Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

"Torture is wrong"

A clear message displayed at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 8, 2013. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

#BlockHaspel: As Clock Ticks, Groups Ratchet Up Pressure to Stop Torturer Gina Haspel From Heading CIA

"Gina Haspel was complicit in torture and must not be promoted to CIA director," says the Center for Victims of Torture

Andrea Germanos

As the White House steps up its defense of Gina Haspel with a 27-page talking points memo, advocacy groups are staging a last-ditch effort to block her nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

With just days before she faces the Senate Intelligence Committee, dozens of groups—including CodePink, ACLU, Indivisible and VoteVets—are taking to social media to highlight her role in the CIA's covert torture program and to urge constituents to demand their senators vote against her nomination.

Torture experts are also taking to op-ed pages in major news outlets to say that if she is confirmed by the Senate, it will be nothing short of an endorsement of torture.

Writing at the Washington Post Thursday, Léonce Byimana, executive director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, argued that President Donald Trump "openly embraces torture, and he wants to name a CIA director who has followed orders to use it on people. There's no telling what future orders Trump might give. But we can be sure that Haspel would follow them."

Yet "the agency's ruthless disregard for human dignity and fundamental rights in the Americas"—as well as "collective amnesia regarding the agency's abuses"—may be exactly what makes the CIA think Haspel is "perfect for the job," asserted James Cavallaro, a Stanford Law School professor and the director of the school's International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and Human Rights Center.

Opposition to Haspel comes not only from anti-war and human rights experts but from retired members of the military as well. Last month, 109 retired generals and admirals wrote to members of the U.S. Senate to caution against her nomination, saying it "would send a terrible signal to confirm as the next Director of the CIA someone who was so intimately involved in this dark chapter of our nation's history."

The White House acknowledges that it'll be a close vote at her confirmation hearing May 9.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo