The CIA Nominee and Waterboarding

By Bill Mefford

On Wednesday, Gina Haspel will go before the Senate Intelligence Committee to begin her confirmation process as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel was a senior operative what was nicely called the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation program." The better name for this is simply torture. It has been proven over and over that the use of torture did not produce information that made the United States any safer. In fact, it did just the opposite. 

One of her responsibilities during her long career with the CIA was running what was called a “black site” in Thailand where one detainee had been subjected repeatedly to waterboarding. There are also reports that say she may have been responsible for the almost death of another detainee due to waterboarding, as well as being stuffed into coffin-shaped (or smaller) confinement boxes for almost 300 hours, and forced to endure sleep deprivation, beatings and more. What's more, to cover up her crimes and the crimes of her colleagues, Haspel destroyed tapes of the waterboarding procedures. 

Yes, while trump and the Republican-controlled Congress go nuts over Hillary's emails, no one in the Bush administration has been held criminally responsible for their support and engagement in the practice of torture. Thanks guys. 

Rather than discuss the pros and cons of waterboarding (which is a ridiculous discussion to even have), I thought it might be better for us to hear the impact waterboarding has on the individual. This is taken from the book, "500 Days" by Kurt Eichenwald. 

Zubaydah, they felt sure, knew of information that could stop a 9/11 sequel, but he wouldn't talk. So, the interrogators checked Langle and got the green light to waterboard him. 

Zubaydah was brought into a room and strapped down on a gurney, which was leaned back about fifteen degrees. After Zubaydah exhaled, leaving his lungs collapsed, one of the interrogators held a black cloth against his mouth while another poured water from a plastic bottle onto his face. The liquid flowed into his mouth and nose; the cloth acted like a one-way valve, allowing water to run in but preventing Zubaydah from coughing it out. The fluid filled his head, sinuses, and throat. Even though, because of the incline of the gurney, no liguid could enter his lungs, Zubaydah sucked in the water as he struggled to breathe, experiencing an uncontrollable sense of impending death. He was a drowning man who could not drown. 

After less than thirty seconds, the interrogator stopped pouring the water, the cloth was removed from Zubaydah's face, and the gurney was elevated to a vertical position. Liquid flowed out of his head as the straps dug into his injuries. As expected, he vomited. 

A moment passed. Then the gurney was leaned back again, the cloth placed over Zubaydah's mouth, and water poured on his face. Terrified, Zubaydah urinated on himself. 

He would be waterboarded eighty-three times. (2012:338)

Someone overseeing such practices does not deserve a position of government leadership. They deserve to be brought before the International Criminal Court. 

To stop Haspel's nomination please call BOTH of your Senators at 202-224-3121 and tell each of them to oppose Gina Haspel's nomination to lead the CIA because we need to repent from torture, not reward it. 

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