During the Bush administration, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld ordered confiscation of all photos taken at Baghdad’s central prison, Abu Ghraib, in which revolting, sadistic scenes of torture were causing a tidal wave of national and international outrage that would have certainly implicated the Bush administration. Bush and Rumsfeld are gone, but torture clings to Gina Haspel, the new CIA boss.
Condoleezza Rice (1954 – ) was the 66th Secretary of State under George Bush who faced frequent painful questions from reporters like Helen Thomas (1920-2013). In response to a question about secret “rendition” torture programs carried out (under Haspel) in several nations by the US, “Condi” calmly looked into the camera then ditched her integrity by responding to journalists: “America does not torture!” Helen Thomas was never invited back to White House press conferences.
Donald Trump did not hesitate to say “torture works” and also backs waterboarding plus harsher means of “enhanced interrogation.” As a clear manifestation of his convictions, Trump appointed Gina Haspel as Assistant Director of the CIA. Haspel has a long career with the CIA, a murky government spy brain child of Cold War champions the Dulles brothers. It is essential that US citizens read The Devil’s Chessboard by David Talbot. It is 600 pages with abundant footnotes. A quote from Sigmund Freud applies to the patriotic Dulles brothers: “The opposite of love is not hate, it is control.” CIA tentacles of control are global. Misguided patriotism moved Samuel Johnson to say in August 1775: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
Gina Haspel was in charge of secret US rendition programs in Thailand. Films of torture and interrogation there were not confiscated by authorities. According to Matthew Rosenberg of THE NEW YORK TIMES, Haspel ordered destruction of the tapes. (NYT 2/Feb/2017). Ms. Haspel became the honorable assistant to CIA Director Pompeo. Donald Trump fired Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and chose CIA Director Pompeo as his new Secretary of State. Could we now have a “Secretary of War?
Historian James Douglass has ample research to conclude the CIA is responsible for the deaths of JFK, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Douglass wrote JFK and the Unthinkable (ORBIS PRESS) which explains how JFK belittled the mighty agency by saying “I wish to smash the CIA into 1000 pieces and scatter it to the winds.” JFK was the last President to challenge that clandestine organization. Douglass went on to say, “The US coup occurred that day of Kennedy’s murder in Dallas!”
Franciscan priest Richard Rohr was giving a retreat at the atomic bomb testing area in Nevada when a government servant approached Rohr to proclaim: “The most dangerous enemy we have is the CIA. As a government servant with high clearance I can tell you that even during the Cold War, we regarded the CIA as our most dangerous enemy.”
During the present administration, we are aware of “green lights” for torture, water boarding, and enhanced interrogation. Other nations are taking careful notes of our behavior and philosophy. Can we expect imminent history to be *dangerous *deceitful *dramatic? CIA agents, soldiers and mercenaries all over the world, as USA “acolytes” are also subject to capture and ruthless torture, not excluding execution. Will Haspel dare to travel abroad and risk arrest by decent governments?