Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?

Gina Haspel faces a confirmation hearing on Wednesday to become CIA director despite her record of supporting torture, which even the Pentagon admitted does not work, says Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern Special to Consortium News

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to decide whether to recommend that Gina Haspel be confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The mind boggles.

It is no secret that Haspel oversaw detainee torture, including waterboarding, at a CIA “black site” base in Thailand. The nonprofit National Security Archive, housed at The George Washington University, reports that Haspel later drafted a cable ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of torture sessions, including some from before her arrival. Haspel also helped feed repeated lies about the supposed effectiveness of torture to CIA superiors, Congress, and two presidents.

So how does President Donald Trump think he can get this nomination approved? It is a sad story. Polling shows that most Americans, including Catholics, have been persuaded by Hollywood films and TV series, other media, and Trump himself that torture works. “Absolutely, I feel it works,” Trump told ABC News in January 2017. 

Given the utilitarian tone dominating the discussion, I will first address whether there is any evidence that torture “works,” and then comment on the tendency to equivocate—in what one might call a jesuitical way—about the morality of torture. I must, however, point out upfront that the civilized world has long since decided that torture is intrinsically evil: always wrong. It is also against international and domestic law, of course. But torture is not wrong because it is illegal. It is the other way around. Torture is illegal because it is just flat wrong—always.

Coercing False ‘Intelligence’

Powell’s vile display.

On Sept. 6, 2006, Gen. John Kimmons, then the Army deputy chief of staff for intelligence, chose to address this issue publicly at a Pentagon press conference just one hour before he knew that President George W. Bush would publicly extol the virtues of torture methods that became known as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Gen.l Kimmons said, “No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years—hard years—tell us that.”

Here is the exception, however: Torture can “work” like a charm when interrogators are told to coerce false “intelligence” that can be used, for example, to start a war.

Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, has explained how his boss was mousetrapped by CIA Director George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin as Col. Wilkerson was putting the final touches on Secretary Powell’s misbegotten speech on Iraq to the UN Security Council on Feb 5, 2003. Mr. Tenet used information he knew was from torture to mislead Powell into claiming there was a “sinister nexus” between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

According to Col. Wilkerson, Tenet did not tell Powell that this “intelligence” came from a source, Ibn Shayk al-Libi, who had been “rendered” to and waterboarded by Egyptian intelligence. The Defense Intelligence Agency had officially pronounced unreliable what al-Libi had said, but Tenet never told Powell. Al-Libi then recanted less than a year later, admitting that he fabricated the story about Saddam and al-Qaeda in order to stop the torture.

‘Intrinsic Evil’

Those of us who attended Jesuit institutions decades ago were taught that there was a moral category called “intrinsic evil”—actions that were always wrong, including rape, slavery and torture. Sadly, at my alma mater Fordham University, torture seems to have slipped out of that well-defined moral category into a “gray world.” 

Controversy on Rose Hill.

In spring 2012, graduating seniors who were aware of Homeland Security Advisor (and later CIA head) John Brennan’s checkered career strongly opposed the decision by Fordham’s president, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., to invite Brennan, who graduated from Fordham College in 1977, to give the university commencement address on the Bronx campus and be awarded—of all things—a doctorate of humane letters, honoris causa. Brennan was already on record defending “extraordinary rendition,” secret prisons abroad and “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Many Fordham students saw scandal in that the violent policies Brennan advocated were in stark contrast to the principles that Fordham University was supposed to stand for as a Catholic Jesuit University. Scott McDonald, a graduating senior, asked to meet with President McShane to discuss those concerns, but Brennan remained as commencement speaker. McDonald left the meeting wondering if the moral theologians at Fordham now considered torture a “gray area.”

Last year, Fordham again honored Brennan by appointing him distinguished fellow for global security at the school’s Center on National Security. And Brennan has endorsed the Haspel nomination.

I feel all this on a deep personal level. Not only have I been a proud Fordham Ram since 1953 but, more important, we have nine grandchildren, seven of whom have not yet chosen their college. It pains me greatly not to be able to recommend my alma mater.

Ray McGovern originally drafted this article at the request of the Jesuit weekly, America. It was circulated in-house but then nixed for publication.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington, D.C.. A Fordham alumnus, he spent 27 years as a CIA analyst, from the Kennedy administration to the first Bush administration. He holds a certificate in theological studies from Georgetown and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

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65 comments for “Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?

  1. Tom
    May 15, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Two Democrats now say that they’ll vote to confirm Haspel. Why? Because they’re scared to death of being labelled as being “soft on terrorists”. Doesn’t matter that she committed war crimes and should be arrested and prosecuted. All who vote to confirm are scared of the CIA. Their personal power comes first.

    So it looks like McGovern’s going to be wrong on this.

  2. Ernest Martinson
    May 13, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Given what is known about the CIA’s torturing, regime change, assassination, and death by drone; torturer and destroyer of video tapes Bloody Gina would seem to be a natural to cap a career in the secretive CIA as its diabolical director.

  3. Mary
    May 12, 2018 at 5:38 am

    Ray McGovern’s friend, Craig Murray, ex UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote of the disgusting attack on Mr McGovern and the manhandling by the Capitol heavies.

    Half a Million Pounds of Taxpayers’ Money Bails Out Criminals Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/05/half-a-million-pounds-of-taxpayers-money-bails-out-criminals-jack-straw-and-sir-mark-allen/

    “Where the law ends, tyranny begins”. John Locke 1632-1704

    Is there any news of Mr McGovern’s condition? We understand his shoulder was injured. How disgraceful that a 78 year old man was mistreated like this.

  4. May 11, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    No, a torturer should not become head of the CIA.

  5. Mark
    May 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Hi Ray,

    I’m a proud Jesuit alumnus myself, and with you all the way about Haspel and torture, but are Catholics, and Jesuits in particular, supposed to be more averse than others to it? Didn’t the Jesuits run the Inquisition?

  6. Heidi Reidell
    May 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    I am so sorry that you were abused by captiol police when trying to speak your peace/piece. Would you have been permitted to distribute copies of this article to those in attendance at the door?

  7. luba
    May 11, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Respect to you Sir for your bravery and moral integrity!

  8. May 11, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Yes

  9. Jan Lolling
    May 11, 2018 at 3:43 am

    I admire Ray for his courage. He just says out things that can have pretty harsh consequences for him. He works up his past and works for a better world. Thanks Day!

  10. Freedom_First
    May 10, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Mr. McGovern — Thank you for speaking out. I remember a few decades ago when the U.S. media had reporters who were not afraid to question government policies and all the commie reporters and politicians were scripted. Now, it is the other way around!

  11. Tom
    May 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Saw him this morning on CNN getting kicked out and arrested at Haspel’s hearing.I actually started applauding when I did. In the real journalism world, this has now become part of the story. Two protestors were removed. Aside from RT and Vice, NOBODY else will touch this.

    Meanwhile, not one Senator will say torture. Why? Because if you do, people will see you as being weak on “terrorism” and vote you out of a job?

    • Skip Edwards
      May 10, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      There is one way to begin to sort all of this and that is to put the people involved in the rendition to torture sites, those doing the torturing and those authorizing the torture (to the highest level of gov’t) on trial before the International Criminal Court

  12. Evangelista
    May 9, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Ray,

    On 7 May I wrote to you: “Let’s see what Ms. Haspel has to say.”

    Damn, I guess that was not very good advice.

    Well, here’s hoping you a speedy recovery from the effects of the goon-handling the gorillas gave you.

    P.S.
    It is hard to keep up with the policy changes in our current whim-ocracy, but as I understand, to not resist arrest under today’s rules you need to float abut waist high at the end of your hand-cuff tether, being careful to not pull, which could be construed attempt to escape…

  13. FredMc
    May 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Ray,

    I just saw you on TV getting evicted from the Senate hearing over Gina Haspel. GOOD FOR YOU! If only more had your guts and moral integrity!

    • andrew israel
      May 9, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Hats off to you Ray.

  14. nikto
    May 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Whoa!!

    Was that Ray McGovern who just got hauled out of the Haspel hearing around noon, Eastern Time (and being manhandled in the process) after interrupting and yelling some question or objection (that was not clearly audible on CNN coverage?

    It sure looked like him.

    Naturally, the network did not even acknowledge the interruption, and the commentators remained silent with no comment during the interruption.

    Have to wait for confirmation of this, but I do believe it was RM.

    • Karenvista
      May 9, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Yes it was. I saw that too. He’s still fighting for us!

    • Ivan Glasnos
      May 11, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Mainstream news and politics, corporations and business, religions, their treatment of the truth is just like the television networks’ prohibition against showing on camera any spectator or hooligan who goes onto the field during a sporting event: they do not show it.
      Truth and freedom and democracy are so important and precious that they must be protected from the masses. The ends always justify the means for fascists.

  15. Committedskeptic
    May 9, 2018 at 11:32 am

    So, people believe that torture works, without any evidence to support that belief. OK, then, that makes torture a “faith-based initiative”, right?

    • nikto
      May 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Apparently, according to Haspel’s testimony, torture doesn’t work, except it does (she said they got valuable info from it, even thought it doesn’t work). WTF????

      Talk about having it both ways.

      Can you imagine a regular, “non-elite” person giving such obviously 2-faced testimony in a courtroom? The judge would threaten you or me with imprisonment for giving such a self-serving BS response, and would demand a clear answer, either way.

      But that’s because regular folks like you and me aren’t favored and privileged
      by the high and mighty. Ghouls like Haspel will always get away with everything,
      no matter what.

      • Skip Edwards
        May 10, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        It is only because “we the people” allow it.

  16. John Tipre
    May 9, 2018 at 3:33 am

    If the young would lead (and some lead as told above) the “leaders” may follow. When Jesuits and others ignore values and take up the dim lantern of neoliberal, imperial pragmatism, Catholicism as an estimable institution vitiates christian values leaving many bewildered.

  17. tsisageya
    May 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Colin Powell is nothing but a whoore. Shut up, asshole.

  18. tsisageya
    May 8, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    And let us not forget that we all are standing on stolen, genocidal ground. As we speak.

  19. tsisageya
    May 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Torture, by the U.S., was admitted several years ago. I remember. I hated it then, and I hate it now.

    Apparently, it doesn’t matter who the president is.

    • tsisageya
      May 8, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      What matters is Israel?

      The U.S. government must succomb to Israel? Stop it. That’s just disgusting.

  20. Ross Worthington
    May 8, 2018 at 9:43 am

    “The record on which we judge these defendants today is
    the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass
    these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own
    lips as well.”
    Justice Robert Jackson- Nuremberg

  21. May 8, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Yes, that was a good article, Abe. This country is in a very, very sad state. It’s no wonder international polls put the US as the greatest threat to world peace today. Torture is institutionalized sadism, as one commenter well stated, and there is a nest of vile vipers in the District of Corruption, as Realist and Sam said. I will call my senators, both who opposed Pompeo (to no avail) to oppose Haspel, for what it’s worth, that’s how bad things are…

    • Jose
      May 8, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Good incisive post. Jessika, please meditate for a moment about the following: what does one is to understand about US sense of morality and commitment to the law when a well known torturer is being nominated to head the CIA? Or stated differently, why Americans are not up in arms about this candidate? Apathy anyone?

  22. Kalen
    May 8, 2018 at 8:40 am

    With all do respect who is more qualified to run CIA institution of murder, deception, spying, lying and tortures as torturer in chief herself.

    It is madness, what are you people talking about? If you think that if sister Teresa of Calcuta would run CIA that would have been OK or that would fix it?

    ABOLISH CIA IMMEDIATELY it has no role or any value in civilized society whatsoever, it is abomination of humanity.

    As far as torture itself, it is proven useless ineffective as far as direct subject of torture is concerned and as GESTAPO,KGB and CIA already proved it is easily defeatable with no actionable value whatsoever as 99% of actionable info they obtained by manipulation and coercion of subject not via torture that only instigate rage and confusion , the remaining 1% of intelligence obtained from family members, associates unwittingly or who want to stop torture.

    One thing that was proved “useful” for tortures was terrifying those who witness torture as bystanders not directly threaten as imagination is larger than reality, hence mere threat, possibility of torture is what is more effective to influence people actions and what induces cooperation in intelligence gatherings.

    • Jose
      May 8, 2018 at 11:34 am

      You make very good points here. Allen, think about the following contradiction: this torturer, if sworn in, would have to swear under oath to obey and abide by the US constitution: how does torture and illegal rendition programs, which miss Gaspel were active participant, fit in with the oath-taking? In a way, this candidate has an extensive resume when it comes to torturering and covering up. But legally speaking, she is grossly unqualified. God helps us all.

  23. Sam F
    May 8, 2018 at 5:39 am

    While torture always has the irrefutable academic case (where thousands die otherwise) to lead us to the slippery slope to tyranny, the McGovern refutation is best, that the known-bad al-Libi “intel” coerced by Egyptian intelligence was used by Tenet to deceive Powell into Iraq War II. So we are sliding down that slope before we get to the top, a Sisyphean task with an improper goal. In torture as in business, coercion produces fake agreement not usable results. Only the forces of Reason and Justice can be legitimate.

    If we must move Sisyphus’ boulder up a difficult slope, let us choose worthwhile goals as the VIPS have done. Camus’ essay The Myth of Sisyphus concludes “The struggle itself… is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” I imagine that at the top there is a fertile upland of human potential rather than the untenable barren peak of personal glory. I nominate Ray McGovern to run Fordham, if that is not a slippery slope to trivial tasks.

  24. Rob Jones
    May 8, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Torture is not only immoral, but a mark of insanity. Sadism, to be precise. A governmental policy of torturing a human being is only institutionalizing sadistic behavior. Much like pornography, which is the commercialization of a mental defect, torture goes hand in hand with a form of sociopathy that bends the resources of a nation to serve an appetite for power over other, less fortunate human beings. Like the miscreant child who pulls the legs off of spiders or drops a brick on a cat’s head, the perpetrators of acts of torture depend on a grossly superior capability to deny any escape or avoidance to the victim. Shock and Awe, dropping tons of explosives on Baghdad, enhanced with the narcissistic fuel of live video broadcast over CNN, for instance. Or, having limitless access to groups of thugs to chain the victim to a bedframe and apply electric shock, a difference in form but the same sickness. No need to enumerate the cruel methods here except to illustrate the depraved enjoyment of the torturers who appear to invoke terror in the name of national security, but, in reality, are taking advantage of the opportunity to feed their lust — both directly by the thugs in the room as well as by proxied officials who pretend they are gathering useful information while enjoying their power to make others suffer, as entertainment. Obsessive addiction, even.

    Why should the CIA bother with torturing? They can simply invent their stories and provide fabricated collateral to support their recommendations, right? Perhaps a strong interrogation can be justified if there is a genuine, imminent threat. Otherwise, it’s just feeding the beast.

    The clearest and most present danger to the USA is not a cloud of Russian paratroopers landing on the Mall or Kim’s nuke hitting Hollywood, but the occupants of the building at the East end of the Mall who are trading in power to wage a bloody war for profit.

    In my opinion, we should consider the idea that the destruction of videotapes served the alternative purpose of covering up not only the evidence of torture, but also the evidence that the so-called intelligence was clearly coerced by brutal force. Ms. Haspell, along with her cohorts, should be in jail.

    • john wilson
      May 8, 2018 at 4:25 am

      Well, Rob, A clear and imminent threat, so torture is justified? Who decides what a clear threat is and to whom do they justify this threat. Once you go down the road that there are some instances where torture might be appropriate, you have lost the argument.

    • mike k
      May 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

      Yes. The worst among us – immoral, sadistic, bullies – have taken control of society, and seek to dominate the world. Those of us who long for a world of love, sharing, and beauty must find a way to displace them from their positions of power.

    • Skip Edwards
      May 10, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      This needs to be repeated over and over and over: “Ms. Haspell, along with her cohorts, should be in jail.”

  25. May 8, 2018 at 3:22 am

    One enormous factor left out of the “torture” debate is the fact that any prisoner has the right to remain silent. Under our own Constitution, that right is granted to criminal defendants. And under the Geneva Conventions, all any prisoner is required to divulge is name, rank, service number, and contact information for receiving mail.

    When we process into the U.S. military, down to the lowliest enlisted man, we become subject to and educated about General Order No. 1, first promulgated by President Eisenhower, that orders us if captured not to divulge any other information. Therefore, it seems outlandish to suggest that the CIA has so few military veterans that its torturers were not aware of that right.

    While torture is itself evil, the sense of entitlement to information in the prisoner’s head is where the line of illegality was first crossed. As held in Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which entered into force on 26 June 1987 after ratification by the U.S.:

    “2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of 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.”

    There is nothing vague or ambiguous about that particular law. Torture is ALWAYS prohibited and it is a war crime.

    • Sam F
      May 8, 2018 at 4:57 am

      Interesting that the US signed the Geneva Conventions but passed an act to militarily attack the Hague if its citizens were prosecuted. Yet we use NATO primarily to circumvent our Constitutional limitation of military force to repel invasions and suppress insurrections. The NATO treaty should be renegotiated as purely defensive.

      The best service any nation could do for the world would be to prosecute US warmongers and dare the US to attack the Hague. That would be a turning point in the world’s understanding of the US, well worth any sacrifice.

    • mike k
      May 8, 2018 at 6:45 am

      Excellent points.

    • mike k
      May 8, 2018 at 6:53 am

      Good comment. The problem is that the US is a rogue criminal enterprise that scoffs at all laws and limitations on it’s behavior. First the US must be arrested, and there is the problem – it will resist arrest with it’s huge army, and destroy the arresting officers. How to dethrone the oligarchs behind the Deep State is our basic problem if we want peace, and a world where laws are just and obeyed.

  26. Abby
    May 8, 2018 at 3:04 am

    One thing I do know is that if president Obama had upheld the rule of law then Gina would not be facing a confirmation hearing, but may have already been tried and sentenced. The cover that the Bush administration legal counsel gave did not change the rules of this country nor international laws. He had a sworn duty to charge anyone who broke the law, but the only person who went to prison was John Kiriaku (sp) who was a whistleblower. The Bush administration dropped the charges against him because they found no evidence. After Obama became president though he brought charges against him again and spent two years prosecuting him.

    Gina Haspel and the others who committed torture put a stain on the country that was already stained from decades of war crimes, but for her now to have been appointed by Trump just makes the stain bigger!

    • Sam F
      May 8, 2018 at 4:38 am

      Yes, such an appointment is a boast of torture and a threat against the world, which marks the US as a tyrant.

  27. JP
    May 8, 2018 at 2:33 am

    We all know the Bush administrations stated Iraq invasion’s defense, “we acted on the best intelligence available at the time.” The fact that the intelligence was obtained by nefarious methods had no bearing on their decision making. The voices that raised concerns were quickly minimized and brushed aside in the rageful race for revenge by a wounded nation after 9/11. The millions of lives that have been lost and devastated in the Middle East as a result of those fateful decisions on flawed intelligence amounts to blood on the hands of those who enabled the politicians to move forward with their wayward plans. Today’s politicians are promoting those enablers to higher positions. Good Job Brownie!

  28. May 8, 2018 at 1:48 am

    My suggestion is that Gina Haspel withdraw her name or have it withdrawn by President Donald Trump, who I would note recently pardoned Scooter Libby, and name as the next CIA director Valerie Plame.

    • Skip Scott
      May 9, 2018 at 7:44 am

      Dream on Mike, from your mouth to God’s ears!

  29. David G
    May 7, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Ok, torture is bad. (South Park’s Mr. Mackey: “Torture is bad, m’kay?”) Unfortunately, there are all too many people out there who feel validated by it (as long as it’s not happening to them, of course).

    Where I would hope we could all find common ground is that destruction of evidence is completely unacceptable, no matter where you stand on the merits of a given issue.

    Obstruction of justice is much in the news because of the travails of the Big Tangerine, but willfully destroying irreplaceable evidence such as videotapes is the ultimate in obstruction.

    Even though she won’t be prosecuted for it, destroying the videos of CIA torture should absolute disqualify Haspel from any future government position of consequence.

    • Sam F
      May 8, 2018 at 5:05 am

      Yes, a large factor in government abuse of force is that some feel “validated” or empowered by it.
      For the same reason they join gangs of all kinds including political groupthink gangs.
      Destruction of evidence shows how the US has been corrupted by those who reject its founding principles.

  30. incontinent reader
    May 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Recall that Congress had little difficulty confirming Obama’s nominee, John Brennan, counterterrorism torturer and liar in chief, as CIA Director, in 2013, even though he had been forced to withdraw his name from consideration for the same position in 2009 because of concerns about his support for, and close involvement in the ‘enhanced interrogation’ and rendition programs. (Instead, Obama appointed him as Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism to bypass the confirmation process.) Maybe Obama had pull where Trump doesn’t, but I’m not so sure this nomination won’t be approved- and it it is, it will reiterate to the rest of the world what kind of leaders we had, and have, and nation we are.

    • Skip Scott
      May 9, 2018 at 7:43 am

      I believe Brennan is a major Deep State power figure. Since the time he was forced to withdraw his name, his power has only increased. It has been said by many that RussiaGate is “Brennan’s baby”. Trump is learning how to stay alive in the swamp, and it basically involves reneging on every campaign promise. I don’t know if he’s been coerced into this, or whether he had it planned with Adelson and his ilk from the beginning, but the bast**ds are winning.

  31. Sam F
    May 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    There are rare academic cases in which one would be concerned about relative casualties one way or the other.
    The same concerns should apply to all war casualties, even opposition combatants, mostly compelled or deceived.
    If we oppose torture we must stop warmongers.

    The causes of US wars are primarily:
    1. The need of tyrants for an enemy to demand power as protectors, and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty;
    2. The corruption of democracy by economic power, allowing the MIC/zionists/WallSt to bribe Congress to start wars;
    3. The prospect of national gains by resource theft, primarily land in our early history, as recent efforts failed.

    All such wars are prohibited by the Constitution, in limiting federal powers to repelling invasions and suppressing insurrections, and can be lawful only under treaties. The founders correctly sought to avoid foreign entanglements, but NATO has been used since WWII solely by US warmonger tyrants.

    Eliminating US warmongering requires:
    1. Constitutional Amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual donations;
    2. Renegotiation of the NATO treaty to be purely defensive, or its repudiation;
    3. Undertaking foreign military action solely under UN auspices;
    4. Prosecution of US war criminals and corrupt politicians, and banning of lobbyists;
    5. Monitoring public officials and their families for corruption during their lives;
    6. Repurposing 80 percent of the military to building infrastructure in poor nations;
    7. Signing the treaty of Rome to submit to ICC jurisdiction in most matters.

    Getting there requires:
    1. Executive overreach to investigate and dismiss corrupt officials, hold new elections, etc;
    2. Infiltrating military/intel/police/national guard to deny enforcement to oligarchy during revolts;
    3. Starting new parties that truly represent members, and making coalitions to gain majorities;
    4. A college of policy debate to debate all viewpoints on all issues, and post commented summaries;
    5. Boycotting all military companies and Israeli products, denouncing zionists and militarists;
    6. Refusing to take mortgages or keep large sums in banks or investments;
    7. Refusing to watch or pay for mass media;
    8. Campaigning for foreign rejection of US products, currency, and NATO.

    • Skip Scott
      May 9, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Wow Sam. Great list! I hope we can do it someday, but I fear that if there is any rebuilding it will be after a major calamity, and done by a handful of survivors.

    • A CG
      May 10, 2018 at 3:10 am

      Unless aliens land on earth and put a gun to US head and say “do the above list or else…” the actions list will never happen.

      Wars need to burn themselves out, so we have to wait until the US runs out of money

  32. Joe Tedesky
    May 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    About Fordham University I feel for you Ray, but although it will serve you with no relief, Fordham is only another of our American institutions which has gone wrong. Like I said Ray, I can’t give you any comfort, but I can tell you, as you already know, America has been captured into a dangerous mindset of the darkest kind. Your right Ray we Americans through our tv and entertainment media have been brainwashed to believe the unbelievable, as violence is the product most enjoyed. While most Americans will never experience the horrors of war, through their watching war in movies and on tv they think they know something about the evil craft. Hardly do these Americans consider the consequences of battle, as they traffic through their clean and fairly safe American communities. Yet ask a random American what they think of what we should do to an enemy, and they answer you with a resounding ‘bomb them back into the Stone Age’. Where does this come from Ray, well it certainly ain’t no help when institutions such as Fordham University settle in with the evil spirits of doom.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 7, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      Ray on second thought, I think by your representing Fordham with your moral conscience in your writings, will serve time well honored. Ray, it doesn’t matter if us old folks get to see it, but the day is coming when the less than honorable will get their day. It will be then when a whole new generation of McGovern’s return to influence our country’s and the world’s decisions on life or death.

      Call me a dream, and that I am, but after such a stunting past two months for me in my life as all the unknowns became known, I am now a renewed believer in the positive. It is never easy getting to the right side of things, and only the unelected suffering know the real pain it is trying to achieve great and wonderful things, but never the less what we all leave here may possibly inspire a new generation yet to come.

      It isn’t Fordham University as much as it’s the current management…. and having been in business I can tell you how it’s better to wait it out or sludge right through it, but managements do change.

      Ray it’s not loss, because your still fighting it. One last thing Ray, by your own determination to continue on you have deservingly won. Joe

  33. Evangelista
    May 7, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Let’s see what Ms. Haspel has to say: Maybe she learned from her experiences, and mistakes.

    If not, and she is confirmed, Ms. Haspel will not be something new: Her predecessors have all been torturers and torture advocates, too, haven’t they? She is different for, if she hasn’t learned and changed, being up-front and out of the dagger-closet, or cloak-room….

  34. Tom
    May 7, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Torture never works. How do I know this? Because I’m a torture survivor. Because of that, I’ll always have CDD (complex dissociative disorder, extremely severe PTSD). There is no cure. I have to constantly keep my guard up because if I let it down, the pain will be too much. Other survivors had that happen to them and sadly they killed themselves.

    Many times I’ve been in groups where the others talk about how horrible torture is, it’s illegal and never works. I then mention that I’m a torture survivor. Instantly, the entire group ignores what I just said. Why do they do this?:

    Torture is something that happens to OTHERS FAR AWAY. That never happens here at home.
    They’re hypocrites who say one thing and do the complete opposite.
    That’s just too weird. Instead, say “enhanced interrogation techniques”. That I can deal with.

    Unfortunately, may have the attitude of I don’t care what you do. Just keep those “terrorists” away from me. Torture them , kill them, do that far away from me. I literally don’t care.

    Why will Haspel be confirmed? Because many Democrats who one minute say torture is evil will confirm her because they’re scared to death of being called “weak” on “terrorists”. They can’t have that.

  35. mike k
    May 7, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    This torture lady is disgusting. Trump has surrounded himself with a bunch of ghouls. What does that say about him? Birds of a feather……….

    • mike k
      May 7, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Keep an eye on who in congress votes to confirm this harpy from hell, it will tell you how many sponsors of torture inhabit the “hallowed halls” of our so called government.

    • Realist
      May 8, 2018 at 4:25 am

      I think it also says a lot about the vile nest of vipers that populate the government in Washington, for there is NEVER a shortage of available sickos to fill these posts. Everyone on tap seems to be a warmongering neocon bereft of morals and just itching to start World War III, not for any honorable cause or intrinsic GOOD, not to beat down Russia, China, Iran, or Syria because they are brutal expansionist dictatorships guilty of widespread international aggression or even internal repression (the common raps), but for the shear expansion of American POWER of which they feel they own a part as members of the TEAM.

      Mostly what it says about Trump is that he was either a liar during the campaign, or is a coward now and afraid to oppose the jackals in control of DC. I can see he doesn’t want to put his opulent life at risk for the sake of other human beings, but then he should not have run for the office… and we’d have Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, or one of the other clowns from the car overseeing the same catastrophic foreign policy. Heaven help us, Joe Biden (not Hillary who has even lower ratings than Trump) is presently leading in the very early polls and making public statements about what an exemplary senator John McCain has been during his career. So, there is NO HOPE on the distant horizon either.

    • Sam F
      May 8, 2018 at 5:51 am

      I agree with you both, that the District of Corruption is no place to find persons able to govern.
      The National Security Council surrounds presidents with warmongers and should be disbanded.
      The last thing a President needs is to be deluded by crisis makers who rush him to judgments.
      He should be retiring, inconclusive, above the fray, waiting for answers to emerge from debate.

  36. mike k
    May 7, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    I agree with Ray McGovern. Torture is the very definition of evil. That the leadership of America believes in torture tells me all I need to know about these despicable persons: they are evil. Of course these same people do not hesitate to kill and horribly injure millions of people. It is tragic that our leaders are evil monsters. How far we have fallen in this country, that still likes to think it is a “Christian Nation”.

  37. Abe
    May 7, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    “Nothing will say more about who we are, across three American administrations—one that demanded torture, one that covered it up, and one that seeks to promote its bloody participants—than whether Gina Haspel becomes director of the CIA.

    “Haspel oversaw the torture of human beings in Thailand as the chief of a CIA black site in 2002. Since then, she’s worked her way up to deputy director at the CIA. With current director Mike Pompeo slated to move to Foggy Bottom, President Donald Trump has proposed Haspel as the Agency’s new head.

    “Haspel’s victims waiting for death in Guantanamo cannot speak to us, though they no doubt remember their own screams as they were waterboarded. And we can still hear former CIA officer John Kiriakou say: ‘We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information.’

    “It was Kiriakou who exposed the obsessive debate over the effectiveness of torture as false. The real purpose of torture conducted by those like Gina Haspel was to seek vengeance, humiliation, and power. […]

    “As head of a black site, Haspel had sole authority to halt the questioning of suspects, but she allowed torture to continue. New information and a redaction of earlier reporting that said Haspel was present for the waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah (she was actually the station chief at the black site after those sessions) makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners there, but pay it little mind. The confusion arises from the government’s refusal to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. So many records have yet to be released and those that have been are heavily redacted. Then there are the tapes of Zubaydah’s waterboarding, which Haspel later pushed to have destroyed.

    “Arguing over just how much blood she has on her hands is a distraction from the fact that she indeed has blood on her hands.

    “Gina Haspel is now eligible for the CIA directorship because Barack Obama did not prosecute anyone for torture; he merely signed an executive order banning it in the future. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured that almost all government documents on the torture program remained classified. He did not prosecute the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of the torture scenes.”

    Gina Haspel: As If Nuremberg Never Happened
    By Peter Van Buren
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/gina-haspel-as-if-nuremberg-never-happened/

    • mike k
      May 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks Abe. Excellent article.

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