Tuesday 9th of August 2022

pinocchio had been superseded by a new type of creature made of plastic...


Senator, my moral conscience is strong. I would not allow the CIA to carry out any activity that I thought was immoral – even if it was technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it.

From all reports, neither Warner’s nor Haspel’s nose grew longer, but perhaps such deceptive phrasing slyly falls beyond the parameters of Pinocchio’s sins and the Blue Fairy’s sanctions.

So the woman who oversaw detainee torture at a CIA “black site” in Thailand tells us she has a strong moral conscience, but she doesn’t tell us what that conscience considers intrinsically evil, if anything. Nor what that “strong” moral conscience considers moral or immoral in any way, just that the “CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values,” whatever they might be. And if she were ordered to carry out an action – let’s say kill a foreign agent or assassinate a political leader – that was technically illegal but accorded with her strong moral conscience, would she do so? Don’t ask; she wasn’t. Even Pinocchio would get confused with this legerdemain, and his “strong” moral conscience, Jiminy Cricket, would be utterly bamboozled.

The good Senator, adept at playing deceptive verbal games as befits his stature, is happy to have his non-question answered with a non-answer, and both he and Haspel are happy. Good question, good answer, good conscience. Nothing bad about that. Then Warner goes and votes for Haspel, who he says is “among the most experienced people to be nominated” to head the CIA, and Haspel says she thinks torture – excuse me, “enhanced interrogation” – doesn’t work anyway. Practicality wins the day.

But here in Rome so many regular people are not so practical. They seem to relish life, not as a task to accomplish, but as a pleasure to enjoy. Despite the history that surrounds them, and the dismal political economy that weighs heavy on their lives and country, they seem less anxious and terrorized than Americans. Of course this may be a visitor’s myopic vision, and when seen clearly, Romans might be as stressed as Americans. But I doubt it.

But for this visiting American, it is hard to dismiss thoughts about the disgraceful charade happening back in Washington D.C. Thinking here in Rome of the Haspel vote, I am reminded of the ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles’s and long-time Chief of Counterintelligence James Angleton’s organized “Ratlines,” the escape routes for Nazi and fascist killers and torturers, so many of whom were brought to the United States and other countries after World War II through Italy to help the newly formed CIA torture the truth out of detainees and assassinate opponents. Operation Paperclip, they called it.

No big deal; just a joining of two like-minded organizations by a tiny device. 

Post September 11 torture is nothing new, and Haspel is nothing if not a traditionalist just doing her job. Is this what Haspel meant by “American values”? Many victims would attest to that.


Read more:


happy to hear this news...

Dear Ms. Haspel,

I understand you are now against torture, after supporting it before. Great. As a torture victim, I'm very happy to hear this news.

I hope you won't take it the wrong way, however, if I say that I doubt the sincerity of your change of heart. Let's be honest. There isn't much proof that you regret what you did. The evidence suggests that you helped to cover up for American torturers. Meanwhile, at least in the torture facilities I've known, the officials who get with the program – by which I mean carry out every order in silent obedience – tend to move up in the hierarchy. I assume you're discovering the same thing right now on the day of your Senate confirmation hearing.


Read more:


the blood queen..

Lithuania and Romania, which hosted secret CIA prisons for terrorist suspects, are responsible for knowingly allowing the torture of prisoners, a European court ruled. It comes after the appointment of Gina Haspel as CIA head.

The two European nations, which hosted clandestine CIA detention facilities after 9/11, have breached basic tenets of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights by allowing torture of prisoners to happen on their territory, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg ruled on Thursday.

The ECHR ruling refers to the cases of Saudi-born Abu Zabaydah and Saudi Abd Al Rahim Husseyn Muhammad Al Nashiri, both of whom are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.



The new European ruling comes less than a month after the controversial confirmation of Haspel as the new head of the CIA. Critics call her ‘Torture Queen’ and ‘Bloody Gina’ for the role she played in the US program of torturing terrorist suspects. She also reportedly played a key part in the 2005 destruction of videotapes of the interrogations involving torture by the CIA. Those include the abuses of Al Nashiri and Zabaydah.

During her confirmation hearing in the US Congress, Haspel said she pledged that there will be no more torture under her watch, apparently winning over lawmakers, who intended to block her nomination over her past. Her detractors claim she personally took part in interrogations because she liked seeing prisoners being hurt.

Terrorist suspects were subjected to various forms of what the Bush administration preferred to call ‘enhanced interrogation,’ including waterboarding, sensory and sleep deprivation, being forced to remain in stress positions, confinement in extremely small spaces and various forms of intimidation. The program was stopped by the Obama administration, but he failed to prosecute anyone involved in it. The incumbent president, Donald Trump, expressed support for the approach on several occasions and promised to lock up more terrorists in Guantanamo Bay.

The fact that the CIA torturers got away with what they did enables a normalization of torture under the current administration, Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee and now a prisoner rights activist, told RT.


Read more:


torturous language...

David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University. His most recent book is Torture, Power, and Law.

When the U.S. Department of Justice's secret torture memos were released in 2009, journalist Kathleen Parker wrote in the Washington Post:

"Several years ago, I asked a veteran journalist for advice. 'I'm trying to figure out if I have an ethical conflict', I began."'If you have to ask, you do', he said ..."

Apply the same construct to torture. If we have to ask, it probably is.

Along the same lines, Jeremy Waldron observes that the prohibition on torture is not like a tax regulation, which needs precision because we expect even blameless taxpayers to push to the limits of the law. It is more like the prohibitions on domestic violence and sexual harassment, where you have no business demanding precise guidance on exactly how far you can go.

For Waldron, the prohibition on torture represents a legal archetype:

"a particular provision in a system of norms which has a significance going beyond its immediate normative content, a significance stemming from the fact that it sums up or makes vivid to us the point, purpose, principle, or policy of a whole area of law."

The prohibition of torture is archetypal of the fundamental commitment of law not to rule through brutality or savagery. To paw through the law against torture looking for loopholes undermines that fundamental commitment of the law itself.

I agree with Waldron's analysis and Parker's rule of thumb. Indeed, I have argued at length that the fundamental dishonesty in the torture memos came from pretending that "torture," "severe pain" and "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment" are purely technical concepts that demand minute legal line-drawing.

It was the fundamental trick that allowed the torture lawyers, quoting Kathleen Parker again, to "[torture] the English language trying to justify the unjustifiable." Pursuing this line of thought, one might suspect that to demand a definition of torture is merely the opening gambit in a game of loophole lawyering. Why muddy the waters with definitions that invite pettifoggery?

One reason is that a definition of torture can help us identify what the most important evils associated with torture are. There are, after all, other reasons to define a concept besides sorting which items do or don't fall under it. We define concepts to learn something about them by seeing how they hang together with our other concepts. That is a fundamentally philosophical aim, distinct from the legal definition of torture. It is my aim here.

The defining feature of torture, I will argue, is the use of pain or suffering as a communicative medium for displaying the absolute mastery of the torturer and the absolute helplessness of the victim. This non-legal definition - focusing not only on the painfulness of torture, but on its inextricable link with subjugation and humiliation - aims to identify the essential features that place torture among the greatest affronts to human dignity. It shows why torture violates a moral archetype.

Defining torture: a new start

The Convention Against Torture (CAT) provides the standard legal definition of torture, as the intentional infliction of severe mental or physical pain or suffering by an agent of the state. CAT also asserts that no war or emergency can ever justify torture - it places torture in an infernal class by itself. States have never said about killing anything remotely as categorical as CAT's declaration that nothing justifies torture. After all, more than half the world's people live in countries that have the death penalty. Killing in war is lawful, and even peacetime human rights treaties prohibit only "arbitrary" killings by the state, not all killings.

CAT's definition of torture sheds no light on what makes torture unique among the misfortunes we visit on each other. For legal purposes, explaining that intuition is unnecessary, and too much theorizing would actually weaken the force of the prohibition by inviting controversy.


Read more:



Sadistical expression of the devious human desire to inflict pain, comes to mind... Read from top.

a day for victims of torture...

Later this month on June 26, the United Nation’s will observe a Day for Victims of Torture. 

Before 2002, America would have heralded this day, joining in the remembrance and using the resultant global solidarity to advance even further the goal of stopping torture wherever it might occur. No longer. America is now one of the world’s chief, unrepentant, unapologetic, still-polling-positive-on…torturers.

Since President George W. Bush—under relentless pressure from Dick Cheney, his Machiavellian vice president—withdrew America from the Geneva Conventions in 2002, ostensibly so he could deal with al-Qaeda and Afghanistan’s Taliban, the United States has operated “on the dark side.” Recently reaffirming that position, President Donald Trump nominated and the Senate approved torture’s disciple and supervisory practitioner Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

How did we get here?


Read more:


female psychos...

Women now control all three directorates of the CIA – a historic milestone for gender equality in the clandestine regime change/assassination sector. Rachel Maddow seems to be celebrating, but why is Twitter full of party poopers?

CIA Director Gina Haspel has appointed a fellow female comrade, Cynthia “Didi” Rapp, as deputy director for analysis, making her the highest-ranking analyst at the agency. Elizabeth Kimber was named the first female deputy director for operations in December, joining Dawn Meyerriecks, who has been the agency’s deputy director for science and technology for several years now. As a result, the main branches of the CIA – operations, analysis and science and technology – are now headed by women.

NBC News toasted the agency’s all-female leadership with an article detailing the new “sisterhood of spies”. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow – usually busy hallucinating about Vladimir Putin hiding under her bed – rushed to tweet the story, in an apparent endorsement of the new trifecta of unaccountable girl power.


Read more:




Read from top.

wearing stainless steel underpads...

In a scathing (?) review of the trailer of the movie, 355, to be released next year, Michael McCaffrey exposes what's wrong with our imagination. Today, his quote of "Everything is as it should be." by Benjamin Purcell Morris — I guess the actor, barely known for One World (1998) and The Dead Hate the Living! (2000), who has died in 2017 — belies a twist of fate. The hollywoodian imagination is carved of the same wood made of cardboard. Slick and lit with all the theatre candles available, the world is saved by predictability...



Chastain is becoming the female version of Tom Hanks, a talented actor who, as evidenced by Saving Private Ryan, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Post and Bridge of Spies among many others, is always eagerly and reliably in the bag for the intelligence community and military industrial complex.

A damning piece of evidence against Hanks was his cringe-worthy refusal to say that Edward Snowden was not a traitor while doing press for The Post (2017) - a film about Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsburg. When directly asked if Snowden was a traitor the cowardly Hanks replied, “that’s above my pay grade”. Tom Hanks pay grade has earned him a net worth of $350 million.

As for Chastain and The 355, the CIA consistently uses Hollywood to promote the notion of intelligence agency women as American Jane Bonds and that has real-world consequences. Feminists cheer that the agency is now headed by torture enthusiast Gina Haspel, and has women leading three of its top directorates. The pussy hat brigade also proudly embraced former female CIA personnel, Democrats Abigail Spanberger and Elissa Slotkin, as they ran and won congressional seats in 2018 by touting their background as CIA ‘badasses’.

Sadly, by co-opting vociferous feminist voices like Chastain and Captain Marvel star Brie Larson – as well as the feminist movement which has historically been anti-war and pro-peace (think Jane Fonda), this ensures that not only does the CIA have no opposition from famous women, but actually has their endorsement.


Read more:



Read from top.

See the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyktpXSvjZE


See also: http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/34102


of CIA torture…..


BY John Kiriakou


Court filing reveals CIA director Gina Haspel participated directly in the spy agency’s black site illegal torture program while fellow officer Kiriakou was imprisoned for exposing it.


The New York Times last week revealed that former CIA Director Gina Haspel was present to watch a torture session of alleged al-Qaeda terrorist Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri when she was the head of a secret CIA black site where two contract psychologists and CIA officers tortured prisoners. During her 2018 confirmation hearings, Haspel was evasive when asked directly by Senator Dianne Feinstein if she had overseen al-Nashiri’s interrogations. She said that to answer might expose a part of her classified career.  The CIA refused to comment on anything that Haspel may or may not have done in the past.

The Times’ revelation was reported as a part of the newspaper’s coverage of a lawsuit that al-Nashiri’s attorneys have brought against the CIA.  Psychologist James Mitchell, one of the torturers, testified in the suit that the black site’s chief was “Z9A,” code for Haspel, and that she personally sat in on one of the torture sessions.  There was no explanation for what Haspel was doing there.  It was certainly not normal procedure for a senior CIA officer to simply sit in on a torture session, unless she did it because she wanted to,  Regardless of the reason, the truth is now out.  That’s certainly a good thing.  But it doesn’t mean that Haspel or anybody else will be punished for the CIA’s torture program.  In many cases, the statute of limitations has expired.  And Haspel has moved on.  She’s now in a senior position in the A-list Washington, DC law firm of King & Spaulding, although she doesn’t appear on the firm’s website, and a spokesperson wouldn’t tell the Times what she does there.  Still, it’s worth taking another look at who, exactly, Gina Haspel is.

My CIA superiors asked me in 2002 if I wanted to be “certified in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques,” the popular CIA euphemism for torture.  I was one of 14 people asked.  I regret to say that I was the only one who declined.  I said that I had a moral and ethical problem with torture, and I believed it to be patently illegal.  But as I rejected torture, Haspel welcomed it.  And the decision certainly didn’t hold her back.  She went on to become CIA director.  She and other torturers and torture supporters went on to prosper, despite–or was it because of–this grisly work experience.  I went to prison for 23 months after blowing the whistle on the torture program.  I’m sure Haspel has no regrets for her decisions. Neither do I.

Haspel’s nomination as CIA director sent the country back, in the blink of an eye, to the bad old days of torture, secret prisons, and international renditions.  Haspel was a protégé of Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s notorious former deputy director for operations and former director of the Counterterrorism Center (CTC).  Haspel served as Rodriguez’s chief of staff at CTC.

Described in the media as a “seasoned intelligence veteran,” Haspel had been at the CIA for more than 30 years, both at Headquarters and in senior positions overseas.  And throughout that entire period, she tried hard to stay out of the public eye.  Then-outgoing CIA director and Mike Pompeo at the time lauded her “uncanny ability to get things done” and said that she “inspires those around her.”  I’m sure that was true for some,  but many of the rest of us who knew and worked with Gina Haspel at the CIA called her “Bloody Gina.”

The New York Times and Washington Post have written extensively about Haspel’s background, especially overseas.  The CIA will not let me repeat her resume here, calling it “currently and properly classified.”  I won’t go down that road.  But I will say that it was Haspel who carried out her master’s instructions todestroy videotaped evidence of the torture of Abu Zubaydah, mistakenly thought to have been the third-ranking person al-Qaeda.  And that was after the White House Counsel specifically told her to not destroy it.  She made no apologies.  I would call that “obstruction of justice,” a felony.

At the same time, the American people have a right to know what their CIA director does—or did—in their name.  They have a right to know if she committed crimes and, if so, what those crimes were. They have a right to transparency.  And they have a right to know that when a law is violated, no matter how important the transgressor, justice will be served.

Haspel should never have been named CIA director in the first place.  First, just imagine the message this sent to the CIA workforce:  Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll still get ahead.  Don’t worry about the law.  Don’t worry about ethics.  Don’t worry about morality.  Don’t worry about the fact that the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the FBI, and military interrogators all agree that torture doesn’t work, besides the fact that it’s ethically and morally reprehensible.  Go ahead and do it anyway.  We’ll cover for you.  And you can destroy the evidence, too.

And what message did it send to our friends and allies?  What would we tell our allies, the same ones that we criticize every year in the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report?  The message was this:  You know how we always say that we’re a shining city on a hill, a beacon of respect for human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law?  Well, that’s nonsense.  We only say those things when it’s expedient.  We say it to make ourselves feel good.  But when push comes to shove, we do what we want, international law be damned.

Our actions are also not lost on our enemies.  The torture program is the greatest recruitment tool that al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other bad actors ever had.  It was the torture program that energized them.  It gave them something to rally against.  It sowed an even deeper hatred of the United States among them.  It swelled their ranks.  It was no coincidence that ISIS paraded its prisoners in front of cameras wearing orange jumpsuits before beheading them.  Gina Haspel was partly responsible for that.

And now that we know what we know about Gina Haspel, we should also ask ourselves who we want to be as Americans.  Do we want to be the country that tortures people, like North Korea, China, and Iran?  Do we want to be the country that snatches people from one country and sends them to another to be tortured and interrogated?  Do we want to be the country that cynically preaches human rights and then violates those same rights when we think nobody else is looking?  Aren’t we better than that?  Don’t we want to be that shining beacon, the country that every other one looks up to and tries to emulate?  Or do we want to emulate the likes of Gina Haspel?

I’m glad the truth is finally out.  But I’m not sanguine that we have learned a lesson from torture.  Gina Haspel and those like her are monsters.  They should be prosecuted, imprisoned, and shunned.  None of them ever has been.  Instead, they’re celebrated.  But it’s not too late.  There is still time for our children to learn the lessons that my generation didn’t.  The CIA likes to train its officers to believe that everything in life is a shade of gray.  But that’s just not true.  Some things are black-and-white, right or wrong.  Torture is wrong.  It’s illegal, immoral, and unethical.  We shouldn’t do it under any circumstances.  And those who do should be punished.










lies and torture……...


by philip giraldi


Quite likely a majority of Americans would agree that it is wrong for the government or police to torture someone, though some would surely accept the “ticking time bomb” exemption, where a detainee is withholding information that could save many lives. It is in fact illegal to torture someone as well as it being morally wrong. Indeed, it could constitute a crime against humanity or a war crime depending on circumstances. The United States, which has signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture and is bound by it, has thereby accepted legal sanctions to back up the view that torture is never permissible. Under US law, torture committed by “government officials and their collaborators upon a person restrained by the government is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, and its fruits are inadmissible in all courts.” Given that background, one is astonished to learn that some in the government have not taken the obligation seriously. To be sure, the US has been quick to react when lower ranking officials, contractors and ordinary soldiers have reportedly been involved in torturing prisoners, as occurred with Abu Ghraib prior to 2004, but the higher one goes up the ladder of power the less do laws apply to even the most egregious misbehavior.

It has long been known that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in the wake of 9/11, resorted to torture in its overseas “black” prisons, but details of what took place and anything that would stand up in court as evidence has been difficult to discern as it has been easy for the Agency to shroud its more nefarious deeds through claims of protecting “states secrets.” But now some more details have emerged. The news that former Donald Trump appointed CIA Director Gina Haspel during her tour overseeing a prison in Thailand in 2002 personally observed at least one terrorist suspect being tortured by waterboarding, which simulates being drowned repeatedly until a confession is obtained. Waterboarding was used by the Japanese on prisoners of war in the Second World War and was subsequently considered to be torture, a war crime.

The new information came from one of the creators of the Agency’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” program, psychologist James E. Mitchell, who was testifying in a May pretrial hearing at Guantanamo Prison relating to the treatment of Saudi al-Qaeda linked terrorist suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who has been accused of being complicit in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 American sailors. Al-Nashiri, who was shipped to Gitmo in 2006 and who has been waiting sixteen years for his trial, could face the death penalty if he is convicted. His defense is seeking to demonstrate that the evidence against him was obtained by torture and should therefore be inadmissible.

Al-Nashiri was subjected to four months of waterboarding as well as to what have been described as “other coercive techniques” during his questioning in Thailand. According to testimony, the hooded interrogators repeatedly slammed al-Nashiri’s head into a wall and forced him naked into a small confinement box. When he briefly went on a hunger strike due to his treatment he was fed rectally. It is not known how frequently Gina Haspel, the senior officer in charge of the base, observed the torture, which she allegedly watched but did not participate in, but she drafted up the classified cables detailing what had occurred and what information had been developed. Oddly, al-Nashiri was freely answering the questions from the interrogators, who recommended that the extreme measures be stopped, but CIA Headquarters insisted that the torture continue in the belief that nothing is “true” until it is verified under torture. Rather than resigning to demonstrate her disagreement, Haspel allowed the process to continue, which is why in part some of her former Agency colleagues regularly refer to her as “Bloody Gina.”

Videotapes were made of the torture but they were subsequently destroyed. Haspel participated in the November 2005 destruction of hundreds of hours of recordings contained on 92 tapes showing at least two interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri. She did so while serving as chief of staff to the Director of the National Collection Service Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. At her Senate confirmation hearing as Director in 2018, she said “I would also make clear that I did not appear on the tapes.” Rodriguez, who made the decision to destroy the tapes, also reportedly determined how to handle a suspected terrorist detainee Gul Rahman. Rahman was chained, nearly naked, to a concrete floor for an extended time and then froze to death. There was an internal CIA investigation but no officer on-site nor at the Agency headquarters was punished – let alone prosecuted. In fact, Rodriguez, who was in charge of the detention site, received a $2,500 bonus for his “consistently superior work.”

The Agency currently regards the existence of the black prisons and the procedures used to elicit information as a “state secret” even though the existence of the sites is widely known and has been reported on extensively. After serving as Director of Central Intelligence Haspel retired from CIA in January 2021. She currently works for a major Washington law firm King & Spalding L.L.P., a typical transition for senior officials who are able to exploit the revolving door between government and the private sector. She reportedly is part of the firm’s Government Matters practice where she “advise[s] clients on cybersecurity and information technology, among other issues.”

Every instance of torture by the federal government or its agents is by law a separate felony. Beyond that, what went on in the Agency’s black overseas prisons is shocking even in a Washington where no crime is too low to the contemplated by the governments we have unfortunately placed into power. Some might object that Gina’s actions amounted to oversight of a dreadful necessity, but there is something particularly loathsome about a powerful Administration intelligence officer finding time to watch the horrors performed on a suspect who undoubtedly was not afforded any due process before he arrived in his cell to be experimented on by a team of modern-day Torquemadas.

The unfortunate fact is the Gina Haspel is not alone. She committed what are undeniably felonies and now enjoys a well-paid sinecure with a law firm that deals extensively with the government. One might recall similar trajectories relating to the former CIA Director George Tenet who lied America into a war with Iraq that is regarded as the greatest foreign policy failure since the Second World War. He was rewarded with a professorship at Georgetown. And then there is his partner in crime Paul Wolfowitz, he of the fabricated intelligence, who was named head of the World Bank only to subsequently step down after an unacceptable sexual relationship with a subordinate whom he rewarded with promotions was exposed. He is now a Senior Fellow at the neocon affiliated American Enterprise Institute think tank. George and Paul just might consider how the Nuremberg Trials regarded starting a war of aggression as “the ultimate war crime.” And they might suggest a bit of retrospection from their friends George Bush, Doug Feith, Scooter Libby, and Condi Rice, all of whom have been complicit in the same infamy. And then there is Donald Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani based on a lie that he was seeking to kill Americans. They are all doing quite well, thank you, either still active or ensconced in highly respected retirement positions, shielded by their wealth and power.

As long as there is no accountability in Washington the farce of government “of the people, and for the people” will continue. That a government can use the “secrets privilege” to conceal and avoid any consequences when killing people without any due process is despicable. If you use government resources to murder someone, you should be tried and go to prison. If you start a war through deliberate lying, you should stay in prison forever. Those who make the decisions to commit crimes are wired into the system and are in a sense bullet-proof, while the public has been completely brainwashed and the beat goes on. Another recent story tells how the CIA was apparently planning to kill currently imprisoned journalist Julian Assange in London. It reportedly included scenarios for a possible shoot-out in the heart of the city, the ramming of Russian diplomatic vehicles and the disabling of any airplane that might be involved in an escape attempt. Who came up with that one? It dates back to 2010, when the noted constitutional lawyer Barack Obama was president. Didn’t he or his advisers know that murder is against the law?.