March 16, 2018

What the establishment (including the media) is brushing off about Gina Haspel

Jefferson Morley, Alternet - A declassified CIA memo, obtained by the ACLU, details the torture techniques Haspel proposed for Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi member of al-Qaeda, arrested in Pakistan in 2002. They included:

“attention grasp, walling technique, facial hold, facial or insult slap, cramped confinement, wallstanding, stress position, sleep deprivation, waterboard ONE LINE REDACTED and mock burials. To this was added the placement of harmless insects in the confinement box (based on AZ’s apparent discomfort with insects).”

"Cramped confinement" means stuffing an adult male into a box 30 inches tall, 30 inches wide and 21 inches deep. After consulting with the Justice Department, Haspel eliminated “mock burial” as a torture technique and adopted all of the others, including the insects.

Haspel knew the torture might kill Abu Zubaydah and planned accordingly. In a memo attributed to her by Just Security, she wrote:

"If subject develops a serious medical condition which may involve a host of conditions including a heart attack or another catastrophic type of condition, all efforts will be made to ensure that proper medical care will be provided to subject. In the event that subject dies we need to be prepared to act accordingly keeping in mind the liaison equities involving our hosts. If subject dies, we plan on seeking [redacted] assistance for cremation of the subject."

... In hindsight, Obama’s decision in 2009 not to investigate or indict those who engaged in torture, perhaps understandable at the time, left a legacy of impunity that renders the unspeakable defensible and paves the way for torturers to return to positions of power.

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