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.
The use of torture runs through grim chapters in Latin American history. And many of those security forces engaged in torture were trained and equipped by the Pentagon and the CIA. To this day, the haunting legacy of torture remains. #BlockHaspel >> https://t.co/HkFqqRtSV1 pic.twitter.com/g8ABMzZZ6C
— LAWG (@LAWGaction) May 4, 2018
— FCNL (Quakers) (@FCNL) May 4, 2018
— CVT (@cvt_staff) May 4, 2018
It is openly known that Gina Haspel ran a CIA secret prison that used torture techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and confinement. She should not be CIA director! SIGN and RT if you agree! https://t.co/kUrN0wUkei pic.twitter.com/ZegbMR7jt9
— CODEPINK (@codepink) May 2, 2018
Nominee for CIA Chief, Gina Haspel, helped torture people and then tried to cover it up. She ran a “black site” prison where she oversaw waterboarding, beatings, and the starvation of people.
— ACLU of Northern CA (@ACLU_NorCal) May 3, 2018
Check out our new site on Gina Haspel at https://t.co/7Ua6R0xa2F and start calling your Senators to tell them that they must publicly come out in opposition to Haspel’s nomination! #BlockHaspel pic.twitter.com/DUPo4t53LS
— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) May 3, 2018
TODAY: Leading U.S. health professionals, bioethicists and public health experts urge Senate to #blockHaspel as @CIA director due to ongoing questions over her role in #torture and destruction of evidence https://t.co/vs01AHpUYX pic.twitter.com/BenMvM0DOo
— Physicians for Human Rights (@P4HR) May 3, 2018
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.
Let’s FACT CHECK @PressSec
While at the @CIA Gina Haspel successfully:
endangered the lives of US Troops
undermined our morale authority
tortured prisoners which results in false information during interrogations!
— VoteVets (@votevets) May 4, 2018