch.

Tortured Debate

We began to see this play out during the Republican primary debates in 2016, when the GOP contenders were all jockeying for the pro-torture vote. At the time, Trump made clear his unambiguous support for the use of torture. When he was pressed on his statements about bringing back waterboarding and devising even more brutal torture methods, Trump decided to double down rather than backtrack.

On Feb. 7, 2016 candidate Trump appeared on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. “As president, you would authorize torture?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding,” Trump said. “And believe me, it will be effective. If we need information, George, you have our enemy cutting heads off of Christians and plenty of others, by the hundreds, by the thousands.”

When asked whether we “win by being more like them,” i.e., to mimic the tactics of Islamic State terrorists, Trump stated flatly, “Yes.”

“I’m sorry,” he elaborated. “You have to do it that way. And I’m not sure everybody agrees with me. I guess a lot of people don’t. We are living in a time that’s as evil as any time that there has ever been. You know, when I was a young man, I studied Medieval times. That’s what they did, they chopped off heads.”

“So we’re going to chop off heads?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“We’re going to do things beyond waterboarding perhaps, if that happens to come,” Trump replied.

Trump even insinuated that his competitor in the GOP race Ted Cruz was a “pussy” for hinting that he might show some degree of restraint in the use of torture. Alarmed, several human rights groups jumped in to remind the U.S. of its moral and legal obligations not to engage in sadistic and cruel practices such as waterboarding.

Amnesty International’s Naureen Shah issued a rebuttal to the debate over waterboarding, which she described as “slow-motion suffocation.” She pointed out the obvious that “the atrocities of the armed group calling itself Islamic State and other armed groups don’t make waterboarding okay.”

Policy Option

What the “debate” over bringing back torture highlighted, and what the current nominations of torture advocates to lead the State Department and CIA drive home, is why prosecutions of the Bush-era CIA torture program were essential, and why it was so damaging that the Obama administration shirked its responsibilities in this regard for eight years.

As human rights advocates have long maintained, prosecuting Bush administration and CIA officials involved with the torture of terrorism suspects in the post-9/11 period was needed so that torture would not be repeated in the future by subsequent administrations who may consider themselves above the law.

Indeed, this is precisely why there is a requirement under international law for allegations of torture to be investigated and prosecuted – so that torture does not become a policy option to be utilized or shelved depending on the political whims of the day.

This is a point that UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson made following the release of the Senate’s torture report in late 2014. Senior officials from the Bush administration who sanctioned crimes, as well as the CIA and U.S. government officials who carried them out, must be investigated and prosecuted, Emmerson said.

“It is now time to take action,” Emmerson said on Dec. 9, 2014. “The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”

International law prohibits the granting of immunity to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture, Emmerson pointed out. He further emphasized the United States’ international obligation to criminally prosecute the architects and perpetrators of the torture methods described in the report:

“As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”

Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that it’s “crystal clear” that the United States has an obligation under the UN Convention against Torture to ensure accountability.

“In all countries, if someone commits murder, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they commit rape or armed robbery, they are prosecuted and jailed. If they order, enable or commit torture – recognized as a serious international crime – they cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency,” he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that the release of the torture report was the “start of a process” toward prosecutions, because the “prohibition against torture is absolute,” Ban’s spokesman said.

Needless to say, these appeals largely fell on deaf ears, with no criminal investigations launched whatsoever. Instead, the U.S. Congress responded with a symbolic “reaffirmation” of the ban on the torture – a largely redundant and unnecessary piece of legislation since torture has long been unambiguously banned under international law, the United States Constitution and U.S. criminal statutes.

For his part, Obama used the publication of the Senate report as an opportunity to tout the virtues of the United States, and actually praised the CIA for its professionalism in carrying out its responsibilities.

American Exceptionalism

Following the publication of the Senate report, in a statement obliquely trumpeting the notion of “American Exceptionalism,” Obama said: “Throughout our history, the United States of America has done more than any other nation to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world.” He went on to offer a tacit defense of the torture techniques while touting his own virtue in bringing these policies to an end.

“In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country,” he said. Although the U.S. did “many things right in those difficult years,” he acknowledged that “some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values.”

“That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office,” Obama said, “because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad.”

He went on to claim that he would use his authority as President “to make sure we never resort to those methods again.”

But clearly, by blocking criminal investigations into the policy’s architects, Obama did very little in a practical sense to ensure that those methods are not used again. And now that we are faced with the prospect of torture-tainted heads of the CIA and State Department, we are reminded once again of the importance of upholding the laws of the land.

Nat Parry is co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush

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84 comments for “Torture-Tainted Nominations Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses

  1. David
    March 18, 2018 at 8:44 am

    One slight issue: another news/media criticism organization has recently issued a retraction of a factual claim that is made in this piece. This circumstance needs to be evaluated and answered.

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

    • Gregory Herr
      March 18, 2018 at 9:24 am

      It remains that Haspel was in charge when al-Nashiri was waterboarded three times and that she was instrumental in having the tapes of Zubaydah’s waterboarding destroyed.

  2. George Bush Jr.
    March 16, 2018 at 10:08 am

    DONALD J. TRUMP could make a deal with Karl (Turd Blossom) Rove. Give him immunity (or an upper bunk) and a new book deal, and drain the swamp.

  3. Taras 77
    March 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    A fairly gruesome report on the torture at thai black site with prominent discussion of haskel’s involvement. Apparently, she observed almost all of the 83 water boards but obviously cannot be sure. (This is prob the same report Paul Merrell cited above but which I could not open

    My question is why in my name as a citizen was 83 necessary? Why was one necessary? At what point in time, did haskel (bloody gina as she is known by her colleagues) determine that the additional water boards were necessary and what information was to be obtained, assuming that was the reason for the water boards in the first place. Gad, this becomes an exercise in trying to understand criminal/despicable behavior!

    https://www.ecchr.eu/en/our_work/international-crimes-and-accountability/u-s-accountability/germany.html?file=tl_files/Dokumente/Universelle%20Justiz/Germany_Submission_Gina%20Haspel_CIA_Torture_2017066.pdf

    • Zachary Smith
      March 16, 2018 at 1:38 am

      My first guess would be that the nasty bitch enjoyed watching the torture. Probably played those VHS tapes again and again and again before destroying them. Assuming she still doesn’t have copies at home for her continued pleasure.

      • David G
        March 16, 2018 at 1:43 am

        John Kiriakou says he thinks she enjoyed it.

  4. Delia Ruhe
    March 15, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Good work, Nat. Perhaps it should also be noted that Americans were permitted to see only the summary of the giant report on American torture paid for with American taxpayer money. My guess is that Obama didn’t want to risk being taken to task for shirking his responsibility to bring those responsible to account. The summary, while sickening enough, blew over rather too quickly.

    I finally got round to Rebecca Gordon’s *American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes*. It should be on the required reading list of every American Studies degree program, in the “Decline and Fall” unit, as the ongoing availability of torture is one item in a very long list of evidence that American hegemony is rotting from the inside.

  5. Oskar
    March 15, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Just want to point out that the link to your Neck Deep book is broken.

  6. cmp
    March 15, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    …. Another tidbit from the Empire; as well:

    In January 2015, The New York Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department had recommended bringing felony charges against Petraeus for providing classified information to Broadwell. Petraeus denied the allegations and was reported to have had no interest in a plea deal. However, on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Petraeus agreed to plead guilty in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina to a charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information.

    On April 23, 2015, a federal judge sentenced David Petraeus to two years probation plus a fine of $100,000.

    Press accounts in January 2016 indicated that Department of Defense staff were reviewing Department of Justice documents from the Petraeus prosecution and considering whether to recommend to the Secretary of Defense that Petraeus be demoted on the Army’s retired list. Laws and regulations indicate that members of the military are retired at the last rank in which they are deemed to have served successfully; Petraeus’ admission of an extramarital affair and guilty plea with regard to removing and retaining classified information while serving in the grade of General could be grounds for reduction in rank to Lieutenant General.

    The matter was reviewed by then-Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh before he left office in October 2015; he recommended no further action. On January 29, press accounts indicated that Stephen C. Hedger, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, had written to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. In his letter, Hedger informed the committee that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter had concurred with the Army’s recommendation, and would not impose any further punishment on Petraeus.

    And, on November 18, 2016, an article by The Guardian cited “diplomatic sources” as having said that Petraeus had entered the race for Secretary of State in Donald Trump’s administration. Petraeus confirmed his interest in the position during a BBC Radio 4 interview, stating that he would serve if asked.

    Petraeus met with then President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on November 28 to discuss the position and world affairs. Both Petraeus and Trump expressed favorable views of the meeting, with Trump taking to Twitter to announce, “Just met with General Petraeus — was very impressed!” Petraeus joined a short list of potential candidates for the position, including Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

    There was public speculation that his nomination could hurt Trump’s administration, but Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham advocated for Petraeus, calling him “an extraordinary pick.” Petraeus also received support from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, suggesting that Democrats would keep an open mind concerning his confirmation.

    On December 13, 2016, Trump officially selected Rex Tillerson for the role of Secretary of State. Petraeus expressed his gratitude for Trump’s consideration and deferred to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ endorsement when asked his opinion of Tillerson.

  7. cmp
    March 15, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Barack Obama (…Our buddy — Mr Cool…) during an interview with Stephanopoulos; 1/2009:
    “We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth,” said Obama. “And obviously we’re going to look at past practices. And I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.”

    Under the Obama administration, seven Espionage Act prosecutions have been related not to traditional espionage, but to either withholding information or communicating with members of the media. Out of a total eleven prosecutions under the Espionage Act against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, seven have occurred since Obama took office.

    January 2011, Jeffrey Sterling
    April 2010, Thomas Drake
    May 2010, Shamai Leibowitz
    August 2010, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim
    May 2010, Chelsea Manning
    January 2012, John Kiriakou
    June 2013, Edward Snowden; charged

    ~ Daniel Ellsberg:
    “The current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing,” and that “legal scholars have strongly argued that the US Supreme Court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense.”

    ~~~
    Obama: “This is the Most Transparent Administration in History.”
    BY Sarah Lai Stirland; February 15 2013
    President Obama defended his government as “the most transparent administration in history” Thursday afternoon during a White House “fireside hangout” hosted online by Google — even as dozens of unanswered questions surrounding the decision-making process behind his assassination-by-drone program make the rounds in the news.

    The president made the comment as he answered a question from Kira Davis, a conservative blogger and actress who was one of five participants in the session. She noted that with the recently leaked Justice Department memos regarding drone assassinations of American citizens and the Republican-driven Congressional investigation into the events leading up to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, “it just feels a lot less transparent than we all hoped it would be.”

    Obama immediately pushed back.

    “Well, actually, on a whole bunch of fronts, we’ve kept that promise,” he said. “This is the most transparent administration in history, and I can document how that is the case — everything from every visitor who comes into the White House is now part of the public record. That is something we changed. Every law that we pass, every rule that we implement we put online for everyone to see.”
    But he did acknowledge that the administration still has work to do when it comes to informing the public about the U.S. military’s use of drones to kill suspected terrorists — even if they’re American citizens.

    “Part of what I’m going to have to work with Congress on is to make sure that whatever it is that we’re providing Congress, that we have the mechanisms to also makes sure that the public understands what’s going on, what the constraints are, what the legal parameters are, and that’s something I take very seriously,” he said. “I am not somebody who believes that the president has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants whenever they want just under the guise of counterterrorism.”

  8. March 15, 2018 at 9:26 am

    You’re assuming Obama tried and somehow failed to prosecute the Bush-Cheney criminals. He didn’t. He REFUSED to prosecute. There’s a difference, that being that there was no intention to prosecute because then it would open up Obama and his own officials to later prosecution for committing the same crimes, which they did in fact do. Obama not only continued the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he expanded them to no fewer than five more countries, albeit mostly with drone-bombings of civilians, supporting coups, and expansion of the massive, illegal surveillance apparatus, among other offenses.

  9. deschutes
    March 15, 2018 at 7:08 am

    I despise Obama for never prosecuting Haspel, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest of the shit and scum from the horrible GW Bush torture and kill with impunity regime. Obama is such a despicable, duplicitous liar. It is clear, crystal clear that the US government and its massive military bureaucracy consider themselves unaccountable and above the law. If they want to reduce Iraq to rubble (take a moment to look at photos on google of Mosul for a visual refresher on what the US government did to Iraq’s cities), they will do it–and who cares how many hundreds of thousands are killed in the process, let alone tortured. This is the way it is now, there is no turning back. If justice will ever be served to Haspel, Cheney, Bush, et al it will have to be done by some other country or international tribunal that is beyond the filthy, corrupting tentacles of the US government. Sadly, I doubt this will ever come to pass :-((((

  10. March 15, 2018 at 5:53 am

    The US and its allies have no genuine concern for human rights, the rule of law and democracy, as their actions have demonstrated time and time again. They use these ideas as rhetorical devices to cloak their own wrong-doing with an aura of pseudo-morality, and as weapons with which to demonise their enemies.

    • deschutes
      March 15, 2018 at 7:14 am

      Indeed. If one needs a visual proof of the utter lack of concern for human rights or rule of law by the US government and its massive military, just do a quick google image search of ‘torture at Abu Grahib’ and see all the US military laughing and smiling as they pose next to the gruesomely tortured dead bodies of their victims. Or, if that doesn’t wet your palate enough, you can always take 10 mins out of your day to watch the apache helicopter attack on Iraqi civilians that Julian Assange made public courtesy of Wikileaks. I can still vividly recall from that video the military asshole in the helicopter, after they machine-gunned the van with children in it saying “nice shootin’!”, and “that’s what you get for bringing children into a war zone, haw-haw!”. Yep, that’s your US military ‘winning hearts and minds’ abroad in far away lands :-(((

  11. March 15, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Haspel-related post on JustSecurity is worth reading: https://www.justsecurity.org/53827/pretending/

    It looks like I will need to do some lobbying since one of my senators, Ron Wyden, will have a chance to ask Haspel questions during her confirmation hearing.

  12. March 15, 2018 at 3:25 am

    I posted this earlier under Ray McGovern’s article but think it belongs here:

    I think you’ll find all the info on Haspel you’d care to read at h**ps://www.ecchr.eu/en/our_work/international-crimes-and-accountability/u-s-accountability/germany.html?file=tl_files/Dokumente/Universelle%20Justiz/Germany_Submission_Gina%20Haspel_CIA_Torture_2017066.pdf (pdf). Complete with pinpoint citations to the redacted summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture. Points covered there that I haven’t yet seen elsewhere since the announcement of her nomination:

    * At the CIA black site In Thailand, Haspel had authority to stop the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah but did not exercise it. (This obviates the “good German” defense to war crimes, which is valid only when the accused was not in a position to prevent or stop the crime at issue.)

    * Haspell sought assurances from CIA headquarters that Abu Zubaydah would “remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life”

    * Destruction of the Abu Zubaydah waterboarding video records at the time was prohibited by two court orders and against the request of White House lawyers.

    * Haspel authored the order to destroy those records.

    Related: At the end of World War II, the U.S. successfully prosecuted several Japanese for the war crime of waterboarding. h**ps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/12/16/cheneys-claim-that-the-u-s-did-not-prosecute-japanese-soldiers-for-waterboarding/ The lowest reported sentence was 15 years in prison. This suggests that Ms. Haspel should now be in prison, not being nominated to head the CIA.

  13. Realist
    March 15, 2018 at 2:53 am

    I wonder who, exactly, is dictating to Trump that he make these outrageous cabinet appointments? The man was never deeply ensconced into the warhawk neocon inner party before being elected. In fact, he whipped up his public support by bashing the Bush family and its warmongering, along with McStain, Little Marco and the rest of the trigger-happy faction in the GOP. Yet I doubt that he knew much about half of his controversial appointments from Adam or Eve. There’s hardly a man or woman in his administration who isn’t champing at the bit for any of several wars laid out on the table–name your favorite. Just who is it hand-picking these troglodytes to make sure Trump gets the right people in power for the coming global conflagration?

    An equally good question would have been, who told Obama to ditch the relative peacenik Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and replace him with bloodthirsty Russophobe Ash Carter just as the coup in Ukraine was being orchestrated from the White House? For that matter, who told the Nobel “Peace” Prize winner to go with bellicose neocons like Robert Gates and Leon Panetta in that position even earlier?

    Can’t be long before Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are rehabilitated and saddled up for the next big war. The MIC and the Department of Spooks know who their favorites are. I think their choices may be paramount over whatever vague notions the man in the White House may have. They’ve probably saved Brzezinski’s brain in a bottle and when they can download it into a computer, he will get another turn at Defense, State or Security. I’ll bet they can already program a computer to simulate the analytical logic and decisions that men like Brzezinski, Kissinger and Cheney would make. Nothing will ever have to change.

  14. March 14, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    The late Vincent Bugliosi on Obama’s failure to pursue war crimes by the Bush administration, April 9, 2009:

    ” If I were to speak to President Obama, I would inform him of one thing and advise him of a couple of other things. I’d inform him, and I guess this sounds a little sarcastic, but I would inform him that when he talks about only looking forward and not backwards, I agree that most of his efforts have to be towards the future. I’m not quarreling with him on that, but you can’t forget the past.

    “When he says that he intends to give Bush a free pass simply because whatever crime Bush may have committed was in the past, I would inform him of something he already knows: that all criminal prosecutions, without exception and by definition, have to deal, obviously, with past criminal behavior. Obviously we cannot prosecute someone for a crime that they may commit in the future.

    “And if we prosecute for even petty theft in America, what do we do with Bush, who I’m very convinced took this nation to war under false pretenses and has caused incalculable death, horror, and suffering?” (link at name on post)

    Bugliosi was rightand the principles still apply.

    • March 15, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      it is unfortunate that he also was an avid and I might ad cheerleader in support of the Warren commission report and vehemently dissed anyone who questioned the report. Note that in the latest poll 60% of Americans do not believe the Warren Commission report. That alone destroys his credibility even though he was certainly right about the Bush administration and its crimes.

  15. Chumpsky
    March 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Such a desperate move by Trump indicates the bankruptcy and hijacking of this non-Washingtonian neophyte’s failed understanding of how the Inner Beltway and Deep State operate. Those with long knives are closing in on him as he circles his wagons, failing to communicate a vision for America that is both sustainable and worldly. Trump has just proven he’s a man of personalities (i.e., multiple) and not one of principles.

  16. Kelli
    March 14, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    I can’t help but feel, with the entrenchment of both parties in militarism and treasonous lawlessness already in place in government, that these torture practices will be used upon the American people in the future for the purposes of control of DISSENT and protest. It’s all about CONTROL.
    .This seems very much like a soft coup by the CIA, FBI and the military industrial complex.

  17. Lois Gagnon
    March 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    It’s going to have to come to the other countries of the world forcing the US into a Nuremberg style tribunal to make the exceptionalist war pigs answer for their crimes. And I mean ALL of them. It would be painful, but cathartic for the whole nation. It’s time for some accountability after so much impunity. The nation and the world are entitled to some deep healing.

    Aren’t there some international law and human rights lawyers in various countries that could get the ball rolling?

    • godenich
      March 15, 2018 at 6:59 am

      Lois, I agree with you in principle and that the author’s argument has merit and is well argued, but having the international community intercede may not yield the desired results. The precedents have not worked out well in practice. Versailles[1] sowed the seeds of WWII[2], the 1933 London World Economic Conference was a failure[3] and Nuremberg[4] may have been more about silencing the truth than justice[5], as Allen Dulles and Eric Warburg were rounding up Nazis during Operation Paperclip[6-9]. Our resulting inter-locking international institutions, like the CBs, IMF, IBRD and BIS[8] have allowed the exploitation of peoples around the world, e.g. USAID and IMF, financially propped up dictators[11], helped topple governments[12] and devalued the dollar. We’re broke[13] and the financial sector is now deemed too big to fail and not properly taxed by tradition[14@52:59-55:07]. The United Nations is a fine international forum for helping to settle squabbles between nations, but international law seems more a tool of the Great Powers, e.g. UN Security Council Veto, than a bastion of justice. We, through our representatives in government, may fare better by politically achieving equality before the law in our judicial system from the grassroots level up rather than top-down from an unelected international body. It seems unlikely that the US will hand over potential war criminals, in high circles(in the big club), to the Hague for trial or that powerful allies will intervene to force us.

      [1] Paris 1919 | Youtube
      [2] Economic Consequences of the Peace | Keynes | Librivox/Internet Archives
      [3] London Economic Conference | Wikipedia
      [4] Nuremberg (2000) | Youtube
      [5] [Documentary] Banking With Hitler.avi | Youtube
      [6] Operation Paperclip- The CIA, NASA & The Third Reich | Youtube
      [7] [PDF]operation paperclip – CIA
      [8] The Warburgs | Ron Chernow | Downpour
      [9] Eric M Warburg | Wiki
      [10] The Battle of Bretton Woods | Ben Steil | Amazon
      [11] Confessions of an Economic Hit Man | John Perkins | Youtube
      [12] Overthrow | Stephen Kinzer | Downpour
      [13] BBC The Partys Over How the West Went Bust | Youtube
      [14] When Bankers Were Good | Youtube

      • Lois Gagnon
        March 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm

        You make a very good point. I’m just not sure enough Americans will ever be able to part with their attachment to the fairy tales they were raised on to bring so many leaders past and present who are clearly guilty of egregious crimes against humanity to justice. They don’t have the stomach for it.

        Maybe the better approach would be for all the countries affected by US foreign policy to get together and sue for reparations. It would certainly be a large sum of money. That might at least create some blow back from US citizens against the guilty parties.

      • Bob Van Noy
        March 16, 2018 at 9:36 am

        godenich and Lois Gagnon I like your exchange. I think that the value to the exposure of controversial questions such as Nat has provided here is, within the commentary. One of the conversations going on in the digital realm is “open source everything” which seems intriguing to me. As long as the forum can be kept relatively free obvious interference. Rather like we experience here at CN. Here we are able to inspect our societal problems free of our corrupt system which is incredibly valuable.

        One of the research themes that I have pursued, is the influence of the Dulles Brothers. Working as lawyers out of a private law firm, they were able to severely and personally influence, for instance, the Treaty of Versailles. Incredible as it sounds on the surface, the severity of that document alone, affected thousands of lives. By injecting their long held family values into a supposed Diplomatic System, they fairly easily directed an entire world government away from a more egalitarian possible solution. The Neocons did much the same with the lead up to the Iraq War. To me, the very concept of GeoPolitics is fundamentally flawed.

  18. MLS
    March 14, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for this, Nat. In many ways, not much more need be asserted than your opening paragraph.

    Nevertheless, a look back is the right thing to do.

    I personally don’t share the animus toward Obama that many seem to – I think he originally had sincere intentions and I guess I just got past my own inflated expectations for him fairly early on.

    All these pompous online blowhards commenting under snarky monikers crack me up – they would do exactly the same caving once they got sat down and scared cacapants by the corporate and MIC powers that be in classified briefings.

    But there’s little question in my mind that the collective faustian bargains he made as soon as he got in the door – with the intel community, Wall St., the telco’s, the medical industry racketeers – represent a calamitous blown opportunity for reform that we might literally never see again.

    In the end, we don’t have a dictatorship. Doesn’t matter how great your argument and rationale is – without a concensus of the various powers, it ain’t happening.

    • Gregory Herr
      March 17, 2018 at 12:38 am

      On the one one hand you refer to your own “inflated expectations” and a “blown opportunity for reform”, yet on the other hand seem to be of a fatalistic and defeatist frame of mind when it comes to bucking up against what I guess must be the all-powerful powers-that-be that apparently do not include the President or any other potential like-minded principled actors who the President could enlist in support.

      Certainly any President who comes into office with a mind to stand for principles of economic justice, human rights and equality under the law, international cooperation, etc. is going to be very much “up against it”. A first problem is that such a person isn’t “produced” or able to politically “rise” in the first place. Candidates in a position to make a run for the Presidency, I would contend, are “groomed”, so-to-speak, by the pervasive mafiosa-like p.t.b. which you allude to. Obama is to my mind one such character who I believe didn’t have to be woodshedded because he was already part of the program. My personal animus towards the man is due to evidence and intuition that he is a social-climbing narcissistic con-man who has no compunction about serving wealthy interests at the expense of the poor and prosecuting dirty wars that kill and otherwise ruin the lives of many too many.

      Now let’s just say Obama used to be a man of “sincere” intention and principle. He got shook up early. So from the outset he completely caves to a nefarious agenda (including appointing a “Citibank Cabinet”). I’m not buying it. But even if so, his “opposition” pull their pants up one leg at a time and have to sh** and sleep like the rest of us. If Obama was truly a good man with smarts, he could have done things differently with the powers and prerogatives of the Presidency he possessed and with the enlistment of the powers and prerogatives of like-minded others. Requires courage, wits, and will? Of course. But I can say to you without a moniker and in all seriousness that I would risk being killed by bad actors before serving evil on a stage as big as the world itself.

      Now Trump may have been that improbable and “accidental” President that slipped through to an Oath of Office without a stamp of approval. That would explain some things. But unfortunately such sheer dumb luck didn’t coincide with any principled courage, wits, or will.

  19. David G
    March 14, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Obama’s remarks in response to the Senate report may actually constitute a further count of torture, perpetrated against his listeners.

    Seems like there’s never a special rapporteur around when you need one.

  20. fudmier
    March 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Is it possible Capone Gang survivors have obtained prominent positions in USA policy.

  21. Bill Goldman
    March 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Trump appoints another Ilsa Koch (“birch of Buchenwald”) as head of the CIA and a bi-partisan Congress is ready to rubber stamp it. He names Mike Pompeo, a Koch Brothers’ stooge, as Secretary of State, and the same clowns (clones?) indorse that. More liars, propagandists, and torturers on our side. Reminiscent of post WW2 when after FDR died, the establishment couldn’t wait to end the Nuremberg trials and wipe the slate clean with Germany and Japan. American fascism is on our doorstep.

  22. Bob Van Noy
    March 14, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    This year will be the 50th. Anniversary of the Assassination Of Martin Luther King. I actually had forgotten that that date was coming up until we were reminded about it by Greg Maybury as he is about to address some new insights about Martin’s Assassination.

    1968 was a terrible year for American Democracy. It was the Year of Assassinations. I think America lost its soul that year and I believe that that was the turning point that formed America into this GWOT fighting, torturous monster, we now live with.

    Here are Martin’s words spoken on April 4,1967.
    On April 4th,1968 He was murdered…

    “If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

    Thank you Nat Parry no issue before us is more important. Sam F. If anybody can help us deal with the legal maze in our corrupt system, you can, thanks for your clarity of mind. And, Joe, you’re invaluable.

    • Sam F
      March 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks, Bob, I too enjoy your comments and those of our very strong and congenial group of readers and writers. Indeed 1968 was a monstrous year. Let us seek the means to guide humanity from the “shameful corridors” of “those who possess power without compassion.”

      • KiwiAntz
        March 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm

        At least the youth of that 1960’s took to the streets & demanded a end to the violence of wars such as Vietnam & deaths of these Leaders such as Martin Luther King? Where are the youth & the protest movement today in protesting America’s suicidal, headlong rush to goad Russia into a nuclear, third World War that will end us all? Today’s youth is to busy mucking around on that timewasting menace called Facebook or posting dopey photos of themselves on Instagram, while their Country goes to hell?

        • Sam F
          March 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm

          While I understand the uncertainty of youth about complex foreign policy issues, and their use of social media, I agree that we would see far more activism if a draft required them to participate in war without any plausible rationale as in the 1960s. The mass media say nothing at all about demonstrations when they occur, unless they are for luxurious causes, and fully support coercion of the US into wars for Israel, and we now have militarized responses to demonstrations, so there is little understanding, communication, or security to support demonstrations.

  23. godenich
    March 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Stop our tax dollars from being wasted, stop the ravages of war & torture and stop an expanding hegemonic empire, based on war profiteering, to preserve our traditions. Rather, increase the competitiveness of our real economy for goods & services and reduce market manipulation & speculation with a uniform progressive 0.3% flat tax[1-3] that replaces income tax, capital gains tax and excise tax. Distribute tax revenues to local governments and let appropriations be legislated up to the State & Federal government for greater political accountability at the grassroots level. War may be financially devastating for the civilian population so they are naturally conservative on issues of military conflict, whereas the defense industry and multinational corporations may try to persuade politicians to chart another course, i.e. business follows the flag. Forget about ineffective tariffs with loopholes(through Canada & Mexico) that penalize the greater number of consumers, businesses and workers who are adversely affected[4]. Tariffs are a partial(%) economic sanction. Tighten up regulation of extreme inheritance, extreme monopoly and multinational corporate raiding.

    Our current tax system is regressive due to loopholes and shelters. Paul Ryan’s 20% consumption tax, a VAT or GST are euphemisms for a flat tax exempting stock markets and banks, regressively placing the tax burden on the majority of working citizens. A typical corporation’s charter warrants making a profit for their shareholders, not necessarily sharing their wealth with workers or the public unless it increases their bottom line, e.g. lobbying for tax subsidies and tax exemptions. That, alone, should dispel the myth of trickle-down economics which never really worked(Reagan tripled the debt) so Trump bringing on Larry Kudlow, as economic advisor, is not a good sign of the times. Likewise, don’t expect investors to sacrifice profits for altruistic motives and don’t let Washington further run up the tab on our progeny in a false claim to “Make America Great Again”. Shine a light on the empty war chest and the depravities released from this Pandora’s Box. Steer away from growing nationalism back toward the federalism of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    [1] APT Tax | Youtube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG8jngOwbpE
    [2] Taxation for the 21ST Century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax | SSRN
    [3] Alternative Proposals Reform, May 11 2005 | Video | C-SPAN (second 5-minute speaker)
    [4] Ep. 336: Tariffs Are Not Good for Workers | Peter Schiff | Youtube

  24. March 14, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    “16 Horrifying Excerpts From the Torture Report That the CIA Doesn’t Want You to See”
    http://mic.com/articles/106006/16-horrifying-excerpts-from-the-torture-report-that-the-cia-doesn-t-want-you-to-see

  25. March 14, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Link below to article
    —————————————–

    A share of the blame went to the United States and the UK, which were found to have trained Brazilian interrogators in torture techniques….
    [read more at link below]
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/10/brazil-president-weeps-report-military-dictatorship-abuses

  26. alley cat
    March 14, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Hmmm…. a torturess…

    Shades of Zero Dark Thirty and Maya (Jessic Chastain), the selfless patriot who must sacrifice her humanity for the good of her country. Directed by Leni Riefenstahl, errr… Kathryn Bigelow.

    Proponents of torture like to argue that you have to be evil to fight evil effectively, which of course is a non sequitur. If you fight terrorists with terror, or torturers with torture, what difference does it make who wins?

    And for those who think that water torture isn’t torture at all because it doesn’t kill you, a couple of minutes of intense suffocation will disabuse you of that notion. Besides, competent torturers/esses always torture a few of their victims to death just to keep the outcome in doubt and maintain the highest possible level of terror.

    “…unsex me here,
    and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full
    of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood,
    stop up the access and passage to remorse,
    that no compunctious visitings of nature
    shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
    the effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
    and take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
    wherever in your sightless substances
    you wait on nature’s mischief!”

    • Annie
      March 14, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      I am not particularly literate in Shakespeare, but I know that’s comes from Macbeth. So appropriate here. Thanks for posting it.

      • alley cat
        March 15, 2018 at 5:39 am

        Annie, putting a torturess in charge of the CIA is obviously completely beyond the pale, as are so many of the things Trump says and does. But as dangerous as our president is, the Dragon Lady, Pence, and the neocon deep-staters are even worse.

        Americans aren’t learning from history, but anyone who watched the lynch mob in Parliament defying all logic and reason (with the exception of Corbyn) is forced to realize that the Brits are caught up in the same mad rush to nuclear Armageddon based on smears and false flag provocations.

        Putin is one of the few sane voices on the world scene and is being mercilessly demonized for it. His protection of the truth-teller Snowden is certainly a factor. Note that Pompeo has proclaimed that Snowden should be executed for what he did. Pompeo undoubtedly believes that Putin should face the same fate for protecting Snowden. And what was Snowden’s unforgiveable crime? Exposing neocons like Pompeo as the real threats to U.S. democracy.

        Trump earns my grudging respect when he denounces Jr. for lying us into war in Iraq, but lying us into nuclear war with Russia based on false flag attacks is obviously worse by several orders of magnitude, regardless of whether he’s doing it just to save his own political backside from the neocon crazies.

        Maybe he should ask Putin for political asylum.

        • orwell
          March 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm

          alley cat, thank you for reminding us that Shakespeare
          was not only THE GREATEST PLAYWRIGHT OF ALL
          TIME, but he was also the GREATEST PSYCHOLOGIST AND GREATEST PROPHET!!!!!!!!
          And he’s MORE RELEVANT THAN EVER RIGHT NOW!!!

          • Anon
            March 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm

            Those are absurd statements. Please be rational and moderate.

  27. Annie
    March 14, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Not to mention Abu Zubayda who under torture claimed Saddam had an operational relationship with al-Qaeda which put the icing on the cake for war with Iraq. It amazes me that torture could be sold as a means of obtaining the truth, when any sane minded person knows it will just get you what you want to hear. If police used torture to obtain a confession, the confession would be thrown out. Peace Prize Droning Obama didn’t have the guts to hold those for implementing torture responsible for their crimes, nor did he hold the banksters accountable for theirs. When Gina Haspel was nominated to head up the CIA it was seen by many as a win for women, and Clinton recently made a remark her loss was due to the fact that many women vote the way their husbands told them to do, another narcissistic excuse for her loss. Well, as a woman I detest women who reach positions of political power and are as war mongering and violent as their male counterparts, and I strongly feel I have a lot of company in that regard.

    • Tannenhouser
      March 14, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Annie, et all..

      This may be of interest. A bit OT however. Stacking the Deck for the 2018 Primaries and after.

      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/07/dems-m07.html

    • cara
      March 14, 2018 at 11:30 pm

      Exactly. We can’t possibly think for ourselves and have standards. Obviously we are just women “who don’t help other women and belong in a special place in hell.”

    • Skip Scott
      March 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Very well said Annie. I was one of the dummies who thought that Obama would clean house in 2008. I don’t know if he was a shill all along, or had a “trip to the woodshed”, but he caved to all the power brokers in the MIC and Wall St, and wasted no time doing it. Then he made himself a war criminal with his “terror tuesday” kill list, even droning a US citizen and his 16 yr old son with no due process.
      There is no remedy for this within the two party system, and there never will be. The rule of law will remain dead until “we the people” demand it be restored. I think our only hope to do it without violence is to get a third party candidate elected in 2020.

      • Nancy
        March 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm

        He was a shill all along; otherwise he never would have appeared out of nowhere to save the Democratic Party and keep the farce going. He was the perfect candidate, the more effective evil, as Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report so wisely noted.

    • orwell
      March 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      GOOD FOR YOU, ANNIE !!!!! YOU”RE A LIGHT SHINING IN THE DARKNESS !!!

      • Anon
        March 15, 2018 at 5:36 pm

        Useful comments do not use all caps or multiple exclamation points: they use evidence and argument.

  28. Tannenhouser
    March 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Look for torture girl/guy to be replaced by Tom Cotton. Most likely Girl as there is a EU arrest warrant out for her I believe.

    An old article but worthwhile for back ground on the ‘support’ for Tom.

    https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/topic/tom-cotton/

  29. Brendan
    March 14, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    The Senate report in 2014 about the CIA’s use of torture revealed that CIA officials told numerous lies to Congress about that program.

    Oh well, I guess that’s just a minor detail, since there’s almost no political opposition to the appointment of one of the CIA’s chief torturers to the top job.

    • David G
      March 14, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      And recall that that Senate investigation was itself the target of a CIA espionage operation, also free of legal consequences, naturally.

      • Gregory Herr
        March 16, 2018 at 11:13 pm

        The Weasel known as Obama defended the CIA espionage and assured that most of the Senate report will remain classified until at least 2028. He put forth the purity and righteousness b.s. amidst words about “agonizing” choices and “looking forward” while doing just enough (“wanting” to close Guantanamo, supposedly eliminating “black” detention sites, and allowing a gagged Red Cross access to CIA detention sites we know about) to tide things over. Obama did nothing about extraordinary rendition and basically served as “cover”. He made excuses…that’s what weasels do.

  30. Deniz
    March 14, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Even the CIA, I mean WashingtonPost, is questioning whether Haspel is fit for office: “Gina Haspel as CIA director? It’s a test of America’s conscience.”

    This is the amusing part of an otherwise credible article.

    “Let’s remind ourselves of the history of the torture program. In the aftermath of 9/11, amid widespread fear of more large-scale attacks, the Bush administration ordered the CIA to begin torturing captured al-Qaeda suspects. The CIA had almost no experience in interrogation, and as it struggled to figure out the best way to go about it, the agency turned to a pair of psychologist contractors who themselves had zero experience in interrogation.”

  31. Joe Tedesky
    March 14, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    If the U.S. were to discontinue it’s policy on torture then the next problem for the U.S. warhawks will be for them attempting to coerce their captured enemy into submission to say whatever the warhawks want them to say. These forced admissions to guilt by the enemies of the U.S. only serve to substantiate the warhawks many lies.

    Then the other side of torture, is it’s use of that horrid technique of persuasion, is mostly a tactic used to put fear into a foes heart and soul, as it also ramps up the crimes of war where both sides become more brutal than the other. When this phase appears on the scene as the enemy now inflicts a sort of evil blowback on to our side, then their awful acts of war crimes becomes more fodder for our MSM to exploit.

    It was a joy to read Nat Parry’s article. Nat is proof the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Great job Nat, can’t wait to read you more. Joe

  32. john wilson
    March 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Upholding the law only applies to the ordinary Jo public. It doesn’t apply to the police, the deep state gangsters, the senate or congress. Its always been the case that people who make the laws do so for other people and never themselves. The only surprise about this article is that the writer thinks it might be otherwise.

    • Sam F
      March 14, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      The article is very well written and well argued. Those who advocate torture usually assume the victims to be guilty and to have knowledge, and overestimate its effectiveness in saving other lives. Ignoring those errors, without ignoring that fact that “one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism … is staying true to our ideals” we must still face the fact that in some cases information could be coerced that would save far more lives.

      That concession is at the top of a slippery slope to moral degradation, in which the number of lives to be saved per torture victim becomes few, the torture victims become many and of unknown guilt, the information becomes unreliable, and the policy becomes extensively abused in secret or by a tyrannical administration, etc.

      One way to avoid that slope is to stay out of the fake “war on terror” which primarily requires dumping the zionists who bribe and propagandize the US into Mideast wars for their land theft schemes. Another is to stay out of anti-socialist “regime change” operations and MIC budget-increase wars. Those foreign policy improvements require destroying the oligarchy, by waging the “war on terror” against mass media and oligarchy in the US.

      As a first step, banning all foreign wars as beyond the federal powers, and repudiating NATO and all treaties that are not purely defensive, would enable us to avoid slippery slopes into tyranny, and to ban torture altogether.

      • tina
        March 14, 2018 at 10:36 pm

        waterboarding is legal

        • orwell
          March 15, 2018 at 1:42 pm

          tina, waterboarding is an international CRIME.
          Where do you get your information from , the CIA?!?

      • March 15, 2018 at 3:00 am

        @ “we must still face the fact that in some cases information could be coerced that would save far more lives.”

        No, we must turn our backs on the ticking bomb argument. There is never a right to torture, even if lives might thereby be saved. In fact, those taken prisoner by our government have a right to remain silent, regardless of whether they have information that might save lives. And under the 4th Geneva Convention, prisoners of war are entitled to provide no more information to their captors than their name, rank, service number, and contact information for receiving mail while imprisoned. (The Convention also provides that anyone taken prisoner by an opposing must be presumed to be a prisoner of war until a court finds that they are not entitled to that status.)

        Finally, there is as a practical matter the Golden Rule. John McCain, as a former POW, knows this, which is why he has been so adamantly opposed to U.S. torture of prisoners. I know from 27 months’ combat duty in Viet Nam that the only deterrent we have to mistreatment of ourselves when taken prisoner is to treat well those we take prisoner.

        It scarcely could have escaped Haspel’s attention that the enemy in Iraq did not begin executing U.S. prisoners until after the Abu Ghraib Prison photos became public. Ever since, western prisoners executed by the jihadis have been dressed in the same orange jump suits the Abu Ghraib prisoners wore. See e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Berg

        Once a nation forfeits the moral high ground on treatment of prisoners, it fairly invites mistreatment of its own nationals taken prisoner by the other side.

        • Sam F
          March 15, 2018 at 8:32 am

          I would agree on all points, that we must keep to the moral high ground, but those at risk in unprovoked conflict generally decide that imminent danger to thousands warrants the coercion of some. So I concede that there are extreme cases, and then warn that almost invariably that concession leads to a slide down the slope to tyrannical abuses. Hence the law of war, treaties defining war crimes, etc. I present the exception in sympathy with the other victims of the conflict.

          Extraordinary exceptions in practice force a moral battle within ourselves. For example, if you knew that a captured individual knew military secrets that would save thousands of lives, such as whether or not a nuclear device would explode in a large city as threatened, would one do nothing to coerce the witness? It is an extreme example, but there are such situations in war. Most moral thinkers seem to conclude that there are such cases, which they would rather not consider, only because the principle is so important and the containment of torture once begun has been unsuccessful.

        • Sam F
          March 15, 2018 at 11:21 am

          I replied to your post but it is still in “moderation” despite its complete moderacy.

          I agree fully except that the example shows that there are cases when coercion of an informant is necessary to protect a far greater number of innocents. That case as noted is at the top of a slippery slope to be avoided. But I must sympathize as well with the innocent victims to be protected, so cannot quite see virtue only on one side, with complete prohibition. Perhaps the solution is to avoid all situations that might lead to cases where torture would be justifiable, and then decide what to do in extreme cases brought upon us by wrongdoers.

          • orwell
            March 15, 2018 at 1:46 pm

            SAM F, your point of view is ABOMINABLE.
            You’ve bought the PROPAGANDA hook, line and sinker. You’ve been watching too many CIA-
            produced TV Shows, like 24 and HOMELAND,
            and ALL THE REST OF THAT FASCIST GARBAGE.

          • Sam F
            March 15, 2018 at 5:32 pm

            Not true at all, Orwell, read my post again: I accept none of the rationales for torture. But as there are possible cases where it would be very wrong not do everything possible to save many other lives, I do not say that it cannot possibly be warranted in rare cases. That is a very limited exception. My comment shows that I would design foreign policy to avoid those cases wherever possible. How to you get from that position, to the opposite view of what I have said?

          • Sam F
            March 15, 2018 at 8:10 pm

            Looking at other recent posts of “Orwell” it appears that he is a troll who should be moderated.
            Perhaps CN can discard comments with more than two “!” or more than five caps in a sequence.

  33. KiwiAntz
    March 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    This disgraceful pair, of both Pompeo & Haspel, should be in jail for life or netted with the same fate as Nazi criminals? How is it possible that these two can escape justice & not be prosecuted in the Hague for crimes against humanity; murder & torture? Just shows you how morally warped & sick the US has become where criminals escape jail & then promoted to the Whitehouse? America can be liked to Oscar Wilde’s “The picture of Dorian gray” ? On the outside appearance, It presents this ageless,righteous, moral mask but beneath that mask,the reality is that it’s is a rotting, cankering, pus filled mess? That mask is slipping & the real mask is slowly being exposed to the World via these dubious appointments by this insane President & it’s corrupt Whitehouse?

    • john wilson
      March 14, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      No KiwiAntz, the mask will never slip as long as the MSM keep on propping it up.

    • glitch
      March 14, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      This is what the New American Century evil looks like: smarmy, smug, grinning. Hideous.

    • Abe
      March 14, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Tillerson wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic for yet another U.S. War for Israel.

      Pompeo was transferred to State in preparation for coming Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis military attacks

      https://www.timesofisrael.com/with-anti-iran-pro-israel-stances-pompeo-may-become-jerusalems-new-darling/

      Pro-Israel Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his Democratic caucus to oppose Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of State or Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA.

      • Tannenhouser
        March 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm

        “Pro-Israel Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is not currently urging his Democratic caucus to oppose Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of State or Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA.”

        Of course he isn’t.
        https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/07/dems-m07.html

        Mazel tov

        • Abe
          March 15, 2018 at 1:30 pm

          “Neither party offers any credible prospect of significant social reform. Both offer right-wing nostrums, laced with militarism, while seeking to split the working class along the lines of race, gender and national origin.

          “The campaign takes place in the wake of more than a year of unrelenting focus by the Democrats on the anti-Russian campaign, a narrative claiming that Trump’s victory in the presidential election was the result of Russian interference and that Trump is, for all practical purposes, a Russian stooge in the White House.

          “Not a shred of evidence has been provided either of Russian interference or of collusion with Russia on the part of the Trump campaign. Nor is there any suggestion that there was any significant element of fraud in either the vote or its tabulation by local and state governments.

          “But the Democratic Party has deliberately sought to whip up and appeal to the most right-wing, McCarthyite, chauvinist sentiments. It denounces Trump not for his right-wing policies, his immigrant baiting, his consorting with fascists and white supremacists, or his tax cut bonanza for the wealthy, but because he is allegedly insufficiently committed to confronting Russia militarily in the Middle East, Central Asia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Baltic.

          “Clinton ran in 2016 as the favored candidate of the military-intelligence apparatus, amassing hundreds of endorsements by retired generals, admirals and spymasters, and criticizing Trump as unqualified to be the commander-in-chief.

          “This political orientation has developed and deepened in 2018. The Democratic Party is running in the congressional elections not only as the party that takes a tougher line on Russia, but as the party that enlists as its candidates and representatives those who have been directly responsible for waging war, both overt and covert, on behalf of American imperialism. It is seeking to be not only the party for the Pentagon and CIA, but the party of the Pentagon and CIA.”

          https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/09/dems-m09.html

      • Abe
        March 15, 2018 at 12:47 pm

        The unabashedly pro-Israel Trump cabinet appointments underscore efforts to eliminate political resistance to Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis military operations. Recent Trump declarations regarding Palestine can be understood in this context:

        “In January, Mahmoud Abbas was in Riyadh, where he met with the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and was informed of the ‘utmost necessity’ of accepting the ‘deal of the century’, forcing him to return home in a state of shock. Before that, in December 2017, Saudi Arabia already had officially stated that they had their own plan to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, a plan the central part of which is obviously making the Palestinians accept the ‘deal of the century.’

        “The plan, although not yet revealed, seems to be to first resolve the Palestine issue and then clear the roadmap for a greater alliance against Iran. But all this might not be just as smooth a going as it seemingly looks.

        “The Saudi-led group of Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Jordan) is, therefore, also active on silencing the potential ‘spoilers of the deal’, such as Turkey, which has been the most forceful campaigner of the rights of the Palestinians. A policy disagreement does exit, evident from the UAE Foreign Minister’s recent statement, targeting Turkey for its ‘malicious’ campaigns in the region, asking it to ‘respect’ the sovereignty of the Arab states—something, the minster added, was essential for Ankara to return to a ‘normal state of stability.’

        “‘Silencing the spoilers’ is necessary because without first leaping forward on Israel-Palestine issue, the Arab countries might not be able to convince their public about the necessity of establishing formal relations with Israel. This was recently confirmed by an Israeli military official, Brig. Gen. Udi Dekel who said that “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as important for them (the Arab states) as it was before, but they (the Arab states) are afraid of making official relations with Israel without any major movement on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”

        “In this context, the not-so-secret talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia and military cooperation between Israel and Egypt have all cleared the emphatic pursuit of de-mystifying the Arab-Israel ties, indicating how differently they, the Arab states, see the Palestinian issue, and how they are now prioritizing their relations with Israel over Palestine against the changing regional dynamics wherein Turkey, Iran and Qatar have found new grounds of cooperation, giving the Saudis reasons to become public with Israel.”

        Israel: The Arabs’ Not so Secret Friend
        By Salman Rafi Sheikh
        https://journal-neo.org/2018/03/14/israel-the-arabs-not-so-secret-friend/

    • tina
      March 14, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      at least it is not Killary, right? too many people on consortiumnews are and were the victims of trolls. So many here believed that HRC was a war monger. Kudlow, the great economist, he is cute on tv, Waterboarding anyone? Thailand? All you trump apologists , here on CN please give me one or two reasons why DJT is good for our country. I will listen

      • March 15, 2018 at 2:35 am

        In my experience, CN seems to have an enormous shortage of both Trump and Clinton apologists. Regardless of the extent of turd-polishing by both sides, there’s no getting around the fact that both the Republicans and Democrats fielded loathesome candidates in 2016. Trump won that race to the bottom because progressives have for decades fallen for the logical fallacy of lesser-evilism voting, incrementally pushing the “center” of the Democratic Party to the right and into globalist neoliberal hands. See my essay on the topic at h**ps://relativelyfreepress.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-lesser-of-two-evils-is-still-evil.html (.) See also h**p://www.globalresearch.ca/democratic-party-primaries-progressives-as-political-contraceptives/5490884

        Not me. I voted for Jill Stein as a vote for peace.

        You say: “So many here believed that HRC was a war monger.” Yes, she was and is. See e.g., h**p://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/27/hillary-the-hawk-a-history-clinton-2016-military-intervention-libya-iraq-syria/ (.) If you didn’t know that, Tina, it’s way past time for you to do some research. Both Clinton and Trump are turds.

        • Brad Owen
          March 15, 2018 at 5:44 am

          Fellow Greenspan here. I too pulled the lever for Jill, as the two candidates of the two, Establishment-captured, parties were unacceptable to me too. I don’t think my voting lever was connected to anything, judging from the ridiculously low vote count that Jill won. The Establishment and its Deep State apparatus with its apparatchiks has pretty much got this country sewn up. The Establishment is global in nature, has been for centuries, and they clearly saw that, after WWII, America had to be taken over first, to reclaim their firm grip on the rest of the World. This was started as soon as FDR died, by Wall Street apparatchiks in the Intel Community, such as the Dulles brothers, working WITH NAZI assets, and the ratlines to salvage them, to bring them over here. They won’t be defeated by human efforts alone; that is my firm conclusion. Fortunately, we are not alone, in rectifying this situation. This is scaring the sh}t out the Establishment. Good. It should.

          • Brad Owen
            March 15, 2018 at 5:44 am

            Greenspan= Greensman. Stupid spell check.

        • Zachary Smith
          March 15, 2018 at 1:13 pm

          “Democratic Party Primaries: U.S. “Progressives” as Political Contraceptives”

          Fascinating analysis. Thanks for the link.

      • Tannenhouser
        March 15, 2018 at 10:17 am

        I am not a trump apologist however…Tina, it was the rhetoric. You know the lies told by pols to get elected. Donald message was very much anti war and anti establishment, while HRC was the opposite. I can think of no reason why DJT is good for the country , nor can I for any POTUS since FDR really. DJT has advanced every agenda HRC would have, just in a different manner. Paul’s reply below is good as well. Thanks for listening Tina.

      • Nancy
        March 15, 2018 at 12:39 pm

        DJT is no good for our country and neither would Hillary be. She would be up to the nefarious crimes, but the media wouldn’t be gleefully mocking her, as they do Trump. They would be mildly critical at best.
        When will you liberals realize it’s not about personalities, it’s about criminal policies which continue unabated, regardless of who is president?

      • orwell
        March 15, 2018 at 1:39 pm

        Tina, HRC IS A WARMONGER AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN.
        HAVE YOU BEEN ASLEEP ALL THESE YEARS???????
        SHE IS OF COURSE A WAR CRIMINAL.

      • Abby
        March 16, 2018 at 1:25 am

        Killery WAS A WARMONGER! Why do you think people call her Killeryin the first place? Being against Hillary does not mean people like or voted for Trump and if you can’t see that then you are being willfully blind. Same goes for Obama and everyone who votes for war for profit.

    • Abe
      March 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      “here we have a junta minding the store whose collective wisdom had determined that State under Tilllerson wasn’t accommodating US bellicosity as enthusiastically as it should. Their solution? Elevate CIA Chief Mike Pompeo […] a bombastic Tea-Party Republican and a national security hawk who takes a hard line no matter what crisis is at hand. […]

      “Gina Haspel, someone who has known no calling besides black ops, winner of the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, and the first of her sex to crash through CIA’s bulletproof glass ceiling to the Director’s office. Her résumé implies she must have been born at Langley HQ. There’s no paper trail for her prior to 1985, when she joined the agency.

      “The one bright spot is that both Pompeo and Haspel will have to testify before Congress votes of on their appointments. […] Intense public pressure may help to drag skeltons of torture victims out of the agency’s closet, but don’t expect it to matter. The deep state is used to getting what it wants and doesn’t let things like due process get in the way.

      “Now that the Department of State is to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the CIA, America can rest easy. No more mister nice guy. Diplomacy is for wimps.”

      Will the State Department Become a Subsidiary of the CIA?
      By Geoff Dutton
      https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/15/will-the-state-department-become-a-subsidiary-of-the-cia/

      • Abby
        March 16, 2018 at 1:28 am

        It looks like the Democratic Party is also going to be a subsidiary of the CIA if the people who are running for congress get elected. There are 32 ex CIA spooks running in the next election. This shows how this country is going to be a fascist country if it’s not already.

    • orwell
      March 15, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      The “real mask” was exposed to the world many many years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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